G H I J K L M 

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I woke one
night to find myself lying upon my back with all my limbs rigid, and to
hear a ceremonial measured voice which did not seem to be mine speaking
through my lips, "We make an image of him who sleeps," it said, "and it is
not him who sleeps, and we call it Emmanuel." After many years that
thought, others often found as strangely being added to it, became the
thought of the Mask, which I have used in these memoirs to explain men's
characters. A few months ago at Oxford I was asking myself why it should
be "An image of him who sleeps," and took down from the shelf not knowing
why I was doing so, a book which I had never read, Burkitt's _Early
Eastern Christianity_, and opened it at random. My eyes lit upon a passage
from a Gnostic Hymn telling how a certain King's son being exiled, slept
in Egypt, a symbol of the natural state, and while he slept an Angel
brought him a royal mantle; and at the bottom of the page I found a
footnote saying that the word mantle did not represent the meaning
properly for that which the Angel gave had the exile's own form and
likeness. I did not, however, find in the Gnostic Hymn my other thought
that Egypt and that which the Mask represents are antithetical. That, I
think, became clear, though I had had some premonitions when a countryman
told Lady Gregory and myself that he had heard the crying of new-dropped
lambs in November--Spring in the world of Fairy, being November with us.

* * * * *

On the sea coast at Duras, a few miles from Coole, an old French Count,
Florimond de Bastero, lived for certain months in every year. Lady Gregory
and I talked over my project of an Irish Theatre looking out upon the lawn
of his house, watching a large flock of ducks that was always gathered for
his arrival from Paris, and that would be a very small flock, if indeed it
were a flock at all, when he set out for Rome in the autumn. I told her
that I had given up my project because it was impossible to get the few
pounds necessary for a start in little halls, and she promised to collect
or give the money necessary. That was her first great service to the Irish
intellectual movement. She reminded me the other day that when she first
asked me what she could do to help our movement I suggested nothing; and,
certainly, no more foresaw her genius that I foresaw that of John Synge,
nor had she herself foreseen it. Our theatre had been established before
she wrote or had any ambition to write, and yet her little comedies have
merriment and beauty, an unusual combination, and those two volumes where
the Irish heroic tales are arranged and translated in an English so simple
and so noble, may do more than other books to deepen Irish imagination.
They contain our ancient literature, are something better than our
_Mabinogion_, are almost our _Morte D'Arthur_. It is more fitting,
however, that in a book of memoirs I should speak of her personal
influence, and especially as no witness is likely to arise better
qualified to speak. If that influence were lacking, Ireland would be
greatly impoverished, so much has been planned out in the library, or
among the woods at Coole; for it was there that John Shawe Taylor found
the independence from class and family that made him summon the conference
between landlord and tenant, that brought land purchase, and it was there
that Hugh Lane formed those Irish ambitions that led to his scattering
many thousands, and gathering much ingratitude; and where, but for that
conversation at Florimond de Bastero's, had been the genius of Synge?

I have written these words instead of leaving all to posterity, and though
my friend's ear seems indifferent to praise or blame, that young men to
whom recent events are often more obscure than those long past, may learn
what debts they owe and to what creditor.



Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

Periods after "Mr" and "Mrs" are used inconsistently in the original.

The following misprints have been corrected:
"philospohy" corrected to "philosophy" (page 51)
"unkown" corrected to "unknown" (page 87)
"have have" corrected to "have" (page 92)
"comparson" corrected to "comparison" (page 117)
"politicion" corrected to "politician" (page 128)
"spendid" corrected to "splendid" (page 137)
"mother'" corrected to "mother's" (page 151)
"discoverey" corrected to "discovery" (page 161)
"Shakesspeare's" corrected to "Shakespeare's" (page 169)
"knowlege" corrected to "knowledge" (page 183)
"mechnical" corrected to "mechanical" (page 230)
"delgation" corrected to "delegation" (page 234)
"precedure" corrected to "procedure" (page 237)

Other than the corrections listed above, inconsistencies in spelling and
hyphenation have been retained from the original.

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