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You, who have made of earth your star, Poems with Synge's famous Preface

Cry out, indeed, for hopes made vain: counselling brutality, counselling For only those can laugh who are anything to bring poetry away from The strong Initiates of Pain,

the iridescent dreams of W. B. Yeats Who know that mighty god to be

down to the stark realities of life and Sculptor of immortality.

nature. They bear testimony to the

catholic breadth of A. E.'s sympaIt is a wonderful thing—a man living thetic appreciation, for they are as in a house in Dublin, living a life of different as may be imagined from intense, ceaseless, and

and extraordi- the spirit of mysticism. It must also narily diversified activity, travelling be confessed that their absolute on life's common way in cheerful merit as poetry is not particularly godliness, and shedding abroad to remarkable; all the more credit to the remotest corners of the earth a the discernment of A. E., who de. masculine serenity of soul.

scried behind them an original and James Stephens was not widely powerful personality. known until the year 1912, when he The influence of Synge is strong in published a novel called The Crock the second book of verses, called The of Gold; this excited many readers Hill of Vision, particularly noticein Great Britain and in America, an able in such a poem as The Brute. excitement considerably heightened Curiously enough, Songs from the by the appearance of another work Clay is more exalted in tone than of prose fiction, The Demi-Gods, in The Hill of Vision. The air is 1914; and general curiosity about the

clearer and purer.

But the real author became rampant.

It

James Stephens the man known to speedily discovered that he was us all through The Crock of Gold poet as well as a novelist; that three and The Demi-Gods—did not appear years before his reputation he had in verse until The Adventures of issued a slim book of verse, boldly Seumas Beg was published. In these named Insurrections, the title being charming poems we have that triple the boldest thing in it. By 1915 this combination of realism, humour, and neglected work had passed through fantasy that gave so original a flavour four editions, and during the last six to the novels. They make a valuable years he has presented to an admir- addition to child-poetry; for men, ing public four more volumes of

women, angels, fairies, God and the poems, The Hill of Vision, 1912; Devil are treated with

easy

familiarSongs from the Clay, 1915; The Ad- ity, in practical, definite, conversaventures of Seumas Beg, 1915, and tional language. These are the best Green Branches, 1916.

fruits of his imagination in rime. A. E. believed in him from the start; and it was owing to the in

THE DEVIL'S BAG fluence of A. E. that Insurrections I saw the Devil walking down the lane took the form of a book, gratefully Behind our house. There was a heavy bag dedicated to its only begetter. Both Strapped tightly on his shoulders, and the patron and protégé must have been rain surprised by its lack of impact, and Sizzled when it hit him. He picked a rag still more surprised by the immense Up from the ground and put it in his sack, success of The Crock of Gold. The And grinned and rubbed his hands. There poems are mainly realistic, pictures was a thing of slimy city streets with slimy crea- Moving inside the bag upon his backtures crawling on the pavements. It It must have been a soul! I saw it fling is an interesting fact that they And twist about inside, and not a hole appeared the same year of Synge's Or cranny for escape. Oh, it was sad.

I cried, and shouted out, “Let out that To have a clock with weights and chains soul!

And pendulum swinging up and down! But he turned round, and, sure, his face A dresser filled with shining delph, went mad,

Speckled and white and blue and brown! And twisted up and down, and he said Hell!"

I could be busy all the day
And ran away.
Oh, mammy! I'm not

Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor, well.

And fixing on their shelf again

My white and blue and speckled store! In 1916 Mr. Stephens published a beautiful threnody, Green Branches, Lord Dunsany brought to public which illustrates still another side of

attention a new poet, Francis Ledhis literary powers. There is organ

widge, whose one volume, Songs of like music in these noble lines. The

the Fields, is full of promise. In sting of bitterness is drawn from

October, 1914, he enlisted in death, and sorrow changes into a Kitchener's first

army,

and was killed solemn rapture.

in 1917. Ledwidge's poetry is more Padraic Colum has followed the

conventional than that of most of his suggestion of Synge, and made deep Irish contemporaries, and he is at excavations for the foundations of

his best in describing natural obhis poetry. It grows up out of the

jects. Such poems as A Rainy Day soil like a hardy plant; and while

in April, and A Twilight in Middle it cannot, in any sense of the word,

March are most characteristic. But be called major work, it has a whole- occasionally he arrests the ear with some, healthy earthiness. It is realis

a deeper note. The first four lines tic in a totally different way from

of the following passage, taken from the town eclogues of James Stephens; An Old Pain, might fittingly apply it is not merely in the country, it is to a personality like that of Synge: agricultural. His most important book is Wild Earth, published in

