1842 FEBRUARY 3 1888
There s rosemary that s for remembrance: and
there is pansies that s for thoughts
PUBLICATION AGENCT or THE JOHKS HOPKIWS UNIVERSIT*
For the friends of Sidney Lanier, who met on
his forty-sixth birthday to honor his memory,
and for others who would gladly have been with
them, this record is prepared.
Oil! .Oiaum JqiT!
ON the third of February, 1888, in the hall
of the Johns Hopkins University where
Sidney Lanier had lectured, a company of his
friends assembled to bring their tributes of affec
tion and admiration.
In addition to the members of the University,
many ladies and gentlemen from Baltimore were
present, and not a few from distant places,
Boston, New York, New Brunswick, Princeton,
and Ithaca. Musicians came to represent the
Peabody orchestra, in which for many years
Lanier had played the flute.
A bust of the poet, in bronze (modelled by
Ephraim Keyser, sculptor, in the last period of
Lanier s life, at the suggestion of Mr. J. E. Tait),
was presented to the University by his kinsman,
Charles Lanier, Esq., of New York. It was also
announced that a citizen of Baltimore had offered
a pedestal to be cut in Georgia marble from a
design by Mr. J. B. N. Wyatt. On a temporary
pedestal hung the flute of Lanier, which had so
often been his solace, and a roll of his manu-
script music. The bust was crowned with a
wreath of laurel ; words of Lanier, " The Time
needs Heart," were woven into the strings of a
floral lyre ; and other flowers, likewise brought
by personal friends, were grouped around the
As a memento, a card, designed by Mrs. Henry
Whitman of Boston, was given to those who were
present. Upon its face was a wreath, with
Lanier s name and the date, and the motto
Aspiro dum Exspiro ; upon the reverse, appeared
the closing lines of the Hymn of the Sun, taken
from the poet s Hymns of the Marshes, and
beneath, a flute with ivy twined about it.
Ever by day shall my spirit, as one that hath tried thee,
Labor, at leisure, in art, till yonder beside thee
My soul shall float, friend Sun,
The day being done.
ORDER OF EXERCISES.
Words of acknowledgment and introduction
from Dr. Oilman, President of the University.
A tribute in verse from Mrs. Lawrence Turn-
bull, read by Mr. E. G. Daves.
Selections from Lanier s verses, read by Miss
Susan H. Ward, of Newark, N. J.
A paper on the " Science of Verse," by Pro
fessor Tolman, of Blpon College, Wisconsin,
once a pupil of Lanier s, presented by Dr. W.
A bibliographical notice of Lanier, prepared
by Mr. R. E. Burton, of Connecticut presented
but not read.
A sonnet to Sidney Lanier, by Mr. K. E. Bur
ton, and a tribute in verse by Mr. James Cum-
mings, of Tennessee, graduate students of the
" The Ballad of the Trees and the Master,"
words by Sidney Lanier; music by "Francis
Urban" (of Urbana, O.)
"Love that hath us in the net," words by
Tennyson ; music by Sidney Lanier.
Singer: Miss Starr, accompanied by Mr. Har
Air for Violin solo (from Bach s French Suite,
Violinist: Mr. Fritz Gaul;
Pianist: Mr. Harold Eandolph.
A sonnet to Sidney Lanier, by Kev. Father
Tabb, of St. Charles College, who shared the
prison-life of Lanier in the recent civil war.
Letters from Hon. James Russell Lowell, and
Mr. Edmund C. Stednian, read by Dr. W. H.
Ward, of New York, the biographer of Lanier.
A letter and a poem from Miss Edith M.
Thomas, read by Mr. E. G. Daves.
A paper on the ethical influence of Lanier,
prefaced with a brief address, by Dr. M. E. Gates,
President of Rutgers College.
A letter (associating Lanier with other poets
that have lately died), from Mr. Richard W.
Gilder, read by Dr. H. B. Adams.
A transcription by Liszt on themes by Han
del, (from Almira],
Pianist : Mr. Richard Burmeister.
To SIDNEY LANIER.
By Rev. John B. Tabb,
of St. Charles College, Md.
The same blue-bending dome encanopies
Thine ashes and the spark that kindles mine :
Upon the selfsame bosom we recline,
When with the wind the wave, land-lessening,
And twixt our souls the star-wrought mysteries
Of Hope the sacred oracles divine
Steadfast above the vault of darkness shine,
To point the path benighted to the skies.
For there, of dreams unsepulchred, and free
" To face the vast sweet Visage, unafraid,"
That erst thy spirit reverenced to see
In Nature s lowliest lineaments portrayed,
Thou keepest watchful memory of me,
A lingering phantom of the mortal shade.
To SIDNEY LANIER.
By Richard Eugene Burton, A. .,
O fair frail singer, song that hushed o er-soon,
Thy paths were paths of pain, yet shot with
Than star-shine sweeter, than the sun more
And balmier than the blessed lady moon,
For that it shone from holy heights ; a boon
Glad-given by the gods for the delight
Of poet-eyes that hail such healing sight,
Of poet-hearts to God-gleams all atune.
And now, the pain apast, we picture thee
As pacing wider ways, having for mate
Two kindred ones in bliss that s brotherly :
Shelley and Keats, before disconsolate.
The while on earth, thine eyes may ever see
Souls shapened by thy song to high estate.
THE STRANGER S INVOCATION
BEFORE THE BUST OF LANIER.
By James Cummings, A. M., of Tennessee.
