So Martin unearthed a carbon copy of Star-dust, and during the reading of it Brissenden chuckled, rubbed his hands, and forgot to sip his toddy.
Strikes me youre a bit of star-dust yourself, flung into a world of cowled gnomes who cannot see, was his comment at the end of it. Of course it was snapped up by the first magazine?
Martin ran over the pages of his manuscript book. It has been refused by twenty-seven of them.
Brissenden essayed a long and hearty laugh, but broke down in a fit of coughing.
Say, you neednt tell me you havent tackled poetry, he gasped. Let me see some of it.
Dont read it now, Martin pleaded. I want to talk with you. Ill make up a bundle and you can take it home.
Brissenden departed with the Love-cycle, and The Peri and the Pearl, returning next day to greet Martin with:-
I want more.
Not only did he assure Martin that he was a poet, but Martin learned that Brissenden also was one. He was swept off his feet by the others work, and astounded that no attempt had been made to publish it.
A plague on all their houses! was Brissendens answer to Martins volunteering to market his work for him. Love Beauty for its own sake, was his counsel, and leave the magazines alone. Back to your ships and your sea thats my advice to you, Martin Eden. What do you want in these sick and rotten cities of men? You are cutting your throat every day you waste in them trying to prostitute beauty to the needs of magazinedom. What was it you quoted me the other day? Oh, yes, Man, the latest of the ephemera. Well, what do you, the latest of the ephemera, want with fame? If you got it, it would be poison to you. You are too simple, took elemental, and too rational, by my faith, to prosper on such pap. I hope you never do sell a line to the magazines. Beauty is the only master to serve. Serve her and damn the multitude! Success! What in hells success if it isnt right there in your Stevenson sonnet, which outranks Henleys Apparition, in that Love-cycle, in those sea-poems?
It is not in what you succeed in doing that you get your joy, but in the doing of it. You cant tell me. I know it. You know it. Beauty hurts you. It is an everlasting pain in you, a wound that does not heal, a knife of flame. Why should you palter with magazines? Let beauty be your end. Why should you mint beauty into gold? Anyway, you cant; so theres no use in my getting excited over it. You can read the magazines for a thousand years and you wont find the value of one line of Keats. Leave fame and coin alone, sign away on a ship to-morrow, and go back to your sea.
Not for fame, but for love, Martin laughed. Love seems to have no place in your Cosmos; in mine, Beauty is the handmaiden of Love.
Brissenden looked at him pityingly and admiringly. You are so young, Martin boy, so young. You will flutter high, but your wings are of the finest gauze, dusted with the fairest pigments. Do not scorch them. But of course you have scorched them already. It required some glorified petticoat to account for that Love-cycle, and thats the shame of it.
It glorifies love as well as the petticoat, Martin laughed.
The philosophy of madness, was the retort. So have I assured myself when wandering in hasheesh dreams. But beware. These bourgeois cities will kill you. Look at that den of traitors where I met you. Dry rot is no name for it. One cant keep his sanity in such an atmosphere. Its degrading. Theres not one of them who is not degrading, man and woman, all of them animated stomachs guided by the high intellectual and artistic impulses of clams
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