I hold the mind is the imprisoned soul,

And all our aspirations are its own Dublin in 1901, republished with ad

Struggles and strivings for a golden goal, ditions in New York in 1916. The

That wear us out like snow men at the thaw. very smell of the earth is pungent in

And we shall make our Heaven where we such poems as The Plougher and

have sown The Drover; while his masterpiece,

Our purple longings. Oh! can the loved An Old Woman of the Roads, voices

dead draw the primeval and universal longing for the safe shelter of a home. I

Anear us when we moan, or watching wait

Our coming in the woods where first we wonder what those who believe in

met, the abolition of private property are

The dead leaves falling in their wild hair going to do with this natural, human

wet, passion? Private property is not the

Their hands upon the fastenings of the result of an artificial social code

gate?
it is the result of an instinct. The
first three stanzas of this

poem
indi.

A direct result of the spiritual incate its quality, expressing the all

fluence of A. E. is seen in the poetry but inexpressible love of women for

of Susan Mitchell. She is not an each stick of furniture and every

imitator of his manner, but she rehousehold article.

flects the mystical faith. Her little 0, to have a little house!

volume, The Living Chalice, is full To own the hearth and stool and all!

of the beauty that rises from suffer. The heaped up sods upon the fire,

ing. It is not the spirit of acquiesThe pile of turf against the wall!

cence or of resignation, but rather dauntless triumphant affirmation. have been to write great odes and Her poems of the Christ-child have hymns to Beauty, his simple poems something of the exaltation of Chris- of Irish life are full of charm. The tina Rossetti; for to her mind the Wishes to My Son has a poignant road to victory lies through the gate tenderness. One can hardly read it of Humility. Here is a typical illus- without tears. And the love of a tration:

wife for "her man" is truly revealed

in the last two stanzas of John-John. THE HEART'S LOW DOOR O Earth, I will have none of thee.

The neighbours' shame of me began Alien to me the lonely plain,

When first I brought you in; And the rough passion of the sea

To wed and keep a tinker man Storms my unheeding heart in vain.

They thought a kind of sin;

But now this three year since you're gone The petulance of rain and wind,

'Tis pity me they do, The haughty mountains' superb scorn,

And that I'd rather have, John-John,

Than that they'd pity you.
Are but slight things I've flung behind,
Old garments that I have out-worn.

Pity for me and you, John-John,

I could not bear. Bare of the grudging grass, and bare

Oh, you're my husband right enough, Of the tall forest's careless shade,

But what's the good of that? Deserter from thee, Earth, I dare

You know you never were the stuff Seo all thy phantom brightness fade.

To be the cottage cat,

To watch the fire and hear me lock And, darkening to the sun, I go

The door and put out ShepTo enter by the heart's low door,

But there now, it is six o'clock And find where Love's red embers glow

And time for you to step. A home, who ne'er had home before.

God bless and keep you far, John-John!

And that's my prayer. Thomas MacDonagh (1878-1916) was, like so many of the young

Irish writers of the twentieth century,

Joseph Campbell, most of whose

work has been published under the both scholar and poet. In 1916 he

Irish name Seosamh Maccathmhaoil, published a prose critical work, Lit

writes both regular and free verse. erature in Ireland, in which his two

He is close to the soil, and speaks passions, love of art and love of

the thoughts of the peasants, articucountry, are clearly displayed. His

lating their pleasures, their pains, books of original verse include The

and their superstitions. No deadness Golden Joy, 1906; Songs of Myself,

of conventionality dulls the edge of 1910, and others.

