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Title: Modern American Poetry
Author: Untermeyer, Louis
Language: English
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                         MODERN AMERICAN POETRY

                     (_Revised and Enlarged Edition_)


                             LOUIS UNTERMEYER

 Author of “_Challenge_,” “_Including Horace_,” “_The New Era in American
                              Poetry_,” etc.


                                NEW YORK
                      HARCOURT, BRACE AND COMPANY

                       COPYRIGHT, 1919, 1921, BY
                   HARCOURT, BRACE AND COMPANY, INC.

                       PRINTED IN THE U. S. A. BY
                       THE QUINN & SODEN COMPANY
                              RAHWAY, N J



For permission to reprint most of the material in this volume, the
editor wishes to thank not only the poets whose coöperation has been of
such assistance, but also the publishers, all of whom are holders of the
copyright. The indebtedness is alphabetically acknowledged to:

  RICHARD G. BADGER—for the poems from _Sun and Saddle Leather_ and
    _Grass-Grown Trails_ by Badger Clark.

  BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY—for two poems from _The Complete Works of James
    Whitcomb Riley_.

  BRENTANO’S—for two poems from _Chanteys and Ballads_ by Harry Kemp.

  NICHOLAS L. BROWN—for the poem from _Blood of Things_ by Alfred

  THE CENTURY COMPANY—for the selections from _Merchants from Cathay_ by
    William Rose Benét and _War and Laughter_ by James Oppenheim.

  THE CENTURY MAGAZINE—for “Lake Song” by Jean Starr Untermeyer.

  DODD, MEAD & COMPANY—for the two poems from _Lyrics of Lowly Life_ and
    one poem from _Lyrics of Love and Laughter_ by Paul Laurence Dunbar.

  GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY—for the selections from _Moons of Grandeur_ by
    William Rose Benét, _Banners_ by Babette Deutsch, _Trees and Other
    Poems_ by Joyce Kilmer, and _Hide and Seek_ by Christopher Morley.

  DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY—for the selections from _In Other Words_ and
    _Tobogganning on Parnassus_ by Franklin P. Adams, _The Man with the
    Hoe_ and _Lincoln and Other Poems_ by Edwin Markham.

  E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY—for the selections from _The Vale of Tempe_ by
    Madison Cawein and _Lanterns in Gethsemane_ by Willard Wattles.

  FOUR SEAS COMPANY—for the quotations from _The Charnel Rose_, _The Jig
    of Forslin_ and _The House of Dust_ by Conrad Aiken.

  HILLACRE BOOKHOUSE—for the quotations from _Arrows in the Gale_ by
    Arturo Giovannitti.

  HARCOURT, BRACE & COMPANY—for the selections from _A Miscellany of
    American Poetry—1920_; _Canzoni_ and _Carmina_ by T. A. Daly,
    _Piping and Panning_ by Edwin Meade Robinson, _Smoke and Steel_ by
    Carl Sandburg, _Challenge_ and _The New Adam_ by Louis Untermeyer,
    and _The Roamer and Other Poems_ by George Edward Woodberry.

  HARPER & BROTHERS—for the selections from _Fables for the Frivolous_
    by Guy Wetmore Carryl and _Dreams and Dust_ by Don Marquis.

  HARR WAGNER PUBLISHING CO.—for the selections from _The Complete
    Poetical Works of Joaquin Miller_.

  HENRY HOLT & COMPANY—for the selections from _Wilderness Songs_ by
    Grace Hazard Conkling, _Portraits and Protests_ by Sarah N.
    Cleghorn, _A Boy’s Will_, _North of Boston_, and _Mountain Interval_
    by Robert Frost; _Outcasts in Beulah Land_ by Roy Helton, _Chicago
    Poems_ and _Cornhuskers_ by Carl Sandburg, _These Times_ by Louis
    Untermeyer, and _Factories_ by Margaret Widdemer.

  The selections from _The Complete Poems of Thomas Bailey Aldrich_,
    _The Complete Works of Bret Harte_, _The Shoes That Danced_ by Anna
    Hempstead Branch, _Davy and the Goblin_ by Charles E. Carryl, _Grimm
    Tales Made Gay_ by Guy Wetmore Carryl, _Riders of the Stars_ and
    _Songs of the Trail_ by Harry Herbert Knibbs, _Poems and Poetic
    Dramas_ by William Vaughn Moody, _Lyrics of Joy_ by Frank Dempster
    Sherman, _Poems_ by Edward Rowland Sill, _Sea Garden_ by “H. D.,”
    and the quotations from _Some Imagist Poets—1916_ and _Some Imagist
    Poets—1917_ are used by permission of, and by special arrangement
    with HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY, the authorized publishers.

  B. W. HUEBSCH—for the selections from _A Family Album_ by Alter Brody,
    _The Vaunt of Man_ by William Ellery Leonard, _The Ghetto_ and
    _Sun-Up_ by Lola Ridge, _Optimos_ by Horace Traubel, _Growing Pains_
    and _Dreams out of Darkness_ by Jean Starr Untermeyer, and _The
    Hesitant Heart_ by Winifred Welles.

  ALFRED A. KNOPF—for the selections from _A Canticle of Pan_ by Witter
    Bynner, _Colors of Life_ by Max Eastman, _Poems_ by T. S. Eliot,
    _Asphalt and Other Poems_ by Orrick Johns, _Mushrooms_ by Alfred
    Kreymborg, _Songs for the New Age_ by James Oppenheim, _Lustra_ by
    Ezra Pound, _Profiles from China_ and _Body and Raiment_ by Eunice

  THE LAURENTIAN PUBLISHERS—for the poem from _Motley Measures_ by Bert
    Leston Taylor.

  THE LIBERATOR—for a poem by Jean Starr Untermeyer.

  LITTLE, BROWN & COMPANY—for the selections from _Poems_ and
    _Poems—Third Series_ by Emily Dickinson.

  THE MACMILLAN COMPANY—for the selections from _Poems_ by Gladys
    Cromwell, _Youth Riding_ by Mary Carolyn Davies, _The Congo and
    Other Poems_ and _The Chinese Nightingale_ by Vachel Lindsay, _Sword
    Blades and Poppy Seed_ and _Pictures of the Floating World_ by Amy
    Lowell, _Spoon River Anthology_ and _Songs and Satires_ by Edgar Lee
    Masters, _The Quest_ by John G. Neihardt, _The Man Against the Sky_
    by Edwin Arlington Robinson, _Love Songs_ and _Flame and Shadow_ by
    Sara Teasdale, _Bluestone_ by Marguerite Wilkinson.

  ROBERT M. MCBRIDE & COMPANY—for the two poems taken from _From the
    Hidden Way_ by James Branch Cabell.

  THE MANAS PRESS—for the selections from _Verse_ by Adelaide Crapsey.

  THOMAS B. MOSHER—for the selections from _A Quiet Road_ and _A Wayside
    Lute_ by Lizette Woodworth Reese and _The Flower from the Ashes_ by
    Edith M. Thomas.

  THE NEW REPUBLIC—for a poem by Ridgely Torrence.

  PAGAN PUBLISHING COMPANY—for two poems from _Minna and Myself_ by
    Maxwell Bodenheim.

  POETRY: A MAGAZINE OF VERSE—for the two poems by Edwin Ford Piper and
    a sonnet by David Morton.

  A. M. ROBERTSON—for the sonnet from _The House of Orchids_ by George

  CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS—for the selections from _Poems_ by Henry
    Cuyler Bunner, _Poems_ by Eugene Field, _The Bashful Earthquake_ by
    Oliver Herford, _Poems of Sidney Lanier_, _The Children of the
    Night_ and _The Town Down the River_ by Edwin Arlington Robinson,
    and _Poems_ by Alan Seeger.

  FRANK SHAY—for the quotation from _Figs from Thistles_ by Edna St.
    Vincent Millay.

  SHERMAN, FRENCH & COMPANY—for the two poems from _The Human Fantasy_
    and _The Belovèd Adventure_ by John Hall Wheelock.

  SMALL, MAYNARD & COMPANY—for the selections from _Ballads of Lost
    Haven_ by Bliss Carman, _Along the Trail_ by Richard Hovey, _Songs
    from Vagabondia_ and _More Songs from Vagabondia_ by Richard Hovey
    and Bliss Carman, and the poem by Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman.

  THE SONNET—for _Frustrate_ by Leslie Nelson Jennings.

  F. A. STOKES COMPANY—for the selections from _War Is Kind_ by Stephen
    Crane, _Grenstone Poems_ by Witter Bynner, and _Poems by a Little
    Girl_ by Hilda Conkling.

  STURGIS & WALTON COMPANY—for the poem from _Monday Morning_ by James

  VANITY FAIR—for “Wild Swans” and a sonnet by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

  THE YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS—for selections from _Young Adventure_ by
    Stephen Vincent Benét and _The Burglar of the Zodiac_ by William
    Rose Benét.

  THE YALE REVIEW—for “The Onset” by Robert Frost.

For several suggestions toward the preparation of this revised edition I
am especially indebted to Professors Percy H. Boynton, John Livingston
Lowes, Fred Lewis Pattee and Floyd Dell. This acknowledgment is a slight
expression of my gratitude as well as a record of my obligation.



 PREFACE                                                            xvii

 EMILY DICKINSON (1830–1886)
     Chartless                                                         4
     Indian Summer                                                     4
     Suspense                                                          5
     The Railway Train                                                 6
     A Cemetery                                                        6
     Beclouded                                                         7

     Memory                                                            8
     “Enamored Architect of Airy Rhyme”                                9
     Two Quatrains:
         Maple Leaves                                                  9
         Pessimist and Optimist                                       10

 JOHN HAY (1838–1905)
     Jim Bludso                                                       11
     Banty Tim                                                        13

 BRET HARTE (1839–1902)
     “Jim”                                                            16
     Plain Language from Truthful James                               19

 JOAQUIN MILLER (1841–1913)
     By the Pacific Ocean                                             23
     Crossing the Plains                                              24
     From “Byron”                                                     25

     Solitude                                                         26
     Dare You?                                                        26

 SIDNEY LANIER (1842–1881)
     Song of the Chattahoochee                                        29
     Night and Day                                                    31
     From “The Marshes of Glynn”                                      32

     The Plaint of the Camel                                          34
     Robinson Crusoe’s Story                                          35

     “When the Frost is on the Punkin”                                39
     A Parting Guest                                                  41

 EUGENE FIELD (1850–1895)
     Our Two Opinions                                                 43
     Little Boy Blue                                                  44
     Seein’ Things                                                    45

 EDWIN MARKHAM (1852–    )
     Outwitted                                                        48
     The Man with the Hoe                                             49
     Preparedness                                                     51
     Lincoln, The Man of the People                                   51

 C. E. S. WOOD (1852–    )
     Sunrise                                                          53
     The Desert                                                       54

 IRWIN RUSSELL (1853–1879)
     Blessing the Dance                                               56
     De Fust Banjo                                                    58

 EDITH M. THOMAS (1854–    )
     “Frost To-Night”                                                 61

     Immortal Love                                                    62
     A Song of Sunrise                                                63

 H. C. BUNNER (1855–1896)
     Shake, Mulleary and Go-ethe                                      64
     Behold the Deeds                                                 66
     A Pitcher of Mignonette                                          68

     Tears                                                            69
     The Dust                                                         70
     Spicewood                                                        70

 HORACE TRAUBEL (1858–1919)
     How Are You, Dear World, This Morning?                           72
     O My Dead Comrade                                                74

     At Midnight                                                      76
     Bacchus                                                          76
     Two Quatrains:
         Ivy                                                          77
         Dawn                                                         78

 CHARLOTTE P. S. GILMAN (1860–    )
     A Conservative                                                   78

     The Wild Ride                                                    80

 BLISS CARMAN (1861–    )
     A Vagabond Song                                                  83
     The Gravedigger                                                  83
     Hem and Haw                                                      86
     Daisies                                                          87

 RICHARD BURTON (1861–    )
     Black Sheep                                                      88

 OLIVER HERFORD (1863–    )
     Earth                                                            89
     The Elf and the Dormouse                                         90

 RICHARD HOVEY (1864–1900)
     At the Crossroads                                                92
     Unmanifest Destiny                                               94
     Love in the Winds                                                95
     A Stein Song                                                     95

 MADISON CAWEIN (1865–1914)
     Snow                                                             98
     The Man Hunt                                                     98
     Penury                                                          100
     Deserted                                                        100

     Canopus                                                         101

     From “Jetsam”                                                   103
     Pandora’s Song                                                  104
     On a Soldier Fallen in the Philippines                          105

 GEORGE STERLING (1869–    )
     The Black Vulture                                               107
     The Master Mariner                                              108

     Miniver Cheevy                                                  111
     The Gift of God                                                 112
     The Master                                                      114
     An Old Story                                                    117
     Richard Cory                                                    117
     Vain Gratuities                                                 118
     The Dark Hills                                                  119

 EDGAR LEE MASTERS (1869–    )
     Petit, The Poet                                                 121
     Lucinda Matlock                                                 122
     Anne Rutledge                                                   123
     Silence                                                         123

 STEPHEN CRANE (1871–1900)
     I Saw a Man                                                     127
     The Wayfarer                                                    128
     Hymn                                                            128
     The Blades of Grass                                             129

 EDWIN FORD PIPER (1871–    )
     Bindlestiff                                                     130
     Sweetgrass Range                                                132

 T. A. DALY (1871–    )
     The Song of the Thrush                                          134
     Mia Carlotta                                                    135
     Between Two Loves                                               136

     The Turning of the Babies in the Bed                            138
     A Coquette Conquered                                            140
     Discovered                                                      141

     How Jack Found that Beans May Go Back on a Chap                 143
     The Sycophantic Fox and the Gullible Raven                      145
     How a Cat Was Annoyed and a Poet Was Booted                     147

 H. H. KNIBBS (1874–    )
     The Valley That God Forgot                                      151
     Roll a Rock Down                                                153
     The Trail-Makers                                                155

     The Monk in the Kitchen                                         158
     While Loveliness Goes By                                        162

 AMY LOWELL (1874–    )
     Solitaire                                                       165
     Meeting-House Hill                                              165
     A Lady                                                          166
     Free Fantasia on Japanese Themes                                167
     Madonna of the Evening Flowers                                  169
     Wind and Silver                                                 170

     The Bird and the Tree                                           171
     The Son                                                         173

 ROBERT FROST (1875–    )
     Mending Wall                                                    177
     The Tuft of Flowers                                             178
     The Death of the Hired Man                                      181
     Good-Bye and Keep Cold                                          187
     The Runaway                                                     188
     Birches                                                         189
     Fragmentary Blue                                                191
     The Onset                                                       192

     The Image of Delight                                            193
     To the Victor                                                   194

 SARAH N. CLEGHORN (1876–    )
     The Survival of the Fittest                                     195
     The Incentive                                                   195

 CARL SANDBURG (1878–    )
     Cool Tombs                                                      198
     Fog                                                             199
     From “Smoke and Steel”                                          199
     Blue Island Intersection                                        202
     Clean Curtains                                                  203
     A. E. F.                                                        204
     Nocturne in a Deserted Brickyard                                205
     Grass                                                           205

     Three Cinquains:
         November Night                                              206
         Triad                                                       207
         The Warning                                                 207
     On Seeing Weather-Beaten Trees                                  207

     The Whole Duty of Berkshire Brooks                              208
     Frost on a Window                                               208

     Battle-Song of Failure                                          209

 DON MARQUIS (1878–    )
     Unrest                                                          211

 JOHN ERSKINE (1879–    )
     Dedication                                                      213

     Sea-Scapes                                                      214
     One End of Love                                                 215

 VACHEL LINDSAY (1879–    )
     The Eagle That Is Forgotten                                     219
     The Congo                                                       221
     To a Golden Haired Girl in a Louisiana Town                     229
     The Traveller                                                   229
     A Negro Sermon:—Simon Legree                                    230
     Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight                               232

     How He Turned Out                                               234
     “Halcyon Days”                                                  236

 FRANKLIN P. ADAMS (1881–    )
     War and Peace                                                   238
     The Rich Man                                                    238
     Those Two Boys                                                  239

 JOHN G. NEIHARDT (1881–    )
     When I Am Dead                                                  241
     Cry of the People                                               241
     Let Me Live Out My Years                                        242

 WITTER BYNNER (1881–    )
     Grass-Tops                                                      244
     Voices                                                          244
     A Farmer Remembers Lincoln                                      245
     Train-Mates                                                     246

 JAMES OPPENHEIM (1882–    )
     The Runner in the Skies                                         250
     The Slave                                                       250
     Tasting the Earth                                               251
     The Lincoln Child                                               252
     Night Note                                                      257

     Echoes of Childhood                                             258

     Passages from “The Ghetto”                                      262
     New Orleans                                                     265
     Wind in the Alleys                                              265

     Peter Quince at the Clavier                                     266

     Old Manuscript                                                  270
     Dawns                                                           271
     Her Eyes                                                        272
     Improvisation                                                   272

     Portrait of an Old Woman                                        274
     The Three Sisters                                               275
     Sonnet                                                          275

 BADGER CLARK (1883–    )
     The Glory Trail                                                 276
     The Coyote                                                      279

     Before Dawn in the Woods                                        280

 HARRY KEMP (1883–    )
     Street Lamps                                                    282
     A Phantasy of Heaven                                            282

 MAX EASTMAN (1883–    )
     Coming to Port                                                  284
     Hours                                                           285
     At the Aquarium                                                 285

     From “The Walker”                                               287

 EUNICE TIETJENS (1884–    )
     The Most-Sacred Mountain                                        290
     The Drug Clerk                                                  291

 SARA TEASDALE (1884–    )
     Night Song at Amalfi                                            294
     Spring Night                                                    295
     I Shall Not Care                                                296
     The Long Hill                                                   296
     Water Lilies                                                    297
     Tired                                                           298

 GLADYS CROMWELL (1885–1919)
     The Crowning Gift                                               299
     The Mould                                                       300

 EZRA POUND (1885–    )
     A Girl                                                          302
     A Virginal                                                      303
     Ballad for Gloom                                                303
     Δωρια                                                           305
     In a Station of the Metro                                       305

     Summons                                                         307
     Caliban in the Coal Mines                                       309
     Swimmers                                                        309
     Hands                                                           312
     A Side Street                                                   312

     High Tide                                                       315
     Autumn                                                          316
     Sinfonia Domestica                                              317
     Lake Song                                                       318

     The Swan                                                        320
     London Nightfall                                                321
     Dawn                                                            322
     Lincoln                                                         323
     The Skaters                                                     327

 “H. D.” (1886–    )
     Oread                                                           328
     Pear Tree                                                       329
     Heat                                                            329
     Lethe                                                           330

     Merchants from Cathay                                           331
     Night                                                           335
     How to Catch Unicorns                                           336

     Sunday Evening in the Common                                    338
     Beauty                                                          339
     Love and Liberation                                             339
     Nirvana                                                         340

 JOYCE KILMER (1886–1918)
     Trees                                                           341
     Martin                                                          342

 SHAEMAS O SHEEL (1886–    )
     They Went Forth to Battle, But They Always Fell                 344

 ROY HELTON (1886–    )
     In Passing                                                      346

 DAVID MORTON (1886–    )
     Symbols                                                         347
     Old Ships                                                       347

 ORRICK JOHNS (1887–    )
     The Interpreter                                                 348
     Little Things                                                   349

     Factories                                                       350
     The Two Dyings                                                  351
     The Modern Woman to Her Lover                                   352

 ALAN SEEGER (1888–1916)
     “I Have a Rendezvous with Death”                                353

 WILLARD WATTLES (1888–    )
     The Builder                                                     355
     Creeds                                                          356

 T. S. ELIOT (1888–    )
     Morning at the Window                                           357
     From “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”                      357
     Prelude                                                         358

 CONRAD AIKEN (1889–    )
     Chance Meetings                                                 360
     The Fulfilled Dream                                             360
     Miracles                                                        363
     Morning Song from “Senlin”                                      364

     Quickening                                                      367

     Frustrate                                                       368

     Poet to His Love                                                369
     Old Age                                                         370
     Death                                                           370

 EDWIN CURRAN (1892–    )
     Autumn                                                          372
     The Painted Hills of Arizona                                    372

     God’s World                                                     374
     Renascence                                                      375
     Pity Me Not                                                     382
     I Shall Go Back                                                 382
     The Pear Tree                                                   383
     Wild Swans                                                      383

     The Day Before April                                            384
     The Apple Tree Said                                             385

 WINIFRED WELLES (1893–    )
     From a Chinese Vase                                             386
     Humiliation                                                     386
     Love Song from New England                                      387

 HERBERT S. GORMAN (1893–    )
     The Fanatic                                                     388

 BABETTE DEUTSCH (1895–    )
     The Death of a Child                                            389
     In a Museum                                                     390

 ALTER BRODY (1895–    )
     A City Park                                                     391
     Searchlights                                                    391
     Ghetto Twilight                                                 392

     Portrait of a Boy                                               393

 HILDA CONKLING (1910–    )
     Water                                                           395
     Hay-Cock                                                        396
     The Old Bridge                                                  396
     I Keep Wondering                                                397

 A SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY                                             399

 INDEX OF AUTHORS AND POEMS                                          401

                       _The Civil War—and After_

The end of the Civil War marked the end of a literary epoch. The New
England group, containing (if Poe could be added) all the great names of
the ante-bellum period, began to disintegrate. The poets had outsung
themselves; it was a time of surrender and swansongs. Unable to respond
to the new forces of political nationalism and industrial
reconstruction, the Brahmins (that famous group of intellectuals who
dominated literary America) withdrew into their libraries. Poets like
Longfellow, Bryant, Taylor, turned their eyes away from the native
scene, rhapsodized endlessly about Europe, echoed the “parlor poetry” of
England, or left creative writing altogether and occupied themselves
with translations. “They had been borne into an era in which they had no
part,” writes Fred Lewis Pattee (_A History of American Literature Since
1870_), “and they contented themselves with reëchoings of the old
music.” ... Within a single period of six years, from 1867 to 1872,
there appeared Longfellow’s _Divina Commedia_, C. E. Norton’s _Vita
Nuova_, T. W. Parson’s _Inferno_, William Cullen Bryant’s _Iliad_ and
_Odyssey_, and Bayard Taylor’s _Faust_.

Suddenly the break came. America developed a national consciousness; the
West discovered itself, and the East discovered the West. Grudgingly at
first, the aristocratic leaders made way for a new expression; crude,
jangling, vigorously democratic. The old order was changing with a
vengeance. All the preceding writers—poets like Emerson, Thoreau,
Lowell, Longfellow, Holmes—were not only products of the New England
colleges, but typically “Boston gentlemen of the early Renaissance.” To
them the new men must have seemed like a regiment recruited from the
ranks of vulgarity. Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Bret Harte, John Hay,
Joaquin Miller, Joel Chandler Harris, James Whitcomb Riley—these were
men who had graduated from the farm, the frontier, the mine, the
pilot-house, the printer’s shop! For a while, the movement seemed of
little consequence; the impact of Whitman and the Westerners was
averted. The poets of the transition, with a deliberate art, ignored the
surge of a spontaneous national expression. They were even successful in
holding it back. But it was gathering force.

                        THE “POST-MORTEM” PERIOD

The nineteenth century, up to its last quarter, had been a period of new
vistas and revolts: a period of protest and iconoclasm—the era of
Shelley and Byron, the prophets of “liberty, equality and fraternity.”
It left no immediate heirs. In England, its successors by default were
the lesser Victorians.[1] In America, the intensity and power of men
like Emerson and Whittier gave way to the pale romanticism and polite
banter of the transition, or, what might even more fittingly be called
the “post-mortem” poets. For these interim lyrists were frankly the
singers of reaction, reminiscently digging among the bones of a
long-dead past. They burrowed and borrowed, half archaeologists, half
artisans; impelled not so much by the need of creating poetry as the
desire to write it.

From 1866 to 1880 the United States was in a chaotic and frankly
materialistic condition; it was full of political scandals, panics,
frauds, malfeasance in high places. The moral fiber was flabby; the
country was apathetic, corrupt and contented. As in all such periods of
national unconcern, the artists turned from life altogether,
preoccupying themselves with the by-products of art: with method and
technique, with elaborate and artificial conceits, with facile ideas
rather than fundamental ideals. Bayard Taylor, Thomas Buchanan Read,
Richard Henry Stoddard, Paul Hamilton Hayne, Thomas Bailey Aldrich-all
of these authors, in an effort to escape a reality they could not
express and did not even wish to understand, fled to a more congenial
realm of fantasy. They took the easiest routes to a prim and academic
Arcadia, to a cloying and devitalized Orient or a mildly sensuous and
treacle-dripping Greece. In short, they followed wherever Keats, Shelley
(in his lesser lyrics) and Tennyson seemed to lead them. However, not
being explorers themselves, they ventured no further than their
predecessors, but remained politely in the rear; repeating dulcetly what
they had learned from their greater guides—pronouncing it with little
variety but with a vast and sentimental unction. In their desperate
preöccupation with lures and legends overseas, they were not, except for
the accident of birth, American at all; all of them owed much more to
old England than to New England.

                              WALT WHITMAN

Whitman, who was to influence future generations so profoundly in Europe
as well as in America, had already appeared. The third edition of that
stupendous volume, _Leaves of Grass_, had been printed in 1860. Almost
immediately after, the publisher failed and the book passed out of
public notice. But private scrutiny was keen. In 1865 a petty official
discovered that Whitman was the author of the “notorious” _Leaves of
Grass_ and, in spite of his great sacrifices in nursing hundreds of
wounded soldiers, in spite of his many past services and his present
poverty, the offending poet was dismissed from his small clerkship in
the Department of the Interior at Washington, D. C. Other reverses
followed rapidly. But Whitman, broken in health and cheated by his
exploiters, lived to see not only a seventh edition of his great work
published in 1881, but a complete collection printed in his
seventy-third year (1892) in which the twelve poems of the experimental
first edition had grown to nearly four hundred.

The influence of Whitman can scarcely be overestimated. It has touched
every shore of letters, quickened every current of art. And yet, as late
as 1900, Barrett Wendell in his _Literary History of America_ could
speak of Whitman’s “eccentric insolence of phrase and temper” and,
perturbed by the poet’s increasing vogue across the Atlantic (Whitman
had been hailed by men as eminent as Swinburne, Symonds, Rossetti), he
is led to write such a preposterous sentence as “In temperament and
style he was an exotic member of that sterile brotherhood which eagerly
greeted him abroad.”

Such a judgment would be impossible today. Whitman has been acclaimed by
a great and growing public, not only here but in England, Germany, Italy
and France. He has been hailed as prophet, as pioneer, as rebel, as the
fiery humanist and, most frequently, as liberator. He is, in spite of
the rhetorical flourish, the Lincoln of our literature. The whole scheme
of _Leaves of Grass_ is inclusive rather than exclusive; its form is
elemental, dynamic, free.

Nor was it only in the relatively minor matter of form that Whitman
became our great poetic emancipator. He led the way toward a wider
aspect of democracy; he took his readers out of fusty, lamp-lit
libraries into the coarse sunlight and the buoyant air. He was, as
Burroughs wrote, preëminently the poet of vista; his work had the power
“to open doors and windows, to let down bars rather than to put them up,
to dissolve forms, to escape narrow boundaries, to plant the reader on a
hill rather than in a corner.” He could do this because, first of all,
he believed implicitly in life—in its physical as well as its spiritual
manifestations; he sought to grasp existence as a whole, not rejecting
the things that, to other minds, had seemed trivial or tawdry. The
cosmic and the commonplace were synonymous to him; he declared he was
part of the most elemental, primitive things and constantly identified
himself with them.

        _“What is commonest, cheapest, nearest, easiest is Me.”_

And by “me” he meant not only himself but any man; Whitman’s entire
work, which has so often been misunderstood as the outpourings of
egotism, was never so much a celebration of himself as a glorification
of the ordinary man, “the divine average.”

It was this breadth, this jubilant acceptance that made Whitman so keen
a lover of casual and ordinary things; he was the first of our poets to
reveal “the glory of the commonplace.” He transmuted, by the intensity
of his emotion, material which had been hitherto regarded as too
unpoetic for poetry. His long poem “Song of Myself” is an excellent
example. Here his “barbaric yawp,” sounded “over the roofs of the
world,” is softened, time and again, to express a lyric ecstasy and naïf

 I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,
 And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of
    the wren,
 And the tree-toad is a chef-d’œuvre of the highest,
 And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,
 And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,
 And the cow, crunching with depressed head, surpasses any statue,
 And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels!

It is this large naturalism, this affection for all that is homely and
of the soil, that sets Whitman apart from his fellow-craftsmen as our
first American poet. This blend of familiarity and grandeur, this racy
but religious mysticism animates all his work. It swings with tremendous
vigor through “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”; it sharpens the sturdy rhythms
(and occasional rhymes) of the “Song of the Broad-Axe”; it beats
sonorously through “Drum-Taps”; it whispers immortally through the
“Memories of President Lincoln” (particularly that magnificent threnody
“When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed”); it quickens the “Song of
the Open Road” with what Tennyson called “the glory of going on,” and
lifts with a biblical solemnity in his most famous “Out of the Cradle
Endlessly Rocking.”

Whitman did not scorn the past; no one was quicker than he to see its
wealth and glories. But most of the older flowerings belonged to their
own era; they were foreign to our country—transplanted, they did not
seem to flourish on this soil. What was original with many transatlantic
poets was being merely aped by facile and unoriginal bards in these
states; concerned only with the myths of other and older countries, they
were blind to the living legends of their own. In his “Song of the
Exposition” Whitman not only wrote his own _credo_, he uttered the
manifesto of the new generation—especially in these lines:

 Come Muse, migrate from Greece and Ionia.
 Cross out, please, those immensely overpaid accounts;
 That matter of Troy and Achilles’ wrath, and Aeneas’, Odysseus’
 Placard “Removed” and “To Let” on the rocks of your snowy Parnassus ...
 For know that a better, fresher, busier sphere, a wider, untried domain
    awaits, demands you.

                       THE AWAKENING OF THE WEST

By 1870 the public had been surfeited with sugared conceits and
fine-spun delicacies. For almost twelve years, Whitman had stormed at
the affectations and over-refinements of the period but comparatively
few had listened. Yet an instinctive distaste for the prevailing
superficialities had been growing, and when the West began to express
itself in the raw accents of Mark Twain and Bret Harte, the people
turned to them with enthusiasm and no little relief. Mark Twain, a prose
Whitman, revealed the romantic Mississippi and the vast mid-West; Bret
Harte, beginning a new American fiction in 1868, ushered in the wild
humor and wilder poetry of California. It is still a question whether
Bret Harte or John Hay first discovered the literary importance of Pike
County narratives. Twain was positive that Hay was the pioneer;
documentary evidence points to Harte. But it is indisputable that Harte
developed—and even overdeveloped—the possibilities of his backgrounds,
whereas Hay after a few brilliant ballads, reverted to his early poetic
ideals and turned to the production of studied, polished and
undistinguished verse. Lacking the tremendous gusto of Mark Twain or
even the native accuracy of Hay, Bret Harte perfected a terse, dramatic
idiom. Less exuberant than his compeers, he became more skilful in
making his situations “effective”; he popularized dialect, sharpening
his outlines and intensifying the power of his prose. Harte’s was an
influence that found its echo in the Hoosier stories of Edward Eggleston
and made so vivid an impress on nineteenth century literature.

To the loose swagger of the West, two other men added their diverse
contributions. Edward Rowland Sill, cut short just as his work was
gaining headway and strength, brought to it a gentle radicalism, a calm
and cultured honesty; Joaquin Miller, rushing to the other extreme,
theatricalized and exaggerated all he touched. He shouted platitudes at
the top of his voice; his lines boomed with the pomposity of a brass
band; floods, fires, hurricanes, extravagantly blazing sunsets,
Amazonian women, the thunder of a herd of buffaloes—all were
unmercifully piled on. And yet, even in its most blatant _fortissimos_,
Miller’s poetry occasionally captured the lavish grandeur of his
surroundings, the splendor of the Sierras, the surge and spirit of the
Western world.

Now that the leadership of letters had passed from the East, all parts
of the country began to try their voices. The West continued to hold its
tuneful supremacy; the tradition of Harte and Hay was followed (softened
and sentimentalized) by Eugene Field and James Whitcomb Riley. In the
South, Irwin Russell was pioneering in negro dialect (1875), Sidney
Lanier fashioned his intricate harmonies (1879), and Madison Cawein was
beginning to create his tropical and over-luxuriant lyrics. A few years
later (in 1888) Russell brought out his faithfully-rendered _Dialect
Poems_ and the first phase of the American renascence had passed.

                    REACTION AND REVOLT IN THE ’90S

The reaction set in at the beginning of the last decade of the
nineteenth century. The passionate urge had spent itself, and in its
place there remained nothing but that minor form of art which concerns
itself less with creation than with re-creation. These re-creators wrote
verse that was precise, scholarly and patently reproductive of their
predecessors. “In 1890,” writes Percy H. Boynton, “the poetry-reading
world was chiefly conscious of the passing of its leading singers for
the last half-century. It was a period when they were recalling
Emerson’s ‘Terminus’ and Longfellow’s ‘Ultima Thule,’ Whittier’s ‘A
Lifetime,’ Tennyson’s ‘Crossing the Bar,’ and Browning’s
‘Asolando.’” ... The poetry of this period (whether it is the hard
chiseled verse of John B. Tabb or the ornate delicacy of Richard Watson
Gilder) breathes a kind of moribund resignation; it is dead because it
detached itself from the actual world, because it attempted to be a
copied embellishment rather than an interpretation of life. But those
who regarded poetry chiefly as a not too energetic indoor-exercise were
not to rule unchallenged. Restlessness was in the air and revolt openly
declared itself with the publication of _Songs from Vagabondia_ (1894),
_More Songs from Vagabondia_ (1896) and _Last Songs from Vagabondia_
(1900). No one could have been more surprised at the tremendous
popularity of these care-free celebrations (the first of the three
collections went through seven rapid editions) than the young authors,
Richard Hovey and Bliss Carman. For theirs was a revolt without a
program, a headlong flight to escape—what? In the very first poem, Hovey
voices their manifesto:

                        Off with the fetters
                        That chafe and restrain!
                        Off with the chain!
                        Here Art and Letters,
                        Music and Wine
                        And Myrtle and Wanda,
                        The winsome witches,
                        Blithely combine.
                        Here is Golconda,
                        Here are the Indies,
                        Here we are free—
                        Free as the wind is,
                        Free as the sea,

Free for what? one asks doggedly. Hovey does not answer directly, but
with unflagging buoyancy, whipped up by scorn for the smug ones, he

                       I tell you that we,
                       While you are smirking
                       And lying and shirking
                       Life’s duty of duties,
                       Honest sincerity,
                       We are in verity
                       Free to rejoice
                       In blisses and beauties!
                       Free as the voice
                       Of the wind as it passes!
                       Free ... _etc._

Free, one concludes, to dwell with Music and Wine, Myrtle and Wanda, Art
and Letters. Free, in short, to follow, with a more athletic energy, the
same ideals as the parlor-poets they gibed so relentlessly. And the new
insurgence triumphed. It was the heartiness, the gypsy jollity, the rush
of high spirits that conquered. Readers of the _Vagabondia_ books were
swept along by their speed faster than by their philosophy.

The enthusiastic acceptance of these new apostles of outdoor vigor was,
however, not as much of an accident as it seemed. On one side, the world
of art, the public was wearied by barren philosophizing set to tinkling
music; on the other, the world of action, it was faced by a staggering
growth of materialism which it feared. Hovey, Carman and their imitators
offered a swift and stirring way out. But it was neither an effectual
nor a permanent escape. The war with Spain, the industrial turmoil, the
growth of social consciousness and new ideas of responsibility made
America look for fresh valuations, more searching songs. Hovey began to
go deeper into himself and his age; in the mid-West, William Vaughn
Moody grappled with the problems of his times only to have his work cut
short by death in 1910. But these two were exceptions; in the main, it
was another interval—two decades of appraisal and expectancy, of pause
and preparation.


This interval of about twenty years was notable for its effort to treat
the spirit of the times with a cheerful evasiveness, a humorous
unconcern; its most representative craftsmen were, with four exceptions,
the writers of light verse. These four exceptions were Richard Hovey,
Bliss Carman, William Vaughn Moody and Edwin Markham. Both Hovey (in his
_Along the Trail_ and his modernization of _Launcelot_ and _Guenevere_,
a poetic drama in five books) and Carman (in his later poems like _Songs
of the Sea Children_) saw wider horizons and tuned their instruments to
a larger music.

Moody’s power was still greater. In “An Ode in Time of Hesitation,” he
protested against turning the “new-world victories into gain” and
painted America on a majestic canvas. In “The Quarry” he celebrated
America’s part in preventing the breaking-up of China by the greedy
empires of Europe (an act accomplished by John Hay, poet and diplomat).
In “On a Soldier Fallen in the Philippines,” a dirge wrenched from the
depths of his nature, Moody cried out against our own grasping
imperialists. It was the fulfilment of this earlier poem which found its
fierce climax in the lengthy Ode, with lines like:

         Was it for this our fathers kept the law?
         This crown shall crown their struggle and their ruth?
         Are we the eagle nation Milton saw
         Mewing its mighty youth?...
         ... O ye who lead
         Take heed!
         Blindness we may forgive, but baseness we will smite.

Early in 1899, the name of Edwin Markham flashed across the land when,
out of San Francisco, rose the sonorous challenge of “The Man with the
Hoe.” This poem, which has been ecstatically called “the battle-cry of
the next thousand years” (Joaquin Miller declared it contained “the
whole Yosemite—the thunder, the might, the majesty”), caught up, with a
prophetic vibrancy, the passion for social justice that was waiting to
be intensified in poetry. Markham summed up and spiritualized the unrest
that was in the air; in the figure of one man with a hoe, he drew a
picture of men in the mines, men in the sweat-shop, men working without
joy, without hope. To social consciousness he added social conscience.
In a ringing blank verse, Markham crystallized the expression of
outrage, the heated ferment of the period. His was a vision of a new
order, austere in beauty but deriving its life-blood from the millions
struggling in the depths.

Inspiring as these examples were, they did not generate others of their
kind; the field lay fallow for more than a decade. The lull was
pronounced, the gathering storm remained inaudible.


Suddenly the “new” poetry burst upon us with unexpected vigor and
extraordinary variety. Moody and Markham were its immediate forerunners;
Whitman its godfather. October, 1912, saw the first issue of _Poetry: A
Magazine of Verse_, a monthly that was to introduce the work of hitherto
unknown poets and to herald, with an eager impartiality, the various
groups, schools and “movements.” The magazine came at the very moment
before the breaking of the storm. Flashes and rumblings had already been
troubling the literary heavens; a few months later—the deluge! For three
years the skies continued to discharge such strange and divergent
phenomena as Vachel Lindsay’s _General William Booth Enters into Heaven_
(1913), James Oppenheim’s _Songs for the New Age_ (1914), the first
anthology of _The Imagists_ (1914), _Challenge_ (1914), Amy Lowell’s
_Sword Blades and Poppy Seed_ (1914), Lindsay’s _The Congo and Other
Poems_ (1914), Robert Frost’s _North of Boston_ (1914), Edgar Lee
Master’s _Spoon River Anthology_ (1915), John Gould Fletcher’s
_Irradiations_ (1915), Carl Sandburg’s _Chicago Poems_ (1916). By 1917,
the “new” poetry was ranked as “America’s first national art”; its
success was sweeping, its sales unprecedented. People who never before
had read verse, turned to it and found they could not only read but
relish it. They discovered that for the enjoyment of poetry it was not
necessary to have at their elbows a dictionary of rare words and
classical references; they no longer were required to be acquainted with
Latin legendry and the minor love-affairs of the major Greek divinities.
Life was their glossary, not literature. The new product spoke to them
in their own language. And it did more: it spoke to them of what they
had scarcely ever heard expressed; it was not only closer to their soil
but nearer their souls.

                          ROBINSON AND MASTERS

One reason why the new poetry achieved so sudden a success was its
freedom from the traditionally stilted “poetic diction.” Revolting
strongly against the assumption that poetry must have a vocabulary of
its own, the poets of the new era spoke in the oldest and most stirring
tongue; they used a language that was the language not of the poetasters
but of the people. In the tones of ordinary speech they rediscovered the
strength, the dignity, the divine core of the commonplace.

E. A. Robinson had already been employing the sharp epithet, the direct
and clarifying utterance which was to become part of our present
technique. As early as 1897, in _The Children of the Night_, Robinson
anticipated the brief characterizations and the etched outlines of
Masters’s _Spoon River Anthology_; he stressed the psychological element
with unerring artistry and sureness of touch. His sympathetic studies of
men whose lives were, from a worldly standpoint, failures were a sharp
reaction to the current high valuation on financial achievements,
ruthless efficiency and success at any cost. Ahead of his period, he had
to wait until 1916, when a public prepared for him by the awakened
interest in native poetry discovered _The Man Against the Sky_ (1916)
and the richness of Robinson at the same time.

Frost and Masters were the bright particular planets of 1915, although
the star of the latter has waned while the light of the former has grown
in magnitude. Yet Masters’s most famous book will rank as one of the
landmarks of American literature. In it, he has synthesized the small
towns of the mid-West with a background that is unmistakably local and
implications that are universal. This amazing volume, in its curiosity
and comprehensiveness, is a broad cross-section of whole communities.
Beneath its surface tales and dramas, its condensation of grocery store
gossip, _Spoon River Anthology_ is a great part of America in microcosm.
The success of the volume was sensational. It was actually one of the
season’s “best sellers”; in a few months, it went into edition after
edition. People forgot Masters’s revelation of the sordid cheats and
hypocrisies, his arraignment of dirty politics and dirtier chicanery, in
their interest at seeing their neighbors so pitilessly exposed. Yet had
Masters dwelt only on the drab disillusion of the village, had he (as he
was constantly in danger of doing) overemphasized the morbid and sensual
episodes, he would have left only a spectacular and poorly-balanced
work. But the book ascends to buoyant exaltation and ends on a plane of
victorious idealism. In its wide gamut, _Spoon River_, rising from its
narrow origins, reaches epical proportions. Indigenous to its roots, it
is stark, unflinching, unforgettable.

                           FROST AND SANDBURG

The same year that brought forth _Spoon River Anthology_ saw the
American edition of Frost’s _North of Boston_. It was evident at once
that the true poet of New England had arrived. Unlike his predecessors,
Frost was never a poetic provincial—never parochial in the sense that
America was still a literary parish of England. He is as native as the
lonely farmhouses, the dusty blueberries, the isolated people, the
dried-up brooks and mountain intervals that he describes. Loving, above
everything else, the beauty of the Fact, he shares, with Robinson and
Masters, the determination to tell not merely the actual but the factual
truth. But Frost, a less disillusioned though a more saddened poet,
wears his rue and his realism with a difference. Where Robinson is
downright and definite, Frost diverges, going roundabout and, in his
speculative wandering, covering a wider territory of thought. Where
Masters is violent and hotly scornful, Frost is reticent and quietly
sympathetic. Again where Masters, viewing the mêlée above the struggle,
writes _about_ his characters, Frost is _of_ the people. Where Robinson,
in his more racy and reminiscent moods, often reflects New England,
Frost _is_ New England.

_North of Boston_ is well described by the poet’s own subtitle: “a book
of people.” In it one not only sees a countryside of people making the
intricate pattern of their lives, one catches them thinking out loud,
one can hear the very tones of their voices. Here we have speech so
arranged and translated that the speaker is heard on the printed page;
any reader will be led by the kind and color of these words into
reproducing the changing accents in which they are supposed to be
uttered. It is this insistence that “all poetry is the reproduction of
the tones of actual speech” that gives these poems, as well as the later
ones, a quickly-communicated emotional appeal. It endows them with the
deepest power of which words are capable—the power to transmit
significant sounds. These sounds, let in from the vernacular, are full
of a robust, creative energy; they share the blood and bones of the
people they represent.

But Frost is by no means the dark naturalist that many suspect. Behind
the mask of “grimness” which many of his critics have fastened upon him,
there is a continual elfin pucker; a whimsical smile, a half-disclosed
raillery glints beneath his most somber monologues. His most concrete
facts are symbols of spiritual values; through his very reticence one
hears more than the voice of New England.

Just so, the great mid-West, that vast region of steel mills and
slaughter-houses, of cornfields and prairies, of crowded cities and
empty skies, speaks through Carl Sandburg. In Sandburg, industrial
America has found its voice: _Chicago Poems_ (1916), _Cornhuskers_
(1918), _Smoke and Steel_ (1920) vibrate with the immense purring of
dynamos, the swishing rhythms of threshing arms, the gossip and laughter
of construction gangs, the gigantic and tireless energy of the modern
machine. Frankly indebted to Whitman, Sandburg’s poems are less sweeping
but more varied; musically his lines mark a great advance. He sounds the
extremes of the gamut: there are few poems in our language more violent
than “To a Contemporary Bunkshooter,” few lyrics as hushed and tender as
“Cool Tombs.”

Like Frost, Sandburg is true to _things_. But Frost is content with the
inexhaustible Fact and its spiritual implications; he never hopes to
drain it all. Sandburg also feeds on the fact, but it does not satisfy
him. He has strange hungers; he hunts eagerly for the question behind,
the answer beyond. The actual scene, to him, is a point of vivid and
abrupt departure. Reality, far from being the earth on which he dwells,
is, for Sandburg, the ground he touches before rising; realism acts
merely as a springboard from which this poet leaps into a romantic

When _Chicago Poems_ first appeared, it was received with a disfavor
ranging from hesitant patronization to the scornful jeers of the
academicians. Sandburg was accused of verbal anarchy; of a failure to
distinguish prose matter from poetic material; of uncouthness,
vulgarity, of assaults on the English language and a score of other
crimes. In the face of those who still see only a coarseness and
distorted veritism in Sandburg, it cannot be said too often that he is
brutal only when dealing with brutal things; that his “vulgarity”
springs from an immense love of life, not from a merely decorative part
of it; that his bitterest invectives are the result of a healthy disgust
of shams; that, behind the force of his projectile-phrases, there burns
the greater flame of his pity; that the strength of his hatred is
exceeded only by the challenge of his love.

                              THE IMAGISTS

Sandburg established himself as the most daring user of American
words—rude words ranging from the racy metaphors of the soil to the
slang of the street. But even before this, the possibilities of a new
vocabulary were being tested. As early as 1865, Whitman was saying, “We
must have new words, new potentialities of speech—an American range of
self-expression ... The new times, the new people need a tongue
according, yes, and what is more, they will have such a tongue—will not
be satisfied until it is evolved.”

It is curious to think that one of the most effective agents to fulfil
Whitman’s prophecy and free modern poetry from its mouldering diction
was that little band of preoccupied specialists, the Imagists. They
were, for all their preciosity and occasional extravagances, prophets of
freedom—liberators in the sense that their programs, pronouncements and
propaganda compelled even their most dogged adversaries to acknowledge
the integrity of their aims. Their restatement of old truths was one of
the things which helped the new poetry out of a bog of rhetorical

Ezra Pound was the first to gather the insurgents into a definite group.
During the winter of 1913, he collected a number of poems illustrating
the Imagist point of view and had them printed in a volume: _Des
Imagistes_ (1914). A little later Pound withdrew from the clan. The
rather queerly assorted group began to disintegrate and Amy Lowell, then
in England, brought the best of the younger members together in three
yearly anthologies (_Some Imagist Poets_) which appeared in 1915, 1916
and 1917. There were, in Miss Lowell’s new grouping, three Englishmen
(D. H. Lawrence, Richard Aldington, F. S. Flint), three Americans (“H.
D.,” John Gould Fletcher, Amy Lowell), and their creed, summed up in six
articles of faith, was as follows:

  1. To use the language of common speech, but to employ always the
  _exact_ word, not the merely decorative word.

  2. To create new rhythms—as the expression of new moods. We do not
  insist upon “free-verse” as the only method of writing poetry ... We
  do believe that the individuality of a poet may often be better
  expressed in free verse than in conventional forms.

  3. To allow absolute freedom in the choice of subject.

  4. To present an image (hence the name: “Imagist”). We are not a
  school of painters, but we believe that poetry should render
  particulars exactly and not deal in vague generalities, however
  magnificent and sonorous.

  5. To produce poetry that is hard and clear, never blurred or

  6. Finally, most of us believe that concentration is the very
  essence of poetry.

It does not seem possible that these six obvious and almost
platitudinous principles, which the Imagists so often neglected in their
poetry, could have evoked the storm of argument, fury and downright
vilification that broke as soon as the militant Amy Lowell began to
champion them. Far from being revolutionary, these principles were not
new; they were not even thought so by their sponsors. The Imagists
themselves realized they were merely restating ideals which had fallen
into desuetude, and declared, “They are the essentials of all great
poetry, indeed of all great literature.” And yet many conservative
critics, joined by the one hundred per cent reactionaries, rushed wildly
to combat these “heresies”! They forgot that, in trying to protect the
future from such lawlessness as “using the exact word,” from allowing
“freedom in the choice of subject,” from the importance of
“concentration,” they were actually attacking the highest traditions of
their enshrined past.

The controversy succeeded in doing even more than the work of the
Imagists themselves. “H. D.” remained in England, perfecting her
delicate and exquisitely finished designs. John Gould Fletcher, a more
vacillating expatriate, continued to strengthen his gift and shift his
standards; his later and richer work is in almost flat opposition to the
early pronouncements. Miss Lowell was left to carry on the battle
single-handed; to defend the theories which, in practice, she was
beginning to violate brilliantly. By all odds, the most energetic and
unflagging experimenter, Miss Lowell’s versatility became amazing. She
has wielded a controversial cudgel with one hand and, with the other,
she has written Chaucerian stanzas, polyphonic prose, monologs in her
native New England dialect, irregular _vers libre_, conservative
couplets, translations from the French, echoes from the Japanese, even
primitive re-creations of Indian folk-lore!

The work of the Imagists was done. Its members began to develop
themselves by themselves. They had helped to swell the tide of realistic
and romantic naturalism—a tide of which their contribution was merely
one wave, a high breaker that carried its impact far inshore.

                          THE NEW FOLK-POETRY

In a country that has not been mellowed by antiquity, that has not
possessed songs for its peasantry or traditions for its singers, one
cannot look for a wealth of folk-stuff. In such a country—the United
States, to be specific—what folk-poetry there is, has followed the path
of the pioneer. At first these homely songs were merely adaptations and
localized versions of English ballads and border minstrelsy, of which
the “Lonesome Tunes” discovered in the Kentucky mountains by Howard
Brockway and Loraine Wyman are excellent examples. But later, a more
definitely native spirit found expression in the various sections of
these states. In the West (during the seventies) Bret Harte and John Hay
celebrated, in their own accents, the rough, big-hearted miners,
ranchers, steamboat pilots, the supposed descendants of the emigrants
from Pike County, Missouri. In the Middle West the desire for local
color and music led to the popularity of James Whitcomb Riley’s Hoosier
ballads and the spirited jingles of Eugene Field. In the South the
inspiration of the negro spirituals and ante-bellum songs was utilized
to excellent effect by Irwin Russell, Joel Chandler Harris and, later,
by Paul Laurence Dunbar. The Indian, a more genuine primitive, has been
as difficult to transplant poetically as he has been to assimilate
ethnically. But, in spite of the racial differences in sentiment,
religion and philosophy, brave attempts to bring the spirit of the
Indian originals into our poetry have been made by Mary Austin,
Constance Lindsay Skinner, Natalie Curtis Burlin, Lew Sarett and Alice
Corbin Henderson.

In the West today there is a revival of interest in backwoods melodies
and folk-created verse. John A. Lomax has published two volumes of
cowboy songs—most of them anonymous—full of tang, wild fancy and robust
humor. The tradition of Harte and Hay is being carried on by such racy
interpreters as Harry Herbert Knibbs, Badger Clark and Edwin Ford Piper.
But, of all contemporaries who approximate the spirit of folk-poetry,
none has made more striking or more indubitably American contributions
than Vachel Lindsay of Springfield, Illinois.

                     LINDSAY, OPPENHEIM AND OTHERS

Lindsay is essentially a people’s poet. He does not hesitate to express
himself in terms of the lowest common denominator; his fingers are
alternately on his pen and the public pulse. Living near enough the
South to appreciate the negro and yet not too near to despise him,
Lindsay has been tremendously influenced by the colorful suggestions,
the fantastic superstitions, the revivalistic gusto, the half-savage
Christianity and, above all, by the curiously syncopated music that
characterize the black man in America. In “The Congo,” “John Brown” and
the less extended but equally remarkable “Simon Legree,” the words roll
with the solemnity of an exhortation, dance with a grotesque fervor or
snap, crackle, wink and leap with all the humorous rhythms of a piece of
“ragtime.” Lindsay catches the burly color and boisterous music of
camp-meetings, minstrel shows, revival jubilees.

And Lindsay does more. He carries his democratic determinations further
than any of his _confrères_. His dream is of a great communal Art; he
preaches the gospel that all villages should be centers of beauty, all
its citizens, artists. At heart a missionary even more than a minstrel,
Lindsay often loses himself in his own evangelism; worse, he frequently
cheapens himself and caricatures his own gift by pandering to the
vaudeville instinct that insists on putting a noisy “punch” into
everything, regardless of taste, artistry or a sense of proportion. He
is most impressive when he is least frenetic, when he is purely
fantastic (as in “The Chinese Nightingale” or the series of metaphorical
poems about the moon) or when a greater theme and a finer restraint
unite (as in “The Eagle That Is Forgotten”) to create a preaching that
does not cease to be poetry.

Something of the same blend of prophet and poet is found in the work of
James Oppenheim. Oppenheim is a throwback to the ancient Hebrew singers;
the music of the Psalms rolls through his lines, the fire of Isaiah
kindles his spirit. This poetry, with its obvious reminders of Whitman,
is biblical in its inflection, Oriental in its heat; it runs through
forgotten centuries and brings buried Asia to busy America. It carries
to the Western world the color of the East, adding the gift of prophecy
to pragmatic purpose. In books like _War and Laughter_ and _Songs for
the New Age_ the race of god-breakers and god-makers speaks with a new
voice; here, with analytic intensity, the old iconoclasm and still older
worship are again united.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The new poets have won their way by their differences as well as by
their chance similarities. They belong to no one school, represent no
single tendency and, differing widely from their present-day English
fellow-craftsmen, are far less hampered by the burdens of traditions or
the necessity of casting them off. They are more nearly free. One sees
this even in the work of the more deliberately conventional singers.
Lyricists like Sara Teasdale and Edna St. Vincent Millay write in a
clean, straightforward idiom, an intense naturalness that is a frank
commentary on the tinkling and over-sentimental verse that used to pass
for genuine emotion. Robert Frost and E. A. Robinson continue to use the
strictest rhymes and most rigid meters and yet their lines are as
“modern,” as searching as the freest free verse. Form _per se_ matters
scarcely at all; all forms are employed. Conrad Aiken achieves a
flexible combination of rhyme and assonance. Sandburg, “H. D.,”
Kreymborg and John Gould Fletcher dispense, for the most part, with
rhyme, without sacrificing the beauty of sound or stress. Masters and
Amy Lowell use the old forms and the new ones with impartiality and
equal skill. A sweeping inclusiveness distinguishes our contemporary
verse; it embraces all themes, all cultures, all modes of expression.
America has become a melting-pot in a poetic as well as an ethnic sense.
The rich variety of its structure and subject-matter is in striking
opposition to the thin, specialized product of the transition poets. New
England is no longer the single literary center. As the country has
matured, the poets have grown with it, singing everywhere and, much to
Art’s confusion, in every key. It is as if submerged springs had burst
through stubborn ground; instead of one placid stream, there are a dozen
rushing currents.

                         SUMMARY—THE NEW SPIRIT

It is difficult to draw a line between periods, especially when one is
called upon to define “modernity.” But in the case of the development of
American poetry, the task is made easier by Whitman. Whitman ended and
began an epoch. This collection therefore begins where he left off; it
might well be called, “American Poetry Since Whitman.”

It would have been pleasant to divide the poetry itself into groups and
distinct tendencies. Unfortunately such a scheme is impossible. In the
first place, one can scarcely get a proper perspective on contemporary
writers (on whom the chief emphasis has been placed), especially since
many of them are still developing. Secondly, one cannot give the picture
of a period in the state of flux except by showing its fluid character.
The prime object of this collection is to reflect this very flux and
diversity—particularly illustrated by those poets who, because of their
strong individualism, would not fit in any one grouping. Since the
chronological arrangement is, therefore, the most logical one, an
arbitrary boundary has been fixed. The year 1830 becomes the
dividing-line; any poet born earlier than that date is ruthlessly
excluded. This, fortunately, eliminates scarcely any poet of value; for
between Whitman (born 1819) and Emily Dickinson (that early imagist),
there were no singers more memorable than the Cary sisters, Bayard
Taylor and the painfully precise Richard Henry Stoddard.

It is a happy circumstance that this volume should begin with Emily
Dickinson, whose work, posthumously printed, was unknown as late as 1890
and scarcely noticed until several years later. For here is a forerunner
of the new spirit—free in expression, unhampered in choice of subject,
penetrative in psychology—to which a countryful of writers has
responded. No longer confined to one or two literary centers, the
impulse to create is everywhere. There is scarcely a state, barely a
township, that has not produced its laureate.

Most of the poets represented in these pages have found a fresh and
vigorous material in a world of honest and often harsh reality. They
respond to the spirit of their times; not only have their views changed,
their vision has been widened to include things unknown to the poet of
yesterday. They have learned to distinguish real beauty from mere
prettiness; to wring loveliness out of squalor; to find wonder in
neglected places; to search for hidden truths even in the dark caves of
the unconscious.

And with the use of the material of everyday life, there has come a
further simplification: the use of the language of everyday speech. The
stilted and mouth-filling phrases have been practically discarded in
favor of words that are part of our daily vocabulary. It would be hard
at present to find a representative poet employing such awkward and
outworn contractions as _’twixt_, _’mongst_, _ope’_; such evidences of
poor padding as _adown_, _did go_, _doth smile_; such dull rubber-stamps
(_clichés_ is the French term) as _heavenly blue_, _roseate glow_,
_golden hope_, _girlish grace_, _gentle breeze_, etc. The
_peradventures_, _forsooths_ and _mayhaps_ have disappeared.... And, as
the speech of the modern poet has grown less elaborate, so have the
patterns that embody it. Not necessarily discarding rhyme, regular
rhythm or any of the musical assets of the older poets, the forms have
grown simpler; the intricate versification has given way to lines that
reflect and suggest the tones of animated and even exalted speech. The
result of this has been a great gain both in sincerity and intensity; it
has enabled the poet of today to put greater emphasis on his emotion
rather than on the shell that covers it—he can dwell with richer detail
on the matter instead of the manner.

One could go into minute particulars concerning the growth of an
American spirit in our literature and point out how many of the
latter-day poets have responded to native forces larger than their
backgrounds. Such a course would be endless and unprofitable. It is
pertinent, however, to observe that, young as this nation is, it is
already being supplied with the stuff of legends, ballads and even
epics. The modern singer has turned to celebrate his own folk-tales. It
is particularly interesting to observe how the figure of Lincoln has
been treated by the best of our living poets. I have accordingly
included seven poems by seven writers, each differing in manner,
technique and point of view.

For the rest, I leave the casual reader, as well as the student, to
discover the awakened vigor and energy in this, one of the few great
poetic periods in native literature. With the realization that this
brief gathering is not so much a summary as an introduction, it is hoped
that, in spite of its limitations, this collection will draw the reader
on to a closer consideration of the poets here included—even to those
omitted. The purpose of such an anthology must always be to stimulate an
interest rather than to satisfy a curiosity. Such, at least, is the hope
and aim of one editor.

                                                                   L. U.

 January, 1921.
 New York City.

                         MODERN AMERICAN POETRY

                           _Emily Dickinson_

  Emily Dickinson, whose work is one of the most original
  contributions to recent poetry, was born in Amherst, Massachusetts,
  December 10, 1830. She was a physical as well as a spiritual hermit,
  actually spending most of her life without setting foot beyond her
  doorstep. She wrote her short, introspective verses without thought
  of publication, and it was not until 1890, four years after her
  death, that the first volume of her posthumous poetry appeared with
  an introduction by Thomas Wentworth Higginson.

  “She habitually concealed her mind, like her person, from all but a
  very few friends,” writes Higginson, “and it was with great
  difficulty that she was persuaded to print, during her lifetime,
  three or four poems.” Yet she wrote almost five hundred of these
  direct and spontaneous illuminations, sending many of them in
  letters to friends, or (written on chance slips of paper and
  delivered without further comment) to her sister Sue. Slowly the
  peculiar Blake-like quality of her thought won a widening circle of
  readers; _Poems_ (1890) was followed by _Poems—Second Series_ (1892)
  and _Poems—Third Series_ (1896), the contents being collected and
  edited by her two friends, Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Mabel
  Loomis Todd. Several years later, a further generous volume was
  assembled by her niece, Martha Dickinson Bianchi, entitled _The
  Single Hound_ (1914)—almost all of the new poems (to which Mrs.
  Bianchi wrote a preface of great personal value) being a record of
  Emily Dickinson’s romantic friendship for her sister.

  The sharp quality of her work, with its cool precision and clear
  imagery, makes her akin, at least in technique, to the later
  Imagists. (See Preface.) But a passionate and almost mystical warmth
  brings her closer to the great ones of her time. “An epigrammatic
  Walt Whitman,” some one has called her, a characterization which,
  while enthusiastic to the point of exaggeration, expresses the
  direction if not the execution of her art. Technically, Emily
  Dickinson’s work was strikingly uneven; many of her poems are no
  more than rough sketches, awkwardly filled in; even some of her
  finest lines are marred by the intrusion of merely trivial conceits
  or forced “thought-rhymes.” But the best of her work is incomparable
  in its strange cadence and quiet intensity. Her verses are like a
  box of many jewels, sparkling in their brilliancy, cameo-like in
  their delicate contours, opalescent in their buried fires.

  Emily Dickinson died, in the same place she was born, at Amherst,
  May 15, 1886.


                 I never saw a moor,
                 I never saw the sea;
                 Yet now I know how the heather looks,
                 And what a wave must be.

                 I never spoke with God,
                 Nor visited in Heaven;
                 Yet certain am I of the spot
                 As if the chart were given.

                             INDIAN SUMMER

                These are the days when birds come back,
                A very few, a bird or two,
                To take a backward look.

                These are the days when skies put on
                The old, old sophistries of June,—
                A blue and gold mistake.

                Oh, fraud that can not cheat the bee,
                Almost thy plausibility
                Induces my belief,

                Till ranks of seeds their witness bear,
                And softly through the altered air
                Hurries a timid leaf!

                Oh, sacrament of summer days,
                Oh, last communion in the haze,
                Permit a child to join,

                Thy sacred emblems to partake,
                Thy consecrated bread to break,
                Taste thine immortal wine!


                   Elysium is as far as to
                   The very nearest room,
                   If in that room a friend await
                   Felicity or doom.

                   What fortitude the soul contains,
                   That it can so endure
                   The accent of a coming foot,
                   The opening of a door.

