‘Like’ and ‘like’ and ‘like’ — but what is the thing that lies beneath the semblance of the thing? now that lightning has gashed the tree and the flowering branch has fallen and Percival, by his death, has made me this gift, let me see the thing. There is a square; there is an oblong. The players take the square and place it upon the oblong. They place it very accurately; they make a perfect dwelling-place. Very little is left outside. The structure is now visible; what is inchoate is here stated; we are not so various or so mean; we have made oblongs and stood them upon squares. This is our triumph; this is our consolation.
This lyrical passage represents the thoughts of the character Rhoda, expressing her desire to directly perceive “music”, without having to mediate her experience through language or thought. From The Waves by Virginia Woolf (1931).