even worse country than Arabia, and the few tribes which，
Thompson's Lunch Room -- Grand Central Station
Wax-white -- Floor, ceiling, walls. Ivory shadows Over the pavement Polished to cream surfaces By constant sweeping. The big room is coloured like the petals Of a great magnolia, And has a patina Of flower bloom Which makes it shine dimly Under the electric lamps. Chairs are ranged in rows Like sepia seeds Waiting fulfilment. The chalk-white spot of a cook's cap Moves unglossily against the vaguely bright wall -- Dull chalk-white striking the retina like a blow Through the wavering uncertainty of steam. Vitreous-white of glasses with green reflections, Ice-green carboys, shifting -- greener, bluer -- with the jar of moving water. Jagged green-white bowls of pressed glass Rearing snow-peaks of chipped sugar Above the lighthouse-shaped castors Of grey pepper and grey-white salt. Grey-white placards: "Oyster Stew, Cornbeef Hash, Frankfurters": Marble slabs veined with words in meandering lines. Dropping on the white counter like horn notes Through a web of violins, The flat yellow lights of oranges, The cube-red splashes of apples, In high plated `epergnes'. The electric clock jerks every half-minute: "Coming! -- Past!" "Three beef-steaks and a chicken-pie," Bawled through a slide while the clock jerks heavily. A man carries a china mug of coffee to a distant chair. Two rice puddings and a salmon salad Are pushed over the counter; The unfulfilled chairs open to receive them. A spoon falls upon the floor with the impact of metal striking stone, And the sound throws across the room Sharp, invisible zigzags Of silver.
Within the gold square of the proscenium arch, A curtain of orange velvet hangs in stiff folds, Its tassels jarring slightly when someone crosses the stage behind. Gold carving edges the balconies, Rims the boxes, Runs up and down fluted pillars. Little knife-stabs of gold Shine out whenever a box door is opened. Gold clusters Flash in soft explosions On the blue darkness, Suck back to a point, And disappear. Hoops of gold Circle necks, wrists, fingers, Pierce ears, Poise on heads And fly up above them in coloured sparkles. Gold! Gold! The opera house is a treasure-box of gold. Gold in a broad smear across the orchestra pit: Gold of horns, trumpets, tubas; Gold -- spun-gold, twittering-gold, snapping-gold Of harps. The conductor raises his baton, The brass blares out Crass, crude, Parvenu, fat, powerful, Golden. Rich as the fat, clapping hands in the boxes. Cymbals, gigantic, coin-shaped, Crash. The orange curtain parts And the prima-donna steps forward. One note, A drop: transparent, iridescent, A gold bubble, It floats . . . floats . . . And bursts against the lips of a bank president In the grand tier.
Cross-hatchings of rain against grey walls, Slant lines of black rain In front of the up and down, wet stone sides of buildings. Below, Greasy, shiny, black, horizontal, The street. And over it, umbrellas, Black polished dots Struck to white An instant, Stream in two flat lines Slipping past each other with the smoothness of oil. Like a four-sided wedge The Custom House Tower Pokes at the low, flat sky, Pushing it farther and farther up, Lifting it away from the house-tops, Lifting it in one piece as though it were a sheet of tin, With the lever of its apex. The cross-hatchings of rain cut the Tower obliquely, Scratching lines of black wire across it, Mutilating its perpendicular grey surface With the sharp precision of tools. The city is rigid with straight lines and angles, A chequered table of blacks and greys. Oblong blocks of flatness Crawl by with low-geared engines, And pass to short upright squares Shrinking with distance. A steamer in the basin blows its whistle, And the sound shoots across the rain hatchings, A narrow, level bar of steel. Hard cubes of lemon Superimpose themselves upon the fronts of buildings As the windows light up. But the lemon cubes are edged with angles Upon which they cannot impinge. Up, straight, down, straight -- square. Crumpled grey-white papers Blow along the side-walks, Contorted, horrible, Without curves. A horse steps in a puddle, And white, glaring water spurts up In stiff, outflaring lines, Like the rattling stems of reeds. The city is heraldic with angles, A sombre escutcheon of argent and sable And countercoloured bends of rain Hung over a four-square civilization. When a street lamp comes out, I gaze at it for fully thirty seconds To rest my brain with the suffusing, round brilliance of its globe.
