It is not only poems or statues which seem to say, “I am myself alone”. A sunset, a flight of birds past the window, the gesture of an athlete, or the sudden onset of rain – any of these, at a favoured moment, may come over us with just that sense of unity and individuality which you describe and extort from us a verweile doch. It need not even be a “thing,” in any ordinary sense, that produces this experience: it is often a contingent bundle of the most heterogeneous date. The sun comes out – a cock crows in the yard – at the same moment I finish reading the Orlando Furioso for the first time; and all this becomes for me a unique whole, memorable and unified as a sonata, singular and definite in flavor as a sonnet, an apple, or a kiss.
From The Personal Heresy
The Personal Heresy: A Controversy. Copyright © 1939 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.