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Storied Walls of the Exposition


This is the story of the Exposition as it speaks to me through its walls and towers, its arcades and columns, its murals, its friezes, its foliage, and the symbols and symbolism that on every hand the architects and sculptors and painters have lavished upon their work. A thousand forms have been wrought into the decoration of wall and window and colonnade and doorway, and each in its own language tells of romance, of achievement, of tragedy, of fame, of victory and of decay.

Within the palaces there are many marvels, but to me the great beauty of the Exposition lies in the genius of its builders. Like Aladdin's palace it has risen almost in a night. For a day in its flags and banners and brilliant colors, it flutters in the sunlight like a gorgeous butterfly; and tomorrow it will be gone.

Like all beautiful things, it will take its place in memory, and live long after its walls have been razed when the smoke of factories obscures the sky where now its gleaming lights vie with the stars, and the quickening life of the city breaks the silence of the lagoon and dispels the solemn grandeur of the Palace on its shore. It can never be wholly recalled even in memory, but to those who seek to understand it the romance of the Exposition will yield itself bit by bit and page by page in one endless web of fascinating study.

The Persian Hafiz has said: "Who sees with the eyes of the body sees the little things that lie close to the earth and the things that the hands of man have made. Who sees with the eyes of the soul sees the great things that rise above the earth and the things that the hands of man have made to the honor and glory of God. And the Japanese Hokousai has said: "It is not what we see but what we think when we see, that is important.''

This then is the Exposition as I see it. It is not a catalogue nor a criticism. It is merely a transmission to my friends and companions of a small part of the pleasure and inspiration this wonder-place has been to me. To some it may tell a different story to others none at all; but to all who come within the spell of its transcendent art and beauty it brings a message plain, direct and unforgettable.

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