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Full text of "The life of George Cabot Lodge"

LIBRARY 

OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA. 

Class 



THE LIFE OF 

GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

BY HENRY ADAMS 



THE LIFE 



OF 



GEORGE CABOT LODGE 



BOSTON AND NEW YORK 

HODGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 

1911 



COPYRIGHT, 1911, BY ELIZABETH LODGE 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

Published October ZQII 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I. CHILDHOOD ...... 1 

CHAPTER II. CAMBRIDGE AND PARIS . . 19 

CHAPTER III. "THE SONG OF THE WAVE" 47 

CHAPTER IV. WAR AND LOVE .... 73 

CHAPTER V. MARRIAGE ...... 92 

CHAPTER VI. "CAIN" ...... 107 

CHAPTER VII. "THE GREAT ADVENTURE" 119 
CHAPTER VIII. "HERAKLES" ..... 155 

CHAPTER IX. THE END . 183 



226669 



THE LIFE OF 
GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

CHAPTER I 

CHILDHOOD 

POETS are proverbially born, not made; and, be 
cause they have been born rarely, the conditions 
of their birth are singularly interesting. One ima 
gines that the conditions surrounding the birth of 
New England poets can have varied little, yet, in 
shades, these conditions differ deeply enough to 
perplex an artist who does not know where to look 
for them. Especially the society of Boston has al 
ways believed itself to have had, from the start, 
a certain complexity, certain rather refined 
nuances, which gave it an avowed right to 
stand apart; a right which its members never hesi 
tated to assert, if it pleased them to do so, and 
which no one thought of questioning. One of the 



GEQRGE CABOT LODGE 



best-known and most strongly marked of these 
numerous families, was and still is that of 
the Cabots, whose early story has been told by 
Henry Cabot Lodge in his life of the best-known 
member of the family, his great-grandfather, 
George Cabot, Senator of the United States. 

George Cabot s son Henry married Anna 
Blake, and had a daughter, Anna Sophia Cabot, 
who married John Ellerton Lodge. The Lodges 
were new arrivals in Boston. Giles Lodge, the 
grandfather, having narrowly escaped with his life 
from the San Domingo massacre, arrived, a young 
Englishman and a stranger, in Boston in 1791. 
There he established himself in business and mar 
ried Mary Langdon, daughter of John Langdon, 
an officer of the Continental Army and cousin 
of President Langdon of Harvard College, who 
prayed for the troops on the eve of Bunker Hill. 
Through his mother John Lodge was descended 
from the Walleys and Brattles and other Puritan 
families of Boston, now for the most part extinct 
and forgotten. But despite the paternal grand 
mother, Henry Cabot Lodge, the only son of John 



CHILDHOOD 3 

Ellerton Lodge and Anna Cabot, felt himself Bos- 
toman chiefly on the mother s side, as an off-shoot 
of the prolific stock of the Cabots, who were really 
all of Essex County origin. He marked the point by 
making for himself a world- wide reputation under 
the double name of Cabot Lodge. Of him the 
public needs no biography, since he became a 
familiar figure to millions of his fellow-citizens 
from somewhat early youth to a fairly advanced 
age; and, from the conspicuous stage of the Uni 
ted States Senate, offered a far more conspicu 
ous presence than his great-grandfather, George 
Cabot, had ever done. 

To Bostonians, in general, the Cabots altogether 
are a stock too strong, too rich, too varied in their 
family characteristics, to need explanation. Vol 
umes might be written on them, without exhaust 
ing the varieties of the strain. 

That such a family should produce a poet was 
not matter for surprise; but as though to make such 
a product quite natural and normal, Henry Cabot 
Lodge, who was born May 12, 1850, married, on 
June 29, 1871, into another Massachusetts family 



4 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

with history and characteristics as marked as those 
of the Cabots themselves. 

The Plymouth Colony produced Davises as 
freely as the north shore produced Cabots. [Daniel 
Davis, of the Barnstaple stock, was Solicitor-Gen 
eral of Massachusetts in the days, about 1800, 
when the Reverend James Freeman was the Uni 
tarian minister of King s Chapel; and Daniel Davis 
married Lois Freeman, who bore him thirteen chil 
dren. The oldest, Louisa, married William Minot, 
of a family more thoroughly Bostonian, if possible, 
than all the rest. The youngest, Charles Henry 
Davis, born January 16, 1807, in Somerset Street, 
Boston, and, in due course, sent to Harvard Col 
lege, left the College, in 1823, to enter the navy as 
midshipman, in order to cruise in the old frigate, 
the United States, in the Pacific, under the com 
mand of his friend and patron, Commodore Isaac 
Hull. 

The life of Admiral Davis has been admirably 
told elsewhere, and his victories at Hilton Head, 
in November, 1861, at Fort Pillow, in May, 1862, 
at Memphis and Vicksburg, afterwards, rank 



CHILDHOOD 5 

among the most decisive of the Civil War, as they 
rank also among the earliest to give some share of 
hope or confidence to the national government and 
to the loyal voters; but his brilliant career in the 
navy concerns his grandson-poet less than the do 
mestic event of his marriage, in 1842, to Harriette 
Blake Mills, daughter of still another United 
States Senator, Elijah Hunt Mills, of Northamp 
ton, Massachusetts, who was also a conspicuous 
figure in his day. 