                           THE RAILWAY TRAIN

                  I like to see it lap the miles,
                  And lick the valleys up,
                  And stop to feed itself at tanks;
                  And then, prodigious, step

                  Around a pile of mountains,
                  And, supercilious, peer
                  In shanties by the sides of roads;
                  And then a quarry pare

                  To fit its sides, and crawl between,
                  Complaining all the while
                  In horrid, hooting stanza;
                  Then chase itself down hill

                  And neigh like Boanerges;
                  Then, punctual as a star,
                  Stop—docile and omnipotent—
                  At its own stable door.

                               A CEMETERY

             This quiet Dust was Gentlemen and Ladies,
                       And Lads and Girls;
             Was laughter and ability and sighing,
                       And frocks and curls.
             This passive place a Summer’s nimble mansion,
                       Where Bloom and Bees
             Fulfilled their Oriental Circuit,
                       Then ceased like these.


                  The sky is low, the clouds are mean,
                  A travelling flake of snow
                  Across a barn or through a rut
                  Debates if it will go.

                  A narrow wind complains all day
                  How some one treated him;
                  Nature, like us, is sometimes caught
                  Without her diadem.

                        _Thomas Bailey Aldrich_

  Thomas Bailey Aldrich was born in 1836 at Portsmouth, New Hampshire,
  where he spent most of the sixteen years which he has recorded in
  that delightful memoir, _The Story of a Bad Boy_ (1869). After a
  brief clerkship, he became junior literary critic of _The Evening
  Mirror_ at nineteen, publishing his first book (_The Bells_), an
  immature collection of echoes, at the same time. From 1855 to 1866
  he held various journalistic positions, associating himself with the
  leading metropolitan _literati_. But though Aldrich mingled with the
  New York group, he was not part of it; he longed for the more
  rarefied intellectual atmosphere of New England and when, in 1866,
  Osgood offered him the editorship of _Every Saturday_, published in
  Boston, Aldrich accepted with alacrity. A few years later he became
  editor of the famous _Atlantic Monthly_, holding that position from
  1881 to 1890.

  Aldrich’s work falls into two sharply-divided classes. The first
  half is full of overloaded phrase-making, fervid extravagances; the
  reader sinks beneath clouds of damask, azure, emerald, pearl and
  gold; he is drowned in a sea of musk, aloes, tiger-lilies, spice,
  soft music, orchids, attar-breathing dusks. There is no real air in
  these verses; it is Nature as conceived by a poet reading the
  Arabian Nights in a hot-house. In company with Stoddard and Taylor,
  he dwelt in a literary Orientalism—(Stoddard’s _Book of the East_
  followed fast upon Taylor’s _Poems of the Orient_)—and Aldrich’s
  _Cloth of Gold_ was suffused with similar “vanilla-flavored
  adjectives and patchouli-scented participles” (to quote Holmes),
  laboring hard to create an exotic atmosphere by a wearisome
  profusion of lotus blossoms, sandalwood, spikenard, blown roses,
  diaphanous gauzes, etc.

  The second phase of Aldrich’s art is more human in appeal as it is
  surer in artistry. He learned to sharpen his images, to fashion his
  smallest lyrics with a remarkable _finesse_. “In the little steel
  engravings that are the best expressions of his peculiar talent,”
  writes Percy H. Boynton, “there is a fine simplicity; but it is the
  simplicity of an accomplished woman of the world rather than of a
  village maid.” Although Aldrich bitterly resented the charge that he
  was a maker of tiny perfections, a carver of cherry-stones, these
  poems of his which have the best chance of permanence are some of
  the epigrams, the short lyrics and a few of the sonnets, passionless
  in tone but exquisite in design.

  The best of Aldrich’s diffuse poetry has been collected in an
  inclusive Household Edition, published by Houghton, Mifflin and
  Company. He died in 1907.


                My mind lets go a thousand things,
                Like dates of wars and deaths of kings,
                And yet recalls the very hour—
                ’Twas noon by yonder village tower,
                And on the last blue noon in May—
                The wind came briskly up this way,
                Crisping the brook beside the road;
                Then, pausing here, set down its load
                Of pine-scents, and shook listlessly
                Two petals from that wild-rose tree.


         Enamored architect of airy rhyme,
         Build as thou wilt, heed not what each man says.
         Good souls, but innocent of dreamers’ ways,
         Will come, and marvel why thou wastest time;
         Others, beholding how thy turrets climb
         ’Twixt theirs and heaven, will hate thee all thy days;
         But most beware of those who come to praise.
         O Wondersmith, O worker in sublime
         And heaven-sent dreams, let art be all in all;
         Build as thou wilt, unspoiled by praise or blame,
         Build as thou wilt, and as thy light is given;
         Then, if at last the airy structure fall,
         Dissolve, and vanish—take thyself no shame.
         They fail, and they alone, who have not striven.

                             TWO QUATRAINS

                              MAPLE LEAVES

          October turned my maple’s leaves to gold;
          The most are gone now; here and there one lingers:
          Soon these will slip from out the twigs’ weak hold,
          Like coins between a dying miser’s fingers.

                         PESSIMIST AND OPTIMIST

             This one sits shivering in Fortune’s smile,
               Taking his joy with bated, doubtful breath.
             This other, gnawed by hunger, all the while
                   Laughs in the teeth of Death.

                               _John Hay_

  John Hay was born at Salem, Indiana, in 1838, graduated from Brown
  University in 1858 and was admitted to the Illinois bar a few years
  later. At nineteen, when he went back to Warsaw, the little
  Mississippi town where he had lived as a boy, he dreamed only of
  being a poet—a poet, it must be added, of the pleasantly
  conventional, transition type. But the Civil War was to disturb his
  mild fantasies. He became private secretary to Lincoln, then major
  and assistant adjutant-general under General Gilmore, then secretary
  of the Legation at Paris, _chargé d’affaires_ at Vienna and
  secretary of legation at Madrid.

  His few vivid _Pike County Ballads_ came more as a happy accident
  than as a deliberate creative effort. When Hay returned from Spain
  in 1870, bringing with him his _Castilian Days_, he still had
  visions of becoming an orthodox lyric poet. But he found everyone
  reading Bret Harte’s short stories and the new expression of the
  rude West. (See Preface.) He speculated upon the possibility of
  doing something similar, translating the characters into poetry. The
  result was the six racy ballads in a vein utterly different from
  everything Hay wrote before or after. The poet-politician seems to
  have regarded this series somewhat in the nature of light, extempore
  verse, belonging to a far lower plane than his serious publications;
  he talked about them reluctantly, he even hoped that they would be
  forgotten. It is difficult to say whether this regret grew because
  Hay, loving the refinements of culture, at heart hated any
  suggestion of vulgarity, or because of a basic lack of courage—Hay
  having published his novel of labor unrest in the early 80’s (_The
  Breadwinners_) anonymously.

  The fact remains, his rhymes of Pike County have survived all his
  more classical lines. They served for a time as a fresh influence,
  they remain a creative accomplishment.

  Hay was in politics all the later part of his life, ranking as one
  of the most brilliant Secretaries of State the country has ever had.
  He died in 1905.

                              JIM BLUDSO,
                          OF THE PRAIRIE BELLE

           Wall, no! I can’t tell whar he lives,
             Becase he don’t live, you see;
           Leastways, he’s got out of the habit
             Of livin’ like you and me.
           Whar have you been for the last three year
             That you haven’t heard folks tell
           How Jimmy Bludso passed in his checks
             The night of the Prairie Belle?

           He war’n’t no saint,—them engineers
             Is all pretty much alike,—
           One wife in Natchez-under-the-Hill
             And another one here, in Pike;
           A keerless man in his talk was Jim,
             And an awkward hand in a row,
           But he never flunked, and he never lied,—
             I reckon he never knowed how.

           And this was all the religion he had:
             To treat his engine well;
           Never be passed on the river;
             To mind the pilot’s bell;
           And if ever the Prairie Belle took fire,
             A thousand times he swore,
           He’d hold her nozzle agin the bank
             Till the last soul got ashore.

           All boats has their day on the Mississip,
             And her day come at last,—
           The Movastar was a better boat,
             But the Belle she _wouldn’t_ be passed.
           And so she came tearin’ along that night—
             The oldest craft on the line—
           With a nigger squat on her safety-valve,
             And her furnace crammed, rosin and pine.

           The fire bust out as she clar’d the bar,
             And burnt a hole in the night,
           And quick as a flash she turned and made
             For that wilier-bank on the right.
           Thar was runnin’ and cussin’, but Jim yelled out,
             Over all the infernal roar,
           “I’ll hold her nozzle agin the bank
             Till the last galoot’s ashore.”

           Through the hot, black breath of the burnin’ boat
             Jim Bludso’s voice was heard,
           And they all had trust in his cussedness,
             And knowed he would keep his word.
           And, sure’s you’re born, they all got off
             Afore the smokestacks fell,—
           And Bludso’s ghost went up alone
             In the smoke of the Prairie Belle.

           He warn’t no saint,—but at jedgement
             I’d run my chance with Jim,
           ’Longside of some pious gentlemen
             That wouldn’t shook hands with him.
           He seen his duty, a dead-sure thing,—
             And went for it thar and then;
           And Christ ain’t a goin’ to be too hard
             On a man that died for men.

                               BANTY TIM

 (_Remarks of Sergeant Tilmon Joy to the White Man’s Committee of Spunky
                            Point, Illinois_)

           I reckon I git your drift, gents,—
             You ’low the boy sha’n’t stay;
           This is a white man’s country;
             You’re Dimocrats, you say;
           And whereas, and seein’, and wherefore,
             The times bein’ all out o’ j’int,
           The nigger has got to mosey
             From the limits o’ Spunky P’int!

           Le’s reason the thing a minute:
             I’m an old-fashioned Dimocrat too,
           Though I laid my politics out o’ the way
             For to keep till the war was through.
           But I come back here, allowin’
             To vote as I used to do,
           Though it gravels me like the devil to train
             Along o’ sich fools as you.

           Now dog my cats ef I kin see,
             In all the light of the day,
           What you’ve got to do with the question
             Ef Tim shill go or stay.
           And furder than that I give notice,
             Ef one of you tetches the boy,
           He kin check his trunks to a warmer clime
             Than he’ll find in Illanoy.

           Why, blame your hearts, jest hear me!
             You know that ungodly day
           When our left struck Vicksburg Heights, how ripped
             And torn and tattered we lay.
           When the rest retreated I stayed behind,
             Fur reasons sufficient to me,—
           With a rib caved in, and a leg on a strike,
             I sprawled on that damned glacee.

           Lord! how the hot sun went for us,
             And br’iled and blistered and burned!
           How the Rebel bullets whizzed round us
             When a cuss in his death-grip turned!
           Till along toward dusk I seen a thing
             I couldn’t believe for a spell:
           That nigger—that Tim—was a crawlin’ to me
             Through that fire-proof, gilt-edged hell!
           The Rebels seen him as quick as me,
             And the bullets buzzed like bees;
           But he jumped for me, and shouldered me,
             Though a shot brought him once to his knees;
           But he staggered up, and packed me off,
             With a dozen stumbles and falls,
           Till safe in our lines he drapped us both,
             His black hide riddled with balls.

           So, my gentle gazelles, thar’s my answer,
             And here stays Banty Tim:
           He trumped Death’s ace for me that day,
             And I’m not goin’ back on him!
           You may rezoloot till the cows come home,
             But ef one of you tetches the boy,
           He’ll wrastle his hash to-night in hell,
             Or my name’s not Tilmon Joy!

                              _Bret Harte_

  (Francis) Bret Harte was born August 25, 1839, at Albany, New York.
  His childhood was spent in various cities of the East. Late in 1853
  his widowed mother went to California with a party of relatives, and
  two months later, when he was fifteen, Bret Harte and his sister
  followed. He dreamed even at this age of being a poet. During the
  next few years he was engaged in school-teaching, typesetting,
  politics, mining and journalism, becoming editor of _The Overland
  Monthly_ at San Francisco in 1868.

  Harte’s fame came suddenly. Late in the sixties he had written a
  burlesque in rhyme of two Western gamblers trying to fleece a
  guileless Chinaman who claimed to know nothing about cards but who,
  it turned out, was scarcely as innocent as he appeared. Harte, in
  the midst of writing serious poetry, had put the verses aside as too
  crude and trifling for publication. Some time later, just as _The
  Overland Monthly_ was going to press, it was discovered that the
  form was one page short. Having nothing else on hand, Harte had
  these rhymes set up. Instead of passing unnoticed, the poem was
  quoted everywhere; it swept the West and captivated the East. When
  _The Luck of Roaring Camp_ followed, Harte became not only a
  national but an international figure. England acclaimed him and _The
  Atlantic Monthly_ paid him $10,000 to write for a year in his Pike
  County vein.

  _East and West Poems_ appeared in 1871; in 1872 he published an
  enlarged _Poetical Works_ including many earlier pieces. His scores
  of short stories represent Harte at his best; “M’liss,” “Tennessee’s
  Partner,” “The Outcast of Poker Flat”—these are the work of a
  lesser, transplanted Dickens. His novels are of minor importance;
  they are carelessly constructed, theatrically conceived; his
  characters are little more than badly-wired marionettes that betray
  every movement made by their manipulator.

  In 1872 Harte, encouraged by his success, returned to his native
  East; in 1878 he went to Germany as consul. Two years later he was
  transferred to Scotland and, after five years there, went to London,
  where he remained the rest of his life. Harte’s later period remains
  mysteriously shrouded. He never came back to America, not even for a
  visit; he ceased to correspond with his family; he separated himself
  from all the most intimate associations of his early life. He died,
  suddenly, at Camberley, England, May 6, 1902.


                         Say there! P’r’aps
                         Some on you chaps
                           Might know Jim Wild?
                         Well,—no offense:
                         Thar ain’t no sense
                           In gittin’ riled!
                         Jim was my chum
                           Up on the Bar:
                         That’s why I come
                           Down from up yar,
                         Lookin’ for Jim.
                         Thank ye, sir! _You_
                         Ain’t of that crew,—
                           Blest if you are!
                         Money? Not much:
                           That ain’t my kind;
                         I ain’t no such.
                           Rum? I don’t mind,
                         Seein’ it’s you.
                         Well, this yer Jim,—
                         Did you know him?
                         Jes’ ’bout your size;
                         Same kind of eyes;—
                         Well, that is strange:
                           Why, it’s two year
                           Since he came here,
                         Sick, for a change.
                         Well, here’s to us:
                         The h—— you say!
                         That little cuss?
                         What makes you star’,
                         You over thar?
                         Can’t a man drop
                         ’s glass in yer shop
                         But you must r’ar?
                           It wouldn’t take
                           D——d much to break
                         You and your bar.

                         Why, thar was me,
                         Jones, and Bob Lee,
                         Harry and Ben,—
                         No-account men:
                         Then to take _him_!

                         Well, thar—Good-by.
                         No more, sir—I—
                         What’s that you say?
                         Why, dern it!—sho!—
                         No? Yes! By Joe!
                         Sold! Why, you limb,
                         You ornery,
                           Derned, old,
                         Long-legged Jim.


                        (_Table Mountain, 1870_)

              Which I wish to remark,
                And my language is plain,
              That for ways that are dark
                And for tricks that are vain,
              The heathen Chinee is peculiar,
                Which the same I would rise to explain.

              Ah Sin was his name;
                And I shall not deny,
              In regard to the same,
                What that name might imply;
              But his smile it was pensive and childlike,
                As I frequent remarked to Bill Nye.

              It was August the third,
                And quite soft was the skies;
              Which it might be inferred
                That Ah Sin was likewise;
              Yet he played it that day upon William
                And me in a way I despise.

              Which we had a small game,
                And Ah Sin took a hand:
              It was Euchre. The same
                He did not understand;
              But he smiled as he sat by the table,
                With a smile that was childlike and bland.
              Yet the cards they were stocked
                In a way that I grieve,
              And my feelings were shocked
                At the state of Nye’s sleeve,
              Which was stuffed full of aces and bowers,
                And the same with intent to deceive.

              But the hands that were played
                By that heathen Chinee,
              And the points that he made,
                Were quite frightful to see,—
              Till at last he put down a right bower,
                Which the same Nye had dealt unto me!

              Then I looked up at Nye,
                And he gazed upon me;
              And he rose with a sigh,
                And said, “Can this be?
              We are ruined by Chinese cheap labor,”—
                And he went for that heathen Chinee.

              In the scene that ensued
                I did not take a hand,
              But the floor it was strewed
                Like the leaves on the strand
              With the cards that Ah Sin had been hiding,
                In the game “he did not understand.”

              In his sleeves, which were long,
                He had twenty-four packs,—
              Which was coming it strong,
                Yet I state but the facts;
              And we found on his nails, which were taper,
                What is frequent in tapers,—that’s wax.

              Which is why I remark,
                And my language is plain,
              That for ways that are dark
                And for tricks that are vain,
              The heathen Chinee is peculiar,—
                Which the same I am free to maintain.

                            _Joaquin Miller_

  Cincinnatus (Heine) Miller, or, to give him the name he adopted,
  Joaquin Miller, was born in 1841 of immigrant parents. As he himself
  writes, “My cradle was a covered wagon, pointed west. I was born in
  a covered wagon, I am told, at or about the time it crossed the line
  dividing Indiana from Ohio.” When Miller was twelve, his family left
  the mid-West with “two big heavily laden wagons, with eight yoke of
  oxen to each, a carriage and two horses for mother and baby sister,
  and a single horse for the three boys to ride.” The distance covered
  in their cross-country exodus (they took a roundabout route to
  Oregon) was nearly three thousand miles. The time consumed, he
  records, “was seven months and five days. There were no bridges, no
  railroad levels, nothing of the sort.... Many times, at night, after
  ascending a stream to find a ford, we could look back and see our
  smouldering camp-fires of the day before.” This journey made a
  lasting impression on the boy’s impressionable mind; it was this
  tortuous wandering that gave Miller his reverence for the
  spaciousness and glory of the West in general and the pioneer in
  particular. After two years in the Oregon home, he ran away to find

  At fifteen we find Miller living with the Indians as one of them; in
  1859 (at the age of eighteen) he attends a missionschool “college”
  in Eugene, Oregon; between 1860 and 1865 he is express-messenger,
  editor of a pacifist newspaper that is suppressed for opposing the
  Civil War, lawyer and, occasionally, a poet. He holds a minor
  judgeship from 1866 to 1870.

  His first book (_Specimens_) appears in 1868, his second (_Joaquin
  et al._, from which he took his name) in 1869. No response—not even
  from “the bards of San Francisco Bay” to whom he had dedicated the
  latter volume. He is chagrined, discouraged, angry. He resolves to
  quit America, to go to the land that has always been the
  nursing-ground of poets. “Three months later, September 1, 1870, I
  was kneeling at the grave of Burns. I really expected to die there
  in the land of my fathers.” He arrives in London, unheralded,
  unknown. He takes his manuscripts to one publisher after another
  with the same negative result. Finally, with a pioneer desperation,
  he prints privately one hundred copies of his _Pacific Poems_,
  sending them out for review. Sensation! The reversal of Miller’s
  fortunes is one of the most startling in all literature. He becomes
  famous overnight. He is fêted, lauded, lionized; he is ranked as an
  equal of Browning, given a dinner by the Pre-Raphaelites, acclaimed
  as “the great interpreter of America,” “the Bryon of Oregon”!

  His dramatic success in England is easily explained. He brought to
  the calm air of literary London, a breath of the great winds of the
  plain. The more he exaggerated his crashing effects, the louder he
  roared, the better the English public liked it. When he entered
  Victorian parlors in his velvet jacket, hip-boots and flowing hair,
  childhood visions of the “wild and woolly Westerner” were realized
  and the very bombast of his work was glorified as “typically

  And yet, for all his overstressed muscularity, Miller is strangely
  lacking in creative energy. His exuberance and whipped up rhetoric
  cannot disguise the essential weakness of his verse. It is, in spite
  of a certain breeziness and a few magnificent descriptions of cañons
  and mountain-chains, feeble as well as false, full of cheap heroics,
  atrocious taste and impossible men and women. (See Preface.) One or
  two individual poems, like “Crossing the Plains” and parts of his
  apostrophes to the Sierras, the Pacific Ocean and the Missouri river
  may live; the rest seem doomed to a gradual extinction.

  From 1872 to 1886, Miller traveled about the Continent. In 1887 he
  returned to California, dwelling on the Heights, helping to found an
  experimental Greek academy for aspiring writers. He died there,
  after a determinedly picturesque life, in sight of the Golden Gate,
  in 1913.

                        BY THE PACIFIC OCEAN[2]

                Here room and kingly silence keep
                Companionship in state austere;
                The dignity of death is here,
                The large, lone vastness of the deep.
                Here toil has pitched his camp to rest:
                The west is banked against the west.

                Above yon gleaming skies of gold
                One lone imperial peak is seen;
                While gathered at his feet in green
                Ten thousand foresters are told.
                And all so still! so still the air
                That duty drops the web of care.
                Beneath the sunset’s golden sheaves
                The awful deep walks with the deep,
                Where silent sea-doves slip and sweep,
                And commerce keeps her loom and weaves.
                The dead red men refuse to rest;
                Their ghosts illume my lurid West.

                         CROSSING THE PLAINS[3]

              What great yoked brutes with briskets low,
              With wrinkled necks like buffalo,
              With round, brown, liquid, pleading eyes,
              That turn’d so slow and sad to you,
              That shone like love’s eyes soft with tears,
              That seem’d to plead, and make replies,
              The while they bow’d their necks and drew
              The creaking load; and looked at you.
              Their sable briskets swept the ground,
              Their cloven feet kept solemn sound.

              Two sullen bullocks led the line,
              Their great eyes shining bright like wine;
              Two sullen captive kings were they,
              That had in time held herds at bay,
              And even now they crush’d the sod
              With stolid sense of majesty,
              And stately stepp’d and stately trod,
              As if ’twere something still to be
              Kings even in captivity.

                             FROM “_BYRON_”

                  In men whom men condemn as ill
                  I find so much of goodness still,
                  In men whom men pronounce divine
                  I find so much of sin and blot,
                  I do not dare to draw a line
                  Between the two, where God has not.

                         _Edward Rowland Sill_

  Edward Rowland Sill was born at Windsor, Connecticut, in 1841. In
  1861 he was graduated from Yale and shortly thereafter his poor
  health compelled him West. After various unsuccessful experiments,
  he drifted into teaching, first in the high schools in Ohio, later
  in the English department of the University of California. His
  uncertain physical condition added to his mental uncertainty. Unable
  to ally himself either with the lethargic, conservative forces whom
  he hated or with the radicals whom he distrusted, Sill became an
  uncomfortable solitary; half rebellious, half resigned. During the
  last decade of his life, his brooding seriousness was less
  pronounced, a lighter irony took the place of his dark reflections.

  _The Hermitage_, his first volume, was published in 1867, a later
  edition (including later poems) appearing in 1889. His two
  posthumous books are _Poems_ (1887) and _Hermione and Other Poems_

  Sill died, after bringing something of the Eastern culture to the
  West, in 1887.


                All alone—alone,
                Calm, as on a kingly throne,
                Take thy place in the crowded land,
                Self-centred in free self-command.
                Let thy manhood leave behind
                The narrow ways of the lesser mind:
                What to thee are its little cares,
                The feeble love or the spite it bears?

                Let the noisy crowd go by:
                In thy lonely watch on high,
                Far from the chattering tongues of men,
                Sitting above their call or ken,
                Free from links of manner and form
                Thou shalt learn of the wingéd storm—
                God shall speak to thee out of the sky.

                               DARE YOU?

                Doubting Thomas and loving John,
                Behind the others walking on:—

                “Tell me now, John, dare you be
                One of the minority?
                To be lonely in your thought,
                Never visited nor sought,
                Shunned with secret shrug, to go
                Thro’ the world, esteemed its foe;
                To be singled out and hissed,
                Pointed at as one unblessed,
                Warned against in whispers faint,
                Lest the children catch a taint;
                To bear off your titles well,—
                Heretic and infidel?
                If you dare, come now with me,
                Fearless, confident, and free.”

                “Thomas, do you dare to be
                Of the great majority?
                To be only, as the rest,
                With Heaven’s creature comforts blessed;
                To accept, in humble part,
                Truth that shines on every heart;
                Never to be set on high,
                Where the envious curses fly;
                Never name or fame to find,
                Still outstripped in soul and mind;
                To be hid, unless to God,
                As one grass-blade in the sod,
                Underfoot with millions trod?
                If you dare, come with us, be
                Lost in love’s great unity.”

                            _Sidney Lanier_

  Sidney Lanier was born at Macon, Georgia, February 3, 1842. His was
  a family of musicians (Lanier himself was a skilful performer on
  various instruments), and it is not surprising that his verse
  emphasizes—even overstresses—the influence of music on poetry. He
  attended Oglethorpe College, graduating at the age of eighteen
  (1860), and, a year later, volunteered as a private in the
  Confederate army. After several months’ imprisonment (he had been
  captured while acting as signal officer on a blockade-runner),
  Lanier was released in February, 1865, returning from Point Lookout
  to Georgia on foot, accompanied only by his flute, from which he
  refused to be separated. His physical health, never the most robust,
  had been frightfully impaired by his incarceration, and he was
  already suffering from tuberculosis, the rest of his life being
  spent in an unequal struggle against it.

  He was now only twenty-three years old and the problem of choosing a
  vocation was complicated by his marriage in 1867. He spent five
  years in the study and practice of law, during which time he wrote
  comparatively little verse. But the law could not hold him; he felt
  premonitions of death and realized he must devote his talents to art
  before it was too late. He was fortunate enough to obtain a position
  as flautist with the Peabody Symphony Orchestra in 1873 in
  Baltimore, where he had free access to the music and literature he
  craved. Here he wrote all of his best poetry. In 1879, he was made
  lecturer on English in Johns Hopkins University, and it was for his
  courses there that he wrote his chief prose work, a brilliant if not
  conclusive study, _The Science of English Verse_. Besides his
  poetry, he wrote several books for boys, the two most popular being
  _The Boy’s Froissart_ (1878) and _The Boy’s King Arthur_ (1880).

  Lanier’s poetry, charming though most of it is, suffers from his all
  too frequent theorizing, his too conscious effort to bring verse
  over into the province of pure music. He thought almost entirely,
  even in his most intellectual conceptions, in terms of musical form.
  His main theory that English verse has for its essential basis not
  _accent_ but a strict musical _quantity_ is a wholly erroneous
  conclusion, possible only to one who could write “whatever turn I
  have for art is purely musical—poetry being with me a mere tangent
  into which I shoot.” Lanier is at his best in his ballads, although
  a few of his lyrics have a similar spontaneity. In spite of the fact
  that he had rather novel schemes of rhythm and stanza-structure,
  much of his work is marred by strained effects, elaborate conceits
  and a kind of verse that approaches mere pattern-making. But such a
  vigorous ballad as “The Song of the Chattahoochee,” lyrics like
  “Night and Day” and “The Stirrup Cup,” and parts of the symphonic
  “Hymns of the Marshes” are sure of a place in American literature.
  Never a great figure, he was one of the most interesting and
  spiritual of our minor poets.

  Lanier died, a victim of his disease, in the mountains of North
  Carolina, September 7, 1881.

                      SONG OF THE CHATTAHOOCHEE[4]

             Out of the hills of Habersham,
             Down the valleys of Hall,
           I hurry amain to reach the plain,
           Run the rapid and leap the fall,
           Split at the rock and together again,
           Accept my bed, or narrow or wide,
           And flee from folly on every side
           With a lover’s pain to attain the plain
             Far from the hills of Habersham,
             Far from the valleys of Hall.

             All down the hills of Habersham,
             All through the valleys of Hall,
           The rushes cried _Abide, abide_,
           The willful waterweeds held me thrall,
           The laving laurel turned my tide,
           The ferns and the fondling grass said _Stay_,
           The dewberry dipped for to work delay,
           And the little reeds sighed _Abide, abide,
             Here in the hills of Habersham,
             Here in the valleys of Hall_.

             High o’er the hills of Habersham,
             Veiling the valleys of Hall,
           The hickory told me manifold
           Fair tales of shade, the poplar tall
           Wrought me her shadowy self to hold,
           The chestnut, the oak, the walnut, the pine,
           Overleaning, with flickering meaning and sign,
           Said, _Pass not, so cold, these manifold
             Deep shades of the hills of Habersham,
             These glades in the valleys of Hall_.

             And oft in the hills of Habersham,
             And oft in the valleys of Hall,
           The white quartz shone, and the smooth brook-stone
           Did bar me of passage with friendly brawl,
           And many a luminous jewel lone
           —Crystals clear or acloud with mist,
           Ruby, garnet and amethyst—
           Made lures with the lights of streaming stone
             In the clefts of the hills of Habersham,
             In the beds of the valleys of Hall.

             But oh, not the hills of Habersham,
             And oh, not the valleys of Hall
           Avail: I am fain for to water the plain.
           Downward the voices of Duty call—
           Downward, to toil and be mixed with the main,
           The dry fields burn, and the mills are to turn,
           And a myriad flowers mortally yearn,
           And the lordly main from beyond the plain
             Calls o’er the hills of Habersham,
             Calls through the valleys of Hall.

                            NIGHT AND DAY[5]

               The innocent, sweet Day is dead.
               Dark Night hath slain her in her bed.
               O, Moors are as fierce to kill as to wed!
                 —Put out the light, said he.

               A sweeter light than ever rayed
               From star of heaven or eye of maid
               Has vanished in the unknown Shade
                 —She’s dead, she’s dead, said he.

               Now, in a wild, sad after-mood
               The tawny Night sits still to brood
               Upon the dawn-time when he wooed
                 —I would she lived, said he.

               Star-memories of happier times,
               Of loving deeds and lovers’ rhymes,
               Throng forth in silvery pantomimes.
                 —Come back, O Day! said he.

                     FROM “THE MARSHES OF GLYNN”[6]

 As the marsh-hen secretly builds on the watery sod,
 Behold I will build me a nest on the greatness of God:
 I will fly in the greatness of God as the marsh-hen flies
 In the freedom that fills all the space ’twixt the marsh and the skies:
 By so many roots as the marsh-grass sends in the sod
 I will heartily lay me a-hold on the greatness of God:
 Oh, like to the greatness of God is the greatness within
 The range of the marshes, the liberal marshes of Glynn.

 And the sea lends large, as the marsh: lo, out of his plenty the sea
 Pours fast: full soon the time of the flood-tide must be:
 Look how the grace of the sea doth go
 About and about through the intricate channels that flow
       Here and there,
 Till his waters have flooded the uttermost creeks and the low-lying
 And the marsh is meshed with a million veins,
 That like as with rosy and silvery essences flow
   In the rose-and-silver evening glow.
                 Farewell, my lord Sun!
 The creeks overflow; a thousand rivulets run
 ’Twixt the roots of the sod; the blades of the marsh-grass stir;
 Passeth a hurrying sound of wings that westward whirr;
 Passeth, and all is still; and the currents cease to run;
 And the sea and the marsh are one.

 How still the plains of the waters be!
 The tide in his ecstasy.
 The tide is at his highest height:
                 And it is night.

 And now from the Vast of the Lord will the waters of sleep
 Roll in on the souls of men,
 But who will reveal to our waking ken
 The forms that swim and the shapes that creep
                 Under the waters of sleep?
 And I would I could know what swimmeth below when the tide comes in
 On the length and breadth of the marvellous marshes of Glynn.

                        _Charles Edward Carryl_

  Charles Edward Carryl, father of Guy Wetmore Carryl (see page 142),
  was born in New York City, December 30, 1842. He was an officer and
  director in various railroads but found leisure to write two of the
  few worthy rivals of the immortal _Alice in Wonderland_. These two,
  _Davy and the Goblin_ (1884), which has gone through twenty
  printings, and _The Admiral’s Caravan_ (1891), contain many lively
  and diverting ballads as well as inspired nonsense verses in the
  manner of his model who, in spite of the slight difference in
  spelling, was also a Carroll.

  C. E. Carryl lived the greater part of his life in New York, but on
  retiring from business, removed to Boston and lived there until his
  death, which occurred in the summer of 1920.

                        THE PLAINT OF THE CAMEL

            “Canary-birds feed on sugar and seed,
                Parrots have crackers to crunch;
            And as for the poodles, they tell me the noodles
                Have chickens and cream for their lunch.
                    But there’s never a question
                    About MY digestion—
                  ANYTHING does for me!

            “Cats, you’re aware, can repose in a chair,
                Chickens can roost upon rails;
            Puppies are able to sleep in a stable,
                And oysters can slumber in pails.
                    But no one supposes
                    A poor Camel dozes—
                  ANY PLACE does for me!

            “Lambs are enclosed where it’s never exposed,
                Coops are constructed for hens;
            Kittens are treated to houses well heated,
                And pigs are protected by pens.
                    But a Camel comes handy
                    Wherever it’s sandy—
                  ANYWHERE does for me!

            “People would laugh if you rode a giraffe,
                Or mounted the back of an ox;
            It’s nobody’s habit to ride on a rabbit,
                Or try to bestraddle a fox.
                    But as for a Camel, he’s
                    Ridden by families—
                  ANY LOAD does for me!

            “A snake is as round as a hole in the ground;
                Weasels are wavy and sleek;
            And no alligator could ever be straighter
                Than lizards that live in a creek.
                    But a Camel’s all lumpy
                    And bumpy and humpy—
                  ANY SHAPE does for me!”

                        ROBINSON CRUSOE’S STORY

                The night was thick and hazy
                When the “Piccadilly Daisy”
            Carried down the crew and captain in the sea;
                And I think the water drowned ’em;
                For they never, never found ’em
            And I know they didn’t come ashore with me.
                Oh! ’twas very sad and lonely
                When I found myself the only
            Population on this cultivated shore;
                But I’ve made a little tavern
                In a rocky little cavern,
            And I sit and watch for people at the door.

                I spent no time in looking
                For a girl to do my cooking,
            As I’m quite a clever hand at making stews;
                But I had that fellow Friday,
                Just to keep the tavern tidy,
            And to put a Sunday polish on my shoes.

                I have a little garden
                That I’m cultivating lard in,
            As the things I eat are rather tough and dry;
                For I live on toasted lizards,
                Prickly pears, and parrot gizzards,
            And I’m really very fond of beetle-pie.

                The clothes I had were furry,
                And it made me fret and worry
            When I found the moths were eating off the hair;
                And I had to scrape and sand ’em,
                And I boiled ’em and I tanned ’em,
            Till I got the fine morocco suit I wear.
                I sometimes seek diversion
                In a family excursion
            With the few domestic animals you see;
                And we take along a carrot
                As refreshment for the parrot,
            And a little can of jungleberry tea.

                Then we gather as we travel,
                Bits of moss and dirty gravel,
            And we chip off little specimens of stone;
                And we carry home as prizes
                Funny bugs, of handy sizes,
            Just to give the day a scientific tone.

                If the roads are wet and muddy
                We remain at home and study,—
            For the Goat is very clever at a sum,—
                And the Dog, instead of fighting,
                Studies ornamental writing,
            While the Cat is taking lessons on the drum.

                We retire at eleven,
                And we rise again at seven;
            And I wish to call attention, as I close,
                To the fact that all the scholars
                Are correct about their collars,
            And particular in turning out their toes.

                         _James Whitcomb Riley_

  James Whitcomb Riley, who was possibly the most widely read native
  poet of his day, was born October 7, 1849, in Greenfield, Indiana, a
  small town twenty miles from Indianapolis, where he spent his later
  years. Contrary to the popular belief, Riley was not, as many have
  gathered from his bucolic dialect poems, a struggling child of the
  soil; his father was a lawyer in comfortable circumstances and Riley
  was not only given a good education but was prepared for the law.
  His temperament, however, craved something more adventurous. At
  eighteen he shut the heavy pages of Blackstone, slipped out of the
  office and joined a traveling troupe of actors who sold patent
  medicines during the intermissions. Riley’s functions were varied:
  he beat the bass-drum, painted their flaring banners, wrote local
  versions of old songs, coached the actors and, when occasion arose,
  took part in the performance himself.

  Even before this time, Riley had begun to send verses to the
  newspapers, frank experiments, bits of homely sentiment, simple
  snatches and elaborate hoaxes—the poem “Leonainie,” published over
  the initials “E. A. P.,” being accepted in many quarters as a newly
  discovered poem by Poe. In 1882, when he was on the staff of the
  Indianapolis _Journal_, he began the series of dialect poems which
  he claimed were by a rude and unlettered farmer, one “Benj. F.
  Johnson, of Boone, the Hoosier poet”—printing long extracts from
  “Boone’s” ungrammatical and badly-spelt letters to prove his find. A
  collection of these rustic verses appeared, in 1883, as _The Ole
  Swimmin’ Hole_; and Riley leaped into widespread popularity.

  Other collections followed rapidly: _Afterwhiles_ (1887),
  _Old-Fashioned Roses_ (1888), _Pipes o’ Pan at Zekesbury_ (1889),
  _Rhymes of Childhood_ (1890). All met an instant response; Riley
  endeared himself, by his homely idiom and his childlike ingenuity,
  to a countryful of readers, adolescent and adult.

  But Riley’s simplicity is not always as artless as it seems. Time
  and again, one can see him trading wantonly on the emotions of his
  unsophisticated readers; he sees them about to smile—and broadens
  the point of his joke; he observes them on the point of tears—and
  pulls out the sobbing _tremolo_ stop. In many respects, he is
  patently the most artificial of those poets who claim to give us the
  stuff of the soil. He is the poet of obtrusive sentiment rather than
  of quiet convictions; of lulling assurance, of philosophies that
  never disturb his readers, of sweet truisms rather than searching

  That work of his which may endure, will survive because of the
  personal flavor that Riley often fused into it. Such poems as “When
  the Frost is on the Punkin,” “The Raggedy Man,” “Our Hired Girl” are
  a part of American folk literature; “Little Orphant Annie” is read
  wherever there is a schoolhouse or, for that matter, a nursery. In
  1912 the schools throughout the country observed his birthday.

  Riley died in his little house in Lockerbie Street, Indianapolis,
  July 22, 1916.

                  “WHEN THE FROST IS ON THE PUNKIN”[7]

 When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
 And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,
 And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
 And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
 O, it’s then the time a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
 With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
 As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
 When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

 They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
 When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here—
 Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
 And the mumble of the hummin’-birds and buzzin’ of the bees;
 But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
 Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
 Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock—
 When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

 The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
 And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves as golden as the morn;
 The stubble in the furries—kindo’ lonesome-like, but still
 A-preachin’ sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
 The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
 The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover overhead!—
 O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
 When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.
 Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
 Is poured around the cellar-floor in red and yaller heaps;
 And your cider-makin’s over, and your wimmern-folks is through
 With theyr mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and sausage too!...
 I don’t know how to tell it—but ef such a thing could be
 As the angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on _me_—
 I’d want to ’commodate ’em—all the whole-indurin’ flock—
 When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

                           A PARTING GUEST[8]

                 What delightful hosts are they—
                     Life and Love!
                 Lingeringly I turn away,
                     This late hour, yet glad enough
                 They have not withheld from me
                     Their high hospitality.
                 So, with face lit with delight
                     And all gratitude, I stay
                     Yet to press their hands and say,
                 “Thanks.—So fine a time! Good night.”

                             _Eugene Field_

  Although born (September 3, 1850) in St. Louis, Missouri, Eugene
  Field belongs to the literature of the far West. Colorado and the
  Rocky Mountain region claimed him as their own and Field never
  repudiated the allegiance; he even called most of his poetry
  “Western Verse.”

  Field’s area of education embraced New England, Missouri, and what
  European territory he could cover in six months. At twenty-three he
  became a reporter on the St. Louis _Evening Journal_, the rest of
  his life being given, with a dogged devotion, to journalism. Driven
  by the demands of his unique daily columns (those on the Denver
  _Tribune_ [1881–1883] and the Chicago _Daily News_ [1883–1895] were
  widely copied), Field first capitalized and then standardized his
  high spirits, his erudition, his whimsicality, his fondness for
  children. He wrote so often with his tongue in his cheek that it is
  difficult to say where true sentiment stops and an exaggerated
  sentimentality begins. “Field,” says Fred Lewis Pattee, in his
  detailed study of _American Literature Since 1870_, “more than any
  other writer of the period, illustrates the way the old type of
  literary scholar was to be modified and changed by the newspaper.
  Every scrap of Field’s voluminous product was written for immediate
  newspaper consumption. He patronized not at all the literary
  magazines, he wrote his books not at all with book intent—he made
  them up from newspaper fragments.... He was a pioneer in a peculiar
  province: he stands for the journalization of literature, a process
  that, if carried to its logical extreme, will make of the man of
  letters a mere newspaper reporter.”

  Though Field still may be overrated in some quarters, there is
  little doubt that certain of his child lyrics, his homely
  philosophic ballads (in the vein which Harte and Riley popularized)
  and his brilliant burlesques will occupy a niche in American
  letters. Readers of all tastes will find much to surprise and
  delight them in _A Little Book of Western Verse_ (1889), _With
  Trumpet and Drum_ (1892), _A Second Book of Verse_ (1893) and those
  remarkable versions (and perversions) of Horace, _Echoes from the
  Sabine Farm_ (1893) written in collaboration with his equally adroit
  brother, Roswell M. Field. A complete one-volume edition of his
  verse was issued in 1910.

  Field died in Chicago, Illinois, November 4, 1895.

                          OUR TWO OPINIONS[9]

              Us two wuz boys when we fell out,—
                Nigh to the age uv my youngest now;
              Don’t rec’lect what ’twuz about,
                Some small deeff’rence, I’ll allow.
              Lived next neighbors twenty years,
                A-hatin’ each other, me ’nd Jim,—
              He having _his_ opinyin uv _me_,
                ’Nd _I_ havin’ _my_ opinyin uv _him_.

              Grew up together ’nd wouldn’t speak,
                Courted sisters, ’nd marr’d ’em, too;
              ’Tended same meetin’-house oncet a week,
                A-hatin’ each other through ’nd through!
              But when Abe Linkern asked the West
                F’r soldiers, we answered,—me ’nd Jim,—
              _He_ havin’ _his_ opinyin uv _me_,
                ’Nd _I_ havin’ _my_ opinyin uv _him_.

              But down in Tennessee one night
                Ther’ wuz sound uv firin’ fur away,
              ’Nd the sergeant allowed ther’d be a fight
                With the Johnnie Rebs some time nex’ day;
              ’Nd as I wuz thinkin’ uv Lizzie ’nd home
                Jim stood afore me, long ’nd slim,—
              _He_ havin’ _his_ opinyin uv _me_,
                ’Nd _I_ havin’ _my_ opinyin uv _him_.

              Seemed like we knew there wuz goin’ to be
                Serious trouble f’r me ’nd him;
              Us two shuck hands, did Jim ’nd me,
                But never a word from me or Jim!
              He went _his_ way ’nd _I_ went _mine_,
                ’Nd into the battle’s roar went we,—
              _I_ havin’ _my_ opinyin of Jim,
                ’Nd _he_ havin’ _his_ opinyin uv _me_.

              Jim never came back from the war again,
                But I hain’t forgot that last, last night
              When, waitin’ f’r orders, us two men
                Made up ’nd shuck hands, afore the fight,
              ’Nd after it all, it’s soothin’ to know
                That here I be ’nd younder’s Jim,—
              _He_ havin’ _his_ opinyin uv _me_,
                ’Nd _I_ havin’ _my_ opinyin uv _him_.

                          LITTLE BOY BLUE[10]

           The little toy dog is covered with dust,
               But sturdy and staunch he stands;
           The little toy soldier is red with rust,
               And his musket moulds in his hands.
           Time was when the little toy dog was new,
               And the soldier was passing fair;
           And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
               Kissed them and put them there.

           “Now don’t you go till I come,” he said,
               “And don’t you make any noise!”
           So, toddling off to his trundle bed,
               He dreamt of the pretty toys;
           And, as he was dreaming, an angel song
               Awakened our Little Boy Blue—
           Oh! the years are many, the years are long,
               But the little toy friends are true!

           Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
               Each in the same old place,
           Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
               The smile of a little face;
           And they wonder, as waiting the long years through
               In the dust of that little chair,
           What has become of our Little Boy Blue,
               Since he kissed them and put them there.

                           SEEIN’ THINGS[11]

  I ain’t afraid uv snakes or toads, or bugs or worms or mice,
  An’ things ’at girls are skeered uv I think are awful nice!
  I’m pretty brave I guess; an’ yet I hate to go to bed,
  For, when I’m tucked up warm an’ snug an’ when my prayers are said,
  Mother tells me “Happy Dreams” an’ takes away the light,
  An’ leaves me lyin’ all alone an’ seein’ things at night!

  Sometimes they’re in the corner, sometimes they’re by the door,
  Sometimes they’re all a-standin’ in the middle uv the floor;
  Sometimes they are a-sittin’ down, sometimes they’re walkin’ round
  So softly and so creepy-like they never make a sound!
  Sometimes they are as black as ink, an’ other times they’re white—
  But color ain’t no difference when you see things at night!

  Once, when I licked a feller ’at had just moved on our street,
  An’ father sent me up to bed without a bite to eat,
  I woke up in the dark an’ saw things standin’ in a row,
  A-lookin’ at me cross-eyed an’ p’intin’ at me—_so!_
  Oh, my! I wuz so skeered ’at time I never slep’ a mite—
  It’s almost alluz when I’m bad I see things at night!

  Lucky thing I ain’t a girl or I’d be skeered to death!
  Bein’ I’m a boy, I duck my head an’ hold my breath.
  An’ I am, oh _so_ sorry I’m a naughty boy, an’ then
  I promise to be better an’ I say my prayers again!
  Gran’ma tells me that’s the only way to make it right
  When a feller has been wicked an’ sees things at night!

  An’ so when other naughty boys would coax me into sin,
  I try to skwush the Tempter’s voice ’at urges me within;
  An’ when they’s pie for supper, or cakes ’at’s big an’ nice,
  I want to—but I do not pass my plate f’r them things twice!
  No, ruther let Starvation wipe me slowly out o’ sight
  Than I should keep a-livin’ on an’ seein’ things at night!

                            _Edwin Markham_

  Edwin Markham was born in Oregon City, Oregon, April 23, 1852, the
  youngest son of pioneer parents. His father died before he had
  reached his fifth year and in 1857 he was taken by his mother to a
  wild valley in the Suisun Hills in central California. Here he grew
  to young manhood; farming, broncho-riding, laboring on a cattle
  ranch, educating himself in the primitive country schools and
  supplementing his studies with whatever books he could procure. At
  eighteen he determined to be a teacher and entered the State Normal
  School at San Jose. After some years he became superintendent and
  principal of various schools in that locality.

  Since childhood, Markham had been writing verses of no extraordinary
  merit, one of his earliest pieces being a typically Bryonic echo (_A
  Dream of Chaos_) full of the high-sounding fustian of the period.
  Several years before he uttered his famous challenge, Markham was
  writing poems of protest, insurrectionary in theme but conventional
  in effect. Suddenly, in 1899, a new force surged through him; a
  sense of outrage at the inequality of human struggle voiced itself
  in the sweeping and sonorous poem, “The Man with the Hoe.” (See
  Preface.) Inspired by Millet’s painting, Markham made the bowed,
  broken French peasant a symbol of the poverty-stricken toiler in all
  lands—his was a protest not against labor but the drudgery, the
  soul-destroying exploitation of labor. “The Yeoman is the landed and
  well-to-do farmer,” says Markham, “you need shed no tears for him.
  But here in the Millet picture is his opposite—the Hoeman; the
  landless, the soul-blighted workman of the world, the dumb creature
  that has no time to rest, no time to think, no time for the hopes
  that make us men.” ... “The Man with the Hoe,” with its demand for a
  keener sense of social responsibility, was not wholly cast in the
  key of challenge. It looked to a more expansive future when “all
  workers will think and all thinkers will work”; it answered Music’s
  great trio of B.’s (Bach, Beethoven, Brahms) with the need of a
  greater three: “Bread, Beauty and Brotherhood.”

  The success of the poem upon its appearance in the San Francisco
  _Examiner_ (January 15, 1899) was instantaneous and universal. The
  lines appeared in every part of the globe; it was quoted and copied
  in every walk of life, in the literary world, the leisure world, the
  labor world. The same year of its publication, it was incorporated
  in Markham’s first volume _The Man with the Hoe, and Other Poems_
  (1899). Two years later, his almost as well known poem was
  published. The same passion that fired Markham to champion the great
  common workers equipped him to write fittingly of the Great Commoner
  in _Lincoln, and Other Poems_ (1901). His later volumes are
  dignified and melodious but scarcely remarkable. Never reaching the
  heights of his two early classics, there are, nevertheless, many
  moments of a related nobility in _The Shoes of Happiness_ (1914) and
  _The Gates of Paradise_ (1920).

  Markham came East in 1901, his home being on Staten Island, New


                   He drew a circle that shut me out—
                   Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
                   But Love and I had the wit to win:
                   We drew a circle that took him in!

                        THE MAN WITH THE HOE[12]

        (_Written after seeing Millet’s world-famous painting_)

         Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans
         Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground,
         The emptiness of ages in his face,
         And on his back the burden of the world.
         Who made him dead to rapture and despair,
         A thing that grieves not and that never hopes,
         Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox?
         Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw?
         Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow?
         Whose breath blew out the light within this brain?

         Is this the Thing the Lord God made and gave
         To have dominion over sea and land;
         To trace the stars and search the heavens for power;
         To feel the passion of Eternity?
         Is this the dream He dreamed who shaped the suns
         And marked their ways upon the ancient deep?
         Down all the caverns of Hell to their last gulf
         There is no shape more terrible than this—
         More tongued with censure of the world’s blind greed—
         More filled with signs and portents for the soul—
         More packt with danger to the universe.

         What gulfs between him and the seraphim!
         Slave of the wheel of labor, what to him

         Are Plato and the swing of Pleiades?
         What the long reaches of the peaks of song,
         The rift of dawn, the reddening of the rose?
         Through this dread shape the suffering ages look;
         Time’s tragedy is in that aching stoop;
         Through this dread shape humanity betrayed,
         Plundered, profaned, and disinherited,
         Cries protest to the Judges of the World,
         A protest that is also prophecy.

         O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
         Is this the handiwork you give to God,
         This monstrous thing distorted and soul-quenched?
         How will you ever straighten up this shape;
         Touch it again with immortality;
         Give back the upward looking and the light;
         Rebuild in it the music and the dream;
         Make right the immemorial infamies,
         Perfidious wrongs, immedicable woes?

         O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
         How will the Future reckon with this man?
         How answer his brute question in that hour
         When whirlwinds of rebellion shake all shores?
         How will it be with kingdoms and with kings—
         With those who shaped him to the thing he is—
         When this dumb Terror shall rise to judge the world,
         After the silence of the centuries?


                   For all your days prepare,
                     And meet them ever alike:
                   When you are the anvil, bear—
                     When you are the hammer, strike.

                   LINCOLN, THE MAN OF THE PEOPLE[13]

           When the Norn Mother saw the Whirlwind Hour
           Greatening and darkening as it hurried on,
           She left the Heaven of Heroes and came down
           To make a man to meet the mortal need.
           She took the tried clay of the common road—
           Clay warm yet with the genial heat of earth,
           Dasht through it all a strain of prophecy;
           Tempered the heap with thrill of human tears;
           Then mixt a laughter with the serious stuff.
           Into the shape she breathed a flame to light
           That tender, tragic, ever-changing face;
           And laid on him a sense of the Mystic Powers,
           Moving—all husht—behind the mortal vail.
           Here was a man to hold against the world,
           A man to match the mountains and the sea.

           The color of the ground was in him, the red earth;
           The smack and tang of elemental things:
           The rectitude and patience of the cliff;
           The good-will of the rain that loves all leaves;
           The friendly welcome of the wayside well;
           The courage of the bird that dares the sea;
           The gladness of the wind that shakes the corn;
           The pity of the snow that hides all scars;
           The secrecy of streams that make their way
           Under the mountain to the rifted rock;
           The tolerance and equity of light
           That gives as freely to the shrinking flower
           As to the great oak flaring to the wind—
           To the grave’s low hill as to the Matterhorn
           That shoulders out the sky. Sprung from the West,
           He drank the valorous youth of a new world.
           The strength of virgin forests braced his mind,
           The hush of spacious prairies stilled his soul.
           His words were oaks in acorns; and his thoughts
           Were roots that firmly gript the granite truth.

           Up from log cabin to the Capitol,
           One fire was on his spirit, one resolve—
           To send the keen ax to the root of wrong,
           Clearing a free way for the feet of God,
           The eyes of conscience testing every stroke,
           To make his deed the measure of a man.
           He built the rail-pile as he built the State,
           Pouring his splendid strength through every blow:
           The grip that swung the ax in Illinois
           Was on the pen that set a people free.

           So came the Captain with the mighty heart;
           And when the judgment thunders split the house,
           Wrenching the rafters from their ancient rest,
           He held the ridgepole up, and spiked again
           The rafters of the Home. He held his place—
           Held the long purpose like a growing tree—
           Held on through blame and faltered not at praise.
           And when he fell in whirlwind, he went down
           As when a lordly cedar, green with boughs,
           Goes down with a great shout upon the hills,
           And leaves a lonesome place against the sky.

                            _C. E. S. Wood_

  Charles Erskine Scott Wood was born at Erie, Pennsylvania, February
  20, 1852, educated at the United States Military Academy (1874) and
  Columbia, where he received the degrees of Ph.B. and LL.B. in 1883.
  Wood served in the United States Army for almost ten years, acting
  as lieutenant in various campaigns against the Indians during
  1877–8. He was admitted to the bar in 1884, practised at Portland,
  Oregon, and retired in 1919.

  In 1901, he published _A Book of Tales, Being Myths of the North
  American Indians_. In 1904, his symbolic _A Masque of Love_
  appeared. His finest work, however, is _The Poet in the Desert_
  (1915), a sonorous pageant of protest from which the two selections
  have been taken.


 The lean coyote, prowler of the night,
 Slips to his rocky fastnesses.
 Jack-rabbits noiselessly shuttle among the sage-brush,
 And, from the castellated cliffs,
 Rock-ravens launch their proud black sails upon the day.
 The wild horses troop back to their pastures.

 The poplar-trees watch beside the irrigation-ditches.
 Orioles, whose nests sway in the cotton-wood trees by the ditch-side,
    begin to twitter.
 All shy things, breathless, watch
 The thin white skirts of dawn,
 The dancer of the sky,
 Who trips daintily down the mountain-side
 Emptying her crystal chalice....
 And a red-bird, dipped in sunrise, cracks from a poplar’s top
 His exultant whip above a silver world.

                               THE DESERT

          She is a nun, withdrawing behind her veil;
          Grey, mysterious, meditative, unapproachable.
          Her body is tawny with the eagerness of the Sun
          And her eyes are pools which shine in deep canyons.
          She is a beautiful swart woman
          With opals at her throat,
          Rubies at her wrists
          And topaz about her ankles.
          Her breasts are like the evening and the day stars.

          She sits upon her throne of light, proud and silent,
          Indifferent to wooers.
          The Sun is her servitor, the stars her attendants,
          Running before her.
          She sings a song unto her own ears,
          Solitary but sufficient;
          The song of her being.
          She is a naked dancer, dancing upon
          A pavement of porphyry and pearl,
          Dazzling, so that the eyes must be shaded.
          She wears the stars upon her bosom
          And braids her hair with the constellations.

                            _Irwin Russell_

  Irwin Russell was born, June 3, 1853, at Port Gibson, Mississippi,
  where he studied law and was admitted to the bar. His restless
  nature and wayward disposition drove him from one place to another,
  from dissipation to dissipation, from a not too rugged health to an
  utter breakdown. In July, 1879, he was forced to leave New York,
  working his way down to New Orleans on a coast steamer, trying to
  rehabilitate himself as reporter on the New Orleans _Picayune_. But
  illness pursued him and the following December Russell died, cut
  off, in the midst of his promise, before he had reached his
  twenty-seventh year.

  Although Russell did not take his poetry seriously and though the
  bulk of it is small, its influence has been large. Thomas Nelson
  Page and Joel Chandler Harris have acknowledged their indebtedness
  to him; the creator of Uncle Remus writing, “Irwin Russell was
  among the first—if not the very first—of Southern writers to
  appreciate the literary possibilities of the negro character.” He
  entered their life, appreciated their fresh turns of thought, saw
  things with that peculiar mixture of reverence and unconscious
  humor that is so integral a part of negro songs and spirituals.
  “Blessing the Dance” and “The Song of the Banjo” (from Russell’s
  operetta _Christmas-Night in the Quarters_, possibly his best
  known work) are excellent examples; faithful renderings of the
  mind of the old-fashioned, simple and sententious child of the
  plantation. In the latter poem the old story of Noah is told, with
  delightful additions, from the colorful angle of the darky; local
  in its setting, revealing in its quaint psychology.

  A collection of his poems appeared, with an introduction by Joel
  Chandler Harris, in 1888. In 1917, a more inclusive volume,
  beautifully printed, with illustrations by E. W. Kemble, was
  published by The Century Co.; it was entitled _Christmas-Night in
  the Quarters_.

  Russell died, in an obscure boarding house in New Orleans, December
  23, 1879.

                           BLESSING THE DANCE

                (From _Christmas-Night in the Quarters_)

   O Mahsr! let dis gath’rin fin’ a blessin’ in yo’ sight!
   Don’t jedge us hard fur what we does—yo’ know it’s Chrismus-night;
   An’ all de balunce ob de yeah we does as right’s we kin.
   Ef dancin’s wrong, O Mahsr! let de time excuse de sin!

   We labors in de vin’ya’d, wukin’ hard an’ wukin’ true;
   Now, shorely yo’ won’t notus, ef we eats a grape or two,
   An’ takes a leetle holiday,—a leetle restin’-spell,—
   Bekase, nex’ week, we’ll start in fresh, an’ labor twicet as well.

   Remember, Mahsr,—min’ dis now,—de sinfullness ob sin
   Is ’pendin’ ’pon de sperrit what we goes an’ does it in;
   An’ in a righchis frame ob min’ we’s gwine to dance an’ sing,
   A-feelin’ like King David, when he cut de pigeon-wing.

   It seems to me—indeed it do—I mebbe mout be wrong—
   Dat people raly _ought_ to dance, when Chrismus comes along;
   Des dance bekase dey’s happy—like de birds hops in de trees,
   De pine-top fiddle soundin’ to be bowin’ ob de breeze.

   We has no ark to dance afore, like Isrul’s prophet king;
   We has no harp to soun’ de chords, to holp us out to sing;
   But ’cordin’ to de gif’s we has we does de bes’ we knows,
   An’ folks don’t ’spise de vi’let-flower bekase it ain’t de rose.

   Yes, bless us, please, Sah, eben ef we’s doin’ wrong to-night;
   Kase den we’ll need de blessin’ more’n ef we’s doin’ right;
   An’ let de blessin’s stay wid us, untel we comes to die,
   An’ goes to keep our Chrismus wid dem sheriffs in de sky!

   Yes, tell dem preshis anguls we’s a-gwine to jine ’em soon:
   Our voices we’s a-trainin’ fur to sing de glory tune;
   We’s ready when you wants us, an’ it ain’t no matter when.
   O Mahsr! call yo’ chillen soon, an’ take ’em home! _Amen._

                             DE FUST BANJO

 Go ’way, fiddle! folks is tired o’ hearin’ you a-squawkin’.
 Keep silence fur yo’ betters! don’t you heah de banjo talkin’?
 About de ’possum’s tail she’s gwine to lecter—ladies, listen!
 About de ha’r whut isn’t dar, an’ why de ha’r is missin’:

 “Dar’s gwine to be a’ oberflow,” said Noah, lookin’ solemn—
 Fur Noah tuk de “Herald,” an’ he read de ribber column—
 An’ so he sot his hands to wuk a-clarin’ timber-patches,
 An’ ’lowed he’s gwine to build a boat to beat de steamah _Natchez_.

 Ol’ Noah kep’ a-nailin’ an’ a-chippin’ an’ a-sawin’;
 An’ all de wicked neighbors kep’ a-laughin’ an’ a-pshawin’;
 But Noah didn’t min’ ’em, knowin’ whut wuz gwine to happen:
 An’ forty days an’ forty nights de rain it kep’ a-drappin’.

 Now, Noah had done cotched a lot ob ebry sort o’ beas’es—
 Ob all de shows a-trabbelin’, it beat ’em all to pieces!
 He had a Morgan colt an’ sebral head o’ Jarsey cattle—
 An’ druv ’em ’board de Ark as soon’s he heered de thunder rattle.

 Den sech anoder fall ob rain! It come so awful hebby,
 De ribber riz immejitly, an’ busted troo de lebbee;
 De people all wuz drownded out—’cep’ Noah an’ de critters,
 An’ men he’d hired to wuk de boat—an’ one to mix de bitters.

 De Ark she kep’ a-sailin’ an’ a-sailin’ _an’_ a-sailin’;
 De lion got his dander up, an’ like to bruk de palin’;
 De sarpints hissed; de painters yelled; tel’, whut wid all de fussin’,
 You c’u’dn’t hardly heah de mate a-bossin’ ’roun’ an’ cussin’.

 Now Ham, de only nigger whut wuz runnin’ on de packet,
 Got lonesome in de barber-shop, an’ c’u’dn’t stan’ de racket;
 An’ so, fur to amuse he-se’f, he steamed some wood an’ bent it,
 An’ soon he had a banjo made—de fust dat wuz invented.

 He wet de ledder, stretched it on; made bridge an’ screws an’ aprin;
 An’ fitted in a proper neck—’twuz berry long an’ taprin’;
 He tuk some tin, an’ twisted him a thimble fur to ring it:
 An’ den de mighty question riz: how wuz he gwine to string it?

 De ’possum had as fine a tail as dis dat I’s a-singin’;
 De ha’r’s so long an’ thick an’ strong,—des fit fur banjo-stringin’;
 Dat nigger shaved ’em off as short as washday-dinner graces:
 An’ sorted ob ’em by de size—f’om little E’s to basses.

 He strung her, tuned her, struck a jig,—’twuz “_Nebber min’ de
 She soun’ like forty-lebben bands a-playin’ all togedder:
 Some went to pattin’; some to dancin’: Noah called de figgers;
 An’ Ham he sot an’ knocked de tune, de happiest ob niggers!

 Now, sence dat time—it’s mighty strange—dere’s not de slightes’ showin’
 Ob any ha’r at all upon de ’possum’s tail a-growin’;
 An’ curi’s, too, dat nigger’s ways: his people nebber los’ ’em—
 Fur whar you finds de nigger—dar’s de banjo an’ de ’possum!

                           _Edith M. Thomas_

  Edith Matilda Thomas was born at Chatham, Ohio, August 12, 1854. She
  was educated in the Normal Institute at Geneva, Ohio, and has been
  living in New York since 1888.

  Miss Thomas is the author of some dozen books of verse, most of them
  lightly lyrical in mood, although many of her individual poems have
  a spiritually dramatic quality. The best of her work may be found in
  _Lyrics and Sonnets_ (1887) and _The Flower from the Ashes_ (1915).

                            “FROST TO-NIGHT”

          Apple-green west and an orange bar;
          And the crystal eye of a lone, one star ...
          And, “Child, take the shears and cut what you will,
          Frost to-night—so clear and dead-still.”

