By W. N. P. Barbellion 1889-1919

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Sample text

Yesterday also was fine, the sky cloudless, very warm with scarcely a breeze. They wheeled me into the garden for an hour: primroses, violets, butterflies, bees; the song of the chaffinches and thrushes—otherwise silence. With the newspaper on my knee, the beauty of the day was oppressive. Its unusualness at this time of year seemed of evil import. Folk shake their heads, and they say in the village there is to be an earthquake on account of the heat. In rural districts simple souls believe it is the end of the world coming upon us.

For those of us who knew and xlviii LIFE OF BARBELLION loved him as a boy and as a man the memory of his masterful personality—his courage, his wit, his magnetism, his pride of intellect and his modesty withal, his afflictions, his affectionate tenderness—will endure without ceasing. As the most modern of the journal-writers he addresses to the public a dauntless message, the value and significance of which time alone can measure. Like all men of abnormal sensibility he suffered deeply; but if he suffered deeply he enjoyed also his moments of exquisite happiness.

It would be using a weak expression to say that he was cheerful. He was so acutely alive to the imperious charm of the world in which he lived that a fit of depression, caused usually by some obstinate symptom of ill-health, which foiled his plans and fretted his temper, would melt away at a touch. The cry of a peewit, a gleam of sunshine on the hill, a phrase from a Beethoven Symphony, a line out of Francis Thompson (whose gorgeous verse inflamed his senses to a white heat of enjoyment), or a warm note of human sympathy, would transform him at once into another being.

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