The complications of this alliance were curious, 
and among them was the chance that another 
daughter of Senator Mills married Benjamin 
Peirce, the famous Professor of Mathematics at 
Harvard College, so that the children of Admiral 
Davis became first cousins of the great mathema 
tician Charles Peirce and his brothers. Among 
these children of Admiral Davis was a daughter, 
Anna Cabot Mills Davis, who grew up to girlhood 
in Cambridge, under the shadow of Harvard Col 
lege, where her father, the Admiral, lived while not 
in active service; and when, after his appointment 
to the Naval Observatory, he transferred his resi- 



6 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

dence to Washington, she made her home there 
until her marriage, in June, 1871, to Henry Cabot 
Lodge. 

Her second child, George Cabot Lodge, the 
subject of this story, was born in Boston, October 
10, 1873. 

A poet, born in Boston, in 1873, saw about him a 
society which commonly bred refined tastes, and 
often did refined work, but seldom betrayed strong 
emotions. The excitements of war had long 
passed; its ideals were forgotten, and no other 
great ideal had followed. The twenty -five years 
between 1873 and 1898 years of astonishing 
scientific and mechanical activity were marked 
by a steady decline of literary and artistic intens 
ity, and especially of the feeling for poetry, 
which, at best, had never been the favorite form 
of Boston expression. The only poet who could 
be called strictly Bostonian by birth, Ralph 
Waldo Emerson, died in the year 1882, before 
young Lodge was ten years old. Longfellow, who 
always belonged to Cambridge rather than to 
Boston, died in the same year. James Russell 



CHILDHOOD 7 

Lowell survived till 1891, but was also in no strict 
social sense a Bostonian. Young men growing up 
on Beacon Hill or the Back Bay never met such 
characters unless by a rare chance; and as the city 
became busier and more crowded, the chances 
became rarer still. 

Not the society, therefore, could have inspired a 
taste for poetry. Such an instinct must have been 
innate, like his cousin s mathematics. Society 
could strike him only as the absence of all that he 
might have supposed it to be, as he read of it in the 
history and poetry of the past. Even since the 
youth of R. W. Emerson, the sense of poetry had 
weakened like the sense of religion. Boston dif 
fered little from other American towns with less 
reputation for intellect, where, as a rule, not many 
persons entered their neighbors houses, and these 
were members of the family. A stranger was un 
known. 

The classic and promiscuous turmoil of the 
forum, the theatre, or the bath, which trained the 
Greeks and the Romans, or the narrower contact 
of the church and the coffee-house, which bred 



8 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

the polished standards of Dryden and Racine, 
were unknown in America, and nearly extinct in 
Paris and London. An American boy scarcely 
conceived of getting social education from contact 
with his elders. In previous generations he had 
been taught to get it from books, but the young 
American of this period was neither a bookish nor 
a social animal. Climate and custom combined to 
narrow his horizon. 

Commonly the boy was well pleased to have it 
so; he asked only to play with his fellows, and to 
escape contact with the world; but the Boston 
child of the Cabot type was apt to feel himself 
alone even as a child. Unless singularly fortunate 
in finding and retaining sympathetic companions, 
his strong individuality rebelled against its sur 
roundings. Boys are naturally sensitive and shy. 
Even as men, a certain proportion of society 
showed, from the time of the Puritans, a marked 
reserve, so that one could never be quite sure in 
State Street, more than in Concord, that the lawyer 
or banker whom one consulted about drawing a 
deed or negotiating a loan, might not be uncon- 



CHILDHOOD 9 

sciously immersed in introspection, as his ances 
tors, two centuries before, had been absorbed in 
their chances of salvation. The latent contrasts of 
character were full of interest, and so well under 
stood that any old Bostonian, familiar with family 
histories, could recall by scores the comedies and 
tragedies which had been due to a conscious or 
unconscious revolt against the suppression of in 
stinct and imagination. 

Poetry was a suppressed instinct: and except 
where, as in Longfellow, it kept the old character 
of ornament, it became a reaction against society, 
as in Emerson and the Concord school, or, further 
away and more roughly, in Walt Whitman. Less 
and less it appeared, as in earlier ages, the na 
tural, favorite expression of society itself. In the 
last half of the nineteenth century, the poet be 
came everywhere a rebel against his surroundings. 
What had been begun by Wordsworth, Byron, and 
Shelley, was carried on by Algernon Swinburne 
in London or Paul Verlaine in Paris or Walt 
Whitman in Washington, by a common instinct 
of revolt. Even the atmosphere of Beacon 



10 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

Street was at times faintly redolent of Schopen 
hauer. 

The tendency of Bostonians to break away from 
conventional society was fostered by the harshness 
of the climate, but was vastly helped by the neigh 
borhood of the ocean. Snow and ice and fierce 
northwest gales shut up society within doors dur 
ing three months of winter; while equally fierce 
heat drove society to camp within tide- water, dur 
ing three months of summer. There the ocean was 
the closest of friends. Every one knows the little 
finger of granite that points oceanward, some ten 
miles north of Boston, as though directing the 
Bostonian homeward. The spot is almost an 
island, connected with Lynn by a long, narrow 
strip of sand-beach; but on the island a small 
township called Nahant has long existed, and the 
end of this point of Nahant was bought by the 
grandfather, John Ellerton Lodge, as a country- 
place for summer residence. 

The whole coast, for five hundred miles in either 
direction, has since been seized for summer resi 
dence, but Nahant alone seems to be actually the 



CHILDHOOD 11 

ocean itself, as though it were a ship quitting 
port, or, better, just stranded on the rocky coast of 
Cape Ann. There the winds and waves are alone 
really at home, and man can never by day or night 
escape their company. At the best of times, and 
in their most seductive temper, their restlessness 
carries a suggestion of change, a warning of 
latent passion, a threat of storm. One looks out 
forever to an infinite horizon of shoreless and 
shifting ocean. 