          Then I sally forth, half sad, half proud,
          And I come to the velvet, imperial crowd,
          The wine-red, the gold, the crimson, the pied,—
          The dahlias that reign by the garden-side.

          The dahlias I might not touch till to-night!
          A gleam of shears in the fading light,
          And I gathered them all,—the splendid throng,
          And in one great sheaf I bore them along.

                ·      ·      ·      ·      ·      ·

          In my garden of Life with its all late flowers
          I heed a Voice in the shrinking hours:
          “Frost to-night—so clear and dead-still” ...
          Half sad, half proud, my arms I fill.

                       _George Edward Woodberry_

  George Edward Woodberry was born in Beverly, Mass., May 12, 1855,
  and studied at Harvard; his early efforts receiving the approval of
  James Russell Lowell. From 1891 to 1904 he was Professor of
  Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he exercised a
  keen influence on many of the younger writers.

  His work is decidedly romantic and classical in style, leaning
  heavily toward the Tennysonian tradition. Although there is an
  undercurrent of spiritual beauty throughout his poetry, he
  frequently loses his power of exaltation in a rhetoric that is both
  stilted and sentimental. His chief collections of verse are _The
  Flight and Other Poems_ (1900), _Wild Eden_ (1914) and _The Roamer
  and Other Poems_ (1920). He has also written several books of
  essays, criticism and biography.

                             IMMORTAL LOVE

          Immortal Love, too high for my possessing,—
            Yet, lower than thee, where shall I find repose?
            Long in my youth I sang the morning rose,
          By earthly things the heavenly pattern guessing!
          Long fared I on, beauty and love caressing,
            And finding in my heart a place for those
            Eternal fugitives; the golden close
          Of evening folds me, still their sweetness blessing.

          Oh, happy we, the first-born heirs of nature,
            For whom the Heavenly Sun delays his light!
          He by the sweets of every mortal creature
            Tempers eternal beauty to our sight;
          And by the glow upon love’s earthly feature
            Maketh the path of our departure bright.

                           A SONG OF SUNRISE

              (_On the Morning of the Russian Revolution_)

                To those who drink the golden mist
                  Whereon the world’s horizons rest,
                Who teach the peoples to resist
                  The terrors of the human breast:—
                By burning stake and prison-camp
                  They lead the march of man divine,
                Above whose head the sacred lamp
                  Of liberty doth blaze and shine;
                O’er blood and tears and nameless woe
                  They hail far off the dawning light;
                Through faith in them the nations go,
                  Sun-smitten in the deepest night:—
                Honor to them from East to West
                  Be on the shouting earth to-day!
                Holy their memory! Sweet their rest!
                  Who fill the skies with freedom’s ray!

                             _H. C. Bunner_

  Henry Cuyler Bunner, one of our most delightful writers of light
  verse, was born at Oswego, New York, in 1855. At twenty-two he was
  appointed editor of _Puck_ (then the most prominent of comic
  weeklies), a position which he held until his death. For more than
  ten years he wrote almost all the rhymed contributions to that
  journal—to say nothing of quantities of short stories (his _Short
  Sixes_, first published in 1890, are still well-known), prose
  paragraphs, topical parodies, editorials, etc. Like Field, the
  artist was finally buried in the journalist; but, unlike him, Bunner
  kept the work of the serious poet separate from that of the
  manufacturer of satiric trifles. Yet, in spite of certain exquisite
  fragments in _Airs from Arcady_ (1884) and _Rowen: Second Crop
  Songs_ (1892), Bunner is likely to be remembered chiefly for his
  flippant _vers de société_, his skilful and grave absurdities.

  “Behold the Deeds!” is a splendid example of Bunner’s wit and
  technical ingenuity. It is a burlesque of the old ballads in the
  guise of a Chant-Royal, one of the strictest and most difficult of
  the French forms. Another of his uncollected comic pieces (“Shake,
  Mulleary and Go-ethe”) owes its origin to the fact that a certain
  Western poet (Joaquin Miller) had composed a poem in which the name
  of the author of “Faust” was made to rhyme with “teeth.” Bunner not
  only adopted this rhyme, but carried the broad satire further by
  mispronouncing Molière, achieving one of his happiest compositions.

  Bunner’s was, at best, an artificial world, a world of graceful
  compliments, polite evasions, rhymed _billets doux_, with light
  sighs and lighter laughter tinkling among the tea-cups. Bunner died,
  in New Jersey, in 1896.

                      SHAKE, MULLEARY AND GO-ETHE

               I have a bookcase, which is what
               Many much better men have not.
               There are no books inside, for books,
               I am afraid, might spoil its looks.
               But I’ve three busts, all second-hand,
               Upon the top. You understand
               I could not put them underneath—
               Shake, Mulleary and Go-ethe.
               Shake was a dramatist of note;
               He lived by writing things to quote.
               He long ago put on his shroud;
               Some of his works are rather loud.
               His bald-spot’s dusty, I suppose.
               I know there’s dust upon his nose.
               I’ll have to give each nose a sheath—
               Shake, Mulleary and Go-ethe.

               Mulleary’s line was quite the same;
               He has more hair, but far less fame.
               I would not from that fame retrench—
               But he is foreign, being French.
               Yet high his haughty head he heaves,
               The only one done up in leaves,
               They’re rather limited on wreath—
               Shake, Mulleary and Go-ethe.

               Go-ethe wrote in the German tongue:
               He must have learned it very young.
               His nose is quite a butt for scoff,
               Although an inch of it is off.
               He did quite nicely for the Dutch;
               But here he doesn’t count for much.
               They all are off their native heath—
               Shake, Mulleary and Go-ethe.

               They sit there, on their chests, as bland
               As if they were not second-hand.
               I do not know of what they think,
               Nor why they never frown or wink.
               But why from smiling they refrain
               I think I clearly can explain:
               They none of them could show much teeth—
               Shake, Mulleary and Go-ethe.

                           BEHOLD THE DEEDS!

  (_Being the Plaint of Adolphe Culpepper Ferguson, Salesman of Fancy
    Notions, held in durance of his Landlady for a “failure to connect”
    on Saturday night._)

           I would that all men my hard case would know,
             How grievously I suffer for no sin:
           I, Adolphe Culpepper Ferguson, for lo!
             I of my landlady am lockèd in
           For being short on this sad Saturday,
           Nor having shekels of silver wherewith to pay:
           She turned and is departed with my key;
           Wherefore, not even as other boarders free,
             I sing, (as prisoners to their dungeon-stones
           When for ten days they expiate a spree):
             Behold the deeds that are done of Mrs. Jones!

           One night and one day have I wept my woe;
             Nor wot I, when the morrow doth begin,
           If I shall have to write to Briggs & Co.,
             To pray them to advance the requisite tin
           For ransom of their salesman, that he may
           Go forth as other boarders go alway—
           As those I hear now flocking from their tea,
           Led by the daughter of my landlady
             Piano-ward. This day, for all my moans,
           Dry-bread and water have been servèd me.
             Behold the deeds that are done of Mrs. Jones!

           Miss Amabel Jones is musical, and so
             The heart of the young he-boarder doth win,
           Playing “The Maiden’s Prayer” _adagio_—
             That fetcheth him, as fetcheth the “bunko skin”
           The innocent rustic. For my part, I pray
           That Badarjewska maid may wait for aye
           Ere sits she with a lover, as did we
           Once sit together, Amabel! Can it be
             That all that arduous wooing not atones
           For Saturday’s shortness of trade dollars three?
             _Behold_ the deeds that are done of Mrs. Jones!

           Yea! She forgets the arm that was wont to go
             Around her waist. She wears a buckle whose pin
           Galleth the crook of her young man’s elbow.
             I forget not, for I that youth have been!
           Smith was aforetime the Lothario gay.
           Yet once, I mind me, Smith was forced to stay
           Close in his room. Not calm as I was he;
           But his noise brought no pleasaunce, verily.
             Small ease he got of playing on the bones
           Or hammering on the stove-pipe, that I see.
             Behold the deeds that are done of Mrs. Jones!
           Thou, for whose fear the figurative crow
             I eat, accursed be thou and all thy kin!
           Thee I will show up—yea, up I will show
             Thy too-thick buckwheats and thy tea too thin.
           Ay! here I dare thee, ready for the fray:
           Thou dost _not_ “keep a first-class house” I say!
           It does not with the advertisements agree.
           Thou lodgest a Briton with a puggaree,
             And thou hast harbored Jacobses and Cohns,
           Also a Mulligan. Thus denounce I thee!
             Behold the deeds that are done of Mrs. Jones!


           Boarders! the worst I have not told to ye:
           She hath stolen my trousers, that I may not flee
             Privily by the window. Hence these groans.
           There is no fleeing in a _robe de nuit_.
             Behold the deeds that are done of Mrs. Jones!

                      A PITCHER OF MIGNONETTE [14]

              A pitcher of mignonette
                In a tenement’s highest casement,—
              Queer sort of flower-pot—yet
              That pitcher of mignonette
              Is a garden in heaven set,
                To the little sick child in the basement—
              The pitcher of mignonette,
                In a tenement’s highest casement.

                       _Lizette Woodworth Reese_

  Lizette Woodworth Reese was born January 9, 1856, at Baltimore,
  Maryland, where she has lived ever since. After an education
  obtained chiefly in private schools, she taught English in the
  Western High School at Baltimore.

  Her first book, _A Branch of May_ (1887), seems, at first glance, to
  be merely a continuation of the tradition of English minor verse,
  pleasant and impersonal. But an undercurrent of emotion, a quiet
  intensity, makes one go back to these simple lyrics and prepares the
  reader for the charm of the ensuing volumes.

  _A Handful of Lavender_ (1891), _A Quiet Road_ (1896) and _A Wayside
  Lute_ (1909) embody an artistry which, in spite of its old-fashioned
  contours, is as true as it is tender. A host of the younger
  lyricists owe much of their technique to her admirable models, and
  few modern sonneteers have equaled the blended music and symbolism
  of “Tears.”


            When I consider Life and its few years—
            A wisp of fog betwixt us and the sun;
            A call to battle, and the battle done
            Ere the last echo dies within our ears;
            A rose choked in the grass; an hour of fears;
            The gusts that past a darkening shore do beat;
            The burst of music down an unlistening street,—
            I wonder at the idleness of tears.
            Ye old, old dead, and ye of yesternight,
            Chieftains, and bards, and keepers of the sheep,
            By every cup of sorrow that you had,
            Loose me from tears, and make me see aright
            How each hath back what once he stayed to weep:
            Homer his sight, David his little lad!

                                THE DUST

                     The dust blows up and down
                     Within the lonely town;
                     Vague, hurrying, dumb, aloof,
                     On sill and bough and roof.

                     What cloudy shapes do fleet
                     Along the parchèd street;
                     Clerks, bishops, kings go by—
                     Tomorrow so shall I.


             The spicewood burns along the gray, spent sky,
             In moist unchimneyed places, in a wind,
             That whips it all before, and all behind,
             Into one thick, rude flame, now low, now high.
             It is the first, the homeliest thing of all—
             At sight of it, that lad that by it fares,
             Whistles afresh his foolish, town-caught airs—
             A thing so honey-colored and so tall!

             It is as though the young Year, ere he pass,
             To the white riot of the cherry tree,
             Would fain accustom us, or here, or there,
             To his new sudden ways with bough and grass,
             So starts with what is humble, plain to see,
             And all familiar as a cup, a chair.

                            _Horace Traubel_

  Horace Traubel, often referred to as “Whitman’s Boswell,” was born
  in Camden, New Jersey, December 19, 1858, of mixed Jewish and
  Christian parentage. His scholastic education was desultory; after
  leaving school he sold newspapers, worked as an errand boy and
  helped his father in a stationery store. Later he became a printer’s
  devil, proof-reader, reporter and editorial writer. In 1873 Walt
  Whitman came to Camden, little dreaming he would spend the remainder
  of his life there. He was almost friendless, a sick man, helpless
  and alone. The Traubel household welcomed him in and an
  extraordinary friendship sprang up immediately between the aging
  poet and the young boy. Traubel saw Whitman some part of each day
  for almost twenty years. “As the years fled,” says David Karsner in
  his Life of Horace Traubel, “he catered to Whitman’s needs in a
  hundred different ways. He would bring Old Walt such papers and
  magazines as he knew would interest him. He ran his errands ... and
  assumed the details and responsibilities connected with the
  publishing of the later editions of Whitman’s books.” This intimacy
  is fully recorded in Traubel’s chief work, a series of volumes,
  _With Walt Whitman in Camden_, a compilation of extraordinary value
  which has been called “Whitman’s unconscious autobiography.”

  It is inevitable that Traubel’s own poetry should betray the strong
  influence of his great friend and hero. And yet in several poems in
  _Optimos_ (1910) and _Chants Communal_ (1914) Traubel achieves a
  personal idiom; beneath the wearying length and repetitive phrases,
  he communicates the fire of the social revolutionist, the insurgent
  who wrote, “I build no fires to burn anybody up. I only build fires
  to light up the way.”

  Traubel died at Bon Echo, Ontario, Canada, where he had gone for his
  health, September 8, 1919.


 _How are you, dear world, this morning?
 Clean from my bath of sleep,
 Warm from the bosom of my mother star,
 Recharged with the energy of my father self,
 Restored from all derelict hours to the lawful service of time,
 I come without gift or doctrine or tethering humor
 To entertain your fateful will._

 How are you, dear world, this morning?
 I went to bed last night in the twist and snarl of a problem.
 Have you awakened me to a revelation?
 Has some change come upon the face of the earth and the heart of man?
 Was life still busy while my life slept?
 Was something done with the dreams of my sorrow and joy to transfigure
    in man the drag of his daily task?
 Have all the prophets who died unfulfilled and all the plain men and
    women and children who burned or starved from injustice come back to
    earth to partake of a deferred feast?
 What is it, dear world, I bring with empty hands to your morning?
 What is it, dear world, you bring with hands as empty to my bedside?

 Do the things that were stolen remain stolen?
 Do the lives that were destroyed remain dead?
 Do the stragglers who failed still fail?
 Does the sleeper who slept the sleep of the merchant awake only to the
 Does the law that was yesterday at my throat awake only to the law?
 Does the singer awake only to sing, the artist to paint, and the orator
    to talk?
 Or does the merchant awake to the man?
 Or does the law of the state awake to the law of the heart?
 Or do stolen things shift back into right relations?
 Or is the singer silent, or does the artist put aside his paints, or has
    the orator stopt talking, because something greater than song or art
    or eloquence has appeared in the face of the multitude?

 How are you, dear world, this morning?
 We have had confidences other days but somehow the confidences of this
    day are sweetest of all,
 They find me where I am remote, they seek me out where I am reluctant,
    they confirm me where I am weak,
 They melt me down from flaw and angle into purity and circle,
 They interpret me to last night’s strangers and they introduce me to the
    real meanings of my vagrant past,
 They remove me from my quarrels and they deliver me to truce and peace.
 For now I see that when of old I thought of justice and believed I was
    dreaming that only then was I awake,
 For now I see that the wrongdoer is the first to withdraw wrong and is
    the only one who can withdraw it,
 For now I see that all the effort I spent trying to discover why lives
    were beautiful or ugly has shown me that all ugliness and all beauty
    finally must lapse in one transfiguration,
 For now in the confidences of this morning, in the rapture of this
    awakening, I find my illimitable roots trailed backward and forward
    and round into all time and all men,
 Pledging my love to countless surrenders and repeals.

                           O MY DEAD COMRADE

                             (_for W. W._)

 O my dead comrade—my great dead!
 I sat by your bedside—it was the close of day—
 I heard the drip of the rain on the roof of the house:
 The light shadowed—departing, departing—
 You also departing, departing—
 You and the light, companions in life, now, too, companions in death,
 Retiring to the shadow, carrying elsewhere the benediction of your
 I sat by your bedside. I held your hand:
 Once you opened your eyes: O look of recognition! O look of bestowal!
 From you to me then passed the commission of the future,
 From you to me that minute, from your veins to mine,
 Out of the flood of passage, as you slipped away with the tide,
 From your hand that touched mine, from your soul that touched mine,
    near, O so near—
 Filling the heavens with stars—
 Entered, shone upon me and out of me, the power of the spring, the seed
    of the rose and the wheat,
 As of father to son, as of brother to brother, as of god to god!

 O my great dead!
 You had not gone, you had stayed—in my heart, in my veins,
 Reaching through me, through others through me, through all at last, our
 A hand to the future.

                        _Frank Dempster Sherman_

  Frank Dempster Sherman was born at Peekskill, New York, May 6, 1860.
  He entered Columbia University in 1879, where, after graduation and
  a subsequent instructorship, he was made adjunct professor in 1891
  and Professor of Graphics in 1904. He held the latter position until
  his death, which occurred September 19, 1916.

  Besides being a writer of airy lyrics and epigrammatic quatrains,
  Sherman was an enthusiastic genealogist and a designer (especially
  of book-plates) of no little skill. As a poet, his gift was
  essentially that of a writer of light verse—fragrant, fragile, yet
  seldom too sentimental or brittle. Pleasant is the name for it, a
  pleasantness perfumed with a pungent wit.

  Sherman never wearied of the little lyric; even the titles of his
  volumes are instances of his penchant for the brief melody, for the
  sudden snatch of song: _Madrigals and Catches_ (1887), _Lyrics for a
  Lute_ (1890), _Little-Folk Lyrics_ (1892), _Lyrics of Joy_ (1904). A
  sumptuous collected edition of his poems was published, with an
  Introduction by Clinton Scollard, in 1917.

                              AT MIDNIGHT

                See, yonder, the belfry tower
                  That gleams in the moon’s pale light—
                Or is it a ghostly flower
                  That dreams in the silent night?

                I listen and hear the chime
                  Go quavering over the town,
                And out of this flower of Time
                  Twelve petals are wafted down.


                   Listen to the tawny thief,
                   Hid beneath the waxen leaf,
                   Growling at his fairy host,
                   Bidding her with angry boast
                   Fill his cup with wine distilled
                   From the dew the dawn has spilled:
                   Stored away in golden casks
                   Is the precious draught he asks.

                   Who,—who makes this mimic din
                   In this mimic meadow inn,
                   Sings in such a drowsy note,
                   Wears a golden-belted coat;
                   Loiters in the dainty room
                   Of this tavern of perfume;
                   Dares to linger at the cup
                   Till the yellow sun is up?

                   Bacchus ’tis, come back again
                   To the busy haunts of men;
                   Garlanded and gaily dressed,
                   Bands of gold about his breast;
                   Straying from his paradise,
                   Having pinions angel-wise,—
                   ’Tis the honey-bee, who goes
                   Reveling within a rose!

                             TWO QUATRAINS


             Upon the walls the graceful Ivy climbs
               And wraps with green the ancient ruin gray:
             Romance it is, and these her leafy rhymes
               Writ on the granite page of yesterday.


                  Out of the scabbard of the night
                    By God’s hand drawn,
                  Flashes his shining sword of light,
                    And lo—the dawn!

                        _Charlotte P. S. Gilman_

  Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman was born at Hartford, Connecticut,
  July 3, 1860. She began public work in 1890, lecturing on ethics,
  economics and sociology; identifying herself with the labor question
  and the advance of women.

  She has written about a dozen books, her best works being _Woman and
  Economics_ (1898) and _Human Work_ (1904). Her volume of verse, _In
  This Our World_ (1898), hurls many a shaft of ironic wit. Beneath
  the whimsical humor of “A Conservative” and the better known
  “Similar Cases” (unfortunately too long to quote) there is a
  sub-acid satire not easily forgotten.

                             A CONSERVATIVE

                The garden beds I wandered by
                  One bright and cheerful morn,
                When I found a new-fledged butterfly,
                  A-sitting on a thorn,
                A black and crimson butterfly
                  All doleful and forlorn.

                I thought that life could have no sting
                  To infant butterflies,
                So I gazed on this unhappy thing
                  With wonder and surprise.
                While sadly with his waving wing
                  He wiped his weeping eyes.

                Said I, “What can the matter be?
                  Why weepest thou so sore?
                With garden fair and sunlight free
                  And flowers in goodly store,”—
                But he only turned away from me
                  And burst into a roar.

                Cried he, “My legs are thin and few
                  Where once I had a swarm!
                Soft fuzzy fur—a joy to view—
                  Once kept my body warm,
                Before these flapping wing-things grew,
                  To hamper and deform!”

                At that outrageous bug I shot
                  The fury of mine eye;
                Said I, in scorn all burning hot,
                  In rage and anger high,
                “You ignominious idiot!
                  Those wings are made to fly!”

                “I do not want to fly,” said he,
                  “I only want to squirm!”
                And he drooped his wings dejectedly,
                  But still his voice was firm:
                “I do not want to be a fly!
                  I want to be a worm!”

                O yesterday of unknown lack,
                  To-day of unknown bliss!
                I left my fool in red and black;
                  The last I saw was this,—
                The creature madly climbing back
                  Into his chrysalis.

                         _Louise Imogen Guiney_

  Louise Imogen Guiney was born at Boston, Massachusetts, in 1861.
  Although she attended Elmhurst Academy in Providence, most of her
  studying was with private tutors. In 1901 she went to England, where
  she lived until her death.

  Traditional in form and feeling, Miss Guiney’s work has a distinctly
  personal vigor; even her earliest collection, _The White Sail and
  Other Poems_ (1887), is not without individuality. Her two most
  characteristic volumes are _A Roadside Harp_ (1893) and _Patrins_
  (1897). A more recent publication, _Happy Ending_, appeared in 1909.

  Miss Guiney died at Chirping-Camden, England, November 3, 1920.

                             THE WILD RIDE

 _I hear in my heart, I hear in its ominous pulses,
 All day, on the road, the hoofs of invisible horses,
 All night, from their stalls, the importunate pawing and neighing._

 Let cowards and laggards fall back! But alert to the saddle
 Weatherworn and abreast, go men of our galloping legion,
 With a stirrup-cup each to the lily of women that loves him.

 The trail is through dolor and dread, over crags and morasses;
 There are shapes by the way, there are things that appal or entice us:
 What odds? We are Knights of the Grail, we are vowed to the riding.

 Thought’s self is a vanishing wing, and joy is a cobweb,
 And friendship a flower in the dust, and glory a sunbeam:
 Not here is our prize, nor, alas! after these our pursuing.

 A dipping of plumes, a tear, a shake of the bridle,
 A passing salute to this world and her pitiful beauty;
 We hurry with never a word in the track of our fathers.

 _I hear in my heart, I hear in its ominous pulses,
 All day, on the road, the hoofs of invisible horses,
 All night, from their stalls, the importunate pawing and neighing._

 We spur to a land of no name, outracing the storm-wind;
 We leap to the infinite dark like sparks from the anvil.
 Thou leadest, O God! All’s well with Thy troopers that follow.

                             _Bliss Carman_

  (William) Bliss Carman was born at Fredericton, New Brunswick,
  Canada, April 15, 1861, of a long line of United Empire Loyalists
  who withdrew from Connecticut at the time of the Revolutionary War.
  Carman was educated at the University of New Brunswick (1879–81), at
  Edinburgh (1882–3) and Harvard (1886–8). He took up his residence in
  the United States about 1889 and, with the exception of short
  sojourns in the Maritime Provinces, has lived there ever since.

  In 1893, Carman issued his first book, _Low Tide on Grand Pré: A
  Book of Lyrics_. It was immediately successful, running quickly into
  a second edition. From the outset, it was evident that Carman
  possessed the true lyrical power: the ability to fuse thought in
  emotion, to interpret the external world through a personal
  intensity. Simple and direct in his choice of themes, his passion
  made them universal. A vivid buoyancy, new to American literature,
  made his worship of Nature frankly pagan as contrasted to the
  moralizing tributes of most of his predecessors. This freshness and
  irresponsible whimsy made Carman the natural collaborator for
  Richard Hovey, and when their first joint _Songs from Vagabondia_
  appeared in 1894 Carman’s fame was established. (See Preface.)

  Although the three _Vagabondia_ collections contain Carman’s best
  known poems, several of his other volumes (he has published almost
  twenty of them) vibrate with the same glowing pulse. An almost
  physical radiance rises from _Ballads of Lost Haven_ (1897), _From
  the Book of Myths_ (1902) and _Songs of the Sea Children_ (1904).

  Carman has also written several volumes of essays and, in
  conjunction with Mary Perry King, has devised several poem-dances
  (_Daughters of Dawn_, 1913) suggesting Vachel Lindsay’s later
  poem-games. In his collection _April Airs_ (1916), although the
  strength is diluted and the music somewhat thinned, the old magic
  persists; the spell may be overfamiliar but it is not powerless.

                            A VAGABOND SONG

      There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood—
      Touch of manner, hint of mood;
      And my heart is like a rhyme,
      With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

      The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
      Of bugles going by.
      And my lonely spirit thrills
      To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

      There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
      We must rise and follow her,
      When from every hill of flame
      She calls and calls each vagabond by name.

                            THE GRAVEDIGGER

             Oh, the shambling sea is a sexton old,
             And well his work is done.
             With an equal grave for lord and knave,
             He buries them every one.

             Then hoy and rip, with a rolling hip,
             He makes for the nearest shore;
             And God, who sent him a thousand ship,
             Will send him a thousand more;

             But some he’ll save for a bleaching grave,
             And shoulder them in to shore,—
             Shoulder them in, shoulder them in,
             Shoulder them in to shore.

             Oh, the ships of Greece and the ships of Tyre
             Went out, and where are they?
             In the port they made, they are delayed
             With the ships of yesterday.

             He followed the ships of England far,
             As the ships of long ago;
             And the ships of France they led him a dance,
             But he laid them all arow.

             Oh, a loafing, idle lubber to him
             Is the sexton of the town;
             For sure and swift, with a guiding lift,
             He shovels the dead men down.

             But though he delves so fierce and grim,
             His honest graves are wide,
             As well they know who sleep below
             The dredge of the deepest tide.

             Oh, he works with a rollicking stave at lip,
             And loud is the chorus skirled;
             With the burly rote of his rumbling throat
             He batters it down the world.

             He learned it once in his father’s house,
             Where the ballads of eld were sung;
             And merry enough is the burden rough,
             But no man knows the tongue.

             Oh, fair, they say, was his bride to see,
             And wilful she must have been,
             That she could bide at his gruesome side
             When the first red dawn came in.

             And sweet, they say, is her kiss to those
             She greets to his border home;
             And softer than sleep her hand’s first sweep
             That beckons, and they come.

             Oh, crooked is he, but strong enough
             To handle the tallest mast;
             From the royal barque to the slaver dark,
             He buries them all at last.

             _Then hoy and rip, with a rolling hip,
             He makes for the nearest shore;
             And God, who sent him a thousand ship,
             Will send him a thousand more;
             But some he’ll save for a bleaching grave,
             And shoulder them in to shore,—
             Shoulder them in, shoulder them in,
             Shoulder them in to shore._

                              HEM AND HAW

             Hem and Haw were the sons of sin,
             Created to shally and shirk;
             Hem lay ’round and Haw looked on
             While God did all the work.

             Hem was a fogy, and Haw was a prig,
             For both had the dull, dull mind;
             And whenever they found a thing to do,
             They yammered and went it blind.

             Hem was the father of bigots and bores;
             As the sands of the sea were they.
             And Haw was the father of all the tribe
             Who criticize to-day.

             But God was an artist from the first,
             And knew what he was about;
             While over his shoulder sneered these two,
             And advised him to rub it out.

             They prophesied ruin ere man was made;
             “Such folly must surely fail!”
             And when he was done, “Do you think, my Lord,
             He’s better without a tail?”

             And still in the honest working world,
             With posture and hint and smirk,
             These sons of the devil are standing by
             While man does all the work.

             They balk endeavor and baffle reform,
             In the sacred name of law;
             And over the quavering voice of Hem
             Is the droning voice of Haw.


          Over the shoulders and slopes of the dune
          I saw the white daisies go down to the sea,
          A host in the sunshine, an army in June,
          The people God sends us to set our hearts free.

          The bobolinks rallied them up from the dell,
          The orioles whistled them out of the wood;
          And all of their singing was, “Earth, it is well!”
          And all of their dancing was, “Life, thou art good!”

                            _Richard Burton_

  Richard (Eugene) Burton was born at Hartford, Connecticut, March 14,
  1861. He has taught English at various colleges and universities
  since 1888, and has been head of the English department of the
  University of Minnesota since 1906. His first book, _Dumb in June_
  (1895), is, in many ways, his best. It contains a buoyant lyricism,
  a more conscious use of the strain developed in Carman and Hovey’s
  _Songs from Vagabondia_—a mood which he has never surpassed. Much of
  his other verse is far less distinctive, being what might be called
  “anonymous poetry”: a poetry that has, in spite of certain excellent
  qualities, little trace of the individual and practically no stamp
  of personality or place. The succeeding _Lyrics of Brotherhood_
  (1899) has a wider vision if a more limited music; several of the
  poems in this collection reflect the hungers, dreams and unsung
  melodies of the dumb and defeated multitudes. _From the Book of
  Life_ (1909) has scarcely as much power and less poetry.

  Besides his verse, Burton has written several books of essays, a
  life of Whittier and various volumes on the drama.

                              BLACK SHEEP

             From their folded mates they wander far,
               Their ways seem harsh and wild;
             They follow the beck of a baleful star,
               Their paths are dream-beguiled.

             Yet haply they sought but a wider range,
               Some loftier mountain-slope,
             And little recked of the country strange
               Beyond the gates of hope.

             And haply a bell with a luring call
               Summoned their feet to tread
             Midst the cruel rocks, where the deep pitfall
               And the lurking snare are spread.

             Maybe, in spite of their tameless days
               Of outcast liberty,
             They’re sick at heart for the homely ways
               Where their gathered brothers be.

             And oft at night, when the plains fall dark
               And the hills loom large and dim,
             For the Shepherd’s voice they mutely hark,
               And their souls go out to him.

             Meanwhile, “Black sheep! Black sheep!” we cry,
               Safe in the inner fold;
             And maybe they hear, and wonder why,
               And marvel, out in the cold.

                            _Oliver Herford_

  Oliver Herford was born in December, 1863, at Manchester, England.
  He studied art in London and at Julien’s in Paris, turned to
  literature as a pastime and, about 1890, came to the United States,
  where he has lived ever since.

  Herford, celebrated as a wit as well as a draughtsman and versifier,
  is the author of no less than twenty volumes of light verse, prose
  pasquinades and burlesques. His _The Bashful Earthquake_ (1898),
  _Rubaiyat of a Persian Kitten_ (1904) and _This Giddy Globe_ (1919)
  show Herford’s delicate skill and his versatile dexterity. These
  volumes, like most of Herford’s, are embellished by his own
  drawings, which are fully as graceful as the accompanying verses.


                  If this little world to-night
                    Suddenly should fall through space
                  In a hissing, headlong flight,
                    Shrivelling from off its face,
                  As it falls into the sun,
                    In an instant every trace
                  Of the little crawling things—
                    Ants, philosophers, and lice,
                  Cattle, cockroaches, and kings,
                    Beggars, millionaires, and mice,
                  Men and maggots all as one
                  As it falls into the sun....
                  Who can say but at the same
                    Instant from some planet far,
                  A child may watch us and exclaim:
                    “See the pretty shooting star!”

                        THE ELF AND THE DORMOUSE

             Under a toadstool crept a wee Elf,
             Out of the rain to shelter himself.

             Under the toadstool, sound asleep,
             Sat a big Dormouse all in a heap.

             Trembled the wee Elf, frightened and yet
             Fearing to fly away lest he get wet.

             To the next shelter—maybe a mile!
             Sudden the wee Elf smiled a wee smile.

             Tugged till the toadstool toppled in two.
             Holding it over him, gaily he flew.

             Soon he was safe home, dry as could be.
             Soon woke the Dormouse—“Good gracious me!

             “Where is my toadstool?” loud he lamented.
             —And that’s how umbrellas first were invented.

                            _Richard Hovey_

  Richard Hovey was born in 1864 at Normal, Illinois, and graduated
  from Dartmouth in 1885. After leaving college, he became, in rapid
  succession, a theologian, an actor, a journalist, a lecturer, a
  professor of English literature at Barnard, a poet and a dramatist.

  His first volume, _The Laurel: An Ode_ (1889), betrayed the
  overmusical influence of Lanier and gave promise of that
  extraordinary facility which often brought Hovey perilously close to
  the pit of mere technique. His exuberant virility found its outlet
  in the series of poems published in collaboration with Bliss
  Carman—the three volumes of _Songs from Vagabondia_ (1894, 1896,
  1900). Here he let himself go completely; nothing remained sober or
  static. His lines fling themselves across the page; dance with
  intoxicating abandon; shout with a wild irresponsibility; leap,
  laugh, carouse and carry off the reader in a gale of high spirits.
  The famous _Stein Song_ is but an interlude in the midst of a far
  finer and even more rousing poem that, with its flavor of Whitman,

      I said in my heart, “I am sick of four walls and a ceiling.
      I have need of the sky.
      I have business with the grass.
      I will up and get me away where the hawk is wheeling,
      Lone and high,
      And the slow clouds go by.
      I will get me away to the waters that glass
      The clouds as they pass....”

  Hovey’s attitude to his art may be expressed in no better way than
  his own words concerning the poet: “It is not his mission,” wrote
  Hovey in the _Dartmouth Magazine_, “to write elegant canzonettas for
  the delectation of the _dilettanti_, but to comfort the sorrowful
  and hearten the despairing, to champion the oppressed and declare to
  humanity its inalienable rights, to lay open to the world the heart
  of man—all its heights and depths, all its glooms and glories, to
  reveal the beauty in things and breathe into his fellows a love of
  it.” This almost too conscious awareness of the poet’s “mission”
  often marred Hovey’s work; in responding to his program, he
  frequently overstressed his ringing enthusiasm, strained his own
  muscularity. But his power was as unflagging as his fraternal energy
  was persuasive. And in certain quieter moods the poet rose to new
  heights. The work on which he was engaged at the time of his death
  is significant; _Launcelot and Guenevere: A Poem in Five Dramas_ is
  magnificent in its restrained vitality.

  Although the varied lyrics in _Songs from Vagabondia_ are the best
  known examples of Hovey, a more representative collection of his
  riper work may be found in _Along the Trail_ (1898). This volume
  contains “Spring” and the stirring “Comrades” in full as well as the
  best of his vivid fragments.

  Hovey died, during his thirty-sixth year, in 1900.

                           AT THE CROSSROADS

            You to the left and I to the right,
            For the ways of men must sever—
            And it well may be for a day and a night,
            And it well may be forever.
            But whether we meet or whether we part
            (For our ways are past our knowing),
            A pledge from the heart to its fellow heart
            On the ways we all are going!
            Here’s luck!
            For we know not where we are going.

            Whether we win or whether we lose
            With the hands that life is dealing,
            It is not we nor the ways we choose
            But the fall of the cards that’s sealing.
            There’s a fate in love and a fate in fight,
            And the best of us all go under—
            And whether we’re wrong or whether we’re right,
            We win, sometimes, to our wonder.
            Here’s luck!
            That we may not yet go under!

            With a steady swing and an open brow
            We have tramped the ways together,
            But we’re clasping hands at the crossroads now
            In the Fiend’s own night for weather;
            And whether we bleed or whether we smile
            In the leagues that lie before us
            The ways of life are many a mile
            And the dark of Fate is o’er us.
            Here’s luck!
            And a cheer for the dark before us!

            You to the left and I to the right,
            For the ways of men must sever,
            And it well may be for a day and a night
            And it well may be forever!
            But whether we live or whether we die
            (For the end is past our knowing),
            Here’s two frank hearts and the open sky,
            Be a fair or an ill wind blowing!
            _Here’s luck!_
            In the teeth of all winds blowing.

                           UNMANIFEST DESTINY

               To what new fates, my country, far
                 And unforeseen of foe or friend,
               Beneath what unexpected star
                 Compelled to what unchosen end,

               Across the sea that knows no beach,
                 The Admiral of Nations guides
               Thy blind obedient keels to reach
                 The harbor where thy future rides!

               The guns that spoke at Lexington
                 Knew not that God was planning then
               The trumpet word of Jefferson
                 To bugle forth the rights of men.

               To them that wept and cursed Bull Run,
                 What was it but despair and shame?
               Who saw behind the cloud the sun?
                 Who knew that God was in the flame?

               Had not defeat upon defeat,
                 Disaster on disaster come,
               The slave’s emancipated feet
                 Had never marched behind the drum.

               There is a Hand that bends our deeds
                 To mightier issues than we planned;
               Each son that triumphs, each that bleeds,
                 My country, serves It’s dark command.
               I do not know beneath what sky
                 Nor on what seas shall be thy fate;
               I only know it shall be high,
                 I only know it shall be great.

                           LOVE IN THE WINDS

            When I am standing on a mountain crest,
            Or hold the tiller in the dashing spray,
            My love of you leaps foaming in my breast,
            Shouts with the winds and sweeps to their foray.
            My heart bounds with the horses of the sea
            And plunges in the wild ride of the night,
            Flaunts in the teeth of tempest the large glee
            That rides out Fate and welcomes gods to fight.

            Ho, love, I laugh aloud for love of you,
            Glad that our love is fellow to rough weather,—
            No fretful orchid hothoused from the dew,
            But hale and hardy as the highland heather,
              Rejoicing in the wind that stings and thrills,
              Comrade of ocean, playmate of the hills.

                              A STEIN SONG

                           (From “_Spring_”)

        Give a rouse, then, in the Maytime
          For a life that knows no fear!
        Turn night-time into daytime
          With the sunlight of good cheer!
              For it’s always fair weather
              When good fellows get together,
        With a stein on the table and a good song ringing clear.

        When the wind comes up from Cuba,
          And the birds are on the wing,
        And our hearts are patting juba
          To the banjo of the spring,
              Then it’s no wonder whether
              The boys will get together,
        With a stein on the table and a cheer for everything.

        For we’re all frank-and-twenty
          When the spring is in the air;
        And we’ve faith and hope a-plenty,
          And we’ve life and love to spare:
              And it’s birds of a feather
              When we all get together,
        With a stein on the table and a heart without a care.

        For we know the world is glorious,
          And the goal a golden thing,
        And that God is not censorious
          When his children have their fling;
              And life slips its tether
              When the boys get together,
        With a stein on the table in the fellowship of spring.

                            _Madison Cawein_

  Madison (Julius) Cawein was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1865,
  and spent most of his life in the state of his birth. He wrote an
  enormous quantity of verse, publishing more than twenty volumes of
  pleasant, sometimes exuberant but seldom distinguished poetry.
  _Lyrics and Idyls_ (1890) and _Vale of Tempe_ (1905) contain his
  most characteristic stanzas, packed with the lush, adjectival love
  of Nature that led certain of his admirers to call him (and, one
  must admit, the alliteration was tempting) “the Keats of Kentucky.”

  Cawein’s work divides itself into two distinct veins. In the one, he
  dealt with the scenes and incidents of his mountain environment: the
  sag of an old house in the hills, the echoes of a feud, rumblings of
  the Ku Klux Klan, the ghastly details of a lynching. In his other
  mood (the one which unfortunately possessed him the greater part of
  the time) he spent page after page romanticizing Nature, touching up
  his already painted lilies, polishing his thinly-plated
  artificialities until the base metal showed through. He pictured all
  outdoors with painstaking detail. And yet it is somehow unreal,
  prettified, remote. Every now and then, with an irritating
  frequency, he tries to transport his audience to a literary
  Fairyland; but the reader is quickly wearied by the almost
  interminable procession of fays, gnomes, nixies, elves, dryads,
  sprites, pucks, fauns—be they ever so lyrical.

  In spite of Cawein’s too profuse lyricism, several of his pieces
  will doubtless remain, though it is not likely that the survivors
  will be the sugared sweetmeats by which his champions (including
  William Dean Howells) set such store.

  Cawein died in Kentucky in 1914.


                 The moon, like a round device
                 On a shadowy shield of war,
                 Hangs white in a heaven of ice
                 With a solitary star.

                 The wind has sunk to a sigh,
                 And the waters are stern with frost;
                 And gray, in the eastern sky,
                 The last snow-cloud is lost.

                 White fields, that are winter-starved,
                 Black woods, that are winter-fraught,
                 Cold, harsh as a face death-carved,
                 With the iron of some black thought.

                            THE MAN HUNT[16]

            The woods stretch wild to the mountain side,
            And the brush is deep where a man may hide.

            They have brought the bloodhounds up again
            To the roadside rock where they found the slain.

            They have brought the bloodhounds up, and they
            Have taken the trail to the mountain way.

           Three times they circled the trail and crossed,
           And thrice they found it and thrice they lost.

           Now straight through the pines and the underbrush
           They follow the scent through the forest’s hush.

           And their deep-mouthed bay is a pulse of fear
           In the heart of the wood that the man must hear.

           The man who crouches among the trees
           From the stern-faced men that follow these.

           A huddle of rocks that the ooze has mossed—
           And the trail of the hunted again is lost.

           An upturned pebble; a bit of ground
           A heel has trampled—the trail is found.

           And the woods re-echo the bloodhounds’ bay
           As again they take to the mountain way.

           A rock; a ribbon of road; a ledge,
           With a pine-tree clutching its crumbling edge.

           A pine, that the lightning long since clave,
           Whose huge roots hollow a ragged cave.

           A shout; a curse; and a face aghast,
           And the human quarry is laired at last.

           The human quarry, with clay-clogged hair
           And eyes of terror, who waits them there;

           That glares and crouches and rising then
           Hurls clods and curses at dogs and men.

           Until the blow of a gun-butt lays
           Him stunned and bleeding upon his face.

           A rope, a prayer, and an oak-tree near.
           And a score of hands to swing him clear.

           A grim black thing for the setting sun
           And the moon and the stars to look upon.


           Above his misered embers, gnarled and gray,
           With toil-twitched limbs he bends; around his hut,
           Want, like a hobbling hag, goes night and day,
           Scolding at windows and at doors tight-shut.


              The old house leans upon a tree
                Like some old man upon a staff:
              The night wind in its ancient porch
                Sounds like a hollow laugh.

              The heaven is wrapped in flying clouds
                As grandeur cloaks itself in gray:
              The starlight flitting in and out,
                Glints like a lanthorn ray.

              The dark is full of whispers. Now
                A fox-hound howls: and through the night,
              Like some old ghost from out its grave,
                The moon comes misty white.

                          _Bert Leston Taylor_

  Bert Leston Taylor was born at Goshen, Massachusetts, November 13,
  1866, and educated at the College of the City of New York. He had
  been engaged in journalism since 1895, conducting his column “A Line
  o’ Type or Two” in the Chicago _Daily Tribune_. He was the author of
  two novels as well as _A Line-o’-Verse or Two_ (1911) and _Motley
  Measures_ (1913), a pair of delightful light verse collections.

  Taylor died of pneumonia March 19, 1921.


          When quacks with pills political would dope us,
            When politics absorbs the livelong day,
          I like to think about that star Canopus,
            So far, so far away.

          Greatest of visioned suns, they say who list ’em;
            To weigh it, science almost must despair.
          Its shell would hold our whole dinged solar system,
            Nor even know ’twas there.

          When temporary chairmen utter speeches,
            And frenzied henchmen howl their battle hymns,
          My thoughts float out across the cosmic reaches
            To where Canopus swims.

          When men are calling names and making faces,
            And all the world’s ajangle and ajar,
          I meditate on interstellar spaces
            And smoke a mild seegar.

          For after one has had about a week of
            The argument of friends as well as foes,
          A star that has no parallax to speak of
            Conduces to repose.

                         _William Vaughn Moody_

  William Vaughn Moody was born at Spencer, Indiana, July 1, 1869, and
  was educated at Harvard. After graduation, he spent the remaining
  eighteen years of his life in travel and intensive study—he taught,
  for eight years, at the University of Chicago—his death coming at
  the very height of his creative power.

  _The Masque of Judgment_, his first work, was published in 1900. A
  richer and more representative collection appeared the year
  following; in _Poems_ (1901) Moody effected that mingling of
  challenging lyricism and spiritual philosophy which becomes more and
  more insistent. (See Preface.) Throughout his career, and
  particularly in such lines as the hotly expostulating “On a Soldier
  Fallen in the Philippines” and the majestic, uncompleted “The Death
  of Eve,” Moody successfully achieves the rare union of poet and
  preacher. “Gloucester Moors” is an outcry against the few exploiting
  the many; “The Quarry” and “An Ode in Time of Hesitation” are
  passionate with prophecy. His last, extended works have an epic
  quality which, with their too-crowded details and difficult diction,
  will effectually prevent them from ever becoming popular. But their
  importance will grow even as Moody’s place in our literature will
  eventually be a higher one than that which has yet been accorded

  His prose play _The Great Divide_ (1907) was strikingly successful
  when produced by Henry Miller. _The Faith Healer_ (1909), another
  play in prose, because of its more exalted tone, did not win the
  favor of the theatre-going public. A complete edition of _The Poems
  and Poetic Dramas of William Vaughn Moody_ was published in 1912 in
  two volumes.

  In the summer of 1909 Moody was stricken with the illness from which
  he never recovered. He died in October, 1910.

                             FROM “JETSAM”

           Once at a simple turning of the way
           I met God walking; and although the dawn
           Was large behind Him, and the morning stars
           Circled and sang about his face as birds
           About the fieldward morning cottager,
           My coward heart said faintly, “Let us haste!
           Day grows and it is far to market-town.”
           Once where I lay in darkness after fight,
           Sore smitten, thrilled a little thread of song
           Searching and searching all my muffled sense
           Until it shook sweet pangs through all my blood,
           And I beheld one globed in ghostly fire
           Singing, star-strong, her golden canticle;
           And her mouth sang, “The hosts of Hate roll past,
           A dance of dust-motes in the sliding sun;
           Love’s battle comes on the wide wings of storm,
           From east to west one legion! Wilt thou strive?”

           Then, since the splendor of her sword-bright gaze
           Was heavy on me with yearning and with scorn,
           My sick heart muttered, “Yea, the little strife,
           Yet see, the grievous wounds! I fain would sleep.”

           O heart, shalt thou not once be strong to go
           Where all sweet throats are calling, once be brave
           To slake with deed thy dumbness? Let us go
           The path her singing face looms low to point,
           Pendulous, blanched with longing, shedding flames
           Of silver on the brown grope of the flood;
           For all my spirit’s soilure is put by
           And all my body’s soilure, lacking now
           But the last lustral sacrament of death
           To make me clean for those near-searching eyes
           That question yonder whether all be well,
           And pause a little ere they dare rejoice.

           Question and be thou answered, passionate face!
           For I am worthy, worthy now at last
           After so long unworth; strong now at last
           To give myself to beauty and be saved.

                             PANDORA’S SONG

                      (From “_The Fire-Bringer_”)

                 I stood within the heart of God;
                 It seemed a place I had known:
                 (I was blood-sister to the clod,
                 Blood-brother to the stone.)

                 I found my love and labor there,
                 My house, my raiment, meat and wine,
                 My ancient rage, my old despair,—
                 Yea, all things that were mine.

                 I saw the spring and summer pass,
                 The trees grow bare, and winter come;
                 All was the same as once it was
                 Upon my hills at home.

                 Then suddenly in my own heart
                 I felt God walk and gaze about;
                 He spoke; his words seemed held apart
                 With gladness and with doubt.

                 “Here is my meat and wine,” He said,
                 “My love, my toil, my ancient care;
                 Here is my cloak, my book, my bed,
                 And here my old despair.

                 “Here are my seasons: winter, spring,
                 Summer the same, and autumn spills
                 The fruits I look for; everything
                 As on my heavenly hills.”


           Streets of the roaring town,
           Hush for him; hush, be still!
           He comes, who was stricken down
           Doing the word of our will.
           Hush! Let him have his state.
           Give him his soldier’s crown,
           The grists of trade can wait
           Their grinding at the mill.
 But he cannot wait for his honor, now the trumpet has been blown.
 Wreathe pride now for his granite brow, lay love on his breast of stone.

           Toll! Let the great bells toll
           Till the clashing air is dim,
           Did we wrong this parted soul?
           We will make it up to him.
           Toll! Let him never guess
           What work we sent him to.
           Laurel, laurel, yes.
           He did what we bade him do.
 Praise, and never a whispered hint but the fight he fought was good;
 Never a word that the blood on his sword was his country’s own

           A flag for a soldier’s bier
           Who dies that his land may live;
           O banners, banners here,
           That he doubt not nor misgive!
           That he heed not from the tomb
           The evil days draw near
           When the nation robed in gloom
           With its faithless past shall strive.
 Let him never dream that his bullet’s scream went wide of its island
 Home to the heart of his darling land where she stumbled and sinned in
    the dark.

                           _George Sterling_

  George Sterling was born at Sag Harbor, New York, December 1, 1869,
  and educated at various private schools in the Eastern States. He
  moved to the far West about 1895 and has lived in California ever

  Of Sterling’s ten volumes of poetry, _The Testimony of the Suns_
  (1903), _A Wine of Wizardry_ (1908) and _The House of Orchids and
  Other Poems_ (1911) are the most characteristic. As their titles
  indicate, this is poetry of a flamboyant and rhetorical type; of
  luxuriant sentences and emotions decorated in “the grand manner.”
  Yet Sterling has added a definite vigor to his ornate tropes and
  verbal prodigality. Nor is he always extravagant. His simpler
  verses, though not in his most familiar vein, are among his best.

                           THE BLACK VULTURE

           Aloof upon the day’s immeasured dome,
               He holds unshared the silence of the sky.
               Far down his bleak, relentless eyes descry
           The eagle’s empire and the falcon’s home—
           Far down, the galleons of sunset roam;
               His hazards on the sea of morning lie;
               Serene, he hears the broken tempest sigh
           Where cold sierras gleam like scattered foam.
           And least of all he holds the human swarm—
             Unwitting now that envious men prepare
               To make their dream and its fulfillment one,
           When, poised above the caldrons of the storm,
             Their hearts, contemptuous of death, shall dare
                His roads between the thunder and the sun.

                           THE MASTER MARINER

               My grandsire sailed three years from home,
                 And slew unmoved the sounding whale:
               Here on a windless beach I roam
                 And watch far out the hardy sail.

               The lions of the surf that cry
                 Upon this lion-colored shore
               On reefs of midnight met his eye:
                 He knew their fangs as I their roar.

               My grandsire sailed uncharted seas,
                 And toll of all their leagues he took:
               I scan the shallow bays at ease,
                 And tell their colors in a book.

               The anchor-chains his music made
                 And wind in shrouds and running-gear:
               The thrush at dawn beguiles my glade,
                 And once, ’tis said, I woke to hear.

               My grandsire in his ample fist
                 The long harpoon upheld to men:
               Behold obedient to my wrist
                 A grey gull’s-feather for my pen!

               Upon my grandsire’s leathern cheek
                 Five zones their bitter bronze had set:
               Some day their hazards I will seek,
                 I promise me at times. Not yet.

               I think my grandsire now would turn
                 A mild but speculative eye
               On me, my pen and its concern,
                 Then gaze again to sea—and sigh.

                       _Edwin Arlington Robinson_

  Edwin Arlington Robinson was born December 22, 1869, in the village
  of Head Tide, Maine. When he was still a child, the Robinson family
  moved to the nearby town of Gardiner, which figures prominently in
  Robinson’s poetry as “Tilbury Town.” In 1891 he entered Harvard
  College. A little collection of verse was privately printed in 1896
  and the following year marked the appearance of his first
  representative work, _The Children of the Night_ (1897).

  Somewhat later, he was struggling in various capacities to make a
  living in New York, five years passing before the publication of
  _Captain Craig_ (1902). This fine piece of psychology, in the
  cryptic vein of Browning but in Robinson’s own idiom, was brought to
  the attention of Theodore Roosevelt (then President of the United
  States), who became interested in the work of the poet and, a few
  years later, offered him a place in the New York Custom House.
  Robinson held this position from 1905 to 1910, leaving it the same
  year which marked the appearance of his most characteristic volume,
  _The Town down the River_. Robinson’s three books, up to this time,
  showed his clean, firmly-drawn quality; but, in spite of their
  excellences, they seem little more than a succession of preludes for
  the dynamic volume that was to establish him in the first rank of
  American poets. _The Man Against the Sky_, Robinson’s fullest and
  most penetrating work, appeared in 1916. (See Preface.)

  In all of these books there is manifest that searching for truth,
  the constant questioning, that takes the place of mere acceptance.
  As the work of a verbal portrait painter nothing, with the exception
  of some of Frost’s pictures, has been produced that is at once so
  keen and so kindly; in the half-cynical, half-mystical etchings like
  “Cliff Klingenhagen,” “Miniver Cheevy,” “Richard Cory”—lines where
  Robinson’s irony is inextricably mixed with tenderness—his art is at
  its height.

  Technically, Robinson is as precise as he is dexterous; there is
  never a false image or a blurred line in any of his verses which,
  while adhering to the strictest models and executed according to
  traditional forms, are made fresh and surprising. It is interesting
  to observe how the smoothness of his rhymes, playing against the
  hard outlines of his verse, emphasizes the terse, epigrammatic vigor
  of poems like “The Gift of God,” “The Field of Glory” and “The
  Master,” one of the finest evocations of Lincoln which is, at the
  same time, a bitter commentary on the commercialism of the times and
  the “shopman’s test of age and worth.”

  Robinson’s blank verse is scarcely less individual. It is, in spite
  of a certain unblinking seriousness, always modern, always packed
  with the instant. In “Ben Johnson Entertains a Man from Stratford”
  we have the clearest and most human portrait of Shakespeare ever
  attempted; the lines run as fluently as good conversation, as
  inevitable as a perfect melody. In his two reanimations of the
  Arthurian legends, _Merlin_ (1917) and _Launcelot_ (1920), Robinson,
  shaming the tea-table idyls of Tennyson, has colored the tale with
  somber reflections of the collapse of old orders, the darkness of an
  age in ashes.

  Although he is often accused of holding a negative attitude toward
  life, Robinson’s philosophy is essentially positive; a dogged if
  never dogmatic desire for a deeper faith, a greater light. It is a
  philosophy expressed in _Captain Craig_:

                           ... Take on yourself
           But your sincerity, and you take on
           Good promise for all climbing; fly for truth
           And hell shall have no storm to crush your flight,
           No laughter to vex down your loyalty.

  A collection of the poet’s later verse, _The Three Taverns_ (1920),
  reflects the same high standards of conciseness and craftsmanship.
  Robinson lives in Peterboro, New Hampshire, during the summer; his
  home in the winter is in Brooklyn, New York.

                           MINIVER CHEEVY[17]

          Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn,
            Grew lean while he assailed the seasons;
          He wept that he was ever born,
            And he had reasons.

          Miniver loved the days of old
            When swords were bright and steeds were prancing;
          The vision of a warrior bold
            Would set him dancing.

          Miniver sighed for what was not,
            And dreamed, and rested from his labors;
          He dreamed of Thebes and Camelot,
            And Priam’s neighbors.

          Miniver mourned the ripe renown
            That made so many a name so fragrant;
          He mourned Romance, now on the town,
            And Art, a vagrant.

          Miniver loved the Medici,
            Albeit he had never seen one;
          He would have sinned incessantly
            Could he have been one.

          Miniver cursed the commonplace
            And eyed a khaki suit with loathing;
          He missed the mediæval grace
            Of iron clothing.

          Miniver scorned the gold he sought,
            But sore annoyed was he without it;
          Miniver thought, and thought, and thought,
            And thought about it.

          Miniver Cheevy, born too late,
            Scratched his head and kept on thinking;
          Miniver coughed, and called it fate,
            And kept on drinking.

                          THE GIFT OF GOD[18]

               Blessed with a joy that only she
               Of all alive shall ever know,
               She wears a proud humility
               For what it was that willed it so,—

               That her degree should be so great
               Among the favored of the Lord
               That she may scarcely bear the weight
               Of her bewildering reward.

               As one apart, immune, alone,
               Or featured for the shining ones,
               And like to none that she has known
               Of other women’s other sons,—
               The firm fruition of her need,
               He shines anointed; and he blurs
               Her vision, till it seems indeed
               A sacrilege to call him hers.

               She fears a little for so much
               Of what is best, and hardly dares
               To think of him as one to touch
               With aches, indignities, and cares;
               She sees him rather at the goal,
               Still shining; and her dream foretells
               The proper shining of a soul
               Where nothing ordinary dwells.

               Perchance a canvass of the town
               Would find him far from flags and shouts,
               And leave him only the renown
               Of many smiles and many doubts;
               Perchance the crude and common tongue
               Would havoc strangely with his worth;
               But she, with innocence unwrung,
               Would read his name around the earth.

               And others, knowing how this youth
               Would shine, if love could make him great,
               When caught and tortured for the truth
               Would only writhe and hesitate;
               While she, arranging for his days
               What centuries could not fulfil,
               Transmutes him with her faith and praise,
               And has him shining where she will.

               She crowns him with her gratefulness,
               And says again that life is good;
               And should the gift of God be less
               In him than in her motherhood,
               His fame, though vague, will not be small,
               As upward through her dream he fares,
               Half clouded with a crimson fall
               Of roses thrown on marble stairs.

                           THE MASTER[19][20]

  (_Lincoln as seen, presumably, by one of his contemporaries shortly
                         after the Civil War_)

                A flying word from here and there
                Had sown the name at which we sneered,
                But soon the name was everywhere,
                To be reviled and then revered:
                A presence to be loved and feared,
                We cannot hide it, or deny
                That we, the gentlemen who jeered,
                May be forgotten by and by.

                He came when days were perilous
                And hearts of men were sore beguiled;
                And having made his note of us,
                He pondered and was reconciled.
                Was ever master yet so mild
                As he, and so untamable?
                We doubted, even when he smiled,
                Not knowing what he knew so well.

                He knew that undeceiving fate
                Would shame us whom he served unsought;
                He knew that he must wince and wait—
                The jest of those for whom he fought;
                He knew devoutly what he thought
                Of us and of our ridicule;
                He knew that we must all be taught
                Like little children in a school.

                We gave a glamour to the task
                That he encountered and saw through,
                But little of us did he ask,
                And little did we ever do.
                And what appears if we review
                The season when we railed and chaffed?
                It is the face of one who knew
                That we were learning while we laughed.

                The face that in our vision feels
                Again the venom that we flung,
                Transfigured to the world reveals
                The vigilance to which we clung.
                Shrewd, hallowed, harassed, and among
                The mysteries that are untold,
                The face we see was never young,
                Nor could it ever have been old.

                For he, to whom we have applied
                Our shopman’s test of age and worth,
                Was elemental when he died,
                As he was ancient at his birth:
                The saddest among kings of earth,
                Bowed with a galling crown, this man
                Met rancor with a cryptic mirth,
                Laconic—and Olympian.

                The love, the grandeur, and the fame
                Are bounded by the world alone;
                The calm, the smouldering, and the flame
                Of awful patience were his own:
                With him they are forever flown
                Past all our fond self-shadowings,
                Wherewith we cumber the Unknown
                As with inept Icarian wings.

                For we were not as other men:
                ’Twas ours to soar and his to see.
                But we are coming down again,
                And we shall come down pleasantly;
                Nor shall we longer disagree
                On what it is to be sublime,
                But flourish in our perigee
                And have one Titan at a time.

                            AN OLD STORY[21]

                 Strange that I did not know him then,
                     That friend of mine!
                 I did not even show him then
                     One friendly sign;

                 But cursed him for the ways he had
                     To make me see
                 My envy of the praise he had
                     For praising me.

                 I would have rid the earth of him
                     Once, in my pride!...
                 I never knew the worth of him
                     Until he died.

                            RICHARD CORY[21]

               Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
                 We people on the pavement looked at him:
               He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
                 Clean favored, and imperially slim.

           And he was always quietly arrayed,
             And he was always human when he talked;
           But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
             “Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.

           And he was rich—yes, richer than a king,
             And admirably schooled in every grace:
           In fine, we thought that he was everything
             To make us wish that we were in his place.

           So on we worked, and waited for the light,
             And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
           And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
             Went home and put a bullet through his head.

                            VAIN GRATUITIES

         Never was there a man much uglier
         In the eyes of other women, or more grim:
         “The Lord has filled her chalice to the brim,
         So let us pray she’s a philosopher,”
         They said; and there was more they said of her—
         Deeming it, after twenty years with him,
         No wonder that she kept her figure slim
         And always made you think of lavender.

         But she, demure as ever, and as fair,
         Almost, as they remembered her before
         She found him, would have laughed had she been there;
         And all they said would have been heard no more
         Than foam that washes on an island shore
         Where there are none to listen or to care.

                             THE DARK HILLS

                  Dark hills at evening in the west,
                  Where sunset hovers like a sound
                  Of golden horns that sang to rest
                  Old bones of warriors under ground,
                  Far now from all the bannered ways
                  Where flash the legions of the sun,
                  You fade—as if the last of days
                  Were fading, and all wars were done.

                          _Edgar Lee Masters_

  Edgar Lee Masters was born at Garnett, Kansas, August 23, 1869, of
  old Puritan and pioneering stock. When he was still a boy, the
  family moved to Illinois, where, after desultory schooling, he
  studied law in his father’s office at Lewiston. For a year he
  practised with his father and then went to Chicago, where he became
  a successful and prominent attorney.

  Before going to Chicago, Masters had composed a great quantity of
  verse in traditional forms on still more traditional themes; by the
  time he was twenty-four he had written about four hundred poems,
  revealing the result of wide reading and betraying the influence of
  Poe, Keats, Shelley and Swinburne. His work, previous to the
  publication of _Spoon River Anthology_, was derivative and
  undistinguished. In 1895 he wrote a blank verse play on Benedict
  Arnold. In 1898 he published _A Book of Verses_, a selection of some
  sixty of the early four hundred. In 1902 _Maximilian_, another blank
  verse play, appeared, causing no more comment than the others.
  Nothing daunted, Masters published several volumes in rapid
  succession (three books of poetry appearing, under various
  pseudonyms, between 1905 and 1912), _The New Star Chamber and Other
  Essays_ (1904), _Blood of the Prophets_ (1905), _Althea_, a play
  (1907), _The Trifler_, another play (1908).

  In 1914, Masters, at the suggestion of his friend William Marion
  Reedy, turned from his preoccupation with classic subjects and began
  to draw upon the life he knew for those concise records which have
  made him famous. Taking as his model _The Greek Anthology_, which
  Reedy had pressed upon him, Masters evolved _Spoon River Anthology_,
  that astonishing assemblage of over two hundred self-inscribed
  epitaphs, in which the dead of a middle Western town are supposed to
  have written the truth about themselves. Through these frank
  revelations, many of them interrelated, the village is recreated for
  us; it lives again, unvarnished and typical, with all its intrigues,
  hypocrisies, feuds, martyrdoms and occasional exaltations. The
  crippling monotony of existence in a drab township, the defeat of
  ideals, the struggle toward higher goals—all is synthesized in these
  crowded pages. All moods and all manner of voices are heard
  here—even Masters’s, who explains the reason for his medium and the
  selection of his form through “Petit, the Poet.”

  The success of the volume was stupendous. (See Preface.) With every
  new attack (and its frankness continued to make fresh enemies) its
  readers increased; it was imitated, parodied, reviled as “a piece of
  yellow journalism;” hailed as “an American Comédie Humaine.”
  Finally, after the storm of controversy, it has taken its place as a
  landmark in American literature.

