Puslapio vaizdai

that filled the poet's mind when he refers to the 'poisonous weeds of artifice,' in the 'Phi Beta Kappa Poem, Harvard, 1914.' He has a particular harangue against the state of affairs it would give me a delight to quote because it might well suit a melancholy mood. Listen," and Jason in his fine voice, not untouched with a little scorn, recited:

"Defiling Nature at her sacred source;

And there the questing World-soul could not stay,
Onward must journey with the changing time,
To come to this uncouth rebellious age,
Where not an ancient creed nor courtesy
Is underided, and each demagogue

Cries some new nostrum for the cure of ills.
To-day the unreasoning iconoclast
Would scoff at science and abolish art,
To let untutored impulse rule the world.
Let learning perish, and the race returns
To that first anarchy from which we came,
When spirit moved upon the deep and laid
The primal chaos under cosmic law."

"But he does not leave the poem as a rebuke," Cassandra reminded Jason. that sanity and balance will

"The poet has faith return; that the old

verities will again possess the hearts of men. does he not add, Have we not the key,'


"Whose first fine luminous use Plotinus gave, Teaching that ecstasy must lead the man? Three things, we see, men in this life require, (As they are needed in the universe);


First of all spirit, energy, or love,

The soul and mainspring of created things;
Next wisdom, knowledge, culture, discipline,
To guide impetuous spirit to its goal;

And lastly strength, the sound apt instrument,
Adjusted and controlled to lawful needs.

The next world-teacher must be one whose word
Shall reaffirm the primacy of soul,

Hold scholarship in her high guiding place,

And recognize the body's equal right

To culture such as it has never known,

In power and beauty serving soul and mind.

'April Airs,' comes to us with this teaching, whether in a poem with its didactic appeal as these Phi Beta Kappa lines, or in some wistful lyric of field and wood."

"You are quite right, Psyche," I assented. "And in spite of his teaching the poet does not take us into the schoolroom of dry exhortations, but rather out into the open, where the lessons are from nature's own lips. He is bounteous with her beauties and delights, with her mysteries and magic of wind and flower, of roads and sky and stream; for among these, he bade us in a verse a long while ago, to

"Let loose the conquering toiler within thee;

Know the large rapture of deeds begun!
The joy of the hand that hews for beauty
Is the dearest solace beneath the sun."

"That would all be very well," commented Jason, "if the poet really showed more of the joy

of the hand that hews for beauty,' than I have been able to discover in these later poems of Mr. Carman's. Your true magician of casements, to my mind, is Miss Reese. You will wonder why I am of this opinion when Mr. de la Mare has a more elaborate recipe for spells. The reason, I can very easily state: Miss Reese is an unconscious transmitter, consequently simpler, and wholly under the influence of the angels. I do not deny that Mr. de la Mare very often experiences this same state of reliance upon pure imagination; but quite often he takes a metaphysical interest in his subject, stepping outside of his mood to watch the flow of substance into form."

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Jason completed own satisfaction.

"Does nothing of the kind," Cassandra's sentence to his "She is always the heart of her song, a hidden force you never catch at work. She can tell you the secret better than I, and I am going to let her in this poem 'To a Town Poet':

"Snatch the departing mood;

Make yours its emptying reed, and pipe us still
Faith in the time, faith in our common blood,

Faith in the least of good;

Song cannot fail if these its spirit fill!

"What if your heritage be

The huddled trees along the smoky way;
At a streeet's end the stretch of lilac-sea;
The vendor, swart but free,

Crying his yellow wares across the haze?

"Your verse awaits you there;

For Love is Love though Latin swords be rust;

The keen Greek driven from gossiping mall and


And Care is still but Care

Though Homer and his seven towns are dust.

"Thus Beauty lasts, and lo!

Now Proserpine is barred from Enna's hills,
The flower she plucked yet makes an April show,
Sets some town sill a-glow,

And yours the Vision of the Daffodils.

"The Old-World folk knew not

More surge-like sounds than urban winters bring
Up from the wharves at dusk to every spot;
And no Sicilian plot

More fire than heaps our tulips in the spring.

"Strait is the road of Song,

And they that be the last are oft the first;

Fret not for fame; the years are kind though long;

You, in the teasing throng,

May take all time with one shrewd lyric burst.

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Ill shall not last, or waste the ploughed land;

Or creeds sting timid souls; and naught at all,
Whatever else befall,

Can keep us from the hollow of God's hand.

"Let trick of words be past;

Strict with the thought, unfearful of the form,

So shall you find the way

and old it fast,

The world hear, at the last,

The horns of morning sound above the storm.

'Let trick of words be past,'" repeated Jason, -"that is what you sometimes feel that Mr. de la Mare fails to do. It is part of the heritage which a group of contemporary English poets have received from old Dr. Donne."


"For all that you say, Jason, Mr. de la Mare is a poet of magic," I insisted. "I fancy there will never come a time when I shall weary of quotingThe Listeners':

Is there anybody there?' said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;

And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
Of the forest's ferny floor:

And a bird flew up out of the turret,

Above the Traveller's head:

And he smote upon the door again a second time;
'Is there anybody there?' he said.

But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:

Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark


That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller's call.

And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,

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