The sea is apt to revive some primitive instinct 
in boys, as though in a far-off past they had been 
fishes, and had never quite forgotten their home. 
The least robust can feel the repulsion, even when 
they cannot feel the physical attraction, of the 
waves playing with the rocks like children never 
quite sure of their temper; but the Lodge boy, like 
most other boys of his class and breed, felt the sea 
as an echo or double of himself. Commonly this / 
instinct of unity with nature dies early in Ameri 
can life; but young Lodge s nature was itself as ele 
mentary and simple as the salt water. Throughout 
life, the more widely his character spread in cir- 



12 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

cumference, the more simply he thought, and even 
when trying to grow complex, as was inevitable 
since it was to grow in Boston, the mind itself 
was never complex, and the complexities merely 
gathered on it, as something outside, like the sea 
weeds gathering and swaying about the rocks. 
Robust in figure, healthy in appetite, careless of 
consequences, he could feel complex and intro 
spective only as his ideal, the Norse faun, might 
feel astonished and angry at finding nature per 
verse and unintelligible in a tropical jungle. Since 
nature could not be immoral or futile, the immor 
ality and futility must be in the mind that con 
ceived it. Man became an outrage, society an 
artificial device for the distortion of truth, civ 
ilization a wrong. Many millions of simple natures 
have thought, and still think, the same thing, and 
the more complex have never quite made up their 
minds whether to agree with them or not; but the 
thought that was simple and sufficient for the 
Norseman exploring the tropics, or for an exuber 
ant young savage sailing his boat off the rude 
shores of Gloucester and Cape Ann, could not long 



CHILDHOOD 13 

survive in the atmosphere of State Street. Com 
monly the poet dies young. 

The Nahant life was intensely home, with only a 
father and mother for companions, an elder sister, 
a younger brother, cousins or boy friends at 
hazard, and boundless sea and sky. As the boy 
passed his tenth year, his father possibly in 
spired by the same spirit of restlessness turned 
much of his time and attention to politics, and the 
mother became all the more the companion and re 
source of the children. From the earliest forms of 
mammal life, the mothers of fauns have been more 
in love with their offspring than with all else in ex 
istence; and when the mother has had the genius 
of love and sympathy, the passion of altruism, the 
instinct of taste and high-breeding, besides the 
commoner resources of intelligence and education, 
the faun returns the love, and is moulded by it 
into shape. 

These were the elements of his youth, and the 
same elements will be found recurring in all that 
he thought and said during his thirty-six years of */ 
life. He was himself, both in fact and in imagina- 



14 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

tion, "The Wave," whose song he began his liter 
ary career by composing: 

This is the song of the wave, that died in the fulness of life. 
The prodigal this, that lavished its largess of strength 
In the lust of achievement. 
Aiming at things for Heaven too high, 
Sure in the pride of life, in the richness of strength. 
So tried it the impossible height, till the end was found, 
Where ends the soul that yearns for the fillet of morning stars, 
The soul in the toils of the journeying worlds, 
Whose eye is filled with the image of God, 
And the end is Death. 

Had the "Song of the Wave" been written after 
death instead of before the beginning of life, the 
figure could not have been more exact. The young 
man felt the image as he felt the act; his thought 
offered itself to him as a wave. From first to last he 
identified himself with the energies of nature, as 
the story will show; he did not invent images for 
amusement, but described himself in describing 
the energy. Even the figure of the Norse faun was 
his own figure, and like the Wave, with which it 
belongs, was an effort at the first avowal of him- 



CHILDHOOD 15 

self to himself; for these things were of his youth, 
felt and not feigned: 

These are the men! 

The North has given them name, 

The children of God who dare. . . . 

These are the men! 

In their youth without memory 

They were glad, for they might not see 

The lies that the world has wrought 

On the parchment of God. The tree 

Yielded them ships, and the sky 

Flamed as the waters fought; 

But they knew that death was a lie, 

That the life of man was as nought, 

And they dwelt in the truth of the sea. 

These are the men. 

In conditions of life less intimate than those of 
Boston, such a way of conceiving one s own exist 
ence seems natural; indeed almost normal for 
Wordsworths and Byrons, Victor Hugos and Wal 
ter Savage Landors, Algernon Swinburnes and 
Robert Louis Stevensons; but to the Bostonian 
absorbed in the extremely practical problem of 
effecting some sort of working arrangement be- 



16 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

tween Beacon Street and the universe, the attitude 
of revolt seemed unnatural and artificial. He could 
not even understand it. For centuries the Bos- 
tonian had done little but wrestle with nature for 
a bare existence, and his foothold was not so secure, 
nor had it been so easily acquired, nor was it so 
victoriously sufficient for his wants, as to make 
him care to invite the ice or the ocean once more to 
cover it or himself; while, even more keenly than 
the Scotchman or Norseman, he felt that he ought 
not to be reproached for the lies that the world, 
including himself, had wrought, under compulsion, 
on the exceedingly rough and scanty parchment of 
God. 

Therefore the gap between the poet and the citi 
zen was so wide as to be impassable in Boston, but 
it was not a division of society into hostile camps, 
as it had been in England with Shelley and Keats, 
or in Boston itself, half a century before, with the 
anti-slavery outbursts of Emerson and Whittier, 
Longfellow and Lowell, which shook the founda 
tions of the State. The Bostonian of 1900 differed 
from his parents and grandparents of 1850, in own- 



CHILDHOOD 17 

ing nothing the value of which, in the market, could 
be affected by the poet. Indeed, to him, the poet s 
pose of hostility to actual conditions of society was 
itself mercantile, a form of drama, a thing 
to sell, rather than a serious revolt. Society could 
safely adopt it as a form of industry, as it adopted 
other forms of book-making. 

