Puslapio vaizdai

time,' says the average citizen; the king to the time of sacking a rival capital or adding a colony to his dominions, the beggar to the time when he eats a square meal and wears a silk hat, the average citizen to the time when he has saved enough money to buy a little pleasure to see a bit of the world beyond the prison-house of his duties, to wear a few decent clothes, and own a full-jewelled watch of whose ironic warning he takes no heed. And so the king, the beggar and the average citizen live on the future. The king rules successfully, the beggar does not starve, the average citizen supports his family comfortably: each in his sphere doing the day's work, with his hopes upon a trifle which Time dangles before his dreams; and king, beggar and average citizen go to sleep for the last time with these trifles growing brighter and nearer in the fading gloom, confident that . . . in the dawn they will seize them.”

Jason delivered himself of these thoughts as we walked up the Derry Road in the shadow of the trees. What inspired the train of thoughts none of us could guess, and he offered no explanation by the way of a prelude. When he had finished neither of the girls nor myself made any comment. There were still some steps to go before reaching the grove, and we completed the distance in silence. By the time we By the time we were comfortably settled, he had apparently forgotten the outburst. He picked up a twig and playfully tossed it at Cassandra, and laughed when it lodged in her hair. "I don't know why," he said,

"the simple act of throwing that twig reminded me of Lord Dunsany's tale of A Legend of Dawn.' The mind has queer associations; it is a region where mysteries come up from remote corners of emotions and cross like swift meteors. But that instance Inzana came to view radiant and flushed from tossing her golden ball. I have always remembered the opening of that legend: 'When the world and Al: began and the gods were stern and old They saw the Beginning from under eyebrows hoar with years, all but Inzana, Their Child, who played with the golden ball. Inzana was the child of the gods. And the law before the Beginning and thereafter was that all should obey the gods, yet hither and thither went all Pegana's gods to obey the Dawnchild because she loved to be obeyed. It was dark all over the world and even in Pegana, where dwell the gods, it was dark when the child Inzana, the Dawn, first found her golden ball. Then running down the stairway of the gods with tripping feet, chalcedony, onyx, chalcedony, onyx, step by step, she cast her golden ball across the sky. The golden ball went bounding up the sky, and the Dawnchild with her flaring hair stood laughing upon the stairway of the gods, and it was day. So gleaming fields below saw the first day of all the days. that the gods have destined. But towards evening certain mountains, afar and aloof, conspired together to stand between the world and the golden ball and to wrap their crags about it and to shut it from the world, and all the world was

darkened with their plot. And the Dawnchild up in Pegana cried for her golden ball. Then all the gods came down the stairway right to Pegana's gate to see what ailed the Dawnchild and to ask her why she cried. Then Inzana said that her golden ball had been taken away and hidden by mountains black and ugly, far away from Pegana, all in a world of rocks under the rim of the sky, and she wanted her golden ball and could not love the dark.' And Lord Dunsany goes on to say how the gods found the golden ball for Inzana; but she in her perverse childishness kept throwing the ball and losing it behind the crags of the dark mountains. Every time this happened Inzana would call the gods and say, 'The Night hath seized my golden ball,' and they would go in search of it again. But some day,' writes the dreamer, the Night shall seize the golden ball and carry it away and drag it down to its lair, and Slid shall dive from the Threshold into the sea to see if it be there, and coming up when the fishermen draw their nets shall find it not, nor yet discover it among the sails. Limpang Tung shall seek among the birds and shall not find it when the cock is mute, and up the valleys shall go Unborodom to seek among the crags. And the hound, the thunder, shall chase the Eclipse and all the gods go seeking with Their stars, but never find the ball. And men, no longer having light of the golden ball, shall pray to the gods no more, who, having no worship, shall be no more the gods.""


"I have never read your Lord Dunsany," Psyche said, "but it is certain he has never sold Aladdin's lamp."

Jason sprang, as it were, to the phrase. "That's it," he said, "selling Aladdin's lamp! That's what some of these modern poets are doing."

I began to understand,- and I think both Psyche and Cassandra accompanied my turn of thought, because of a subtle recognition come into their faces, the hidden significance of Jason's talk on the way up to the grove. That talk was the reflex action of the mind on the poetry of Mr. Masters and Mr. Aiken. The whole thing was quite clear to me now. These poets had sold

Aladdin's lamp.

"You see," he went on, picking up the thread of suspended thought, "it's a vastly different thing from the selling your birthright for a mess of pottage' idea. It's different for many reasons. Every poet has a birthright, it is true, and he may sell it, if he choose, for a mess of pottage, but it is a poor bargain for the younger Now with Aladdin's lamp, being a poet is. no proof of possession. It comes with the package of dreams which very few poets receive at birth from the fairy-godmother of Wonder. So when the poet sells his lamp the fairy-godmother of Wonder grows angry, and substitutes for it the terrible gift of disillusion."


"But don't poets in every age sell their Aladdin's lamp?" asked Cassandra.

"Yes; I suppose they do," replied Jason. "But the fairy-godmother of Wonder has not, except in two cases that I recall, been so hard with her punishment. She has given them for the most part only an excess of curiosity."

"Who are the two poets you recall?" Psyche asked.

"Crabbe and Beddoes," answered Jason. "And Crabbe," he went on to explain, "is the father of our modern disillusionists. An important essay remains to be written on the influence of George Crabbe on contemporary American poets. Edwin Arlington Robinson was the first to feel his influence; he wrote a sonnet acknowledging his admiration for the author of The Village Register,' and 'Tales of the Hall.' In his sonnet Mr. Robinson has acknowledged the debt contemporary poetry owes to Crabbe. Mr. Masefield in spite of his obligation to Chaucer, owes much to Crabbe; and in Gibson, Masters, and even Frost, the poet's influence and manner can be traced though it is unconscious in the last three poets named."

"And have all these poets, Mr. Robinson included, sold their Aladdin's lamp?" asked Psyche.

"I wouldn't say that Mr. Robinson has," Jason answered, "nor Masefield, Gibson and Frost. And I am of this opinion because these poets have had no illusion about life, to begin with. They developed from a potential recognition of facts, and as they grew in experience, they became less concerned with reality than with the effort to coax

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