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beauty and clarity about some of these first poems. He reminds me now of Marlowe, now of Shelley; but not in a sense of imitation; for Hervey Allen has always seemed to me at his best the most strongly original of our younger poets. If you like splendor of words. and vigor of conception you will want this book, and later in the pages you will find dramatic lyrics of stark power, and lyrics of some grace. There is magnificence, it seems to me, in these lines:
Who has heard the crack of Carthaginian whips
Upon the backs of frozen elephants,
And is there not nice philosophy in this, "How the lack of Earth's mystery affects the thought of cities":
Thought, rootless thought of town,
"The Awakening" (Doubleday, Page) contains poems of Don Marquis selected for English consumption and printed here. Some day the world at large will awake to the fact that Mr. Marquis is one of our truly great literary figures. In these verses there are his gusto and his sense
of musical phrase, his mysticism and his great humanity. "The Jesters" is a great poem. It has majesty, irony, beauty. Mr. Marquis has the gift of writing the graceful lyric; but it is never a lyric too sweet with sentiment or too lush with color. Nor is he a cautious poet; he has not been afraid to be lowbrow. Now, as he reaches middle age, he discovers that he is admitted to the paths of the great. I quote one of the least important of the
From the coronal bloom on the brow of the May.
She is youth, she is foam, she is flame, she is visible Song!
In "The Happy Marriage", Archibald MacLeish showed that he had matured to the poet's estate. He has a highly intellectual being, and he translates it in terms of Meredithian verse, embroidered occasionally by moments of beauty. In "The Pot of Earth" (Houghton Mifflin) he tells a love story in simple yet at the same time vastly involved measures. He is a fine poet. If I find him occasionally difficult, that quality does not dim my admiration for him. Take these exquisite eight lines, for example:
Unless the rain comes soon the colored petals
Their petals fallen, all their petals fallen,
Ridgely Torrence has a talent that in its surety and steadiness amounts to genius. genius. He is, I think, one of our foremost poets, in present importance exceeding those above discussed. His rhythms and his words are simple; his execution is sure. He writes little,
but its purity of accomplishment cannot be questioned. It is difficult to detach a part of one of his poems, for they are so perfectly units. I am quoting, therefore, from his new volume "Hesperides" (Macmillan) the entire poem "Evensong":
Beauty calls and gives no warning,
It is the season grieves,
All our springtimes, all our summers,
To attain the dream we did not win.
O we have wakened, Sweet, and had our birth,
And that's the end of earth;
And we have toiled and smiled and kept the light,
And that's the end of night.
R. WERNER has again written
Ma biography that calls for much
praise. It is a better book than his "Barnum", though perhaps not quite so readable. The material, however,
was heavier. For "Brigham Young" (Harcourt, Brace) deals with polygamy rather than press agentry, and its implications are more profound. Mr. Werner has great ability in reconstructing character; but he seems to me to fail in this book when he tries to show the sweep of the period. Perhaps it was too much to hope that, since he has so magnificent an understanding of the souls of people, he would understand completely the implications of events as they play into each other. Brigham Young stands out from these pages a firmer figure than Barnum, four dimensional and complete. To the Vermonter, Smith and Young will not seem typical - any more than does Calvin Coolidge of the poetry of the Green Mountains. Yet here, surely, is the story of a revolt from Puritanism worldwide in its effect, against which the voice of bachelor Mencken seems the puny squall of a firstborn. Lovers of biography, those interested in religion, or in the complicated phases of great character, will find "Brigham Young" essential. If you wish to know what my quarrel with the book is, compare it with Amy Lowell's "John Keats".
A SHELF OF RECENT BOOKS
By William Rose Benét
HOSE who dutifully confection
"The short story to the sacred pat
tern of the hour may well become of the company which shakes its tambourines in hell", says Galsworthy in his foreword to this stout volume of his collected tales. He says it modestly, withal, not arrogating to himself the achievement of a better purpose but merely mentioning that such achievement has been his ideal.
As for Galsworthy's method in these stories, his point of view is that, I think, of Ferrand, the narrator of "A Simple Tale":
"There are two kinds of men in this world, monsieur one who will not rest content till he has become master of all the toys that make a fat existence in never looking to see of what they are made; and the other, for whom life is tobacco and a crust of bread, and liberty to take all to pieces, so that his spirit may feel good within him. Frankly, I am of that kind."
Galsworthy examines character with a deep sympathy. He searches life's pathos, spreads before you its diverse tragedy. There is always beneficence in his touch, even when he illustrates the most heartbreaking ironies. Beauty and romance and the glamor of innocence pervade "A Man of Devon" and "The Apple Tree". They are idyllic for all the darkness of their endings. "Caravan" is a gallery of character studies, of folk rich and poor, strong and weak. The presentation of them is a relief after the crowded concocted incident of the magazine stories of the day. Here are
people studied at first hand, complex and simple, sturdy and broken. One after the other they move through the mystery of their heroism and their defeat. Of their heroisms and defeats the author is the brooding but helpless spectator. Sometimes he lapses into sentimentality. It is always his danger. But his ideal is a profound charity. There are several sympathetic studies of Germans in wartime England. The war psychology of the extreme Hun baiter is terribly presented in "The Dog It Was that Died", written in 1919. Of all the horrors of war this curse of hate, turning reasonable men into relentless and truly vicious "witch burners", seems the most terrifying. It is the hideous concomitant of war that eventually makes every cause unrighteous. Galsworthy has been deeply shocked by it, by the insanity of an idée fixe in a formerly healthy mind. And he is familiar with the Black Godmother, Fear, its fore
"The Pack", an early story of 1905, is "teamed" with "The Dog It Was that Died". Although I do not always find justification in Galsworthy's method of pairing the stories in this volume throughout, an old one with a new one of somewhat similar theme, in this case it enables one to compare the seed with the tree. "The Pack" is the story of a college "ragging", but it ends with the significant remark, "What second-hand devil is it that gets into us when we run in packs?"
