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necessarily drag in with them inhar- cacy in the expression of sentiments monious elements. Often his meta- in themselves original and interesting. phors are the merest jingle of un- In these days of liberal thought, a meaning words. This stanza from a poet even may go a long way in satirpoem entitled “ Winter” may be cited izing the clergy without giving of
an example of his descriptive fense. But the reader of poetry is powers :
disposed to be very manly, and will Wide is the arch of night, blue spangled with iteration of an unfriendly sentiment,
find his pleasure destroyed by the fire, Fron wizened edge to edge of the shrivelled- where it is spoken gratuitously and up earth,
not addressed to an offensive individWhere the chords of the dark are as tense as the strings of a lyre
ual suffering poetic justice. Strung by the fingers of silence ere sound had The same unrefined taste shows it
birth, With far-off, alien echoes of morning and which has won the unstinted applause
self in his poem entitl. d " The Mother," mirth, That reach the tuned ear of the spirit, beaten of a Chicago newspaper.
It is a poem upon By the soundless tides of the wonder and glory intense human interest—à mother's
dealing with a subject of the most of dawn.
love for her first-born. It is too long What image of a star-lit night is for reproduction in full. These are left behind by this jumble of high- the opening stanzas : sounding words! The imagination comes to a full stop at these impos- It was April, blossoming spring, sible comparisons, express and im. They buried me when the birds did sing ; plied. What is meant by the chords Earth, in clammy woolging earth, of the night being tense ? Can any They banked my bed with a black, damp girth. one picture the strings of a lyre strung Under the damp and under the mould, by the fingers of silence ere sound had I kenned my breasts were clammy and cold. birth? What image is awakened ? It is, perhaps, hypercritical to object Out from the red beams, slanting and bright, that the poet has made alien echoes in the distance attributes of the dark, I was a dream, and the world was a dream, like its tenseness. The epithet shriv. And yet I kenned all things that seem. elled may, possibly, be passed over, I was a dream, and the world was a dream, because it may express the idea which But you cannot bury a red sunbeam. the poet had in his mind, whatever that may be. The meaning given to She narrates further that, lying “stark the word wizened by dictionaries is and white,” she knew the changes of thin and dried. No careful writer, seasons, the alternation of day and much less a poet of refined taste, night, the whispering wind and the would have forgotten its particular blossoming flowers : application, and dared to introduce into the imposing picture which he . My soul with the season’s seemed to grow.
Though they had buried me dark and low, had in hand the wizened face of an old woman. When fancy takes such flights There is, then, a retrogression in time: as these it soars beyond the possi
I was a bride in my sickness sore ; bility of artistic effect.
I was a bride nine months and more, Most readers will prefer such poems as "Unabsolved," because they deal when death came. But under the with life and possess some strength of sod,” she dreamed of her baby; his dramatic interest. Yet the pleasure rest was broken in wailings on her will be greatly marred by their high- “dead breast.” She could not sleep in soundingness, and by the lack of deli- her “cold earth bed," and rose from
her "damp earth bed,” “rosy and impossible, and it cannot have been warm,” with the dreams of her child. the writer's intention, else why the re
petition of material suggestions which I felt my breasts swell under my shroud !