Chorister, look down upon me till this bronzed
Till the entranced face wake to bless me with
a happy friendship s birth ;
Till the luminous eyes shall hold me as kind
eyes that watch me often,
Till you seem unknown no more in heaven to
me unknown on earth.
Had your face the unspoken answers of the
friend that I would make you ?
Was the breathing man impassioned with the
body of my dream,
Like your music just the promise of yourself
which made men take you
As that minstrel who would only sing the
being he could seem ?
Is it now too long a quiet since your last soft
breath was taken,
Here to hope for salutation from that lordly
soul of song ?
Must I smother my desire to see a tender smile
And the poet s head nod gently to the dream-
enchanted throng ?
Is the chance of knowing finished by the one
short turn of dying,
While the lapsing years fit sadly here to bring
to us our own ?
If I spoke your name out warmly towards the
vastness there outlying
Would your spirit for an answer turn a little
from the Throne ?
Why should men decry the human? Would
your soul enjoy disowning
That large heart which nursed its fever into
such inspiring flame ?
All the body s throbs of feeling, in the laughter
and the moaning-
Do you scorn the lost mortality, yet own the
song and name ?
We have saved the happy music, but have lost
the poet s passion.
We have tokens of the pageant, but the hero
has gone by.
They have fixed the dreamer s vision here in
loving deathless fashion
Oh ! for one swift greeting movement of the
living poet s eye.
Have we lost the best, our poet, we who never
even saw you,
Ere like some strange star you vanished, ra
diant wonder to man s eye,
Never heard you voice the music of the beauty
that could draw you
Far above ignoble fretting, till you half forgot
to sigh ?
Did you give your years all joyfully, a musical
Just a breathing in of heaven s air to carol it
Heart beneficent and generous, a gracious spirit-
Glad to make the winds your messengers to
solace with your lay.
For we think so; and we wonder what more
passion would be given
To the treasures you have left us, had we seen
you face to face ?
Not to hold you mutely, blindly in a friend s
But to attune your song s recital to the soul
that gave it grace.
Did you ever yield your presence to the lyric s
Ever lay your pale cheek gently on the bosom
of an ode?
Did you e er give over lovingly such favor
To the keeping of the Symphony, your heart
and all its load ?
In the open of your pages, banners waving,
You were taken as a hostage for the world s
sublimer sway ;
And to strange far courts of fantasy a princely
Still you sang of home and sorrows, laureate
lover far away.
All the music you set ringing has its breathing
pauses in it ;
And your heart had chimes that sounded on
the while your voice was still.
We aspire to catch the cadence too, but how
shall we begin it,
We who lack your spirit s echo, and who
want the minstrel s will ?
There is something after song, some little trill
that starts and falters,
Some quick overflow of changing tears that
words can never hold :
If we find this surest witness, silent by the soul s
We shall know the singer best by what the
song could not unfold.
Though I sing and sing again your song, and
praise and hear men praise you,
I shall sing it all expectantly till some pro-
Wake and join the strain with fullest power,
and in its climax raise you
On the words into my heart. So shall I know
you and rejoice.
SIDNEY LANIER, DIED SEPTEMBER 7, 1881.
By Mrs. Francese E. Turnbull,
"God taught him" aye, that wondrous, won
The knowledge of all beauteous holiness, to love,
To worship and to sing.
So lived he nobly his own poet-creed,
" The holiness of beauty," as he sweetly said,
So married burning thought and gracious deed,
And holy effort in his chivalrous life,
With wondrous gentleness, as one that answereth
With fair life pages to some sweet ideal, he came
So ye that knew him gather tenderly
This fragrance of his life, his thought, his
And write upon your souls the graciousness
Of holiness that passeth speech.
* " God taught him that thing he did " ; the words of his faith
ful colored servant.
" God taught him " aye, that love of man for
That joyed in all sweet possibilities : that faith
Which hallowed love and life ;
Methinks the angels cannot turn away
From our imperfect strivings while we feebly
" Wring harmonies, oh God, from mortal strife."
So he, Heaven-taught in his large-heartedness,
Smiled with his spirit s eyes athwart the veil
That human loves too oft keep closely drawn
Nor waited for his knowledge till the Dawn.
So hearts leaped up to breathe his freer atmo
And eyes smiled truer for his radiance clear,
And souls grew loftier where his teachings fell,
And all gave love. Ah me ! and were it well
That such an one should be so soon withdrawn
From fields that need his culture? Yet the
His finished work. And we are blind ; we can
Ah friends ! ah mourning ones who loved him so,
Be we as true.
" God taught him." Aye, the patience and the
Which glossed his pain ; the courtesy ;
The sweet quaint thoughts which gave his poema
His love of the green earth ;
His echoes from that silent spirit-land,
Which souls afar can scantly understand ;
His winning tenderness with souls perplexed ;
His grasp of questions vexed ;
His love of "good great man" ; his eagerness
For lofty converse, and his joy of books ;
His oneness with all master-minds ;
His thirst for lore ; his gratitude
For that the Lord had made the earth so good !
His fellowship with thoughts that angels bring
In wakeful dreams, perchance, or the sweet min
Of baby hands and love, and wifely tenderness ;
God granted him to know the blessedness,
And sing the dearness, that all hearts might know
God loves His children whom He blesses so
With taste of Heaven !
" God taught him" aye, the poet-teacher knew,
His mission was of God : he knew
God s love could clear the shadow from created
Men needed not to grieve. So flowed
His " velvet flute-note " forth in luminous
The chords of his pure life welled up in rhap
*To chant dear Beauty s holiness. And while he
Where God hath called him, in our h carter
He singeth of God s Day.
