Advocate and Ally

“An appreciation of words is so rare that every body naturally thinks he possesses it, and this universal sentiment results in the misuse of a material whose beauty enriches the loving student beyond the dreams of avarice. Musicians know the value of chords; painters know the value of colors; writers are often so blind to the value of words that they are content with a bare expression of their thoughts, disdaining the ‘labor of the file,’ and confident that the phrase first seized is for them the phrase of inspiration. They exaggerate the importance of what they have to say, lacking which we should be none the poorer, and underrate the importance of saying it in such fashion that we may welcome its very moderate significance. It is in the habitual and summary recognition of the laws of language that scholarship delights, says Mr. Pater; and while the impatient thinker, eager only to impart his views, regards these laws as a restriction, the true artist finds in them an opportunity, and rejoices, as Goethe rejoiced, to work within conditions and limits.”

                                                                                 –Agnes Repplier

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