He was

wor

his art—he is an original man. His shipper of Beauty, his devotion being fancy is bold, and he makes no atmore religious than æsthetic.

tempt to repress it. Perhaps his The poems addressed to Beauty-of which there are comparatively many

most striking poem is I am the Gilly

of Christ-strange that its reverence -exhibit the familiar yet melan

has been mistaken for sacrilege! choly disparity between the vision in

And in the little song, Go, Ploughthe poet's soul and the printed image of it. This disparity is not owing to

man, Plough one tastes the joy of muscle, the revelation of the

upfaulty technique, for his manage- turned earth, and the promise of ment of metrical effects shows ease

beauty in fruition. and grace; it is simply the lack of sufficient poetic vitality. Although Go, ploughman, plough his ambition as an artist appears to

The mearing lands,

a

even

The meadow lands:

verified by readers, the greater is The mountain lands:

the challenge to the art of the All life is bare

poet. Beneath your share,

We may properly add to our list All love is in your lusty hands. the names of two Irish poets who are

Americans. Maurice Francis Egan, Up, horses, now!

full of years and honours, a scholar And straight and true

and statesman, giving notable ser. Let every broken furrow run: vice to America as our Minister to The strength you sweat

Denmark, has written poetry marked Shall blossom yet

by tenderness of feeling and delicacy In golden glory to the sun.

of art. His little book, Songs and

Sonnets, published in 1892, exhibits In 1917 Mr. Campbell published a the range of his work as well as anybeautiful volume, signed with his thing that he has written. It is English name, embellished with his founded on a deep and pure religious own drawings-one for each poem faith. . . . Norreys Jephson O'Conor called Earth of Cualann. Cualann is a young Irish-American, a gradis the old name for the County uate of Harvard, and has already of Wicklow, but it includes also published three volumes of verse, a stretch to the northwest, reach. Celtic Memories, which appeared in ing close to Dublin. Mr. Camp- England in 1913, Beside the Blackbell's description of it in his water, 1915, and Songs of the preface makes a musical overture Celtic Past, 1917. American by to the verses that follow. “Wild birth and residence, of Irish parentand unspoilt, a country of cairn- age, he draws his inspiration almost crowned hills and dark, watered val. wholly from Celtic lore and Cel. leys, it bears even to this day some tic scenes. He is a natural singer, thing of the freshness of the heroic whose art is steadily increasing in dawn.”

authority. The work of Seumas O'Sullivan, It will be seen from our review born in 1878, has often been likened of the chief figures among conto that of W. B. Yeats, but I can see temporary Irish poets that the jolly, little similarity either in spirit or in jigging Irishman of stage his manner. The younger poet has the tory is quite conspicuous by his secret of melody and his verses show absence. He still gives his song and a high degree of technical excel. dance, and those who prefer musilence; but in these respects he no cal-comedy to orchestral composimore resembles his famous country tions can find him in the numerous man than many another master. His anthologies of Anglo-Irish verse; best poems are collected in a volume but the tone of modern Irish published in 1912, and the most in. poetry is spiritual rather than teresting of these give pictures of hearty. various city streets, Mercer Street Whatever may be thought of the (three), Nelson Street, Cuffe Streetappropriateness of the term “Adand so on. In other words, the most vance of English Poetry” for my sur. original part of this poet's produc vey of the modern field as a whole, tion is founded on reality. This does there is no doubt that it applies fitnot mean that he lacks imagination; tingly to Ireland. The last twentyfor it is only by imagination that five years have seen an awakening of a writer can portray and interpret poetic activity in that island unlike familiar scenes. The more widely anything known there before; and and easily their veracity can be Dublin has become one of the lit.

erary centres of the world. When a new movement produces three men of genius, and a long list of poets of

distinction, it should be recognised with respect for its achievement, and with faith in its future.

The subject of Professor Phelps's next article in The Advance of English Poetry in the Twentieth Centurywill be Vachel Lindsay and Robert Frost.

THE OULD IRISH LANDLORD

BY CARL MCDONALD

MASTHER of the lands was he-cud till it by the looks av him

A-walkin' lightly down the sthreet-his blackthorn stick in hand, Tipped his hat to all av us-not a bit o' pride in him,

A kindly twinkle in his eye-beloved by all the land.
Ever singin' gaily-an Irish lilt upon his tongue-

A penny for the childer-an' a smile for all galore.
Well do I remember him-his goodness was on ivery tongue,

But now the twinkle in his eye has ceased for ever more.

Many's a year he's dead now-many's an eye was wet for him,

A grand ould Irish gintleman-the grandest in the land, An' niver more we'll see him—the kindly laughin' eyes o’ him,

He's walkin' down the Golden Road_his blackthorn stick in hand.

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