By Miss Edith M. Thomas.
To (he friends of Sidney Lanier at Johns Hopkins University :
Having only yesterday received your invitation to
attend the gathering in memory of the poet, I still wish
in some way to express ray appreciation of your thus
honoring me, and yet more to cast in some tribute to
his gracious genius. The quoted fragment of his own
lovely verse, coming to my mind this morning, furnishes
the motive for the enclosed villanelle now subject to
E. M. T.
Geneva, Ohio, February 1, 1888.
" On the Paradise side of the River of Death.
The River flows, how softly flows
(The one bank green, the other sere),
How sweet the wind that hither blows.
Its breath is from the blightless rose,
Its voice, from lips of leal and dear
The River flows, how softly flows.
Beyond, in dreams the spirit goes,
And finds each lost and lovely peer
How sweet the wind that hither blows.
Brief while the gleaming vista shows
A singing throng withdrawn from here
The River flows, how softly flows.
There mounts the winged song, there glows
The ardor white, of rare Lanier
How sweet the wind that hither blows.
His voice rang fearless to the close,
He sang Death s Cup with cordial cheer
The River flows, how softly flows ;
How sweet the wind that hither blows.
DEERFOOT FARM, January 29, 1888.
Dear President Oilman,
If I could, I would gladly join you in your
tribute of respect and affection to the late Sid
ney Lanier. He was not only a man of genius
with a rare gift for the happy word, but had in
him qualities that won affection and commanded
respect. I had the pleasure of seeing him but
once, when he called on me (in more gladsome
days) at Elmwood, but the image of his shining
presence is among the friendliest in my memory.
I wish I could be with you to pay a part of my
debt, but it is impossible.
J. E. LOWELL.
44 EAST 26TH STREET,
NEW YORK, January 28, 1888.
My dear President Oilman,
I regret that unfulfilled duties here, and pres
sing engagements at this season, compel me
to deny myself the satisfaction of being with
you in the memorial gathering, at which Key-
ser s bust of the late Sidney Lanier will be
offered to the Johns Hopkins University.
The marked poetic instinct, which governs
Mr. Keyser in all his work, doubtless has secured
for you a preservation of the expression, as well
as of the material likeness, of Lanier s striking
It is a fine thing that such an institution as
your University should have its shrines and
among them that of its own poet, in a certain
sense canonized, and with his most ideal mem
ory a lasting part of its associations.
I have spoken, in a book where much atten
tion was devoted to Lanier s genius and works,
of his "early death," and of its having pre
vented the completion of his "ultimate design."
Lanier s sensibility, taste, exquisite sense of
beauty, made him on one side resemble Keats
and Shelley, yet he lived fourteen years longer
than Keats, and ten years longer than Shelley,
and the amount of his printed remains is notably
smaller than that which each of them left behind.
But those poets sang and wrote without an ulti
mate design of the kind to which I refer. He
conceived of a method, and of compositions,
which could only be achieved by the effort of a
life extended to man s full term of years. The
little that he was able to do belonged to the very
outset of a large, synthetic work ; he did little
more than to sound a few important bars of his
overture. In this sense he died early, but did
not die without leaving his idea behind him
out of which something fine may yet grow. He
staked his purpose on the hope and chance of
time for its execution, but Dis aliter visumf
Very sincerely yours,
EDMUND C. STEDMAN.
Editorial Department, The Century Magazine.
NEW YORK, January 5, 1888.
My dear Dr. Oilman,
I thank you very much for thinking of me
in connection with the Sidney Lanier birthday
commemoration on the 3d of February, though
I feel totally unable to say anything that will
add to the intimate knowledge and generous
appreciation of Lanier in your community. It
is borne in upon me with terrible force that
within a few years we have lost, in this country,
some of our most genuine poets in the very
height of their power. Here in New York we
have but just come from the death-bed of our
friend and fellow-worker, Emma Lazarus a
poet snatched away almost at the beginning of
a splendid and most beneficent career. Some
time before, news came of the death of Edward
Rowland Sill, a singer of profound purpose and
thrilling tone. Before that, Helen Jackson
sang her own brave death-chant ; but of the new
group of American poets Lanier was the first to
pass into the land that the living call " silent."
To the eyes of those who see as we mortals
must see, the cutting short of these four lives,
so full of the " beauty of holiness," so earnest,
so heroic, so inspiring, so divinely musical,
was in every case a tragedy, not only a per
sonal but also a national loss. In Lanier s case
the tragedy was intensified by the painful expe
riences of those last years, and by the extraordi
nary promise of his verse. Some of his poetic
work was experimental, not fully and restfully
accomplished, though always with gleams here
and there from the very " Heaven of song." As
his methods and ideas matured there was reason
to expect a more rounded, sustained, and satis
fying art. And every now and then there crys
tallized in his intense and musical mind a lyric
of such diamond-like strength and lustre that it
can no more be lost from the diadem of English
song than can the lyrics of Sidney or of Herbert.
Yes, with each dead singer it is a tragic and
eternal deprivation and yet all have left songs
that will be cherished by their countrymen. I
know you will not be sorry that I have named
others in naming him, I feel assured that each
would wish to be remembered when one is re
called. Your way of endeavoring to perpetuate
the impression made upon you individually by
the poet and by his work will not only accom
plish its direct object, but will also encourage
others who in the midst of a sordid world are
trying to keep alive the harshly blown upon
and flickering flame of the ideal.