Therefore, while, for young Lodge and other 
protestants of his age and type, the contrast be 
tween Nahant and Beacon Street was a real one, 
even a vital one, life in both places was nor 
mal, healthy, and quite free from bitterness or 
social strain. Society was not disposed to defend 
itself from criticism or attack. Indeed, the most 
fatal part of the situation for the poet in revolt, the 
paralyzing drug that made him helpless, was that 
society no longer seemed sincerely to believe in 
itself or anything else; it resented nothing, not 
even praise. The young poet grew up without 
being able to find an enemy. With a splendid phy 
sique, a warmly affectionate nature, a simple but 
magnificent appetite for all that life could give, a 
robust indifference or defiance of consequences, a 



18 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

social position unconscious of dispute or doubt, 
and a large, insatiable ambition to achieve ideals, 
with these ample endowments and energies, in 
full consciousness of what he was about to attempt, 
the young man entered deliberately upon what he 
was to call his Great Adventure. 






CHAPTER II 

CAMBRIDGE AND PARIS 

To all young Bostonians of a certain age and 
social position, Harvard College opens its doors so 
genially as to impose itself almost as a necessary 
path into the simple problems of Boston life; and 
it has the rather unusual additional merit of offer 
ing as much help as the student is willing to accept 
towards dealing with the more complex problems 
of life in a wider sense. Like most of his friends and 
family, young Lodge, at eighteen years old, went 
to the University, and profited by it in his own 
way, which was rarely, with Bostonians of his type, 
precisely the way which the actual standards of 
American life required or much approved. The 
first two years seldom profit young men of this 
class at all, but with the third year, their tastes, 
if they have any, begin to show themselves, and 
their minds grope for objects that offer them at 
traction, or for supports that the young tendrils 



20 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

can grasp. Every instructor has seen this rather 
blind process going on in generation after gen 
eration of students, and is seldom able to lend 
much help to it; but if he is so fortunate as to 
teach some subject that attracts the student s 
fancy, he can have influence. Owing to some in 
nate sympathies, which were apparently not due 
to inheritance or conditions, Lodge seemed to care 
less for English than for French or Italian or clas 
sic standards; and it happened that the French de 
partment was then directed by Professor B6cher, 
who took a fancy to the young man, and not only 
helped him to an acquaintance with the language, 
but still more with the literature and the thought 
of France, a subject in which Professor B6cher was 
an admirable judge and critic. 

At first, the student made the usual conscien 
tious effort to do what did not amuse him. " I am 
going to acquire the faculty of not minding apply 
ing myself to uninteresting subjects, if I can, and I 
am sure that it is possible," he wrote to his mother, 
March 21, 1893; and then, pursuing the usual 
course which started most Harvard students on 



CAMBRIDGE AND PARIS 21 

literary careers, he fell at once into the arms of 
Thomas Carlyle. "I am making a study of the re 
ligious and philosophical side of Carlyle, with a 
view to writing a book on the same ; and it is a 
most absorbing subject," he wrote on May 6, 
1893. "My head is full of ideas which I want to 
let out in that book. I propose to devote my 
summer to it. Even if it is n t a success, it is 
better than doing nothing, and it is profoundly in 
teresting. I have read attentively almost every 
thing he ever wrote except Cromwell/ and I am 
taking notes on all the more philosophical ones, 
like Sartor Resartus ; and I am also reading and 
studying conjointly the French philosophers, Des 
cartes, Malebranche and Spinoza, and the German 
Schopenhauer and Fichte, and also Plato, so that 
I shall get an idea of his relations to the celebrated 
philosophies. I am going to read Froude s life of 
him." The door by which a student enters the vast 
field of philosophy matters little, for, whatever it 
is, the student cannot stay long in it; but for one 
of such wide views, Carlyle could serve a very 
short time as the central interest. 



22 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

"To-day Bourget came out here to a lecture in 
French 7 by Sumichrast, and Sumichrast got him 
to talk, which he did most charmingly. I have 
been taking a course of Bourget, among other 
things, *Mensonges ; and I feel as if I had been 
living in the mire. Never have I read books whose 
atmosphere was so unhealthy and fetid." This was 
written to his mother, December 12, 1893, when 
he was barely twenty years old, and marks the 
steady tide of French influence that was carrying 
him on to its usual stage of restlessness and de 
pression. On February 28, 1894, he wrote again, 
announcing that he had fairly reached the moral 
chaos which belonged to his temperament and 
years: "I am in very good health and very bad 
spirits, and I am feeling pretty cynical. It is a con 
stant struggle for me to prevent myself from be 
coming cynical, and when I feel blue and depressed, 
the dykes break and it all comes to the surface. I 
suppose I have seen more of the evil and mean side 
of men and things than most men of my age, which 
accounts for my having naturally a pessimistic 
turn. Really, though, I hate cynicism; it is a 



CAMBRIDGE AND PARIS 23 

compilation of cheap aphorisms that any fool can 
learn to repeat; and yet the world does seem a 
bad place." 

A common place rather than a bad place was the 
next natural and cheap aphorism which every im 
aginative young man could look with confidence to 
reach, but the process of reaching it varies greatly 
with the temperament of the men. In Lodge it 
soon took the form of philosophic depression ac 
companied by intense ambition. The combination, 
at the age of twenty, is familiar in Europeans, but 
not so common among Americans, who are apt 
to feel, or to show, diffidence in their own powers. 
Lodge s letters will reveal himself fully on that 
side, but what they show still better is the im 
mense appetite of the young man for his intellect 
ual food, once he had found the food he liked. 

