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The Pleasures of England

John Ruskin

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Celtic design; and long since, in the first lecture of the 'Two Paths,' I explained both the modes of skill, and points of weakness, which rendered such design unprogressive. Perfect in its peculiar manner, and exulting in the faultless practice of a narrow skill, it remained century after century incapable alike of inner growth, or foreign instruction; inimitable, yet incorrigible; marvellous, yet despicable, to its death. Despicable, I mean, only in the limitation of its capacity, not in its quality or nature. If you make a Christian of a lamb or a squirrel—what can you expect of the lamb but jumping—what of the squirrel, but pretty spirals, traced with his tail? He won't steal your nuts any more, and he'll say his prayers like this—2; but you cannot make a Beatrice's griffin, and emblem of all the Catholic Church, out of him.

You will have observed, also, that the plan of these lectures does not include any reference to the Roman Period . . . Read More