Very sincerely yours,
KICHARD W. GILDER.
n tbe jetbical flnfluence
By MERRILL E. GATES, Ph. D.,
President of Rutgers College.
President Oilman said : " Two or three days
ago a letter came from one who wrote, in response
to our invitation, among all those friends who
knew Lanier I doubt if any will be present who
love him more truly than do I who never saw
him. But the writer of that letter is here to
day, and I shall ask him to say to you what he
will, or himself to read the letter he had written.
I introduce to you President Merrill E. Gates,
of Kutgers College."
President Gates said :
You ask me, President Gilman, to read what
I had written you ; and I willingly comply with
your wish, because it gives me the pleasure of
looking into the faces of these friends, so many
of whom knew and loved Sidney Lanier. And
I am the more ready to say a few words here,
because both last night and on the evening be-
fore I was present in a circle of intelligent and
sympathetic men and women who were deeply
interested in Lanier and desirous to know him
better. Last night, in Brooklyn, a hundred and
fifty men and women who love good literature
were assembled to listen to some account of
Lanier s life and a criticism of his poetry. The
circle of his admirers grows slowly but surely.
He finds his own !
As the bell struck twelve last night, ushering
in Lanier s birthday, Mr. Stedman whose letter
has just been read, was speaking with me of
Lanier. He said of Lanier some more tender
and appreciative words than I have elsewhere
known him to say, discriminating yet affection
ate. But he also expressed the thought which
he has given us in this letter. He spoke of the
fact that Lanier, from the wide scope of his ideas
and the far-reaching comprehensiveness of his
ideals in art, had planned for himself a work
which it would have required half a century of
life to complete. But death cut him off. The re
sult seemed sadly incomplete. To which I could
only make reply : But what nobler or truer ser
vice can an artist render to his age and to all
time than Lanier has done in thus laying off for
us in his life, be its years many or few, a perfect
arc that reveals to us the far-reaching, compre
hensive sweep of the great circles that include
all beauty, span the whole universe of thought
and art, and show us in outline the full sphere
of beauty, holiness, and truth.
So I hold our poet s life a perfect piece of
living, incomplete although it may appear.
How you who knew him here, loved him !
How his influence still pervades the literary
studies of the University ! The letters and poems
just read show us in how many directions his
helpful power is felt. I have sometimes thought
that there is no truer contemporaneous test of
the power of a poet than that which is found
in the degree to which he lays hold upon the
hearts and the minds of the young men of his
age. That of beauty and truth which the com
ing generation need, to live by, the young men
feel and know by a subtle spirit of the future
that pervades their souls, though often older
men may fail to perceive its presence or to sus
pect its potency. The two poems which we have
just heard read by young men of the University
show us how powerfully Lanier appeals to young
" His love of men was wonderful ! After all
has been said of the needs of our time, I ques
tion whether any one has had a truer vision of
the deepest need of our time, in these years of
social unrest and blind yearning "to make richer
and fuller" the lives of the many, than had our
poet when he wrote "The Symphony," and in
the heart of it set the words which loving hands
have written here to-day in flowers on the lyre
that typifies his song " The Time needs
Heart ! "
I loved him ; and his words found me as have
the words of no other poet of our time.
To read what I had written seems almost too
formal now, since we have looked into each
other s faces in the presence of this nobly ex
pressive bust of the Poet, and, while his own
flute is eloquent here in its silence, have listened
together to the music he wrote and to music he
But as my words were written from a definite
point of view other than that of the friend, I
will read the words I had sent to you.
As a teacher of Ethics, working among the
young men of America, I give thanks for the
life and writings of Sidney Lanier.
By heredity, by endowment, by training,
artist in every fibre of his organism and in every x" 1
aspiration and impulse of his soul, Lanier yet v
kept touch with the men of his time, in the P*
science that interests the schools and in the social^),
questions that color the life of our generation^
His writings throb with an all-embracing love _^^
for his fellow-men, for all that has life, and for
the entire universe of order and beauty which
to his artist-eye and heart was not only the han
diwork but also the very shrine of that Creative
Life Who has called into being and consciously
sustains it all. Yet no one has held more
firmly to the clear intuition of a self-determining
personality in every man, owing steadfast, cour
ageous fealty to moral law. Thus there is about
his figure, youthful as he was, a dignity and a
severity such as must always attend the prophet
and priest of holiness.
God s touch set the starry splendor of genius
upon his soul ! As the years wheel into centu
ries, the stars to which men s eyes are oftenest
raised for guidance and in aspiration from our
restless, changing world, are those which hold a
place nearest the unchanging pole. Lanier s
place in "the literature of enduring power" is
secure, fast by that pole of the true in thought,
the noble and the beautiful in deed, round which
our life revolves.
To an age tainted by an unhealthy " aestheti-
cism," and a debauching "realism," which sees
in vice and uncleanness only new fields for the
artist s powers of description, and no call for the
artist s divine powers of denunciation to save
young men into whose ears is dinned the maxim,
"Art for art s sake only" "A moral purpose
ruins art," Lanier came, noble-souled as Mil
ton in youthful consciousness of power, yet hum
ble before the august conception of a moral purity
higher than he could hope to utter or attain,
discerning with a true poet s insight " the beauty
of holiness " and " the holiness of beauty."
Hauler s Science of
By Professor ALBERT H. TOLMAN,
Of Ripon College, Wisconsin.
