flowers. We break off a line or two and let them open in 
the depths of the mind, spread their bright wings, swim
like coloured fish in green waters:

     and oft at eve
     Visits the herds along the twilight meadows

          wandering in thick flocks along the mountains
          Shepherded by the slow, unwilling wind.

Or there is a whole three volume novel to be mused over
And spread out in a verse of Hardy's, or a sentence of La 
Bruyéres. We dip in Lamb's Letters—some prose writers 
are to be read as poets—and find ‘I am a sanguinary 
murderer of time, and would kill him inchmeal just now. 
But the snake is vital’ and who shall explain the delight
of that? or open Rimbaud and read

         O saisons ô châteaux
         Quelle âme est sans défauts?

and who shall rationalise the charm? In illness words seem 
to possess a mystic quality. We grasp what is beyond their 
surface meaning, gather instinctively this, that, and the 
other—a sound, a colour, here a stress, there a pause—which 
the poet, knowing words to be meagre in comparison with 
ideas, has strewn about his page to evoke, when collected, 
a state of mind which neither words can express nor the 
reason explain. Incomprehensibility has an enormous 
power over us in illness, more legitimately perhaps than 
the upright will allow. In health meaning has encroached 
upon sound. Our intelligence domineers over our senses. 
But in illness, with the police off duty, we creep beneath 
some obscure poem by Mallarmé or Donne, some phrase 
in Latin or Greek, and the words give out their scent, and 
ripple like leaves, and chequer us with light and shadow,
and then, if at last we grasp the meaning, it is all the richer 
for having travelled slowly up with all the bloom upon its
wings. Foreigners, to whom the tongue is strange, have