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<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library-The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde


to them her latest wonder. As for the aged, I always contradict the
aged. I do it on principle. If you ask them their opinion on
something that happened yesterday, they solemnly give you the
opinions current in 1820, when people wore high stocks, believed
in everything, and knew absolutely nothing. How lovely that thing
you are playing is! I wonder did Chopin write it at Majorca, with
the sea weeping round the villa, and the salt spray dashing against
the panes? It is marvellously romantic. What a blessing it is that
there is one art left to us that is not imitative! Don’t stop. I want
music to-night. It seems to me that you are the young Apollo, and
that I am Marsyas listening to you. I have sorrows, Dorian, of my
own, that even you know nothing of. The tragedy of old age is not
that one is old, but that one is young. I am amazed sometimes at
my own sincerity. Ah, Dorian, how happy you are! What an
exquisite life you have had! You have drunk deeply of everything.
You have crushed the grapes against your palate. Nothing has been
hidden from you. And it has all been to you no more than the
sound of music. It has not marred you. You are still the same.” “I
am not the same, Harry.” “Yes: you are the same. I wonder what
the rest of your life will be. Don’t spoil it by renunciations. At
present you are a perfect type. Don’t make yourself incomplete.
You are quite flawless now. You need not shake your head: you
know you are. Besides, Dorian, don’t deceive yourself. Life is not
governed by will or intention. Life is a question of nerves, and
fibres, and slowly built-up cells in which thought hides itself and
passion has its dreams. You may fancy yourself safe, and think
yourself strong. But a chance tone of colour in a room or a morning
sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings
subtle memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that you had
come across again, a cadence from a piece of music that you had
ceased to play-I tell you, Dorian, that it is on things like these that
our lives depend. Browning writes about that somewhere; but our
own senses will imagine them for us. There are moments when the
odour of lilas blanc passes suddenly across me, and I have to live
the strangest month of my life over again. I wish I could change
places with you, Dorian. The world has cried out against us both,
but it has always worshipped you. It always will worship you. You
are the type of what the age is searching for, and what it is afraid it
has found. I am so glad that you have never done anything, never
carved a statue, or painted a picture, or produced anything outside
yourself! Life has been your art. You have set yourself to music.
Your days are your sonnets.” Dorian rose up from the piano, and
passed his hand through his hair. “Yes, life has been exquisite,” he
murmured, “but I am not going to have the same life, Harry. And
<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library-The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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