Puslapio vaizdai

I think there is a stroke of pure genius in the expression of the seventh and eighth lines. Here is an idea dissociated with reality so poignantly that it makes the sharpness of memory stand out with vividness; it gathers into an embodiment a world of tragic consciousness, and all rooted invisible in the most fiery chronicle of life.


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"To focus this mood so superbly, is an achievement of sheer beauty. You know that the poet is initiated into the mysteries of life. The probationary period is over. Where we have been suffused with ardor and fervency, we suddenly realize a strain of spontaneous passion. Where fancy has delighted us, we find the glow of imagination and vision broadening the vistas of the spirit. Let me bring forward," I appealed to my listeners, a justification of these statements, two of Miss Burr's poems which sustain - would sustain any poet's her highest qualities. They are the narrative, Mary of Egypt,' and the memorial lines The Poppies.' The first tells the story of the Alexandrian Mary who, trying to seduce Christ, was redeemed from harlotry through the Galilean's mystical influence. The gradual steps by which she attained to spiritual salvation is what renders the poem most significant. The most poignant part of the narrative are those stanzas which tell how Mary paid her passage from Alexandria to Palestine. The cunning subtlety of Arthur Symons could not have devised it more pathetically:

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“Mary of Egypt walked by the sea;
Her lids were heavy with tears and wine,
And she saw a ship that rocked at the quay
Spreading the sail for the far blue brine.
The Captain smiled when he saw her there,
And blew a kiss to the harlot fair.

'Where are you bound, sir Captain - where?' 'To the land of Palestine.'

"Mary of Egypt leapt from the shore

As the ship cast off her ropes from the land.
The captain paled and the captain swore,
But he held her safe by the small soft hand.
'Girl, are you sick of life,' he cried,

'To spring to peril as groom to bride?'
'Die I must unless I ride

To the port where your course is planned!'

"How will you pay your passage-fee?'
'Silver and gold I left behind
Will you not take me for charity?'
'Charity's cold- I have in mind
A pleasanter coin for you to pay.'
Loathing she shrank from his touch away,
But if she would go she must needs obey

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And give him his will when he said, 'Be kind!'

So at length to her goal she came

Weary and long was the way for her!
Sick and haggard with grief and shame,
Driven by hope with a scarlet spur.
Pilgrims passing, she followed them
Up to the city Jerusalem,

Where shone like the pearl of a diadem
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The final triumph of the woman over her past life is deeply touching. Her soul purged, she 'beheld her Lord, becoming for all future time the symbol of sin, pity, and forgiveness.

"If all the inner elements of Miss Burr's art have strengthened," I finished, "as these quotations, in my opinion show, so has the expression gained a firmer texture, a phrasing more substantial. Her fault has, perhaps, been a musical excess; a tendency sometimes to spin rhyme and rhythm on a frail stick of substance. She was capable, when the mood had exhausted itself, of bringing up its shadow. The result was often delightful, in the sense of dexterously turning a neat cadence, which finally echoed off into sentiment. Her best poems in previous collections showed, however, that this was purely a fault, as a fault may be of one kind or another with true poets. Those faults are not to be insisted upon as representative. What is representative, are those qualities which compel us to accept the lesser good with the greater. Miss Burr's place is high among contemporary poets. She commands a technique of admirable simplicity; she has an instinctive ear for music. Her power for visualization is of a high order. She sings in the truest sense; being a suggester and interpreter of life and experience."

When we reached the edge of the woods on our way back to The Farm, Jason remarked: "Miss Burr's poem makes a very good commentary on the

text of the mysteries that move us in this adventure called life."

"Yes," Psyche added, "dream within substance, reality in the shadow."



CROSSING the field in front of the house on the way to the woods I was walking a little ahead of my companions thinking of the change that had come over the earth as the days slipped out of summer's lap into the arms of autumn. The scenes around me I had learned to love for their warm, intimate quality, a characteristic of the New Hampshire landscape. It was a still, quiet country of broad-acred farms and woods, with few main roads, the principal one zigzagging its distance of eighteen miles from Nashua to Manchester. This main artery of travel between the two cities lay on the eastern side of the Merrimac River, and almost continuously for ten or twelve miles the woods ran parallel to it, sometimes but a few yards away, and at its furthest not more than half a mile. The Farm was at this furthest point, the highway running through it, with the house setting a few feet back on its western side. The mellow sunlight of the September afternoon flooded the scene, and though every object near us lay or stood unconcealed, there was a retiring mood in nature which had put me in a deferential attitude towards the landscape. We went through

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