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this brilliant writer priest of a true poetic others. Mr. Lewis is not an imitator ; faith, and not merely victim of a minor his little work bears all the marks of obsession.
spontaneity. It belongs to a school of Mr. Yeats is childlike in his lack of English poetry older and clearly more humor ; to the profane, indeed, humor- indigenous than that of Mr. Yeats; a lessness seems a main quality of these school of which the first and greatest symbolistic people. We are really not master is Chaucer. For a brief sample ready to be persuaded that the sublime of its quality we may quote the descripand the ridiculous are precisely the same tion of the heroine : thing. When Mr. Yeats writes grave “Her face was a dim dream of shadowy light, ly:–
Like misty moonbeams on the fields of night,
And in her voice sweet Nature's sweetest tunes “ Michael will unhook his trumpet
Sang the glad song of twenty cloudless Junes. From a bough overhead,
Her raiment, - nay; go, reader, if you please,
To some sage Treatise on Antiquities,
Whence writers of historical romances
Cull old embroideries for their new-spun fan-
I care not for the trivial, nor the fleeting.
Beneath her dress a woman's heart was beatone must be allowed to think it funny;
ing though one may keep his face straight And I confess to you, in confidence,
The rhythm of love's eternal eloquence, as he does before a child whose speech Though flowers have grown a thousand years is equally ingenuous and cryptic.
above her, Unseen, unknown, with all my soul I love her.”
Mr. Zangwill's verses are modern, There is no mysticism in Gawayne and, as a whole, impressive. They possess and the Green Knight, and there is a the poignant racial note which has given great deal of humor. It is, in fact, an the key to his best prose work. Few agreeable reversion to a type of poetry among the inspired sons of Israel have now little cultivated. The present review- concerned themselves so frankly and er confesses that he sighed over the title, forcibly with the issues of Zion. There expecting to find some aerated treatment are, to be sure, many bits of verse in of the familiar Arthurian material. A the present volume which, unless as they glance at the first page relieved his mind remind us of Heine, seem the work of at once. “ Bless me!” he murmured, a poet, and not especially of a Hebrew rabbing his eyes, “couplets !”
poet: — “My tale is ancient, but the sense is new, “Of woman and wine, of woods and spring, Replete with monstrous fictions, yet half And all fair things that be, true;
The poets have sung, of everything : And, if you 'll follow till the story 's done, What is there left for me ? I promise mach instruction, and some fun.” Why, songs of thee." The promise is kept. The story shall But the poems which strike deepest are not be told here. One might say that the those which express the poet's sombre style combines something of the mellow- fidelity to the truth of that racial fate ness of Holmes with the airy familiarity in which his own fate is involved. Mr. of Byron ; but it is not especially grace- Zangwill has never shrunk from refal, after all, to express admiration of cording the sordidness as well as the one person in terms of two or three grandeur of the Hebrew character.
i Gawayne and the Green Knight. By CHARL ? Blind Children. By ISRAEL ZANGWILL. TOX MINER LEWIS. Boston and New York: New York : Funk & Wagnalls Co. 1903. Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1903.
The conclusion of the whole matter seems Miss Gillespy's bent is reflective rather to be expressed in the verses which he than impassioned, and finds an especially calls simply Israel : —
happy expression in the measured phrase “ Hear, O Israel, Jehovah, the Lord our God is and balanced structure of the classical One,
forms of English verse. Possibly her But we, Jehovah, his people, are dual and so tendency toward didacticism is a little undone.
too strongly marked, but that is a fault " Reeling before every rowdy, sore with a
easily to be detected in other people ; hundred stings,
and it is something like ingratitude to Clothed in fine linen and purple, loved at the animadvert upon an impulse which can courts of Kings.
produce such a quatrain as this: “Faithful friends to our foemen, slaves to a “O clear-eyed daughter of the gods, thy scornful clique,
name?' The only Christians in Europe, turning the Gravely she answered, 'I am called Success.' other cheek.