  With _Spoon River Anthology_ Masters arrived—and left. He went back
  to his first rhetorical style, resurrecting many of his earlier
  trifles, reprinting dull echoes of Tennyson, imitations of Shelley,
  archaic paraphrases in the manner of Swinburne. Yet, though none of
  Masters’s subsequent volumes can be compared to his masterpiece, all
  of them contain examples of the same straightforwardness, the
  stubborn searching for truth that intensified his best known

  _Songs and Satires_ (1916) contains the startling “All Life in a
  Life” and the gravely moving “Silence.” _The Great Valley_ (1916) is
  packed with echoes and a growing dependence on Browning. In _Toward
  the Gulf_ (1918), the Browning influence predominates, although
  there are such splendid individual monologues as “The World Saver,”
  “St. Deseret” and “Front the Ages with a Smile.” _Starved Rock_
  (1919) and _Domesday Book_ (1920) are, like all Masters’s later
  books, queerly assembled mixtures of good, bad and derivative verse.
  And yet, for all of this poet’s borrowings, in spite of his cynicism
  and disillusion, Masters’s work is a continual searching for some
  key to the mystery of truth, the mastery of life.

                          PETIT, THE POET[22]

           Seeds in a dry pod, tick, tick, tick,
           Tick, tick, tick, like mites in a quarrel—
           Faint iambics that the full breeze wakens—
           But the pine tree makes a symphony thereof.
           Triolets, villanelles, rondels, rondeaus,
           Ballades by the score with the same old thought:
           The snows and the roses of yesterday are vanished;
           And what is love but a rose that fades?
           Life all around me here in the village:
           Tragedy, comedy, valor and truth,
           Courage, constancy, heroism, failure—
           All in the loom, and oh what patterns!
           Woodlands, meadows, streams and rivers—
           Blind to all of it all my life long.
           Triolets, villanelles, rondels, rondeaus,
           Seeds in a dry pod, tick, tick, tick,
           Tick, tick, tick, what little iambics,
           While Homer and Whitman roared in the pines!

                          LUCINDA MATLOCK[23]

      I went to the dances at Chandlerville,
      And played snap-out at Winchester.
      One time we changed partners,
      Driving home in the moonlight of middle June,
      And then I found Davis.
      We were married and lived together for seventy years,
      Enjoying, working, raising the twelve children,
      Eight of whom we lost
      Ere I had reached the age of sixty.
      I spun, I wove, I kept the house, I nursed the sick,
      I made the garden, and for holiday
      Rambled over the fields where sang the larks,
      And by Spoon River gathering many a shell,
      And many a flower and medicinal weed—
      Shouting to the wooded hills, singing to the green valleys.
      At ninety-six I had lived enough, that is all,
      And passed to a sweet repose.
      What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness,
      Anger, discontent and drooping hopes?
      Degenerate sons and daughters,
      Life is too strong for you—
      It takes life to love Life.

                         ANNE RUTLEDGE[24][25]

         Out of me unworthy and unknown
         The vibrations of deathless music;
         “With malice toward none, with charity for all.”
         Out of me the forgiveness of millions toward millions,
         And the beneficent face of a nation
         Shining with justice and truth.
         I am Anne Rutledge who sleep beneath these weeds,
         Beloved in life of Abraham Lincoln,
         Wedded to him, not through union,
         But through separation.
         Bloom forever, O Republic,
         From the dust of my bosom!


 I have known the silence of the stars and of the sea,
 And the silence of the city when it pauses,
 And the silence of a man and a maid,
 And the silence for which music alone finds the word,
 And the silence of the woods before the winds of spring begin,
 And the silence of the sick
 When their eyes roam about the room.
 And I ask: For the depths
 Of what use is language?
 A beast of the field moans a few times
 When death takes its young.
 And we are voiceless in the presence of realities—
 We cannot speak.

 A curious boy asks an old soldier
 Sitting in front of the grocery store,
 “How did you lose your leg?”
 And the old soldier is struck with silence,
 Or his mind flies away
 Because he cannot concentrate it on Gettysburg.
 It comes back jocosely
 And he says, “A bear bit it off.”
 And the boy wonders, while the old soldier
 Dumbly, feebly lives over
 The flashes of guns, the thunder of cannon,
 The shrieks of the slain,
 And himself lying on the ground,
 And the hospital surgeons, the knives,
 And the long days in bed.
 But if he could describe it all
 He would be an artist.
 But if he were an artist there would be deeper wounds
 Which he could not describe.
 There is the silence of a great hatred,
 And the silence of a great love,
 And the silence of a deep peace of mind,
 And the silence of an embittered friendship,
 There is the silence of a spiritual crisis,
 Through which your soul, exquisitely tortured,
 Comes with visions not to be uttered
 Into a realm of higher life.
 And the silence of the gods who understand each other without speech,
 There is the silence of defeat.
 There is the silence of those unjustly punished;
 And the silence of the dying whose hand
 Suddenly grips yours.
 There is the silence between father and son,
 When the father cannot explain his life,
 Even though he be misunderstood for it.

 There is the silence that comes between husband and wife.
 There is the silence of those who have failed;
 And the vast silence that covers
 Broken nations and vanquished leaders.
 There is the silence of Lincoln,
 Thinking of the poverty of his youth.
 And the silence of Napoleon
 After Waterloo.
 And the silence of Jeanne d’Arc
 Saying amid the flames, “Blesséd Jesus”—
 Revealing in two words all sorrow, all hope.
 And there is the silence of age,
 Too full of wisdom for the tongue to utter it
 In words intelligible to those who have not lived
 The great range of life.

 And there is the silence of the dead.
 If we who are in life cannot speak
 Of profound experiences,
 Why do you marvel that the dead
 Do not tell you of death?
 Their silence shall be interpreted
 As we approach them.

                            _Stephen Crane_

  Stephen Crane, whose literary career was one of the most meteoric in
  American letters, was born at Newark, New Jersey, November 1, 1871.
  After taking a partial course at Lafayette College, he entered
  journalism at sixteen and, until the time of his death, was a
  reporter and writer of newspaper sketches. When he died, at the age
  of thirty, he had ten printed volumes standing to his credit, two
  more announced for publication, and two others which were appearing

  Crane’s most famous novel, _The Red Badge of Courage_ (1895), was
  written when he was twenty-two years old. What is even more
  astonishing is the fact that this detailed description of blood and
  battlefields was written by a civilian far from the scene of
  conflict. This novel (Crane’s second) was an instantaneous and
  international success. _The Atlantic Monthly_ pronounced it “great
  enough to set a new fashion in literature”; H. G. Wells, speaking of
  its influence in England, said Crane was “the first expression of
  the opening mind or a new period ... a record of an intensity beyond
  all precedent.”

  Crane’s other books, although less powerful than _The Red Badge of
  Courage_, are scarcely less vivid. _The Open Boat_ (1898) and _The
  Monster_ (1899) are full of an intuitive wisdom and a sensitivity
  that caused Wells to exclaim “The man who can call these ‘brilliant
  fragments’ would reproach Rodin for not ‘completing’ his fragments.”

  At various periods in Crane’s brief career, he experimented in
  verse, seeking to find new effects in unrhymed lines, a new
  acuteness of vision. The results were embodied in two volumes of
  unusual poetry, _The Black Riders_ (1895) and _War Is Kind_ (1899),
  lines that strangely anticipated the Imagists and the epigrammatic
  free verse that followed fifteen years later.

  Besides his many novels, short stories and poems, Crane was writing,
  at the time of his death, descriptions of the world’s great battles
  for _Lippincott’s Magazine_; his droll _Whilomville Stories_ for
  boys were appearing in _Harper’s Monthly_ and he was beginning a
  series of similar stories for girls. It is more than probable that
  this feverish energy of production aggravated the illness that
  caused Crane’s death. He reached his refuge in the Black Forest only
  to die at the journey’s end, June 5, 1900.

                              I SAW A MAN

                   I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
                   Round and round they sped.
                   I was disturbed at this;
                   I accosted the man.
                   “It is futile,” I said,
                   “You can never”—

                   “You lie,” he cried,
                   And ran on.

                              THE WAYFARER

                   The wayfarer,
                   Perceiving the pathway to truth,
                   Was struck with astonishment.
                   It was thickly grown with weeds.
                   “Ha,” he said,
                   “I see that no one has passed here
                   In a long time.”
                   Later he saw that each weed
                   Was a singular knife.
                   “Well,” he mumbled at last,
                   “Doubtless there are other roads.”


            A slant of sun on dull brown walls,
            A forgotten sky of bashful blue.

            Toward God a mighty hymn,
            A song of collisions and cries,
            Rumbling wheels, hoof-beats, bells,
            Welcomes, farewells, love-calls, final moans,
            Voices of joy, idiocy, warning, despair,
            The unknown appeals of brutes,
            The chanting of flowers,
            The screams of cut trees,
            The senseless babble of hens and wise men—
            A cluttered incoherency that says to the stars:
            “O God, save us!”

                          THE BLADES OF GRASS

               In Heaven,
               Some little blades of grass
               Stood before God.
               “What did you do?”
               Then all save one of the little blades
               Began eagerly to relate
               The merits of their lives.
               This one stayed a small way behind,
               Presently, God said,
               “And what did you do?”
               The little blade answered, “Oh, my Lord,
               Memory is bitter to me,
               For, if I did good deeds,
               I know not of them.”
               Then God, in all his splendor,
               Arose from his throne.
               “Oh, best little blade of grass!” he said.

                           _Edwin Ford Piper_

  Edwin Ford Piper was born at Auburn, Nebraska, February 8, 1871, and
  literally grew up in the saddle. In 1893 he entered the University
  of Nebraska, from which he received an A.B. in 1897 and A.M. in
  1900. He studied at Harvard (1903–4), was one of the editors of _The
  Kiote_ (a magazine published from 1898 to 1902 in Lincoln,
  Nebraska), and, since 1905, has been an instructor of English at the
  State University of Iowa.

  _Piper’s Barbed Wire and Other Poems_ (1918) is saturated with the
  color of his environment. His later poems are still more vivid and
  racy. “Sweetgrass Range” (with its self-acknowledged debt to Burns’s
  “Rattlin’ Roarin’ Willie”) and “Bindlestiff” are fresh evidences of
  this author’s creative interest in ballads and folk-lore.


          _Oh, the lives of men, lives of men,
            In pattern-molds be run;
          But there’s you, and me, and Bindlestiff—
            And remember Mary’s Son._

          At dawn the hedges and the wheel-ruts ran
          Into a brightening sky. The grass bent low
          With shimmering dew, and many a late wild rose
          Unrolled the petals from its odorous heart
          While birds held tuneful gossip. Suddenly,
          Each bubbling trill and whistle hid away
          As from a hawk; the fragrant silence heard
          Only the loving stir of little leaves;
          Then a man’s baritone broke roughly in:

          _I’ve gnawed my crust of mouldy bread,
            Skimmed my mulligan stew;
          Laid beneath the barren hedge—
            Sleety night-winds blew._

          _Slanting rain chills my bones,
            Sun bakes my skin;
          Rocky road for my limping feet,
            Door where I can’t go in._

          Above the hedgerow floated filmy smoke
          From the hidden singer’s fire. Once more the voice:

          _I used to burn the mules with the whip
            When I worked on the grading gang;
          But the boss was a crook, and he docked my pay—
            Some day that boss will hang._

          _I used to live in a six by nine,
            Try to save my dough—
          It’s a bellyful of the chaff of life,
            Feet that up and go._

          The mesh of leafy branches rustled loud,
          Into the road slid Bindlestiff. You’ve seen
          The like of the traveller: gaunt humanity
          In stained and broken coat, with untrimmed hedge
          Of rusty beard and curling sunburnt hair;
          His hat, once white, a dull uncertain cone;
          His leathery hands and cheeks, his bright blue eyes
          That always see new faces and strange dogs;
          His mouth that laughs at life and at himself.

          _Sometimes they shut you up in jail—
            Dark, and a filthy cell;
          I hope the fellows built them jails
            Find ’em down in hell._

          _But up above, you can sleep outdoors—
            Feed you like a king;
          You never have to saw no wood,
            Only job is sing._

          The tones came mellower, as unevenly
          The tramp limped off trailing the hobo song:

          _Good-bye, farewell to Omaha,
            K. C., and Denver, too;
          Put my foot on the flying freight,
            Going to ride her through._

          Bindlestiff topped a hillock, against the sky
          Showed stick and bundle with his extra shoes
          Jauntily dangling. Bird to bird once more
          Made low sweet answer; in the wild rose cups
          The bee found yellow meal; all softly moved
          The white and purple morning-glory bells
          As on the gently rustling hedgetop leaves
          The sun’s face rested. Bindlestiff was gone.

          _Oh, the lives of men, lives of men,
            In pattern-molds be run;
          But there’s you, and me, and Bindlestiff—
            And remember Mary’s Son._

                            SWEETGRASS RANGE

                Come sell your pony, cowboy—
                    Sell your pony to me;
                Braided bridle and your puncher saddle,
                    And spend your money free.

                “If I should sell my pony,
                    And ride the range no more,
                Nail up my hat and my silver spurs
                    Above my shanty door;

                “And let my door stand open wide
                    To the snow and the rain and sun;
                And bury me under the green sweetgrass
                    Where you hear the river run.”

                As I came down the sweetgrass range
                    And by the cabin door,
                I heard a singing in the early dusk
                    Along the river shore;

                I heard a singing to the early stars,
                    And the tune of a pony’s feet.
                The joy of the riding singer
                    I never shall forget.

                              _T. A. Daly_

  Thomas Augustine Daly was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May
  28, 1871. He attended Villanova College and Fordham University
  (1889), leaving there at the end of his sophomore year to become a
  newspaper man. Since 1891 he has been on the staff of various
  Philadelphia journals, writing reviews, editorials, travel-notes
  and, most of all, running the columns in which his much-quoted verse
  originally appeared.

  _Canzoni_ (1906) and _Carmina_ (1909) contain the best known of
  Daly’s varied dialect verse. Although he has written in half a dozen
  different idioms including “straight” English (_vide Songs of
  Wedlock_, 1916), his half-humorous, half-pathetic interpretations of
  the Irish and Italian immigrants are his _forte_.

  Seldom descending to caricature, Daly exhibits the features and
  foibles of his characters without exploiting them; even the lightest
  passages in _McAroni Ballads_ (1919) are done with delicacy and a
  not too sentimental appreciation.

                         THE SONG OF THE THRUSH

             Ah! the May was grand this mornin’!
             Shure, how could I feel forlorn in
             Such a land, when tree and flower tossed their kisses to the
             Could an Irish heart be quiet
             While the Spring was runnin’ riot,
 An’ the birds of free America were singin’ in the trees?
             In the songs that they were singin’
             No familiar note was ringin’,
 But I strove to imitate them an’ I whistled like a lad.
             Oh, my heart was warm to love them
             For the very newness of them—
 For the ould songs that they helped me to forget—an’ I was glad.

             So I mocked the feathered choir
             To my hungry heart’s desire,
             An’ I gloried in the comradeship that made their joy my own.
             Till a new note sounded, stillin’
             All the rest. A thrush was trillin’!
 Ah! the thrush I left behind me in the fields about Athlone!
             Where, upon the whitethorn swayin’,
             He was minstrel of the Mayin’,
 In my days of love an’ laughter that the years have laid at rest;
             Here again his notes were ringin’!
             But I’d lost the heart for singin’—
 Ah! the song I could not answer was the one I knew the best.

                              MIA CARLOTTA

           Giuseppe, da barber, ees greata for “mash,”
           He gotta da bigga, da blacka mustache,
           Good clo’es an’ good styla an’ playnta good cash.

           W’enevra Giuseppe ees walk on da street,
           Da peopla dey talka, “how nobby! how neat!
           How softa da handa, how smalla da feet.”

           He raisa hees hat an’ he shaka hees curls,
           An’ smila weeth teetha so shiny like pearls;
           O! many da heart of da seelly young girls
                           He gotta.
                     Yes, playnta he gotta—
                           But notta

           Giuseppe, da barber, he maka da eye,
           An’ lika de steam engine puffa an’ sigh,
           For catcha Carlotta w’en she ees go by.

           Carlotta she walka weeth nose in da air,
           An’ look through Giuseppe weeth far-away stare,
           As eef she no see dere ees som’body dere.

           Giuseppe, da barber, he gotta da cash,
           He gotta da clo’es an’ da bigga mustache,
           He gotta da seelly young girls for da “mash,”
                             But notta—
                     You bat my life, notta—
                             I gotta!

                           BETWEEN TWO LOVES

                  I gotta lov’ for Angela,
                      I lov’ Carlotta, too.
                  I no can marry both o’ dem,
                      So w’at I gona do?

                  O! Angela ees pretta girl,
                  She gotta hair so black, so curl,
                  An’ teeth so white as anytheeng.
                  An’ O! she gotta voice to seeng,
                  Dat mak’ your hearta feel eet must
                  Jump up an’ dance or eet weell bust.
                  An’ alla time she seeng, her eyes
                  Dey smila like Italia’s skies,
                  An’ makin’ flirtin’ looks at you—
                  But dat ees all w’at she can do.

                  Carlotta ees no gotta song,
                  But she ees twice so big an’ strong
                  As Angela, an’ she no look
                  So beautiful—but she can cook.
                  You oughta see her carry wood!
                  I tal you w’at, eet do you good.
                  When she ees be som’body’s wife
                  She worka hard, you bat my life!
                  She never gattin’ tired, too—
                  But dat ees all w’at she can do.

                  O! my! I weesh dat Angela
                      Was strong for carry wood,
                  Or else Carlotta gotta song
                      An’ looka pretta good.
                  I gotta lov’ for Angela,
                      I lov’ Carlotta, too.
                  I no can marry both o’ dem,
                      So w’at I gona do?

                         _Paul Laurence Dunbar_

  Paul Laurence Dunbar was born in 1872 at Dayton, Ohio, the son of
  negro slaves. He was, before and after he began to write his
  interpretative verse, an elevator-boy. He tried newspaper work
  unsuccessfully and, in 1899, Dunbar was given a minor position in
  the Library of Congress at Washington, D. C.

  Although Dunbar wrote several volumes of short stories and two
  novels, he is most at home in his verse. And even here, his best
  work is not those straight, “literary English” pieces by which he
  set such store, but the racy rhymes written in negro dialect,
  alternately tender and mocking. Dunbar’s first collection, _Lyrics
  of Lowly Life_ (1896), contains many of his most characteristic
  poems. In an introduction, in which mention was made of the octoroon
  Dumas and the great Russian poet Pushkin, who was a mulatto, William
  Dean Howells wrote, “So far as I could remember, Paul Dunbar was the
  only man of pure African blood and of American civilization to feel
  the negro life æsthetically and express it lyrically.... His
  brilliant and unique achievement was to have studied the American
  negro objectively, and to have represented him as he found him—with
  humor, with sympathy, and yet with what the reader must
  instinctively feel to be entire truthfulness.”

  _Lyrics of the Hearthside_ (1899) and _Lyrics of Love and Laughter_
  (1903) are two other volumes full of folk-stuff. And though the
  final _Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow_ (1905) is less original, being
  crowded with echoes of all kinds of poetry from the songs of Robert
  Burns to the childhood rhymes of J. W. Riley, it contains a few of
  Dunbar’s least-known but keenest interpretations.

  Dunbar died in the city of his birth, Dayton, Ohio, February 10,


 Woman’s sho’ a cur’ous critter, an’ dey ain’t no doubtin’ dat.
 She’s a mess o’ funny capahs f’om huh slippahs to huh hat.
 Ef yo’ tries to un’erstan’ huh, an’ yo’ fails, des’ up an’ say:
 “D’ ain’t a bit o’ use to try to un’erstan’ a woman’s way.”

 I don’ mean to be complainin’, but I’s jes’ a-settin’ down
 Some o’ my own obserwations, w’en I cas’ my eye eroun’.
 Ef yo’ ax me fu’ to prove it, I ken do it mighty fine,
 Fu’ dey ain’t no bettah ’zample den dis ve’y wife o’ mine.

 In de ve’y hea’t o’ midnight, w’en I’s sleepin’ good an’ soun’,
 I kin hyeah a so’t o’ rustlin’ an’ somebody movin’ ’roun’.
 An’ I say, “Lize, whut yo’ doin’?” But she frown an’ shek huh haid,
 “Hesh yo’ mouf, I’s only tu’nin’ of de chillun in de bed.

 “Don’ yo’ know a chile gits restless, layin’ all de night one way?
 An’ yo’ got to kind o’ ’range him sev’al times befo’ de day?
 So de little necks won’t worry, an’ de little backs won’t break;
 Don’ yo’ t’ink ’cause chillun’s chillun dey haint got no pain an’ ache.”

 So she shakes ’em, an’ she twists ’em, an’ she tu’ns ’em ’roun’ erbout,
 ’Twell I don’ see how de chillun evah keeps f’om hollahin’ out.
 Den she lif’s ’em up head down’ards, so’s dey won’t git livah-grown,
 But dey snoozes des’ ez peaceful ez a liza’d on a stone.

 W’en hit’s mos’ nigh time fu’ wakin’ on de dawn o’ jedgement day,
 Seems lak I kin hyeah ol’ Gab’iel lay his trumpet down an’ say,
 “Who dat walkin’ ’roun’ so easy, down on earf ermong de dead?”—
 ’T will be Lizy up a-tu’nin’ of de chillun in de bed.

                        A COQUETTE CONQUERED[28]

                 Yes, my ha’t’s ez ha’d ez stone—
                 Go ’way, Sam, an’ lemme ’lone.
                 No; I ain’t gwine change my min’;
                 Ain’t gwine ma’y you—nuffin’ de kin’.

                 Phiny loves you true an’ deah?
                 Go ma’y Phiny; whut I keer?
                 Oh, you needn’t mou’n an’ cry—
                 I don’t keer how soon you die.

                 Got a present! Whut you got?
                 Somef’n fu’ de pan er pot!
                 Huh! Yo’ sass do sholy beat—
                 Think I don’t git ’nough to eat?

                 Whut’s dat un’neaf yo’ coat?
                 Looks des lak a little shoat.
                 ’Tain’t no possum? Bless de Lamb!
                 Yes, it is, you rascal, Sam!

                 Gin it to me; whut you say?
                 Ain’t you sma’t now! Oh, go ’way!
                 Possum do look mighty nice;
                 But you ax too big a price.

                 Tell me, is you talkin’ true,
                 Dat’s de gal’s whut ma’ies you?
                 Come back, Sam; now whah’s you gwine?
                 Co’se you knows dat possum’s mine!


                  Seen you down at chu’ch las’ night,
                      Nevah min’, Miss Lucy.
                  What I mean? Oh, dat’s all right,
                      Nevah min’, Miss Lucy.
                  You was sma’t ez sma’t could be,
                  But you couldn’t hide f’om me.
                  Ain’t I got two eyes to see!
                      Nevah min’, Miss Lucy.

                  Guess you thought you’s awful keen;
                      Nevah min’, Miss Lucy.
                  Evahthing you done, I seen;
                      Nevah min’, Miss Lucy.
                  Seen him tek yo’ ahm jes’ so,
                  When he got outside de do’—
                  Oh, I know dat man’s yo’ beau!
                      Nevah min’, Miss Lucy.

                  Say now, honey, wha’d he say?—
                      Nevah min’, Miss Lucy.
                  Keep yo’ secrets—dat’s yo’ way—
                      Nevah min’, Miss Lucy,
                  Won’t tell me an’ I’m yo’ pal!
                  I’m gwine tell his othah gal,—
                  Know huh, too, huh name is Sal.
                      Nevah min’, Miss Lucy.

                          _Guy Wetmore Carryl_

  Guy Wetmore Carryl, son of Charles Edward Carryl (see page 34), was
  born in New York City, March 4, 1873. He graduated from Columbia
  University in 1895, was editor of _Munsey’s Magazine_, 1895–6, and,
  during the time he lived abroad (from 1897 to 1902), was the foreign
  representative of various American publications.

  As a writer of prose he was received with no little acclaim; his
  stories _The Transgression of Andrew Vane_ (1902) and _Zut and Other
  Parisians_ (1903) held the attention of a restless reading public.
  But it was as a writer of light verse that Carryl was preëminent.
  Inheriting a remarkable technical gift from his father, young Carryl
  soon surpassed him as well as all other rivals in the field of
  brilliantly rhymed, brilliantly turned burlesques. Although he wrote
  several serious poems (the best of which have been collected in the
  posthumously published _The Garden of Years_, 1904), Carryl’s most
  characteristic work is to be found in his perversions of the
  parables of Æsop, _Fables for the Frivolous_ (1898), the topsy-turvy
  interpretations of old nursery rhymes, _Mother Goose for Grownups_
  (1900) and the fantastic variations on the fairy tales in _Grimm
  Tales Made Gay_ (1903)—all of them with a surprising (and punning)
  Moral attached.

  This extraordinary versifier died, before reaching the height of his
  power, at the age of thirty-one, in the summer of 1904.


      Without the slightest basis
      For hypochondriasis
        A widow had forebodings which a cloud around her flung,
      And with expression cynical
      For half the day a clinical
        Thermometer she held beneath her tongue.

      Whene’er she read the papers
      She suffered from the vapors,
        At every tale of malady or accident she’d groan;
      In every new and smart disease,
      From housemaid’s knee to heart disease,
        She recognized the symptoms as her own!

      She had a yearning chronic
      To try each novel tonic,
        Elixir, panacea, lotion, opiate, and balm;
      And from a homeopathist
      Would change to an hydropathist,
        And back again, with stupefying calm!
      She was nervous, cataleptic,
      And anemic, and dyspeptic:
        Though not convinced of apoplexy, yet she had her fears.
      She dwelt with force fanatical
      Upon a twinge rheumatical,
        And said she had a buzzing in her ears!

      Now all of this bemoaning
      And this grumbling and this groaning
        The mind of Jack, her son and heir, unconscionably bored.
      His heart completely hardening,
      He gave his time to gardening,
        For raising beans was something he adored.

      Each hour in accents morbid
      This limp maternal bore bid
        Her callous son affectionate and lachrymose good-bys.
      She never granted Jack a day
      Without some long “Alackaday!”
        Accompanied by rolling of the eyes.

      But Jack, no panic showing,
      Just watched his beanstalk growing,
        And twined with tender fingers the tendrils up the pole.
      At all her words funereal
      He smiled a smile ethereal,
        Or sighed an absent-minded “Bless my soul!”

      That hollow-hearted creature
      Would never change a feature:
        No tear bedimmed his eye, however touching was her talk.
      She never fussed or flurried him,
      The only thing that worried him
        Was when no bean-pods grew upon the stalk!

      But then he wabbled loosely
      His head, and wept profusely,
        And, taking out his handkerchief to mop away his tears,
      Exclaimed: “It hasn’t got any!”
      He found this blow to botany
        Was sadder than were all his mother’s fears.

      _The Moral_ is that gardeners pine
      Whene’er no pods adorn the vine.
      Of all sad words experience gleans
      The saddest are: “It _might_ have beans.”
        (I did not make this up myself:
        ’Twas in a book upon my shelf.
        It’s witty, but I don’t deny
        It’s rather Whittier than I!)


           A raven sat upon a tree,
               And not a word he spoke, for
           His beak contained a piece of Brie,
               Or, maybe, it was Roquefort.
                 We’ll make it any kind you please—
                 At all events it was a cheese.
           Beneath the tree’s umbrageous limb
               A hungry fox sat smiling;
           He saw the raven watching him,
               And spoke in words beguiling:
                 “_J’admire_,” said he, “_ton beau plumage_,”
                 (The which was simply persiflage.)

           Two things there are, no doubt you know,
               To which a fox is used:
           A rooster that is bound to crow,
               A crow that’s bound to roost;
                 And whichsoever he espies
                 He tells the most unblushing lies.

           “Sweet fowl,” he said, “I understand
               You’re more than merely natty,
           I hear you sing to beat the band
               And Adelina Patti.
                 Pray render with your liquid tongue
                 A bit from ‘Götterdämmerung.’”

           This subtle speech was aimed to please
               The crow, and it succeeded;
           He thought no bird in all the trees
               Could sing as well as he did.
                 In flattery completely doused,
                 He gave the “Jewel Song” from “Faust.”
           But gravitation’s law, of course,
               As Isaac Newton showed it,
           Exerted on the cheese its force,
               And elsewhere soon bestowed it.
                 In fact, there is no need to tell
                 What happened when to earth it fell.

           I blush to add that when the bird
               Took in the situation
           He said one brief, emphatic word,
               Unfit for publication.
                 The fox was greatly startled, but
                 He only sighed and answered “Tut.”

           THE MORAL is: A fox is bound
               To be a shameless sinner.
           And also: When the cheese comes round
               You know it’s after dinner.
                 But (what is only known to few)
                 The fox is after dinner, too.


        A poet had a cat.
        There is nothing odd in that—
          (I _might_ make a little pun about the _Mews_!)
        But what is really more
        Remarkable, she wore
          A pair of pointed patent-leather shoes.
            And I doubt me greatly whether
                E’er you heard the like of that:
            Pointed shoes of patent-leather
                On a cat!

        His time he used to pass
        Writing sonnets, on the grass—
          (I _might_ say something good on _pen_ and _sward_!)
        While the cat sat near at hand,
        Trying hard to understand
          The poems he occasionally roared.
            (I myself possess a feline,
                But when poetry I roar
            He is sure to make a bee-line
                For the door.)

        The poet, cent by cent,
        All his patrimony spent—
          (I _might_ tell how he went from _verse_ to _worse_!)
        Till the cat was sure she could,
        By advising, do him good.
          So addressed him in a manner that was terse:
            “We are bound toward the scuppers,
                And the time has come to act,
            Or we’ll both be on our uppers
                For a fact!”

        On her boot she fixed her eye,
        But the boot made no reply—
          (I _might_ say: “Couldn’t speak to save its _sole_!”)
        And the foolish bard, instead
        Of responding, only read
          A verse that wasn’t bad upon the whole.
            And it pleased the cat so greatly,
                Though she knew not what it meant,
            That I’ll quote approximately
                How it went:—

        “If I should live to be
        The last leaf upon the tree”—
          (I _might_ put in: “I think I’d just as _leaf_!”)
        “Let them smile, as I do now,
        At the old forsaken bough”—
          Well, he’d plagiarized it bodily, in brief!
            But that cat of simple breeding
                Couldn’t read the lines between,
            So she took it to a leading

        She was jarred and very sore
        When they showed her to the door.
          (I _might_ hit off the _door_ that was a _jar_!)
        To the spot she swift returned
        Where the poet sighed and yearned,
          And she told him that he’d gone a little far.
            “Your performance with this rhyme has
                Made me absolutely sick,”
            She remarked. “I think the time has
                Come to kick!”
        I could fill up half the page
        With descriptions of her rage—
          (I _might_ say that she went a bit _too fur_)!
        When he smiled and murmured: “Shoo!”
        “There is one thing I can do!”
          She answered with a wrathful kind of purr.
            “You may shoo me, an’ it suit you,
                But I feel my conscience bid
            Me, as tit for tat, to boot you!”
                (Which she did.)

        _The Moral_ of the plot
        (Though I say it, as should not!)
          Is: An editor is difficult to suit.
        But again there’re other times
        When the man who fashions rhymes
          Is a rascal, and a bully one to boot!

                             _H. H. Knibbs_

  Harry Herbert Knibbs was born at Niagara Falls, October 24, 1874.
  After a desultory schooling, he attended Harvard for three years
  when he was thirty-four. “Somebody said I took honors in English,”
  says Knibbs, “but I never saw them.” He wrote his first book, _Lost
  Farm Camp_, a novel, as a class exercise.

  Half a dozen volumes followed, _Overland Red_ (1914) and _Tang of
  Life_ (1917) being the most popular. In 1911, Knibbs settled in Los
  Angeles, California, where he has lived ever since.

  In _Riders of the Stars_ (1916) and _Songs of the Trail_ (1920),
  Knibbs carries on the tradition of Bret Harte and the Pike County
  Ballads. High-hearted verse this is, with more than an occasional
  flash of poetry. To the typical Western breeziness, Knibbs adds a
  wider whimsicality, a rough-shod but nimble imagination.

                       THE VALLEY THAT GOD FORGOT

 Out in the desert spaces, edged by a hazy blue,
 Davison sought the faces of the long-lost friends he knew:
     They were there, in the distance dreaming
     Their dreams that were worn and old;
     They were there, to his frenzied seeming,
     Still burrowing down for gold.

 Davison’s face was leather; his mouth was a swollen blot,
 His mind was a floating feather, in The Valley That God Forgot;
     Wild as a dog gone loco,
     Or sullen or meek, by turns,
     He mumbled a “Poco! Poco!”
     And whispered of pools and ferns.

 Gold! Why his, for the finding! But water was never found,
 Save in deep caverns winding miles through the underground:
      Cool, far, shadowy places
      Edged by the mirrored trees,
      When—Davison saw the faces!
      And fear let loose his knees.

 There was Shorty who owed him money, and Billing who bossed the crowd;
 And Steve whom the boys called “Sunny,” and Collins who talked so loud:
     Miguel with the handsome daughter,
     And the rustler, Ed McCray;
     Five—and they begged for water,
     And offered him gold, in pay.

 Gold? It was never cheaper. And Davison shook his head:
 “The price of a drink is steeper out here than in town,” he said.
     He laughed as they mouthed and muttered
     Through lips that were cracked and dried;
     The pulse in his ear-drum fluttered:
     “I’m through with the game!” he cried.

 “I’m through!” And he knelt and fumbled the cap of his dry canteen
 Then, rising, he swayed and stumbled into a black ravine:
     His ghostly comrades followed,
     For Davison’s end was near,
     And a shallow grave they hollowed,
     When up from it, cool and clear

 Bubbled the water—hidden a pick-stroke beneath the sand;
 Davison, phantom-ridden, scooped with a shaking hand ...
     Davison swears they made it,
     The Well where we drank to-day.
     Davison’s game? He played it
     And won—so the town-folk say:

 Called it, The Morning-Glory—near those abandoned stamps,
 And Davison’s crazy story was told in a hundred camps:
     Time and the times have tamed it,
     His yarn—and this desert spot,
     But I’m strong for the man who named it,
     The Valley That God Forgot.

                            ROLL A ROCK DOWN

      Oh, out in the West where the riders are ready,
        They sing an old song and they tell an old tale,
      And its moral is plain: Take it easy, go steady,
        While riding a horse on the Malibu Trail.

      It’s a high, rocky trail with its switch-backs and doubles,
        It has no beginning and never an end:
      It’s risky and rough and it’s plumb full of troubles,
        From Shifty—that’s shale—up to Powder Cut Bend.

      Old-timers will tell you the rangers who made it,
        Sang “Roll A Rock Down,” with a stiff upper lip,
      And cussed all creation, but managed to grade it;
        With a thousand-foot drop if a pony should slip.

      Oh, the day it was wet and the sky it was cloudy,
        The trail was as slick as an oil-rigger’s pants,
      When Ranger McCabe on his pony, Old Rowdy,
        Came ridin’ where walkin’ was takin’ a chance.

      “Oh, Roll A Rock Down!” picks and shovels was clangin’,
        And Rowdy a-steppin’ that careful and light,
      When the edge it gave way and McCabe was left hangin’
        Clean over the rim—with no bottom in sight.

      I shook out a loop—bein’ crowded for throwin’;
        I flipped a fair noose for a rope that was wet:
      It caught just as Mac lost his holt and was goin’,
        And burned through my fingers: it’s burnin’ them yet.

      For Ranger McCabe never knuckled to danger;
        My pardner in camp, on the trail, or in town:
      And he slid into glory, a true forest-ranger,
        With: “Hell! I’m a-goin’! Just roll a rock down.”

      So, roll a rock down where a ranger is sleepin’
        Aside of his horse below Powder Cut Bend:
      I ride and I look where the shadows are creepin’,
        And roll a rock down—for McCabe was my friend.

      I’ve sung you my song and I’ve told you my story,
        And all that I ask when I’m done with the show,
      Is, roll a rock down when I slide into glory,
        And say that I went like a ranger should go.

                            THE TRAIL-MAKERS

 North and west along the coast among the misty islands,
   Sullen in the grip of night and smiling in the day:
 Nunivak and Akutan, with Nome against the highlands,
   On we drove with plated prow agleam with frozen spray.

 _Loud we sang adventuring and lustily we jested;
   Quarreled, fought, and then forgot the taunt, the blow, the jeers;
 Named a friend and clasped a hand—a compact sealed, attested;
   Shared tobacco, yarns, and drink, and planned surpassing years._

 Then—the snow that locked the trail where famine’s shadow followed
   Out across the blinding white and through the stabbing cold,
 Past tents along the tundra over faces blotched and hollowed;
   Toothless mouths that babbled foolish songs of hidden gold.

 Wisdom, lacking sinews for the toil, gave over trying;
   Fools, with thews of iron, blundered on and won the fight;
 Weaklings drifted homeward; else they tarried—worse than dying—
   With the painted lips and wastrels on the edges of the night.

 Berries of the saskatoon were ripening and falling;
   Flowers decked the barren with its timber scant and low;
 All along the river-trail were many voices calling,
   And e’en the whimpering Malemutes they heard—and whined to go.

 Eyelids seared with fire and ice and frosted parka-edges;
   Firelight like a spray of blood on faces lean and brown;
 Shifting shadows of the pines across our loaded sledges,
   And far behind the fading trail, the lights and lures of town.

 So we played the bitter game nor asked for praise or pity:
   Wind and wolf they found the bones that blazed out lonely trails....
 Where a dozen shacks were set, to-day there blooms a city;
   Now where once was empty blue, there pass a thousand sails.

 Scarce a peak that does not mark the grave of those who perished
   Nameless, lost to lips of men who followed, gleaning fame
 From the soundless triumph of adventurers who cherished
   Naught above the glory of a chance to play the game.

 Half the toil—and we had won to wealth in other station;
 Rusted out as useless ere our worth was tried and known.
 But the Hand that made us caught us up and hewed a nation
 From the frozen fastness that so long was His alone.

       ·      ·      ·      ·      ·      ·

 _Loud we sang adventuring and lustily we jested;
 Quarreled, fought, and then forgot the taunt, the blow, the jeers;
 Sinned and slaved and vanished—we, the giant-men who wrested
 Truth from out a dream wherein we planned surpassing years._

                        _Anna Hempstead Branch_

  Anna Hempstead Branch was born at New London, Connecticut. She
  graduated from Smith College in 1897 and has devoted herself to
  literature ever since.

  Her two chief volumes, _The Shoes That Danced_ (1905) and _Rose of
  the Wind_ (1910), show a singer who is less fanciful than
  philosophic. Often, indeed, she weighs down her simple melodies with
  a heavy intellectuality, but, even more often, she attains a high
  level of lyricism. Her lines are admirably condensed, rich in
  personal value as well as poetic revelation; they maintain a high
  and austere level. A typical poem is “The Monk in the Kitchen,”
  which, with its spiritual loveliness and verbal felicity, is a
  celebration of cleanness that gives order an almost mystical

                        THE MONK IN THE KITCHEN


               Order is a lovely thing;
               On disarray it lays its wing,
               Teaching simplicity to sing.
               It has a meek and lowly grace,
               Quiet as a nun’s face.
               Lo—I will have thee in this place!
               Tranquil well of deep delight,
               All things that shine through thee appear
               As stones through water, sweetly clear.
               Thou clarity,
               That with angelic charity
               Revealest beauty where thou art,
               Spread thyself like a clean pool.
               Then all the things that in thee are,
               Shall seem more spiritual and fair,
               Reflection from serener air—
               Sunken shapes of many a star
               In the high heavens set afar.


               Ye stolid, homely, visible things,
               Above you all brood glorious wings
               Of your deep entities, set high,
               Like slow moons in a hidden sky.
               But you, their likenesses, are spent
               Upon another element.
               Truly ye are but seemings—
               The shadowy cast-off gleamings
               Of bright solidities. Ye seem
               Soft as water, vague as dream;
               Image, cast in a shifting stream.


               What are ye?
               I know not.
               Brazen pan and iron pot,
               Yellow brick and gray flag-stone
               That my feet have trod upon—
               Ye seem to me
               Vessels of bright mystery.
               For ye do bear a shape, and so
               Though ye were made by man, I know
               An inner Spirit also made,
               And ye his breathings have obeyed.


               Shape, the strong and awful Spirit,
               Laid his ancient hand on you.
               He waste chaos doth inherit;
               He can alter and subdue.
               Verily, he doth lift up
               Matter, like a sacred cup.
               Into deep substance he reached, and lo
               Where ye were not, ye were; and so
               Out of useless nothing, ye
               Groaned and laughed and came to be.
               And I use you, as I can,
               Wonderful uses, made for man,
               Iron pot and brazen pan.


               What are ye?
               I know not;
               Nor what I really do
               When I move and govern you.
               There is no small work unto God.
               He required of us greatness;
               Of his least creature
               A high angelic nature,
               Stature superb and bright completeness.
               He sets to us no humble duty.
               Each act that he would have us do
               Is haloed round with strangest beauty;
               Terrific deeds and cosmic tasks
               Of his plainest child he asks.
               When I polish the brazen pan
               I hear a creature laugh afar
               In the gardens of a star,
               And from his burning presence run
               Flaming wheels of many a sun.
               Whoever makes a thing more bright,
               He is an angel of all light.
               When I cleanse this earthen floor
               My spirit leaps to see
               Bright garments trailing over it,
               A cleanness made by me.
               Purger of all men’s thoughts and ways,
               With labor do I sound Thy praise,
               My work is done for Thee.
               Whoever makes a thing more bright,
               He is an angel of all light.
               Therefore let me spread abroad
               The beautiful cleanness of my God.


               One time in the cool of dawn
               Angels came and worked with me.
               The air was soft with many a wing.
               They laughed amid my solitude
               And cast bright looks on everything.
               Sweetly of me did they ask
               That they might do my common task.
               And all were beautiful—but one
               With garments whiter than the sun
               Had such a face
               Of deep, remembered grace;
               That when I saw I cried—“Thou art
               The great Blood-Brother of my heart.
               Where have I seen thee?”—And he said,
               “When we are dancing round God’s throne,
               How often thou art there.
               Beauties from thy hands have flown
               Like white doves wheeling in mid air.
               Nay—thy soul remembers not?
               Work on, and cleanse thy iron pot.”


               What are we? I know not.

                        WHILE LOVELINESS GOES BY

           Sometimes when all the world seems grey and dun
           And nothing beautiful, a voice will cry,
           “Look out, look out! Angels are drawing nigh!”
           Then my slow burdens leave me one by one,
           And swiftly does my heart arise and run
           Even like a child while loveliness goes by—
           And common folk seem children of the sky,
           And common things seem shapèd of the sun.
           Oh, pitiful! that I who love them, must
           So soon perceive their shining garments fade!
           And slowly, slowly, from my eyes of trust
           Their flaming banners sink into a shade!
           While this earth’s sunshine seems the golden dust
           Slow settling from that radiant cavalcade.

                              _Amy Lowell_

  Amy Lowell was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, February 9, 1874,
  of a long line of noted publicists and poets, the first colonist (a
  Percival Lowell) arriving in Newburyport in 1637. James Russell
  Lowell was a cousin of her grandfather; Abbott Lawrence, her
  mother’s father, was minister to England; and Abbott Lawrence
  Lowell, her brother, is president of Harvard University.

  Miss Lowell obtained her early education through private tuition and
  travel abroad. These European journeys were the background upon
  which much of Miss Lowell’s later work is unconsciously woven; her
  visits to France, Egypt, Turkey and Greece bore fruit, many years
  later, in the exotic colors of her verse. As a young girl, she had
  vague aspirations toward being a writer; but it was not until 1902,
  when she was twenty-eight years old, that she definitely determined
  to be a poet. For eight years she served a rigorous and solitary
  apprenticeship, reading the classics of all schools and countries,
  studying the technique of verse, exercising her verbal power—but
  never attempting to publish a single line. In 1910 her first verse
  was printed in _The Atlantic Monthly_; two years later her first
  book appeared.

  This volume, _A Dome of Many-colored Glass_ (1912), was a strangely
  unpromising first book. The subjects were as conventional as the
  treatment of them; the influence of Keats and Tennyson was evident;
  the tone was soft and sentimental, almost without a trace of
  personality. It was a queer prologue to the vivid _Sword Blades and
  Poppy Seed_ (1914), which marked not only an extraordinary advance
  but a totally new individuality. This second volume contained many
  distinctive poems written in the usual forms, a score of pictorial
  pieces illustrating Miss Lowell’s identification with the Imagists
  (see Preface) and, possibly most important from a technical
  standpoint, the first appearance in English of “polyphonic prose.”
  Of this extremely flexible form, which has only begun to be
  exploited, Miss Lowell, in an essay on John Gould Fletcher, has
  written, “‘Polyphonic’ means ‘many-voiced,’ and the form is
  so-called because it makes use of the ‘voices’ of poetry, namely:
  meter, _vers libre_, assonance, alliteration, rhyme and return. It
  employs every form of rhythm, even prose rhythm at times.”

  It was because of such experiments in form and technique that Miss
  Lowell first attracted attention and is still best known. But,
  beneath her preoccupation with theories and novelty of utterance,
  one listens to the skilled story-teller, to the designer of
  arabesques, to the narrator who (_vide_ such poems as “A Lady,”
  “Vintage” and the later “Bronze Horses”) revivifies history with
  creative excitement.

  _Men, Women and Ghosts_ (1916) brims with this contagious vitality;
  it is richer in variety than its predecessors, swifter in movement,
  surer in artistry. It is, in common with all of Miss Lowell’s work,
  best in its portrayal of the colors and sounds of physical rather
  than the reactions of emotional experience. She is, preëminently,
  the poet of the external world; her pictures are as “hard and clear”
  as the most uncompromising Imagist could desire. The colors with
  which her works are studded seem like bits of bright enamel; every
  leaf and flower has a lacquered brilliance. To compensate for the
  lack of personal warmth, Miss Lowell feverishly agitates all she
  touches; nothing remains quiescent. Whether she writes about a fruit
  shop, or a flower-garden in Roxbury, or a window-full of red
  slippers, or a string quartet, or a Japanese print—everything
  flashes, leaps, startles, spins and burns with an almost savage
  intensity; a dynamic speed dizzies one. Here motion frequently takes
  the place of emotion.

  In _Can Grande’s Castle_ (1918), Miss Lowell achieves a broader
  line; the teller of stories, the bizarre decorator and the
  experimentalist are finally fused. The poems in this volume are only
  four in number—four polyphonic prose poems of almost epic length,
  but they are extraordinarily varied in music, sweeping in their
  sense of magnitude and time. _Pictures of the Floating World_ (1919)
  which followed is, in many ways, Miss Lowell’s most personal
  revelation. Although there are several pages devoted to the merely
  dazzling and grotesque, most of these poems are in a quieter key; a
  new restraint gives unsuspected overtones to stanzas that have much
  in common with the earlier “Patterns” where the narrative, the
  character and the thing observed are inextricably knit.

  Besides Miss Lowell’s original poetry, she has made many studies in
  Japanese and Chinese poetry reflecting, even in her own work, their
  Oriental colors and contours. She has also written two volumes of
  critical essays: _Six French Poets_ (1915) and _Tendencies in Modern
  American Poetry_ (1917), both of them invaluable aids to the student
  of contemporary literature.


       When night drifts along the streets of the city,
       And sifts down between the uneven roofs,
       My mind begins to peek and peer.
       It plays at ball in odd, blue Chinese gardens,
       And shakes wrought dice-cups in Pagan temples
       Amid the broken flutings of white pillars.
       It dances with purple and yellow crocuses in its hair,
       And its feet shine as they flutter over drenched grasses.
       How light and laughing my mind is,
       When all good folk have put out their bedroom candles,
       And the city is still.

                           MEETING-HOUSE HILL

   I must be mad, or very tired,
   When the curve of a blue bay beyond a railroad track
   Is shrill and sweet to me like the sudden springing of a tune,
   And the sight of a white church above thin trees in a city square
   Amazes my eyes as though it were the Parthenon.
   Clear, reticent, superbly final,
   With the pillars of its portico refined to a cautious elegance,
   It dominates the weak trees,
   And the shot of its spire
   Is cool and candid,
   Rising into an unresisting sky.
   Strange meeting-house
   Pausing a moment upon a squalid hill-top.
   I watch the spire sweeping the sky,
   I am dizzy with the movement of the sky;
   I might be watching a mast
   With its royals set full
   Straining before a two-reef breeze.
   I might be sighting a tea-clipper,
   Tacking into the blue bay,
   Just back from Canton
   With her hold full of green and blue porcelain
   And a Chinese coolie leaning over the rail
   Gazing at the white spire
   With dull, sea-spent eyes.

                               A LADY[31]

             You are beautiful and faded,
             Like an old opera tune
             Played upon a harpsichord;
             Or like the sun-flooded silks
             Of an eighteenth-century boudoir.

             In your eyes
             Smoulder the fallen roses of outlived minutes,
             And the perfume of your soul
             Is vague and suffusing,
             With the pungence of sealed spice-jars.
             Your half-tones delight me,
             And I grow mad with gazing
             At your blent colors.

             My vigor is a new-minted penny,
             Which I cast at your feet.
             Gather it up from the dust
             That its sparkle may amuse you.


 All the afternoon there has been a chirping of birds,
 And the sun lies warm and still on the western sides of swollen
 There is no wind;
 Even the little twigs at the ends of the branches do not move,
 And the needles of the pines are solid
 Bands of inarticulated blackness
 Against the blue-white sky.
 Still, but alert;
 And my heart is still and alert,
 Passive with sunshine,
 Avid of adventure.
 I would experience new emotions,
 Submit to strange enchantments,
 Bend to influences
 Bizarre, exotic,
 Fresh with burgeoning.

 I would climb a sacred mountain,
 Struggle with other pilgrims up a steep path through pine-trees,
 Above to the smooth, treeless slopes,
 And prostrate myself before a painted shrine,
 Beating my hands upon the hot earth,
 Quieting my eyes upon the distant sparkle
 Of the faint spring sea.

 I would recline upon a balcony
 In purple curving folds of silk,
 And my dress should be silvered with a pattern
 Of butterflies and swallows,
 And the black band of my obi
 Should flash with gold circular threads,
 And glitter when I moved.
 I would lean against the railing
 While you sang to me of wars
 Past and to come—
 Sang, and played the samisen.
 Perhaps I would beat a little hand drum
 In time to your singing;
 Perhaps I would only watch the play of light
 Upon the hilt of your two swords.
 I would sit in a covered boat,
 Rocking slowly to the narrow waves of a river,
 While above us, an arc of moving lanterns,
 Curved a bridge,
 A hiss of gold
 Blooming out of darkness,
 Rockets exploded,
 And died in a soft dripping of colored stars.
 We would float between the high trestles,
 And drift away from other boats,
 Until the rockets flared soundless,
 And their falling stars hung silent in the sky,
 Like wistaria clusters above the ancient entrance of a temple.

 I would anything
 Rather than this cold paper;
 With outside, the quiet sun on the sides of burgeoning branches,
 And inside, only my books.

                   MADONNA OF THE EVENING FLOWERS[33]

 All day long I have been working,
 Now I am tired.
 I call: “Where are you?”
 But there is only the oak tree rustling in the wind.
 The house is very quiet,
 The sun shines in on your books,
 On your scissors and thimble just put down,
 But you are not there.
 Suddenly I am lonely:
 Where are you?
 I go about searching.

 Then I see you,
 Standing under a spire of pale blue larkspur,
 With a basket of roses on your arm.
 You are cool, like silver,
 And you smile.
 I think the Canterbury bells are playing little tunes,
 You tell me that the peonies need spraying,
 That the columbines have overrun all bounds,
 That the pyrus japonica should be cut back and rounded.
 You tell me these things.
 But I look at you, heart of silver,
 White heart-flame of polished silver,
 Burning beneath the blue steeples of the larkspur,
 And I long to kneel instantly at your feet,
 While all about us peal the loud, sweet _Te Deums_ of the Canterbury

                            WIND AND SILVER

   Greatly shining,
   The Autumn moon floats in the thin sky;
   And the fish-ponds shake their backs and flash their dragon scales
   As she passes over them.

                           _Ridgely Torrence_

  (Frederic) Ridgely Torrence was born at Xenia, Ohio, November 27,
  1875, and was educated at Miami and Princeton University. For
  several years he was librarian of the Astor Library in New York City
  (1897-1901) and has been on several editorial staffs since then.

  His first volume, _The House of a Hundred Lights_ (1900), bears the
  grave subtitle “A Psalm of Experience after Reading a Couplet of
  Bidpai” and is a half-whimsical, half-searching hodge-podge of
  philosophy, love lyrics, artlessness and impudence. The influence of
  Omar Khayyám and Richard Hovey is obvious but not too dominant;
  Torrence saves himself on the very verge of sentimentality and
  rhetoric by a chuckle, an adroit right-about-face.

  Torrence’s subsequent uncollected verses have a deeper force, a
  more concentrated fire. In “The Bird and the Tree” and
  “Eye-Witness,” he has caught something more than the colors of
  certain localities—particularly of the dark belt. They are as
  eloquent and moving as his _Granny Maumee and Other Plays_ (1917),
  which owe their power not only to Torrence’s gift as a poet but to
  his sympathy as a folk-lyrist.

                         THE BIRD AND THE TREE

              Blackbird, blackbird in the cage,
              There’s something wrong to-night.
              Far off the sheriff’s footfall dies,
              The minutes crawl like last year’s flies
              Between the bars, and like an age
              The hours are long to-night.

              The sky is like a heavy lid
              Out here beyond the door to-night.
              What’s that? A mutter down the street.
              What’s that? The sound of yells and feet
              For what you didn’t do or did
              You’ll pay the score to-night.

              No use to reek with reddened sweat,
              No use to whimper and to sweat.
              They’ve got the rope; they’ve got the guns,
              They’ve got the courage and the guns;
              An’ that’s the reason why to-night
              No use to ask them any more.
              They’ll fire the answer through the door—
              You’re out to die to-night.

              There where the lonely cross-road lies,
              There is no place to make replies;
              But silence, inch by inch, is there,
              And the right limb for a lynch is there;
              And a lean daw waits for both your eyes,

              Perhaps you’ll meet again some place.
              Look for the mask upon the face;
              That’s the way you’ll know them there—
              A white mask to hide the face.
              And you can halt and show them there
              The things that they are deaf to now,
              And they can tell you what they meant—
              To wash the blood with blood. But how
              If you are innocent?

              Blackbird singer, blackbird mute,
              They choked the seed you might have found.
              Out of a thorny field you go—
              For you it may be better so—
              And leave the sowers of the ground
              To eat the harvest of the fruit,

                                THE SON

                     (_Southern Ohio Market Town_)

                    I heard an old farm-wife,
                        Selling some barley,
                    Mingle her life with life
                        And the name “Charley.”

                    Saying: “The crop’s all in,
                        We’re about through now;
                    Long nights will soon begin,
                        We’re just us two now.

                    “Twelve bushels at sixty cents,
                        It’s all I carried—
                    He sickened making fence;
                        He was to be married—

                    “It feels like frost was near—
                        His hair was curly.
                    The spring was late that year,
                        But the harvest early.”

                             _Robert Frost_

  Although known as the chief interpreter of the new New England,
  Robert (Lee) Frost was born in San Francisco, California, March 26,
  1875. At the age of ten he came East to the towns and hills where,
  for eight generations, his forefathers had lived. After graduating
  from the high school at Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1892, Frost
  entered Dartmouth College, where he remained only a few months. The
  routine of study was too much for him and, determined to keep his
  mind free for creative work, he decided to earn his living and
  became a bobbin boy in one of the mills at Lawrence. He had already
  begun to write poetry; a few of his verses had appeared in _The
  Independent_. But the strange soil-flavored quality which even then
  distinguished his lines was not relished by the editors, and the
  very magazines to which he sent poems that today are famous,
  rejected his verse with amazing unanimity. For twenty years Frost
  continued to write his highly characteristic work in spite of the
  discouraging apathy, and for twenty years the poet remained unknown.

  In 1897, two years after his marriage, Frost moved his family to
  Cambridge, Massachusetts, and entered Harvard in a final
  determination to achieve culture. This time he followed the
  cut-and-dried curriculum for two years, but at the end of that
  period he stopped trying to learn and started to teach. For three
  years he taught school, made shoes, edited a weekly paper, and in
  1900 became a farmer at Derry, New Hampshire. During the next eleven
  years Frost labored to wrest a living from the stubborn rocky hills
  with scant success. Loneliness claimed him for its own; the ground
  refused to give him a living; the literary world continued to remain
  oblivious of his existence. Frost sought a change of environment
  and, after a few years’ teaching at Derry and Plymouth, New
  Hampshire, sold his farm and, with his wife and four children,
  sailed for England in September, 1912.

  For the first time in his life, Frost moved in a literary world.
  London was a hot-bed of poets; groups merged, dissolved and
  separated over night; controversy and creation were in the air.
  Frost took his collection of poems to a publisher with few hopes,
  went back to the suburban town of Beaconsfield and turned to other
  matters. A few months later _A Boy’s Will_ (1913), his first
  collection, was published and Frost was recognized at once as one of
  the few authentic voices of modern poetry.

  _A Boy’s Will_, unlike the later volumes, is frankly subjective;
  original in outlook and idiom in spite of certain reminiscences of
  Browning. Chiefly lyrical, this volume, lacking the concentrated
  emotion of his subsequent works, is a significant introduction to
  the following book, which has become a contemporary classic. Early
  in 1914, Frost leased a small place in Gloucestershire, his
  neighbors being the poets Lascelles Abercrombie and W. W. Gibson. In
  the spring of the same year, _North of Boston_ (1914), one of the
  most intensely American books ever printed, was published in
  England. (See Preface.) This is, as he has called it, a “book of
  people.” And it is more than that—it is a book of backgrounds as
  living and dramatic as the people they overshadow. Frost vivifies a
  stone wall, an empty cottage, an apple-tree, a mountain, a forgotten
  wood-pile left

               To warm the frozen swamp as best it could
               With the slow, smokeless burning of decay.

  _North of Boston_, like its successor, contains much of the finest
  poetry of our time. Rich in its actualities, richer in its spiritual
  values, every line moves with the double force of observation and
  implication. The first poem in the book illustrates this power of
  character and symbolism. Although Frost is not arguing for anything
  in particular, one senses here something more than the subterranean
  enemies of walls. In “Mending Wall,” we see two elemental and
  opposed forces. “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,”
  insists the seeker after causes; “Good fences make good neighbors,”
  doggedly maintains the literal-minded lover of traditions. Here,
  beneath the whimsical turns and pungency of expression, we have the
  essence of nationalism versus the internationalist; the struggle
  between a blind responsibility and a pagan iconoclasm.

  So with all of Frost’s characters. Like the worn out incompetent in
  “The Death of the Hired Man” (one of the finest _genre_ pictures of
  our time), the country boy in “Birches,” or the positive,
  tight-lipped old lady in “The Black Cottage,” his people are always
  intensified through the poet’s circumlocutory but precise
  psychology. They remain close to their soil. Frost’s monologs and
  dramatic idyls, written in a conversational blank verse, establish
  the connection between the vernacular and the language of
  literature; they remain rooted in realism. But Frost is never a
  photographic realist. “There are,” he once said, “two types of
  realist—the one who offers a good deal of dirt with his potato to
  show that it is a real one; and the one who is satisfied with the
  potato brushed clean. I’m inclined to be the second kind.... To me,
  the thing that art does for life is to strip it to form.”

  In March, 1915, Frost came back to America—to a hill outside of
  Franconia, New Hampshire, to be precise. _North of Boston_ had been
  published in the United States and its author, who had left the
  country an unknown writer, returned to find himself famous.
  _Mountain Interval_, containing some of Frost’s most beautiful poems
  (“Birches,” “An Old Man’s Winter Night,” “The Hill Wife”), appeared
  in 1916. The idiom is the same as in the earlier volumes, but the
  notes are more varied, the convictions are stronger. The essential
  things are unchanged. The first poem in Frost’s first book sums it

           They would not find me changed from him they knew—
           Only more sure of all I thought was true.

  The fanciful by-play, the sly banter, so characteristic of this
  poet, has made his grimness far less “gray” than some of his critics
  are willing to admit. This elfin whimsy winks through the broad
  bucolic humor of “The Cow in Apple Time,” the mock pity of “The Road
  Not Taken,” the tenderness of “The Runaway” and the lovely
  apostrophe to an orchard in “Good-Bye and Keep Cold.”

  Frost taught at Amherst College from 1916 to 1919, but found that
  his association with scholastic life took too much of his creative
  energy. In 1920, therefore, he bought a few acres in Vermont and
  devoted himself once more to the double labors of farmer and poet.
  Through his lyrics as well as his quasi-narratives, he has uttered
  (and is voicing) some of the deepest and richest notes in American

                              MENDING WALL

           Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
           That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
           And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
           And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
           The work of hunters is another thing:
           I have come after them and made repair
           Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
           But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
           To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
           No one has seen them made or heard them made,
           But at spring mending-time we find them there.
           I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
           And on a day we meet to walk the line
           And set the wall between us once again.
           We keep the wall between us as we go.
           To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
           And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
           We have to use a spell to make them balance:
           “Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
           We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
           Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
           One on a side. It comes to little more:
           There where it is we do not need the wall:
           He is all pine and I am apple-orchard.
           My apple trees will never get across
           And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
           He only says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
           Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
           If I could put a notion in his head:
           “_Why_ do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
           Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
           Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
           What I was walling in or walling out,
           And to whom I was like to give offence.
           Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
           That wants it down!” I could say “Elves” to him,
           But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
           He said it for himself. I see him there,
           Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
           In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
           He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
           Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
           He will not go behind his father’s saying,
           And he likes having thought of it so well
           He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

                          THE TUFT OF FLOWERS

           I went to turn the grass once after one
           Who mowed it in the dew before the sun.

           The dew was gone that made his blade so keen
           Before I came to view the levelled scene.

           I looked for him behind an isle of trees;
           I listened for his whetstone on the breeze.

           But he had gone his way, the grass all mown,
           And I must be, as he had been,—alone,

           “As all must be,” I said within my heart,
           “Whether they work together or apart.”

           But as I said it, swift there passed me by
           On noiseless wing a bewildered butterfly,

           Seeking with memories grown dim over night
           Some resting flower of yesterday’s delight.

           And once I marked his flight go round and round,
           As where some flower lay withering on the ground.

           And then he flew as far as eye could see,
           And then on tremulous wing came back to me.

           I thought of questions that have no reply,
           And would have turned to toss the grass to dry;

           But he turned first, and led my eye to look
           At a tall tuft of flowers beside a brook,

           A leaping tongue of bloom the scythe had spared
           Beside a reedy brook the scythe had bared.

           I left my place to know them by their name,
           Finding them butterfly-weed when I came.

           The mower in the dew had loved them thus,
           By leaving them to flourish, not for us,

           Nor yet to draw one thought of ours to him,
           But from sheer morning gladness at the brim.

