Saturday, July 18, 2009
Logan Pearsall Smith, Complex Questions
The Age, the Vicar would remark, was a serious one; Englishmen were met face to face with complex questions. But the questions that had an interest for me at that time, would no doubt have seemed to the Vicar, many of them, old and imaginary. I was often occupied, I am afraid, with the complexities of my own thoughts; their odd travels and changes; their way of peopling English forests with wood-nymphs, or transforming English orchards—seen perhaps at dawn or in the late sunshine—into far Hesperian gardens. Sometimes it was merely names that filled my mind: 'Magalat, Galgalat, Saraïm,' I syllabled to myself; were these the names of the Magi of the East; or Atos, Satos, Paratoras? What were the names of the nymphs Actaeon saw bathing with Diana? The names of the hounds that hunted to his death that intruder; Ladon, Harpyia, Laelaps, Oresitrophos, as some call them; or, as they are given in other authentic books, Boreas, Omelampus, Agreus, Aretusa, Gorgo?