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Discoveries A Volume of Essays   By: (1865-1939)

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Two hundred copies of this book have been printed.




Prophet, Priest and King Page 1

Personality and the Intellectual Essences 5

The Musician and the Orator 9

A Banjo Player 10

The Looking glass 11

The Tree of Life 12

The Praise of Old Wives' Tales 15

The Play of Modern Manners 16

Has the Drama of Contemporary Life a Root of its Own 18

Why the Blind Man in Ancient Times was made a Poet 20

Concerning Saints and Artists 24

The Subject Matter of Drama 27

The Two Kinds of Asceticism 30

In the Serpent's Mouth 32

The Black and the White Arrows 33

His Mistress's Eyebrows 33

The Tresses of the Hair 35

A Tower on the Apennine 36

The Thinking of the Body 37

Religious Belief necessary to symbolic Art 39

The Holy Places 41



The little theatrical company I write my plays for had come to a west of Ireland town and was to give a performance in an old ball room, for there was no other room big enough. I went there from a neighbouring country house and arriving a little before the players, tried to open a window. My hands were black with dirt in a moment and presently a pane of glass and a part of the window frame came out in my hands. Everything in this room was half in ruins, the rotten boards cracked under my feet, and our new proscenium and the new boards of the platform looked out of place, and yet the room was not really old, in spite of the musicians' gallery over the stage. It had been built by some romantic or philanthropic landlord some three or four generations ago, and was a memory of we knew not what unfinished scheme.

From there I went to look for the players and called for information on a young priest, who had invited them, and taken upon himself the finding of an audience. He lived in a high house with other priests, and as I went in I noticed with a whimsical pleasure a broken pane of glass in the fan light over the door, for he had once told me the story of an old woman who a good many years ago quarrelled with the bishop, got drunk, and hurled a stone through the painted glass. He was a clever man, who read Meredith and Ibsen, but some of his books had been packed in the fire grate by his house keeper, instead of the customary view of an Italian lake or the coloured tissue paper. The players, who had been giving a performance in a neighbouring town, had not yet come, or were unpacking their costumes and properties at the hotel he had recommended them. We should have time, he said, to go through the half ruined town and to visit the convent schools and the cathedral, where, owing to his influence, two of our young Irish sculptors had been set to carve an altar and the heads of pillars. I had only heard of this work, and I found its strangeness and simplicity one of them had been Rodin's pupil could not make me forget the meretriciousness of the architecture and the commercial commonplace of the inlaid pavements. The new movement had seized on the cathedral midway in its growth, and the worst of the old & the best of the new were side by side without any sign of transition. The convent school was, as other like places have been to me a long room in a workhouse hospital at Portumna, in particular a delight to the imagination and the eyes. A new floor had been put into some ecclesiastical building and the light from a great mullioned window, cut off at the middle, fell aslant upon rows of clean and seemingly happy children... Continue reading book >>

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