"Since I got back [to Cambridge]," he wrote 
to his mother on March 14, 1894, "I have been 
reading an immense quantity from variegated 
authors, Balzac especially; also Flaubert, Alfred 
de Vigny, Leconte de Lisle, and Musset, Hugo, 
Renan (whom I am going to write a long French 



24 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

theme about), Schopenhauer, and then the Upan- 
ishads, etc. Next time French literature is dis 
cussed, ask them what living poet equals Sully 
Prudhomme." He was already in a region where 
Boston society or indeed, any other society ex 
cept perhaps that of Paris would have been 
puzzled to answer his questions; but the sense of 
reaching new regions excited him. "I am begin 
ning to get beautifully into harness now," he 
wrote on November 16, 1894, "and find that, out 
side my College work, I can read from one hundred 
and fifty to two hundred pages a day. ... If I 
were living in Gobi or Sahara, with the British 
Museum next door and the Louvre round the 
corner, I think I could do almost anything. When 
I work I have to fill myself full of my subject, and 
then write everything down without referring to 
any books. If I am interrupted in the agonies of 
composition, it takes me some time to get into the 
vein." The passion for reading passed naturally 
into the passion for writing, and every new vol 
ume read reflected itself in a volume to be written. 
The last term of college began and ended in this 



CAMBRIDGE AND PARIS 25 

frame of mind. He wrote on January 17, 1895: "I 
have a scheme of writing essays on Schopenhauer, 
Swift, Moliere, Foe, Leconte de Lisle, Carlyle, Al 
fred de Vigny, Balzac, Thackeray (perhaps) and 
any others I may think of, and entitling the collec 
tion * Studies in Pessimism, or some such title, 
and treat them all, of course, from that point of 
view. I could write them all except Swift and 
Thackeray and Balzac with very little prepara 
tion; and even with those three I should not need 
much. I wish you would ask papa what he thinks 
of my idea. Last night Max Scull and I took 
Brun (the French teacher) to dinner and the thea 
tre afterwards. He was quite entertaining, and I 
improved my French considerably, as we spoke 
nothing else. I told him I was going to France next 
summer, and he told me to write to him and *qu il 
me montrerait Paris a fond. I have been working 
on my wretched story, and have gone over it about 
8 times. It now seems to me to be quite valueless. 
Also I have burst into song several times rather 
lamely, I fear." 

Then began, still in college, the invariable, 



26 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

never-ending effort of the artist to master his art, 
to attain the sureness of hand and the quality 
of expression which should be himself. Lodge 
plunged into the difficulties with the same appe 
tite which he felt for the facilities of expression, 
and felt at once where his personal difficulties 
were likely to be greatest, in his own exuberance. 
"I find I cannot polish my verses to any great ex 
tent," he continued on March 20, 1895; "I write 
when I feel in the mood, and then they are done 
badly or well, as the case may be. If badly, they 
must either be all written over, or else burnt, and a 
new one written, generally the most appropriate 
fate for most of them. However, I am indeed very 
glad that you and papa think I am improving, 
however slightly. I enclose three efforts in a more 
lyrical strain. I find it rather a relief to be less 
trammeled, and unfettered to so concrete and ab 
solute a form as the Petrarchan sonnet, which 
is the only kind I write now. I have been looking 
over the few sonnets Shelley wrote. He had no 
form at all in them. He seems to have built them 
up with no preconceived idea of form whatever. 



CAMBRIDGE AND PARIS 27 

Take Ozymandias for instance, which I admire 
intensely, and one finds no structure at all. Yet of 
course we know that the whole, as read, is superb. 
I wonder if most people notice the form of a sonnet. 
I know I did n t, before I began to scribble my 
self. Still, I do think, other things being equal, that 
the Petrarchan form adds a dignity and beauty 
to a sonnet which no other form possesses. The 
contour is much more harmonious and symmet 
rical." 

Thus the young man had plunged headlong into 
the higher problems of literary art, before he was 
fairly acquainted with the commoner standards. 
Whether he ever framed to himself a reason for pur 
suing one form rather than another, might be a 
curious question. Why should not Shakespeare and 
the Elizabethans have appealed to him first? Was 
it because the Petrarchan form was more perfect, 
or because it was less English? Whatever the an 
swer to this question may be, the fact is that, 
throughout life, he turned away from the English 
models, and seemed often indifferent to their exist 
ence. The trait was not wholly peculiar to him, 



28 GEORGE CABOT LODGED 

for even in England itself the later Victorian poets, 
with Algernon Swinburne at their head, showed a 
marked disposition to break rather abruptly with 
the early Victorian poets, and to wander away after 
classical or mediaeval standards; but their example 
was hardly the influence that affected Lodge. 
With him, the English tradition possibly repre 
sented a restraint, a convention, a chain that 
needed to be broken, that jarred on his intense 
ambition. 

"Oh, I am devoured by ambition," he wrote in 
the last days of his college life, to his mother: "I 
do so want to do something that will last, some 
man s work in the world, that I am constantly 
depressed by an awful dread that perhaps I shan t 
be able to. I am never satisfied with what I do, 
never contented with my expression of what I 
wish to express, and yet I hope and sometimes feel 
that it is possible I may do something permanent 
in value. I have got at last a scheme for the future 
which I think it probable you will like, and papa 
also; but I shall be better able to tell you when I 
see you. I have read nothing lately outside my 



CAMBRIDGE AND PARIS 29 

work except the Theologia Germanica which 
Mrs. Wintie [Chanler] sent me, and which has 
many beautiful things in it. I have written even 
less, just a few scraps of verse (one of which, a 
sonnet, is coming out in the next * Monthly by 
the way), and that article on Shakespeare which 
went to papa. I am anxious to know what he 
thinks of it." 

