I read this essay in college as an extra/optional reading in a college class during my sophomore year at UK. I always come back to it. It makes me feel both exposed and comforted at the same time. Today, I feel the need to share a little snippet.

In speaking of this desire for our own far-off country, which
we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am
almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the
inconsolable secret in each one of you the secret which hurts
so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like
Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also
which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate
conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow
awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot
hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot
tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually
appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our
experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves
like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient
is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter.
Wordsworth's expedient was to identify it with certain mo-
ments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth
had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have
found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he
remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The
books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located
will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only
came through them, and what came through them was longing.
These things -- the beauty, the memory of our own past
are good images of what we really desire; but if they are
mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols,
breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not
the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have
not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from
a country we have never yet visited. Do you think I am
trying to weave a spell? Perhaps I am; but remember your
fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well
as for inducing them. 
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