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An essay by William Butler Yeats

The Looking-Glass

Title:     The Looking-Glass
Author: William Butler Yeats [More Titles by Yeats]

I have just been talking to a girl with a shrill monotonous voice and an abrupt way of moving. She is fresh from school where they have taught her history and geography 'whereby a soul can be discerned,' but what is the value of an education, or even in the long run of a science, that does not begin with the personality, the habitual self, and illustrate all by that? Somebody should have taught her to speak for the most part on whatever note of her voice is most musical, and soften those harsh notes by speaking, not singing, to some stringed instrument, taking note after note and, as it were, caressing her words a little as if she loved the sound of them, and have taught her after this some beautiful pantomimic dance, till it had grown a habit to live for eye and ear. A wise theatre might make a training in strong and beautiful life the fashion, teaching before all else the heroic discipline of the looking-glass, for is not beauty, even as lasting love, one of the most difficult of the arts?

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William Butler Yeats's essay: Looking-Glass