With this, the college life closed, having given, 
liberally and sympathetically, all it could give, 
leaving its graduates free, and fairly fitted, to turn 
where they chose for their further food; which 
meant, for young Lodge, as his letters have told, 
the immediate turning to Paris. The choice showed 
the definite determination of his thought. England, 
Germany, Italy, did not, at that stage, offer the 
kind of education he wanted. He meant to make 
himself a literary artist, and in Paris alone he could 
expect to find the technical practice of the liter 
ary arts. In Paris alone, a few men survived who 
talked their language, wrote prose, and constructed 
drama, as they modelled a statue or planned a 
structure. 



SO GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

i 

Thus far, as commonly happens even to ambi 
tious young men, the path was easy, and the out 
look clear; but the illusion of ease and horizon sel 
dom lasts long in Paris. A few days completely 
dispel it. Almost instantly the future becomes 
desperately difficult. Especially to an American, 
the processes and machinery of a French education 
are hard to apply in his home work. The French 
mind thinks differently and expresses its thought 
differently, so that the American, though he may 
actually think in French, will express his thought 
according to an American formula. Merely the 
language profits him little; the arts not much more; 
the history not at all; the poetry is ill suited to the 
genius of the English tongue; the drama alone is 
capable of direct application; in sum, it is the 
whole the combination of tradition, mental 
habit, association of ideas, labor of technique, crit 
icism, instinct that makes a school, and the 
school, once mastered, is of only indirect use to an 
American. The secret of French literary art is a 
secret of its own which does not exist in America. 
Indeed, the American soon begins to doubt whether 



CAMBRIDGE AND PARIS 81 

America has any secrets, either in literary or any 
other art. 

Within a few weeks all these doubts and difficul 
ties had risen in young Lodge s face, and he found 
himself reduced to the usual helplessness of the 
art-student in Paris, working without definite pur 
pose in several unrelated directions. At best, the 
atmosphere of Paris in December lacks gayety 
except for Parisians, or such as have made them 
selves by time and temperament, more or less 
Parisian. One flounders through it as one best can; 
but in Lodge s case, the strain was violently ag 
gravated by the political storm suddenly roused 
by President Cleveland s Venezuela message, and 
sympathy with his father s political responsibilities 
in the Senate. 

PARIS, December 26, 1895. 

The study here is wholly different from any 
thing I have been accustomed to and I am in some 
ways much alone. It seems to me here as if I was 
losing my grip, my aggressiveness, my force of mind, 
and it is a feeling that has been gradually coming 
over me, and that Venezuela has brought to a 



32 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

crisis. I don t do anything here, nothing tangible. 
I work five hours a day or six, and what on a 
miserable little poetaster. I want to get home and 
get some place on a newspaper or anything of that 
kind, and really do something. I spend more 
money than is necessary, and altogether don t 
seem to lead a very profitable life. For me, loafing 
is not fun except in a recognized vacation. I never 
realized this until now. I thought I should like to 
take it easy for a while and soi-disant amuse my 
self. I am wretched. I want something real to do. 
I don t want to become a mere Teutonic grind, and 
it s necessary to do that if you are going to take 
degrees here. Both you and papa told me to feel no 
hesitation in coming home if I wanted to, and so 
now that I have been here long enough to see I 
have made an error, I write as I do. I am always 
slow of comprehension, and if it has taken me a 
long time to find this out, it s just that I am getting 
experience rather slowly and stupidly. I have 
not yet absolutely decided; If this appears to you 
hasty or ill-advised, please let me know in the 
shortest way possible. 



CAMBRIDGE AND PARIS 33 

Venezuela excites me horribly and my poor mind 
is rather torn, as you may see by this somewhat 

incoherent letter. 

PARIS, January 6, 1896. 

Since I last wrote you I have quieted down a 
good deal more. I feel as if I had been through 
three hideous weeks of madness and were become 
on a sudden sane. You see the Venezuela affair 
came on me on a sudden and filled me with such a 
longing for home that I lost all pleasure in things 
over here. So my poor mind whirled round and 
round from one thing to another till I almost went 
mad. Now Venezuela seems to be a danger only in 
the future if at all, and I am realizing how much I 
am getting here. 

If papa is willing I should stay I can come back 
with a good knowledge of German, Italian and 
Spanish, and of Romance Philology and Middle 
Age Literature all of which things I very much 
need. 

The thing which tore me worst in all this mental 
struggle I have been going through was the con 
tinual thought of money and my crying inability 



34 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

to adapt myself to my time and to become a money 
maker. I felt as if it was almost cowardly of me not 
to turn in and leave all the things I love and the 
world does n t, behind, and to adjust myself to my 
age, and try to take its ideals and live strongly and 
wholly in its spirit. It seems so useless being an 
eternal malcontent. Unless one is a Carlyle, to 
scream on paper generally ends in a thin squeak, 
and I fought and fought to try to be more a man of 
my age so that I might work with the tide and not 
against it. But it s no use, I cannot stifle my own 
self or alter it in that way. I said to myself that I 
ought to go home in order to get into the tide of 
American life if for nothing else; that I oughtn t to 
be dreaming and shrieking inside and poetizing and 
laboring on literature here in Paris, supported by 
my father, and that I ought to go home and live 
very hard making money. I said to myself that I 
knew I could not be very quick at money-making, 
but that at any rate in the eyes of men I should 
lead a self-respecting life and my hideous, utter 
failure would only be for myself and you, who 
understand; But somehow all the while my soul 



CAMBRIDGE AND PARIS 35 

refused to believe the plain facts and illogically 
clung to the belief that I might do some good in 
creative work in the world after all, and so I 
struggled with the facts and my faiths and loves 
and there was the Devil of a row inside me and I 
most wretched. Now it seems to me that my stay 
ing here can do no harm, as I can just as well begin 
to be 19th century next year as this, and I shall 
have a very happy winter and acquire some know 
ledge and much experience. And so now my mind 
is comparatively calm and I am becoming happy 
again and seeing things a little more in their proper 
perspective. 

