Puslapio vaizdai

there, was carpeted thick with pine needles and moss. We found a comfortable and sheltered spot, under a huge pine standing so close to its fellows that its lower branches made a perfect ceiling. Here we spread raincoats and sweaters, and seated ourselves, undisturbed by the rain which began to patter lightly above our heads.



Psyche on the last occasion of our visit to the woods," I began, gave us a little explanation of essence in poetry. I suppose everything has an essence, everything that is of the spirit and beautiful. But the particular significance of her remarks, was in showing how four poets such as Elsa Barker, Mitchell Buck, Cuthbert Wright, and Donald Evans, could extract it from the same source of temperament, and yet present such a totally different sense of experience. Jason, here, preferred to regard this mystery as a substance; something too vital to be an abstraction. And Cassandra, questioning the term, came up at the end with a rather flat assumption that the moods of all these poets were exotic."

"Oh, I protest that interpretation," Cassandra put in. "Essences are rare, and I only meant, that where life is so solid as it is with us to-day, any attempt to get so far away from it as those poets do, is to express the strange and unfamiliar. Whether it is the embodiment of angels through the psychic experience of a woman's soul, as in Mrs. Barker's songs; or fauns and shepherds of ancient Greece taking shape in Mr. Buck's

imagination, as in his pastels, the impulse, I insist, is exotic."

"Wasn't life just as solid for the Sicilian shepherd two thousand years ago - more solid, I imagine, than we can guess, when there came to his passionate mind echoes of the Palestine tragedy, tumbling his gods in confusion from their altars, and setting up this new god, a man like himself, only pale where he was rosy of countenance, and with no humor in his nature wasn't life just as solid then," repeated Jason," as it is with us now? And may it not be just as solid for the angels, even though they live on light, music and prayers, as some of us do who have bad digestions. -in the abodes where they are? Well, then, why shouldn't these poets treat distance and time as of no consequence in searching for their own particular kind of beauty and meaning of truth?" "There is something in what Jason says," I approved.

"Something! in what I say!" Jason threw at me, in a tone of contempt. "Well, you don't seem to have found it, if that is all you can say," he added.

I laughed heartily at the pain Jason pretended to suffer from my obtuse remark. "Here, Jason," I said, "is my tender of conciliation, this sonnet of Masefield," and I read:

"Go, spend your penny, Beauty, when you will,
In the grave's darkness let the stamp be lost.
The water still will bubble from the hill,
And April quick the meadows with her ghost;

Over the grass the daffodils will shiver,

The primroses with their pale beauty abound,
The blackbird be a lover and make quiver

With his glad singing the great soul of the ground;
So that if the body rot, it will not matter;

Up in the earth the great game will go on,

The coming of Spring and the running of the water, And the young things glad of the womb's darkness


And the joy we felt will be a part of the glory

In the lover's kiss that makes the old couple's story.

You will discover, expressed in this sonnet, how I feel about what you said, Jason. 'Go, spend your penny, Beauty, when you will,' it is the 'lover's kiss' of humanity, and chronicles the ‘old couple's story,' age after age. It is the sacerdotal wonder of life which poets feel, and it need not be just the particular period of life into which the poet is born. More certainly than other men poets are conscious of pre-existence, in other worlds, and in this too, and into their poems they bring often the temper of another age. Your 'belated Elizabethan,' is an example."

"Your theory is all nonsense," Jason scoffed. "But I do appreciate your discernment of Masefield's genius. I say 'genius' advisedly, for whatever was claimed for his earlier narratives, seaballads and poems, they never gave him the right to wear that term as these sonnets do. . . .

[ocr errors]

"Yet some profess to see a decline of his powers in the sonnets," I observed, "from the vigorous and picturesque realism of the narratives. The

reverence for life, the quest for beauty, in them is the finest expression of this poet's life."

"My testimony to that assertion," said Psyche, "is this one with its mystic illumination," and she read:

Flesh, I have knocked at many a dusty door,
Gone down full many a windy midnight lane,
Probed in old walls and felt along the floor,
Pressed in blind hope the lighted window-pane.
But useless all, though sometimes, when the moon
Was full in heaven and the sea was full,
Along my body's alleys came a tune
Played in the tavern by the Beautiful.
Then for an instant I have felt at point
To find and seize her, whosoe'er she be,
Whether some saint whose glory does anoint
Those whom she loves, or but a part of me,
Or something that the things not understood
Make for their uses out of flesh and blood."

"I come back," declared Jason, "to Psyche's theory of essences. The mystic illumination,' of the sonnet-it is her phrase is a kind of essence, too. The mood is a little too abstract, however, to give it a name. Nevertheless, whether we agree or disagree about this intangible quality in poetry, there's precious little of it come to the surface in the poetry of Mr. O'Conor, or Mrs. Aldis."

"Don't you include," asked Psyche, "Mr. O'Conor's play, 'The Fairy Bride,' in this elemental class of verse? There are ideals and fairies and disembodiments in it; and, having these, like

all things of the Celtic imagination, aren't they the essences of dreams?"

"One would almost accept your point of view," replied Jason, "when one reads this dialogue from 'The Fairy Bride,' in which Dermot the prince says to Ethne, the fairy princess, as he leaves her, being healed, to go back to Dun Faithoi and the inheritance of his father's kingdom: Time has been short indeed; but I have gained strength of body and soul. Both thou gavest me: the one with thy potions and thy healing hands, the other thy love; and I would go, as every man must wish to go, and show the strength of this, thy love, to all the world.' And Ethne replies:

“That which it may not understand, why show

The world, when here we know the worth of love?'

And when you consider the wicked queen, Buan, in league with evil powers and dark spells, which she uses against the loyalty of the druids and nobles, in behalf of her son Connla whom she is ambitious to have succeed Fergus on the throne, I almost grant that Mr. O'Conor, too, belongs to Psyche's poetry of abstraction. Only I think his symbolism has a body to it, though it may be of vague substance."

"The very unreality of the play," Psyche claimed," is the most real part of it. And strange as it may seem, the fairy bride is the most living character in the play. Fergus and his queen, Buan, are vivid well, if one may say so, like shadows on a bright surface. Of course, in com

« AnkstesnisTęsti »