He thought he had obtained a mystic recognition of the terrorless but uncommunicating Joy of life which while men live they pursue, desiring it with the one human craving which survives every misfortune, every thwarted hope, all enslavement of the heart's small freedom the thirst for happiness. Was man, whom God had made in His own Image, but a shadow on the unstable wind?
But what avails it? It may not be amiss to quote here the words of one of the greatest of the ancients whose works fragmentary, alas have come down to us. "Wealth has accumulated itself into masses; and poverty, also in accumulation enough, lies impassably separated from it; opposed, uncommunicating, like forces in positive and negative poles.
I also must have been affected by it, for I had been there also in his uncommunicating company. Here, I felt, was perhaps the answer to my question, the secret of the enigma that puzzled me; and as I went over my memories of that time, and revived its sombre and almost sinister fascination, I seemed to see an answer looming before my imagination.
This is called silent meditation. If a pin drops whilst this is going on you can hear it and tell in which part of the house it is lying. You can feel the quietude, see the stillness; it is "tranquil and herd-like as in the pasture 'forty feeding like one;" it is sadly serene, placidly mysterous, like the "uncommunicating muteness of fishes;" and you wonder how it is kept up.
These two principles of Dandiacal Self-worship or Demon-worship, and Poor-Slavish or Drudgical Earth-worship, or whatever that same Drudgism may be, do as yet indeed manifest themselves under distant and nowise considerable shapes: nevertheless, in their roots and subterranean ramifications, they extend through the entire structure of Society, and work unweariedly in the secret depths of English national Existence; striving to separate and isolate it into two contradictory, uncommunicating masses.
Two things are balanced in the work, two things developed through a score of centuries by two uncommunicating regions. The organizing power of Europe is married to the sensuousness of Asia. The virile formative power of the heirs of Bach is here. An extended form is solid as mountains, projects volumes through time. One four-square movement is set atop another.
Quite as many remained, and time, as it generally does, seemed to be in favour of the attacking party. Was Charles Lamb right when he spoke of "the uncommunicating muteness of fishes"? These beleaguered mullet surely exchanged ideas and acted with deliberation and in concert. All swayed this way or that in accordance, so it seemed, with the will of the front rank.
"What," he asks, "is the stillness of the desert, compared with this place? what the uncommunicating muteness of fishes? here the goddess reigns and revels. She too hath her deeps, that call unto deeps. Negation itself hath a positive more and less; and closed eyes would seem to obscure the great obscurity of midnight. "There are wounds which an imperfect solitude cannot heal.
For the kerb uproar "the uncommunicating muteness of fishes" was the only panacea. The Bronx Zoo is not, I think, except in the matter of buffalo and deer paddocks, so good as ours in London, but it has this shining advantage it is free. So also is the Aquarium in Battery Park, and it was pleasing to see how crowded the place can be.
For a man to refrain even from good words, and to hold his peace, it is commendable; but for a multitude, it is great mastery. What is the stillness of the desert, compared with this place? what the uncommunicating muteness of fishes? here the goddess reigns and revels. She too hath her deeps, that call unto deeps.