One of the most impressive stories in the book, as it is one of the longest, is "A Stoic", written in 1916. Old Heythorp is unforgetable, though hardly a
stoic in the true meaning of the word. One cannot be both a stoic and a voluptuary. He is a man, on the other hand, who has always given rein to his passions and fancies. He makes a good end, but through power of personality rather than through stoicism. A man
that the world might regard as reprehensible, but what a hearteningly courageous figure, a man with a hot heart in his breast and the stomach for a fight - as well as for viands!
Other unforgetable characters in these tales are "A Knight" and "Late
- 299". The latter story, in my opinion, comes as near to being a masterpiece as anything I have ever read of Galsworthy's. And "The Juryman" and "The First and the Last" are unusually powerful stories.
The irony of life is in all these tales apparent, the trickery of fate, the defeat of nobility, faithfulness and courage, the cowardice of average humanity. Yet despite the striking evidences of Galsworthy's disillusionment, the quality that most pervades his work is human sympathy and understanding. That we note, first and last. It is the quality that gives his writing psychological significance, that makes it truly dramatic when he is treating crucial instances. His craftsmanship, his style, is not superlative, but his insight into the human mind and heart is that of a great observer.
Caravan. The Assembled Tales of John Galsworthy. Charles Scribner's Sons.
derstanding friend, and brilliant colleague. Rarely has a biographer had the portrayal of such an inspiring subject.
On reading the 1,500 pages of the book, one realizes that such a life, filled to the brim with endeavor and human interest, with all its accumulated mass of letters and material from which to draw, might have caused dismay to the earnest biographer. It has taken Dr. Cushing five years to accomplish his labor of love. "He who runs may read", and one may imagine that at least some of the time was taken in deciding not so much what could be garnered from the life to perpetuate, as what could be left out so that the book should not assume undue proportions.
Every page of this work tells something of the man, his work, his courage in adversity, his friendships, his love for his family; and through it all there is astonishingly little of Harvey Cushing. The book is a true biography, because while it relates important events in the history of medicine, these are introduced so as to throw into strong relief the character of the man. This biography must surely be one of the few ever written in which the reader throughout two large volumes will find it difficult to place a finger upon a fault or point to an act of which he can distinctly disapprove.
Sir William Osler received plaudits and testimony of devotion from three countries on his seventieth birthday. After giving his energy and knowledge in service during the war, he bravely relinquished a life that was throughout an ardent example of "faith, hope, and charity", of which trinity he has exemplified the fact that he thought "the greatest of these is charity".
Rarely have character and personality been more faithfully and accu
rately described than were Osler's by the Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, soon after his death:
Physician, teacher, guide, lover of his fellow man. Noble exemplar of charity and tolerance and temperance and work and love; untiring stimulator and benefactor of this society; whose sparkling wit and genial subtle humour smoothed the rough way of life for so many weary spirits; whose presence banished discord and suspicion. The gap which his absence leaves among us will forever be warmed by the glow of that all-embracing love which radiated from his presence like a halo of light, and brought to all about him, something of the peace which now is his.
William Osler came of a distinguished Canadian family, the youngest of six boys and two girls, all of whom have left their mark on the world, "in that state of life to which it pleased God to call them". The father was in the British navy, but was persuaded by his godfather to go into the Anglican church. Leaving the navy, he went to Cambridge, took orders, then heard "the call" and, accompanied by his young Cornish wife, went to Canada as a missionary no sinecure in those early days.
Sir William was born at Bond Head, Ontario, on July 12, 1849. His parents were anxious that one of their six sons should follow in the father's footsteps and join the church; but one by one the sons adopted some other profession. Finally the parents' desire was centred on the last, the Benjamin. Willie Osler, as he was then called, did his best and studied for the ministry. On the eve of taking holy orders, he found it impossible. So he was lost to the church and won by medicine. Considering all the profession gained through his advocacy, we cannot find it in our hearts to regret this step.
He went first to a grammar school at Weston, then to Trinity College School, Port Hope, Ontario, where he received
the Chancellor's Prize and a silver trophy for his prowess in running. From there, to Trinity University, Toronto, studying medicine at this college and at McGill University, Montreal. He was graduated at the age of twenty-three. After continuing his study of medicine in London, Leipzig, and Vienna, he returned to Canada in 1874 to take the Chair of the Institute of Medicine at McGill.
In 1884 he was appointed Gulstonian lecturer for the year by the Royal College of Physicians in London, and in that year he became professor of clinical medicine in the University of Pennsylvania. There he remained five years. Then followed his third professorship, in Johns Hopkins University, which he held until 1905, when he left amid universal expressions of admiration and regret to become regius professor of medicine in Oxford University.
William Osler had an abnormal capacity for work. He named it, in one of his addresses, the master word in medicine. Like those men who have system, he used every moment of his waking hours, yet seemed to have leisure to carry on a daily flow of letters, to play with children, to entertain numberless guests who flocked from all parts of the world to the "Open Arms" (as he called his home at Norham Gardens), and to visit the sick and sorrowful, from whom he sometimes had to come away "whistling that he might not weep".
He found time to be a constant attendant of meetings, to take a leading part in his profession, to "read, mark, learn and inwardly digest his books", to found libraries, visit hospitals, entertain undergraduates, give lectures, be the moving spirit in his home, and always to prove a source of inspiration or consolation to others. "Hurry is the Devil" was a constant remark, so he