Let any man read some representative poem
from the writings of SAvinburne, one which
fairly carries him away by the richness of its
rhythm and the melody of its sounds. He will
say : " This poet sometimes lacks clearness of
expression ; sometimes, nobility of thought ; but
he has a marvellous command of the purely for
mal elements of English verse." Let that man
now turn to the works upon English versification
that preceded Sidney Lanier s " Science of Eng
lish Verse " and seek to find a careful analysis
and exposition of those qualities of Swinburne s
poetry which have charmed his own ear. He
will search in vain. So far from finding those
qualities explained, he will not find them even
recognized. If he chances upon the writings of
Lanier s brother-Baltimoreans, Edgar A. Poe
and Professor Sylvester, he will get some real
light. Elsewhere he will find not " light, but
The ignorance concerning the nature of Eng
lish verse which Lanier found to prevail was of
no ordinary kind. It was a scientific ignorance,
in the sense that it had been reduced to a science.
It had classified and labeled all the multitude
of phenomena which it did not understand. It
talked learnedly of trochees, and anapaests, and
amphibrachs, and hypercatalecticism. It had
developed rules for the making of verse, and the
smallest one of these had exceptions enough to
fill a volume. It had all the form of sound
knowledge, "but denying the power thereof."
The students of this strange pseudo-science
stood ready to frown down any intruder who
should bring in a ray of common sense to light
up their darkness, by telling him, " My dear Sir,
you ignore all the accepted principles of English
prosody." With all his gift for hyperbole, Poe
hardly overstates the case when he says, con
cerning the theory of versification, "There is,
perhaps, no topic in polite literature which has
been more pertinaciously discussed ; and there
is certainly not one about which so much inac
curacy, confusion, misconception, misrepresenta
tion, mystification, and downright ignorance on
all sides, can be fairly said to exist."
Inborn delicacy of hearing and long training
fitted Lanier for the task of investigating Eng
lish verse. Quietly disregarding the learned
rubbish that had accumulated, he studied our
verse as a set of present phenomena of the world
of sound. He listened, and listened to the very
thing itself, the sound-groups concerning which
he wished to learn. He gathered his facts care
fully, he verified and arranged them, until the
great laws which underlie the phenomena stood
out clear and unmistakable. These laws he then
set forth in language which is as severely accu
rate as if he had never penned a line of poetry,
as if all flights of imagination were utterly dis
tasteful to him.
This statement of Lanier s method of study
sets aside the objections that some of his histori
cal illustrations are incorrectly interpreted, and
that lie has paid no attention to the work of
some careful students of the history of English
verse. Lanier sought to explain English verse
as a present fact. There is a school of philolo-
gians which says, " Observe carefully the facts
of the formation and growth of language as it
exists to-day. Then you will have the means
for understanding substantially all that we shall
ever know of its formation and development in
all ages." If Lanier has accurately analysed
and interpreted English verse as it exists to-day,
then he has given us the laws that will explain
to us at least the greater part of all that we shall
ever know concerning the nature of that verse
in all the periods of its existence.
The first and longest division of the Science
of English Verse contains a complete treatment
of the subject of verse-rhythm. Lanier con
siders rhythm in verse to be the marking off to
the ear by the accent of equal intervals of time ;
hence verse-rhythm is essentially the same thing
as rhythm in music, and all other rhythm.
In this broad position it seems to me that
Lanier is unquestionably right. His demon
stration may need to be modified in some par
ticulars ; it will never be overthrown. We
shall still hear that " accent and not quantity
is the governing principle of English verse " ;
but we shall hear less of this as time goes on.
Astronomy and astrology were long cultivated
side by side. So long as man s heart-beats are
separated by equal intervals, he will never dis
tribute accents without reference to time. If
anyone really wishes to hear such sound-anar-
chy, let him touch off a bunch of Chinese fire
The rhythm of our verse, however, does not
always attain to the exactness of the rhythm of
music. Lanier s musical bent is seen in the fact
that he treats the rhythmical accent of verse
almost as if it were a thing independent of
every-day accent. In rendering music we add
accent to musical sounds : in reading poetry we
find it in spoken sounds ; it is a new function,
simply, of the accent of common speech. La
nier s own poetical genius was distinctly lyrical.
Pie was in a special sense, a singer. His most
representative verse-form was the grand lyric,
especially the Ode, with its vast resonance and
complex harmony. Lyric poetry is that form
of verse which is most nearly allied to music in
the exactness and the prominence of its rhythm.
Lanier, perhaps, had a tendency to look upon
English verse as lyric verse. In free blank-verse
I think that not so much of the expression is
committed to the rhythm; the words have a
substantive, an independent meaning, which the
separate tones of a piece of music do not have,
and which the words of a lyric poem do not have
in the same degree relative to the demands of
the rhythm. To this independent meaning of
the words, the rhythm of free blank-verse often
seems slightly to defer. Hence we have frequent
omissions of the rhythmical accent even in bars
that are filled with sound, frequent displacements
of the accent, and a bewildering variety of equi
valent forms of the bar; and even the funda
mental rhythm itself, which is clearly heard
through all interruptions, is not marked off to
the ear with the same exactness as in lyric
verse. Still, so far as this takes place, it is an
escape from rhythm ; and it cannot be carried
far in good verse. Lanier has stated the norm,
the great basal principle governing verse-rhythm.
