Puslapio vaizdai

by the obliterating waves of busy living, but -the jingle lingers.

And proves a point that in many ways, natural and scientific, may be firmly pressed home.

Hickory, dickory dock,

The mouse ran up the clock,

The clock struck one, the mouse ran down, Hickory, dickory dock!

How many millions of delighted youngsters have been saddled for life with the burden of this simple ditty who, two seconds after hearing the unadorned statement that "The mouse ran up the clock and down again," would have forgotten all about it? How many millions have preserved through life conscious or subconscious recollection of the not entirely dissimilar legend concerning the unknown "King of France" who, "with all his thousand men," performed not entirely dissimilar evolutions in regard to the "hill" and the "swords" so fruitlessly ascended and drawn?

What makes the jingles so long, so irresist

ibly, remembered?

friends, the rhythm!

The rhythm, good

Pursue the thought a little further. Doesn't expression count for almost as much as material, manner weigh almost as heavily as matter, with most of us? Be outspoken, be honest! Doesn't it sometimes mean more? At all events, and duly observing all conservative proprieties, the way in which a given thing is said surely matters much, at least in the way of resultant impression.

Lovelace, "going to the wars" and informing his fair lady that "Because I am honorable, dear, I am able to love you so much," would have affected an utterance to which, in all probability, even the cherished Lucasta would have paid little attention.

I could not love thee, Dear, so much
Loved I not Honor more,

made the sentiment unforgettable and Lovelace famous. The beauty of the thought is enriched by beauty of setting, the charm of verbal music fixes the idea that, less impressively presented, soon would be swept away.

Why, to impale this thought irretrievably, do we remember "Mandalay" so easily, long and lovingly? Because of the swelling swing and sway that frame, to indulge in excusable mixing of metaphors, the vivid picture.

"Poetry," it has been well said, "is emotion recollected in tranquillity." But poetry also is emotion recollected and reflectedin and by the lilt and swell of song.

Here, then, are two basic and admirable reasons for reading poetry. Poetry, nay, even "verse and worse" as Lamb had it, may make eternal beauty that might otherwise be evanescent, may help, cause, compel us to preserve "beyond chance of change" joys that are in themselves of fleeting order.

But poetry does more. It quickens and inspires the sense of beauty, surely never more needed than at present. We may not all write poetry (though almost everybody does, nowadays, and though certain happy poets believe that children should be taught poetic forms, as the elements of music, with creative possibilities under prospective consideration), but we can all read it. And in the reading of

poetry, like virtue "its own exceeding rich reward," we can enjoy all manner of delightful thrills and impulses and vicarious sentiments and emotions even more easily than at the "movies." The joy of reading poetry, as practical, legitimate and reasonable as that of the stage or painting, consists largely in the increased power of making or realizingvisualizing-mental pictures.

[ocr errors]

"My mind to me a kingdom is," "I wandered lonely as a cloud," "Over the hills and far away,' "The groves were God's first temples," what hosts of lovely images rise in response to these and other beautiful phrases! What vivid, varied, glorious “phantoms of delight" are evoked by repetition, recollection of countless well-loved stanzas, poems, lines!

"We can hear without emotion of a child slain in war so long as we merely understand the fact without imagining," says Brian Hooker, himself a true and delicate poet, discussing "The Practical Use of Poetry;" "but the moment we imagine such a thing, we begin to feel. Poetry is

not alone our common repository of past experience, but to a degree far greater than we realize our source of

present action. The facts of life change and falsify and pass utterly away, but the truth is poetry and shall prevail."

Because our feelings, and manner of feeling, yes, even in war time, are as prone to become standardized, to get into ruts, as our physical habits, anything that aids, induces feeling of right, of keen, of uplifting order is of truest value to mankind.

Who, for commonplace, realistic example, has not redeemed, transfigured a dripping day through thought or repetition of some poem by magic of words transmuting the gloom into beauty? Dripping days recurring frequently in the lives of most humans, such poems are many and varied. Of the popular order most fitting in present connection, Riley's "Why, rain's my choice" and Loveman's "It isn't raining rain to me" spring to mind. most readily. Equally inspiring, if less famous, is Mabel Earle's lovable "Rainy Days."

« AnkstesnisTęsti »