The house, the lineage, whence thy beauty
came?'“Priests of the household altar, blessing the
“Failure my sire; my mother, Weariness.'” bread and wine, Lords of the hells of Gomorrah, licensed keep
But classical versification is also, in ers of swine.
the right hands, an instrument for the “ Blarneying, shivering, crawling, taking all expression of impassioned feeling which colors and none,
none of the modern exuberant forms Lying a fox in the covert, leaping an ape in have excelled. So pure a technique as the sun.
Mr. Watson's, applied to the expression “Tantalus — Porteus of peoples, security comes
of so pure a passion, could hardly fail from within;
to make his verses, “written during Where is the lion of Judah? Wearing an estrangement,”? unusually impressive. ass's skin!”
The very restraint which his chosen This is vigorous speech, bitter speech; medium imposes upon him is to the for there is nobody more loyal to the ultimate advantage of his poetry. If ideals of his race than the speaker. Mr. Kipling was the laureate of impe
Not a few of the poems possess an rialism during the Boer war, Mr. Watalmost classical grace and finish. Here son was the laureate of England; and is one of the best of them :
this, in after years, when The Absent“Silly girl! Yet morning lies
Minded Beggar and other popular dogIn the candor of your eyes,
gerel of the sort is forgotten, England And you turn your creamy neck,
will not be slow to feel. What is there Which the stray curl-shadows fleck, in such verse as this, unless the prick of Far more wisely than you guess,
truth, to have aroused a popular clamor Spite your not-unconscious dress. In the curving of your lips
of resentment? — Sages' cunning finds eclipse,
“ When lofty Spain came towering up the seas For the gleam of laughing teeth
This little stubborn land to daunt and quell, Is the force that works beneath,
The winds of heaven were our auxiliaries,
And smote her, that she fell.
“Ah, not to-day is Nature on our side!
The mountains and the rivers are our foe,
And Nature with the heart of man allied
Is hard to overthrow."
London : John Lane. 1903.
The popular clamor did, as we know, is, with all its brevity, not only draarise. If the poet had written blatant matic, but tragic. One is not sure that the nonsense about the Briton's Duty to two longer pieces should have been cast Strike for his Altar and his Birthright, in verse at all. Perhaps it is simply his verse would have been accepted as their novelty which one resists; I am quite suitable for the occasion. His inclined to think there is a real inconposition needs no further defense than is gruity between their substance and their given by his own noble lines, On Being form. It is hardly possible to doubt Styled “Pro-Boer:” –
that the author has found her key-note * Friend, call me what you will : no jot care I:
in Sudermann, and Sudermann is essenI that shall stand for England till I die.
tially a prose interpreter of life. There England! The England that rejoiced to see is plenty of human intensity in his plays, Hellas unbound, Italy one and free;
but no precipitation of immortal pasThe England that had tears for Poland's doom,
sion. Like Ibsen, he studies conditions And in her heart for all the world made room ; The England from whose side I have not
and types ; the record of his observaswerved ;
tions is a marvel, but it is not poetry. The Immortal England whom I, too, have In Miss Monroe's two plays we find served,
similar materials. Each of them preAccounting her all living lands above,
sents a pregnant psychological episode In Justice, and in Mercy, and in Love."
in the lives of a group of persons; and Surely this is worthy to be set among there is nothing in either situation which the “ noble numbers ” of old England. prose could not have taken care of.