In the second and third divisions of the book,
The Tunes of English Verse and The Colors of
English Verse, the treatment is clear, sound, and
strikingly suggestive. All must regret that
Lanier did not live to investigate these topics
The late Professor E. K. Sill, a life-long stu
dent and teacher of English poetry, a judicious
critic, and a rare poet, said of this book, " It is
the only work that has ever made any approach
to a rational view of the subject. Nor are the
standard ones overlooked in making this asser
The book is clear and explicit everywhere.
We follow its pages, instantly accepting or ques
tioning every statement ; and we forget how rare
such precision and perspicuity are, and how dif
ficult of attainment. The contrast is complete
between this work and the cuneiform inscrip
tions which have passed for expositions of Eng
Perhaps no feature of the book is more admi
rable than the thoroughness with which Lanier
maps out the field. This makes it possible for
others to supplement his work, to build upon
his foundation. Merely as a logical exercise, it
would be well if every young student could read
the opening chapter, "The Investigation of
Sound as Artistic Material."
I do not care to dwell upon those details in
this work concerning which there may be dif
ferences of opinion. I prefer to recall the delight
with which I read the book twice through on
its appearance, and felt for the first time that I
had solid ground under my feet in the study of
English verse. I gratefully acknowledge my
personal indebtedness to this book.
The scientific precision of Lanier s treatment
of his subject and the relentlessness with which
he follows every proposition out to its logical
conclusions, are a new illustration of the truth
that a really great poet must have an orderly, a
scientific mind. Only such a mind is thoroughly
fitted for that higher form of rationality, poetic
We commonly conceive of a great poet most
inadequately. Milton has told us that large
powers, wide knowledge, long training, and
" devout prayer " should all be found united in
such a one, and that he who would sing well
"ought himself also to be a true poem." The
mental and the moral sanity of Sidney Lanier
his ample knowledge, his trained intellect,
his passion for holiness were the indispensable
conditions and an essential part of his poetic
We easily look upon the Science of English
Verse as something standing apart from Lanier s
life-work. He did not so regard it. It was the
foundation, broad and deep, on which he was to
build a mighty Temple of Song, for the delight
of man and the glory of God. Of that Temple
he fashioned one portal, fair, chaste, and strong.
And then just as his fingers, now grown fully
deft, eagerly grasped the mallet and chisel ; just
as the firm stone seemed fairly pliant to his
touch ; just as the grateful appreciation of his
fellow-men, long delayed, swelled to a chorus ;
" God s finger touched him, and he slept."
[From Tlie Critic, New York, February 11, 1888.]
A LANIER MEMORIAL.
Some months ago there sprang up spontaneously in
the hearts of a few of the friends of the late Sidney La
mer, resident in Baltimore and elsewhere, a desire to
commemorate his forty-sixth birthday. The idea origi
nated with that circle of friends which is gathered about
the Johns Hopkins University, where the poet-scholar
received recognition and encouragement, and served as
lecturer in English Literature in 1879-80. A bust of
Lanier was modelled during the latter part of his life by
Ephraim Keyser, the sculptor, then of Baltimore and now
of New York, who caused it to be cast in bronze at Borne.
A kinsman of the poet, Mr. Charles Lanier of New York,
soon signified his wish to present this bust to the Uni
versity ; another friend expressed his appreciation of the
movement by offering a pedestal for the bust, wrought
in Georgia marble, and designed by Mr. J. Noel Wyatt of
Baltimore. Still others showed their eagerness to con
tribute to the occasion by expressions of their love and
esteem in verse and prose, or by the rendition of music
that art which was so dear to the musician-poet whose
genius they sought to commemorate. The outcome of
this feeling and action was the gathering held in Hopkins
Hall of the University, at four o clock on the afternoon
of Friday last, February 3. About one hundred and fifty
friends and fellow-spirits, representing both the Faculty
and students of the University, and the best culture of
the city, were present , by special invitation. One of the
pleasantest features of the day was the presence of Mrs.
Lanier and her two sons.
In the centre of the platform stood the bust, backed by
tropical plants and based by flowers and ferns, the head
bearing a laurel wreath in true poet fashion. From the
front of the pedestal hung Lanier s flute, used by him
when a member of the Peabody Orchestra; and this was
crossed by a manuscript roll of his own music. To the
right on a small desk rested a harp of roses, pinks, and
smilax, with the inscription, "The Time needs heart,"
a quotation from his poem, " The Symphony." The exer
cises were opened with a few fitting words from President
Oilman. He said : " This is the birthday of a poet ; this
is the jubilee of a poet. Years have passed since his
death, but his fame is growing brighter and our love for
him dearer and truer. Most of what you will hear to-day
will bo from the lips of poets ; to me alone falls the prose,
as I call to your notice what is to come. Here is rose
mary for remembrance, here are pansies for thought. "
Dr. Oilman then introduced Mr. Edward G. Daves, who
read a poem written by Mrs. Laurence Turnbull of Bal
timore. Miss Ward, sister of Dr. Ward of The Independent,
followed with selections from Lanier s published poems,
reading with much expression and delicacy of interpreta
tion. Dr. Browne, Librarian of the University, followed
with quotations from a critical paper on Lauier s book,
"The Science of English Verse," by Professor Tolnian,
of Ripon College, Wisconsin, formerly a student of Johns
Hopkins, and under Lanier. Mr. Richard E. Burton and
Mr. James Cummings of the University then read poems
of their own, called out by their reverence and love for the
singer. At this point there was music, Lanier s poem,
" The Ballade of the Trees and the Master," set to music by
" Francis Urban," being sung by Miss Starr of the Pea-
body Conservatory. Miss Starr also read Tennyson s
"Love that hath us in the net," to music by Lanier.
