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It transpired, in fact, as the result of a careful examination of modem literature that the aura which distinguishes the poet has become in modern times so very attenuated that the distinction between poets and men of letters can no longer be made. From this objective state of affairs, however, the two Ph.D. candidates drew opposite conclusions. One of them, the more sympathetic, was of the opinion that poesy in such ridiculous attenuation was poetry no longer, and since plain literature is not worth keeping alive, one might as well let what is still called poetry quietly pass away. The other, however, was an unqualified admirer of poesy, even in its flimsiest form, and therefore he believed it was better to admit a hundred non-poets as insurance rather than wrong a single poet who might perhaps still have a drop of the genuine blood of Parnassus in his veins.

 

I was principally occupied with painting and with chinese magic spells, but in the following years became more and more absorbed in music. It was the ambition of my later life to write a sort of opera in which human life in its so-called reality would be viewed with scant seriousness, ridiculed, in fact; in its eternal value, however, it would shine forth as image and momentary vesture of the Godhead. The magical conception of life had always been close to my heart.