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his neighbors. Homer was the creator and all that has been said about them of Achilles, Agamemnon, Hector, - yes, since - even to the well-meaning efforts of the Trojan war itself; he made the of Mr. Stephen Phillips himself - bas whole epic history out of a contest less been but echoes of echoes. poetically promising than the present Never, with any great poet, was his Russo-Japanese campaign, and in doing theme “ remote" and " aloof” from his it he made use of all the religious im- own time. Never has he dealt with anyagery and significance with which his thing else but "contemporary condihigh-reaching imagination, and that of tions.” It is only the minor poet who his compatriots, enriched the bareness of declares himself “the idle singer of an the theme; in short, he “dealt with con- empty day," who finds his age prosaic, temporary conditions." Would the re- and delves forever in the past of old roviewer contend that Shakespeare found mance, and so necessarily becomes more in Hamlet or in Lear a human figure and more remote, more and more attenwhich had “weathered the years and uated, in his art. Many a clever and taken on certain mysterious attributes promising poet has gone that way: Mr. of truth”? If he does, let him strip his Yeats is rapidly taking it; even Mr. mind completely of these great tragedies, Moody is in danger, - may the kind and look up the childish old wives' tales fates turn him back into higher, if which served as the poet's point of de rougher, paths! Mr. Phillips has never parture. Shakespeare took a hint from given evidence of an original or modern some foolish ditty; from that point he mind, but he does not keep his gait along changed plot and characters to suit the the flowery, artificial path of his choice, convenience of his strictly modern pur- - his strut becomes more and more pose, to make his work express his own stilted, and his instrument gets qut of feeling, his own time.
tune. I might ask him about certain other The academic temperament which masterpieces of art in which the mate- speaks in this reviewer and in many rials, as well as the general theme and another critic strikes at the vitality of spirit, are of the most absolute contem- modern art. True, such strokes cannot poraneousness. What, for example, of quite be fatal, because no great poet will the Book of Job and the Hebrew proph- stop for any critic.
But the poet may ecies? What of the Parthenon, of the be cruelly hampered, heavily impeded, Hermes of Praxiteles? What of the by such misdirected efforts of his conGothic cathedrals, of Don Quixote, of temporaries; he may be compelled to Molière's comedies, of Velasquez' por- spend much of his time and energy in traits ? What of Dante, whose Beatrice warding off blows. His joyousness may and Francesca he did not find in that be baffled and whipped into melancholy; “dark backward and abysm of time" his clear vision may be clouded with bitwhere our critic - and so many others, terness. It is much easier for an artist alas ! — would locate the treasury of art? to pluck flowers along the wayside than For us, but not for the mighty Floren- to labor in the vineyard, especially when tine, these ladies, and other people, his a thousand voices are pleading for the contemporaries, have “weathered the flowers. But the flowers wither in his years and taken on certain mysterious hands, and only the grapes produce the attributes of truth.” But it was Dante wine of life. Where should our poets who gave them to time and men's hearts, be ?
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