This was followed by an air of Bach s for violin solo, Mr.
Fritz Gaul, first violin of the Peabody Orchestra, being
After the music, President Gilman introduced the Rev.
Father John B. Tabb, of St. Charles College, Maryland,
well known as a writer of verse and a fellow-prisoner of
Lanier s during the War, who gave the audience an ori
ginal sonnet inspired by the death of his friend. Men
tioning the fact that he had just received a letter from
Oliver Wendell Holmes, expressing his sympathy with
the memorial, but of too private a character to read, Dr.
Gilman introduced Dr. William Hayes Ward of New
York, who read letters from J. R. Lowell and E. C. Sted-
man, felicitously characterizing Lanier s character and
place as a poet. A beautiful poem contributed by Miss
Edith M. Thomas, of which the motif was Lanier s line,
" The paradise-side of the river of death," was then pre-
sented by Mr. Daves, whose rich voice lent a deep mean
ing to its tender and melodious refrain. Dr. Gates,
President of Rutgers College, had written a long letter
for the occasion, but unexpectedly was present, and
therefore supplemented his own written words by others
spoken from a full heart and showing a keen apprecia
tion of the Southern -singer s place and mission among
men-of-letters. Dr. Adams, Professor of History in the
University, was called on to read a long letter from the
pen of Mr. R. W. Gilder, of The Century, in which refer
ence was made to the fourfold and great loss the country
had sustained in the untimely taking-off of Emma Laza
rus, E. R. Sill, Helen Hunt and Sidney Lanier. The
exercises then closed with more music, Prof. Richard
Burmeister, pianist at the Peabody, playing a transcrip
tion by Liszt on themes by Handel.
As the audience left the Hall, they were handed taste
fully designed memorial cards, the contribution of Mrs.
Henry Whitman of Boston. The face of the card bore a
laurel wreath, beneath which in gilt lettering were the
words : " Presentation of the bust of Sidney Lanier to
the Johns Hopkins University, February 3, 1888, the
forty-sixth birthday of the poet." Below this was the
motto : Aspiro dum Exspiro. The reverse bore, above a
flute twined with ivy, the last words of Lanier s poem,
Ever by day shall my spirit, as one that hath tried thee.
Labor, at leisure, in art, till yonder beside thee
My soul shall float, friend Sun,
The day being done.
In all the exercises of the day there was a warmth, an
atmosphere of sympathy, that was as stimulating and
delightful as it is rare ; and all whose privilege it was to
be present departed with a sense of having snatched from
the workaday world an ideal hour; an hour therefore
fitly commemorating one who was and is so unique
and shining an exponent of spiritual Truth and Beauty,
in his life, his work, and his song. R. E. B.
[From The Nation, New York, February 9, 1888.]
The forty-sixth birthday of Sidney Lanier, the Southern
poet and musician, was celebrated in Baltimore on Feb
ruary 3 by a company of his personal friends and asso
ciates. It is nearly seven years since he died, and his
fame appears to be constantly increasing as the ideal of
his aspirations is more clearly discerned. He has never
been a "popular" poet perhaps he never will be. To
some minds he appears obscure ; to some he seems like a
poet of another age discoursing on modern themes ; to
others and this number is growing he seems a poet of
the future, the herald of better things to come from the
pens of those who are inspired by the ideas that animated
him. Whatever may be his ultimate position, the cele
bration in Baltimore shows that his life and writings
have already made a strong impression on a large num
ber of gifted and earnest minds. The immediate occasion
of the assembly was the presentation of a likeness of the
poet to the Johns Hopkins University. The sculptor,
Ephraim Keyser, now at work on the Arthur monument,
modelled the bust during Lanier s life, and caused it to
be cast in bronze. When a kinsman of the poet, Mr.
Charles Lanier of New York, heard of the existence of
this work of art, he generously gave it to the University
in which Lanier had been a lecturer. A citizen of Bal
timore offered the pedestal. To receive the gift, a com
pany of perhaps one hundred and fifty persons assembled
in the hall where the poet had read his lectures on the
Growth of the Novel, English Literature, and on the
Science of Verse. There stood the bust crowned with
laurel ; on the pedestal hung his flute ; at the base was
a bed of flowers. Musicians representing the Peabody
Orchestra, in which for years Lanier had played the
flute, took part in the exercises. One of his musical
compositions, adapted to words of Tennyson s, and one
of his own poems, which a friend had set to music, were
sung. Miss Ward, sister of Earner s biographer, read
selections from his poems. Father Tabb, a Catholic priest
who had shared with Lanier the privations of prison life
during the civil war, read a sonnet in commemoration
of his friend ; another sonnet came from Richard E. Bur
ton of Connecticut, and longer poems from Mrs. TurnbuU
of Baltimore and James Cummings of Tennessee. Just
before the hour of the meeting, the mail brought some
exquisite lines from Miss Edith M. Thomas, which, like
the poems already mentioned, were read aloud. Profes
sor Tolman of Eipon College, once a pupil of Lanier s,
contributed a critical estimate of his "Science of Verse,"
and Mr. Burton prepared a list of printed articles and
poems, some thirty in number, which have appeared
since Lanier s death, many of them by writers of dis
tinction. President Gates of Rutgers College spoke in
words of affectionate admiration of the ethical influence
of Lanier s character and life. Many interesting letters
were received, and three of them, those of Lowell, Richard
W. Gilder, and Edmund C. .Stedraan, were read. Finally,
as a choice memento of the hour, a card, designed and
given by Mrs. Whitman of Boston, was offered to every
one of the company. Upon one side of the card were
a wreath of laurels, the name and date, and the words
"Aspiro dura Exspiro," and on the other side the lines
with which Lanier closed his hymn to the Sun, in the
first of the "Hymns of the Marshes."
