Remember, as you meet his gaze, that he knows the life of cities, and that the Fall lies behind him, not before. Perhaps that is why some who have looked at it describe it as the 杭州桑拿信息网站 “Christ portrait”—for Jesus was the second Adam—but this is not the ascetic Christ of the Churches, the smile about the lips is too full for that. No, it is the face of a man responsive to all the appeals of the senses, a man who drives the full team of those wild horses of passion which tear in pieces less harmonious souls.
This is a man who saw life whole, and had joy of it. He knew the 杭州足疗一条街在哪里 life of the body on every side, save that of sickness, and of the mind on every side, save that of fear. His large, friendly, attractive personality was always feeding him with the materials of experience, and there was nothing in it all which he did not relish. The responses of his nature to each object and incident were joyous; for the responses of a harmonious nature are musical, whatever be the touch that rouses them.
A shrewd estimate of Whitman’s character had been made five years before by a New York phrenologist, and its general accuracy seems to have vanquished the incredulity of its subject. Mr. Fowler described him—I will translate the jargon of his pseudo-science into plain English—as capable of deep friendship and sympathy, with tendencies to stubbornness and self-esteem, and a strong feeling for the sublime. He thought that Whitman’s danger lay in the direction of indolence and[Pg 68] sensuality, “and a certain reckless swing of animal will”. At the same time he recognised in him the quality of caution largely developed.
As this estimate was subsequently quoted by Whitman with approval, and referred to as an authority, it evidently tallied with his reading of himself, and while it is by no means remarkable or particularly significant, it bears out other testimony. That “reckless swing of animal will” always distinguished him from the colourless peripatetic brains and cold-blooded collectors of copy so numerous in the hosts of journalism. Walt came of a race of slow but passionate men, and when he was deeply moved he could be terrible. At such times his wrath blazed up and overwhelmed him in its sudden access, but it was as short-lived as it was swift.
It is related that once in a Brooklyn church he failed to remove his soft broad-brimmed hat, and entered the building with his head thus covered, looking for all the world like some Quaker of the olden time. The offending article was roughly knocked off by the verger. Walt picked it up, twisted it into a sort of scourge, seized the astonished official by the collar—he always detested officials—trounced him with it, clapped it on his head again, and so, abruptly and coolly, left the church. He was a tall, muscular fellow, stood six feet two, and was broad in proportion, and could deal effectually with an offensive person when he felt that action was called for. Such actions naturally added to his popularity among the “boys”—the stage-drivers, firemen and others—with whom he was always a favourite. But, as a rule, he had no occasion to use his strength in this manner. He never gave, and rarely recognised, provocation. There are times, however, when persuasion has to give place to more summary demonstrations of purpose.
Of his strength, but especially of his health, he was not a little proud. As a lad, the praise that delighted him most was that of his well-developed body as he bathed. He did not care to be thought handsome; he[Pg 69] knew that wholesomeness and health were really more attractive, and he was content with his own perfect soundness. He was never ailing, even when, in his ’teens, he outgrew for a time his natural vigour. In middle life it was his boast that he could not remember what it was to be sick. Vanity is so natural in the young that when properly based it is probably a virtue, and there can be no question that Walt’s was well-founded.
There is something more, however, in the portrait I have been describing than the perfection of physical health. It is health raised to its highest possibility, which radiates outward from the innermost seat of life, potent with the magnetism of personality, through every pore and particle of flesh. His health, hitherto unbroken, had been deepened into that sense of spiritual well-being which, in its fulness, only accompanies the realisation of harmony or wholeness. He had undergone some fusing process which ended in unity and illumination.
It is difficult to say anything at all adequate about such an experience, because it appears to belong to the highest of the stages of consciousness which the race has yet attained; and because there are many men and women of the finest intellectual training and the widest culture to whom it remains foreign.
The petals of consciousness unfold as it were from within, and every stage of unfolding, being symmetrical, appears to be perfect. A further evolution is almost inconceivable, but the flower still unfolds. The healthy and vigorous 杭州油压手推 personality of the man whose story we are trying to read, continued its development a stage further than the general, and at an age of from thirty to thirty-five established an exceptional relation with the universe.
That exceptional relation is best described as mystical, though the word has unhappy and unwholesome associations, which cannot attach to the character revealed in the portrait. Whitman was almost aggressively cheerful and rudely healthy. But he was not the less a mystic.[Pg 70] One of the most essentially religious of men, his religion was based upon profound personal experience.
The character of mystical experience seems to vary as widely as does that of individual mystics, but it has certain common features. It is essentially an irruption of some profounder self into the field of consciousness; an irruption which 杭州足疗店的口一次多少钱 is accompanied by a mysterious but most authoritative sense of the fulness, power and permanence of this new life. Consequent upon this life-enhancement, come joy and ecstasy.
The whole story of the development of consciousness is, as I have said, a process of unfoldings; but there is one critical moment of that process which occurs sometimes after the attainment of maturity, of such infinite significance to the individual that it seems like a revolution rather than a mere development in consciousness. It is often described as conversion. Whitman’s experience was fully as significant and wonder-compelling as any; but momentous as it was, its nature compelled him to regard it as a further and crowning step in a long succession of stairs—a culmination, not a change of direction. With it he came to the top of the slope and looked over, on to the summit, and beheld the outstretched 杭州足浴吧 world. It was no turning round and going the other way; it was the rewarding achievement of a long and patient climb.
But the simile of the mountain-side hardly suffices, for this was a bursting of constraint—a breaking, as well as a surmounting of barriers; as though the accumulating
waters in some dark and hidden reservoir should so increase in volume that they burst at last through their confining walls of rubble and of rock, forcing their way upwards in a rush of ecstasy to the universal life and the outer sunshine. This outlet of the pent-up floods of emotional experience into another and a vaster sphere of consciousness—this outpouring of the soul from its confinement in the darkness to the freedom of the light—results from the slow accumulation of the stores of life, but it has at last its supreme hour, its divine instant of liberation.
In this it has 杭州品茶会所 its parallel with the passion of Love. For the inner mysteries of religion and of sex are hardly to be separated. They are different phases of the one supreme passion of immanent, expanding and uniting life; mysterious breakings of barriers, and burstings forth; expressions of a power which seems to augment continually with the store of the soul’s experience in this world of sense; experience received and hidden beneath the ground of our consciousness. To feel the passion of Love is to discover something of that mystery breaking, in its orgasm, through the narrow completeness and separate finality of that complacent commonplace, which in our ignorance we build so confidently over it, and creating a new life of communion. To feel the passion of religion is to discover more.
The relation of the two passions was so evident to Whitman that we may believe it was suggested to his mind by his own experience. In some lives it 杭州夜网spa would appear that the one passion takes the place of the other, so that the ascetics imagine them to be mutually exclusive; but this was certainly not Whitman’s case. Whitman’s mysticism was well-rooted in the life of the senses, and hence its indubitable reality. We have seen that he had had experience of sex-love, and we have found reasons to aver that it was of a noble and honourable order; we have seen this experience followed by an acute crisis and its determination, or at least its suspension, and change of character.