           The butterfly and I had lit upon,
           Nevertheless, a message from the dawn,

           That made me hear the wakening birds around,
           And hear his long scythe whispering to the ground,

           And feel a spirit kindred to my own;
           So that henceforth I worked no more alone;

           But glad with him, I worked as with his aid,
           And weary, sought at noon with him the shade;

           And dreaming, as it were, held brotherly speech
           With one whose thought I had not hoped to reach.

           “Men work together,” I told him from the heart,
           “Whether they work together or apart.”

                       THE DEATH OF THE HIRED MAN

        Mary sat musing on the lamp-flame at the table
        Waiting for Warren. When she heard his step,
        She ran on tip-toe down the darkened passage
        To meet him in the doorway with the news
        And put him on his guard. “Silas is back.”
        She pushed him outward with her through the door
        And shut it after her. “Be kind,” she said.
        She took the market things from Warren’s arms
        And set them on the porch, then drew him down
        To sit beside her on the wooden steps.

        “When was I ever anything but kind to him?
        But I’ll not have the fellow back,” he said.
        “I told him so last haying, didn’t I?
        ‘If he left then,’ I said, ‘that ended it.’
        What good is he? Who else will harbour him
        At his age for the little he can do?
        What help he is there’s no depending on.
        Off he goes always when I need him most.
        ‘He thinks he ought to earn a little pay,
        Enough at least to buy tobacco with,
        So he won’t have to beg and be beholden.’
        ‘All right,’ I say, ‘I can’t afford to pay
        Any fixed wages, though I wish I could.’
        ‘Someone else can.’ ‘Then someone else will have to.’
        I shouldn’t mind his bettering himself
        If that was what it was. You can be certain,
        When he begins like that, there’s someone at him
        Trying to coax him off with pocket-money,—
        In haying time, when any help is scarce.
        In winter he comes back to us. I’m done.”

        “Sh! not so loud: he’ll hear you,” Mary said.

        “I want him to: he’ll have to soon or late.”

        “He’s worn out. He’s asleep beside the stove.
        When I came up from Rowe’s I found him here,
        Huddled against the barn-door fast asleep,
        A miserable sight, and frightening, too—
        You needn’t smile—I didn’t recognize him—
        I wasn’t looking for him—and he’s changed.
        Wait till you see.”

                            “Where did you say he’d been?”

        “He didn’t say. I dragged him to the house,
        And gave him tea and tried to make him smoke.
        I tried to make him talk about his travels.
        Nothing would do: he just kept nodding off.”

        “What did he say? Did he say anything?”

        “But little.”

                      “Anything? Mary, confess
        He said he’d come to ditch the meadow for me.”


                “But did he? I just want to know.”

        “Of course he did. What would you have him say?
        Surely you wouldn’t grudge the poor old man
        Some humble way to save his self-respect.
        He added, if you really care to know,
        He meant to clear the upper pasture, too.
        That sounds like something you have heard before?
        Warren, I wish you could have heard the way
        He jumbled everything. I stopped to look
        Two or three times—he made me feel so queer—
        To see if he was talking in his sleep.
        He ran on Harold Wilson—you remember—
        The boy you had in haying four years since.
        He’s finished school, and teaching in his college.
        Silas declares you’ll have to get him back.
        He says they two will make a team for work:
        Between them they will lay this farm as smooth!
        The way he mixed that in with other things.
        He thinks young Wilson a likely lad, though daft
        On education—you know how they fought
        All through July under the blazing sun,
        Silas up on the cart to build the load,
        Harold along beside to pitch it on.”

        “Yes, I took care to keep well out of earshot.”

        “Well, those days trouble Silas like a dream.
        You wouldn’t think they would. How some things linger!
        Harold’s young college boy’s assurance piqued him.
        After so many years he still keeps finding
        Good arguments he sees he might have used.
        I sympathise. I know just how it feels
        To think of the right thing to say too late.
        Harold’s associated in his mind with Latin.
        He asked me what I thought of Harold’s saying
        He studied Latin like the violin
        Because he liked it—that an argument!
        He said he couldn’t make the boy believe
        He could find water with a hazel prong—
        Which showed how much good school had ever done him.
        He wanted to go over that. But most of all
        He thinks if he could have another chance
        To teach him how to build a load of hay—”

        “I know, that’s Silas’ one accomplishment.
        He bundles every forkful in its place,
        And tags and numbers it for future reference,
        So he can find and easily dislodge it
        In the unloading. Silas does that well.
        He takes it out in bunches like birds’ nests.
        You never see him standing on the hay
        He’s trying to lift, straining to lift himself.”

        “He thinks if he could teach him that, he’d be
        Some good perhaps to someone in the world.
        He hates to see a boy the fool of books.
        Poor Silas, so concerned for other folk,
        And nothing to look backward to with pride,
        And nothing to look forward to with hope,
        So now and never any different.”

        Part of a moon was falling down the west,
        Dragging the whole sky with it to the hills.
        Its light poured softly in her lap. She saw
        And spread her apron to it. She put out her hand
        Among the harp-like morning-glory strings,
        Taut with the dew from garden bed to eaves,
        As if she played unheard the tenderness
        That wrought on him beside her in the night.
        “Warren,” she said, “he has come home to die:
        You needn’t be afraid he’ll leave you this time.”

        “Home,” he mocked gently.

                                  “Yes, what else but home?
        It all depends on what you mean by home.
        Of course he’s nothing to us, any more
        Than was the hound that came a stranger to us
        Out of the woods, worn out upon the trail.”

        “Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
        They have to take you in.”

                                  “I should have called it
        Something you somehow haven’t to deserve.”

        Warren leaned out and took a step or two,
        Picked up a little stick, and brought it back
        And broke it in his hand and tossed it by.
        “Silas has better claim on us you think
        Than on his brother? Thirteen little miles
        As the road winds would bring him to his door.
        Silas has walked that far no doubt to-day.
        Why didn’t he go there? His brother’s rich,
        A somebody—director in the bank.”

        “He never told us that.”

                                  “We know it though.”

        “I think his brother ought to help, of course.
        I’ll see to that if there is need. He ought of right
        To take him in, and might be willing to—
        He may be better than appearances.
        But have some pity on Silas. Do you think
        If he’d had any pride in claiming kin
        Or anything he looked for from his brother,
        He’d keep so still about him all this time?”

        “I wonder what’s between them.”

                                            “I can tell you.
        Silas is what he is—we wouldn’t mind him—
        But just the kind that kinsfolk can’t abide.
        He never did a thing so very bad.
        He don’t know why he isn’t quite as good
        As anyone. He won’t be made ashamed
        To please his brother, worthless though he is.”

        “I can’t think Si ever hurt anyone.”

        “No, but he hurt my heart the way he lay
        And rolled his old head on that sharp-edged chair-back.
        He wouldn’t let me put him on the lounge.
        You must go in and see what you can do.
        I made the bed up for him there to-night.
        You’ll be surprised at him—how much he’s broken.
        His working days are done; I’m sure of it.”

        “I’d not be in a hurry to say that.”

        “I haven’t been. Go, look, see for yourself.
        But, Warren, please remember how it is:
        He’s come to help you ditch the meadow.
        He has a plan. You mustn’t laugh at him.
        He may not speak of it, and then he may.
        I’ll sit and see if that small sailing cloud
        Will hit or miss the moon.”

                                      It hit the moon.
        Then there were three there, making a dim row,
        The moon, the little silver cloud, and she.

        Warren returned—too soon, it seemed to her,
        Slipped to her side, caught up her hand and waited.

        “Warren,” she questioned.

                                “Dead,” was all he answered.

                         GOOD-BYE AND KEEP COLD

           This saying good-bye on the verge of the dark
           And cold to an orchard so young in the bark,
           Reminds me of all that can happen to harm
           An orchard away at the end of the farm
           All winter cut off by a hill from the house.
           I don’t want it girdled by rabbit and mouse,
           I don’t want it dreamily nibbled for browse
           By deer, and I don’t want it budded by grouse,
           (If certain it wouldn’t be idle to call,
           I’d summon grouse, rabbit and deer to the wall
           And warn them away with a stick for a gun.)
           I don’t want it stirred by the heat of the sun.
           (We made it secure against being, I hope,
           By setting it out on a northerly slope.)
           No orchard’s the worse for the wintriest storm,
           But one thing about it, it mustn’t get warm.
           “How often already you’ve had to be told
           Keep cold, young orchard. Good-bye and keep cold.
           Dread fifty above more than fifty below.”
           I have to be gone for a season or so;
           My business awhile is with different trees,
           Less carefully nurtured, less fruitful than these
           And such as is done to their wood with an ax—
           Maples and birches and tamaracks.
           I wish I could promise to lie in the night
           And share in an orchard’s arboreal plight,
           When slowly (and nobody comes with a light!)
           Its heart sinks lower under the sod;
           But something has to be left to God.

                              THE RUNAWAY

         Once when the snow of the year was beginning to fall,
         We stopped by a mountain pasture to say “Whose colt?”
         A little Morgan had one forefoot on the wall,
         The other curled at his breast. He dipped his head
         And snorted to us. And then he had to bolt.
         We heard the miniature thunder where he fled
         And we saw him or thought we saw him dim and grey,
         Like a shadow against the curtain of falling flakes.
         “I think the little fellow’s afraid of the snow.
         He isn’t winter-broken. It isn’t play
         With the little fellow at all. He’s running away.
         I doubt if even his mother could tell him, ‘Sakes,
         It’s only weather.’ He’d think she didn’t know!
         Where is his mother? He can’t be out alone.”
         And now he comes again with a clatter of stone
         And mounts the wall again with whited eyes
         And all his tail that isn’t hair up straight.
         He shudders his coat as if to throw off flies.
         “Whoever it is that leaves him out so late,
         When other creatures have gone to stall and bin,
         Ought to be told to come and take him in.”


         When I see birches bend to left and right
         Across the line of straighter darker trees,
         I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
         But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay.
         Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them
         Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
         After a rain. They click upon themselves
         As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
         As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
         Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells
         Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
         Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
         You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
         They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
         And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
         So low for long, they never right themselves:
         You may see their trunks arching in the woods
         Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
         Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
         Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
         But I was going to say when Truth broke in
         With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
         I should prefer to have some boy bend them
         As he went out and in to fetch the cows—
         Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
         Whose only play was what he found himself,
         Summer or winter, and could play alone.
         One by one he subdued his father’s trees
         By riding them down over and over again
         Until he took the stiffness out of them,
         And not one but hung limp, not one was left
         For him to conquer. He learned all there was
         To learn about not launching out too soon
         And so not carrying the tree away
         Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
         To the top branches, climbing carefully
         With the same pains you use to fill a cup
         Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
         Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
         Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.

         So was I once myself a swinger of birches;
         And so I dream of going back to be.
         It’s when I’m weary of considerations,
         And life is too much like a pathless wood
         Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
         Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
         From a twig’s having lashed across it open.
         I’d like to get away from earth awhile
         And then come back to it and begin over.
         May no fate wilfully misunderstand me
         And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
         Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
         I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
         I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,
         And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
         _Toward_ heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
         But dipped its top and set me down again.
         That would be good both going and coming back.
         One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

                            FRAGMENTARY BLUE

          Why make so much of fragmentary blue
          In here and there a bird or butterfly
          Or flower or wearing-stone or open eye,
          When heaven presents in sheets the solid hue?
          Since earth is earth, perhaps, not heaven (as yet)—
          Though some savants make earth include the sky;
          And blue so far above us comes so high
          It only gives our wish for blue a whet.

                               THE ONSET

          Always the same when on a fated night
          At last the gathered snow lets down as white
          As may be in dark woods and with a song
          It shall not make again all winter long—
          Of hissing on the yet uncovered ground,—
          I almost stumble looking up and round,
          As one who, overtaken by the end,
          Gives up his errand and lets death descend
          Upon him where he is, with nothing done
          To evil, no important triumph won
          More than if life had never been begun.

          Yet all the precedent is on my side:
          I know that winter death has never tried
          The earth but it has failed; the snow may heap
          In long storms an undrifted four feet deep
          As measured against maple, birch and oak;
          It cannot check the Peeper’s silver croak;
          And I shall see the snow all go down hill
          In water of a slender April rill
          That flashes tail through last year’s withered brake
          And dead weeds like a disappearing snake.
          Nothing will be left white but here a birch
          And there a clump of houses with a church.

                        _William Ellery Leonard_

  William Ellery Leonard was born at Plainfield, New Jersey, January
  25, 1876. He received his A.M. at Harvard in 1899 and completed his
  studies at the Universities of Göttingen and Bonn. After traveling
  for several years throughout Europe, he became a teacher and has
  been professor of English in the University of Wisconsin since 1906.

  _The Vaunt of Man_ (1912) is Leonard’s most representative volume.
  Traditional in form and material, it is anything but conservative in
  spirit. Leonard’s insurrectionary fervor speaks sonorously in the
  simplest of his quatrains and the strictest of his sonnets. This
  protesting passion is given an even wider sweep in _The Lynching
  Bee_ (1920), the title-poem being a terrific indictment in which the
  poet’s outrage speaks with a new ironism.

  Besides his original poetry, Leonard has published several volumes
  of translations from the Greek and Latin as well as a series of
  paraphrases of the fables of Æsop.

                          THE IMAGE OF DELIGHT

            O how came I that loved stars, moon, and flame,
            And unimaginable wind and sea,
            All inner shrines and temples of the free,
            Legends and hopes and golden books of fame;
            I that upon the mountain carved my name
            With cliffs and clouds and eagles over me,
            O how came I to stoop to loving thee—
            I that had never stooped before to shame?

            O ’twas not thee! Too eager of a white
            Far beauty and a voice to answer mine,
            Myself I built an image of delight,
            Which all one purple day I deemed divine—
            And when it vanished in the fiery night,
            I lost not thee, nor any shape of thine.

                             TO THE VICTOR

            Man’s mind is larger than his brow of tears;
            This hour is not my all of time; this place
            My all of earth; nor this obscene disgrace
            My all of life; and thy complacent sneers
            Shall not pronounce my doom to my compeers
            While the Hereafter lights me in the face,
            And from the Past, as from the mountain’s base,
            Rise, as I rise, the long tumultuous cheers.

            And who slays me must overcome a world:
            Heroes at arms, and virgins who became
            Mothers of children, prophecy and song;
            Walls of old cities with their flags unfurled;
            Peaks, headlands, ocean and its isles of fame—
            And sun and moon and all that made me strong!

                          _Sarah N. Cleghorn_

  Sarah Norcliffe Cleghorn was born at Norfolk, Virginia, February 4,
  1876. She came North early in her youth and was graduated from Burr
  and Burton Seminary in Manchester, Vermont (in 1895), in which town,
  after a year at Radcliffe, she has lived ever since.

  An ardent worker for lost causes, Miss Cleghorn’s fiery spirit
  shines through _Portraits and Protests_ (1917), the first half of
  which is coolly descriptive and the second half, hotly
  insurrectionary verse.

                      THE SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST

             “The unfit die: the fit both live and thrive.”
             Alas, who say so?—They who do survive.

             So when her bonfires lighted hill and plain,
             Did Bloody Mary think on Lady Jane.

             So Russia thought of Finland, while her heel
             Fell heavier on the prostrate commonweal.

             So Booth of Lincoln thought: and so the High
             Priests let Barabbas live, and Jesus die.

                             THE INCENTIVE

                I saw a sickly cellar plant
                Droop on its feeble stem, for want
                Of sun and wind and rain and dew—
                Of freedom!—Then a man came through
                The cellar, and I heard him say,
                “Poor, foolish plant, by all means stay
                Contented here: for—know you not?—
                This stagnant dampness, mould and rot
                Are your incentive to grow tall
                And reach that sunbeam on the wall.”
                —Even as he spoke, the sun’s one spark
                Withdrew, and left the dusk more dark.

                            _Carl Sandburg_

  Carl (August) Sandburg was born of Swedish stock at Galesburg,
  Illinois, January 6, 1878. His schooling was haphazard; at thirteen
  he went to work on a milk wagon. During the next six years he was,
  in rapid succession, porter in a barber-shop, scene-shifter in a
  cheap theatre, truck-handler in a brickyard, turner apprentice in a
  pottery, dish-washer in Denver and Omaha hotels, harvest hand in
  Kansas wheat fields. These tasks equipped him, as no amount of
  learning could have done, to be the laureate of industrial America.
  When war with Spain was declared in 1898, Sandburg, avid for fresh
  adventure, enlisted in Company C., Sixth Illinois Volunteers.

  On his return from the campaign in Porto Rico, Sandburg entered
  Lombard College in Galesburg and, for the first time, began to think
  in terms of literature. He had already seen a great deal of the
  world from the roaring alleys of great cities as well as from the
  underside of box-cars; he had loafed, fought and expressed himself
  richly. So, what with the fact that the “terrible Swede,” as captain
  of the basket-ball team, won a series of new victories, it is little
  wonder that he was idolized by his class-mates and elected
  editor-in-chief of the college paper.

  After leaving college he did all manner of things to earn a living.
  He was advertising manager for a department store and worked as
  district organizer for the Social-Democratic party of Wisconsin. He
  became a salesman, a pamphleteer, a newspaperman. On the staff of a
  business magazine, he became a “safety first” expert; his articles
  on accident prevention bringing him before manufacturers’
  conventions where he talked about machinery safeguards and methods
  found successful in reducing injuries in factory organizations.

  In 1904, Sandburg published the proverbial “slender sheaf”; a tiny
  pamphlet of twenty-two poems, uneven in quality but strangely like
  the work of the mature Sandburg in feeling. What is more, these
  experiments anticipated the very inflection of the later poems, with
  their spiritual kinship to Henley, Lincoln and Whitman; several of
  these early experiments (with the exception of the rhymed verses)
  might be placed, without seeming incongruous, in the most recent
  collection of Sandburg’s pieces. The idiom of _Smoke and Steel_
  (1920) is more intensified, but it is the same idiom as that of
  “Milville” (1903), which begins:

  Down in southern New Jersey they make glass.
  By day and by night, the fires burn on in Milville and bid the sand
     let in the light.

  Meanwhile the newspaperman was having a hard struggle to keep the
  poet alive. Until he was thirty-six years old, Sandburg was totally
  unknown to the literary world. In 1914 a group of his poems appeared
  in _Poetry; A Magazine of Verse_; later the same year one of the
  group (the now famous “Chicago”) was awarded the Levinson prize of
  two hundred dollars. A little more than a year later his first,
  full-fledged book was published, and Sandburg—tardily but
  triumphantly—had arrived.

  _Chicago Poems_ (1916) is full of ferment; it seethes with a direct
  poetry surcharged with tremendous energy. Here is an almost animal
  exultation that is also an exaltation. Sandburg’s speech is simple
  and powerful; he uses slang as freely (and beautifully) as his
  predecessors used the now archaic tongue of their times. (See
  Preface.) Immediately the cries of protest were heard: Sandburg was
  coarse and brutal; his work ugly and distorted; his language,
  unrefined, unfit for poetry. His detractors forgot that Sandburg was
  only brutal when dealing with brutality; that beneath his toughness,
  he was one of the tenderest of living poets; that, when he used
  colloquialisms and a richly metaphorical slang, he was searching for
  new poetic values in “limber, lasting, fierce words”—unconsciously
  answering Whitman who asked, “Do you suppose the liberties and brawn
  of These States have to do only with delicate lady-words? With
  gloved gentleman-words?”

  _Cornhuskers_ (1918) is another step forward; it is fully as
  sweeping as its forerunner and far more sensitive. The gain in power
  and restraint is evident in the very first poem, a magnificent
  panoramic vision of the prairie. Here is something of the surge of a
  Norse saga; _Cornhuskers_ is keen with a salty vigor, a vast
  sympathy for all that is splendid and terrible in Nature. But the
  raw violence is restrained to the point of mysticism. There are, in
  this volume, dozens of those delicate perceptions of beauty that
  must astonish those who think that Sandburg can write only a
  big-fisted, rough-neck sort of poetry. “Cool Tombs,” one of the most
  poignant lyrics of our time, moves with a new music; “Grass”
  whispers as quietly as the earlier “Fog” stole in on stealthy, cat

  _Smoke and Steel_ (1920) is the synthesis and sublimation of its
  predecessors. In this ripest of his collections, Sandburg has fused
  mood, accent and image in a new intensity. It is a fit setting for
  the title-poem; it is, in spite of certain over-mystical accents, an
  epic of industrialism. Smoke-belching chimneys are here, quarries
  and great boulders of iron-ribbed rock; here are titanic visions:
  the dreams of men and machinery. And silence is here—the silence of
  sleeping tenements and sun-soaked cornfields. _Smoke and Steel_ is a
  rich amalgam; indigenous to the core. And what makes it so vital is
  Sandburg’s own spirit: a never-sated joy in existence, a continually
  fresh delight in the variety and wonder of life.

                               COOL TOMBS

       When Abraham Lincoln was shoveled into the tombs,
          he forgot the copperheads and the assassin ... in
          the dust, in the cool tombs.

       And Ulysses Grant lost all thought of con men and Wall
          Street, cash and collateral turned ashes ... in
          the dust, in the cool tombs.

       Pocahontas’ body, lovely as a poplar, sweet as a red haw
          in November or a pawpaw in May, did she wonder?
          does she remember? ... in the dust, in the cool

       Take any streetful of people buying clothes and groceries,
          cheering a hero or throwing confetti and
          blowing tin horns ... tell me if the lovers are
          losers ... tell me if any get more than the
          lovers ... in the dust ... in the cool tombs.


                          The fog comes
                          on little cat feet.

                          It sits looking
                          over harbor and city
                          on silent haunches
                          and then moves on.

                         FROM “SMOKE AND STEEL”

 Smoke of the fields in spring is one,
 Smoke of the leaves in autumn another.
 Smoke of a steel-mill roof or a battleship funnel,
 They all go up in a line with a smokestack,
 Or they twist ... in the slow twist ... of the wind.
 If the north wind comes they run to the south.
 If the west wind comes they run to the east.
         By this sign
         all smokes
         know each other.
 Smoke of the fields in spring and leaves in autumn,
 Smoke of the finished steel, chilled and blue,
 By the oath of work they swear: “I know you.”

 Hunted and hissed from the center
 Deep down long ago when God made us over,
 Deep down are the cinders we came from—
 You and I and our heads of smoke.

       ·      ·      ·      ·      ·      ·

 Some of the smokes God dropped on the job
 Cross on the sky and count our years
 And sing in the secrets of our numbers;
 Sing their dawns and sing their evenings,
 Sing an old log-fire song:
         You may put the damper up,
         You may put the damper down,
         The smoke goes up the chimney just the same.

 Smoke of a city sunset skyline,
 Smoke of a country dusk horizon—
         They cross on the sky and count our years.

       ·      ·      ·      ·      ·      ·

 Smoke of a brick-red dust
         Winds on a spiral
         Out of the stacks
 For a hidden and glimpsing moon.
 This, said the bar-iron shed to the blooming mill,
 This is the slang of coal and steel.
 The day-gang hands it to the night-gang,
 The night-gang hands it back.

 Stammer at the slang of this—
 Let us understand half of it.
       In the rolling mills and sheet mills,
       In the harr and boom of the blast fires,
       The smoke changes its shadow
       And men change their shadow;
       A nigger, a wop, a bohunk changes.

       A bar of steel—it is only
 Smoke at the heart of it, smoke and the blood of a man.
 A runner of fire ran in it, ran out, ran somewhere else,
 And left smoke and the blood of a man
 And the finished steel, chilled and blue.

 So fire runs in, runs out, runs somewhere else again,
 And the bar of steel is a gun, a wheel, a nail, a shovel,
 A rudder under the sea, a steering-gear in the sky;
 And always dark in the heart and through it,
       Smoke and the blood of a man.
 Pittsburg, Youngstown, Gary—they make their steel with men.

 In the blood of men and the ink of chimneys
 The smoke nights write their oaths:
 Smoke into steel and blood into steel;
 Homestead, Braddock, Birmingham, they make their steel with men.
 Smoke and blood is the mix of steel.

       The birdmen drone
       In the blue; it is steel
       a motor sings and zooms.

       ·      ·      ·      ·      ·      ·

 Steel barb-wire around The Works.
 Steel guns in the holsters of the guards at the gates of The Works.
 Steel ore-boats bring the loads clawed from the earth by steel, lifted
    and lugged by arms of steel, sung on its way by the clanking
 The runners now, the handlers now, are steel; they dig and clutch and
    haul; they hoist their automatic knuckles from job to job; they are
    steel making steel.
 Fire and dust and air fight in the furnaces; the pour is timed, the
    billets wriggle; the clinkers are dumped:
 Liners on the sea, skyscrapers on the land; diving steel in the sea,
    climbing steel in the sky.

                        BLUE ISLAND INTERSECTION

         Six street ends come together here.
         They feed people and wagons into the center.
         In and out all day horses with thoughts of nose-bags,
         Men with shovels, women with baskets and baby buggies.
         Six ends of streets and no sleep for them all day.
         The people and wagons come and go, out and in.
         Triangles of banks and drug stores watch.
         The policemen whistle, the trolley cars bump:
         Wheels, wheels, feet, feet, all day.

         In the false dawn when the chickens blink
         And the east shakes a lazy baby toe at to-morrow,
         And the east fixes a pink half-eye this way,
         In the time when only one milk wagon crosses
         These three streets, these six street ends,
         It is the sleep time and they rest.
         The triangle banks and drug stores rest.
         The policeman is gone, his star and gun sleep.
         The owl car blutters along in a sleep-walk.

                             CLEAN CURTAINS

 New neighbors came to the corner house at Congress and Green streets.

 The look of their clean white curtains was the same as the rim of a
    nun’s bonnet.

 One way was an oyster pail factory, one way they made candy, one way
    paper boxes, strawboard cartons.

 The warehouse trucks shook the dust of the ways loose and the wheels
    whirled dust—there was dust of hoof and wagon wheel and rubber
    tire—dust of police
 and fire wagons—dust of the winds that circled at midnights and noon
    listening to no prayers.

 “O mother, I know the heart of you,” I sang passing the rim of a nun’s
    bonnet—O white curtains—and people clean as the prayers of Jesus here
    in the faded ramshackle at Congress and Green.

 Dust and the thundering trucks won—the barrages of the street wheels and
    the lawless wind took their way—was it five weeks or six the little
    mother, the new neighbors, battled and then took away the white
    prayers in the windows?

                                A. E. F.

 There will be a rusty gun on the wall, sweetheart,
 The rifle grooves curling with flakes of rust.
 A spider will make a silver string nest in the darkest, warmest corner
    of it.
 The trigger and the range-finder, they too will be rusty.
 And no hands will polish the gun, and it will hang on the wall.
 Forefingers and thumbs will point absently and casually toward it.
 It will be spoken among half-forgotten, wished-to-be-forgotten things.
 They will tell the spider: Go on, you’re doing good work.


        Stuff of the moon
        Runs on the lapping sand
        Out to the longest shadows.
        Under the curving willows,
        And round the creep of the wave line,
        Fluxions of yellow and dusk on the waters
        Make a wide dreaming pansy of an old pond in the night.


        Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
        Shovel them under and let me work—
                      I am the grass; I cover all.

        And pile them high at Gettysburg
        And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
        Shovel them under and let me work.
        Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
                      What place is this?
                      Where are we now?

                      I am the grass.
                      Let me work.

                           _Adelaide Crapsey_

  Adelaide Crapsey was born, September 9, 1878, at Rochester, New
  York, where she spent her childhood. She entered Vassar College in
  1897, graduating with the class of 1901. Two years after graduation
  she began work as a teacher of History and Literature, in Kemper
  Hall, Kenosha, Wisconsin, where she had attended preparatory school.
  In 1905 she went abroad, studying archaeology in Rome. After her
  return she essayed to teach again but her failing health compelled
  her to discontinue and though she became instructor in Poetics at
  Smith College in 1911, the burden was too great for her.

  Prior to this time she had written little verse, her chief work
  being an analysis of English metrics, an investigation (which she
  never finished) of certain problems in verse structure. In 1913,
  after her breakdown, she began to write those brief lines which,
  like some of Emily Dickinson’s, are so precise and poignant. She was
  particularly happy in her “Cinquains,” a form that she originated.
  These five-line stanzas in the strictest possible structure (the
  lines having, respectively, two, four, six, eight and two syllables)
  doubtless owe something to the Japanese _hokku_, but Adelaide
  Crapsey saturated them with her own fragile loveliness.

  “Her death,” writes her friend, Claude Bragdon, “was tragic. Full of
  the desire of life she was forced to go, leaving her work all
  unfinished.” She died at Saranac Lake, New York, on October 8, 1914.
  Her small volume _Verse_ appeared in 1915, and a part of the
  unfinished _Study in English Metrics_ was posthumously published in

                            THREE CINQUAINS

                             NOVEMBER NIGHT

            Listen ...
            With faint dry sound,
            Like steps of passing ghosts,
            The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees
            And fall.


                  These be
                  Three silent things:
                  The falling snow ... the hour
                  Before the dawn ... the mouth of one
                  Just dead.

                              THE WARNING

                Just now,
                Out of the strange
                Still dusk ... as strange, as still ...
                A white moth flew. Why am I grown
                So cold?


           Is it as plainly in our living shown,
           By slant and twist, which way the wind hath blown?

                        _Grace Hazard Conkling_

  Grace Hazard Conkling was born in 1878 in New York City. After
  graduating from Smith College in 1899, she studied music at the
  University of Heidelberg (1902-3) and Paris (1903-4). Since 1914 she
  has been a teacher of English at Smith College, where she has done
  much to create an alert interest in poetry.

  Mrs. Conkling’s _Afternoons of April_ (1915) and _Wilderness Songs_
  (1920) are full of a graciousness that rarely grows cloying. Gentle
  colors and a gentler sadness are here; soft music, the whisper of
  flutes above a plaintive English horn, rises from her pages. But the
  poems are by no means monotonous. A fragrant whimsicality, a
  childlike freshness vivifies poems like “The Whole Duty of Berkshire
  Brooks,” “Dilemma” and “Frost on a Window,” which reminds one of the
  manner of her amazing daughter, Hilda, (see page 394).


                To build the trout a crystal stair;
                To comb the hillside’s thick green hair;
                To water jewel-weed and rushes;
                To teach first notes to baby thrushes;
                To flavor raspberry and apple
                And make a whirling pool to dapple
                With scattered gold of late October;
                To urge wise laughter on the sober
                And lend a dream to those who laugh;
                To chant the beetle’s epitaph;
                To mirror the blue dragonfly,
                Frail air-plane of a slender sky;
                Over the stones to lull and leap
                Herding the bubbles like white sheep;
                The claims of worry to deny,
                And whisper sorrow into sleep!

                           FROST ON A WINDOW

              This forest looks the way
              Nightingales sound.
              Tall larches lilt and sway
              Above the glittering ground:
              The wild white cherry spray
              Scatters radiance round.
              The chuckle of the nightingale
              Is like this elfin wood.
              Even as his gleaming trills assail
              The spirit’s solitude,
              These leaves of light, these branches frail
              Are music’s very mood.

              The song of these fantastic trees,
              The plumes of frost they wear,
              Are for the poet’s whim who sees
              Through a deceptive air,
              And has an ear for melodies
              When never a sound is there.

                        _Amelia Josephine Burr_

  Amelia Josephine Burr was born in New York City in 1878. She was
  educated at Hunter College and has made her home in Englewood, New

  A great range of interests has been the outstanding feature of her
  work. Too often she yields to her own facility, but there is decided
  vigor in many pages of _The Roadside Fire_ (1912), _In Deep Places_
  (1914) and _Life and Living_ (1916).

                         BATTLE-SONG OF FAILURE

          We strain toward Heaven and lay hold on Hell;
            With starward eyes we stumble in hard ways,
          And to the moments when we see life well
            Succeeds the blindness of bewildered days,—
          But what of that? Into the sullen flesh
            Our souls drive home the spur with splendid sting.
          Bleeding and soiled, we gird ourselves afresh.
            Forth, and make firm a highway for the King.

          The loveless greed the centuries have stored
            In marshy foulness traps our faltering feet.
          The sins of men whom punishment ignored
            Like fever in our weakened pulses beat;
          But what of that? The shame is not to fail
            Nor is the victor’s laurel everything.
          To fight until we fall is to prevail.
            Forth, and make firm a highway for the King.

          Yea, cast our lives into the ancient slough,
            And fall we shouting, with uplifted face;
          Over the spot where mired we struggle now
            Shall march in triumph a transfigured race.
          They shall exult where weary we have wept—
            They shall achieve where we have striven in vain—
          Leaping in vigor where we faintly crept,
            Joyous along the road we paved with pain.
          What though we seem to sink in the morass?
            Under those unborn feet our dust shall sing,
          When o’er our failure perfect they shall pass.
            Forth, and make firm a highway for the King!

                             _Don Marquis_

  Donald Robert Perry Marquis was born at Walnut, Bureau County,
  Illinois, July 29, 1878. Since his boyhood he has been actively
  connected with various newspapers, his chief metropolitan success
  being due to his pungent column, “The Sun Dial” in the New York
  _Evening Sun_.

  Many of Marquis’s most penetrating and satiric skits have been
  collected in his prose volumes, _Hermione_ (1916) and _Prefaces_
  (1919). Besides his burlesque verse, Marquis has written a quantity
  of serious poetry, the best of which he published in _Dreams and
  Dust_ (1915).


              A fierce unrest seethes at the core
                  Of all existing things:
              It was the eager wish to soar
                  That gave the gods their wings.

              From what flat wastes of cosmic slime,
                  And stung by what quick fire,
              Sunward the restless races climb!—
                  Men risen out of mire!

              There throbs through all the worlds that are
                  This heart-beat hot and strong
              And shaken systems, star by star,
                  Awake and glow in song.

              But for the urge of this unrest
                  These joyous spheres are mute;
              But for the rebel in his breast
                  Had man remained a brute.

              When baffled lips demanded speech,
                  Speech trembled into birth—
              (One day the lyric word shall reach
                  From earth to laughing earth.)—

              When man’s dim eyes demanded light,
                  The light he sought was born—
              His wish, a Titan, scaled the height
                  And flung him back the morn!

              From deed to dream, from dream to deed,
                  From daring hope to hope,
              The restless wish, the instant need,
                  Still lashed him up the slope!

                    ·      ·      ·      ·      ·      ·

              I sing no governed firmament,
                  Cold, ordered, regular—
              I sing the stinging discontent
                  That leaps from star to star!

                             _John Erskine_

  John Erskine was born in New York City, October 5, 1879. He
  graduated from Columbia University, receiving his A.M. in 1901 and
  Ph.D. in 1903. He has taught English since 1903, first at Amherst
  College, and (beginning in 1909) at Columbia.

  Although most of Erskine’s works have been performed in the capacity
  of editor and essayist, he has written two volumes of excellent
  verse. _Actæon and Other Poems_ (1906) is little more than an
  introduction to _The Shadowed Hour_ (1917), which contains such keen
  verses as “Satan” and “Ash-Wednesday” in which philosophy and poetry
  are interknit.


           When imperturbable the gentle moon
           Glides above war and onslaught through the night,
           When the sun burns magnificent at noon
           On hate contriving horror by its light,
           When man, for whom the stars were and the skies,
           Turns beast to rend his fellow, fang and hoof
           Shall we not think, with what ironic eyes
           Nature must look on us and stand aloof?
           But not alone the sun, the moon, the stars,
           Shining unharmed above man’s folly move;
           For us three beacons kindle one another
           Which waver not with any wind of wars:
           We love our children still, still them we love
           Who gave us birth, and still we love each other.

                         _James Branch Cabell_

  James Branch Cabell was born at Richmond, Virginia, April 14, 1879.
  He taught French and Greek for two years at William and Mary College
  (1896-7), worked in the pressroom of the Richmond _Times_ (1898),
  was on the staff of the New York _Herald_ (1899-1901) and began
  contributing to the magazines in 1902, writing over sixty short
  stories as well as scattered essays, translations and papers on
  historical and biographical subjects.

  Although Cabell likes to describe himself as a genealogist, he is
  the author of some of the most exquisite prose in contemporary
  literature. But it is a prose that rises high above its own beauty
  of style. In books like _The Certain Hour_ (1916), _The Cream of the
  Jest_ (1917), _Jurgen_ (1919) and the poetry-crammed “comedy of
  appearances,” _Figures of Earth_ (1921), the composite Cabell hero
  emerges, triumphant in the midst of his defeats—the eternally
  disillusioned, eternally hopeful Jurgen-Charteris-Kennaston: a
  symbol of the human soul seeking some sort of finality, some
  assurance in a world of illimitable perplexities.

  Though Cabell is best known as a novelist, his books are liberally
  dotted with original verses that do duty as chapter-headings,
  mottoes, tail-pieces, interpolated songs and epilogues. A complete
  volume of his verse, _From the Hidden Way_ (1916), bore the subtitle
  “Being Seventy-Five Adaptations.” It purported to be paraphrases
  from forgotten troubadours like Allesandro de Medici, Antoine Riczi,
  Charles Garnier and half a dozen other obscure Parnassians. Cabell
  even quoted the first lines of each of their poems in the original
  Latin, French or Provençal. Even after the hoax was exposed, it was
  difficult for most readers to believe that the entire
  collection—names, references, first lines in the “original” and
  all—were the creation of Cabell, the masquerader.

  In _From the Hidden Way_, the romancer has added another story to
  that gem-studded ivory tower in which Cabell lives and escapes the
  modern world. Whether he echoes the mediæval ballata or the more
  modern rondeau, roundel and sonnet, his is an artifice solidly
  erected upon art.


 I lie and dream in the soft warm sand; and the thunder and surge and the
    baffled roar
 Of the sea’s relentless and vain endeavors are a pleasant lullaby, here
    on shore.

 Since a little hillock screens yonder ageless, tenacious battlings
    (which shatter, and pass
 In foam and spume), I appraise, half-nodding, much sand and sky and
    gaunt nodding grass.

 And I am content to lie and dream; and I am too drowsy to rise, and see
 If it be worth breasting—that ocean yonder, which a little hillock hides
    from me.

                            ONE END OF LOVE

                “It is long since we met,” she said.
                I answered, “Yes.”

                                      She is not fair,
                But very old now, and no gold
                Gleams in that scant gray withered hair
                Where once much gold was: and, I think,
                Not easily might one bring tears
                Into her eyes, which have become
                Like dusty glass.

                                “’Tis thirty years,”
                I said. “And then the war came on
                Apace, and our young King had need
                Of men to serve him oversea
                Against the heathen. For their greed,
                Puffed up at Tunis, troubles him——”

                She said: “This week my son is gone
                To him at Paris with his men.”
                And then: “You never married, John?”

                I answered, “No.” And so we sate
                Musing a while.

                                Then with his guests
                Came Robert; and his thin voice broke
                Upon my dream, with the old jests,
                No food for laughter now: and swore
                We must be friends now that our feud
                Was overpast.

                              “We are grown old—
                Eh, John?” he said. “And, by the Rood!
                ’Tis time we were at peace with God
                Who are not long for this world.”

                I answered; “we are old.” And then,
                Remembering that April day
                At Calais, and that hawthorn field
                Wherein we fought long since, I said:
                “We are friends now.”

                                      And she sate by,
                Scarce heeding. Thus the evening sped.

                And we ride homeward now, and I
                Ride moodily; my palfrey jogs
                Along a rock-strewn way the moon
                Lights up for us; yonder the bogs
                Are curdled with thin ice; the trees
                Are naked; from the barren wold
                The wind comes like a blade aslant
                Across a world grown very old.

                            _Vachel Lindsay_

  (Nicholas) Vachel Lindsay was born in the house where he still lives
  in Springfield, Illinois, November 10, 1879. His home is next door
  to the Executive mansion of the State of Illinois; from the window
  where Lindsay does most of his writing, he saw many Governors come
  and go, including the martyred John P. Altgeld, whom he has
  celebrated in one of his finest poems. He graduated from the
  Springfield High School, attended Hiram College (1897-1900), studied
  at the Art Institute at Chicago (1900-3) and at the New York School
  of Art (1904). After two years of lecturing and settlement work, he
  took the first of his long tramps, walking through Florida, Georgia
  and the Carolinas, preaching “the gospel of beauty,” and formulating
  his unique plans for a communal art. (See Preface.) During the
  following five years, Lindsay made several of these trips,
  travelling as a combination missionary and minstrel. Like a true
  revivalist, he attempted to wake in the people he met, a response to
  beauty; like Tommy Tucker, he sang, recited and chanted for his
  supper, distributing a little pamphlet entitled “Rhymes to be Traded
  for Bread.”

  Lindsay began to create more poetry to reach the public—all of his
  verse being written in his rôle of apostle. He was, primarily, a
  rhyming John the Baptist singing to convert the heathen, to
  stimulate and encourage the half-hearted dreams that hide and are
  lost in our sordid villages and townships. But the great audiences
  he was endeavoring to reach did not hear him, even though his
  collection _General Booth Enters Into Heaven_ (1913) struck many a
  loud and racy note.

  Lindsay broadened his effects, developed the chant and, the
  following year, published his _The Congo and Other Poems_ (1914), an
  infectious blend of rhymes, ragtime and religion. In the title-poem
  and, in a lesser degree, the three companion chants, Lindsay struck
  his most powerful—and most popular—vein. They gave people
  (particularly when intoned aloud) that primitive joy in syncopated
  sound that is at the very base of song. In these experiments in
  breaking down the barriers between poetry and music, Lindsay
  (obviously infected by the echolalia of Poe’s “Bells”) tried to
  create what he called a “Higher Vaudeville” imagination, carrying
  the form back to the old Greek precedent where every line was
  half-spoken, half-sung.

  Lindsay’s innovation succeeded at once. The novelty, the speed, the
  clatter forced the attention of people who had never paid the
  slightest heed to the poet’s quieter verses. Men heard the _sounds_
  of energetic America in these lines even when they were deaf to its
  spirit. They failed to see that, beneath the noise of “The Kallyope
  Yell” and “The Sante Fé Trail,” Lindsay was partly an admirer,
  partly an ironical critic of the shrieking energy of these states.
  By his effort to win the enemy over, Lindsay had persuaded the
  proverbially tired business man to listen at last. But, in
  overstressing the vaudeville features, there arose the danger of
  Lindsay the poet being lost in Lindsay the entertainer. The
  sympathetic and colorful studies of negro spirits and psychology
  (seen at their best in “The Congo,” “John Brown” and “Simon Legree”)
  degenerated into the crude buffooneries of “The Daniel Jazz” and
  “The Blacksmith’s Serenade.”

  But Lindsay’s earnestness, keyed up by an exuberant fancy, saved
  him. _The Chinese Nightingale_ (1917) begins with one of the most
  whimsical pieces Lindsay has ever devised. And if the subsequent
  _The Golden Whales of California_ (1920) is less distinctive, it is
  principally because the author has written too much and too speedily
  to be self-critical. It is his peculiar appraisal of loveliness, the
  rollicking high spirits joined to a stubborn evangelism, that makes
  Lindsay so representative a product of his environment.

  Besides his original poetry, Lindsay has embodied his experiences
  and meditations on the road in two prose volumes, _A Handy Guide for
  Beggars_ (1916) and _Adventures While Preaching the Gospel of
  Beauty_ (1914), as well as a prophetic study of the “silent drama,”
  _The Art of the Moving Picture_ (1915).

                    THE EAGLE THAT IS FORGOTTEN[34]

    [_John P. Altgeld. Born December 30, 1847; died March 12, 1902_]

 Sleep softly ... eagle forgotten ... under the stone,
 Time has its way with you there, and the clay has its own.
 “We have buried him now,” thought your foes, and in secret rejoiced.
 They made a brave show of their mourning, their hatred unvoiced.
 They had snarled at you, barked at you, foamed at you, day after day,
 Now you were ended. They praised you, ... and laid you away.

 The others that mourned you in silence and terror and truth,
 The widow bereft of her pittance, the boy without youth,
 The mocked and the scorned and the wounded, the lame and the poor
 That should have remembered forever, ... remember no more.

 Where are those lovers of yours, on what name do they call
 The lost, that in armies wept over your funeral pall?
 They call on the names of a hundred high-valiant ones,
 A hundred white eagles have risen, the sons of your sons,
 The zeal in their wings is a zeal that your dreaming began,
 The valor that wore out your soul in the service of man.

 Sleep softly, ... eagle forgotten, ... under the stone,
 Time has its way with you there, and the clay has its own.
 Sleep on, O brave hearted, O wise man, that kindled the flame—
 To live in mankind is far more than to live in a name,
 To live in mankind, far, far more ... than to live in a name.

                             THE CONGO[35]

                     (_A Study of the Negro Race_)

                        I. THEIR BASIC SAVAGERY

 Fat black bucks in a wine-barrel room,
 Barrel-house kings, with feet unstable,
 Sagged and reeled and pounded on the table, [Sidenote: _A deep rolling
 Pounded on the table,
 Beat an empty barrel with the handle of a broom,
 Hard as they were able,
 Boom, boom, BOOM,
 With a silk umbrella and the handle of a broom,
 Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM.

 THEN I had religion, THEN I had a vision.
 I could not turn from their revel in derision.
    deliberate. Solemnly chanted._]
 Then along that riverbank
 A thousand miles
 Tattooed cannibals danced in files;
 Then I heard the boom of the blood-lust song
 And a thigh-bone beating on a tin-pan gong. [Sidenote: _A rapidly piling
    climax of speed and racket._]
 And “BLOOD” screamed the whistles and the fifes of the warriors,
 “BLOOD” screamed the skull-faced, lean witch-doctors,
 “Whirl ye the deadly voo-doo rattle,
 Harry the uplands,
 Steal all the cattle,
 Rattle-rattle, rattle-rattle,
 Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM,”
 A roaring, epic, rag-time tune [Sidenote: _With a philosophic pause._]
 From the mouth of the Congo
 To the Mountains of the Moon.
 Death is an Elephant,
 Torch-eyed and horrible, [Sidenote: _Shrilly and with a heavily accented
 Foam-flanked and terrible.
 BOOM, steal the pygmies,
 BOOM, kill the Arabs,
 BOOM, kill the white men,
 HOO, HOO, HOO. [Sidenote: _Like the wind in the chimney._]
 Listen to the yell of Leopold’s ghost
 Burning in Hell for his hand-maimed host.
 Hear how the demons chuckle and yell.
 Cutting his hands off, down in Hell.
 Listen to the creepy proclamation,
 Blown through the lairs of the forest-nation,
 Blown past the white-ants’ hill of clay,
 Blown past the marsh where the butterflies play:—
 “Be careful what you do,
 Or Mumbo-Jumbo, God of the Congo, [Sidenote: _All the o sounds very
    golden. Heavy accents very heavy. Light accents very light. Last line
 And all of the other
 Gods of the Congo,
 Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you,
 Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you,
 Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you.”


 Wild crap-shooters with a whoop and a call [Sidenote: _Rather shill and
 Danced the juba in their gambling-hall
 And laughed fit to kill, and shook the town,
 And guyed the policemen and laughed them down
 With a boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM....
    exactly as in first section._]
 A negro fairyland swung into view, [Sidenote: _Lay emphasis on the
    delicate ideas. Keep as light-footed as possible._]
 A minstrel river
 Where dreams come true.
 The ebony palace soared on high
 Through the blossoming trees to the evening sky.
 The inlaid porches and casements shone
 With gold and ivory and elephant-bone.
 And the black crowd laughed till their sides were sore
 At the baboon butler in the agate door,
 And the well-known tunes of the parrot band
 That trilled on the bushes of that magic-land.

 A troupe of skull-faced witch-men came [Sidenote: _With pomposity._]
 Through the agate doorway in suits of flame,
 Yea, long-tailed coats with a gold-leaf crust
 And hats that were covered with diamond-dust.
 And the crowd in the court gave a whoop and a call
 And danced the juba from wall to wall.
 But the witch-men suddenly stilled the throng
 With a stern cold glare, and a stern old song:— [Sidenote: _With a great
    deliberation and ghostliness._]
 “Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you.” ...
 Just then from the doorway, as fat as shotes,
 Came the cake-walk princes in their long red coats, [Sidenote: _With
    overwhelming assurance, good cheer, and pomp._]
 Shoes with a patent leather shine,
 And tall silk hats that were red as wine.
 And they pranced with their butterfly partners there,
 Coal-black maidens with pearls in their hair, [Sidenote: _With growing
    speed and sharply marked dance-rhythm._]
 Knee-skirts trimmed with the jessamine sweet,
 And bells on their ankles and little black feet.
 And the couples railed at the chant and the frown
 Of the witch-men lean, and laughed them down.
 (O rare was the revel, and well worth while
 That made those glowering witch-men smile.)

 The cake-walk royalty then began
 To walk for a cake that was tall as a man
 To the tune of “Boomlay, boomlay, BOOM,”
 While the witch-men laughed, with a sinister air,
 And sang with the scalawags prancing there:— [Sidenote: _With a touch of
    negro dialect, and as rapidly as possible toward the end._]
 “Walk with care, walk with care,
 Or Mumbo-Jumbo, God of the Congo,
 And all of the other
 Gods of the Congo,
 Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you.
 Beware, beware, walk with care,
 Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, boom.
 Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, boom,
 Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, boom,
 Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay,
 Oh rare was the revel, and well worth while [Sidenote: _Slow philosophic
 That made those glowering witch-men smile.

                    III. THE HOPE OF THEIR RELIGION

 A good old negro in the slums of the town [Sidenote: _Heavy bass. With a
    literal imitation of camp-meeting racket, and trance._]
 Preached at a sister for her velvet gown.
 Howled at a brother for his low-down ways,
 His prowling, guzzling, sneak-thief days.
 Beat on the Bible till he wore it out,
 Starting the jubilee revival shout.
 And some had visions, as they stood on chairs,
 And sang of Jacob, and the golden stairs.
 And they all repented, a thousand strong,
 From their stupor and savagery and sin and wrong
 And slammed their hymn books till they shook the room
 With “Glory, glory, glory,”
 And “Boom, boom, BOOM.”

    in the first section._]
 And the gray sky opened like a new-rent veil
 And showed the apostles with their coats of mail.
 In bright white steel they were seated round
 And their fire-eyes watched where the Congo wound.
 And the twelve apostles, from their thrones on high,
 Thrilled all the forest with their heavenly cry:—
 “Mumbo-Jumbo will die in the jungle; [Sidenote: _Sung to the tune of
    “Hark, ten thousand harps and voices.”_]
 Never again will he hoo-doo you,
 Never again will he hoo-doo you.”
 Then along that river, a thousand miles, [Sidenote: _With growing
    deliberation and joy._]
 The vine-snared trees fell down in files.
 Pioneer angels cleared the way
 For a Congo paradise, for babes at play,
 For sacred capitals, for temples clean.
 Gone were the skull-faced witch-men lean.
 There, where the wild ghost-gods had wailed [Sidenote: _In a rather high
    key—as delicately as possible._]
 A million boats of the angels sailed
 With oars of silver, and prows of blue
 And silken pennants that the sun shone through.
 ’Twas a land transfigured, ’twas a new creation.
 Oh, a singing wind swept the negro nation;
 And on through the backwoods clearing flew:—
 “Mumbo-Jumbo is dead in the jungle. [Sidenote: _To the tune of “Hark,
    ten thousand harps and voices.”_]
 Never again will he hoo-doo you.
 Never again will he hoo-doo you.”

 Redeemed were the forests, the beasts and the men,
 And only the vulture dared again
 By the far, lone mountains of the moon
 To cry, in the silence, the Congo tune:—
 “Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you. [Sidenote: _Dying off into a penetrating,
    terrified whisper._]
 Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you,
 Mumbo ... Jumbo ... will ... hoo-doo ... you.”


           You are a sunrise,
           If a star should rise instead of the sun.
           You are a moonrise,
           If a star should come in the place of the moon.
           You are the Spring,
           If a face should bloom instead of an apple-bough.
           You are my love,
           If your heart is as kind
           As your young eyes now.

                             THE TRAVELLER

                      The moon’s a devil jester
                      Who makes himself too free.
                      The rascal is not always
                      Where he appears to be.
                      Sometimes he is in my heart—
                      Sometimes he is in the sea;
                      Then tides are in my heart,
                      And tides are in the sea.

                      O traveller, abiding not
                      Where he pretends to be!

                      A NEGRO SERMON:—SIMON LEGREE

          Legree’s big house was white and green.
          His cotton-fields were the best to be seen.
          He had strong horses and opulent cattle,
          And bloodhounds bold, with chains that would rattle.
          His garret was full of curious things:
          Books of magic, bags of gold,
          And rabbits’ feet on long twine strings.
          _But he went down to the Devil._

          Legree, he sported a brass-buttoned coat,
          A snake-skin necktie, a blood-red shirt.
          Legree, he had a beard like a goat,
          And a thick hairy neck, and eyes like dirt.
          His puffed-out cheeks were fish-belly white,
          He had great long teeth, and an appetite.
          He ate raw meat, ’most every meal,
          And rolled his eyes till the cat would squeal.
          His fist was an enormous size
          To mash poor niggers that told him lies:
          He was surely a witch-man in disguise.
          _But he went down to the Devil._

          He wore hip-boots, and would wade all day
          To capture his slaves that had fled away.
          _But he went down to the Devil._
          He beat poor Uncle Tom to death
          Who prayed for Legree with his last breath.
          Then Uncle Tom to Eva flew,
          To the high sanctoriums bright and new;
          And Simon Legree stared up beneath,
          And cracked his heels, and ground his teeth:
          _And went down to the Devil._

          He crossed the yard in the storm and gloom;
          He went into his grand front room.
          He said, “I killed him, and I don’t care.”
          He kicked a hound, he gave a swear;
          He tightened his belt, he took a lamp,
          Went down cellar to the webs and damp.
          There in the middle of the mouldy floor
          He heaved up a slab; he found a door—
          _And went down to the Devil._

          His lamp blew out, but his eyes burned bright.
          Simon Legree stepped down all night—
          _Down, down to the Devil._
          Simon Legree he reached the place,
          He saw one half of the human race,
          He saw the Devil on a wide green throne,
          Gnawing the meat from a big ham-bone,
          And he said to Mister Devil:

          “I see that you have much to eat—
          A red ham-bone is surely sweet.
          I see that you have lion’s feet;
          I see your frame is fat and fine,
          I see you drink your poison wine—
          Blood and burning turpentine.”

          And the Devil said to Simon Legree:
            “I like your style, so wicked and free.
            Come sit and share my throne with me,
            And let us bark and revel.”
          And there they sit and gnash their teeth,
          And each one wears a hop-vine wreath.
          They are matching pennies and shooting craps,
          They are playing poker and taking naps.
          And old Legree is fat and fine:
          He eats the fire, he drinks the wine—
          Blood and burning turpentine—
            _Down, down with the Devil;
              Down, down with the Devil;
                Down, down with the Devil._


                      (_In Springfield, Illinois_)

           It is portentous, and a thing of state
           That here at midnight, in our little town
           A mourning figure walks, and will not rest,
           Near the old court-house pacing up and down,
           Or by his homestead, or in shadowed yards
           He lingers where his children used to play,
           Or through the market, on the well-worn stones
           He stalks until the dawn-stars burn away.

           A bronzed, lank man! His suit of ancient black,
           A famous high top-hat and plain worn shawl
           Make him the quaint great figure that men love,
           The prairie-lawyer, master of us all.

           He cannot sleep upon his hillside now.
           He is among us;—as in times before!
           And we who toss and lie awake for long,
           Breathe deep, and start, to see him pass the door.

           His head is bowed. He thinks of men and kings.
           Yea, when the sick world cries, how can he sleep?
           Too many peasants fight, they know not why;
           Too many homesteads in black terror weep.

           The sins of all the war-lords burn his heart.
           He sees the dreadnaughts scouring every main.
           He carries on his shawl-wrapped shoulders now
           The bitterness, the folly and the pain.

           He cannot rest until a spirit-dawn
           Shall come;—the shining hope of Europe free:
           A league of sober folk, the Workers’ Earth,
           Bringing long peace to Cornland, Alp and Sea.
           It breaks his heart that kings must murder still,
           That all his hours of travail here for men
           Seem yet in vain. And who will bring white peace
           That he may sleep upon his hill again?

                         _Edwin Meade Robinson_

  Edwin Meade Robinson (no relation to Edwin Arlington Robinson) was
  born November 1, 1879, at Lima, Indiana. He engaged in newspaper
  work when he was scarcely out of his ’teens, joining the staff of
  the Indianapolis _Sentinel_ in 1901. He began writing a daily poem
  in 1904 and, for years, has conducted a column of prose and verse in
  the Cleveland _Plain Dealer_.

  _Mere Melodies_ (1918) is a collection of Robinson’s light and
  sentimental verse, an uneven collection. _Piping and Panning_ (1920)
  is a much fresher and far more vigorous assembling of this
  versifier’s humorous and burlesque idioms. One of our most adroit
  technicians, he is especially happy in interior rhyming; a poem like
  “Halcyon Days” contains, beside the end-rhymes, rhymes hidden within
  the lines and others running over from line to line.

                           HOW HE TURNED OUT

 When he was young, his parents saw (as parents by the million see)
 That Rollo had an intellect of quite unequaled brilliancy;
 They started in his training from the hour of his nativity,
 And carefully they cultivated every bright proclivity.

 At eight, he ate up authors like a literary cannibal,
 At nine he mastered Latin as the Latins mastered Hannibal;
 At ten he knew astronomy and differential calculus,
 And at eleven could dissect the tiniest animalculus.

 At twelve, he learned orthometry, and started in to master all
 The different kinds of poetry, the lyric and the pastoral,
 The epic and dramatic, the descriptive and didactical,
 With lessons theoretical and exercises practical.

 Music he learned—the old and sweet, the up-to-date and hideous;
 He painted like Apelles and he modeled like a Phidias;
 In language he was polyglot, in rhetoric Johnsonian,
 In eloquence Websterian, in diction Ciceronian.

 At last, with learning that would set an ordinary head agog,
 His education far outshone his most proficient pedagog;
 And so he entered life, with all his lore to lift the lid for him—
 And what do you imagine that his erudition did for him?

 Alas! I fear the truth will shock you, rather than amuse you all—
 To those who’ve read this sort of verse, the sequel is unusual.
 This man (it’s hard on humor, for it breaks the well known laws of it!)
 Was happier for his learning, and a great success because of it!

                             “HALCYON DAYS”

 Ere yet the giants of modern science had gone a-slumming in smelly
 And through the Ghettos and lazarettos had put in plumbing (and pulled
    out plums!)
 When wily wizards in inky vizards employed their talents at homicide,
 And poisoned goblets for faithless squablets by knightly gallants were
 When maids were fairest, and baths were rarest, and thaumaturgy was
    wrought by dames,
 When courts were rotten and faith forgotten, and none but clergy could
    write their names—

 When he who flouted the Church, or doubted, would find his neck fast in
    hempen ruff,
 And saint and sinner thought eggs for dinner and beer for breakfast the
    proper stuff;
 When men were scary of witch and fairy, of haunted castle, of spook and
 When every mixer of cough-elixir was thought a vassal of Nick himself;
 When income taxes and prophylaxis and Comic Sections were yet unborn,
 When Leagues of Nations and Spring Vacations and Fall Elections were
    held in scorn—

 When all brave fellows would fight duellos with sword and dagger, with
    lance and mace,
 When good men guzzled until, clean fuzzled, they’d reel and stagger
    about the place;
 When pious journeys and jousts and tourneys brought high adventure and
    secret tryst,
 When knives were many, but forks not any—’twas fist to trencher, and
    mouth to fist!—
 Oh, men had chances for true romances, for fame and glory, and knightly
    acts ...
 (And childish quarrels and beastly morals, if song and story would stick
    to facts!)

                          _Franklin P. Adams_

  Franklin P. Adams, better known to the readers of his column as F.
  P. A., was born at Chicago, Illinois, November 15, 1881. He attended
  the University of Michigan (1899-1900) and, after a brief career as
  an insurance agent, plunged into journalism. Adams had already been
  an ardent contributor to B. L. T.’s “A Line o’ Type or Two” and, in
  1903, he began conducting a column of his own on the Chicago
  _Journal_. Late in 1904, he came to New York, running his “Always in
  Good Humor” section on _The Evening Mail_ until 1914, when he
  started “The Conning Tower” for the New York _Tribune_.

  Adams is the author of five volumes of a light verse that is not
  only skilful but energetic as well as facile. _Tobogganing on
  Parnassus_ (1909), _In Other Words_ (1912), _By and Large_ (1914),
  _Weights and Measures_ (1917) and _Something Else Again_ (1920)
  reveal a spirit which is essentially one of mockery. One admires
  these books for their impudent—and faithful—paraphrases of Horace
  and Propertius, for their last line twists _à la_ O. Henry, (with
  whom Adams wrote a comic opera that never reached New York), for the
  ease with which their author springs his surprises and, perhaps most
  of all, for the healthy satire that runs sharply through all of his
  colloquial and dexterous lines.

                             WAR AND PEACE

             “This war is a terrible thing,” he said,
             “With its countless numbers of needless dead;
             A futile warfare it seems to me,
             Fought for no principle I can see.
             Alas, that thousands of hearts should bleed
             For naught but a tyrant’s boundless greed!”

                   ·      ·      ·      ·      ·      ·

             Said the wholesale grocer, in righteous mood,
             As he went to adulterate salable food.

             Spake as follows the merchant king:
             “Isn’t this war a disgraceful thing?
             Heartless, cruel, and useless, too;
             It doesn’t seem that it _can_ be true.
             Think of the misery, want and fear!
             We ought to be grateful we’ve no war here.”

                   ·      ·      ·      ·      ·      ·

             “Six a week”—to a girl—“That’s flat!
             I can get a thousand to work for that.”

                              THE RICH MAN

               The rich man has his motor-car,
                 His country and his town estate.
               He smokes a fifty-cent cigar
                   And jeers at Fate.

               He frivols through the livelong day,
                 He knows not Poverty, her pinch.
               His lot seems light, his heart seems gay;
                     He has a cinch.

               Yet though my lamp burns low and dim,
                 Though I must slave for livelihood—
               Think you that I would change with him?
                     You bet I would!

                             THOSE TWO BOYS

         When Bill was a lad he was terribly bad.
           He worried his parents a lot;
         He’d lie and he’d swear and pull little girls’ hair;
           His boyhood was naught but a blot.

         At play and in school he would fracture each rule—
           In mischief from autumn to spring;
         And the villagers knew when to manhood he grew
           He would never amount to a thing.

         When Jim was a child he was not very wild;
           He was known as a good little boy;
         He was honest and bright and the teacher’s delight—
           To his mother and father a joy.

         All the neighbors were sure that his virtue’d endure,
           That his life would be free of a spot;
         They were certain that Jim had a great head on him
           And that Jim would amount to a lot.

         And Jim grew to manhood and honor and fame
             And bears a good name;
         While Bill is shut up in a dark prison cell—
             You never can tell.

                           _John G. Neihardt_

  John Gneisenau Neihardt was born at Sharpsburg, Illinois, January 8,
  1881. He completed a scientific course at Nebraska Normal College in
  1897 and lived among the Omaha Indians for six years (1901-7),
  studying their customs, characteristics and legends.

  Although he had already published two books, _A Bundle of Myrrh_
  (1908) was his first volume to attract notice. It was full of
  spirit, enthusiasm and an insistent virility—qualities which were
  extended (and overemphasized) in _Man-Song_ (1909). Neihardt found a
  richer note and a new restraint in _The Stranger at the Gate_
  (1911); the best of the lyrics from these three volumes appearing in
  _The Quest_ (1916).

