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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

The Enfant Terrible of Literature    193

Verse, Poetry and Prose

The preface to Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress is verse, but
it is not poetry. The body of the work is poetry, but it is
not verse.

Ancient Work

If a person would understand either the Odyssey or any
other ancient work, he must never look at the dead without
seeing the living in them, nor at the living without thinking
of the dead. We are too fond of seeing the ancients as one
thing and the moderns as another.

Nausicaa and Myself

I am elderly, grey-bearded and, according to my clerk,
Alfred, disgustingly fat; I wear spectacles and get more and
more bronchitic as I grow older. Still no young prince in a
fairy story ever found an invisible princess more effectually
hidden behind a hedge of dullness or more fast asleep than
Nausicaa. was when I woke her and hailed her as Authoress
of the Odyssey. And there was no difficulty about it either
—all one had to do was to go up to the front door and ring
the bell.

Telemachus and Nicholas Nickleby

The virtuous young man defending a virtuous mother
against a number of powerful enemies is one of the ignes
fatui of literature. The scheme ought to be very interesting,
and often is so, but it always fails as regards the hero who,
from Telemachus to Nicholas Nickleby, is always too much
of the good young" man to please.

Gadshill and Trapani

While getting our lunch one Sunday at the east end of the
long room in the Sir John Falstaff Inn, Gadshill, we over-
heard some waterside-looking dwellers in the neighbourhood
talking among themselves. I wrote down the following:—

Bill: Oh, yes.   I've got a mate that works in my shop ;