Poetic Image

The Cutting of an Agate by William Butler Yeats,
The Macmillan Company 1912

Personality and the Intellectual Essences - "In Literature, partly from the lack of that spoken word which knits us to the normal man, we have lost in personality, in our delight in the whole man- blood, imagination, intellect, running together- but have found a new delight, in essences, in states of mind, in pure imagination, in all that comes to us most easily in elaborate music. There are two ways before literature- upward into ever-growing subtlety, with Verhaeren, with Mallarme', with Maeterlinck, until at last, it may be, a new agreement among refined and studious men gives birth to a new passion, and what seems literature becomes religion; or downward, taking the soul with us until all is simplified and solidified again. That is the choice of choices- the way of the bird until common eyes have lost us, or to the market carts; but we must see to it that the soul goes with us, for the birds song is beautiful, an the traditions of modern imagination, growing always more musical, more lyrical, more melancholy, casting up now a Shelley,now a Swinburne, now a Wagner, are it may be, the frenzy of those that are about to see what the magic hymn printedby the Abbe' de Villars has called the Crown ofLliving and Melodious Diamonds. If the carts have hit our fancy we must have the soul tight within our bodies, for it has grown so fond of a beauty accumulated by subtle generations that it will for a long time be impatient with our thirst for mere force, mere personality , for the tumult of the blood. If it begin to slip away we must go after it, for Shelley's Chapel of the Morning Star is better than Burn's beer-house - surely it was beer, not barleycorn - except at the day's weary end; and it is always better than that uncomfortable place where there is no beer, the machine shop of the realists."