Such, after several careful readings and
some serious thought, is my unwilling Signs increase of a tendency on the conclusion with regard to the absolute part of our verse writers to approach merit of these interesting studies. the dramatic form. Miss Daskam's vol Mr. Torrence's play is both less ome ends with a dramatic sketch in novel and less questionable in quality. blank verse which is, perhaps, the best It is tragic both in substance and in form. thing in the book. Mr. Yeats's collec Its theme has the inestimable advantage tion includes a fresh play for his new Irish of possessing already a hold upon the stage, – apparently (how can a plain imagination of the general ; an advanperson be sure ?) only another leaf out tage which great dramatic poets from of Maeterlinck. There are, moreover, Æschylus to Shakespeare have seduloussince last accounts, several new volumes ly pursued, and which the best of their of metrical plays upon the market, only successors down to Mr. Stephen Phillips two of which can be mentioned here. have continued to pursue.
Mr. TorThe first is especially interesting be rence has, like Mr. Phillips, successfulcause in presenting “ five modern plays ly avoided the Shakespearean manner. in English verse,” the author is actually How difficult a feat this is can hardly trying to interpret the present moment be understood by those who disbelieve in blank verse; and she comes very near in the existence of a poetic diction. Obsuccess, nearer, perhaps, than any one serving the usage rather than the theory else has come. The three briefer num of Wordsworth, we perceive that every bers can hardly be called plays, but age has its noble and familiar forms of they are extremely good poetic dialogues, speech; and the poet's only folly is to and one of them, at least (At the Goal) fail of recognizing the loftier instrument 1 The Passing Show. By HARRIET MON 2 El Dorado. By RIDGELY TORRENCE. New
Boston and New York: Houghton, Mif York and London : John Lane. 1903, fin & Co. 1903.
which, in his own day, is ready to his In the end, one finds that the study hand. This is the variety of folly which of these contrasting experiments in poproduces pseudo-Elizabethan plays and etic drama has served simply to reaffirm plays in modern colloquial verse. an ancient article of faith. No great
Mr. Torrence's play is dignified and dramatic poetry, no great epical poetry, original. He does not altogether discard has ever dealt with contemporary conold forms, but he does not slavishly fol ditions. Only the austere processes of low them. The Prologue and Epilogue time can precipitate the multitude of
so admirable that one wishes to immediate facts into the priceless requote them entire. This much, at least, siduum of universal truth. The great we may give from the Prologue : dramatists have turned to the past for Shadow. Into this world where Life is born
their materials, not of choice, but of of Light
necessity. Here and there in the dark I, Shadow, have been sent to bring you peace, backward and abysm of time, some huTo make you wise; within my tragic themes,
man figure, some human episode, is seen Lost Love, A Sullen Will, Dead Hope and
to have weathered the years, and to Dread, You shall find balm, pleasant with secret nard
have taken on certain mysterious attriTo heal your discontent, for all men know butes of truth; and upon this foundaThat he for whom noon's brightest radiance tion the massive structure of heroic
glows Is he who waked and shuddered at midnight
poetry is builded.
H. W. Boynton. The gold, five-keyed Elizabethan horn Shall be for us the soothing instrument.
ONE envies Mr. Harrison the many Then for the tale's sake I do kneel for help,
months of earnest study which To sky-browed Æschylus, who, down the years,
Poetry. must have gone to the making Mourns deeply through a sterner, briefer shell, Making men hear the eagle wheel and shriek
of his account of Platonism in English Round the sea rock on which all hope lay Poetry. To walk familiarly, when one bound.”
is young, with the ideal forms of Beauty, There is no mistaking the firm, sus Truth, and Goodness which loom over tained touch of these verses ; and their the pages of Plato, and ennoble by their promise is not belied in the drama which presence so many fine English poems, is follows. If the characterization were to insure genial and humane thinking of as rare quality as the theme and the when
shall have brought the philoverse, the play would be great indeed. sophic mind. Yet the wisdom of allowJust at that point in the poet's effort ing such delightful studies to be erected there seems a little suggestion of strain. into a volume is not so clear. InBeatrix d' Estrada is admirable, but deed, the book seems to fall between Perth and Coronado, the leading male the academic and literary stools. * Its characters, are not altogether free from method,” says Mr. Harrison, “is purely that overt appeal to the sympathies which critical. It has not attempted to treat is a known property of melodrama. The the subject from the standpoint of the dialogue is, for the most part, rapid and individual poet, but has tried to intercompact, and the action, while it does not pret the whole body of English poetry attempt to preserve the unities, is dramat of the period under survey as an integral ically true and complete. We ought to
We ought to output of the spiritual thought and life be grateful for so pure a product in dra- of the time." Unluckily the "purely matic poetry from the hand of an Amer- critical ” method is not justified in the ican.
