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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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384                        Poems


there are very few which I do not find I unde^tand the better
for having done this—on Saturday night last at the Hotel Zeeland
at Flushing, finding myself in a meditative mood, I wrote the
following with a good deal less trouble than I anticipated when I
took pen and paper in hand. I hope I may improve it."

Of course I liked the sonnet very much and he did write " a
fei& more "—among them the two on Handel which I have put-
after " Not on sad Stygian shore " because he intended that they
should follow it. I am sure he would have wished this volume
to close with these three sonnets, especially because the last two
of them were inspired by Handel, i&ho was never absent from his
thoughts for long. Let me conclude these introductory remarks
by reproducing a note made in 1883 :

" Of all dead men Handel has had the largest place in my
thoughts. In fact I should say that he and his music have been
the central fact in my life ever since I was old enough to know
of the existence of either life or music. All day long—whether
I am writing or painting or walking, but always—/ have his
music in my head ; and if 1 lose sight of it and of him for an
hour or two, as of course I sometimes do, this is as much as I do.
1 believe I am not exaggerating when I say that I have never
been a day since I was 13 without having Handel in my mind
many times over."

Translation from an Unpublished Work
of Herodotus

And the Johnians practise their tub in the following
manner:—They select 8 of the most serviceable freshmen and
put these into a boat and to each one of them they give an
oar; and, having told them to look at the backs of the men
before them, they make them bend forward as far as they
can and at the same moment, and, having put the end of the
oar into the water, pull it back again in to them about the
bottom of the ribs ; and, if any of them does not do this or
looks about him away from the back of the man before him,
they curse him in the most terrible manner, but if he does
what he is bidden they immediately cry out:

" Well pulled, number so-and-so."