Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“
[ocr errors]

preface, a young man at the outset of his career. His years of searching, of fumbling, of other men's influence, are coming to an end. Sure of himself, he yet sees that he will spend all his life pursuing a vision of beauty which will elude him at the very last.' But beauty should take some very definite shape in his dreams. It should have some meaning. That is what these symphonies lack. Could Mr. Fletcher have had Shelley in mind as his type of artist? But Shelley had passions; liberty, justice, love. These were real forces in a world of real people. Mr. Fletcher's artist dies for an adventure.' An adventure that makes no reckless sacrifice for truth, only a cautious pursuit of sensual enjoyment. What strikes me as chiefly notable in these symphonies is the profuse imagery of the natural world. The symbolism, in my mind, is scarcely related to any elements in the secrecy of human emotion. It's a noisy, external art."

“I don't at all agree with you, Jason," I said. "There is an indwelling something in these symphonies that is rather fine. They are ambitious, I'll admit; and they are new in our poetry. Only a few people will enjoy them as only a few will understand them. But with the exception of the 'Blue Symphony' and 'Green Symphony,' I prefer the poems in The Ghosts of an Old House.' These poems are more appealing; less abstract, they have the ruddier substance of human experience. I have claimed for Mr. Fletcher a more poignant regard for old memories and associations, than any among our poets. It is a unique sense

6

[ocr errors]

because it is unmixed with the grosser elements of the present. He really transforms his being; the past is not brought up to time, he disembodies time to materialize the past. It is thus that he deals with his ghosts' of The House,' 'The Attic,' The Lawn.' One cannot conceive these 'ghosts,' as fancies of an imaginative mind, combining out of almost forgotten experiences these sharply etched associations. Each particular part of the house-bedroom, library, nursery, the backstairs and the front yard - have been too deeply engraved upon the hard substances of life. Yet there is something very common in these reminiscences very common to all of us; the things we more often think and dream about when there floats up to the surface of our consciousness, faded and mellow moods of childhood and youth. Let me read this verse on The Front Door,' and you cannot escape that ache which, though time heals it, the scar remains:

"It was always the place where our farewells were taken,

When we travelled to the north.

"I remember there was one who made some jour

ney,

But did not come back.

Many years they waited for him,

At last the one who wished the most to see him,
Was carried out of this self-same door in death.

"Since then all our family partings

Have been at another door.

66

Taking us through the attic and over the lawn, the poet touches, through the magic of his tender affection, many an old object and scene into life; life a little withdrawn, as it should be, from the rushing waves of the present, but stately and dignified in its vivid seclusion from the world of boisterous reality. The mustiness of decay has wrought no change upon that vivid reality of the past. In an Epilogue' to these ghostly presences hovering like wraiths over a twilight stream in the poet's heart, he loyally wonders

6

"Why it was I do not know,

[ocr errors]

But last night I vividly dreamed,
Though a thousand miles away,
That I had come back to you.

The windows were the same:

The bed, the furniture the same,

Only there was a door where empty wall had always

been,

And someone was trying to enter it.

"I heard the grate of a key,

An unknown voice apologetically

Excused its intrusion, just as I awoke.

"But I wonder after all,

If there was some secret entrance-way,

Some ghost I overlooked, when I was there."

"Yes," said Psyche as we left the woods, "the artist has grown human dreaming of the old house. Art is too often a barrier to poetry."

IX

THE NOSTALGIA OF BOURNES

It was a

THERE was something mysterious about Psyche's absence. She had not returned from town when we started for the grove. very warm day; a sort of haze sifted through the valley; the woods were enveloped in that grayish veil which seemed to us the wind-borne sign of forest fires, burning beyond the range of the distant hills lying west of the Merrimac River. The air in the upper regions of the sky was opaque but for the angry red disk of the sun glaring in the mid-heavens. Our moods were in sympathy with the unusual condition which the accident of man had forced upon nature. Not only Psyche's absence, but the menacing sky wrought upon our feelings, till we experienced an anxiety we did not understand, nor tried to explain. Instead of going directly to our protecting pine in the sheltering grove, we passed beyond our usual turning-in path, up to the top of Laurel Hill, where a clearing gave us a wide view of the valley to the west and north. We stood and gazed at a scene which was both lovely and terrible in its aspects. The intervale before us was broken up into farms, whose home

steads nestled like breasts of white birds in the earth. In the field the haymakers threaded their way, gathering the silver harvests.

Winding along the road in the middle distance, we saw a dark object approaching The Farm, where it stopped. Apparently someone had arrived, for after watching the object some moments, we saw it wheel around and return in the direction from which it came. "We have had a motor visitor," remarked Cassandra, "and our pleasure in the art of poetry has prevented an exercise of hospitality."

In the pause that followed her words, we were all watching a figure moving across the pasture towards the woods. "I do believe that it is Psyche," Cassandra spoke again. "But I can't explain the motor car."

[ocr errors]

We did not have to wait longer than it took Psyche to reach us for it was Psyche - to discover the mystery of the car. She came up radiant, and with a provokingly secretive smile. "Our poets," I addressed her, "have waited long for your attention, Psyche, and I shouldn't blame them for complaining of your neglect of their rhymes, for the rhythm of the flowing road, which you apparently have been enjoying from the luxurious seat of an automobile. Lovers of poetry, it seems, may enjoy such a luxury of modern travelling on a hot day like this, even if poets themselves cannot; though we are supposed to be upon prosperous days for the art."

"You make it hard for me to confess my in

« AnkstesnisTęsti »