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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Extracts from Amiel’s Journal
Nature, and Teutonic and Scandinavian Poetry
By Henri Frédéric Amiel (1821–1881)
Translation of Mary Augusta Ward

NOVEMBER 12TH, 1852.—St. Martin’s summer is still lingering, and the days all begin in mist. I ran for a quarter of an hour round the garden to get some warmth and suppleness. Nothing could be lovelier than the last rosebuds, or the delicate gaufred edges of the strawberry leaves embroidered with hoar-frost, while above them Arachne’s delicate webs hung swaying in the green branches of the pines,—little ball-rooms for the fairies, carpeted with powdered pearls, and kept in place by a thousand dewy strands, hanging from above like the chains of a lamp, and supporting them from below like the anchors of a vessel. These little airy edifices had all the fantastic lightness of the elf-world, and all the vaporous freshness of dawn. They recalled to me the poetry of the North, wafting to me a breath from Caledonia or Iceland or Sweden, Frithjof and the Edda, Ossian and the Hebrides. All that world of cold and mist, of genius and of reverie, where warmth comes not from the sun but from the heart, where man is more noticeable than nature,—that chaste and vigorous world, in which will plays a greater part than sensation, and thought has more power than instinct,—in short, the whole romantic cycle of German and Northern poetry, awoke little by little in my memory and laid claim upon my sympathy. It is a poetry of bracing quality, and acts upon one like a moral tonic. Strange charm of imagination! A twig of pine-wood and a few spider-webs are enough to make countries, epochs, and nations live again before her.  1

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