mysteries-withered-rose


mystery-thrills-vintage-stories




What I was is passed by, What I am away doth fly;
What I shall be none do see, Yet in that my glories be. (Mariana)


But he who will learn by the process which I have endeavoured to describe, or by studying with the will, cannot fail to experience a strange enchantment in so doing, as I have read in an Italian tale of a youth who was sadly weary of his lessons, but who, being taken daily by certain kind fairies into their school on a hill, found all difficulties disappear and the pursuit of knowledge as joyful as that of pleasure.

Now to illustrate this more clearly. Some of these persons who are more or less secretly addicted to magic (I say secretly, because they cannot make it known if they would), take the direction of feeling or living with inexpressible enjoyment in the beauties of nature. That, they attain to something almost or quite equal to life in Fairyland, is conclusively proved by the fact that only very rarely, here and there in their best passages, do the greatest poets more than imperfectly and briefly convey some broken idea or reflection of the feelings which are excited by thousands of subjects in nature in many. The Mariana of Tennyson surpasses anything known to me in any language as conveying the reality of feeling alone in a silent old house, where everything is a dim, uncanny manner, recalled the past−−yet suggested a kind of mysterious presence−−as in the passage:
 
All day within the dreary house
The doors upon their hinges creaked,
The blue fly sang in the pane,
The mouse behind the mouldering wainscot shrieked,
Or from the crevice peered about;
Old faces glimmered thro' the doors,
Old footsteps trod the upper floors,
Old voices called her from without.
 
Yet even this unsurpassed poem does no more than partially revive and recall the reality to me of similar memories of long, long ago, when as an invalid child I was often left in a house entirely alone, from which even the servants had absented themselves. Then I can remember how after reading the Arabian Nights or some such unearthly romance, as was the mode in the Thirties, the very sunshine stealing craftily and silently like a living thing, in a bar through the shutter, twinkling with dust, as with infinitely small stars, living and dying like sparks, the buzzing of the flies who were little blue imps, with now and then a larger Beelzebub—a strange imagined voice ever about, which seemed to say something without words−−and the very furniture, wherein the chairs were as goblins, and the broom a tall young woman, and the looking−glass a kind of other self−life−−all of this as I recall it appears to me as a picture of the absence of human beings as described by Tennyson, plus a strange personality in every object−− which the poet does not attempt to convey. This is, however, a very small or inferior illustration; there are far more remarkable and deeply spiritual or aesthetically−suggestive subjects than this, and that in abundance, which Art has indeed so reproduced as to amaze the many who have only had snatches of such observation themselves. They suggest and may well attract the use of Fascination.

Those who actually develop within themselves such a spirit, regarding it as one, that is a self beyond self, attain to a power which few understand, which is practical, positive, and real, and not at all a superstitious fancy. It may begin in imagining or fancy, but as the veriest dream is material and may be repeated till we see it visibly and can then copy it, so can we create in ourselves a being, a segregation of our noblest thoughts, a superb abstraction of soul which looks from its sunny mountain height down on the dark and noisome valley which forms our worldly common intellect or mind, or the only one known to by far the majority of mankind, albeit they may have therein glimpses of light and truth. But it is to him who makes for himself, by earnest Will and Thought, a separate and better Life or Self that a better life is given.

The Mystic Will by Charles Godfrey Leland (1824-1903)



The Baron’s Room by C. W. Leadbeater (1911)
Home