Puslapio vaizdai

When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care

Plod on, and each one as before will


His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave

Their mirth and their employments, and shall come

And make their bed with thee. As the long train

Of ages glides away, the sons of menThe youth in life's fresh spring, and he who goes

In the full strength of years, matron, and maid,

The speechless babe, and the grayheaded man

Shall one by one be gathered to thy side,

By those, who in their turn shall follow them.

So live, that when thy summons comes to join

The innumerable caravan, which moves

To that mysterious realm, where each shall take

His chamber in the silent halls of death,

Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,

Scourged to his dungeon, but sustained and soothed

By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave

Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch

About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

That last stanza perhaps has comforted, soothed, stirred, and sustained more troubled souls than even Henley's trumpet call "Invictus" or the highly contemporary effusions of Edmund Vance Cooke or Herbert Kaufman. But not to every taste or occasion will it prove most pleasing. Due enjoyment of poetry, as previously suggested, depends no little upon the reader's state of soul and mind.

Those popular favorites, Wordsworth's

“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” Newman's "Lead, Kindly Light," and Wolfe's "Burial of Sir John Moore," with countless diversely touching poetic brethren, depend, for highest appreciation, on the spiritual or intellectual reactions of the reader, as do, indeed, hosts of more strictly formal poems. The fact is that formal poetry is to life and literature in general what the sonata is to music or sculpture is to art.

Formal poetry, to particularize, is the poetry of unusual or specially stressed occasions. One would not willingly spend entire days listening to Beethoven or Handel or Wagner, yet there are times when the lesser musicians fail utterly to interpret soul conditions, emotional attitudes, and strivings. To live in a sculpture gallery would seem to the majority exceedingly oppressive, but who has not found some single statue or group of statuary satisfying in the extreme? Thus it is, naturally enough, in the realms of verbal music and art.

When the glad spirit dances happily along life's highways and byways, then the time

for jocund songs and lightsome lyrics. When moods are tempestuous, the currents of thought or emotion too strong or resistless for the bounding shores of regular meter, then rhymeless poetry, free verse, has its season of delight and honor. When the rhythm of life is dainty, staccato, tripping, the pulsing chante royale, the delicate triolet, the quick-witted vers de société may be sure of warm welcome. When death, dramatic love, glory or other superlative passion absorbs the attention, then the formal, the classic poetry of greatness is enjoyed and understood. To each, in poetry as in all things, its own pure moment and mood.

The sonnet, for example, has been greatly wronged by too general misapprehension. Younglings naturally loving poetry are warned away from the sonnet as from something stiff and artificial. Men and women who would find in it no difficulty if unprejudiced, fight shy of the sonnet because it has been described to them as difficult of comprehension or construction. As a matter of fact, the sonnet is no more artificial or rigid in con

struction than any other standard verse form if obediently followed. And the chiseled elegance of the sonnet has a high, profound beauty like that of a marble bust.

"A Shakespeare sonnet" sounds, perhaps, decidedly formal. The poetry reading beginner would not, it may be, feel especially drawn toward it. And yet-read

Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

or this, the eighteenth of those one hundred and fifty-four Shakespeare sonnets, those insurpassable love poems, that attest the cold" sonnet's possible amatory warmth and worth.

Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And Summer's lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven


« AnkstesnisTęsti »