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Postscript Or Apology
by [?]

I have had the sense that now, before these foregoing pages be definitely printed–before what have been living thoughts and feelings be irrevocably composed and stiffened, embalmed, distinctly and unmistakably prepared to last, as things are permitted to last, only in death–I have had the sense that while yet I can, I must say one or two more things. But now, I can scarcely tell why, it seems to me as if there could by no means be anything to say. It is a mood, due to the moment and place. All about me there is broad, scarce-flickering shadow on the grass, and stirring of sunlit tree-tops and vague buzzing of bees in the limes; and across the low ivied wall comes from the black, crumbly-stoned chapel faint music of organ and white-sounding voices, which swells and pierces through the silence (as a green reed bud swells and pierces its soft scaly core) and dies away, making you suddenly very conscious of twitter of sparrows and chucking of jackdaws; bringing suddenly close home to you, with the silence, a sense of solid reality. So, instead of saying what I wished, it seems to me most evident that there is nothing to say, that there scarcely could have been anything worth saying. It is enervate, I suppose; but so it is. I wonder how any one can ever have felt inclined to write about art–how art can ever have been worth writing about. Everything around seems so incomparably more interesting does it not, than art; so entirely beyond the power of writing to convey or imitate. Above, high up, there are two great branches of lime, apparently printed distinctly on to the pale blue sky, black wood dividing and subdividing and projecting, green leaves and light yellow blossom, the sun shining straight through; it seems so simple. But try and paint it: those two branches, which seem at first so well-defined, so close together, so closely clapped against the sky, do you now see how far apart they really are, how separated by a gulf of luminous air, how freely suspended, poised, at infinite distance, in the far receding pale blue; those green leaves and yellow blossoms, which are not green nor yellow, but something shadowy and at the same time luminous, are clearly defined and yet undefinable; the sunshine which we thought at first one plain beam of light is now a white, vague sheen, a shimmer; now one light spark, one tremulous star between the leaves, or a waving network of rays, long, then short, white, coloured, iridescent, shaking, shifting, dancing. Paint it, describe it if you have a mind to, my friend the poet, my friend the painter; I have not.

This is one of those moments when reality, and the enjoyment thereof, fill one with a sense, self-contemptuous, sceptical, almost cynical, and yet pleasureable and stoically self-flattering in the recognition of our own importance, a pervading illogical sense of the futility, the unreality, the museum-glass-case uselessness of art. It seems as if art were enjoyed because it has been produced, not produced because it is to be enjoyed; as if mankind had acquired an elaborate pleasure in its own works because they are its own works; as if all of us, instead of passively receiving the impression of beauty in the same way that we passively perceive the rustle of the branches, the twitter of the birds, the light upon the grass, our soul staying quietly, as it were, at home, and receiving these things as visits from nature; went forth, when art appeals to us, on a sort of journey or grand tour, well provided with guide-book knowledge, schooled beforehand which road to take, what turnings of feeling to expect, what baggage of poetic and historic association to lug with us, what little mole-hill eminences of thought and feeling to stand upon, morally on tiptoe, looking down upon an artistic scene upon which we have never before set eyes, and which is yet as well-known, as drearily familiar to us as is the inside of our pocket.