Now it may happen that someone coming quite fresh to a study of this kind, like our own Keats “ on first looking into Chapman’s Homer” , may have the good fortune to bring some natural gift or store of experience, competent to reveal great poetry in a quite fresh
light and in original perspective. So aircraft has given us a quite fresh revelation of the meaning of landscape and architecture, and of the organic make-up of cities like Florence and Oxford which we knew before, from maps and sketches and pedestrian excursions in Flatland, to be beautiful and full of meaning, but not yet how great in these respects. But commonly there is a third element in criticism; over and above the work of art and the native genius of the critic, there is the whole world of associations which the critic brings by way of traditional preconceptions; and there is the special halo-or is it sometimes a haze?—of traditional interpretation, which clings round an artist and his works, in whatever form the critic first encounters them. Keats, for example, first encountered Homer in Chapman’s Elizabethan English; most German boys meet him first in the megalithic hexameters of Voss. But how many people, for example, first read Homer or Homeric matters in Greek ? How few, even of these, first encounter Homer, not on a printed page, but recited under a clear Greek sky, or even read aloud by an old Jew in an attic, as happened to Heinrich Schliemann?