A few days ago I said to a distinguished Bengali doctor of medicine, ‘I know no German, yet if a translation of a German poet had moved me, I would go to the British Museum and find books in English that would tell me something of his life, and of the history of his thought. But though these prose translations from Rabindranath Tagore have stirred my blood as nothing has for years, I shall not know anything of his life, and of the movements of thought that have made them possible, if some Indian traveller will not tell me.’ It seemed to him natural that I should be moved, for he said, ‘I read Rabindranath every day; to read one line of his is to forget all the troubles of the world.’ I said, ‘An Englishman living in London in the reign of Richard II, had he been shown trans- lations from Petrarch or from Dante, would have found no books to answer his questions, but would have questioned some Florentine banker or Lombard merchant as I question you. For all I know, so abundant and simple is this poetry, the new Renaissance has been born in your country and I shall never know of it except by hearsay.’
KeywordsDust Europe Willow Pebble Metaphor
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