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of the Chinese convention at this time, but to those of us who live under another convention it is a blessing we would willingly forego. But much in the Chinese convention, so far from being absurd, reflects the Confucian good sense, and if the Chinese decide to break with their convention, they should evidently consider long and carefully in which direction they are going to movewhether towards something more central, or something more eccentric.

As to the direction in which Rousseau is moving and therefore as to the quality of his paradoxes there can be little question. His paradoxes - and he is perhaps the most paradoxical of writers — reduce themselves on analysis to the notion that man has suffered a loss of goodness by being civilized, by having had imposed on his unconscious and instinctive self some humanistic or religious discipline - e.g., "The man who reflects is a depraved animal”; “True Christians are meant to be slaves”; decorum is only the “varnish of vice” or the "mask 'of hypocrisy.” Innumerable paradoxes of this kind will immediately occur to one as characteristic of Rousseau and his followers. These paradoxes may be termed in opposition to those of humility, the paradoxes of spontaneity. The man who holds them is plainly moving in an opposite direction not merely from the Christian but from the Socratic individualist. He is moving from the more representative to the less representative and not towards some deeper centre of experience, as would be the case if he were tending towards either humanism or religion. Wordsworth has been widely accepted not merely as a poet but as a religious teacher, and it is therefore important to note that his paradoxes are prevailingly of the Rousseauistic type. His verse is never more spontaneous or, as he would say, inevitable, than when it is celebrating the gospel of spontaneity. I have already pointed out some of the paradoxes that he opposes to pseudo-classic decorum: e.g., his attempt to bestow poetical dignity and importance upon the ass, and to make of it a model of moral excellence, also to find poetry in an idiot boy and to associate sublimity with a pedlar in defiance of the ordinary character of pedlars. In general Wordsworth indulges in Rousseauistic paradoxes when he urges us to look to peasants for the true language of poetry and would have us believe that man is taught by “woods and rills” and not by contact with his fellow men. He pushes this latter paradox to a point that would have made even Rousseau "stare and gasp" when he asserts that

One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man
Of moral evil and of good

Than all the sages can. Another form of this same paradox that what comes from nature spontaneously is better than what can be acquired by conscious effort is found in his poem “Lucy Gray”:

No mate, no comrade Lucy knew;
She dwelt on a wide moor,
The sweetest thing that ever grew
Beside a human door!

True maidenhood is made up of a thousand decorums; but this Rousseauistic maiden would have seemed too artificial if she had been reared in a house instead of "growing” out of doors; she might in that case have been a human being and not a "thing" and this would plainly have detracted from her spontaneity. Wordsworth's paradoxes about children have a similar origin. A child who at the age of six is a "mighty prophet, seer blest," is a highly improbable not to say impossible child. The " "Nature" again of “Heart-Leap Well” which both feels and inspires pity is more remote from normal experience than the Nature “red in tooth and claw” of Tennyson. Wordsworth indeed would seem to have a penchant for paradox even when he is less obviously inspired by his naturalistic thesis.

A study of Wordsworth's life shows that he became progressively disillusioned regarding Rousseauistic spontaneity. He became less paradoxical as he grew older and in almost the same measure, one is tempted to say, less poetical. He returns gradually to the traditional forms until radicals come to look upon him as the “lost leader." He finds it hard, however, to wean his imagination from its primitivistic Arcadias; so that what one finds, in writing like the “Ecclesiastical Sonnets,” is not imaginative fire but at best a sober intellectual conviction, an opposition between the head and the heart in short that suggests somewhat Chateaubriand and the “Genius of Christianity." 1 If Wordsworth had lost faith in his revolutionary and naturalistic ideal, and had at the same time refused to return to the traditional forms, one might then have seen in his work something of the homeless hovering of the romantic ironist. If, on the other hand, he had worked away from the centre that the traditional forms give to life towards a more positive and critical centre, if,

1 M. Legouis makes a similar remark in the Cambridge History of Enge lish Literature xi, 108.

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in other words, he had broken with the past not on Rousseauistic, but on Socratic lines, he would have needed an imagination of different quality, an imagination less idyllic and pastoral and more ethical than that he usually displays. For the ethical imagination alone can guide one not indeed to any fixed centre but to an ever increasing centrality. We are here confronted once more with the question of the infinite which comes very close to the ultimate ground of difference between classicist and romanticist. The centre that one perceives with the aid of the classical imagination and that sets bounds to impulse and desire may, as I have already said, be defined in opposition to the outer infinite of expansion as the inner or human infinite. If we moderns, to repeat Nietzsche, are unable to attain proportionateness it is because “our itching is really the itching for the infinite, the immeasurable.” Thus to associate the infinite only with the immeasurable, to fail to perceive that the element of form and the curb it puts on the imagination are not external and artificial, but come from the very depths, is to betray the fact that one is a barbarian. Nietzsche and many other romanticists are capable on occasion of admiring the proportionateness that comes from allegiance to some centre. But after all the human spirit must be ever advancing, and its only motive powers, according to romantic logic, are wonder and curiosity; and so from the perfectly sound premise that man is the being who must always surpass himself, Nietzsche draws the perfectly unsound conclusion that the only way for man thus constantly to surpass himself and so show his infinitude is to spurn all

II scarcely need say that Wordsworth is at times genuinely ethical, but he is even more frequently only didactic. The Excursion, as M. Legouis says, is a "long sermon against pessimism."

linaits and “live dangerously.” The Greeks themselves, according to Renan, will some day seem the "apostles of ennui," for the very perfection of their form shows a lack of aspiration. To submit to form is to be static, whereas romantic poetry,” says Friedrich Schlegel magnificently, is “universal progressive poetry.” Now the only effective counterpoise to the endless expansiveness that is implied in such a programme is the inner or human infinite of concentration. For it is perfectly true that there is something in man that is not satisfied with the finite and that, if he becomes stationary, he is at once haunted by the spectre of ennui. Man may indeed be defined as the insatiable animal; and the more imaginative he is the more insatiable he is likely to become, for it is the imagination that gives him access to the infinite in every sense of the word. In a way Baudelaire is right when he describes ennui as a “delicate monster” that selects as his prey the most highly gifted natures. Marguerite d'Angoulême already speaks of the “ennui proper to well-born spirits.” Now religion seeks no less than romance an escape from ennui. Bossuet is at one with Baudelaire when he dilates on that "inexorable ennui which is the very substance of human life.” But Bossuet and Baudelaire differ utterly in the remedies they propose for ennui. Baudelaire hopes to escape from ennui by dreaming of the superlative emotional adventure, by indulging in infinite, indeterminate desire, and becomes more and more restless in his quest for a something that at the end always eludes him. This infinite of nostalgia has nothing in common with the infinite of religion. No distinction is more important than that between the man who feels the divine discontent of religion, and the man

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