Streaks of green and yellow iridescence, Silver shiftings, Rings veering out of rings, Silver -- gold -- Grey-green opaqueness sliding down, With sharp white bubbles Shooting and dancing, Flinging quickly outward. Nosing the bubbles, Swallowing them, Fish. Blue shadows against silver-saffron water, The light rippling over them In steel-bright tremors. Outspread translucent fins Flute, fold, and relapse; The threaded light prints through them on the pebbles In scarcely tarnished twinklings. Curving of spotted spines, Slow up-shifts, Lazy convolutions: Then a sudden swift straightening And darting below: Oblique grey shadows Athwart a pale casement. Roped and curled, Green man-eating eels Slumber in undulate rhythms, With crests laid horizontal on their backs. Barred fish, Striped fish, Uneven disks of fish, Slip, slide, whirl, turn, And never touch. Metallic blue fish, With fins wide and yellow and swaying Like Oriental fans, Hold the sun in their bellies And glow with light: Blue brilliance cut by black bars. An oblong pane of straw-coloured shimmer, Across it, in a tangent, A smear of rose, black, silver. Short twists and upstartings, Rose-black, in a setting of bubbles: Sunshine playing between red and black flowers On a blue and gold lawn. Shadows and polished surfaces, Facets of mauve and purple, A constant modulation of values. Shaft-shaped, With green bead eyes; Thick-nosed, Heliotrope-coloured; Swift spots of chrysolite and coral; In the midst of green, pearl, amethyst irradiations.
Outside, A willow-tree flickers With little white jerks, And long blue waves Rise steadily beyond the outer islands.
It seems impossible to separate by any exact line the genuine writings of Plato from the spurious. The only external evidence to them which is of much value is that of Aristotle; for the Alexandrian catalogues of a century later include manifest forgeries. Even the value of the Aristotelian authority is a good deal impaired by the uncertainty concerning the date and authorship of the writings which are ascribed to him. And several of the citations of Aristotle omit the name of Plato, and some of them omit the name of the dialogue from which they are taken. Prior, however, to the enquiry about the writings of a particular author, general considerations which equally affect all evidence to the genuineness of ancient writings are the following: Shorter works are more likely to have been forged, or to have received an erroneous designation, than longer ones; and some kinds of composition, such as epistles or panegyrical orations, are more liable to suspicion than others; those, again, which have a taste of sophistry in them, or the ring of a later age, or the slighter character of a rhetorical exercise, or in which a motive or some affinity to spurious writings can be detected, or which seem to have originated in a name or statement really occurring in some classical author, are also of doubtful credit; while there is no instance of any ancient writing proved to be a forgery, which combines excellence with length. A really great and original writer would have no object in fathering his works on Plato; and to the forger or imitator, the 'literary hack' of Alexandria and Athens, the Gods did not grant originality or genius. Further, in attempting to balance the evidence for and against a Platonic dialogue, we must not forget that the form of the Platonic writing was common to several of his contemporaries. Aeschines, Euclid, Phaedo, Antisthenes, and in the next generation Aristotle, are all said to have composed dialogues; and mistakes of names are very likely to have occurred. Greek literature in the third century before Christ was almost as voluminous as our own, and without the safeguards of regular publication, or printing, or binding, or even of distinct titles. An unknown writing was naturally attributed to a known writer whose works bore the same character; and the name once appended easily obtained authority. A tendency may also be observed to blend the works and opinions of the master with those of his scholars. To a later Platonist, the difference between Plato and his imitators was not so perceptible as to ourselves. The Memorabilia of Xenophon and the Dialogues of Plato are but a part of a considerable Socratic literature which has passed away. And we must consider how we should regard the question of the genuineness of a particular writing, if this lost literature had been preserved to us.
These considerations lead us to adopt the following criteria of genuineness: (1) That is most certainly Plato's which Aristotle attributes to him by name, which (2) is of considerable length, of (3) great excellence, and also (4) in harmony with the general spirit of the Platonic writings. But the testimony of Aristotle cannot always be distinguished from that of a later age (see above); and has various degrees of importance. Those writings which he cites without mentioning Plato, under their own names, e.g. the Hippias, the Funeral Oration, the Phaedo, etc., have an inferior degree of evidence in their favour. They may have been supposed by him to be the writings of another, although in the case of really great works, e.g. the Phaedo, this is not credible; those again which are quoted but not named, are still more defective in their external credentials. There may be also a possibility that Aristotle was mistaken, or may have confused the master and his scholars in the case of a short writing; but this is inconceivable about a more important work, e.g. the Laws, especially when we remember that he was living at Athens, and a frequenter of the groves of the Academy, during the last twenty years of Plato's life. Nor must we forget that in all his numerous citations from the Platonic writings he never attributes any passage found in the extant dialogues to any one but Plato. And lastly, we may remark that one or two great writings, such as the Parmenides and the Politicus, which are wholly devoid of Aristotelian (1) credentials may be fairly attributed to Plato, on the ground of (2) length, (3) excellence, and (4) accordance with the general spirit of his writings. Indeed the greater part of the evidence for the genuineness of ancient Greek authors may be summed up under two heads only: (1) excellence; and (2) uniformity of tradition--a kind of evidence, which though in many cases sufficient, is of inferior value.
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