Vol. 9 No. 6 1942 - page 451

or despair of excelling dead masters, but simply because our first
concern is always the perennial question, what is to be done next?
what direction is unexplored? what is there to be done immediately
before us, which has not been done already, once and for all, as
well as it can be done? When absorbed in these investigations, the
poet is no more concerned with the social consequences than is
the scientist in his laboratory-though without the context of the
use to society, neither the writer nor the scientist could have the
conviction which sustains him. This concern with the future re–
quires a concern with the past also: for in order to know what
there is to be done we need a pretty accurate knowledge of what
has been done already; and this again leads to examination of
those principles and conditions which hold good always, to dis–
tinguish them from those which only held good for one or another
group of our predecessors.
my subject is justifiable by its permanence, it is also the
more fitting on a foundation designed to perpetuate the memory
of W. P. Ker. I never met Ker: it is a cause of regret to me that
I missed the one opportunity offered me, which came only a few
weeks before his last journey to Switzerland. But I found myself
asking the question: what would Ker prefer me to talk about,
supposing that he could appraise my abilities and my limitations?
Not a subject requiring a parade of learning, certainly; for he
would be the first to detect, and the most qualified to denounce,
such an imposture. I can think of no other great scholar who
would have been more certain to perceive both the difference and
the relation between his area and mine, and to condemn any
trespass from one area to the other. He was a great scholar who
was also a great humanist, who was always aware that the end
of scholarship is understanding, and that the end of understanding
poetry is enjoyment, and that this enjoyment is gusto disciplined
by taste. He was remarkable, not only for the comprehensiveness
and accuracy of his knowledge of mediaeval and modem European
literature, a knowledge with a firm basis of Latin and Greek,
hut for his ability to enjoy the most diverse species of it, and
for the intuition, fortified by a great memory, which enabled
him to detect analogies or relationships which few other men,
even as learned as he, would have noticed. Each compartment
of his learning was at the disposal of every other: a line of
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