  Neihardt meanwhile had been going deeper into folk-lore, the results
  of which appeared in _The Song of Hugh Glass_ (1915) and _The Song
  of Three Friends_ (1919). The latter, in 1920, divided the annual
  prize offered by the Poetry Society, halving the honors with Gladys
  Cromwell’s _Poems_. These two of Neihardt’s are detailed long poems,
  part of a projected epic series celebrating the winning of the West
  by the pioneers. What prevents both volumes from fulfilling the
  breadth at which they aim is the disparity between the author’s
  story and his style; essentially racy narratives are recited in an
  archaic and incongruous speech. Yet, in spite of a false rhetoric
  and a locution that considers prairies and trappers in terms of
  “Ilion,” “Iseult,” “Clotho,” the “dim far shore of Styx,” Neihardt
  has achieved his effects with no little skill. Dramatic, stern, and
  conceived with a powerful dignity, his major works are American in
  feeling if not in execution.

                             WHEN I AM DEAD

          When I am dead and nervous hands have thrust
          My body downward into careless dust;
          I think the grave cannot suffice to hold
          My spirit ’prisoned in the sunless mould!
          Some subtle memory of you shall be
          A resurrection of the life of me.
          Yea, I shall be, because I love you so,
          The speechless spirit of all things that grow.
          You shall not touch a flower but it shall be
          Like a caress upon the cheek of me.
          I shall be patient in the common grass
          That I may feel your footfall when you pass.
          I shall be kind as rain and pure as dew,
          A loving spirit ’round the life of you.
          When your soft cheeks by perfumed winds are fanned,
          ’Twill be my kiss—and you will understand.
          But when some sultry, storm-bleared sun has set,
          _I will be lightning if you dare forget_!

                         CRY OF THE PEOPLE[38]

               Tremble before thy chattels,
               Lords of the scheme of things!
               Fighters of all earth’s battles,
               Ours is the might of kings!
               Guided by seers and sages,
               The world’s heart-beat for a drum,
               Snapping the chains of ages,
               Out of the night we come!

               Lend us no ear that pities!
               Offer no almoner’s hand!
               Alms for the builders of cities!
               When will you understand?
               Down with your pride of birth
               And your golden gods of trade!
               A man is worth to his mother, Earth,
               All that a man has made!

               We are the workers and makers.
               We are no longer dumb!
               Tremble, O Shirkers and Takers!
               Sweeping the earth—we come!
               Ranked in the world-wide dawn,
               Marching into the day!
               _The night is gone and the sword is drawn
               And the scabbard is thrown away!_

                      LET ME LIVE OUT MY YEARS[39]

              Let me live out my years in heat of blood!
              Let me die drunken with the dreamer’s wine!
              Let me not see this soul-house built of mud
              Go toppling to the dust—a vacant shrine.

              Let me go quickly, like a candle light
              Snuffed out just at the heyday of its glow.
              Give me high noon—and let it then be night!
              Thus would I go.

              And grant that when I face the grisly Thing,
              My song may trumpet down the gray Perhaps.
              Let me be as a tune-swept fiddlestring
              That feels the Master Melody—and snaps!

                            _Witter Bynner_

  Witter Bynner was born at Brooklyn, New York, August 10, 1881. He
  was graduated from Harvard in 1902 and has been assistant editor of
  various periodicals as well as adviser to publishers. Recently, he
  has spent much of his time lecturing on poetry and travelling in the

  _Young Harvard_ (1907), the first of Bynner’s volumes, was, as the
  name implies, a celebration of his _alma mater. The New World_
  (1915) is a much riper and far more ambitious effort. In this
  extended poem, Bynner sought—almost too determinedly—to translate
  the ideals of democracy into verse. Neither of these volumes
  displays its author’s gifts at their best, for Bynner is, first of
  all, a lyric poet. _Grenstone Poems_ (1917) and _A Canticle of Pan_
  (1920) reveal a more natural singing voice. Bynner harmonizes in
  many keys; transposing, modulating and shifting from one tonality to
  another. This very ease is his chief defect, for Bynner’s facility
  leads him not only to write too much but in too many different
  styles. Many of his poems seem like sounding-boards that echo the
  tones of every poet except the composer of them. Instead of a fusion
  of gifts we have, too often, a disintegration.

  When Bynner is least dexterous he is most ingratiating. When he does
  not try to sound the whole gamut of modern poetry from the lyrics of
  A. E. Housman to the attenuated epigrams of Ezra Pound, he can
  strike his own note with clarity and precision. Even in _The Beloved
  Stranger_ (1919), where the borrowed accents of his _alter ego_ are
  only too apparent, one is arrested by lines of musical charm and

  Under the pseudonym “Emanuel Morgan,” Bynner was coauthor with
  Arthur Davison Ficke (writing under the name of “Anne Knish”) of
  _Spectra_ (1916). _Spectra_ was a serious burlesque of some of the
  extreme manifestations of modern poetic tendencies—a remarkable hoax
  that deceived many of the radical propagandists as well as most of
  the conservative critics.


              What bird are you in the grass-tops?
              Your poise is enough of an answer,
              With your wing-tips like up-curving fingers
              Of the slow-moving hands of a dancer ...

              And what is so nameless as beauty,
              Which poets, who give it a name,
              Are only unnaming forever?—
              Content, though it go, that it came.


                    O there were lights and laughter
                        And the motions to and fro
                    Of people as they enter
                        And people as they go ...

                    And there were many voices
                        Vying at the feast,
                    But mostly I remember
                        Yours—who spoke the least.

                   A FARMER REMEMBERS LINCOLN[40][41]

 Well, I was in the old Second Maine,
 The first regiment in Washington from the Pine Tree State.
 Of course I didn’t get the butt of the clip;
 We was there for guardin’ Washington—
 We was all green.

 “I ain’t never ben to the theayter in my life—
 I didn’t know how to behave.
 I ain’t never ben since.
 I can see as plain as my hat the box where he sat in
 When he was shot.
 I can tell you, sir, there was a panic
 When we found our President was in the shape he was in!
 Never saw a soldier in the world but what liked him.

 “Yes, sir. His looks was kind o’ hard to forget.
 He was a spare man,
 An old farmer.
 Everything was all right, you know,
 But he wasn’t a smooth-appearin’ man at all—
 Not in no ways;
 Thin-faced, long-necked,
 And a swellin’ kind of a thick lip like.

 “And he was a jolly old fellow—always cheerful;
 He wasn’t so high but the boys could talk to him their own ways.
 While I was servin’ at the Hospital
 He’d come in and say, ‘You look nice in here,’
 Praise us up, you know.
 And he’d bend over and talk to the boys—
 And he’d talk so good to ’em—so close—
 That’s why I call him a farmer.
 I don’t mean that everything about him wasn’t all right, you understand,
 It’s just—well, I was a farmer—
 And he was my neighbor, anybody’s neighbor.
 I guess even you young folks would ’a’ liked him.”


            Outside hove Shasta, snowy height on height,
            A glory; but a negligible sight,
            For you had often seen a mountain-peak
            But not my paper. So we came to speak ...
            A smoke, a smile,—a good way to commence
            The comfortable exchange of difference!
            You a young engineer, five feet eleven,
            Forty-five chest, with football in your heaven,
            Liking a road-bed newly built and clean,
            Your fingers hot to cut away the green
            Of brush and flowers that bring beside a track
            The kind of beauty steel lines ought to lack,—
            And I a poet, wistful of my betters,
            Reading George Meredith’s high-hearted letters,
            Joining betweenwhile in the mingled speech
            Of a drummer, circus-man, and parson, each
            Absorbing to himself—as I to me
            And you to you—a glad identity!

            After a time, when others went away,
            A curious kinship made us choose to stay,
            Which I could tell you now; but at the time
            You thought of baseball teams and I of rhyme,
            Until we found that we were college men
            And smoked more easily and smiled again;
            And I from Cambridge cried, the poet still:
            “I know your fine Greek theatre on the hill
            At Berkeley!” With your happy Grecian head
            Upraised, “I never saw the place,” you said—
            “Once I was free of class, I always went
            Out to the field.”

                                Young engineer, you meant
            As fair a tribute to the better part
            As ever I did. Beauty of the heart
            Is evident in temples. But it breathes
            Alive where athletes quicken curly wreaths,
            Which are the lovelier because they die.
            You are a poet quite as much as I,
            Though differences appear in what we do,
            And I an athlete quite as much as you.
            Because you half-surmise my quarter-mile
            And I your quatrain, we could greet and smile.
            Who knows but we shall look again and find
            The circus-man and drummer, not behind
            But leading in our visible estate—
            As discus-thrower and as laureate?

                           _James Oppenheim_

  James Oppenheim was born at St. Paul, Minnesota, May 24, 1882. Two
  years later his family moved to New York City, where he has lived
  ever since. After a public school education, he took special courses
  at Columbia University (1901-3) and engaged in settlement work,
  acting in the capacity of assistant head worker of the Hudson Guild
  Settlement, and superintendent of the Hebrew Technical School for
  Girls (1904-7). His studies and experiences on the lower East Side
  of New York furnished the material for his first, and most popular,
  book of short stories, _Doctor Rast_ (1909).

  Oppenheim’s initial venture as a poet, _Monday Morning and Other
  Poems_ (1909), was a tentative collection; half imitative, half
  experimental. In spite of its obvious indebtedness to Whitman, most
  of the verses are in formal meters and regular (though ragged)
  rhyme. Beauty is sought but seldom captured here; the message is
  coughed out between bursts of eloquence and fits of stammering.

  With _Songs for the New Age_ (1914) Oppenheim became his own
  liberator. The stammering has gone, the uncouth dissonances have
  resolved. One listens to a speech that, echoing the Whitmanic
  sonority, develops a music that is strangely Biblical and yet local.
  It is the expression of an ancient people reacting to modernity, of
  a race in solution. (See Preface.) This volume, like all of
  Oppenheim’s subsequent work, is analysis in terms of poetry; a slow
  searching beneath the musical surface that attempts to diagnose the
  twisted soul of man and the twisted times he lives in. The old
  Isaiah note, with a new introspection, rises out of such poems as
  “The Slave,” “We Dead,” “Tasting the Earth”; the music and imagery
  of the Psalms are heard in “The Flocks,” “The Tree” and “The Runner
  in the Skies.”

  _War and Laughter_ (1916) holds much of its predecessor’s exaltation
  and an almost ecstatic discontent. The Semitic blend of delight and
  disillusion—that quality which hates the world for its shams and
  hypocrisies and loves it in spite of them—is revealed in “Greed,” in
  the ironic “Report on the Planet Earth” and the brightly affirmative

  _The Book of Self_ (1917) is less notable, an imperfect fusion.
  Oppenheim’s preoccupation with analytical psychology mars the effect
  of the long passages which, in themselves, contain flashes of
  clairvoyance. _The Solitary_ (1919) is a great stride forward; its
  major section, a long symbolic poem called “The Sea,” breathes the
  same note that was the burden of the earlier books—“We are flesh on
  the way to godhood”—with greater strength and still greater control.

  Besides his poetry, Oppenheim has published several volumes of short
  stories, four novels, and two poetic plays. During 1916-17 he was
  editor of that promising but short-lived magazine, _The Seven Arts_.

                        THE RUNNER IN THE SKIES

  Who is the runner in the skies,
  With her blowing scarf of stars,
  And our Earth and sun hovering like bees about her blossoming heart?
  Her feet are on the winds, where space is deep,
  Her eyes are nebulous and veiled;
  She hurries through the night to a far lover ...

                               THE SLAVE

          They set the slave free, striking off his chains ...
          Then he was as much of a slave as ever.

          He was still chained to servility,
          He was still manacled to indolence and sloth,
          He was still bound by fear and superstition,
          By ignorance, suspicion, and savagery ...
          His slavery was not in the chains,
          But in himself....

          They can only set free men free ...
          And there is no need of that:
          Free men set themselves free.

                           TASTING THE EARTH

 In a dark hour, tasting the Earth.

 As I lay on my couch in the muffled night, and the rain lashed my
 And my forsaken heart would give me no rest, no pause and no peace,
 Though I turned my face far from the wailing of my bereavement....
 Then I said: I will eat of this sorrow to its last shred,
 I will take it unto me utterly,
 I will see if I be not strong enough to contain it....
 What do I fear? Discomfort?
 How can it hurt me, this bitterness?

 The miracle, then!
 Turning toward it, and giving up to it,
 I found it deeper than my own self....
 O dark great mother-globe so close beneath me ...
 It was she with her inexhaustible grief,
 Ages of blood-drenched jungles, and the smoking of craters, and the roar
    of tempests,
 And moan of the forsaken seas,
 It was she with the hills beginning to walk in the shapes of the
    dark-hearted animals,
 It was she risen, dashing away tears and praying to dumb skies, in the
    pomp-crumbling tragedy of man ...
 It was she, container of all griefs, and the buried dust of broken
 Cry of the christs and the lovers and the child-stripped mothers,
 And ambition gone down to defeat, and the battle overborne,
 And the dreams that have no waking....

 My heart became her ancient heart:
 On the food of the strong I fed, on dark strange life itself:
 Wisdom-giving and sombre with the unremitting love of ages....

 There was dank soil in my mouth,
 And bitter sea on my lips,
 In a dark hour, tasting the Earth.

                         THE LINCOLN CHILD[43]

    Clearing in the forest,
    In the wild Kentucky forest,
    And the stars, wintry stars strewn above!
    O Night that is the starriest
    Since Earth began to roll—
    For a Soul
    Is born out of Love!
    Mother love, father love, love of Eternal God—
    Stars have pushed aside to let him through—
    Through heaven’s sun-sown deeps
    One sparkling ray of God
    Strikes the clod—
    (And while an angel-host through wood and clearing sweeps!)
    Born in the wild
    The Child—
    Naked, ruddy, new,
    Wakes with the piteous human cry and at the mother-heart sleeps.

    To the mother wild berries and honey,
    To the father awe without end,
    To the child a swaddling of flannel—
    And a dawn rolls sharp and sunny
    And the skies of winter bend
    To see the first sweet word penned
    In the godliest human annal.

    Frail Mother of the Wilderness—
    How strange the world shines in
    And the cabin becomes chapel
    And the baby lies secure—
    Sweet Mother of the Wilderness,
    New worlds for you begin,
    You have tasted of the apple
    That giveth wisdom sure....

    Soon in the wide wilderness,
    On a branch blown over a creek,
    Up a trail of the wild coon,
    In a lair of the wild bee,
    The rugged boy, by danger’s stress,
    Learnt the speech the wild things speak,
    Learnt the Earth’s eternal tune
    Of strife-engendered harmony—
    Went to school where Life itself was master,
    Went to church where Earth was minister—
    And in Danger and Disaster
    Felt his future manhood stir!

    All about him the land,
    Eastern cities, Western prairie,
    Wild, immeasurable, grand;
    But he was lost where blossomy boughs make airy
    Bowers in the forest, and the sand
    Makes brook-water a clear mirror that gives back
    Green branches and trunks black
    And clouds across the heavens lightly fanned.

    Yet all the Future dreams, eager to waken,
    Within that woodland soul—
    And the bough of boy has only to be shaken
    That the fruit drop whereby this Earth shall roll
    A little nearer God than ever before.
    Little recks he of war,
    Of national millions waiting on his word—
    Dreams still the Event unstirred
    In the heart of the boy, the little babe of the wild—
    But the years hurry and the tide of the sea
    Of Time flows fast and ebbs, and he, even he,
    Must leave the wilderness, the wood-haunts wild—
    Soon shall the cyclone of Humanity
    Tearing through Earth suck up this little child
    And whirl him to the top, where he shall be
    Riding the storm-column in the lightning-stroke,
    Calm at the peak, while down below worlds rage,
    And Earth goes out in blood and battle-smoke,
    And leaves him with the sun—an epoch and an age!

    And lo, as he grew ugly, gaunt,
    And gnarled his way into a man,
    What wisdom came to feed his want,
    What worlds came near to let him scan!
    And as he fathomed through and through
    Our dark and sorry human scheme,
    He knew what Shakespeare never knew,
    What Dante never dared to dream—
    That Men are one
    Beneath the sun,
    And before God are equal souls—
    This truth was his,
    And this it is
    That round him such a glory rolls—
    For not alone he knew it as a truth,
    He made it of his blood, and of his brain—
    He crowned it on the day when piteous Booth
    Sent a whole land to weeping with world pain—
    When a black cloud blotted the sun
    And men stopped in the streets to sob,
    To think Old Abe was dead.
    Dead, and the day’s work still undone,
    Dead, and war’s ruining heart athrob,
    And earth with fields of carnage freshly spread—
    Millions died fighting,
    But in this man we mourned
    Those millions, and one other—
    And the States to-day uniting,
    North and South,
    East and West,
    Speak with a people’s mouth
    A rhapsody of rest
    To him our beloved best,
    Our big, gaunt, homely brother—
    Our huge Atlantic coast-storm in a shawl,
    Our cyclone in a smile—our President,
    Who knew and loved us all
    With love more eloquent
    Than his own words—with Love that in real deeds was spent....

    Oh, to pour love through deeds—
    To be as Lincoln was!—
    That all the land might fill its daily needs
    Glorified by a human Cause!
    Then were America a vast World-Torch
    Flaming a faith across the dying Earth,
    Proclaiming from the Atlantic’s rocky porch,
    That a New World was struggling at the birth!

    O living God, O Thou who living art,
    And real, and near, draw, as at that babe’s birth,
    Into our souls and sanctify our Earth—
    Let down Thy strength that we endure
    Mighty and pure
    As mothers and fathers of our own Lincoln-child—
    Make us more wise, more true, more strong, more mild,
    That we may day by day
    Rear this wild blossom through its soft petals of clay;
    That hour by hour
    We may endow it with more human power
    Than is our own—
    That it may reach the goal
    Our Lincoln long has shown!
    O Child, flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone,
    Soul torn from out our Soul!
    May you be great, and pure, and beautiful—
    A Soul to search this world
    To be a father, brother, comrade, son,
    A toiler powerful;
    A man whose toil is done
    One with God’s Law above:
    Work wrought through Love!

                               NIGHT NOTE

 A little moon was restless in Eternity
 And, shivering beneath the stars,
 Dropped in the hiding arms of the western hill.
 Night’s discord ceased:
 The visible universe moved in an endless rhythm:
 The wheel of the heavens turned to the pulse of a cricket in the grass.

                             _Alice Corbin_

  Alice Corbin (Mrs. William Penhallow Henderson) was born in St.
  Louis, Missouri. She has been Associate Editor of _Poetry; A
  Magazine of Verse_ since 1912, co-editing (with Harriet Monroe) _The
  New Poetry, An Anthology_ (1917). Since 1916 she has lived in New

  _The Spinning Woman of the Sky_ (1912) contains few hints of
  originality. It is cast in an entirely different key than Miss
  Corbin’s later efforts. Her recent verses, many of them uncollected,
  are much richer; they reveal a close contact with primitive people
  and native folk-lore. Her southern and far western sketches are
  particularly colorful; a volume of New Mexico studies, _Red Earth_
  (1920), being full of noteworthy and sympathetic records.

                          ECHOES OF CHILDHOOD

                           (_A Folk-Medley_)


                Old Uncle Jim was as blind as a mole,
                But he could fiddle Virginia Reels,
                Till you felt the sap run out of your heels,
                Till you knew the devil had got your soul—

                  _Down the middle and swing yo’ partners,
                  Up agin and salute her low,
                  Shake yo’ foot an’ keep a-goin’,
                  Down the middle an’ do-se-do!_

                  _Mind yo’ manners an’ doan git keerless,
                  Swing yo’ lady and bow full low,
                  S’lute yo’ partner an’ turn yo’ neighbor,
                  Gran’-right-an’-left, and aroun’ you go!_

                       *      *      *


                Delphy’s breast was wide and deep,
                A shelf to lay a child asleep,
                  _Swing low, sweet chariot, swing low_;
                Rocking like a lifted boat
                On lazy tropic seas afloat,
                  _Swing low, sweet chariot, swing low_.

                Delphy, when my mother died,
                Taught me wisdom, curbed my pride,
                  _Swing low, sweet chariot, swing low_;
                And when she laid her body down,
                It shone, a jewel, in His crown,
                  _Swing low, sweet chariot, swing low_.

                       *      *      *

                (_Underneath the southern moon
                I was cradled to the tune
                Of the banjo and the fiddle
                And the plaintive negro croon._)


                I’se got religion an’ I doan care
                Who knows that God an’ I are square,
                I wuz carryin’ home my mistis’ wash
                When God came an’ spoke to me out’n de hush.

                An’ I th’ew de wash up inter de air,
                An’ I climbed a tree to de golden stair,
                Ef it hadn’t a been fur Mistah Wright
                I’d had ter stayed dere all de night!

                       *      *      *

                (_Underneath the southern moon
                I was cradled to the tune
                Of the banjo and the fiddle
                And the plaintive negro croon._)


                Betsy’s boy could shuffle and clog,
                Though you couldn’t get him to saw a log,
                Laziest boy about the place
                Till he started to dance—and you saw his face!
                It was all lit up like a mask of bronze
                Set in a niche between temple gongs—
                For he would dance and never stop
                Till he fell on the floor like a spun-out top.
                His feet hung loose from his supple waist,
                He danced without stopping, he danced without haste.
                Like Shiva the Hindu his feet were bound
                In the rhythm of stars and of streams underground:

                  _Banjo playin’ and de sanded floor,
                  Fiddle cryin’, always callin’ more,
                  Can’t help dancin’ though de preacher says
                  Can’t git to heaven doin’ no sich ways,
                  Can’t help dancin’ though de devil stan’s
                  With a pitch-fork waitin’ in his brimstone han’s;
                  Got—ter—keep—dancin’, I—doan—know—how ..._

                  _Banjo playin’ and de sanded floor,
                  Fiddle cryin’, always callin’ more,
                  People’s faces lookin’ scared an’ white,
                  Hands a clappin’ an’ eyes starin’ bright.
                  Can’t help dancin’ though de candle’s dyin’,
                  Can’t help dancin’ while de fiddle’s cryin’;
                  Got—ter—keep—dancin’, can’t—stop—now,

                              _Lola Ridge_

  Lola Ridge was born in Dublin, Ireland, leaving there in infancy and
  spending her childhood in Sydney, Australia. After living some years
  in New Zealand, she returned to Australia to study art. In 1907, she
  came to the United States, supporting herself for three years by
  writing fiction for the popular magazines. She stopped this work
  only, as she says, “because I found I would have to do so if I
  wished to survive as an artist.” For several years she earned her
  living in a variety of ways—as organizer for an educational
  movement, as advertisement writer, as illustrator, artist’s model,
  factory-worker, etc. In 1918, _The New Republic_ published her long
  poem _The Ghetto_ and Miss Ridge, until then totally unknown, became
  the “discovery” of the year.

  Her volume _The Ghetto and Other Poems_ (1918) contains one poem
  that is brilliant, several that are powerful and none that is
  mediocre. Her title-poem is its pinnacle; in it Miss Ridge touches
  strange heights. It is essentially a poem of the city, of its sodden
  brutalities, its sudden beauties. Swift figures shine from these
  lines, like barbaric colors leaping out of darkness; images that are
  surprising but never strained glow with a condensed clarity. In her
  other poems—especially in “The Song of Iron,” “Faces” and “Frank
  Little at Calvary”—the same dignity is maintained, though with less

  _Sun-Up_ (1920) is less integrated, more frankly experimental. But
  the same vibrancy and restrained power that distinguished her
  preceding book are manifest here. Her delineations are sensitive and
  subtle; she accomplishes the maximum in effects with a minimum of

                       PASSAGES FROM “THE GHETTO”

 Old Sodos no longer makes saddles.
 He has forgotten how ...
 Time spins like a crazy dial in his brain,
 And night by night
 I see the love-gesture of his arm
 In its green-greasy coat-sleeve
 Circling the Book,
 And the candles gleaming starkly
 On the blotched-paper whiteness of his face,
 Like a miswritten psalm ...
 Night by night
 I hear his lifted praise,
 Like a broken whinnying
 Before the Lord’s shut gate.

        *      *      *

 Lights go out
 And the stark trunks of the factories
 Melt into the drawn darkness,
 Sheathing like a seamless garment.

 And mothers take home their babies,
 Waxen and delicately curled,
 Like little potted flowers closed under the stars....

 Lights go out ...
 And colors rush together,
 Fusing and floating away.
 Pale worn gold like the settings of old jewels ...
 Mauve, exquisite, tremulous, and luminous purples,
 And burning spires in aureoles of light
 Like shimmering auras.
 They are covering up the pushcarts ...
 Now all have gone save an old man with mirrors—
 Little oval mirrors like tiny pools.
 He shuffles up a darkened street
 And the moon burnishes his mirrors till they shine like phosphorus....
 The moon like a skull,
 Staring out of eyeless sockets at the old men trundling home the

        *      *      *

 A sallow dawn is in the sky
 As I enter my little green room.
 Without, the frail moon,
 Worn to a silvery tissue,
 Throws a faint glamour on the roofs,
 And down the shadowy spires
 Lights tip-toe out ...
 Softly as when lovers close street doors.

 Out of the Battery
 A little wind
 Stirs idly—as an arm
 Trails over a boat’s side in dalliance—
 Rippling the smooth dead surface of the heat,
 And Hester street,
 Like a forlorn woman over-borne
 By many babies at her teats,
 Turns on her trampled bed to meet the day.

                              NEW ORLEANS

     Do you remember
     Honey-melon moon
     Dripping thick sweet light
     Where Canal Street saunters off by herself among quiet trees?
     And the faint decayed patchouli—
     Fragrance of New Orleans ...
     New Orleans,
     Like a dead tube rose
     Upheld in the warm air ...
     Miraculously whole.

                           WIND IN THE ALLEYS

  Wind, rising in the alleys,
  My spirit lifts in you like a banner streaming free of hot walls.
  You are full of unshaped dreams ...
  You are laden with beginnings ...
  There is hope in you ... not sweet ... acrid as blood in the mouth.
  Come into my tossing dust
  Scattering the peace of old deaths,
  Wind rising out of the alleys
  Carrying stuff of flame.

                           _Wallace Stevens_

  Wallace Stevens, of Hartford, Connecticut, is a poet whose peculiar
  quality is only exceeded by his reticence. He has scrupulously kept
  out of the public eye, has printed his poetry only at rare intervals
  and, though much of his work has been highly praised, has
  steadfastly refused to publish a volume.

  Stevens’s best work may be found in the three _Others_ anthologies,
  edited by Alfred Kreymborg. Some of it is penetrative, more than a
  little is puzzling and all of it is provocative. In spite of what
  seems a weary disdain, Stevens is a more than skilful decorator and,
  like T. S. Eliot, combines irony and glamour in a highly original

                      PETER QUINCE AT THE CLAVIER


               Just as my fingers on these keys
               Make music, so the self-same sounds
               On my spirit make a music, too.

               Music is feeling, then, not sound;
               And thus it is that what I feel,
               Here in this room, desiring you,

               Thinking of your blue-shadowed silk,
               Is music. It is like the strain
               Waked in the elders by Susanna:

               Of a green evening, clear and warm,
               She bathed in her still garden, while
               The red-eyed elders, watching, felt

               The basses of their beings throb
               In witching chords, and their thin blood
               Pulse pizzicati of Hosanna.


               In the green water, clear and warm,
               Susanna lay,
               She searched
               The touch of springs,
               And found
               Concealed imaginings.
               She sighed,
               For so much melody.

               Upon the bank, she stood
               In the cool
               Of spent emotions.
               She felt, among the leaves,
               The dew
               Of old devotions.

               She walked upon the grass,
               Still quavering.
               The winds were like her maids,
               On timid feet,
               Fetching her woven scarves,
               Yet wavering.

               A breath upon her hand
               Muted the night.
               She turned—
               A cymbal crashed,
               And roaring horns.


               Soon, with a noise like tambourines,
               Came her attendant Byzantines.

               They wondered why Susanna cried
               Against the elders by her side;

               And as they whispered, the refrain
               Was like a willow swept by rain.

               Anon, their lamps’ uplifted flame
               Revealed Susanna and her shame.

               And then, the simpering Byzantines
               Fled, with a noise like tambourines.


               Beauty is momentary in the mind—
               The fitful tracing of a portal;
               But in the flesh it is immortal.

               The body dies; the body’s beauty lives.
               So evenings die, in their green going,
               A wave, interminably flowing.
               So gardens die, their meek breath scenting
               The cowl of Winter, done repenting.
               So maidens die, to the auroral
               Celebration of a maiden’s choral.

               Susanna’s music touched the bawdy strings
               Of those white elders; but, escaping,
               Left only Death’s ironic scraping.
               Now, in its immortality, it plays
               On the clear viol of her memory,
               And makes a constant sacrament of praise.

                           _Alfred Kreymborg_

  Alfred Kreymborg, one of the most original of the younger
  insurgents, was born in New York City, December 10, 1883. His
  education was spasmodic, his childhood being spent beneath the roar
  of the elevated trains. At ten he was an expert chess player,
  devoting practically all his time to a study of the game. Later, he
  became a bookkeeper for a few years, but from the ages of seventeen
  to twenty-five he supported himself by teaching chess and playing
  exhibition games. His passion, however, was not mathematics but
  music. He dreamed of extending the borders of poetry into the realms
  of tonic art, experimented with new systems of notation,
  technicalities of rhythm. At thirty, he began to turn to the theater
  as a medium; finding, in this way, fresh contacts that enriched and
  ripened his later work.

  In 1914, he organized that group of radical poets which,
  half-deprecatingly, half-defiantly, called itself “Others.” (He
  edited the three anthologies of their work published in 1916, 1917
  and 1919.) Meanwhile, he had been working on a technique that was a
  fresh attempt to rid poetry of its too frequent wordiness and
  rhetorical non-essentials. _Mushrooms_ (1916) was the first
  collection in this vein. Here Kreymborg continually sought for
  simplification, cutting away at his lines until they assumed an
  almost naked expression. Often he overdid his effects, attaining
  nothing more than a false ingenuousness, a sophisticated simplicity.
  Often, too, he failed to draw the line between what is innocently
  childlike and what is merely childish. One sees him frequently
  trying to strike curious attitudes, tripping over several of his
  buffooneries and sprawling ingloriously.

  But Kreymborg, for all harlequin gestures, can do something better
  than tumble and talk with his tongue in his cheek. An elfin fantasy
  and no little beauty of thought are his when he wants to use them.
  Surprising whimsicality and passages of bright color distinguish his
  _Plays for Poem-Mimes_ (1918), in which the principles of modern art
  are applied to poetry and acting, as well as the more developed
  _Plays for Merry Andrews_ (1920).

  Kreymborg’s most ambitious volume of poetry, _Blood of Things_
  (1920), is, for all the surface oddities, the work not only of an
  ardent experimenter but a serious thinker. Humor is in these pages,
  but it is humor lifted to a sort of exaltation. Here, in spite of
  what seems a persistence of occasional charlatanry, is a rich and
  sensitive imagination; a fancy that is as wild as it is

                             OLD MANUSCRIPT

                  The sky
                  is that beautiful old parchment
                  in which the sun
                  and the moon
                  keep their diary.
                  To read it all,
                  one must be a linguist
                  more learned than Father Wisdom;
                  and a visionary
                  more clairvoyant than Mother Dream.
                  But to feel it,
                  one must be an apostle:
                  one who is more than intimate
                  in having been, always,
                  the only confidant—
                  like the earth
                  or the sea.


                    I have come
                    from pride
                    all the way up to humility
                    This day-to-night.
                    The hill
                    was more terrible
                    than ever before.
                    This is the top;
                    there is the tall, slim tree.
                    It isn’t bent; it doesn’t lean;
                    It is only looking back.
                    At dawn,
                    under that tree,
                    still another me of mine
                    was buried.
                    Waiting for me to come again,
                    humorously solicitous
                    of what I bring next,
                    it looks down.

                                HER EYES

                  Her eyes hold black whips—
                    dart of a whip
                    lashing, nay, flicking,
                    nay, merely caressing
                    the hide of a heart—
                  and a broncho tears through canyons—
                    walls reverberating,
                    sluggish streams
                    shaken to rapids and torrents
                    storm destroying
                    silence and solitude!
                  Her eyes throw black lariats—
                    one for his head,
                    one for his heels—
                  and the beast lies vanquished—
                    walls still,
                    streams still—
                    except for a tarn,
                    or is it a pool,
                    or is it a whirlpool
                    twitching with memory?


                      Why do you play
                      that long beautiful adagio,
                      that archaic air,
                      Will it never end?
                      Or is it the beginning,
                      some prelude you seek?

                      Is it a tale you strum?
                      _Yesterday, yesterday_—
                      Have you no more for us?

                      Play on.
                      There is nor hope
                      nor mutiny
                      in you.

                         _Arthur Davison Ficke_

  Arthur Davison Ficke was born at Davenport, Iowa, November 10, 1883.
  He received his A.B. at Harvard (1904), studied for the law and was
  admitted to the bar in 1908. In 1919, after two years’ service in
  France, he gave up his law practice and devoted himself to
  literature exclusively.

  Ficke is the author of ten volumes of verse, the most representative
  of which are _Sonnets of a Portrait Painter_ (1914), _The Man on the
  Hilltop_ (1915) and _An April Elegy_ (1917). In these, the author
  has distilled a warm spirituality, combining freshness of vision
  with an intensified seriousness.

  Having been an expert collector and student of Japanese prints,
  Ficke has written two books on this theme. His intellectual
  equipment is reinforced by a strong sense of satire. Writing under
  the pseudonym “Anne Knish,” he was one of the co-authors (with
  Witter Bynner) of _Spectra_ (1916), which, caricaturing some of the
  wilder outgrowths of the new poetry, was taken seriously by a
  majority of the critics and proved to be a brilliant hoax.

                        PORTRAIT OF AN OLD WOMAN

              She limps with halting painful pace,
                Stops, wavers and creeps on again;
              Peers up with dim and questioning face,
                Void of desire or doubt or pain.

              Her cheeks hang gray in waxen folds
                Wherein there stirs no blood at all.
              A hand, like bundled cornstalks, holds
                The tatters of a faded shawl.

              Where was a breast, sunk bones she clasps;
                A knot jerks where were woman-hips;
              A ropy throat sends writhing gasps
                Up to the tight line of her lips.

              Here strong the city’s pomp is poured ...
                She stands, unhuman, bleak, aghast:
              An empty temple of the Lord
                From which the jocund Lord has passed.

              He has builded him another house,
                Whenceforth his flame, renewed and bright,
              Shines stark upon these weathered brows
                Abandoned to the final night.

                           THE THREE SISTERS

                Gone are the three, those sisters rare
                  With wonder-lips and eyes ashine.
                One was wise and one was fair,
                  And one was mine.

                Ye mourners, weave for the sleeping hair
                  Of only two, your ivy vine.
                For one was wise and one was fair,
                  But one was mine.


           There are strange shadows fostered of the moon,
           More numerous than the clear-cut shade of day....
           Go forth, when all the leaves whisper of June,
           Into the dusk of swooping bats at play;
           Or go into that late November dusk
           When hills take on the noble lines of death,
           And on the air the faint, astringent musk
           Of rotting leaves pours vaguely troubling breath.
           Then shall you see shadows whereof the sun,
           Knows nothing—aye, a thousand shadows there
           Shall leap and flicker and stir and stay and run,
           Like petrels of the changing foul or fair;
           Like ghosts of twilight, of the moon, of him
           Whose homeland lies past each horizon’s rim....

                             _Badger Clark_

  Badger Clark was born at Albia, Iowa, in 1883. He moved to Dakota
  Territory at the age of three months and now lives in the Black
  Hills of South Dakota.

  Clark is one of the few men who have lived to see their work become
  part of folk-lore; many of his songs having been adapted and
  paraphrased by the cowboys who have made them their own. A version
  of one of his poems (“The Glory Trail”), after wide circulation
  among the ranchers and cow-punchers, was printed as an example of
  anonymous folk-song in _Poetry; A Magazine of Verse_ under the title
  “High-Chin Bob”—and credited to “Author Unknown.”

  _Sun and Saddle Leather_ (1915) and _Grass-Grown Trails_ (1917) are
  the expression of a native singer; happy, spontaneous and seldom
  “literary.” There is wind in these songs; the smell of camp-smoke
  and the colors of prairie sunsets rise from them. Free, for the most
  part, from affectations, Clark achieves an unusual ease in his use
  of the local vernacular.

                          THE GLORY TRAIL[44]

              ’Way high up the Mogollons,
                Among the mountain tops,
              A lion cleaned a yearlin’s bones
                And licked his thankful chops,
              When on the picture who should ride,
                A-trippin’ down a slope,
              But High-Chin Bob, with sinful pride
                And mav’rick-hungry rope.

              “_Oh, glory be to me,” says he,
                “And fame’s unfadin’ flowers!
              All meddlin’ hands are far away;
              I ride my good top-hawse today
              And I’m top-rope of the Lazy J—
                Hi! kitty cat, you’re ours!_”

              That lion licked his paw so brown
                And dreamed soft dreams of veal—
              And then the circlin’ loop sung down
                And roped him ’round his meal.
              He yowled quick fury to the world
                Till all the hills yelled back;
              The top-hawse gave a snort and whirled
                And Bob caught up the slack.

              “_Oh, glory be to me,” laughs he.
                “We’ve hit the glory trail.
              No human man as I have read
              Darst loop a ragin’ lion’s head,
              Nor ever hawse could drag one dead
              Until we told the tale._”

              ’Way high up the Mogollons
                That top-hawse done his best,
              Through whippin’ brush and rattlin’ stones,
                From canyon-floor to crest.
              But ever when Bob turned and hoped
                A limp remains to find,
              A red-eyed lion, belly roped
                But healthy, loped behind.

              “_Oh, glory be to me,” grunts he.
                “This glory trail is rough,
              Yet even till the Judgment Morn
              I’ll keep this dally ’round the horn,
              For never any hero born
                Could stoop to holler: Nuff!_’”

              Three suns had rode their circle home
                Beyond the desert’s rim,
              And turned their star-herds loose to roam
                The ranges high and dim;
              Yet up and down and ’round and ’cross
                Bob pounded, weak and wan,
              For pride still glued him to his hawse
                And glory drove him on.

              “_Oh, glory be to me,” sighs he.
                “He kaint be drug to death,
              But now I know beyond a doubt
              Them heroes I have read about
              Was only fools that stuck it out
                To end of mortal breath._”

              ’Way high up the Mogollons
                A prospect man did swear
              That moon dreams melted down his bones
                And hoisted up his hair:
              A ribby cow-hawse thundered by,
                A lion trailed along,
              A rider, ga’nt but chin on high,
                Yelled out a crazy song.

              “_Oh, glory be to me!” cries he,
                “And to my noble noose!
              Oh, stranger, tell my pards below
              I took a rampin’ dream in tow,
              And if I never lay him low,
                I’ll never turn him loose!_”

                             THE COYOTE[45]

                 Trailing the last gleam after,
                   In the valleys emptied of light,
                 Ripples a whimsical laughter
                   Under the wings of the night,
                 Mocking the faded west airily,
                 Meeting the little bats merrily,
                   Over the mesas it shrills
                   To the red moon on the hills.

                 Mournfully rising and waning,
                   Far through the moon-silvered land
                 Wails a weird voice of complaining
                   Over the thorns and the sand.
                 Out of blue silences eerily,
                 On to the black mountains wearily,
                   Till the dim desert is crossed,
                   Wanders the cry, and is lost.
                 Here by the fire’s ruddy streamers,
                   Tired with our hopes and our fears,
                 We inarticulate dreamers
                   Hark to the song of our years.
                 Up to the brooding divinity
                 Far in that sparkling infinity
                   Cry our despair and delight,
                   Voice of the Western night!

                         _Marguerite Wilkinson_

  Marguerite Ogden Bigelow was born at Halifax, Nova Scotia, November
  15, 1883. She attended Northwestern University and married James G.
  Wilkinson in 1909.

  _In Vivid Gardens_ (1911) is a mixture of original moods and
  derivative manners. The later _Bluestone_ (1920) is a much riper
  collection; a book of lyrics in which the author has made many
  experiments in the combination of rhythmical tunes and verbal music.

  Mrs. Wilkinson is also the author of _New Voices_ (1919), a series
  of essays on contemporary verse, reinforced with liberal quotations
  from both English and American poets.

                        BEFORE DAWN IN THE WOODS

           Upon our eyelids, dear, the dew will lie,
             And on the roughened meshes of our hair,
           While little feet make bold to scurry by
             And half-notes shrilly cut the quickened air.

           Our clean, hard bodies, on the clean, hard ground
             Will vaguely feel that they are full of power,
           And they will stir, and stretch, and look around,
             Loving the early, chill, half-lighted hour.

           Loving the voices in the shadowed trees,
             Loving the feet that stir the blossoming grass—
           Oh, always we have known such things as these,
             And knowing, can we love and let them pass?

                              _Harry Kemp_

  Harry (Hibbard) Kemp, known as “the tramp-poet,” was born at
  Youngstown, Ohio, December 15, 1883. He came East at the age of
  twelve, left school to enter a factory, but returned to high school
  to study English.

  A globe-trotter by nature, he went to sea before finishing his high
  school course. He shipped first to Australia, then to China, from
  China to California, from California to the University of Kansas.
  After a few months in London in 1909 (he crossed the Atlantic as a
  stowaway) he returned to New York City, where he has lived ever
  since, founding his own theater in which he is actor, stage-manager,
  playwright and chorus.

  Kemp’s first book was a play, _Judas_ (1910), a reversion of the
  biblical figure along the lines of Paul Heyse’s _Mary of Magdala_.
  His first collection of poems, _The Cry of Youth_ (1914), like the
  subsequent volume, _The Passing God_ (1919), is full of every kind
  of poetry except the kind one might imagine Kemp would write.
  Instead of crude and boisterous verse, here is a precise and almost
  over-polished poetry. Kemp has, strangely enough, taken the classic
  formalists for his models—one can even detect the whispers of Pope
  and Dryden in his lines.

  _Chanteys and Ballads_ (1920) is riper and more representative. The
  notes are more varied, the sense of personality is more pronounced.

                              STREET LAMPS

         Softly they take their being, one by one,
         From the lamp-lighter’s hand, after the sun
         Has dropped to dusk ... like little flowers they bloom
         Set in long rows amid the growing gloom.

         Who he who lights them is, I do not know,
         Except that, every eve, with footfall slow
         And regular, he passes by my room
         And sets his gusty flowers of light a-bloom.

                          A PHANTASY OF HEAVEN

               Perhaps he plays with cherubs now,
                 Those little, golden boys of God,
               Bending, with them, some silver bough,
                 The while a seraph, head a-nod,

               Slumbers on guard; how they will run
                 And shout, if he should wake too soon,—
               As fruit more golden than the sun
                 And riper than the full-grown moon,

               Conglobed in clusters, weighs them down,
                 Like Atlas heaped with starry signs;
               And, if they’re tripped, heel over crown,
                 By hidden coils of mighty vines,—

               Perhaps the seraph, swift to pounce,
                 Will hale them, vexed, to God—and He
               Will only laugh, remembering, once
                 He was a boy in Galilee!

                             _Max Eastman_

  Max Eastman was born at Canandaigua, New York, January 4, 1883. Both
  his father and mother had been Congregationalist preachers, so it
  was natural that the son should turn from scholasticism to a
  definitely social expression. Eastman had received his A.B. at
  Williams in 1905; from 1907 to 1911 he had been Associate in
  Philosophy at Columbia University. But in the latter part of 1911,
  he devoted all his time to writing, studying the vast problems of
  economic inequality and voicing the protests of the dumb millions in
  a style that was all the firmer for being philosophic. In 1913, he
  became editor of _The Masses_ which, in 1917, became _The

  _Child of the Amazons_ (1913) reveals the quiet lover of beauty as
  well as the fiery hater of injustice. The best of these poems, with
  many new ones, were incorporated in _Colors of Life_ (1918). This
  volume is a far richer collection; a record of glowing hours,
  steadily burning truths.

  Besides Eastman’s poems and essays, he has written one of the most
  clarifying—and most readable—studies of the period. _Enjoyment of
  Poetry_ (1913) is invaluable as a new kind of text-book, the chief
  purpose of which, in the words of its preface, is to increase
  enjoyment. Eliminating the usual academic and literary
  classifications, Eastman accomplishes his object, which is to show
  that the poetic in everyday perception and conversation should not
  be separated from the poetic in literature.

                             COMING TO PORT

          Our motion on the soft still misty river
          Is like rest; and like the hours of doom
          That rise and follow one another ever,
          Ghosts of sleeping battle-cruisers loom
          And languish quickly in the liquid gloom.

          From watching them your eyes in tears are gleaming,
          And your heart is still; and like a sound
          In silence is your stillness in the streaming
          Of light-whispered laughter all around,
          Where happy passengers are homeward bound.

          Their sunny journey is in safety ending,
          But for you no journey has an end.
          The tears that to your eyes their light are lending
          Shine in softness to no waiting friend;
          Beyond the search of any eye they tend.

          There is no nest for the unresting fever
          Of your passion, yearning, hungry-veined;
          There is no rest nor blessedness forever
          That can clasp you, quivering and pained,
          Whose eyes burn ever to the Unattained.

          Like time, and like the river’s fateful flowing,
          Flowing though the ship has come to rest,
          Your love is passing through the mist and going,
          Going infinitely from your breast,
          Surpassing time on its immortal quest.

          The ship draws softly to the place of waiting,
          All flush forward with a joyful aim,
          And while their hands with happy hands are mating,
          Lips are laughing out a happy name—
          You pause, and pass among them like a flame.


            Hours when I love you, are like tranquil pools,
            The liquid jewels of the forest, where
            The hunted runner dips his hand, and cools
            His fevered ankles, and the ferny air
            Comes blowing softly on his heaving breast
            Hinting the sacred mystery of rest.

                            AT THE AQUARIUM

                Serene the silver fishes glide,
                Stern-lipped, and pale, and wonder-eyed!
                As, through the aged deeps of ocean,
                They glide with wan and wavy motion.
                They have no pathway where they go,
                They flow like water to and fro,
                They watch with never-winking eyes,
                They watch with staring, cold surprise,
                The level people in the air,
                The people peering, peering there:
                Who wander also to and fro,
                And know not why or where they go,
                Yet have a wonder in their eyes,
                Sometimes a pale and cold surprise.

                          _Arturo Giovannitti_

  Arturo Giovannitti was born in Abruzzi, Italy, January 7, 1884. He
  studied at the college of his native province and came to New York
  when he was eighteen years old. Even as a child, Giovannitti had
  dreamed of America and had “learned upon the knees of his mother and
  father to reverence, with tears in his eyes, the name of the
  republic.” With the dream of America as the great liberator in his
  heart, his first impressions were shattering. What he saw, through
  the eyes of the laborer, was the whiplash and legal trickery, the
  few ruling the many, the miseries and exploitation of the helpless.
  He thought of becoming a preacher, attended theological school;
  sought a greater outlet for his passion for democracy and became an
  editor; lectured, wrote pamphlets and worked continually to express
  “a multitude of men lost in an immensity of silence.”

  Although Giovannitti has written several books in Italian, his one
  English volume is _Arrows in the Gale_ (1914). In an eloquent
  introduction to the poet’s rough music and rougher mixture of
  realism and rapture, Helen Keller writes, “He makes us feel the
  presence of toilers behind tenement walls, behind the machinery they
  guide.... He finds voice for his message in the sighs, the dumb
  hopes, the agonies and thwartings of men who are bowed and broken by
  the monster hands of machines.”

  Several of Giovannitti’s poems are in rhyme, but his most
  characteristic lines move in uplifted prose poems that shape
  themselves vividly to their subjects. “The Cage,” with its
  restrained anger, and “The Walker” are typical. “The Walker,”
  unfortunately too long to quote in its entirety, is remarkable not
  only as an art-work but as a document; it is a twentieth-century
  “Ballad of Reading Gaol,” with an intensity and mystical power of
  which Wilde was incapable.

                           FROM “THE WALKER”

 I hear footsteps over my head all night.
 They come and they go. Again they come and they go all night.
 They come one eternity in four paces and they go one eternity in four
    paces, and between the coming and the going there is Silence and the
    Night and the Infinite.
 For infinite are the nine feet of a prison cell, and endless is the
    march of him who walks between the yellow brick wall and the red iron
    gate, thinking things that cannot be chained and cannot be locked,
    but that wander far away in the sunlit world, each in a wild
    pilgrimage after a destined goal.

       ·      ·      ·      ·      ·      ·

 Throughout the restless night I hear the footsteps over my head.
 Who walks? I know not. It is the phantom of the jail, the sleepless
    brain, a man, the man, the Walker.
 One-two-three-four: four paces and the wall.
 One-two-three-four: four paces and the iron gate.
 He has measured his space, he has measured it accurately, scrupulously,
    minutely, as the hangman measures the rope and the gravedigger the
    coffin—so many feet,
 so many inches, so many fractions of an inch for each of the four paces.
 One-two-three-four. Each step sounds heavy and hollow over my head, and
    the echo of each step sounds hollow within my head as I count them in
    suspense and in dread that once, perhaps, in the endless walk, there
    may be five steps instead of four between the
 yellow brick wall and the red iron gate.
 But he has measured the space so accurately, so scrupulously, so
    minutely that nothing breaks the grave rhythm of the slow, fantastic

       ·      ·      ·      ·      ·      ·

 All through the night he walks and he thinks.
 Is it more frightful because he walks and his footsteps sound hollow
    over my head, or because he thinks and speaks not his thoughts?
 But does he think? Why should he think? Do I think? I only hear the
    footsteps and count them. Four steps and the wall. Four steps and the
    gate. But beyond? Beyond? Where goes he beyond the gate and the wall?
 He goes not beyond. His thought breaks there on the iron gate. Perhaps
    it breaks like a wave of rage, perhaps like a sudden flow of hope,
    but it always returns to beat the wall like a billow of helplessness
    and despair.
 He walks to and fro within the narrow whirlpit of this ever storming and
    furious thought. Only one thought—constant, fixed, immovable,
    sinister, without power and without voice.

 A thought of madness, frenzy, agony and despair, a hell-brewed thought,
    for it is a natural thought. All things natural are things impossible
    while there are jails in the world—bread, work, happiness, peace,
 But he thinks not of this. As he walks he thinks of the most superhuman,
    the most unattainable, the most impossible thing in the world:
 He thinks of a small brass key that turns just half around and throws
    open the red iron gate.

       ·      ·      ·      ·      ·      ·

                           _Eunice Tietjens_

  Eunice Tietjens (née Hammond) was born in Chicago, Illinois, July
  29, 1884. She married Paul Tietjens, the composer, in 1904. During
  1914 and 1916 she was Associate Editor of _Poetry; A Magazine of
  Verse_ and went to France as war correspondent of the Chicago _Daily
  News_ (1917-18). Her second marriage (to Cloyd Head, the writer)
  occurred in February, 1920.

  _Profiles from China_ (1917) is a series of sketches of people,
  scenes and incidents observed in the interior. Written in a fluent
  free verse, the poems in this collection are alive with color and
  personality. The succeeding _Body and Raiment_ (1919) is less
  integrated, more derivative and diffuse. And yet, in spite of
  certain obvious echoes, individual poems like “The Drug Clerk,” “The
  Steam Shovel” and a few others are worthy to stand beside her
  distinguished first volume.

                        THE MOST-SACRED MOUNTAIN

 Space, and the twelve clean winds of heaven,
 And this sharp exultation, like a cry, after the slow six thousand steps
    of climbing!
 This is Tai Shan, the beautiful, the most holy.

 Below my feet the foot-hills nestle, brown with flecks of green; and
    lower down the flat brown plain, the floor of earth, stretches away
    to blue infinity.
 Beside me in this airy space the temple roofs cut their slow curves
    against the sky,
 And one black bird circles above the void.

 Space, and the twelve clean winds are here;
 And with them broods eternity—a swift, white peace, a presence manifest.
 The rhythm ceases here. Time has no place. This is the end that has no

 Here when Confucius came, a half a thousand years before the Nazarene,
    he stepped, with me, thus into timelessness.
 The stone beside us waxes old, the carven stone that says: _On this spot
    once Confucius stood and felt the smallness of the world below._

 The stone grows old.
 Is not for stones.

 But I shall go down from this airy space, this swift white peace, this
    stinging exultation;
 And time will close about me, and my soul stir to the rhythm of the
    daily round.
 Yet, having known, life will not press so close,
 And always I shall feel time ravel thin about me.
 For once I stood
 In the white windy presence of eternity.

                             THE DRUG CLERK

          The drug clerk stands behind the counter
          Young and dapper and debonair....

          Before him burn the great unwinking lights,
          The hectic stars of city nights,
          Red as hell’s pit, green as a mermaid’s hair.
          A queer half-acrid smell is in the air.
          Behind him on the shelves in ordered rows
          With strange, abbreviated names
          Dwell half the facts of life. That young man knows,
          Bottled and boxed and powdered here,
          Dumb tragedies, deceptions, secret shames,
          And comedy and fear.

          Sleep slumbers here, like a great quiet sea
          Shrunk to this bottle’s compass; sleep that brings
          Sweet respite from the teeth of pain
          To those poor tossing things
          That the white nurses watch so thoughtfully.
          And here again
          Dwell the shy souls of Maytime flowers
          That shall make sweeter still those poignant hours
          When wide-eyed youth looks on the face of love.
          And, for those others who have found too late
          The bitter fruits thereof,
          Here are cosmetics, powders, paints,—the arts
          That hunted women use to hunt again
          With scented flesh for bait.
          And here is comfort for the hearts
          Of sucking babes in their first teething pain.
          Here dwells the substance of huge fervid dreams,
          Fantastic, many-colored, shot with gleams
          Of ecstasy and madness, that shall come
          To some pale, twitching sleeper in a bunk.
          And here is courage, cheaply bought
          To cure a blue sick funk,
          And dearly paid for in the final sum.
          Here in this powdered fly is caught
          Desire more ravishing than Tarquin’s....
                                                  And at last
          When the one weary hope is past
          Here is the sole escape,
          The little postern in the house of breath
          Where pallid fugitives keep tryst with death.

          All this the drug clerk knows and there he stands,
          Young and dapper and debonair ...
          He rests a pair of slender hands,
          Much manicured, upon the counter there
          And speaks: “No, we don’t carry no pomade,
          We only cater to the high-class trade.”

                            _Sara Teasdale_

  Sara Teasdale was born August 8, 1884, at St. Louis, Missouri, and
  educated there. After leaving school, she traveled in Europe and the
  Near East. In 1914, she married Ernst B. Filsinger, who has written
  several books on foreign trade, and moved to New York City in 1916.

  Her first book was a slight volume, _Sonnets to Duse_ (1907), giving
  little promise of the rich lyricism which was to follow. _Helen of
  Troy and Other Poems_ (1911) contains the first hints of that
  delicate craftsmanship and authentic loveliness which this poet has
  brought to such a high pitch. The six monologues which open the
  volume are splendid delineations written in a blank verse that is as
  musical as many of her lyrics. At times it suffers from too
  conscious a cleverness; the dexterity with which Miss Teasdale turns
  a phrase or twists her last line is frequently too obtrusive to be
  wholly enjoyable.

  _Rivers to the Sea_ (1915) emphasizes this epigrammatic skill, but a
  greater restraint is here, a warmer spontaneity. The new collection
  contains at least a dozen unforgettable snatches, lyrics in which
  the words seem to fall into place without art or effort. Seldom
  employing metaphor or striking imagery, almost bare of ornament,
  these poems have the sheer magic of triumphant song. Theirs is an
  artlessness that is more than an art.

  _Love Songs_ (1917) is a collection of Miss Teasdale’s previous
  melodies for the _viola d’amore_ together with several new tunes.
  The new poems emphasize the way in which this poet achieves a direct
  enchantment without verbal subtleties. They also emphasize their
  superiority to the earlier love lyrics that were written in a mood
  of literary romance, of artificial moonlit roses, languishing lutes,
  balconies, passionate guitars—a mood that was not so much erotic as

  _Flame and Shadow_ (1920) is by far the best of her books. Here the
  beauty is fuller and deeper; an almost mystic radiance plays from
  these starry verses. Technically, also, this volume marks Miss
  Teasdale’s greatest advance. The words are chosen with a keener
  sense of their actual as well as their musical values; the rhythms
  are much more subtle and varied; the line moves with a greater
  naturalness. Beneath the symbolism of poems like “Water Lilies” and
  “The Long Hill,” one is conscious of a finer artistry, a more
  flexible speech that is all the lovelier for its slight (and
  logical) irregularities.

  Besides her own books, Miss Teasdale has compiled an anthology, _The
  Answering Voice_ (1917), comprising one hundred love lyrics by

                        NIGHT SONG AT AMALFI[46]

                     I asked the heaven of stars
                       What I should give my love—
                     It answered me with silence,
                       Silence above.

                     I asked the darkened sea
                       Down where the fishermen go—
                     It answered me with silence,
                       Silence below.

                     Oh, I could give him weeping,
                       Or I could give him song—
                     But how can I give silence
                       My whole life long?

                            SPRING NIGHT[47]

                The park is filled with night and fog,
                  The veils are drawn about the world,
                The drowsy lights along the paths
                  Are dim and pearled.

                Gold and gleaming the empty streets,
                  Gold and gleaming the misty lake,
                The mirrored lights like sunken swords,
                  Glimmer and shake.

                Oh, is it not enough to be
                Here with this beauty over me?
                My throat should ache with praise, and I
                Should kneel in joy beneath the sky.
                O beauty, are you not enough?
                Why am I crying after love
                With youth, a singing voice, and eyes
                To take earth’s wonder with surprise?
                Why have I put off my pride,
                Why am I unsatisfied,—
                I, for whom the pensive night
                Binds her cloudy hair with light,—
                I, for whom all beauty burns
                Like incense in a million urns?
                O beauty, are you not enough?
                Why am I crying after love?

                          I SHALL NOT CARE[48]

            When I am dead and over me bright April
              Shakes out her rain-drenched hair,
            Though you should lean above me broken-hearted,
              I shall not care.

            I shall have peace, as leafy trees are peaceful
              When rain bends down the bough;
            And I shall be more silent and cold-hearted
              Than you are now.

                           THE LONG HILL[49]

      I must have passed the crest a while ago
        And now I am going down—
      Strange to have crossed the crest and not to know,
        But the brambles were always catching the hem of my gown.

      All the morning I thought how proud I should be
        To stand there straight as a queen,
      Wrapped in the wind and the sun with the world under me—
        But the air was dull, there was little I could have seen.

      It was nearly level along the beaten track
        And the brambles caught in my gown—
      But it’s no use now to think of turning back,
        The rest of the way will be only going down.

                            WATER LILIES[50]

      If you have forgotten water-lilies floating
        On a dark lake among mountains in the afternoon shade,
      If you have forgotten their wet, sleepy fragrance,
        Then you can return and not be afraid.

      But if you remember, then turn away forever
        To the plains and the prairies where pools are far apart,
      There you will not come at dusk on closing water lilies,
        And the shadow of mountains will not fall on your heart.


             If I shall make no poems any more,
               There will be rest, at least, so let it be,
             Time to look up at golden stars and listen
               To the long mellow thunder of the sea.
             The year will turn for me, I shall delight in
               All animals, and some of my own kind;
             Sharing with no one but myself the frosty
               And half ironic musings of my mind.

                           _Gladys Cromwell_

  Gladys Cromwell was born November 28, 1885, in New York City. She
  was educated in New York private schools and lived abroad a great
  deal. “Her life,” writes Anne Dunn, “was little indented by outer
  events, being wholly of the mind and spirit.” She was most at home
  in the world within herself, sensitive and—to the final, tragic

  In January, 1918, Gladys and Dorothea, her twin-sister, enrolled in
  the Canteen Service of the Red Cross, sailed for France and were
  stationed at Châlons. Both girls worked unremittingly for eight
  months. It was only at the end of their desperate labors that they
  gave way to hopelessness, believing their efforts futile and the
  whole world desolate. Signs of a mental breakdown show in their
  diaries as early as October. “After the armistice,” writes Anne Dunn
  in her biographical note which serves as an appreciative epilogue to
  Gladys Cromwell’s _Poems_, “they showed symptoms of nervous
  prostration; but years of self-control and consideration for others
  made them conceal the black horror in which they lived, the agony
  through which they saw a world which, they felt, contained no refuge
  for beauty or quiet thought. And when, on their way home, they
  jumped from the deck of the _Lorraine_ it was in response to a
  vision that promised them fulfilment and peace.” After their death,
  which occurred January 19, 1919, the French Government awarded the
  two sisters the Croix de Guerre.

  _Gates of Utterance_ (1915) has something more than the usual
  “promise.” But the best of Miss Cromwell’s work can be found in her
  posthumously published _Poems_ (1919), which, in 1920, received the
  yearly prize offered by the Poetry Society of America, dividing the
  honor with Neihardt’s _The Song of Three Friends_. Her most
  significant poems betray that attitude to life which was at the
  heart of her tragedy—a preoccupation that was a mixture of
  fascination and fear. Her lines, never mediocre, are introspective
  and fraught with serious concern—the work of a frailer and unsmiling
  Emily Dickinson. Several of the best of her delicate songs, like the
  two lyrics quoted, tremble on the verge of greatness.

                         THE CROWNING GIFT[51]

                 I have had courage to accuse;
                 And a fine wit that could upbraid;
                 And a nice cunning that could bruise;
                 And a shrewd wisdom, unafraid
                 Of what weak mortals fear to lose.

                 I have had virtue to despise
                 The sophistry of pious fools;
                 I have had firmness to chastise;
                 And intellect to make me rules
                 To estimate and exorcise.

                 I have had knowledge to be true;
                 My faith could obstacles remove;
                 But now my frailty I endue.
                 I would have courage now to love,
                 And lay aside the strength I knew.

                             THE MOULD[52]

                     No doubt this active will,
                     So bravely steeped in sun,
                     This will has vanquished Death
                     And foiled oblivion.

                     But this indifferent clay,
                     This fine, experienced hand
                     So quiet, and these thoughts
                     That all unfinished stand,

                     Feel death as though it were
                     A shadowy caress;
                     And win and wear a frail
                     Archaic wistfulness.

                              _Ezra Pound_

  Ezra (Loomis) Pound was born at Hailey, Idaho, October 30, 1885;
  attended Hamilton College and the University of Pennsylvania; and
  went abroad, seeking fresh material to complete a thesis on Lope de
  Vega, in 1908. After visiting Spain on a roundabout journey to
  England, where he took up his residence and where he has lived ever
  since, Pound halted for a while in Italy. It was there, in Venice,
  to be precise, that Pound’s first book, _A Lume Spento_ (1908), was
  printed. The following year Pound went to London and the chief poems
  of the little volume were incorporated in _Personæ_ (1909), a small
  collection containing some of Pound’s finest work.

  Although the young American was a total stranger to the English
  literary world, his book made a definite impression on critics of
  all shades and tastes. Edward Thomas, one of the most careful
  appraisers, wrote “the beauty of it is the beauty of passion,
  sincerity and intensity, not of beautiful words and images and
  suggestions.... The thought dominates the words and is greater than
  they are.” Another critic (Scott James) placed the chief emphasis on
  Pound’s metrical innovations, saying, “At first the whole thing may
  seem to be mere madness and rhetoric, a vain exhibition of force and
  passion without beauty. But as we read on, these curious meters seem
  to have a law and order of their own.”

