Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Self, and Chaucer


I have been talking, penwise, all this about my ugly self.  Is it not strange that in the Christian law we can offer to God the most deformed and diseased thing we have got - ourselves?  I have had a most strange, delightful feeling lately - when disgusted with my own selfishness - of just giving away the self to God - throwing it off me up to heaven - to be forgotten and grow clean, without my smearing it all over with trying to wash out the spot.  

This evening I could relish nothing but a poem of Chaucer's.  We really have never surpassed him.  He was a non-dramatic Shakespeare - not un-dramatic.  There is no greater delight in Coleridge or Keats at hearing the nightingale than old Chaucer manifests.  The man of genius may not be a prophet but he is a prophecy: he forestalls what it will take ages to bring round for the many; but theirs it will be one day.
Two extracts from a letter written by George MacDonald to his wife on March 7th, 1861. Quoted in George MacDonald and His Wife, by Greville MacDonald, pages 326/7
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