Now like Marcus Aurelius I have come home to 
my own soul and found there, I am glad to say, 
sufficient strength and resource and calm to rees 
tablish my equilibrium, and make me see how 
cowardly it is not to have enough self-reliance to 
bear such things as these with a tolerably good 
grace. . . . 

I might entitle this letter: "Of the entering, 
passing through, and coming out of, the madness 
of George Cabot Lodge." I really feel as if the 



36 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

past two weeks were a great black hole in my life, 
in which all my landmarks were blurred, and I 
have just found them again. 

PARIS, January 16, 1896. 

I am now working principally on Romance Phi 
lology, Spanish and Italian. I usually go to the 
Bibliotheque in the morning and work on Spanish. 
I am studying the history of the literature and 
trying to read the most important things as I go 
along. It is hard work reading the old Spanish of 
the 12th to 15th centuries, but I am convinced it is 
the only way to know the language or literature 
really thoroughly. I also work on my Spanish 
courses. In Italian I am reading Tiraboschi, 
"Storia della litteratura Italiana," which of course 
is the great history of the Italian literature. I also 
work a good deal on Petrarch: he is one of my 
courses, you know. Mr. Stickney sent to Italy for 
me for a good edition of Dante, and when it comes 
I shall begin the study of it. In the afternoon I go 
to courses, and sometimes of course in the morn 
ing too, and play billiards as a rule about five with 



CAMBRIDGE AND PARIS 37 

Joe, and in the evening work on my Romance 
Philology. I have procured by good fortune a very 
good dictionary of the old French. 

Thus, you see, my work now is concentrated on 
the Romance Languages and Literature, especially 
before the 16th century. I shall keep on princi 
pally on them, because I am sure by so doing I can 
come home with a more or less thorough know 
ledge of the Latin tongues and a little more than a 
smattering of their literature. The Latin languages 
attract me and I shall work hard on them. As for 
German, I shall learn it if I can find time, but I 
don t know. ... I see now that I must do the 
best in me if I can; and if there is a best to do; and 
at any rate I have n t the force or the weakness to 
renounce everything without having one glorious 
fight for what I want to do and believe is best to do. 
It is this realization of my own self that has done 
me most good, I think. 

I went to the Franc.ais last night. It was the 
birthday of Moliere and they gave the "ficole des 
Femmes" and the "Malade Imaginaire," and 
afterwards the ceremony of crowning the bust by 



38 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

all the Societaires and pensionnairesof the Theatre. 
It was most interesting. I think the best night of 
theatre I ever had. 

PARIS, January 27, 1896. 

My languages get on very well. Italian and 
Spanish I am really getting very smart in and read 
with perfect ease, and I am sure when I come back 
I shall know a good deal about the Romance Lan 
guages. My German I am working on, and of 
course it comes more slowly, but I think I can do it 
all right. 

PARIS, February 21, 1896. 

I have just lived through the Carnival here, 
which began on Saturday night with the bal de 
Vopera (third of the name) and continued until 
Wednesday morning. I took it in with consider 
able thoroughness. There was the procession of 
the Bceuf Gras the first time this has occurred 
since the Franco-German war. It was very pretty 
and the crowds in the street tremendous all 
throwing paper confetti and long rolls of paper, 
which one might throw across the boulevards. 



CAMBRIDGE AND PARIS 39 

\ 

Now the trees are all covered with long ribbons of 
papers of all colors. It was a very pretty sight and 
most amusing. I never imagined such a good-tem 
pered crowd, and one so bound to have a good 
time. I send by this mail a sort of programme with 
an amusing picture by Caran D Ache. I was glad 
of the Carnival. I think one gets into terrible ruts 
and little habits close around one, and one gets 
dull and mechanical. The Carnival just broke all 
that up for me, and for three days I led a wholly 
irregular life, that had a certain splendor in the un 
expectedness of everything I did. . . . 

C. and P. both wrote me very nice things about 
my poems. I have just read over a lot and become 
drearily conscious that they are far from deserving 
any praise, so that it rather worries me to have 
people so kind about them, as it seems as if I could 
never live up to what they think I ought to do. 
However, I have become an excellent critic of my 
own work and diligently weed out from time to 
time all that seems flat, so that I may some day 
have something really poetry. 



40 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

PARIS, April 5, 1896. 

Here it s Easter Sunday and I have n t had a 
happier day for a long time. The skies have been 
bright blue and the sun pure gold, and the trees all 
timidly "uttering leaves" everywhere, and so I 
want to write to you. Early this morning Joe and I 
went and rode horses in the Bois, which we had al 
ready done last Sunday, and are going to do more 
often. It was most marvellous all the little fresh 
greening things looking out of the earth, and the 
early sunlight coming wet and mild through the 
trees, and the rare fresh air, and the sense of 
physical glow and exercise. 