  _Exultations_ (1909) was printed in the autumn of the same year that
  saw the appearance of _Personæ_. It was received with even greater
  cordiality; a new force and freedom were manifest in such poems as
  “Sestina: Altaforte,” “Ballad of the Goodly Fere,” “Francesca” and

  In both of these books there was evident Pound’s erudition—a
  familiarity with mediæval literature, Provençal singers, Troubadour
  ballads—that, later on, was to degenerate into pedantry and become
  hard and dry. Too often in his later work, Pound seems to be more
  the archaeologist than the artist, digging with little energy and
  less enthusiasm. _Canzoni_ (1911) and _Ripostes_ (1912) both contain
  much that is sharp and living; they also contain the germs of
  desiccation and decay. Pound began to scatter his talents; to start
  movements which he quickly discarded for new ones; to spend himself
  in poetic propaganda for the Imagists and others (see Preface); to
  give more and more time to translation (_The Sonnets of Guido
  Cavalcanti_ appeared in 1912) and arrangements from the Chinese
  (_Cathay_, paraphrased from the notes of Ernest Fenollosa, was
  issued in 1915); to lay the chief stress on _technique_, shades of
  color, verbal _nuances_. The result was a lassitude of the creative
  faculties, an impoverishment of emotion. In the later books, Pound
  begins to suffer from a decadence which appraises the values in life
  chiefly as æsthetic values. And this decadence expresses itself in a
  weariness, a sterility of the imagination. Real feeling becomes
  rarer in his work and the poet descends to flashy trivialities,
  vagaries of assertion or sheer _bravado_ of expression—wasting much
  of his gift in a mere tilting at convention.

  But though this is true of a great quantity of his recent work,
  though he often seems a living anachronism, drawing life not from
  life itself but only from books, many of the poems in _Lustra_
  (1917) yield a hard brightness. The influence of Browning and the
  pre-Raphaelites is less pronounced and reflections of his earlier
  energy stand out with a peculiar brilliance.

  Too special to achieve permanence, too intellectual to become
  popular, Pound’s contribution to his age should not be
  underestimated. He was a pioneer in the new forms; he fought
  dullness wherever he encountered it; under his leadership the
  Imagists became not only a group but a protest; he helped to make
  many of the paths which a score of unconsciously influenced poets
  tread with such ease and nonchalance. Much of his poetry
  gesticulates instead of speaking, a great portion of his art is
  poetry in pantomime. And yet, without Pound, American poetry would
  scarcely have been the many-voiced, multi-colored thing that it is.

                                 A GIRL

                The tree has entered my hands,
                The sap has ascended my arms,
                The tree has grown in my breast
                The branches grow out of me, like arms.
                Tree you are,
                Moss you are,
                You are violets with wind above them.
                A child—so high—you are;
                And all this is folly to the world.

                               A VIRGINAL

        No, no! Go from me. I have left her lately.
        I will not spoil my sheath with lesser brightness,
        For my surrounding air has a new lightness;
        Slight are her arms, yet they have bound me straitly
        And left me cloaked as with a gauze of aether;
        As with sweet leaves; as with a subtle clearness.
        Oh, I have picked up magic in her nearness
        To sheathe me half in half the things that sheathe her.

        No, no! Go from me. I have still the flavour,
        Soft as spring wind that’s come from birchen bowers.
        Green come the shoots, aye April in the branches,
        As winter’s wound with her sleight hand she staunches,
        Hath of the trees a likeness of the savour:
        As white their bark, so white this lady’s hours.

                            BALLAD FOR GLOOM

    For God, our God is a gallant foe
    That playeth behind the veil.

    I have loved my God as a child at heart
    That seeketh deep bosoms for rest,
    I have loved my God as a maid to man—
    But lo, this thing is best:

    To love your God as a gallant foe that plays behind the veil;
    To meet your God as the night winds meet beyond Arcturus’ pale.

    I have played with God for a woman,
    I have staked with my God for truth,
    I have lost to my God as a man, clear-eyed—
        His dice be not of ruth.

    For I am made as a naked blade,
        But hear ye this thing in sooth:

    Who loseth to God as man to man
        Shall win at the turn of the game.
    I have drawn my blade where the lightnings meet
        But the ending is the same:
    Who loseth to God as the sword blades lose
        Shall win at the end of the game.

    For God, our God is a gallant foe that playeth behind the veil.
    When God deigns not to overthrow hath need of triple mail.


                Be in me as the eternal moods
                        of the bleak wind, and not
                As transient things are—
                        gaiety of flowers.
                Have me in the strong loneliness
                        of sunless cliffs
                And of gray waters.
                        Let the gods speak softly of us
                In days hereafter,
                        the shadowy flowers of Orcus
                Remember thee.

                       IN A STATION OF THE METRO

              The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
              Petals on a wet, black bough.

                           _Louis Untermeyer_

  Louis Untermeyer was born October 1, 1885, in New York City, where
  he has lived, except for brief sojourns in Maine and New Jersey,
  ever since. His education was sketchy; his continued failure to
  comprehend algebra and geometry kept him from entering college. His
  one ambition was to become a composer. At sixteen he appeared as a
  pianist in semi-professional circles; at seventeen he entered his
  father’s jewelry manufacturing establishment, of which he became
  designer and factory manager.

  Untermeyer’s first volume was _The Younger Quire_ (1911), a
  twenty-four-page burlesque of an anthology (_The Younger Choir_). It
  was issued anonymously and only one hundred copies were printed.
  Later in the same year, he published a sequence of some seventy
  lyrics entitled _First Love_ (1911) in which the influences of
  Heine, Henley and Housman were not only obvious but crippling. With
  the exception of about eight of these songs, the volume is devoid of
  character and, in spite of a certain technical facility, wholly

  It was with _Challenge_ (1914), now in its fourth edition, that the
  author first spoke in his own idiom. Although the ghost of Henley
  still haunts some of these pages, poems like “Summons,” “Landscapes”
  and “Caliban in the Coal Mines” show “a fresh and lyrical sympathy
  with the modern world.... His vision” (thus the Boston _Transcript_)
  “is a social vision, his spirit a passionately energized command of
  the forces of justice.”

  _Challenge_ was succeeded by _These Times_ (1917), evidently an
  “interval” book which, lacking the concentration and unity of the
  better known collection, sought (not always successfully) for larger
  horizons. Certain poems (like “Swimmers,” “The Laughers” and the
  colloquial sonnets) stand out, but as a whole it has neither the
  energy of his earlier nor the surety of his later work. _The New
  Adam_ (1920) is a more satisfactory unit; here the varied passions
  are fused in a new heat.

  Besides this serious poetry, Untermeyer has published two volumes of
  critical parodies, “_—— and Other Poets_” (1917) and _Including
  Horace_ (1919)—paraphrases of the Latin bard as various classic and
  modern poets might have rendered him. He has also printed a strict
  metrical translation of three hundred and twenty-five _Poems of
  Heinrich Heine_ (1917); a volume of prose criticism, _The New Era in
  American Poetry_ (1919); and two text-books. He was one of the
  Associate Editors of _The Seven Arts_ (1916-17) and has lectured at
  various universities in the Eastern States.


         The eager night and the impetuous winds,
         The hints and whispers of a thousand lures,
         And all the swift persuasion of the Spring,
         Surged from the stars and stones, and swept me on ...
         The smell of honeysuckles, keen and clear,
         Startled and shook me, with the sudden thrill
         Of some well-known but half-forgotten voice.
         A slender stream became a naked sprite,
         Flashed around curious bends, and winked at me
         Beyond the turns, alert and mischievous.
         A saffron moon, dangling among the trees,
         Seemed like a toy balloon caught in the boughs,
         Flung there in sport by some too-mirthful breeze ...
         And as it hung there, vivid and unreal,
         The whole world’s lethargy was brushed away;
         The night kept tugging at my torpid mood
         And tore it into shreds. A warm air blew
         My wintry slothfulness beyond the stars;
         And over all indifference there streamed
         A myriad urges in one rushing wave ...
         Touched with the lavish miracles of earth,
         I felt the brave persistence of the grass;
         The far desire of rivulets; the keen,
         Unconquerable fervor of the thrush;
         The endless labors of the patient worm;
         The lichen’s strength; the prowess of the ant;
         The constancy of flowers; the blind belief
         Of ivy climbing slowly toward the sun,
         The eternal struggles and eternal deaths—
         And yet the groping faith of every root!
         Out of old graves arose the cry of life;
         Out of the dying came the deathless call.
         And, thrilling with a new sweet restlessness,
         The thing that was my boyhood woke in me—
         Dear, foolish fragments made me strong again;
         Valiant adventures, dreams of those to come,
         And all the vague, heroic hopes of youth,
         With fresh abandon, like a fearless laugh,
         Leaped up to face the heaven’s unconcern. ...

         And then—veil upon veil was torn aside—
         Stars, like a host of merry girls and boys,
         Danced gaily ’round me, plucking at my hand;
         The night, scorning its stubborn mystery,
         Leaned down and pressed new courage in my heart;
         The hermit-thrush, throbbing with more than Song,
         Sang with a happy challenge to the skies;
         Love and the faces of a world of children
         Swept like a conquering army through my blood.
         And Beauty, rising out of all its forms,
         Beauty, the passion of the universe,
         Flamed with its joy, a thing too great for tears,
         And, like a wine, poured itself out for me
         To drink of, to be warmed with, and to go
         Refreshed and strengthened to the ceaseless fight;
         To meet with confidence the cynic years;
         Battling in wars that never can be won,
         Seeking the lost cause and the brave defeat.

                       CALIBAN IN THE COAL MINES

               God, we don’t like to complain
                 We know that the mine is no lark—
               But—there’s the pools from the rain;
                 But—there’s the cold and the dark.

               God, You don’t know what it is—
                 You, in Your well-lighted sky—
               Watching the meteors whizz;
                 Warm, with the sun always by.

               God, if You had but the moon
                 Stuck in Your cap for a lamp,
               Even You’d tire of it soon,
                 Down in the dark and the damp.

               Nothing but blackness above,
                 And nothing that moves but the cars. ...
               God, if You wish for our love,
                 Fling us a handful of stars!


        I took the crazy short-cut to the bay;
        Over a fence or two and through a hedge,
        Jumping a private road, along the edge
        Of backyards full of drying wash it lay.

        I ran, electric with elation,
        Sweating, impetuous and wild
        For a swift plunge in the sea that smiled,
        Quiet and luring, half a mile away.
        This was the final thrill, the last sensation
        That capped four hours of violence and laughter:
        To have, with casual friends and casual jokes,
        Hard sport, a cold swim and fresh linen after ...
        And now, the last set being played and over,
        I hurried past the ruddy lakes of clover;
        I swung my racket at astonished oaks,
        My arm still tingling from aggressive strokes.
        Tennis was over for the day—
        I took the leaping short-cut to the bay.

        Then the swift plunge into the cool, green dark—
        The windy waters rushing past me, through me;
        Filled with a sense of some heroic lark,
        Exulting in a vigor clean and roomy.
        Swiftly I rose to meet the feline sea
        That sprang upon me with a hundred claws,
        And grappled, pulled me down and played with me.
        Then, tense and breathless in the tightening pause
        When one wave grows into a toppling acre,
        I dived headlong into the foremost breaker;
        Pitting against a cold and turbulent strife
        The feverish intensity of life.

        Out of the foam I lurched and rode the wave,
        Swimming, hand over hand, against the wind;
        I felt the sea’s vain pounding, and I grinned
        Knowing I was its master, not its slave.
        Oh, the proud total of those lusty hours—
        The give and take of rough and vigorous tussles
        With happy sinews and rejoicing muscles;
        The knowledge of my own miraculous powers,
        Feeling the force in one small body bent
        To curb and tame this towering element.

        Back on the curving beach I stood again,
        Facing the bath-house, when a group of men,
        Stumbling beneath some sort of weight, went by.
        I could not see the hidden thing they carried;
        I only heard: “He never gave a cry”—
        “Who’s going to tell her?”—“Yes, and they just married”—
        “Such a good swimmer, too.” ... And then they passed;
        Leaving the silence throbbing and aghast.

        A moment there my buoyant heart hung slack,
        And then the glad, barbaric blood came back
        Singing a livelier tune; and in my pulse
        Beat the great wave that surges and exults....
        Why I was there and whither I must go
        I did not care. Enough for me to know
        The same unresting struggle and the glowing
        Beauty of spendthrift hours, bravely showing
        Life, an adventure perilous and gay;
        And Death, a long and vivid holiday.


         Strange, how this smooth and supple joint can be
           Put to so many purposes. It checks
         And rears the monsters of machinery
           And shapes the idle gallantries of sex.

         Those hands that light the fuse and dig the trap,
           Fingers that spin the earth or plunge through shame—
         And yours, that lie so lightly in your lap,
           Are only blood and dust—all are the same.

         What mastery directs them through the world
           And gives these delicate bones so great a power?
         You drop your head. You sleep. Your hands are curled
           Loosely, like some half-opened, perfumed flower.

         An hour ago they burned in mine and sent
           Armies with banners charging through my veins.
         Now they are cool and white; they rest content,
           Curved in a smile. The mystery remains.

                             A SIDE STREET

        On the warm Sunday afternoons
        And every evening in the Spring and Summer
        When the night hurries the late home-comer
        And the air grows softer, and scraps of tunes
        Float from the open windows and jar
        Against the voices of children and the hum of a car;

        When the city noises commingle and melt
        With a restless something half-seen, half-felt—
        I see them always there,
        Upon the low, smooth wall before the church;
        That row of little girls who sit and stare
        Like sparrows on a granite perch.
        They come in twittering couples or walk alone
        To their gray bough of stone,
        Sometimes by twos and threes, sometimes as many as five—
        But always they sit there on the narrow coping
        Bright-eyed and solemn, scarcely hoping
        To see more than what is merely moving and alive....
        They hear the couples pass; the lisp of happy feet
        Increases and the night grows suddenly sweet....

        Before the quiet church that smells of death
        They sit.
        And Life sweeps past them with a rushing breath
        And reaches out and plucks them by the hand
        And calls them boldly, whispering to each
        In some strange speech
        They tremble to but cannot understand.
        It thrills and troubles them, as one by one,
        The days run off like water through a sieve;
        While, with a gaze as candid as the sun,
        Poignant and puzzled and inquisitive,
        They come and sit,—
        A part of life and yet apart from it.

                        _Jean Starr Untermeyer_

  Jean Starr was born at Zanesville, Ohio, May 13, 1886, and educated
  at the Putnam Seminary in the city of her birth. At sixteen, she
  came to New York City, pursuing special studies at Columbia. In 1907
  she married Louis Untermeyer and, although she had written some
  prose previous to the poetic renascence, her first volume was
  published more than ten years later.

  _Growing Pains_ (1918) is a thin book of thirty-four poems, the
  result of eight years slow and self-critical creation. This careful
  and highly selective process does much to bring the volume up to an
  unusually high level; a severity of taste and standards maintain the
  poet on the same austere plane. Perfection is almost a passion with
  her; the first poem in the book declares:

              I would rather work in stubborn rock
              All the years of my life;
              And make one strong thing
              And set it in a high, clean place,
              To recall the granite strength of my desire.

  Acutely self-analytical, there is a stern, uncompromising
  relentlessness toward her introspections that keeps them from being
  wistful or pathetic. These poems are, as she explains in her

                No songs for an idle lute,
                No pretty tunes of coddled ills,
                But the bare chart of my growing pains.

  Intellect is always in the ascendency, even in the most ecstatic
  verses. In an almost religious poem, “A Man” (dedicated to her
  father), she pictures herself as a child, and expresses the whole
  psychology of our juvenile love of poor literature in lines like:

              A book held gaping on my knees,
              Watering a sterile romance with my thoughts.

  But it is not only her keen search for truth and an equally keen eye
  for the exact word that make these poems distinctive. A sharp color
  sense, a surprising whimsicality, a translation of the ordinary in
  terms of the beautiful, illumine such poems as “Sinfonia Domestica,”
  “Clothes,” “Autumn.” In the last named, with its brilliant
  combination of painting and housewifery, Mrs. Untermeyer has
  reproduced her early environment with a bright pungency;
  “Verhaeren’s Flemish _genre_ pictures are no better,” writes Amy
  Lowell. Several of her purely pictorial poems establish a swift
  kinship between the most romantic and most prosaic objects. The tiny
  “Moonrise” is an example; so is “High Tide,” that, in one extended
  metaphor, turns the mere fact of a physical law into a most
  arresting and noble fancy.

  _Dreams Out of Darkness_ (1921) is a ripening of this author’s
  powers with a richer musical undercurrent. This increase of melody
  is manifest on every page, possibly most striking in “Lake Song,”
  which, beneath its symbolism, is one of the most liquid unrhymed
  lyrics of the period.

                               HIGH TIDE

           I edged back against the night.
           The sea growled assault on the wave-bitten shore.
           And the breakers,
           Like young and impatient hounds,
           Sprang with rough joy on the shrinking sand.
           Sprang—but were drawn back slowly
           With a long, relentless pull,
           Whimpering, into the dark.

           Then I saw who held them captive;
           And I saw how they were bound
           With a broad and quivering leash of light,
           Held by the moon,
           As, calm and unsmiling,
           She walked the deep fields of the sky.


                            (_To My Mother_)

 How memory cuts away the years,
 And how clean the picture comes
 Of autumn days, brisk and busy;
 Charged with keen sunshine.
 And you, stirred with activity,
 The spirit of those energetic days.

 There was our back-yard,
 So plain and stripped of green,
 With even the weeds carefully pulled away
 From the crooked red bricks that made the walk,
 And the earth on either side so black.

 Autumn and dead leaves burning in the sharp air.
 And winter comforts coming in like a pageant.
 I shall not forget them:—
 Great jars laden with the raw green of pickles,
 Standing in a solemn row across the back of the porch,
 Exhaling the pungent dill;
 And in the very centre of the yard,
 You, tending the great catsup kettle of gleaming copper,
 Where fat, red tomatoes bobbed up and down
 Like jolly monks in a drunken dance.
 And there were bland banks of cabbages that came by the wagon-load,
 Soon to be cut into delicate ribbons
 Only to be crushed by the heavy, wooden stompers.
 Such feathery whiteness—to come to kraut!
 And after, there were grapes that hid their brightness under a grey
 Then gushed thrilling, purple blood over the fire;
 And enamelled crab-apples that tricked with their fragrance
 But were bitter to taste.
 And there were spicy plums and ill-shaped quinces,
 And long string beans floating in pans of clear water
 Like slim, green fishes.
 And there was fish itself,
 Salted, silver herring from the city....

 And you moved among these mysteries,
 Absorbed and smiling and sure;
 Stirring, tasting, measuring,
 With the precision of a ritual.
 I like to think of you in your years of power—
 You, now so shaken and so powerless—
 High priestess of your home.

                           SINFONIA DOMESTICA

      When the white wave of a glory that is hardly I
        Breaks through my mind and washes it clean,
      I know at last the meaning of my ecstasy,
        And know at last my wish and what it can mean.

      To have sped out of life that night—to have vanished
        Not as a vision, but as something touched, yet grown
      Radiant as the moonlight, circling my naked shoulder;
        Wrapped in a dream of beauty, longed for, but never known.

      For how with our daily converse, even the sweet sharing
        Of thoughts, of food, of home, of common life,
      How shall I be that glory, that last desire
        For which men struggle? Is Romance in a wife?

      Must I bend a heart that is bowed to breaking
        With a frustration, inevitable and slow,
      And bank my flame to a low hearth fire, believing
        You’ll come for warmth and life to its tempered glow?

      Shall I mould my hope anew, to one of service,
        And tell my uneasy soul “Behold, this is good.”
      And meet you (if we do meet), even at Heaven’s threshold,
        With ewer and basin, with clothing and with food?

                               LAKE SONG

                 The lapping of lake water
                 Is like the weeping of women,
                 The weeping of ancient women
                 Who grieved without rebellion.

                 The lake falls over the shore
                 Like tears on their curven bosoms.
                 Here is languid, luxurious wailing;
                 The wailing of kings’ daughters.

                 So do we ever cry,
                 A soft, unmutinous crying,
                 When we know ourselves each a princess
                 Locked fast within her tower.

                 The lapping of lake water
                 Is like the weeping of women,
                 The fertile tears of women
                 That water the dreams of men.

                         _John Gould Fletcher_

  John Gould Fletcher was born at Little Rock, Arkansas, January 3,
  1886. He was educated at Phillips Academy (Andover, Massachusetts)
  and Harvard (1903-7) and, after spending several years in
  Massachusetts, moved to England, where, except for brief visits to
  the United States, he has lived ever since.

  In 1913, Fletcher published five tiny books of poems which he has
  referred to as “his literary wild oats,” five small collections of
  experimental and faintly interesting verse. Two years later,
  Fletcher appeared as a decidedly less conservative and far more
  arresting poet with _Irradiations—Sand and Spray_ (1915). This
  volume is full of an extraordinary fancy; imagination riots through
  it, even though it is often a bloodless and bodiless imagination. It
  is crowded—even overcrowded—with æsthetic subtleties, a sort of
  brilliant and haphazard series of improvisations.

  In the following book, _Goblins and Pagodas_ (1916), Fletcher
  carries his unrelated harmonies much further. Color dominates him;
  the ambitious set of eleven “color symphonies” is an elaborate
  design in which the tone as well as the thought is summoned by
  color-associations, sometimes closely related, sometimes
  far-fetched, “It contains,” says Conrad Aiken in his appreciative
  chapter on Fletcher in _Scepticisms_, “little of the emotion which
  relates to the daily life of men and women.... It is a sort of
  absolute poetry, a poetry of detached waver and brilliance, a
  beautiful flowering of language alone—a parthenogenesis, as if
  language were fertilized by itself rather than by thought or
  feeling. Remove the magic of phrase and sound and there is nothing
  left: no thread of continuity, no thought, no story, no emotion. But
  the magic of phrase and sound is powerful, and it takes one into a
  fantastic world.”

  Meanwhile, Fletcher has been developing. After having appeared in
  the three Imagist anthologies, he sought for depths rather than
  surfaces. Beginning with his majestic “Lincoln,” his work has had a
  closer relation to humanity; a moving mysticism speaks from _The
  Tree of Life_ (1918), the more obviously native _Granite and
  Breakers_ (1921) and the later uncollected poems. Although the
  unconscious too often dictates Fletcher’s fantasies, a calm music
  dominates his shorter poems, a grave and subdued lyricism moves and
  enriches them.

                                THE SWAN

                 Under a wall of bronze,
                 Where beeches dip and trail
                 Their branches in the water;
                 With red-tipped head and wings—
                 A beaked ship under sail—
                 There glides a single swan.

                 Under the autumn trees
                 He goes. The branches quiver,
                 Dance in the wraith-like water,
                 Which ripples beneath the sedge
                 With the slackening furrow that glides
                 In his wake when he is gone:
                 The beeches bow dark heads.

                 Into the windless dusk,
                 Where in mist great towers stand
                 Guarding a lonely strand,
                 That is bodiless and dim,
                 He speeds with easy stride;
                 And I would go beside,
                 Till the low brown hills divide
                 At last, for me and him.

                            LONDON NIGHTFALL

           I saw the shapes that stood upon the clouds:
           And they were tiger-breasted, shot with light,
           And all of them, lifting long trumpets together,
           Blew over the city, for the night to come.
           Down in the street, we floundered in the mud;
           Above, in endless files, gold angels came
           And stood upon the clouds, and blew their horns
           For night.

           Like a wet petal crumpled,
           Twilight fell soddenly on the weary city;
           The ’buses lurched and groaned,
           The shops put up their doors.
           But skywards, far aloft,
           The angels, vanishing, waved broad plumes of gold,
           Summoning spirits from a thousand hills
           To pour the thick night out upon the earth.


           Above the east horizon,
           The great red flower of the dawn
           Opens slowly, petal by petal;
           The trees emerge from darkness
           With ghostly silver leaves,
           Dew powdered.
           Now consciousness emerges
           Reluctantly out of tides of sleep;
           Finding with cold surprise
           No strange new thing to match its dreams,
           But merely the familiar shapes
           Of bedpost, window-pane, and wall.

           Within the city,
           The streets which were the last to fall to sleep,
           Hold yet stale fragments of the night.
           Sleep oozes out of stagnant ash-barrels,
           Sleep drowses over litter in the streets.
           Sleep nods upon the milkcans by back doors.
           And, in shut rooms,
           Behind the lowered window-blinds,
           Drawn white faces unwittingly flout the day.

           But, at the edges of the city,
           Sleep is already washed away;
           Light filters through the moist green leaves,
           It runs into the cups of flowers,
           It leaps in sparks through drops of dew,
           It whirls against the window-panes
           With waking birds;
           Blinds are rolled up and chimneys smoke,
           Feet clatter past in silent paths,
           And down white vanishing ways of steel,
           A dozen railway trains converge
           Upon night’s stronghold.



 Like a gaunt, scraggly pine
 Which lifts its head above the mournful sandhills;
 And patiently, through dull years of bitter silence,
 Untended and uncared for, begins to grow.

 Ungainly, labouring, huge,
 The wind of the north has twisted and gnarled its branches;
 Yet in the heat of midsummer days, when thunder-clouds ring the horizon,
 A nation of men shall rest beneath its shade.

 And it shall protect them all,
 Hold everyone safe there, watching aloof in silence;
 Until at last one mad stray bolt from the zenith
 Shall strike it in an instant down to earth.


 There was a darkness in this man; an immense and hollow darkness,
 Of which we may not speak, nor share with him, nor enter;
 A darkness through which strong roots stretched downwards into the earth
 Towards old things;
 Towards the herdman-kings who walked the earth and spoke with God,
 Towards the wanderers who sought for they knew not what, and found their
    goal at last;
 Towards the men who waited, only waited patiently when all seemed lost,
 Many bitter winters of defeat;
 Down to the granite of patience
 These roots swept, knotted fibrous roots, prying, piercing, seeking,
 And drew from the living rock and the living waters about it
 The red sap to carry upwards to the sun.

 Not proud, but humble,
 Only to serve and pass on, to endure to the end through service;
 For the ax is laid at the root of the trees, and all that bring not
    forth good fruit
 Shall be cut down on the day to come and cast into the fire.


 There is silence abroad in the land to-day,
 And in the hearts of men, a deep and anxious silence;
 And, because we are still at last, those bronze lips slowly open,
 Those hollow and weary eyes take on a gleam of light.

 Slowly a patient, firm-syllabled voice cuts through the endless silence
 Like labouring oxen that drag a plow through the chaos of rude
 “I went forward as the light goes forward in early spring,
 But there were also many things which I left behind.

 “Tombs that were quiet;
 One, of a mother, whose brief light went out in the darkness,
 One, of a loved one, the snow on whose grave is long falling,
 One, only of a child, but it was mine.

 “Have you forgot your graves? Go, question them in anguish,
 Listen long to their unstirred lips. From your hostages to silence,
 Learn there is no life without death, no dawn without sun-setting,
 No victory but to Him who has given all.”


 The clamour of cannon dies down, the furnace-mouth of the battle is
 The midwinter sun dips and descends, the earth takes on afresh its
    bright colours.
 But he whom we mocked and obeyed not, he whom we scorned and mistrusted,
 He has descended, like a god, to his rest.

 Over the uproar of cities,
 Over the million intricate threads of life wavering and crossing,
 In the midst of problems we know not, tangling, perplexing, ensnaring,
 Rises one white tomb alone.

 Beam over it, stars.
 Wrap it round, stripes—stripes red for the pain that he bore for you—
 Enfold it forever, O flag, rent, soiled, but repaired through your
 Long as you keep him there safe, the nations shall bow to your law.

 Strew over him flowers;
 Blue forget-me-nots from the north, and the bright pink arbutus
 From the east, and from the west rich orange blossoms,
 But from the heart of the land take the passion-flower.
 Rayed, violet, dim,
 With the nails that pierced, the cross that he bore and the circlet,
 And beside it there, lay also one lonely snow-white magnolia,
 Bitter for remembrance of the healing which has passed.

                              THE SKATERS

 Black swallows swooping or gliding
 In a flurry of entangled loops and curves;
 The skaters skim over the frozen river.
 And the grinding click of their skates as they impinge upon the surface,
 Is like the brushing together of thin wing-tips of silver.

                               “_H. D._”

  Hilda Doolittle was born September 10, 1886, at Bethlehem,
  Pennsylvania. When she was still a child, her father became Director
  of the Flower Observatory and the family moved to a suburb in the
  outskirts of Philadelphia. Hilda Doolittle attended a private school
  in West Philadelphia; entered Bryn Mawr College in 1904; and went
  abroad, for what was intended to be a short sojourn, in 1911. After
  a visit to Italy and France, she came to London, joining Ezra Pound
  and helping to organize the Imagists. Her work (signed “H. D.”)
  began to appear in a few magazines and its unusual quality was
  recognized at once. She married one of the most talented of the
  English members of this group (Richard Aldington) in 1913 and
  remained in London, creating, through a chiseled verse, her pure and
  flawless reproductions of Greek poetry and sculpture. In 1920, she
  made her long-deferred visit to America, settling on the Californian
  coast, returning, the following year, to England.

  “H. D.” is, by all odds, the most important of her group. She is the
  only one who has steadfastly held to the letter as well as the
  spirit of its _credo_. She is, in fact, the only true Imagist. Her
  poems, capturing the firm delicacy of the Greek models, are like a
  set of Tanagra figurines. Here, at first glance, the effect is
  chilling—beauty seems held in a frozen gesture. But it is in this
  very fixation of light, color and emotion that she achieves
  intensity. What, at first, seemed static becomes fluent; the
  arrested moment glows with brimming energy.

  Observe the poem entitled “Heat.” Here, in the fewest possible
  words, is something beyond the description of heat—here is the
  effect of it. In these lines one feels the very weight and solidity
  of a midsummer afternoon.

  Her efforts to draw the contemporary world are less happy. She is
  best in her reflections of clear-cut loveliness in a quietly pagan
  world. Her art, in its precision and polish, is curiously Hellenic;
  “H. D.,” in most of her moods, seems less of a contemporary than an
  inspired anachronism.


                    Whirl up, sea—
                    Whirl your pointed pines.
                    Splash your great pines
                    On our rocks.
                    Hurl your green over us—
                    Cover us with your pools of fir.

                               PEAR TREE

                     Silver dust
                     lifted from the earth,
                     higher than my arms reach,
                     you have mounted.
                     O silver,
                     higher than my arms reach
                     you front us with great mass;

                     no flower ever opened
                     so staunch a white leaf,
                     no flower ever parted silver
                     from such rare silver;

                     O white pear,
                     your flower-tufts,
                     thick on the branch,
                     bring summer and ripe fruits
                     in their purple hearts.


                      O wind, rend open the heat,
                      cut apart the heat,
                      rend it to tatters.

                      Fruit cannot drop
                      through this thick air—
                      fruit cannot fall into heat
                      that presses up and blunts
                      the points of pears
                      and rounds the grapes.

                      Cut through the heat—
                      plough through it,
                      turning it on either side
                      of your path.


               Nor skin nor hide nor fleece
                   Shall cover you,
               Nor curtain of crimson nor fine
               Shelter of cedar-wood be over you,
                   Nor the fir-tree
                   Nor the pine.

               Nor sight of whin nor gorse
                   Nor river-yew,
                   Nor fragrance of flowering bush,
               Nor wailing of reed-bird to waken you.
                   Nor of linnet
                   Nor of thrush.

               Nor word nor touch nor sight
                   Of lover, you
               Shall long through the night but for this:
               The roll of the full tide to cover you
                   Without question,
                   Without kiss.

                          _William Rose Benét_

  William Rose Benét was born at Fort Hamilton, New York Harbor,
  February 2, 1886. He was educated at Albany Academy and graduated
  from Yale in 1907. After various experiences as free-lance writer,
  publisher’s reader, magazine editor and second lieutenant in the U.
  S. Air Service, Benét became the Associate Editor of the New York
  Post’s _Literary Review_ in 1920.

  The outstanding feature of Benét’s verse is its extraordinary
  whimsicality; an oriental imagination riots through his pages. Like
  the title-poem of his first volume, _Merchants from Cathay_ (1913),
  all of Benét’s volumes vibrate with a vigorous music; they are full
  of the sonorous stuff that one rolls out crossing wintry fields or
  tramping a road alone.

  But Benét’s charm is not confined to the lift and swing of
  rollicking choruses. His _The Falconer of God_ (1914), _The Great
  White Wall_ (1916) and _The Burglar of the Zodiac_ (1918) contain
  decorations as bold as they are brilliant; they ring with a strange
  and spicy music evoked from seemingly casual words; they glow with a
  half-lurid, half-humorous reflection of the grotesque. There are
  times when Benét seems to be forcing his ingenuity. The poet
  frequently lets his fantastic Pegasus run away with him, and what
  started out to be a gallop among the stars ends in a scraping of
  shins on the pavement. But he is saved by an acrobatic dexterity
  even when his energy betrays him.

  _Moons of Grandeur_ (1920) represents the fullest development of
  Benét’s unusual gifts; a combination of Eastern phantasy and Western

                         MERCHANTS FROM CATHAY

 Their heels slapped their bumping mules; their fat chaps
    glowed.[Sidenote: _How that
    They came._]
   Glory unto Mary, each seemed to wear a crown!
 Like sunset their robes were on the wide, white road:
   So we saw those mad merchants come dusting into town!

 Two paunchy beasts they rode on and two they drove before. [Sidenote:
    _Of their
   May the Saints all help us, the tiger-stripes they had!
 And the panniers upon them swelled full of stuffs and ore!
   The square buzzed and jostled at a sight so mad.

 They bawled in their beards, and their turbans they wried. [Sidenote:
    _And their
   They stopped by the stalls with curvetting and clatter.
 As bronze as the bracken their necks and faces dyed—
   And a stave they sat singing, to tell us of the matter.

 _“For your silks, to Sugarmago! For your dyes, to Isfahan! [Sidenote:
    _With its
   Weird fruits from the Isle o’ Lamaree.
       But for magic merchandise,
       For treasure-trove and spice,
 Here’s a catch and a carol to the great, grand Chan,
   The King of all the Kings across the sea!_

 _“Here’s a catch and a carol to the great, grand Chan; [Sidenote: _And
 For we won through the deserts to his sunset barbican;
 And the mountains of his palace no Titan’s reach may span
   Where he wields his seignorie!_

 “Red-as-blood skins of Panthers, so bright against the sun [Sidenote: _A
   On the walls of the halls where his pillared state is set
 They daze with a blaze no man may look upon.
   And with conduits of beverage those floors run wet.

 “His wives stiff with riches, they sit before him there. [Sidenote: _And
    a second
    Right hard
    To stomach_]
   Bird and beast at his feast make song and clapping cheer.
 And jugglers and enchanters, all walking on the air,
   Make fall eclipse and thunder—make moons and suns appear!

 “Once the Chan, by his enemies soreprest, and sorely spent, [Sidenote:
    _And a third,
    Which is a
   Lay, so they say, in a thicket ’neath a tree
 Where the howl of an owl vexed his foes from their intent:
   Then that fowl for a holy bird of reverence made he!

 _“A catch and a carol to the great, grand Chan! [Sidenote: _We gape to
    Hear them end_,]
 Pastmasters of disasters, our desert caravan
 Won through all peril to his sunset barbican,
   Where he wields his seignorie!
 And crowns he gave us! We end where we began:
 A catch and a carol to the great, grand Chan,
   The King of all the Kings across the sea!_”

 Those mad, antic Merchants!... Their stripèd beasts did beat [Sidenote:
    _And are in
   The market-square suddenly with hooves of beaten gold!
 The ground yawned gaping and flamed beneath our feet!
   They plunged to Pits Abysmal with their wealth untold!

 And some say the Chan himself in anger dealt the stroke— [Sidenote: _And
    dread it is
    Devil’s Work!_]
 For sharing of his secrets with silly, common folk:
 But Holy, Blessed Mary, preserve us as you may
 Lest once more those mad Merchants come chanting from Cathay!


                    Let the night keep
                    What the night takes,
                    Sighs buried deep,
                    Ancient heart-aches,
                    Groans of the lover,
                    Tears of the lost;
                    Let day discover not
                    All the night cost!

                    Let the night keep
                    Love’s burning bliss,
                    Drowned in deep sleep
                    Whisper and kiss,
                    Thoughts like white flowers
                    In hedges of May;
                    Let such deep hours not
                    Fade with the day!

                    Monarch is night
                    Of all eldest things,
                    Pain and affright,
                    Rapturous wings;
                    Night the crown, night the sword
                    Lifted to smite.
                    Kneel to your overlord,
                    Children of night!

                         HOW TO CATCH UNICORNS

            Its cloven hoofprint on the sand
            Will lead you—where?
            Into a phantasmagoric land—

            There all the bright streams run up-hill.
            The birds on every tree are still.
            But from stocks and stones, clear voices come
            That should be dumb.

            If you have taken along a net,
            A noose, a prod,
            You’ll be waiting in the forest yet ...

            In a virgin’s lap the beast slept sound,
            _They say_ ... but I—
            I think (Is anyone around?)
            _That’s just a lie_!

            If you have taken a musketoon
            To flinders ’twill flash ’neath the wizard moon.
            So I should take browned batter-cake,
            Hot-buttered inside, like foam to flake.

            And I should take an easy heart
            And a whimsical face,
            And a tied-up lunch of sandwich and tart,
            And spread a cloth in the open chase.
            And then I should pretend to snore ...

            And I’d hear a snort and I’d hear a roar,
            The wind of a mane and a tail, and four
            Wild hoofs prancing the forest-floor.

            And I’d open my eyes on a flashing horn—
            And see the Unicorn!

            Paladins fierce and virgins sweet ...
            _But he’s never had anything to eat!_
            Knights have tramped in their iron-mong’ry ...
            But nobody thought—that’s all!—_he’s hungry!_


            _Really_ hungry! Good Lord deliver us,
            The Unicorn is not _carnivorous_!

                          _John Hall Wheelock_

  John Hall Wheelock was born at Far Rockaway, Long Island, in 1886.
  He was graduated from Harvard, receiving his B.A. in 1908, and
  finished his studies at the Universities of Göttingen and Berlin,

  Wheelock’s first book is, in many respects, his best. _The Human
  Fantasy_ (1911) sings with the voice of youth—a youth which is
  vibrantly, even vociferously, in love with existence. Rhapsodic and
  obviously influenced by Whitman and Henley, these lines beat
  bravely; a singing buoyance arrests one upon opening the volume. A
  headlong ecstasy rises from pages whose refrain is “Splendid it is
  to live and glorious to die.” _The Beloved Adventure_ (1912) is less
  powerful but scarcely less passionate. Lyric after lyric moves one
  by its athletic music and spiritual intensity.

  Wheelock’s subsequent volumes are less individualized. _Love and
  Liberation_ (1913) and _Dust and Light_ (1919) are long dilutions of
  the earlier strain. The music is still here, but most of the magic
  has gone. Wheelock has allowed himself to be exploited by his own
  fluency, and the result is unbelievably monotonous. Yet even vast
  stretches of two hundred and thirty unvaried love songs cannot bury
  a dozen or more vivid poems which lie, half-concealed, in a waste of

  In spite of his lapses and lack of selective taste, Wheelock is
  often a stirring lyricist. _The Human Fantasy_ is one of the most
  remarkable “first” books of the period.

                      SUNDAY EVENING IN THE COMMON

          Look—on the topmost branches of the world
            The blossoms of the myriad stars are thick;
            Over the huddled rows of stone and brick,
          A few, sad wisps of empty smoke are curled
            Like ghosts, languid and sick.

          One breathless moment now the city’s moaning
            Fades, and the endless streets seem vague and dim;
            There is no sound around the whole world’s rim,
          Save in the distance a small band is droning
            Some desolate old hymn.

          Van Wyck, how often have we been together
            When this same moment made all mysteries clear;
            —The infinite stars that brood above us here,
          And the gray city in the soft June weather,
            So tawdry and so dear!


                 The old, familiar Beauty,
                   Caressed by the world’s dead hands,
                 Beauty, so old and weary,
                 Beloved of a thousand lovers,
                 Worn with a thousand kisses,
                   Comes to us all in the end.

                          LOVE AND LIBERATION

                  Lift your arms to the stars
                  And give an immortal shout;
                  Not all the veils of darkness
                  Can put your beauty out!

                  You are armed with love, with love,
                  Nor all the powers of Fate
                  Can touch you with a spear,
                  Nor all the hands of hate.

                  What of good and evil,
                  Hell and Heaven above—,
                  Trample them with love!
                  Ride over them with love!


            Sleep on, I lie at heaven’s high oriels,
                Over the stars that murmur as they go
                Lighting your lattice-window far below;
            And every star some of the glory spells
                Whereof I know.

            I have forgotten you long, long ago,
                Like the sweet silver singing of thin bells
            Vanished, or music fading faint and low.
                Sleep on, I lie at heaven’s high oriels,
            Who loved you so.

                             _Joyce Kilmer_

  (Alfred) Joyce Kilmer was born at New Brunswick, New Jersey,
  December 6, 1886. He was graduated from Rutgers College in 1904 and
  received his A.B. from Columbia in 1906. After leaving Columbia he
  became, in rapid succession, instructor of Latin at Morristown High
  School, editor of a journal for horsemen, book salesman,
  book-reviewer, lexicographer, æsthete, interviewer, socialist and

  After Kilmer became converted to Catholicism, his conception of the
  church was the Church Militant. “His thought,” writes his
  biographer, Robert Cortes Holliday, “dwelt continually on
  warrior-saints.... As he saw it, there was no question as to his
  duty.” In 1917 Kilmer joined the Officers’ Reserve Training Corps,
  but he soon resigned from this. In less than three weeks after
  America entered the world war, he enlisted as a private in the
  Seventh Regiment, National Guard, New York. Shortly before the
  regiment left New York for Spartanburg, South Carolina, Kilmer was
  transferred at his own request to the 165th Infantry. In spite of
  his avowed militancy, Kilmer was “a poet trying to be a soldier;” he
  made no effort to glorify war; his one hope was to wring some
  spiritual satisfaction out of the brutality.

  On July 28, 1918, the five-day battle for the mastery of the heights
  beyond the river Ourcq was begun. Two days later, Sergeant Kilmer
  was killed in action.

  Death came before the poet had developed or even matured his gifts.
  His first volume, _Summer of Love_ (1911), is wholly imitative; it
  is full of reflections of a dozen other sources, “a broken bundle of
  mirrors.” _Trees and Other Poems_ (1914) contains the title-poem by
  which Kilmer is best known and, though various influences are still
  strong (one cannot miss the borrowed accents of Patmore, Belloc,
  Chesterton, Housman and—_vide_ “Martin”—E. A. Robinson), a
  refreshing candor lights up the lines. _Main Street and Other Poems_
  (1917) is less derivative; the simplicity is less self-conscious,
  the ecstasy more spontaneous.

  Besides his own poetry, Kilmer edited a selection of _Verses_ by
  Hilaire Belloc (1916) and _Dreams and Images_, An Anthology of
  Catholic poets (1917).


               I think that I shall never see
               A poem lovely as a tree.

               A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
               Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

               A tree that looks at God all day,
               And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

               A tree that may in summer wear
               A nest of robins in her hair;

               Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
               Who intimately lives with rain.

               Poems are made by fools like me,
               But only God can make a tree.


               When I am tired of earnest men,
                 Intense and keen and sharp and clever,
               Pursuing fame with brush or pen
                 Or counting metal disks forever,
               Then from the halls of shadowland
                 Beyond the trackless purple sea
               Old Martin’s ghost comes back to stand
                 Beside my desk and talk to me.

               Still on his delicate pale face
                 A quizzical thin smile is showing,
               His cheeks are wrinkled like fine lace,
                 His kind blue eyes are gay and glowing.
               He wears a brilliant-hued cravat,
                 A suit to match his soft gray hair,
               A rakish stick, a knowing hat,
                 A manner blithe and debonair.

               How good, that he who always knew
                 That being lovely was a duty,
               Should have gold halls to wander through
                 And should himself inhabit beauty.
               How like his old unselfish way
                 To leave those halls of splendid mirth
               And comfort those condemned to stay
                 Upon the bleak and sombre earth.

               Some people ask: What cruel chance
                 Made Martin’s life so sad a story?
               Martin? Why, he exhaled romance
                 And wore an overcoat of glory.
               A fleck of sunlight in the street,
                 A horse, a book, a girl who smiled,—
               Such visions made each moment sweet
                 For this receptive, ancient child.

               Because it was old Martin’s lot
                 To be, not make, a decoration,
               Shall we then scorn him, having not
                 His genius of appreciation?
               Rich joy and love he got and gave;
                 His heart was merry as his dress.
               Pile laurel wreaths upon his grave
                 Who did not gain, but was, success.

                           _Shaemas O Sheel_

  Shaemas O Sheel (Shields) was born September 19, 1886, in New York
  City. After graduating from high school, he revived the ancient
  Gaelic form of his family name and identified himself with the cause
  of Ireland in America.

  O Sheel’s two volumes, _The Blossomy Bough_ (1911) and _The Light
  Feet of Goats_ (1915), owe their chief impetus to the Celtic
  renascence and to W. B. Yeats in particular. But O Sheel’s poetry,
  although influenced, is not merely derivative. His ancestry speaks
  through him with unmistakable accents; he is typically the Irish
  bard of whom Chesterton has written:

                    For the great Gaels of Ireland
                      Are the men that God made mad;
                    For all their wars are merry
                      And all their songs are sad.

  A recurring if sometimes too determined mysticism and a muffled
  heroism individualize the best of his work.


         They went forth to battle, but they always fell;
           Their eyes were fixed above the sullen shields;
         Nobly they fought and bravely, but not well,
         And sank heart-wounded by a subtle spell.
           They knew not fear that to the foeman yields,
           They were not weak, as one who vainly wields
         A futile weapon; yet the sad scrolls tell
         How on the hard-fought field they always fell.

         It was a secret music that they heard,
           A sad sweet plea for pity and for peace;
         And that which pierced the heart was but a word,
         Though the white breast was red-lipped where the sword
           Pressed a fierce cruel kiss, to put surcease
           On its hot thirst, but drank a hot increase.
         Ah, they by some strange troubling doubt were stirred,
         And died for hearing what no foeman heard.

         They went forth to battle, but they always fell;
           Their might was not the might of lifted spears;
         Over the battle-clamor came a spell
         Of troubling music, and they fought not well.
           Their wreaths are willows and their tribute, tears;
           Their names are old sad stories in men’s ears;
         Yet they will scatter the red hordes of Hell,
         Who went to battle forth and always fell.

                              _Roy Helton_

  Roy Helton was born at Washington, D. C., in 1886. He graduated from
  the University of Pennsylvania in 1908. He studied art—and found he
  was color-blind. He spent two years at inventions—and found he had
  no business sense. After a few more experiments, he became a
  schoolmaster in West Philadelphia.

  Helton’s first volume, _Youth’s Pilgrimage_ (1915), is a strange,
  mystical affair, full of vague symbolism with a few purple patches.
  _Outcasts in Beulah Land_ (1918) is entirely different in theme and
  treatment. This is a much starker verse; a poetry of city streets,
  direct and sharp.

                               IN PASSING

                 Through the dim window, I could see
                   The little room—a sordid square
                 Of helter-skelter penury:
                   Piano, whatnot, splintered chair....

                 It is so small a room that I
                   Seem almost at the woman’s side:
                 Galled jade—too fat for vanity,
                   And far too frankly old for pride.

                 Her greasy apron ’round her waist;
                   The dish cloth by her on the chair;
                 As if in some wild headlong haste,
                   She has come in and settled there.

                 Grimly she bends her back and tries
                   To stab the keys, with heavy hand;
                 A child’s first finger exercise
                   Before her on the music stand.

                             _David Morton_

  David Morton was born at Elkton, Kentucky, February 21, 1886. He
  graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1909, engaging in newspaper
  work immediately thereafter. After ten years of writing for various
  papers in the South, Morton came to New Jersey, where he now lives,
  being teacher of English at Morristown High School.

  The greater part of Morton’s work is in the sonnet form, a form into
  which he has carried a new warmth without sacrificing the old
  dignity. The best of these verses are to be found in his first
  volume, _Ships in Harbor and Other Poems_.


           Beautiful words, like butterflies, blow by,
             With what swift colors on their fragile wings!—
           Some that are less articulate than a sigh,
             Some that were names of ancient, lovely things.
           What delicate careerings of escape,
             When they would pass beyond the baffled reach,
           To leave a haunting shadow and a shape,
             Eluding still the careful traps of speech.

           And I who watch and listen, lie in wait,
             Seeing the cloudy cavalcades blow past,
           Happy if some bright vagrant, soon or late,
             May venture near the snares of sound, at last—
           Most fortunate captor if, from time to time,
           One may be taken, trembling, in a rhyme.

                               OLD SHIPS

           There is a memory stays upon old ships,
             A weightless cargo in the musty hold,—
           Of bright lagoons and prow-caressing lips,
             Of stormy midnights,—and a tale untold.
           They have remembered islands in the dawn,
             And windy capes that tried their slender spars,
           And tortuous channels where their keels have gone,
             And calm blue nights of stillness and the stars.

           Ah, never think that ships forget a shore,
             Or bitter seas, or winds that made them wise;
           There is a dream upon them, evermore;
             And there be some who say that sunk ships rise
           To seek familiar harbors in the night,
           Blowing in mists, their spectral sails like light.

                             _Orrick Johns_

  Orrick Johns was born at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1887. He schooled
  himself to be an advertising copy writer, his creative work being
  kept as an avocation.

  _Asphalt and Other Poems_ (1917) is a queer mixture. Cheap stanzas
  crowd against lines of singular beauty; poor dialect verse elbows
  lyrics that sing without a false note. The same incongruity is
  evident in _Black Branches_ (1920), where much that is strained and
  artificial mingles with poetry that is not only spontaneous but
  searching. At his best, notably in the refreshing “Country Rhymes,”
  Johns is a true singer, a lyricist of no little stature.

                            THE INTERPRETER

      In the very early morning when the light was low
      She got all together and she went like snow,
      Like snow in the springtime on a sunny hill,
      And we were only frightened and can’t think still.

      We can’t think quite that the katydids and frogs
      And the little crying chickens and the little grunting hogs,
      And the other living things that she spoke for to us
      Have nothing more to tell her since it happened thus.

      She never is around for any one to touch,
      But of ecstasy and longing she too knew much ...
      And always when any one has time to call his own
      She will come and be beside him as quiet as a stone.

                             LITTLE THINGS

         There’s nothing very beautiful and nothing very gay
         About the rush of faces in the town by day;
         But a light tan cow in a pale green mead,
         That is very beautiful, beautiful indeed ...
         And the soft March wind and the low March mist
         Are better than kisses in a dark street kissed ...
         The fragrance of the forest when it wakes at dawn,
         The fragrance of a trim green village lawn,
         The hearing of the murmur of the rain at play—
         These things are beautiful, beautiful as day!
         And I shan’t stand waiting for love or scorn
         When the feast is laid for a day new-born
         Oh, better let the little things I loved when little
         Return when the heart finds the great things brittle;
         And better is a temple made of bark and thong
         Than a tall stone temple that may stand too long.

                          _Margaret Widdemer_

  Margaret Widdemer was born at Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and began
  writing in her childhood. After graduating from Drexel Institute
  Library School in 1909, she became a contributor of poems and short
  stories to various magazines—her first published poem (“The
  Factories”) being widely quoted. She married Robert Haven
  Schauffler, the author, in August, 1919.

  Miss Widdemer’s poetic work has two distinct phases. In the one
  mood, she is the protesting poet, the champion of the down-trodden,
  the lyricist on fire with angry passion. In the other, she is the
  writer of well-made, polite and popular sentimental verse. Her
  finest poems are in _Factories with Other Lyrics_ (1915), although
  several of her best songs are in _The Old Road to Paradise_ (1918),
  which divided, with Sandburg’s _Cornhuskers_, the Columbia Poetry
  Prize in 1918.

  Miss Widdemer is also the author of two books of short stories, four
  novels and several books for girls.


    I have shut my little sister in from life and light
      (For a rose, for a ribbon, for a wreath across my hair),
    I have made her restless feet still until the night,
      Locked from sweets of summer and from wild spring air;
    I who ranged the meadowlands, free from sun to sun,
      Free to sing and pull the buds and watch the far wings fly,
    I have bound my sister till her playing time was done—
      Oh, my little sister, was it I? Was it I?

    I have robbed my sister of her day of maidenhood
      (For a robe, for a feather, for a trinket’s restless spark),
    Shut from love till dusk shall fall, how shall she know good,
      How shall she go scatheless through the sun-lit dark?
    I who could be innocent, I who could be gay,
      I who could have love and mirth before the light went by,
    I have put my sister in her mating-time away—
      Sister, my young sister, was it I? Was it I?

    I have robbed my sister of the lips against her breast,
      (For a coin, for the weaving of my children’s lace and lawn),
    Feet that pace beside the loom, hands that cannot rest—
      How can she know motherhood, whose strength is gone?
    I who took no heed of her, starved and labor-worn,
      I, against whose placid heart my sleepy gold-heads lie,
    Round my path they cry to me, little souls unborn—
      God of Life! Creator! It was I! It was I!

                             THE TWO DYINGS

           I can remember once, ere I was dead,
             The sorrow and the prayer and bitter cry
           When they who loved me stood around the bed,
             Watching till I should die:

           They need not so have grieved their souls for me,
             Grouped statue-like to count my failing breath—
           Only one thought strove faintly, bitterly
             With the kind drug of Death:

           How once upon a time, unwept, unknown,
             Unhelped by pitying sigh or murmured prayer,
           My youth died in slow agony alone
             With none to watch or care.

                     THE MODERN WOMAN TO HER LOVER

             I shall not lie to you any more,
               Flatter or fawn to attain my end—
             I am what never has been before,
               Woman—and Friend.

             I shall be strong as a man is strong,
               I shall be fair as a man is fair,
             Hand in locked hand we shall pass along
               To a purer air:

             I shall not drag at your bridle-rein,
               Knee pressed to knee we shall ride the hill;
             I shall not lie to you ever again—
               _Will you love me still?_

                             _Alan Seeger_

  Alan Seeger was born in New York, June 22, 1888. When he was still a
  baby, his parents moved to Staten Island, where he remained through
  boyhood. Later, there were several other migrations, including a
  sojourn in Mexico, where Seeger spent the most impressionable years
  of his youth. In 1906, he entered Harvard; became one of the editors
  of the _Harvard Monthly_; returned to New York in 1910 and in 1913
  set off for Paris—“a departing point,” wrote William Archer, “which
  may fairly be called his Hegira, the turning point of his history.”
  1914 came, and the European war had not entered its third week when,
  along with some forty of his fellow-countrymen, Seeger enlisted in
  the Foreign Legion of France. He was in action almost continually,
  serving on various fronts. On July 1, 1916, a new advance began; a
  few days later the Legion was ordered to clear the Germans out of
  the village of Belloy-en-Santerre. On the fourth of July, Seeger
  advanced in the first rush and his squad was practically wiped out
  by hidden machine-gun fire. Seeger fell, mortally wounded, and died
  the next morning.

  Seeger’s literary promise was far greater than his poetic
  accomplishment. With the exception of his one famous poem, there is
  little of importance though much of charm in his collected _Poems_
  (published, with an Introduction by William Archer, in 1916). His
  letters from the front (published in 1917) show a more powerful
  touch, a keener sense of perception. Had he lived a few years more,
  he might have been a valuable recorder of a changed and changing

                  “I HAVE A RENDEZVOUS WITH DEATH”[58]

              I have a rendezvous with Death
              At some disputed barricade,
              When Spring comes back with rustling shade
              And apple-blossoms fill the air—
              I have a rendezvous with Death
              When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

              It may be he shall take my hand
              And lead me into his dark land
              And close my eyes and quench my breath—
              It may be I shall pass him still.
              I have a rendezvous with Death
              On some scarred slope of battered hill,
              When Spring comes round again this year
              And the first meadow-flowers appear.

              God knows ’twere better to be deep
              Pillowed in silk and scented down,
              Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
              Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
              Where hushed awakenings are dear ...
              But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
              At midnight in some flaming town,
              When Spring trips north again this year,
              And I to my pledged word am true,
              I shall not fail that rendezvous.

                           _Willard Wattles_

  Willard (Austin) Wattles was born at Bayneville, Kansas, July 8,
  1888. He received his A.B. at the University of Kansas in 1909 and,
  since 1910, has divided his time between teaching English and
  harvesting wheat.

  His first book was an anthology, _Sunflowers: A Book of Kansas
  Poems_ (1914), to which he also contributed. _Lanterns in
  Gethsemane_ (1918) consists, almost entirely, of mystical and
  religious poems. There is, however, little of the sermonizing
  unction and less cant in these fresh pages. There is an unusual
  vibrancy here; a warm buoyance that glows against its theological
  background. Many of Wattles’s verses have the peculiar grace of a
  parable joined to a nursery rhyme; “The Builder,” “Jericho” and a
  few others seem like scraps of the Scripture rendered by Mother

                            THE BUILDER[59]

                      Smoothing a cypress beam
                          With a scarred hand,
                      I saw a carpenter
                          In a far land.

                      Down past the flat roofs
                          Poured the white sun;
                      But still he bent his back,
                          The patient one.

                      And I paused surprised
                          In that queer place
                      To find an old man
                          With a haunting face.

                      “Who art thou, carpenter,
                          Of the bowed head;
                      And what buildest thou?”
                          “Heaven,” he said.


                 How pitiful are little folk—
                 They seem so very small;
                 They look at stars, and think they are

                             _T. S. Eliot_

  Thomas Stearns Eliot, one of the most brilliant of the young
  expatriates, was born at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1888. He received
  his A.B. at Harvard in 1909 and his A.M. in 1910. Subsequently, he
  studied at the Sorbonne and at Merton College, Oxford, becoming a
  teacher and lecturer in London, where he has lived since 1913.

  _Prufrock_ appeared in England in 1917. An American edition,
  including a number of other verses, was published under the title
  _Poems_ in 1920. Eliot’s early work is the more important; it is
  curious and sharply original. The exaltation which is the very
  breath of poetry is seldom present in Eliot’s later lines. A certain
  perverse brilliance takes its place, an unearthly light without
  warmth which has the sparkle if not the strength of fire. It
  flickers mockingly through most of Eliot’s sardonic pictures and
  shines with a bright pallor out of “The Love Song of J. Alfred
  Prufrock” and “Portrait of a Lady.” These two long poems are the
  book’s main exhibit; they are sensitive and psychologically probing.

  Eliot’s ironic rhymed verses, which constitute the bulk of his work,
  are in his later style. It is this vein that tempts Eliot most—and
  is his own undoing. For irony, no matter how agile and erudite—and
  Eliot’s is both—must contain heat if it is to burn. And heat is one
  of the few things that cannot be juggled by this acrobatic satirist.
  His lines, for the most part, are a species of mordant light verse;
  complex and disillusioned _vers de société_.

                         MORNING AT THE WINDOW

        They are rattling breakfast plates in basement kitchens,
        And along the trampled edges of the street
        I am aware of the damp souls of housemaids
        Sprouting despondently at area gates.

        The brown waves of fog toss up to me
        Twisted faces from the bottom of the street,
        And tear from a passer-by with muddy skirts
        An aimless smile that hovers in the air
        And vanishes along the level of the roofs.


       The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
       The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
       Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
       Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
       Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
       Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
       And, seeing that it was a soft October night,
       Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.


                 The winter evening settles down
                 With smells of steaks in passageways.
                 Six o’clock.
                 The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
                 And now a gusty shower wraps
                 The grimy scraps
                 Of withered leaves about his feet
                 And newspapers from vacant lots;
                 The showers beat
                 On broken blinds and chimney pots,
                 And at the corner of the street
                 A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps,
                 And then the lighting of the lamps.

                             _Conrad Aiken_

  Conrad (Potter) Aiken was born at Savannah, Georgia, August 5, 1889.
  He attended Harvard, receiving his A.B. in 1912, travelled
  extensively for three years, and since then, he has devoted all his
  time to literature, living at South Yarmouth, Massachusetts.

  The most outstanding feature of Aiken’s creative work is its rapid
  adaptability and its slow growth. His first volume, _Earth
  Triumphant and Other Tales in Verse_ (1914), is the Keats tradition
  crossed, paraphrased (and vulgarized) by Masefield. _Turns and
  Movies_ (1916) is a complete change; Masefield is exchanged for
  Masters. But in the less conspicuous half of this book, Aiken begins
  to speak with his true voice. Here he is the natural musician,
  playing with new rhythms, haunting cadences. _The Jig of Forslin_
  (1916) is an elaboration of his method. In this volume, Aiken goes
  back to the narrative—or rather, to a series of loosely connected
  stories—and, reinforced by studies in analytical psychology,
  explores “the process of vicarious wish fulfilment by which
  civilized man enriches his circumscribed life.”

  _Nocturne of Remembered Spring_ (1917), _The Charnel Rose_ (1918)
  and _The House of Dust_ (1920) are packed with a tired but often
  beautiful music. Even though much of it is enlivened by injections
  of T. S. Eliot’s conversational idiom, the effect is often moony and
  monotonous. Rain seems to fall persistently through these volumes;
  dust blows down the street, the shadows blur; everything dissolves
  in a mist of boredom and forgetfulness. Even the poignance seems on
  the point of falling asleep.

  Often Aiken loses himself in this watery welter of language. In
  trying to create a closer _liaison_ between poetry and music, he
  gives, too frequently, so much importance to the rise and fall of
  syllables that his very excess of music defeats his purpose. His
  verse, thus, gains greatly on the sensuous side but loses, in its
  cloying indefiniteness, that vitality and sharpness of speech which
  is the very blood of poetry.

  This weakening overinsistence on sound does not prevent Aiken from
  attaining many exquisite effects. Primarily, a lyric poet, he
  frequently condenses an emotion in a few lines; some of his best
  moments are these “lapses” into tune. The music of the Morning Song
  from “Senlin” (in _The Charnel Rose_) is rich with subtleties of
  rhythm. But it is much more than a lyrical movement. Beneath the
  flow and flexibility of these lines, there is a delightful
  whimsicality, an extraordinary summoning of the immensities that
  loom behind the casual moments of everyday. And in “The Fulfilled
  Dream,” Aiken can divert the stream of the subconscious, whose vague
  outlines he reproduces so well, to show the dream in its vivid

  Besides his varied poetry, Aiken has written a quantity of criticism
  of contemporary poets, the best of his reviews having been published
  in _Scepticisms_ (1919), a provocative and valuable series of

                            CHANCE MEETINGS

     In the mazes of loitering people, the watchful and furtive,
     The shadows of tree-trunks and shadows of leaves,
     In the drowse of the sunlight, among the low voices,
     I suddenly face you,

     Your dark eyes return for a space from her who is with you,
     They shine into mine with a sunlit desire,
     They say an ‘I love you, what star do you live on?’
     They smile and then darken,

     And silent, I answer ‘You too—I have known you,—I love you!—’
     And the shadows of tree-trunks and shadows of leaves
     Interlace with low voices and footsteps and sunlight
     To divide us forever.

