Puslapio vaizdai
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trees, the brooks, the grasses, the incessant chorus of midsummer nights trills through the air.

"Yet I know not to what or to whom I pray.

Not

to the sun or moon for they are nowhere to be seen; not to the gods for there is no temple nor even a statue here; not to the stars for there are too many and some, neglected, would be jealous.

"Perhaps it is to the sighing wind I pray; perhaps to the shadows and the rolling hills; perhaps to the night itself, itself which seems so peaceful, all-embracing, mysteriously divine."

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Cassandra offered a suggestion about the modern interpreter of Greek emotion that was worth attention in spite of its obviousness. "Your modern singer of Greek themes," she said, "is likely to be a bit sensual. Scarcely any poet in English had, like Keats, the impersonality to escape it. It will always remain a mystery how the London cockney, as one of his early critics called him, became so authentic a Greek. I imagine Matthew Arnold, after The Strayed Reveller,' gave up the attempt in despair; Empedocles on Etna,' was of Landorian mode rather than of true Greek substance. Swinburne made of his intellectual Greek sympathies a sort of Renaissance confusion. But your modern poet without these sympathies, is sensual. Of course, he doesn't mean to be. He aims to be merely faithful to the Greek view of life, and that is to give a frank expression of experience. If you wish to be convinced of the difference, read the idyls of Theocritus, especially I would recommend the twenty-seventh idyl."

"You should discriminate," broke in Jason, "between the bucolic poets and the broad field of Greek poets. Your argument might not prove so persuasive."

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"I see that you, for all your contact with life," Cassandra addressed Jason in reply, "cling to the fallacy that the city is more moral than the country. I don't think the rural community of the first century differed much in this respect from the twentieth. So I maintain that this bucolic poet Theocritus, telling frankly the pastoral life of his day, presented it with a wholesomeness our poets miss when they copy the mood. In such poems as 'Penumbra' and 'Astarte,' Mr. Buck comes off very well, I'll admit, with his task."

"Oh, that's a rather pale approval of Mr. Buck's talents," I charged Cassandra. "Surely no American poet has struck this particular note better than Mr. Buck has in The Merchant.' Give it the honor of your attention:

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"These treasures I have gathered for many years. And if thou wilt. . . Here are mirrors of bronze; and here a silver bracelet, heavy with sards from Lydia. It is enchanted, caressing the arm of her that wears it, if only she be fair . . . Thou seest!

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Here are perfumes and rare essences in alabaster vials from Corinth and the isle of Crete. And here, perfumes no less immortal in brown clay vases from Etruria.

"This rose powder from the amorous blooms of Mitylene will make thy nails lustrous as nacre. And

here is purest kohl to shadow the flaming languor of thine eyes.

...

These glowing silks have come from many lands. This is thy color . . . O Isis! How beautiful! . . . The price? Nay, take it, and the bracelet also. They would desolate, away from thee. And as my only payment, I pray thee wear them once, passing my door."

"I'll not deny you the comfort of your opinion of Mr. Buck's poem," Jason exclaimed with an excessive gesture of politeness; it was a way he sometimes had of dismissing a subject about which he was not in entire agreement with the speaker, and desired to introduce a fresh one. We really can't leave Mr. Evans," he added, "without an auditory acquaintance with his art, and I propose to give you that pleasure by reading the first poem in For the Haunting of Mauna,' which is about the Body of the Queen.' You will observe that it is made out of such well, Shakespeare would have said dreams stuff as headaches are made out of, and that's no reflection upon the appetite of desire, I can most humbly assure you. The thing haunts me like a visitation I had, or believed I had, when a child, on Christmas eve of an ass's head crowned with flowers in a nimbus of light, projected over my bed in the dark. Here is the poem:

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Suave body of the Queen, she gave me you,
Misting in still, warm rains of tenderness
But kept herself, and we are each betrayed.
You are her mistress, and she makes of me

Another mistress! Playthings are we both,
When we thought she meant us for full sovereignty;
It was not regal, and her throne is stained.
She bade you seek me, and your singing feet
Ran quickly, surely; you held out your hands.
You had no fear because you felt my heart
Leap as you laid your white breast under it.
We had no prides to conquer as we kissed,
For we knew kinship in our overthrow.
Yet now she stands apart and questions us.
How can she question leave me out of it
But you, her body, her sweet source of joy,—
How can she then divide herself from you,
And calmly reckon what the gain may be?
The hour will come when she will tire of us,
And all your softness will be broken up,
Your rioting lips chilled with an ashen wind.
There is a hint of vileness in the air,

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And on the strings a dance of ironies,
With love's scarecrow jigging wearily.
So still I have you so I am not afraid!

"Well," commented Cassandra, when Jason finished, "the exotic mood seems to have taken hold of the poet's conception. But I suppose, whether of the spirit or the flesh, the exotic may be, according to Psyche's opinion, merely an essence.'

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III

THE SACERDOTAL WONDER OF LIFE

WE lingered in the house waiting for the clouds to break, but they hung on with a persistency that threatened our ardor. I had brought a friend, a poet from the West, up to the Farm, and I particularly wanted him to see our woods; nor did I want my friends to miss the reading he promised, under the leafy boughs, of the delicate, suggestive hokku poems he had written. Psyche was for dashing out, with no mind for the weather, and her enthusiasm prevailed upon us to start. She knew a canopied grove, she said, near the edge of a deep brook, and even if the rain came down heavily, the boughs would protect us there. It was not far from the place we were accustomed to meet. So with wraps and umbrellas, we went out to defy a showery June sky. In David's leather case, we put our books; besides his manuscript and our weekly group of poets, I took along Robinson's poems which I was to read for David O'Neil's pleasure late in the afternoon.

The rain held off during our walk to the grove. Psyche's brook ran through a deep ravine; it was a still and sombre place, far away from the high road that ran to Derry. The woodland floor

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