force the mind into activity? If it was Then stole past the “graveyard wall,” sought to intensify the impression of passed the streets to "my husband's a mother's love by naming the physihome,” climbed the chamber stairs cal conditions which attend it, it is amid the sound of sleeping persons, just to say that, aside from the sugLike waves that break on the shores of death,
gestions of the grave, the poem would
still have been offensive. The physipaused a moment at the door, cal conditions of maternity are regardThen stole like a moon ray over the floor,
ed with so great reserve and delicacy
that only the most veiled allusions and, behold, her infant lay on "a may be made to them. Nor is it an stranger arm.” Crooning to the child, answer to say that the disagreeableshe carries him back to her bed, ness of the poem is harinonized by “ banked with a blossoming girth,” such poetic expressions as, “ you canand “nestling him soft to her throb- not bury a red sunbeam,” or, “you canbing breast," "steals to her long, long not bury a mother in spring.” Rather, rest,” and lies with him
the pain of the reader is increased by Under the flowers
the violent contrast of feeling, by the That sun winds rock through the billowy hours effort to hold together images so oppo
site in their suggestions as those preWith the night-airs that steal from the mur
sented by this poem. muring sea, Bringing sweet peace o my baby and me. If the foregoing remarks be just, and
they are tendered in a spirit of perfect This wanton repetition of coarse sug. fairness, Canadian poetry is devoid of gestions of the charnel-house is not life and interest. It is scarcely likely compensated by the mawkish senti- that these faults are altogether due to ment of the poem, or by the question- false principles of art. Want of moral able beauty of its scenery. Poetry enthusiasm, of the inspiring energy of cannot tolerate the disagreeable, ex
new ideas and large hopes of human cept in rare instances. Tennyson, re- progress, leaves men of talent no other flecting on the short span of human course than to seek a false brilliancy life, produces a rare effect of art when in the trickery of exaggerated descrip
tion and strained sentiment. Scott Old Yew, which graspest at the stones and Byron, Shelley and Wordsworth
That name the underlying dead, were full of the new wine of the
French Revolution, and spoke as their Thy roots are wrapt about the bones.
hearts burned. Tennyson reflected the But he does not stay to dig up the minds of men who had seen the hopes grave and spread before us its shock- of their father's fail. Education has ing contents; he does not permit us been slow to lift up the masses ; Cobto linger until our ininds seize the den did not foresee the squalor of inpainful suggestions of the place. There dustrialism ; the ballot-box has not is scarcely a line of “The Mother" in brought perfect freedom, nor lifted the which the horror is not renewed. It burden of militarism. It may be that must be a sluggish imagination which, in these later days human enthusiasm in the time of these eighty or ninety has flickered out. If so, we cannot lines, does not grow to a full realiza- expect great poets till there be a retion of this dreadful scene. It is no kindling of new ideas and new hopes answer to say that the poem is to be of humanity. taken in a spiritual sense, for that is
Canadians are so eager for a na
tional literature that it is a somewhat and varied enough to justify the condelicate task to frankly criticise Can- clusion that the principal rules gathadian poetry. With the desire for a dis- ered from a study of it are universal, tinctively Canadian literature every- and cannot be disobeyed even by Caone must sympathize. It is possible, nadian poets. It is not enough that of course, that a national literature they find a ready market for their may rise without the corrective, or writings to fill up the vacant pageeven chilling, influence of criticism. spaces of magazines, or even that their The structure may, nevertheless, be art is the affectation or fad of a literlong delayed by the misdirected ef- ary coterie. If they would succeed forts of truly able writers. In poetry, they must reach the feelings and imas in all other arts, there is a wide aginations of their readers, as the latitude of individual freedom. But great writers of the past have done. the poetry of the past, which has found a lasting place in public favour, is wide
As a stone in a cathedral he uplifts and makes it great.
W. D. LIGHTHALL.
With Four Illustrations by Brigden.
AJOR MACKENZIE, will “ Yes, she might be !'' said the Major,
take down Miss Broadhurst ?" dejectedly: “I don't know her as The Major bowed, and Miss Broad- well as my friend Brock does. She hurst inclined her head with the pret- used to patronize him, and Brock had tiest smile in the world.
to put up with it, for Holler’s firm "I wondered,” said she, “if I was (he's a lawyer) had a good deal to do to be inflicted upon you, or upon that with Brock, and he wanted to stand strange-looking gentleman with the in well. But one day she asked Billy glasses."
to take Mrs. Tabley for a drive (Mrs. “ It's no infliction, I'm sure. I was Tabley takes fits, or something like just hoping that
that), and Billy said he wasn't going “Now don't perjure yourself, Major to be footman to an epileptic , infirmMackenzie,” said the girl.