                          THE FULFILLED DREAM

       More towers must yet be built—more towers destroyed—
       Great rocks hoisted in air;
       And he must seek his bread in high pale sunlight
       With gulls about him, and clouds just over his eyes....
       And so he did not mention his dream of falling
       But drank his coffee in silence, and heard in his ears
       That horrible whistle of wind, and felt his breath
       Sucked out of him, and saw the tower flash by
       And the small tree swell beneath him....
       He patted his boy on the head, and kissed his wife,
       Looked quickly around the room, to remember it,—
       And so went out.... For once, he forgot his pail.

       Something had changed—but it was not the street—
       The street was just the same—it was himself.
       Puddles flashed in the sun. In the pawn-shop door
       The same old black cat winked green amber eyes;
       The butcher stood by his window tying his apron;
       The same men walked beside him, smoking pipes,
       Reading the morning paper....

       He would not yield, he thought, and walk more slowly,
       As if he knew for certain he walked to death:
       But with his usual pace,—deliberate, firm,
       Looking about him calmly, watching the world,
       Taking his ease.... Yet, when he thought again
       Of the same dream, now dreamed three separate times,
       Always the same, and heard that whistling wind,
       And saw the windows flashing upward past him,—
       He slowed his pace a little, and thought with horror
       How monstrously that small tree thrust to meet him!...
       He slowed his pace a little and remembered his wife.

       Was forty, then, too old for work like this?
       Why should it be? He’d never been afraid—
       His eye was sure, his hand was steady....
       But dreams had meanings.
       He walked more slowly, and looked along the roofs,
       All built by men, and saw the pale blue sky;
       And suddenly he was dizzy with looking at it,
       It seemed to whirl and swim,
       It seemed the color of terror, of speed, of death....
       He lowered his eyes to the stones, he walked more slowly;
       His thoughts were blown and scattered like leaves;
       He thought of the pail.... Why, then, was it forgotten?
       Because he would not need it?

       Then, just as he was grouping his thoughts again
       About that drug-store corner, under an arc-lamp,
       Where first he met the girl whom he would marry,—
       That blue-eyed innocent girl, in a soft blouse,—
       He waved his hand for signal, and up he went
       In the dusty chute that hugged the wall;
       Above the tree; from girdered floor to floor;
       Above the flattening roofs, until the sea
       Lay wide and waved before him.... And then he stepped
       Giddily out, from that security,
       To the red rib of iron against the sky,
       And walked along it, feeling it sing and tremble;
       And looking down one instant, saw the tree
       Just as he dreamed it was; and looked away,
       And up again, feeling his blood go wild.

       —He gave the signal; the long girder swung
       Closer upon him, dropped clanging into place,
       Almost pushing him off. Pneumatic hammers
       Began their madhouse clatter, the white-hot rivets
       Were tossed from below and deftly caught in pails;
       He signalled again, and wiped his mouth, and thought
       A place so high in the air should be more quiet.
       The tree, far down below, teased at his eyes,
       Teased at the corners of them, until he looked,
       And felt his body go suddenly small and light;
       Felt his brain float off like a dwindling vapor;
       And heard a whistle of wind, and saw a tree
       Come plunging up to him, and thought to himself,
       ‘By God—I’m done for now; the dream was right....’


          Twilight is spacious, near things in it seem far,
          And distant things seem near.
          Now in the green west hangs a yellow star.
          And now across old waters you may hear
          The profound gloom of bells among still trees,
          Like a rolling of huge boulders beneath seas.

          Silent as thought in evening contemplation
          Weaves the bat under the gathering stars.
          Silent as dew, we seek new incarnation,
          Meditate new avatars.
          In a clear dusk like this
          Mary climbed up the hill to seek her son,
          To lower him down from the cross, and kiss
          The mauve wounds, every one.
          Men with wings
          In the dusk walked softly after her.
          She did not see them, but may have felt
          The winnowed air around her stir;
          She did not see them, but may have known
          Why her son’s body was light as a little stone.
          She may have guessed that other hands were there
          Moving the watchful air.

          Now, unless persuaded by searching music
          Which suddenly opens the portals of the mind,
          We guess no angels,
          And are contented to be blind.
          Let us blow silver horns in the twilight,
          And lift our hearts to the yellow star in the green,
          To find perhaps, if, while the dew is rising,
          Clear things may not be seen.

                       MORNING SONG FROM “SENLIN”

        It is morning, Senlin says, and in the morning
        When the light drips through the shutters like the dew,
        I arise, I face the sunrise,
        And do the things my fathers learned to do.
        Stars in the purple dusk above the rooftops
        Pale in a saffron mist and seem to die,
        And I myself on a swiftly tilting planet
        Stand before a glass and tie my tie.
        Vine-leaves tap my window,
        Dew-drops sing to the garden stones,
        The robin chirps in the chinaberry tree
        Repeating three clear tones.

        It is morning. I stand by the mirror
        And tie my tie once more.
        While waves far off in a pale rose twilight
        Crash on a white sand shore.
        I stand by a mirror and comb my hair:
        How small and white my face!—
        The green earth tilts through a sphere of air
        And bathes in a flame of space.
        There are houses hanging above the stars
        And stars hung under a sea ...
        And a sun far off in a shell of silence
        Dapples my walls for me....

        It is morning, Senlin says, and in the morning
        Should I not pause in the light to remember God?
        Upright and firm I stand on a star unstable,
        He is immense and lonely as a cloud.
        I will dedicate this moment before my mirror
        To him alone, for him I will comb my hair.
        Accept these humble offerings, clouds of silence!
        I will think of you as I descend the stair.

        Vine-leaves tap my window,
        The snail-track shines on the stones;
        Dew-drops flash from the chinaberry tree
        Repeating two clear tones.

        It is morning, I awake from a bed of silence,
        Shining I rise from the starless waters of sleep.
        The walls are about me still as in the evening,
        I am the same, and the same name still I keep.
        The earth revolves with me, yet makes no motion,
        The stars pale silently in a coral sky.
        In a whistling void I stand before my mirror,
        Unconcerned, and tie my tie.

        There are horses neighing on far-off hills
        Tossing their long white manes,
        And mountains flash in the rose-white dusk,
        Their shoulders black with rains....
        It is morning, I stand by the mirror
        And surprise my soul once more;
        The blue air rushes above my ceiling,
        There are suns beneath my floor....

        ... It is morning, Senlin says, I ascend from darkness
        And depart on the winds of space for I know not where;
        My watch is wound, a key is in my pocket,
        And the sky is darkened as I descend the stair.
        There are shadows across the windows, clouds in heaven,
        And a god among the stars; and I will go
        Thinking of him as I might think of daybreak
        And humming a tune I know....

        Vine-leaves tap at the window,
        Dew-drops sing to the garden stones,
        The robin chirps in the chinaberry tree
        Repeating three clear tones.

                          _Christopher Morley_

  Christopher (Darlington) Morley was born at Haverford, Pennsylvania,
  May 5, 1890. He graduated from Haverford College in 1910 and was
  Rhodes Scholar at New College, Oxford, England, 1910-13.

  Since 1914 he has been on the staff of various periodicals, coming
  to New York in 1920 to run his column (“The Bowling Green”) on the
  New York _Evening Post_.

  Morley is the author of ten dissimilar volumes of essays, skits,
  gossip, travel-notes, light verse and serious poetry. _The Rocking
  Horse_ (1919) and _Hide and Seek_ (1920) sink too often in their own
  sentiment; their sweetness is frequently cloying, their charm a
  little too conscious. But Morley’s vigor energizes his lines and
  prevents his verses—especially those in the latter volume—from
  becoming tawdry with oversweetness.


          Such little, puny things are words in rhyme:
            Poor feeble loops and strokes as frail as hairs;
          You see them printed here, and mark their chime,
            And turn to your more durable affairs.
            Yet on such petty tools the poet dares
          To run his race with mortar, bricks and lime,
            And draws his frail stick to the point, and stares
          To aim his arrow at the heart of Time.

          Intangible, yet pressing, hemming in,
            This measured emptiness engulfs us all,
          And yet he points his paper javelin
            And sees it eddy, waver, turn, and fall,
          And feels, between delight and trouble torn,
          The stirring of a sonnet still unborn.

                        _Leslie Nelson Jennings_

  Leslie Nelson Jennings was born in 1891 at Ware, Massachusetts. When
  he was five years old, he moved to California, where he has lived
  ever since. For a short term, he worked on a newspaper but ill
  health forced him to discontinue this work and drove him to the

  Jennings’s work is still in a formative stage. His lyrics, while
  personal in theme, are full of the manner and music of several of
  his contemporaries. His sonnets, like those of David Morton, show
  Jennings at his best; they are quiet but never dull reflections of


           How futile are these scales in which we weigh
             Pity and passion, and the spirit’s need!
             Words—and the veins of desperate peoples bleed!
           Words—and a lark, and hedges white with may!
           O must this rapture and this grief remain
             Uncaptured in our silences? And must
             We stand like stones, less lyrical than dust
           That flowers beneath the benison of rain?

           And if I say, “I love you,” can you know,
             Save by the urgent beating of my heart,
             The flame that tears my baffled lips apart?
           Poor symbols, cracked or broken long ago,
             What witness can you bear that we have tried
             To utter Beauty when our tongues were tied!

                          _Maxwell Bodenheim_

  Maxwell Bodenheim was born at Natchez, Mississippi, May 26, 1892.
  His education, with the exception of grammar school training, was
  achieved under the guidance of the U. S. Army, in which Bodenheim
  served a full enlistment of three years, beginning in 1910. For a
  while he studied law and art in Chicago, but his mind, fascinated by
  the new poetry, turned to literature. He wrote steadily for five
  years without having a single poem accepted. In 1918, his first
  volume appeared and even those who were puzzled or repelled by
  Bodenheim’s complex idiom were forced to recognize its intense

  _Minna and Myself_ (1918) reveals, first of all, this poet’s extreme
  sensitivity to words. Words, under his hands, have unexpected
  growths; placid nouns and sober adjectives bear fantastic fruit.
  Sometimes he packs his metaphors so close that they become
  inextricably mixed. Sometimes he spins his fantasies so thin that
  the cord of coherence snaps and the poem frays into ragged and
  unpatterned ravellings. But, at his best, Bodenheim is as
  clear-headed as he is colorful.

  In _Advice_ (1920), Bodenheim’s manner—and his mannerisms—are
  intensified. There is scarcely a phrase that is not tricked out with
  more ornaments and associations than it can bear; whole poems sink
  beneath the weight of their profuse decorations. Yet, in spite of
  his verbal exaggerations, this poetry achieves a keen if too ornate
  delicacy. In the realm of the whimsical-grotesque, Bodenheim walks
  with a light and nimble footstep.

                            POET TO HIS LOVE

             An old silver church in a forest
             Is my love for you.
             The trees around it
             Are words that I have stolen from your heart.
             An old silver bell, the last smile you gave,
             Hangs at the top of my church.
             It rings only when you come through the forest
             And stand beside it.
             And then, it has no need for ringing,
             For your voice takes its place.

                                OLD AGE

 In me is a little painted square
 Bordered by old shops with gaudy awnings.
 And before the shops sit smoking, open-bloused old men,
 Drinking sunlight.
 The old men are my thoughts;
 And I come to them each evening, in a creaking cart,
 And quietly unload supplies.
 We fill slim pipes and chat
 And inhale scents from pale flowers in the centre of the square....
 Strong men, tinkling women, and dripping, squealing children
 Stroll past us, or into the shops.
 They greet the shopkeepers and touch their hats or foreheads to me....
 Some evening I shall not return to my people.


         I shall walk down the road;
         I shall turn and feel upon my feet
         The kisses of Death, like scented rain.
         For Death is a black slave with little silver birds
         Perched in a sleeping wreath upon his head.
         He will tell me, his voice like jewels
         Dropped into a satin bag,
         How he has tip-toed after me down the road,
         His heart made a dark whirlpool with longing for me.
         Then he will graze me with his hands,
         And I shall be one of the sleeping, silver birds
         Between the cold waves of his hair, as he tip-toes on.

                             _Edwin Curran_

  Edwin Curran was born at Zanesville, Ohio, May 10, 1892, and was
  educated at St. Thomas’ School in the city of his birth. After
  working as an unskilled laborer in various trades, he learned
  telegraphy in 1914 and has been employed ever since as an operator
  for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company.

  In 1917 he printed a little paper-bound pamphlet of thirty pages
  (_First Poems_) with this naïve note: “Price of this book is 35
  cents postpaid. Author is 25, unmarried, a beginner and needs
  publisher. If this volume meets expenses, another, possibly better,
  will be issued.” Expecting to find poetry of an absurd simplicity,
  one is startled to find striking images, strange pictures and (in
  such poems as “Soldier’s Epitaph” and “Sailing of Columbus”) lines

               We climbed the slippery alleys of the sea

  and many a lyric flash like:

          The stars, like bells, flash down the silver sky ...
          Ringing like chimes on frozen trees, or cry
          Along the marble ground.

  _Second Poems_ (1920) has a similar beauty mixed with banality. Both
  booklets are a jumble of passion, platitude, bad grammar and
  exaltation. Curran has absolutely no critical perceptions; he has
  little control over his music. For better or for worse, his mood
  controls him.


           The music of the autumn winds sings low,
           Down by the ruins of the painted hills,
           Where death lies flaming with a marvelous glow,
           Upon the ash of rose and daffodils.
           But I can find no melancholy here
           To see the naked rocks and thinning trees;
           Earth strips to grapple with the winter year—
           I see her gnarled hills plan for victories!

           I love the earth who goes to battle now,
           To struggle with the wintry whipping storm
           And bring the glorious spring out from the night.
           I see earth’s muscles bared, her battle brow,
           And am not sad, but feel her marvelous charm
           As splendidly she plunges in the fight.

                      THE PAINTED HILLS OF ARIZONA

          The rainbows all lie crumpled on these hills,
          The red dawns scattered on their colored sills.
          These hills have caught the lightning in its flight,
          Caught colors from the skies of day and night
          And shine with shattered stars and suns; they hold
          Dyed yellow, red and purple, blue and gold.
          Red roses seem within their marble blown,
          A painted garden chiseled in the stone;
          The rose and violet trickling through their veins,
          Where they drop brilliant curtains to the plains—
          A ramp of rock and granite, jeweled and brightening,
          Like some great colored wall of lightning!

                       _Edna St. Vincent Millay_

  Edna St. Vincent Millay, possibly the most gifted of the younger
  lyricists, was born February 22, 1892, at Rockland, Maine. After a
  childhood spent almost entirely in New England, she attended Vassar
  College, from which she was graduated in 1917. Since that time she
  has lived in New York City. Besides her keenly individual lyrics,
  Miss Millay has written a quantity of short stories under various
  pseudonyms, has translated several songs, and has been connected
  with the Provincetown Players both as playwright and performer.

  Although the bulk of her poetry is not large, the quality of it
  approaches and sometimes attains greatness. Her first long poem,
  “Renascence,” was the outstanding feature of _The Lyric Year_
  (1912), an anthology which revealed many new names. “Renascence” was
  written when Miss Millay was scarcely nineteen; it remains today one
  of the most remarkable poems of this generation. Beginning like a
  child’s aimless verse it proceeds, with a calm lucidity, to an
  amazing climax. It is as if a child had, in the midst of its
  ingenuousness, uttered some terrific truth. The sheer cumulative
  power of this poem is surpassed only by its beauty.

  _Renascence_, the name of Miss Millay’s first volume, was published
  in 1917. It is full of the same passion as its title-poem; here is a
  hunger for beauty so intense that no delight is great enough to give
  the soul peace. Such poems as “God’s World” and the unnamed sonnets
  vibrate with this rapture. Magic burns from the simplest of her
  lines. _Figs from Thistles_ (1920) is a far more sophisticated
  booklet. Sharp and cynically brilliant, Miss Millay’s craftsmanship
  no less than her intuition saves these poems from mere cleverness.

  _Second April_ (1921) is an intensification of her lyrical gift
  tinctured with an increasing sadness and disillusion. Her poignant
  poetic play, _Aria da Capo_, first performed by the Provincetown
  Players in New York, was published in _The Monthly Chapbook_ (Harold
  Monro, England); the issue of July, 1920, being devoted to it.

                              GOD’S WORLD

            O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
                Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
                Thy mists that roll and rise!
            Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
            And all but cry with colour! That gaunt crag
            To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
            World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!

            Long have I known a glory in it all,
                But never knew I this;
                Here such a passion is
            As stretcheth me apart. Lord, I do fear
            Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year.
            My soul is all but out of me,—let fall
            No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.

                 RENASCENCE{See Transcriber’s Note 1.}

              All I could see from where I stood
              Was three long mountains and a wood;
              I turned and looked another way,
              And saw three islands in a bay.
              So with my eyes I traced the line
              Of the horizon, thin and fine,
              Straight around till I was come
              Back to where I’d started from;
              And all I saw from where I stood
              Was three long mountains and a wood.
              Over these things I could not see;
              These were the things that bounded me;
              And I could touch them with my hand,
              Almost, I thought, from where I stand.
              And all at once things seemed so small
              My breath came short, and scarce at all.
              But, sure, the sky is big, I said;
              Miles and miles above my head;
              So here upon my back I’ll lie
              And look my fill into the sky.
              And so I looked, and, after all,
              The sky was not so very tall.
              The sky, I said, must somewhere stop,
              And—sure enough!—I see the top!
              The sky, I thought, is not so grand;
              I ’most could touch it with my hand!
              And, reaching up my hand to try,
              I screamed to feel it touch the sky.

              I screamed, and—lo!—Infinity
              Came down and settled over me;
              And, pressing of the Undefined
              The definition on my mind,
              Held up before my eyes a glass
              Through which my shrinking sight did pass
              Until it seemed I must behold
              Immensity made manifold;
              Whispered to me a word whose sound
              Deafened the air for worlds around,
              And brought unmuffled to my ears
              The gossiping of friendly spheres,
              The creaking of the tented sky,
              The ticking of Eternity.

              I saw and heard, and knew at last
              The How and Why of all things, past,
              And present, and forevermore.
              The universe, cleft to the core,
              Lay open to my probing sense
              That, sick’ning, I would fain pluck thence
              But could not,—nay! But needs must suck
              At the great wound, and could not pluck
              My lips away till I had drawn
              All venom out.—Ah, fearful pawn!
              For my omniscience paid I toll
              In infinite remorse of soul.
              All sin was of my sinning, all
              Atoning mine, and mine the gall
              Of all regret. Mine was the weight
              Of every brooded wrong, the hate
              That stood behind each envious thrust,
              Mine every greed, mine every lust.
              And all the while for every grief,
              Each suffering, I craved relief
              With individual desire,—
              Craved all in vain! And felt fierce fire
              About a thousand people crawl;
              Perished with each,—then mourned for all!
              A man was starving in Capri;
              He moved his eyes and looked at me;
              I felt his gaze, I heard his moan,
              And knew his hunger as my own.
              I saw at sea a great fog-bank
              Between two ships that struck and sank;
              A thousand screams the heavens smote;
              And every scream tore through my throat.
              No hurt I did not feel, no death
              That was not mine; mine each last breath
              That, crying, met an answering cry
              From the compassion that was I.
              All suffering mine, and mine its rod;
              Mine, pity like the pity of God.
              Ah, awful weight! Infinity
              Pressed down upon the finite Me!
              My anguished spirit, like a bird,
              Beating against my lips I heard;
              Yet lay the weight so close about
              There was no room for it without.
              And so beneath the weight lay I
              And suffered death, but could not die.

              Deep in the earth I rested now;
              Cool is its hand upon the brow
              And soft its breast beneath the head
              Of one who is so gladly dead.
              And all at once, and over all,
              The pitying rain began to fall;
              I lay and heard each pattering hoof
              Upon my lowly, thatchèd roof,
              And seemed to love the sound far more
              Than ever I had done before.
              For rain it hath a friendly sound
              To one who’s six feet underground;
              And scarce the friendly voice or face;
              A grave is such a quiet place.

              The rain, I said, is kind to come
              And speak to me in my new home.
              I would I were alive again
              To kiss the fingers of the rain,
              To drink into my eyes the shine
              Of every slanting silver line,
              To catch the freshened, fragrant breeze
              From drenched and dripping apple-trees.
              For soon the shower will be done,
              And then the broad face of the sun
              Will laugh above the rain-soaked earth
              Until the world with answering mirth
              Shakes joyously, and each round drop
              Rolls, twinkling, from its grass-blade top.
              How can I bear it; buried here,
              While overhead the sky grows clear
              And blue again after the storm?
              O, multi-colored, multiform,
              Beloved beauty over me,
              That I shall never, never see
              Again! Spring-silver, autumn-gold,
              That I shall never more behold!
              Sleeping your myriad magics through,
              Close-sepulchred away from you!
              O God, I cried, give me new birth,
              And put me back upon the earth!
              Upset each cloud’s gigantic gourd
              And let the heavy rain, down-poured
              In one big torrent, set me free,
              Washing my grave away from me!

              I ceased; and, through the breathless hush
              That answered me, the far-off rush
              Of herald wings came whispering
              Like music down the vibrant string
              Of my ascending prayer, and—crash!
              Before the wild wind’s whistling lash
              The startled storm-clouds reared on high
              And plunged in terror down the sky,
              And the big rain in one black wave
              Fell from the sky and struck my grave.

              I know not how such things can be
              I only know there came to me
              A fragrance such as never clings
              To aught save happy living things;
              A sound as of some joyous elf
              Singing sweet songs to please himself,
              And, through and over everything,
              A sense of glad awakening.
              The grass, a tip-toe at my ear,
              Whispering to me I could hear;
              I felt the rain’s cool finger-tips
              Brushed tenderly across my lips,
              Laid gently on my sealèd sight,
              And all at once the heavy night
              Fell from my eyes and I could see,—
              A drenched and dripping apple-tree,
              A last long line of silver rain,
              A sky grown clear and blue again.
              And as I looked a quickening gust
              Of wind blew up to me and thrust
              Into my face a miracle
              Of orchard-breath, and with the smell,—
              I know not how such things can be!—
              I breathed my soul back into me.
              Ah! Up then from the ground sprang I
              And hailed the earth with such a cry
              As is not heard save from a man
              Who has been dead, and lives again.
              About the trees my arms I wound;
              Like one gone mad I hugged the ground;
              I raised my quivering arms on high;
              I laughed and laughed into the sky,
              Till at my throat a strangling sob
              Caught fiercely, and a great heart-throb
              Sent instant tears into my eyes;
              O God, I cried, no dark disguise
              Can e’er hereafter hide from me
              Thy radiant identity!
              Thou canst not move across the grass
              But my quick eyes will see Thee pass,
              Nor speak, however silently,
              But my hushed voice will answer Thee.
              I know the path that tells Thy way
              Through the cool eve of every day;
              God, I can push the grass apart
              And lay my finger on Thy heart!

              The world stands out on either side
              No wider than the heart is wide;
              Above the world is stretched the sky,—
              No higher than the soul is high.
              The heart can push the sea and land
              Farther away on either hand;
              The soul can split the sky in two,
              And let the face of God shine through.
              But East and West will pinch the heart
              That cannot keep them pushed apart;
              And he whose soul is flat—the sky
              Will cave in on him by and by.

                              PITY ME NOT

          Pity me not because the light of day
          At close of day no longer walks the sky;
          Pity me not for beauties passed away
          From field and thicket as the year goes by;
          Pity me not the waning of the moon,
          Nor that the ebbing tide goes out to sea,
          Nor that a man’s desire is hushed so soon,
          And you no longer look with love on me.

          This have I known always: love is no more
          Than the wide blossom which the wind assails;
          Than the great tide that treads the shifting shore,
          Strewing fresh wreckage gathered in the gales.
          Pity me that the heart is slow to learn
          What the swift mind beholds at every turn.

                            I SHALL GO BACK

            I shall go back again to the bleak shore
            And build a little shanty on the sand
            In such a way that the extremest band
            Of brittle seaweed will escape my door
            But by a yard or two, and nevermore
            Shall I return to take you by the hand;
            I shall be gone to what I understand
            And happier than I ever was before.

            The love that stood a moment in your eyes,
            The words that lay a moment on your tongue,
            Are one with all that in a moment dies,
            A little under-said and over-sung;
            But I shall find the sullen rocks and skies
            Unchanged from what they were when I was young.

                             THE PEAR TREE

                 In this squalid, dirty dooryard,
                   Where the chickens scratch and run,
                 White, incredible, the pear tree
                   Stands apart and takes the sun,

                 Mindful of the eyes upon it,
                   Vain of its new holiness,
                 Like the waste-man’s little daughter
                   In her first communion dress.

                               WILD SWANS

         I looked in my heart while the wild swans went over;—
           And what did I see I had not seen before?
           Only a question less or a question more;
         Nothing to match the flight of wild birds flying.
         Tiresome heart, forever living and dying!
           House without air! I leave you and lock your door!
         Wild swans, come over the town, come over
         The town again, trailing your legs and crying!

                         _Mary Carolyn Davies_

  Mary Carolyn Davies was born at Sprague, Washington, and was
  educated in the schools at and about Portland, Oregon. At college
  (the University of California) she won the Emily Chamberlin Cook
  prize for Poetry in 1912, being the first freshman to win it. In the
  same year, she established another precedent by being the first
  woman to win the Bohemian Club prize. With the proceeds, the young
  poet went to New York, arriving with the remnants of her
  fortune—four dollars and eighty-five cents.

  The long struggle with the city began. Miss Davies wrote short
  stories, two serials, reams of sentimental verses—anything to keep
  alive. She turned finally to verse, chiefly because “when the rent
  is due there’s no time to write a story, only verse can save one in

  Her work divides itself into two distinct classes: the hackwork
  which she does for a living and the genuine poetry which she creates
  for its own sake. Her first volume _The Drums in Our Street_ (1918)
  was a mixture of loud bombast and quiet beauty, of blatant war-verse
  and unaffected lyrics. _Youth Riding_ (1919), although as uneven as
  its predecessor, is simpler and surer. The poems in _vers libre_ are
  clearly musical, and her eight-line lyrics are particularly wistful
  and delicate.

                        THE DAY BEFORE APRIL[62]

                       The day before April,
                         Alone, alone,
                       I walked in the woods
                         And I sat on a stone.

                       I sat on a broad stone
                         And sang to the birds.
                       The tune was God’s making
                         But I made the words.

                        THE APPLE TREE SAID:[63]

                    My apples are heavy upon me.
                      It was the Spring;
                    And proud was I of my petals,
                      Nor dreamed this thing:

                    That joy could grow to a burden,
                      Or beauty could be
                    Changed from snow-light to heavy
                      To humble me.

                           _Winifred Welles_

  Winifred Welles was born at Norwich Town, Connecticut, January 26,
  1893, and educated in the vicinity of her home.

  Her frail and delicately fashioned lyrics are the distinguishing
  feature of _The Hesitant Heart_ (1920). This first volume, so
  appropriately named, has a frank tenderness that never grows
  maudlin, a wistful introspection that never forgets to sing.

                          FROM A CHINESE VASE

           Roaming the lonely garden, he and I
           Pursue each other to the fountain’s brim,
           And there grow quiet—woman and butterfly—
           The frail clouds beckon me, the flowers tempt him.

           My thoughts are rose-like, beautiful and bright,
           Folded precise as petals are, and wings
           Uplift my dreaming suddenly in flight,
           And fill my soul with jagged colorings.

           The waters tangle like a woman’s hair
           Above the dim reflection of a face—
           He thinks those are his own lips laughing there,
           His own breasts curving under silk and lace.

           How shall we know our real selves, he and I,
           Which is the woman, which the butterfly?


                   How nakedly an animal
                     Lies down on earth to die,
                   Unmindful of the shining air,
                     And unashamed of sky.

                   But men and women under roofs
                     Draw shades and hush the floor,
                   And furtively they lay their dead
                     Behind a darkened door.

                       LOVE SONG FROM NEW ENGLAND

             In every solemn tree the wind
               Has rung a little lonesome bell,
             As sweet and clear, as cool and kind
               As my voice bidding you farewell.

             This is an hour that gods have loved
               To snatch with bare, bright hands and hold.
             Mine, with a gesture, grey and gloved,
               Dismiss it from me in the cold.

             Closely as some dark-shuttered house
               I keep my light. How should you know,
             That, as you turn beneath brown boughs,
               My heart is breaking in the snow?

                          _Herbert S. Gorman_

  Herbert S. Gorman was born at Springfield, Massachusetts, January 1,
  1893. After attending Technical High School he became an actor for
  two seasons, deserting the stage for the newspaper. He became
  assistant literary and dramatic editor of the Springfield Union,
  reporter on the New York _Sun_ and reviewer for the New York _Post_,
  _The Freeman_ and other journals.

  His first book, _The Fool of Love_ (1920), shows, above an
  indebtedness to E. A. Robinson, a keen talent and fresh personality.

                              THE FANATIC

          Well, here it is: you call for me: I come,
            But with an eagerness not quite my own;
          Propelled by that decisive martyrdom
            That pleased the saints upon their faggot throne.

          You see them smiling in the cruel flame
            That exquisitely licks their willing limbs,
          And finding some sad pleasure in the game
            Not quite embodied in their lusty hymns.

          And so I come: and though I go, be sure
            That I will come again to-morrow, too;
          And, Love’s fanatic, hasten to endure
            The littleness that is so great in you.

          I am the weakling of that helpless strength
            That throws this broken body you despise
          Before your carelessness, to find at length
            The faith that sleeps behind your faithless eyes.

                           _Babette Deutsch_

  Babette Deutsch, one of the most promising of the younger
  poet-critics, was born September 22, 1895, in New York City. She
  received her B.A. at Barnard College in 1917, doing subsequent work
  at the new School for Social Research. Since 1916, a year before she
  took her degree, Miss Deutsch has been contributing poems and
  critical articles to _The New Republic_, _The Dial_, _The Yale
  Review_, etc.

  _Banners_ (1919) is the title of her remarkable first book. The rich
  emotional content is matched by the poet’s intellectual skill.
  Unusually sensitive, most of these lines strive for—and attain—a
  high seriousness.

                        THE DEATH OF A CHILD[64]

        Are you at ease now,
        Do you suck content
        From death’s dark nipple between your wan lips?
        Now that the fever of the day is spent
        And anguish slips
        From the small limbs,
        And they lie lapped in rest,
        The young head pillowed soft upon that indurate breast.
        No, you are quiet,
        And forever,
        Tho for us the silence is so loud with tears,
        Wherein we hear the dreadful-footed years
        Echoing, but your quick laughter never,
        Never your stumbling run, your sudden face
        Thrust in bright scorn upon our solemn fears.
        Now the dark mother holds you close.... O, you
        We loved so,
        How you lie,
        So strangely still, unmoved so utterly
        Dear yet, but oh a little alien too.

                              IN A MUSEUM

            Here stillness sounds like echoes in a tomb.
            The light falls cold upon these antique toys
            Whereby men sought to turn the scales of doom:
            Jade gods, a ritual of rigid boys.
            Warm blood was spent for this unwindowed stone
            Tinct with the painted pleasures of the dead;
            For secrets of unwithering flesh and bone—
            With these old Egypt’s night was comforted.

            We lean upon the glass, our curious eyes
            Staring at death, three thousand years remote.
            And vanity, the worm that never dies,
            Feeds on your silver ring and Pharaoh’s coat.
            And are these heartbeats, then, less perilous?
            Since death is close, and death is death for us.

                             _Alter Brody_

  Alter Brody was born at Kartúshkiya-Beróza, Province of Grodno,
  Russia, November 1, 1895. He came to New York City at the age of
  eight and, after a cursory schooling, wrote translations for certain
  Jewish and American newspapers. His first poems appeared in _The
  Seven Arts_ in 1916-17.

  In _A Family Album_ (1918) one sees the impress of a tense and
  original mind, of imagination that is fed by strengthening fact, of
  sight that is sharpened by insight. Many of Brody’s lines are
  uncouth and awkward; what music he achieves is mostly fortuitous,
  the melody accidental. And yet his pages are filled with a
  picturesque honesty and uncompromising beauty. Much of this work is
  an interpretation of the modern world against a background of old
  dreams: young America seen through the eyes of old Russia. It is a
  romantic realism that uplifts such poems as “Kartúshkiya-Beróza” (a
  record of boyhood which is one of Brody’s finest achievements
  though, unfortunately, too long to quote), “A Row of Poplars:
  Central Park,” “Ghetto Twilight” and the poignant “Lamentations.” It
  is, to be more accurate, a romanticism that springs from reality
  and, after a fantastic flight, settles back with a new vision.

                              A CITY PARK

                Against a background of brick tenements
                Some trees spread their branches
                They are thin and sapless,
                They are bent and weary—
                Tamed with captivity;
                And they huddle behind the fence
                Swaying helplessly before the wind,
                Forward and backward,
                Like a group of panicky deer
                Caught in a cage.


 Tingling shafts of light,
 Like gigantic staffs
 Brandished by blind, invisible hands,
 Cross and recross each other in the sky,

 Groping among the stars—stubbing themselves against the bloated clouds—
 Tapping desperately for a sure foothold
 In the fluctuating mists.

 Calm-eyed and inaccessible.
 The stars peer through the blue fissures of the sky,
 Unperturbed among the panic of scurrying beams;
 Twinkling with a cold, acrid merriment.

                            GHETTO TWILIGHT

    An infinite weariness comes into the faces of the old tenements,
    As they stand massed together on the block,
    Tall and thoughtfully silent,
    In the enveloping twilight.
    They eye each other across the street,
    Through their dim windows—
    With a sad recognizing stare;
    Watching the red glow fading in the distance,
    At the end of the street,
    Behind the black church spires;
    Watching the vague sky lowering overhead,
    Purple with clouds of colored smoke;
    From the extinguished sunset;
    Watching the tired faces coming home from work—
    Like dry-breasted hags
    Welcoming their children to their withered arms.

                        _Stephen Vincent Benét_

  Stephen Vincent Benét, the younger brother of William Rose Benét,
  was born at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in July, 1898. He was educated
  in various parts of the country, graduating from Yale in 1919.

  At seventeen he published a small book containing six dramatic
  portraits, _Five Men and Pompey_ (1915), a remarkable set of
  monologues which, in spite of distinct traces of Browning and Alfred
  Noyes, was little short of astounding, coming from a schoolboy. In
  Benét’s next volume, _Young Adventure_ (1918), one hears something
  more than the speech of an infant prodigy; the precocious facility
  has developed into a keen and individual vigor.

  _Heavens and Earth_ (1920), the most representative collection, has
  a greater imaginative sweep. Like his brother, the younger Benét is
  at his best in the decoratively grotesque; his fancy exults in
  running the scales between the whimsically bizarre and the lightly

                           PORTRAIT OF A BOY

      After the whipping, he crawled into bed;
      Accepting the harsh fact with no great weeping.
      How funny uncle’s hat had looked striped red!
      He chuckled silently. The moon came, sweeping
      A black frayed rag of tattered cloud before
      In scorning; very pure and pale she seemed,
      Flooding his bed with radiance. On the floor
      Fat motes danced. He sobbed; closed his eyes and dreamed.

      Warm sand flowed round him. Blurts of crimson light
      Splashed the white grains like blood. Past the cave’s mouth
      Shone with a large fierce splendor, wildly bright,
      The crooked constellations of the South;
      Here the Cross swung; and there, affronting Mars,
      The Centaur stormed aside a froth of stars.
      Within, great casks like wattled aldermen
      Sighed of enormous feasts, and cloth of gold
      Glowed on the walls like hot desire. Again,
      Beside webbed purples from some galleon’s hold,
      A black chest bore the skull and bones in white
      Above a scrawled “Gunpowder!” By the flames,
      Decked out in crimson, gemmed with syenite,
      Hailing their fellows by outrageous names
      The pirates sat and diced. Their eyes were moons.
      “Doubloons!” they said. “The words crashed gold.

                            _Hilda Conkling_

  Hilda Conkling, most gifted of recent infant prodigies, was born at
  Catskill-on-Hudson, New York, October 8, 1910. The daughter of Grace
  Hazard Conkling (see page 207), she came to Northampton,
  Massachusetts, with her mother when she was three years old and has
  lived there since, a normal out-of-doors little girl.

  Hilda began to write poems—or rather, to talk them—at the age of
  four. Since that time, she has created one hundred and fifty little
  verses, many of them astonishing in exactness of phrase and beauty
  of vision. Hilda “tells” her poem and her mother copies it down,
  arranges the line-divisions and reads it to the child for
  correction. Conceding a possible half-conscious shaping by Mrs.
  Conkling, the quality which shines behind all of Hilda’s little
  facets of loveliness is a straightforward ingenuousness, a childlike
  but sweeping fantasy.

  _Poems by a Little Girl_ (1920), published when Hilda was a little
  more than nine years old, is a detailed proof of this delightful
  quality. Every poem bears its own stamp of unaffected originality;
  “Water,” “Hay-Cock,” and a dozen others are startling in their
  precision and a power of painting the familiar in unsuspected
  colors. This child not only sees, feels and hears with the
  concentration of a child-artist, she communicates the results of her
  perceptions with the sensitivity of a master-craftsman. She hears a
  chickadee talking

                     The way smooth bright pebbles
                     Drop into water.

  Everything is extraordinarily vivid and fanciful to her keen senses.
  The rooster’s comb is “gay as a parade;” he has “pearl trinkets on
  his feet” and

               The short feathers smooth along his back
               Are the dark color of wet rocks,
               Or the rippled green of ships
               When I look at their sides through water.

  She observes:

                   The water came in with a wavy look
                     Like a spider’s web.

  It is too early for judgments—even for a prophecy. It is impossible
  to guess how much Hilda’s vision will be distorted by knowledge and
  the traditions that will accompany her growth. One can only hold
  one’s breath and hope for the preservation of so remarkable a


                   The world turns softly
                   Not to spill its lakes and rivers.
                   The water is held in its arms
                   And the sky is held in the water.
                   What is water,
                   That pours silver,
                   And can hold the sky?


                  This is another kind of sweetness
                  Shaped like a bee-hive:
                  This is the hive the bees have left,
                  It is from this clover-heap
                  They took away the honey
                  For the other hive!

                             THE OLD BRIDGE

              The old bridge has a wrinkled face.
              He bends his back
              For us to go over.
              He moans and weeps
              But we do not hear.
              Sorrow stands in his face
              For the heavy weight and worry
              Of people passing.
              The trees drop their leaves into the water;
              The sky nods to him.
              The leaves float down like small ships
              On the blue surface
              Which is the sky.
              He is not always sad:
              He smiles to see the ships go down
              And the little children
              Playing on the river banks.

                            I KEEP WONDERING

         I saw a mountain,
         And he was like Wotan looking at himself in the water.
         I saw a cockatoo,
         And he was like sunset clouds.
         Even leaves and little stones
         Are different to my eyes sometimes.
         I keep wondering through and through my heart
         Where all the beautiful things in the world
         Come from.
         And while I wonder
         They go on being beautiful.

                        A SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

The following twelve volumes deal, in considerable detail, with many of
the poets, groups and tendencies considered in this collection. A few
treat principally of the period between 1860 and 1890; the majority,
however, reflect the shifting course of contemporary poetry. Most of the
dozen contain liberal quotations, references, illustrative poems and
suggestions for supplementary reading.

  AIKEN, CONRAD. _Scepticisms: Notes on Contemporary Poetry._ Alfred A.
    Knopf. 1919.

  BOYNTON, PERCY H. _A History of American Literature._ Ginn and
    Company. 1919.

  BROOKS, VAN WYCK. _America’s Coming of Age._ (Chapters II and III.) B.
    W. Huebsch. 1915.

  EASTMAN, MAX. _Enjoyment of Poetry._ Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1913.

  LOWELL, AMY. _Tendencies in Modern American Poetry._ The Macmillan
    Company. 1917.

  LOWES, JOHN LIVINGSTON. _Convention and Revolt in Poetry._ Houghton
    Mifflin Company. 1919.

    Anthology._ The Macmillan Company. 1917.

  MORRIS, LLOYD R. _The Young Idea (An Anthology of Opinion)._ Duffield
    and Company. 1917.

  PATTEE, FRED LEWIS. _A History of American Literature Since 1870._ The
    Century Company. 1915.

  RITTENHOUSE, JESSIE B. _The Younger American Poets._ (1860 to 1900).
    Little, Brown and Company. 1904.

  UNTERMEYER, LOUIS. _The New Era in American Poetry._ Henry Holt and
    Company. 1919.

  WILKINSON, MARGUERITE. _New Voices._ The Macmillan Company. 1919.


  _Names of Authors are in Capitals. Titles of Poems are in Italics._

 _A. E. F._, 204

 ADAMS, FRANKLIN P., 237-240

 AIKEN, CONRAD, xliii, 358-366

 ALDRICH, T. B., 7-10

 _Anne Rutledge_, 123

 _Apple Tree Said, The_, 385

 _At Midnight_, 76

 _At the Aquarium_, 285

 _At the Crossroads_, 92

 _Autumn_, 316, 372

 _Bacchus_, 76

 _Ballad For Gloom_, 303

 _Banty Tim_, 13

 _Battle-Song of Failure_, 209

 _Beauty_, 339

 _Beclouded_, 7

 _Before Dawn in the Woods_, 280

 _Behold the Deeds of Mrs. Jones!_, 66



 _Between Two Loves_, 136

 _Bindlestiff_, 130

 _Birches_, 189

 _Bird and the Tree, The_, 171

 _Black Sheep_, 88

 _Black Vulture, The_, 107

 _Blades of Grass, The_, 129

 _Blessing the Dance_, 56

 _Blue Island Intersection_, 202



 BRODY, ALTER, 390-392

 _Builder, The_, 355

 BUNNER, H. C., 63-68



 _By the Pacific Ocean_, 23

 BYNNER, WITTER, 243-248

 “_Byron_,” _From_, 25


 _Caliban in the Coal Mines_, 309

 _Canopus_, 101

 CARMAN, BLISS, xxvii-xxviii, 82-87




 _Cemetery, A_, 6

 _Chance Meetings_, 360

 _Chartless_, 4

 _City Park_, 391

 CLARK, BADGER, 276-280

 _Clean Curtains_, 203

 CLEGHORN, SARAH N., 194-195

 _Coming to Port_, 284

 _Congo, The_, 221

 _Conservative, A_, 78

 _Cool Tombs_, 198



 _Coquette Conquered_, _A_, 140

 CORBIN, ALICE, xli, 258-261

 _Coyote, The_, 279

 CRANE, STEPHEN, 126-129


 _Creeds_, 356


 _Crossing the Plains_, 24

 _Crowning Gift, The_, 299

 CURRAN, EDWIN, 371-373

 _Cry of the People_, 241

 “D., H.,” xxxviii, 327-330

 _Daisies_, 87

 DALY, T. A., 133-137

 _Dare You?_, 26

 _Dark Hills, The_, 119


 _Dawn_, 78, 322

 _Dawns_, 271

 _Day Before April, The_, 384

 _Death_, 370

 _Death of a Child, The_, 389

 _Death of the Hired Man, The_, 181

 _Dedication_, 213

 _Desert, The_, 54

 _Deserted_, 100



 _Discovered_, 141

 _Drug Clerk, The_, 291


 _Dust, The_, 70

 _Δωρια_, 305

 _Eagle that Is Forgotten, The_, 219

 _Earth_, 89

 EASTMAN, MAX, 283-286

 _Echoes of Childhood_, 258

 _Elf and the Dormouse, The_, 90

 ELIOT, T. S., 356, 358

 “_Enamored Architect of Airy Rhyme_,” 9

 ERSKINE, JOHN, 212-213

 _Factories_, 350

 _Fanatic, The_, 388


 FIELD, EUGENE, xxv, 42-46

 FLETCHER, JOHN GOULD, xxxviii, 319-327

 _Fog_, 199

 _Fragmentary Blue_, 191

 _Free Fantasia on Japanese Themes_, 167

 _From a Chinese Vase_, 386

 FROST, ROBERT, xxxiii-xxxv, xliii, 174-192

 _Frost on a Window_, 208

 “_Frost To-Night_,” 61

 _Frustrate_, 368

 _Fulfilled Dream, The_, 360

 _Fust Banjo, De_, 58

 _Ghetto, From the_, 262

 _Ghetto Twilight_, 392

 _Gift of God, The_, 112



 _Girl, A_, 302

 _Glory Trail, The_, 276

 _God’s World_, 374

 _Golden Haired Girl_, _To a_, 229

 _Good-Bye and Keep Cold_, 187


 _Grass_, 205

 _Grass-Tops_, 244

 _Gravedigger, The_, 83


 _Halcyon Days_, 236

 _Hands_, 312

 HARTE, BRET, xviii, xxiv-xxv, xl, 15-21

 HAY, JOHN, xviii, xxiv, 10-15

 _Hay-Cock_, 396

 _Heat_, 329


 _Hem and Haw_, 86

 _Her Eyes_, 272


 _High Tide_, 315

 _Hours_, 285

 HOVEY, RICHARD, xxvii-xxviii, 91-96

 _How Are You, Dear World?_, 72

 _How a Cat Was Annoyed and a Poet Was Booted_, 147

 _How Jack Found that Beans May Go Back on a Chap_, 143

 _How He Turned Out_, 234

 _How to Catch Unicorns_, 336

 _Humiliation_, 386

 _Hymn_, 128

 _“I Have a Rendezvous with Death,”_ 353

 _I Keep Wondering_, 397

 _Image of Delight, The_, 193

 IMAGISTS, THE, xxxvii-xxxix

 _Immortal Love_, 62

 _Improvisation_, 272

 _In a Museum_, 390

 _Incentive, The_, 195

 _Indian Summer_, 4

 _In Passing_, 346

 _Interpreter, The_, 348

 _I Saw a Man_, 127

 _I Shall Go Back_, 382

 _I Shall Not Care_, 296

 _Ivy_, 77


 _Jetsam, From_, 103

 “_Jim_,” 16

 _Jim Bludso_, 11

 JOHNS, ORRICK, 348-349

 KEMP, HARRY, 281-283

 KILMER, JOYCE, 340-343

 KNIBBS, H. H., xli, 150-157


 _Lady, A_, 166

 _Lake Song_, 318



 _Lethe_, 330

 _Let Me Live Out My Years_, 242

 _Lincoln_, 323

 _Lincoln, A Farmer Remembers_, 245

 _Lincoln Child, The_, 252

 _Lincoln, The Man of the People_, 51

 _Lincoln Walks at Midnight_, 232

 LINDSAY, VACHEL, xli-xlii, 217-233

 _Little Boy Blue_, 44

 _Little Things_, 349

 _London Nightfall_, 221

 _Long Hill, The_, 296

 _Love and Liberation_, 339

 _Love in the Winds_, 95

 _Love Song from New England_, 387

 _Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, From the_, 357

 LOWELL, AMY, xxxviii 162-170

 _Lucinda Matlock_, 122

 _Madonna of the Evening Flowers_, 169

 _Man Hunt, The_, 98

 _Man with the Hoe, The_, 49

 _Maple Leaves_, 9

 MARKHAM, EDWIN, xxx, 47-53


 _Marshes of Glynn, From the_, 32

 _Martin_, 342

 _Master, The_, 114

 _Master Mariner, The_, 108

 MASTERS, EDGAR LEE, xxxiii, 119-126

 _Meeting-House Hill_, 165

 _Memory_, 8

 _Mending Wall_, 177

 _Merchants from Cathay_, 331

 _Mia Carlotta_, 135

 MILLAY, EDNA ST. V., xliii, 373-383

 MILLER, JOAQUIN, xxv, 21-25

 _Miniver Cheevy_, 111

 _Miracles_, 363

 _Modern Woman to Her Lover, The_, 352

 _Monk in the Kitchen, The_, 158

 MOODY, WILLIAM VAUGHN, xxix, 102-107


 _Morning at the Window_, 357

 _Morning Song from “Senlin,”_ 364

 MORTON, DAVID, 346-348

 _Most-Sacred Mountain, The_, 290

 _Mould, The_, 300

 _Negro Sermon, A_, 230

 NEIHARDT, JOHN G., 240-243

 _New Orleans_, 265

 _Night_, 335

 _Night and Day_, 31

 _Night Note_, 257

 _Night Song at Amalfi_, 294

 _Nirvana_, 340

 _Nocturne in a Deserted Brickyard_, 205

 _November Night_, 206

 _O My Dead Comrade_, 74

 _Old Age_, 370

 _Old Bridge, The_, 396

 _Old Manuscript_, 270

 _Old Ships_, 347

 _Old Story, An_, 117

 _On a Soldier Fallen in the Philippines_, 105

 _One End of Love_, 215

 _On Seeing Weather-Beaten Trees_, 207

 _Onset, The_, 192

 OPPENHEIM, JAMES, xlii, 248-258

 _Oread_, 328


 _Our Two Opinions_, 43

 _Outwitted_, 48

 _Painted Hills of Arizona, The_, 372

 _Pandora’s Song_, 104

 _Parting Guest, A_, 41

 _Pear Tree_, 329

 _Pear Tree, The_, 383

 _Penury_, 100

 _Pessimist and Optimist_, 10

 _Peter Quince at the Clavier_, 266

 _Petit, The Poet_, 121

 _Phantasy of Heaven, A_, 282


 _Pitcher of Mignonette_, A, 68

 _Pity Me Not_, 382

 _Plain Language from Truthful James_, 19

 _Plaint of the Camel, The_, 34

 _Poet to His Love_, 369

 _Portrait of a Boy_, 393

 _Portrait of an Old Woman_, 274

 POUND, EZRA, xxxviii, 300-305

 _Prelude_, 358

 _Preparedness_, 51

 _Quickening_, 367

 _Railway Train, The_, 6


 _Renascence_, 375

 _Richard Cory_, 117

 _Rich Man, The_, 238

 RIDGE, LOLA, 262-265

 _Robinson Crusoe’s Story_, 35

 ROBINSON, E. A., xxxii, 109-119


 _Roll a Rock Down_, 153

 _Runaway, The_, 188

 _Runner in the Skies, The_, 250

 RUSSELL, IRWIN, xxvi, 55-60

 RILEY, JAMES WHITCOMB, xviii, xli, 38-41

 SANDBURG, CARL, xxxv-xxxvii, 196-205


 _Searchlights_, 391

 _Sea-Scapes_, 214

 SEEGER, ALAN, 352-354

 _Seein’ Things_, 45

 _Shake, Mulleary and Go-ethe_, 64


 _Side Street, A_, 312

 _Silence_, 123


 _Simon Legree_, 230

 _Sinfonia Domestica_, 317

 _Skaters, The_, 327

 _Slave, The_, 250

 _Smoke and Steel, From_, 199

 _Snow_, 98

 _Solitaire_, 165

 _Solitude_, 26

 _Son, The_, 173

 _Song of Sunrise, A_, 63

 _Song of the Chattahoochee_, 29

 _Song of the Thrush, The_, 134

 _Sonnet_, 275

 _Spicewood_, 70

 _Spring Night_, 295

 _Station of the Metro, In a_, 305

 _Stein Song, A_, 95



 _Street Lamps_, 282

 _Summons_, 307

 _Sunday Evening in the Common_, 338

 _Sunrise_, 53

 _Survival of the Fittest, The_, 195

 _Suspense_, 5

 _Swan, The_, 320

 _Sweetgrass Range_, 132

 _Swimmers_, 309

 _Sycophantic Fox and the Gullible Raven, The_, 145

 _Symbols_, 347

 _Tasting the Earth_, 251

 TAYLOR, BERT L., 101-102

 _Tears_, 69

 TEASDALE, SARA, xliii, 293-298

 _They Went Forth to Battle but They Always Fell_, 344

 THOMAS, EDITH M., 60-61

 _Those Two Boys_, 239

 _Three Sisters, The_, 275


 _Tired_, 298


 _Trail-Makers, The_, 155

 _Train-Mates_, 246


 _Traveller, The_, 229

 _Trees_, 341

 _Triad_, 207

 _Tuft of Flowers, The_, 178

 _Turning of the Babies in the Bed, The_, 138

 _Two Dyings, The_, 351

 _Unmanifest Destiny_, 94

 _Unrest_, 211



 _Vagabond Song, A_, 83

 _Vain Gratuities_, 118

 _Valley that God Forgot, The_, 151

 _Victor, To the_, 194

 _Virginal, A_, 303

 _Voices_, 244

 _Walker, From the_, 287

 _War and Peace_, 238

 _Warning, The_, 207

 _Water_, 395

 _Water Lilies_, 297


 _Wayfarer, The_, 128



 _When I am Dead_, 241

 “_When the Frost Is on the Punkin_,” 39

 _While Loveliness Goes By_, 162

 WHITMAN, WALT, xviii, xxi-xxiv, xliv, 71

 _Whole Duty of Berkshire Brooks, The_, 208


 _Wild Ride, The_, 81

 _Wild Swans_, 383


 _Wind and Silver_, 170

 _Wind in the Alleys_, 265

 WOOD, C. E. S., 53-55



Footnote 1:

  See _Modern British Poetry_, pages xi-xiii.

Footnote 2:

  Permission to reprint this poem was granted by the Harr Wagner
  Publishing Co., San Francisco, California, publishers of Joaquin
  Miller’s Complete Poetical Works.

Footnote 3:

  Permission to reprint this poem was granted by the Harr Wagner
  Publishing Co., San Francisco, California, publishers of Joaquin
  Miller’s Complete Poetical Works.

Footnote 4:

  From _Poems of Sidney Lanier_. Copyright, 1884, 1891, 1916, by Mary D.
  Lanier; published by Charles Scribner’s Sons. By permission of the

Footnote 5:

  From _Poems of Sidney Lanier_. Copyright, 1884, 1891, 1916, by Mary D.
  Lanier; published by Charles Scribner’s Sons. By permission of the

Footnote 6:

  From _Poems of Sidney Lanier_. Copyright, 1884, 1891, 1916, by Mary D.
  Lanier; published by Charles Scribner’s Sons. By permission of the

Footnote 7:

  From the Biographical Edition of the _Complete Works of James Whitcomb
  Riley_. Copyright, 1913. Used by special permission of the publishers,
  The Bobbs-Merrill Company.

Footnote 8:

  From the Biographical Edition of the _Complete Works of James Whitcomb
  Riley_. Copyright, 1913. Used by special permission of the publishers,
  The Bobbs-Merrill Company.

Footnote 9:

  Reprinted from _The Complete Works of Eugene Field_ by permission of
  Charles Scribner’s Sons, holders of the copyright.

Footnote 10:

  Reprinted from _The Complete Works of Eugene Field_ by permission of
  Charles Scribner’s Sons, holders of the copyright.

Footnote 11:

  Reprinted from _The Complete Works of Eugene Field_ by permission of
  Charles Scribner’s Sons, holders of the copyright.

Footnote 12:

  Revised version, 1920. Copyright by Edwin Markham.

Footnote 13:

  See pages 114, 123, 232, 245, 252, 323.

Footnote 14:

  Reprinted, by permission, from _Poems_ by H. C. Bunner. Copyright,
  1899, by Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Footnote 15:

  Reprinted from _The Bashful Earthquake_ by Oliver Herford. Copyright,
  1898, by Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Footnote 16:

  Taken by permission from _The Vale of Tempe_ by Madison Cawein.
  Copyright, 1905, by E. P. Dutton and Co., New York.

Footnote 17:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, Charles Scribner’s Sons,
  from _The Town down the River_ by E. A. Robinson.

Footnote 18:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _The Man Against the Sky_ by E. A. Robinson.

Footnote 19:

  See pages 51, 123, 232, 245, 252, 323.

Footnote 20:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, Charles Scribner’s Sons,
  from _The Town down the River_ by E. A. Robinson.

Footnote 21:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, Charles Scribner’s Sons,
  from _The Children of the Night_.

Footnote 22:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _Spoon River Anthology_ by Edgar Lee Masters.

Footnote 23:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _Spoon River Anthology_ by Edgar Lee Masters.

Footnote 24:

  See pages 51, 114, 232, 245, 252, 323.

Footnote 25:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _Spoon River Anthology_ by Edgar Lee Masters.

Footnote 26:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _Songs and Satires_ by Edgar Lee Masters.

Footnote 27:

  From _Lyrics of Love and Laughter_. Copyright, 1903, by Dodd, Mead &

Footnote 28:

  From _Lyrics of Lowly Life_. Copyright, 1896, by Dodd, Mead & Company.

Footnote 29:

  From _Lyrics of Lowly Life._ Copyright, 1896, by Dodd, Mead & Company.

Footnote 30:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _Pictures of the Floating World_ by Amy Lowell.

Footnote 31:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _Sword Blades and Poppy Seed_ by Amy Lowell.

Footnote 32:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _Pictures of the Floating World_ by Amy Lowell.

Footnote 33:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _Pictures of the Floating World_ by Amy Lowell.

Footnote 34:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _General William Booth Enters into Heaven and Other Poems_ by Vachel

Footnote 35:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _The Congo and Other Poems_ by Vachel Lindsay.

Footnote 36:

  See pages 51, 114, 123, 245, 252, 323.

Footnote 37:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _The Chinese Nightingale and Other Poems_ by Vachel Lindsay.

Footnote 38:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _The Quest_ by John G. Neihardt.

Footnote 39:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _The Quest_ by John G. Neihardt.

Footnote 40:

  See pages 51, 114, 123, 232, 252, 323.

Footnote 41:

  Reprinted by permission from _Grenstone Poems_ by Witter Bynner.
  Copyright, 1917, by Frederick A. Stokes Company.

Footnote 42:

  Reprinted by permission from _Grenstone Poems_ by Witter Bynner.
  Copyright, 1917, by Frederick A. Stokes Company.

Footnote 43:

  See pages 51, 114, 123, 232, 245, 323.

Footnote 44:

  From _Sun and Saddle Leather_ by Badger Clark. Copyright, 1915.
  Richard G. Badger, Publisher.

Footnote 45:

  From _Grass-Grown Trails_ by Badger Clark. Copyright, 1917. Richard G.
  Badger, Publisher.

Footnote 46:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _Love Songs_ by Sara Teasdale.

Footnote 47:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _Rivers to the Sea_ by Sara Teasdale.

Footnote 48:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _Love Songs_ by Sara Teasdale.

Footnote 49:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _Flame and Shadow_ by Sara Teasdale.

Footnote 50:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _Flame and Shadow_ by Sara Teasdale.

Footnote 51:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _Poems_ by Gladys Cromwell.

Footnote 52:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company, from
  _Poems_ by Gladys Cromwell.

Footnote 53:

  See pages 51, 114, 123, 232, 245, 252.

Footnote 54:

  From _Moons of Grandeur_ by William Rose Benét. Copyright, 1920,
  George H. Doran Company, Publishers.

Footnote 55:

  From _Trees and Other Poems_ by Joyce Kilmer. Copyright, 1914, by
  George H. Doran Company, Publishers.

Footnote 56:

  From _Trees and Other Poems_ by Joyce Kilmer. Copyright, 1914, by
  George H. Doran Company, Publishers.

Footnote 57:

  Reprinted, by permission, from _Poetry: A Magazine of Verse_.

Footnote 58:

  From _Poems_ by Alan Seeger. Copyright, 1916, by Charles Scribner’s
  Sons. By permission of the publishers.

Footnote 59:

  Taken by permission from _Lanterns in Gethsemane_ by Willard Wattles.
  Copyright, 1918, by E. P. Dutton & Co., New York.

Footnote 60:

  From _Hide and Seek_ by Christopher Morley. Copyright, 1920. George H.
  Doran Company, Publishers.

Footnote 61:

  From _The Sonnet_. Copyright, 1918, by Mahlon Leonard Fisher.

Footnote 62:

  Reprinted by permission of the Publishers, The Macmillan Company. From
  _Youth Riding_ by Mary Carolyn Davies.

Footnote 63:

  Reprinted by permission of the publishers, The Macmillan Company. From
  _Youth Riding_ by Mary Carolyn Davies.

Footnote 64:

  From _Banners_ by Babette Deutsch. Copyright, 1919. George H. Doran
  Co., Publishers.


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. P. 378–380, one of the poems (Renascence) was different in the two
      otherwise identical editions, so both sets of pages were included.
      See the second set below.
 2. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
 3. Retained anachronistic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings as
 4. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.
 5. Enclosed bold font in =equals=.

                 =Renascence= fragment mentioned above

              And so beneath the weight lay I
              And suffered death, but could not die.

              Deep in the earth I rested now;
              Cool is its hand upon the brow
              And soft its breast beneath the head
              Of one who is so gladly dead.
              And all at once, and over all,
              The pitying rain began to fall;
              O God, I cried, give me new birth,
              And put me back upon the earth!
              Upset each cloud’s gigantic gourd
              And let the heavy rain, down-poured
              In one big torrent, set me free,
              Washing my grave away from me!

              I ceased; and, through the breathless hush
              That answered me, the far-off rush
              Of herald wings came whispering
              Like music down the vibrant string
              Of my ascending prayer, and—crash!
              Before the wild wind’s whistling lash
              The startled storm-clouds reared on high
              And plunged in terror down the sky,
              And the big rain in one black wave
              Fell from the sky and struck my grave.

              I know not how such things can be
              I only know there came to me
              A fragrance such as never clings
              To aught save happy living things;
              A sound as of some joyous elf
              Singing sweet songs to please himself,
              And, through and over everything,
              A sense of glad awakening.
              The grass, a tip-toe at my ear,
              Whispering to me I could hear;
              I felt the rain’s cool finger-tips
              Brushed tenderly across my lips,
              Laid gently on my sealèd sight,
              And all at once the heavy night
              Fell from my eyes and I could see,—
              I lay and heard each pattering hoof
              Upon my lowly, thatchèd roof,
              And seemed to love the sound far more
              Than ever I had done before.
              For rain it hath a friendly sound
              To one who’s six feet underground;
              And scarce the friendly voice or face:
              A grave is such a quiet place.

              The rain, I said, is kind to come
              And speak to me in my new home.
              I would I were alive again
              To kiss the fingers of the rain,
              To drink into my eyes the shine
              Of every slanting silver line,
              To catch the freshened, fragrant breeze
              From drenched and dripping apple-trees.
              For soon the shower will be done,
              And then the broad face of the sun
              Will laugh above the rain-soaked earth
              Until the world with answering mirth
              Shakes joyously, and each round drop
              Rolls, twinkling, from its grass-blade top.
              How can I bear it; buried here,
              While overhead the sky grows clear
              And blue again after the storm?
              O, multi-colored, multiform,
              Beloved beauty over me,
              That I shall never, never see
              Again! Spring-silver, autumn-gold,
              That I shall never more behold!
              Sleeping your myriad magics through,
              Close-sepulchred away from you!
              A drenched and dripping apple-tree,
              A last long line of silver rain,
              A sky grown clear and blue again.
              And as I looked a quickening gust
              Of wind blew up to me and thrust
              Into my face a miracle
              Of orchard-breath, and with the smell,—
              I know not how such things can be!—
              I breathed my soul back into me.
              Ah! Up then from the ground sprang I
              And hailed the earth with such a cry
              As is not heard save from a man
              Who has been dead, and lives again.
              About the trees my arms I wound;
              Like one gone mad I hugged the ground;

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