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Mansel
The essence of poetry, says C.S. Lewis is "the Same in the Other". (The boys in the school are taught always to sprinkle quotations on their essays, like fertilisers on soil. Why? Don’t waste time with silly questions!)
Outwardly these five hundred are the same. The poetry of the boys lies within, invisible, unknown, unrecognised. What are they thinking? Of the Headmaster’s words? Seldom. What are they feeling? A divine inspiration to live by the words of the familiar hymns? More seldom still.
In five hundred heads are hidden five hundred different worlds. In each head there is a population of cells, communicating, trading chemical commodities, organised and organising, arranged in populations and in hierarchies. There are more individual cells than there are people in a score of earths. And each head is but a part of an even larger population of living cells, organised for acting and for seeing, for hearing and for breeding. There are five hundred wondrous and miraculous universes in this hall.
What are they feeling? What are they thinking? The mental inner worlds are like so many cinemas with infinitely more variety than is offered by the Rex or the Coliseum. (Were they run by a failed Latin master intent on bringing something of ancient Rome to one of its most primitive outlying provinces?) The films in these boys’ heads are as different as their content. Some see slide shows, others movies. Some are in full Technicolor and others black and white. There can be loud sound tracks or none. Music or not. There are slow motion passages and accelerated sections. Some have strong emotion tracks, smell tracks and touch tracks as well. There are documentaries, fantasies, soaps and histories being played during the hymns and the announcements: all private, unremarked, unnoticed.