ary; and then there was a battle. To They were standing at the bay tell the truth, Mrs. Holler thinks I am window of a sitting room in the her legitimate prey, because I am " Dorset," a little private hotel, where chummy with Brock.” at present Mr. Grabam (of James “That's rather hard on you, isn't Graham & Bennet, importers, of the it?” city) was entertaining a small house “Yes. But you'll meet her to-night, party in the hot August days. It and it's very wrong of me to prejudice overlooks one of those quiet little you against her. Perhaps you and bays, with St. George's Channel on she will turn out the best of friends." the horizon ; and Major Mackenzie Perhaps,” said Miss Broadhurst, always declared that he liked the doubtfully. “Dorset” the best of any place on earth. It is a question if he would have · said so, had Ethel Broadhurst not been there; but the Major was a backward wooer and, so far, Ethel knew nothing of the ocean of affection that the Major held shut up in his turbulent heart.
“Who is that lady who has just come in? Do you know her ?"
The Major looked to the door,and groaned inwardly.
· Yes, I know her. It's Mrs. Holler – and that's Mr. Holler coming in now," said he.
“She looks asif she might be clever, doesn't she ?” "The Major looked to the deor, and groaned inwardly.'
A long silence ensued, the Major joinder; after which silence fell on the looking out on the water, where the group. horizon was a mass of blue and
grey As they left the dining-room, Ethel gold.
Broadhurst looked at the Major, with " A
A penny for your thoughts, Major a mischievous smile : “You and aunt Mackenzie !"
don't get on, do you?" “I was thinking of a question you " Aunt!" quoth the amazed Major. once asked me when I used to know "Yes, didn't you know that? Think you. You were about five years old, of all the things you said of my aunt, and I-well, I was correspondingly and to me, too!". older-just after I got my commission The Major reddened. --and you asked, before about a dozen "Well, I didn't tell any lies !” he people, Mr. 'Kenzie, what makes your added, deliberately. “You should nose red ?'”
have told" “Oh, I never said such a thing, “Oh, don't mention it! Aunt Holsurely !" cried Miss Broadhurst. ler's first husband was my father's
"I can feel my blushes yet. But, brother. He died.” Mackenzie to do me justice, I think it was only laughed; for her words implied cause sunburn.'
and effect. “But don't worry, Major. Will
you let me atone now for the Wait till she rows me some day, and follies of my childhood ?"
then listen to what I shall
about “Oh, Miss Ethel, I wouldn't be so her. I am a regular vixen!" exacting. But there's the bell!"
Nobody would judge so to look at The "Dorset " prided itself upon its you." style; and Mr. Graham presided at But I am !” I shall lead some poor the head and Mrs. Graham at the foot man a dog's life,-maybe,” she added, of a table, which was just like their after a pause. own mahogany, there being no stran "Mayn't I be the dog ?” said the gers.
Major, with a sudden change of tone, Mrs. Holler's mood was a very per- which caused Ethel to look up. verse one, and Mackenzie kept a dis “ I'm-not-sure that you want, creet silence lest she should fix upon that you'd like to be chained up, him, and compel him to widen the would you ?" she said, with a queer breach that already existed between little smile. “But you're not serious ?" them.
she added quickly. During a spirited conversation at But a woman would not have needthe other end of the table, which ren- ed to look twice at his eyes to know dered it difficult for any one not con- that he was serious; and Ethel Broadcerned to hear, Mrs. Holler leaned hurst was a woman. over and said,
By the strange perversity of man “ Did you see your friend Mr. Bar- and womankind, no word further was ker, when you were at Malta, Major spoken for three days, and nothing Mackenzie ?"
had transpired between Mrs. Holler “Yes, Mrs. Holler."
and the Major, save a few skirmishes, “Does he drink as much as ever?" in which the Major used defensive
“I never observed that he drank,” tactics. On Saturday the schoonersaid the Major, mildly.
races had been held, and competition “Your powers of observation can had been keen. Mr. Holler had not not be acute,” retorted Mrs. Holler, been fortunate in his selection of the with a good deal of acerbity.
winner, and, consequently, Mrs. Holler "I never noticed any particular was not in the best of sunny humours ; lack in myself.”
she was a true barometer of her de“People rarely do!” was her re- voted husband's moods.