Varied Types

And in all the forms of art which peculiarly belong to civilisation, [Alexander Pope] was supreme. In one especially he was supreme—the great and civilised art of satire. And in this we have fallen away utterly.

So Chesterton wrote in one of the finest essays from one of his best collections of essays: Varied Types—or, as it was known in England, Twelve Types. Varied Types represented a new direction for Chesterton. Where The Defendant had been a whimsical, often irreverent romp, the essays in Varied Types recalled the criticism he had brought to bear in writing reviews like “Velasquez and Poussin.” He scrutinized with an artist’s eye and a mind steeped in literature and literary understanding. It is one of Chesterton’s best books, and one that rewards rereading.

Kevin Belmonte, Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G. K. Chesterton, from Chapter 7

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The Bright Field

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the
pearl of great price, the one field
that had treasure in it. I realise now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying

on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

The Bright Field by R.S. Thomas

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