result. The book is disabled for both 1 Platonism in English Poetry of the Sixteenth HARRISON. New York: The Columbia Uniand Seventeenth Centuries. By John Smitu versity Press. (The Macmillan Co.) 1903.
the scholarly and the general reader by presents a striking racial embodiment of lack of perspective and of definition. the Platonic mood in poetry, and offers Spenser and John Norris are mentioned some curious points of similarity and in the same breath, despite the century opposition to the specimens of Platonizof changing ideals between them. Henrying poetry furnished by Mr. Harrison. More, an interesting man, but one of The Transcendental poets themselves the most lamentable of poets, is made would have disclaimed the analogy; for to bulk as large as Sidney ; yet Joseph Platonism was but a drop in the vast Beaumont, the 40,000 lines of whose bucket of their omniscience. They acPsyche was one vast fabric of Platonism, cepted the universe, and all one to them is not mentioned at all. Save in the preface, nothing is said of those Conti
“ The grand and magnificent dreamers ; nental forces from which English Pla The heroes and mighty redeemers ; tonism can never be disentangled, and The martyrs, reformers, and leaders; there is no account at all of any of those
The voices of mystical Vedas." personal groups and influences on which Yet considering their poetry as a finished the actual life of any Platonism has product, its spiritual sense of life — its always depended. To a purely critical constant sense of the unity and sempibook the lack of definition is a more ternity of beauty — makes it more comserious drawback. No clear distinction parable to the body of English Platonic is made between the theoretical and poetry than to any similar body of verse almost systematic Platonism which ap in the world, not excepting the flights of peared in the poetry of the period, and the German Transcendental lyre. On the the more intimate Platonism of mood other hand, the racy, indigenous qualwhich has never been absent from the ity of the verse which Mr. Cooke has poetic temperament; nor is any line of collected makes a difference as strikcleavage laid down between Platonism ing as the likeness. Where the typical proper, and Cabbalism, Cartesianism, Platonizing poem is florid with imagery Rosicrucianism, Catholic mysticism, and drawn from the beauties of sky and the hundred other isms too tedious to meadow and the female sex, the typical mention, which engaged the men of those Transcendental poem is as scrawny and moody and unquiet times. It is a pity pungent as a rock-rooted pine. Indeed, that so much detraction must be made poetic Transcendentalism seems almost from an earnest book which contains the cult of the pine; and there are few many interesting poetical extracts, some stanzas, and fewer poems, in Mr. Cooke's pages of excellent expository writing, books, that do not allude to it. We and a useful bibliography, yet it is im hear a great many such ejaculations as portant that persons having authority in
this : such matters should consider the dangers “O tall old pine! O gloomy pine ! which beset the belletristic student when O grim gigantic gloomy pine ! he ventures upon the strange seas of
What is there in that voice of thine philosophic thought.
That thrills so deep this heart of mine ? An interesting volume for collateral Yet there is as fine poetic impressiveness reading with Mr. Harrison's book is Mr. in the poet's suggestion that in the sighCooke's anthology of Transcendental po- ing of the pines he catches a sound of etry. It is a workmanlike compilation " The sonl's unfathomable sea, made with information and taste. It
The ocean of eternity,” 1 The Poets of Transcendentalism. Edited by
as in Vaughan's GEOBGE WILLIS COOKE. Boston and New “I saw eternity the other night York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1903
Like a great Ring of pure and endless light."