Bv Rithan} E. B*Ha*.
LANIER S PUBLISHED WORKS.
Tteer Lilies: a norel, New York, 18C7.
Poem?. Philadelphia, 1876, 94 pfwOfc-
florida: its scenery, climate, and history, Phfladdpfcim,
1877; reTised edition, Philadelphia, 1881.
Tt e English Novel and the Principle of its
fldeoee of English Terse, New York, 18S. a
The Boys labrarr of Legend and ChiTalrr, 4 Tolumea,
I . 1884 [comprises "The SOT S King Arthor,-
u Knightly Legends of Wales," formerly known as
The Boy s Mabinogkm " ; The Boy s Froissart";
"The Boy s Percy."]
Poems: edited by his wife, with a memorial *y W*
Hayes Want New York, ISM, XB pp^ 12o; TVe
same, second edition, 188S.
(The maflsaiM articles named betov are worthy of note).
The Orchestra ofT(*lay. Ariimar , Jfc^Ujr,VoLl9 t p.897,
TheNewSooth. SrHfrm^* JfMU^, VoL 28. p. 43ft, UBtL
Moral Purpose in Art. He Ckmhtry JfafMim, ToL 4, p.
Katare-Metafhon. Jtten> Jfsjaiiai, Febroary, 1871.
Retrospects and Prospects. Southern Magazine, 1871.
San Antonio de Bexar. Southern Magazine, July- August,
Peace. Southern Magazine, October, 1874.
Five Sketches of India. Published anonymously in
Lippincotfs Magazine, between December, 1875, and
The Ocklawaha in May. Lippincotfs Magazine, October,
St. Augustine in April. Lippincotfs Magazine, Novem
The Story of a Proverb. Lippincotfs Magazine, January,
Bob. The Independent, August 3, 1882.
The Happy Soul s Address to the Dead Body. " (From
Shakspere Course of Lectures). The Independent, 1886.
A Fairy Tale for Grown People. St. Nicholas Magazine,
The poems appearing in various magazines from time
to time are not here named, as most of them appear in
the complete edition of his poems.
PRINTED NOTICES OF HIS LIFE AND
CALVKRT, GKO. H. The Golden Age, June 12, 1875.
MARBLE, EARLE. Cottage Hearth, June, 1877.
BROWNE, WM. HAND. Memorial Address, October, 1881.
KIRKUS, WM. American Literary Churchman, October,
OILMAN, D. C. Our Continent, February, 1882.
WARD, W. HAYES. The Century, April, 1884.
WARD, W. HAYES. Memorial prefixed to Lanier s Poems,
New York, 1884.
TABB, JOHN B. The Independent, 1884.
THAYER, WILLIAM R. The American, Philadelphia, 1884.
THAYER, WILLIAM R. The Independent, March, 1884.
BROWNE, FRANCIS F. The Dial, Chicago, June, 1885.
CHAMBERLAIN, D. H. The New Englander, Vol. 44, p.
STEDMAN, E. C. Poets of America, Boston, 1885.
HAYNE, PAUL H. The Critic, February 13, 1886.
WILKINSON, WILLIAM CLEAVER. The Independent, Sep
GATES, MERRILL E. Presbyterian Review, November,
1887. (Reprinted in pamphlet form).
WEST, CHAS. N. Address delivered before Georgia His
torical Society, Savannah, Ga., December 5, 1887.
(Printed in pamphlet form).
" PATTY SEMPLE." Southern Bivouac, April, 1887.
HANKINS, V. W. Southern Bivouac, May, 1887.
HIGGINSON, T. W. The Chautauquan, April, 1887.
HIGGINSON, T. W. Women and Men, Chapter VIII.,
Roberts Bros., 1888.
MORRIS, H. S. The American, Philadelphia, February
BUCKHAM, J. The Literary World, February 18, 1888.
Also see The Nation, New York : 1880, October 28 ; 1881,
September 15; 1882, November 30; 1883, July 12;
1884, December 18.
Articles and reviews in the daily newspapers are not
included in this list.
(THE FOLLOWING PAPERS ARE NOT KNOWN
TO HAVE BEEN PRINTED.)
OILMAN, D. C. Address in Hopkins Hall, October 22, 1881.
WARD, HERBERT D. Essay at Amherst College, 1884.
WARD, W. HAYES. Address before the Ministers Club
at Newark, N. J., 1884.
WARD, SUSAN H. Lecture, read at various places.
BLACK, G. D. Lecture at Antioch College, January 11,
BLECKLEY, CHIEF JUSTICE. Address delivered at Atlanta,
Ga., February 3, 1888.
GATES, MERRILL E. Lecture in Brooklyn, February 2,
GILMORE, J. H. Lecture in New York, February 18, 1888.
Poems have been written on Lanier by Mrs. Lawrence
Turnbull, Charles W. Hiibner, John B. Tabb, Chas. G.
D. Roberts, Paul H. Hayne, Hamlin Garland, Lizette W.
Reese, James Cummings, Edith M. Thomas, Richard E.
Burton, Jasper Barnett Cowdin, Wm. W. Hayne, Simeon
Tucker Clark, and Clinton Scollard.