Puslapio vaizdai

mon with all fairy tales, the play has its moral, but it is not a pendant as it should be, owing, I suppose, to the American influence upon the poet's Celtic spirit. Take the scene, at the end, when Buan having failed, and in humiliation and anger is led away by the nobles, and the happy plighting of Dermot and Ethne follows, doesn't the poet voice a wisdom which is the most elusive in the world?

"ETHNE. Now, justice done, I will complete my story.

On the happy meadows was Prince Dermot


And there I won his love; yet could not win
His promise to remain with me forever.

The mortal call of duty sounded still

Upon his ears; he had not learned that Love
Is all, and Love and Duty one in Fairyland.



Well has thou proved thy father's trust, O
Dermot !

ETHNE. Then, since he would return, my bugle horn I gave him; bade him in his direst need

Blow thrice thereon. Straightway would I appear.

My father granted then his suit: consent

To come again to Fairyland and wed

With me; yet charged him he should touch no wine

Before the sun was set upon the day

That saw him in thine hall once more; to tell

No mortal of his healing, under pain

Of coming nevermore to Fairyland.

[ocr errors]

DERMOT. But I have tasted wine, and so



"ETHNE. Peace to thy fears, Belovèd; for the King, My father, in his wisdom judged not thus.

The spirit of thy promise thou hast kept,
Broken the letter only. I am come,

A mortal woman, here to wed with thee,
Bearing my father's blessing. Fairy nature
Is mine no more. Because thou hast touch'd

Never mayest thou return to Fairyland;

But I will stay henceforward in the world,
And by our love shall we be made immortal!

"DERMOT [Embracing Ethne]. By such love am I made immortal now! We shall reign together through the years; and, at the end, pass in the fullness of our time to the meadows we once have known; there live and love forever.

"KING. O Ethne, a hundred thousand thanks were not enough for all that thou hast done! I am forever grateful to the Fairies, the unseen spirits who live to favor mortal men. I welcome thee and Dermot, giving him my throne, and to ye both my blessing. O nobles, choose now whom ye will have to reign!

"NOBLES: [with one voice]. We choose Prince Der


"The moral influence cannot any more be said to be a stigmata on American art," Cassandra broke in on the heels of Psyche's reading. "Mrs.

Aldis's Flashlights,' is a very fine book in every way, and proves that life and art may become acquainted on equal terms without an ethical or moral introduction. This poet presents life nakedly, takes no sides with this or that condition, holds no brief for this or that purpose; expressing only the pity and glory of it. She gives one, too, a sense of security in the free forms that are used, a conviction one does not feel regarding many of the 'new' poets."

[ocr errors]


"Well, I see a very strong moral influence in Mrs. Aldis's poem The Barber Shop,'" Jason wished to correct Cassandra. "I daresay Mrs. Aldis had no notion of exerting any such influence. What she desired to show, I suppose, was that such a girl as that manicurist was simply human, and clean about it, a fact the stupid old world of pious people won't accept. But it isn't in that direction the poem drives home most sharply; it is in the test of the man. A man needn't have a grandfather and four uncles elders in the Sixth Presbyterian Church,' to make him behave decently. I admire that chap for acknowledging his weakness by running away from temptation, but I despise the weakness in human nature that must regard such a frank and honest confession as a temptation. Let me read these appealing lines:

"I spend my life in a warren of worried men.

In and out and to and fro

And up and down in electric elevators
That rush about and speak each other,
Hurrying on to finish the deal,

[ocr errors]

Hurrying home to wash and eat and sleep,
Hurrying to love a little maybe
Between the dark and dawn
Or cuddle a tired child,

Who blinks to see his father.

I hurry too but with a sense
That Life is hurrying faster
And will catch up with me.

"Right in the middle of our furious activity
Two soft-voiced barbers in a little room,
White-tiled and fresh and smelling deliciously,
Flourish their glittering tools,

And smile and barb,

And talk about the war and stocks and the Hono

lulu earthquake

With equal impartiality.

"I like to go there.

Time seems slow and patient

While they tuck me up in white

And hover over me.

The room gives north and west and the sunset sky Lights the grey river to a ribbon of glory,

Where silhouetted tugs,

Like tooting beetles fuss about their smoky busi


"Besides, in that high place

No curious passer-by

Can see my ignominious bald spot treated with a tonic,

Nor can a lady stop and bow to me, my chin in


As happened once;

So I go there often

And even take a book.

"There's another person all in white

Who comes and goes and manicures your nails
On application.

One can read with one hand while she does the


Because I feel that Life is hurrying me along

With horrid haste

Soon to desert me utterly,

I used to take my Inferno in my pocket
And reflect on what might happen
Were I among the usurers.

"One day a low-pitched voice broke in.
I listened vaguely,

What was the woman saying?

'Please listen for a moment, Mister Brown,

I've done your nails for almost half a year;
You've never looked at me.'

I looked at that,

And sure enough the girl was young, and round and


She coloured as I turned to her,

And looked away.

I waited silently, enjoying her confusion.

The words had been shot out at me

And now apparently she wished them back.
'What do you want?' I said.

Again a silence while she rubbed away.
I opened my Inferno with an ironic glance
Towards Paradiso waiting just beyond.
'Well, rub away, my girl,' I thought,
'You opened up, go on.'

« AnkstesnisTęsti »