I found an alley with about a dozen jumps in 
it and whisked my old hired horse over the entire 
lot, with the surprising result that he jumped 
rather well, except the water-jump, into which 
he flatly jumped, managing, however, to stand 
up. Then I came home and read Petrarch and 
Ronsard, and in the afternoon took a boat down 
a bright blue Seine with white bridges spanning 
it and a Louvre, etc., on either hand. I got off 



CAMBRIDGE AND PARIS 41 

at the He St. Louis, and "for the pure dramatic 
effect, went into the "Doric little morgue" and 
saw two terrible dead old women with the lower 
jaw dropped on the withered breast and the green 
of decomposition beginning about the open eyes. 
Then I came out into the broad sunshine, with 
that blessed Cathedral Apse in front of me, and its 
little sun-filled garden with the old Gothic fountain 
running pure water, and felt it was very good to 
live. Then I went in and heard a splendid mass, 
with the great organ rolling up by the front rose- 
window, and saw the Host raised and the church 
full (really full) of people fall on their knees, and 
the thick incense come slowly out, and felt alas! 
how far away I was from the substance of the 
shadow of splendor I was feeling. But I was very 
happy for all that, and wandered around some 
more in the sunlight, and then came home, where I 
am now writing to you. 

This winter I have been realizing a copy-book 
commonplace, which is at the same time a meta 
physical profundity, viz.: that the present is all 



42 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

that is and it is* not. One of the crowning meta 
physical paradoxes. Of course the present is not. 
While you are uttering "now," it is fled it never 
existed. It is like a geometrical point, non-ex 
istent. And the past that s the cruel thing, the 
killing memories. Memories of yesterday, of the 
moment just fled, which are as hopelessly dead, as 
impossibly distant as memories of ten years gone. 
The past is like a great pit, and the present like a 
frittered edge which is continually crumbling and 
falling utterly down into the pit. . . . For me 
my past is all amoncele, nothing nearer, nothing far 
ther. I have a more vivid memory of Sister with 
long hair, driving old Rab up the side- walk by the 
Gibsons at Nahant on a gray autumn day, than 
of most things happened within the year. And my 
memories are all sad sad with an infinite hope 
less regret; that one of Sister for example has al 
most made me cry. And then the present is the 
past so facilely, so quickly, and I find myself some 
times when I am not doing anything talking 
perhaps or sitting idle or even reading, in fact 



CAMBRIDGE AND PARIS 43 

un pen toujours, suddenly turning sick and cold 
and saying to myself, "See, your life goes, goes, 
goes. Every day you get more memories to dwell 
about you like mourning creatures, and still no 
thing done with your youth, your strength, and 
every minute the memories thickening and the 
pain of them increasing, and still nothing done. 
Man! Man! Your life is very short, already 
twenty and two years; as many again, and you 
will be hardened into your mould, and the mould 
yet unmade! Up, up and do something!" 

And the future it is the veriest of common 
places to say the future does n t exist. It is nothing 
but a probability at best a hope. And then did 
it ever occur to you that the present is like a piece 
of paper on which experience writes in invisible ink, 
and that only when the heat of the pain of memory 
and regret blfews upon it, do the characters come 
out and you know how intensely alive, how happy, 
or at any rate how miserable, or at least how un- 
bored, you had been. 

It seems to me all the happiness (except, of 



44 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

course, physical) which we get is only the more or 
less incomplete suggestion or partial realization 
of some remembered happiness. For instance, the 
slant of the western sun through green leaves some 
times brings back one perfectly unimportant after 
noon when I was very small, and Sister sat on the 
grass under those willows, behind the little tool- 
house in front of Mr. Locke s, and read a story 
aloud to me. 

She left off in the middle, and I can distinctly 
remember the last words she said. Now when I 
can get a vivid suggestion of something intensely 
happy in my memory, infinitely richer and more 
happy than I had any idea of when it occurred, 
it makes me more happy than anything. Happi 
ness is a continual thinking backward or forward, 
memory or expectation. 

This may all sound rather rhetorical, but I 
assure you it is unintentional. If you knew how 
intensely I have been feeling all this and much 
more that I cannot express, you would know that 
this is n t rhetoric, but pure crying out of the soul 
such as I could only say to you. 



CAMBRIDGE AND PARIS 45 

Thousands of young people, of both sexes, pass 
through the same experience in their efforts to 
obtain education, in Paris or elsewhere, and are 
surprised to find at the end, that their education 
consists chiefly in whatever many-colored im 
pressions they have accidentally or unconsciously 
absorbed. In these their stock or capital of experi 
ence is apt to consist, over and above such general 
training as is the common stock of modern soci 
ety; but most of them would find themselves puz 
zled to say in what particular class of impression 
their gain was greatest. Lodge would have said 
at once that his gain was greatest in the friend 
ship with young Stickney, to which the letters 
allude. 

Joseph Trumbull Stickney, who was then pre 
paring his thesis for the unusual distinction of 
doctorate at the Sorbonne, the University of 
France, was a European in the variety and ex 
tent of his education and the purest of Ameri 
cans by blood, as his name proclaimed. Nearly of 
Lodge s age, almost identical in tastes and con 
victions, and looking forward to much the same 



46 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

career, he and his companionship were among those 
rare fortunes that sometimes bless unusually fa 
vored youth when it needs, more than all else, the 
constant contact with its kind. 



CHAPTER III 



EARLY in his college course, the young man had 
acquired a taste for Schopenhauer. The charm of 
Schopenhauer is due greatly to his clearness of 
thought and his excellence of style, merits rare 
among German philosophers, but another of 
his literary attractions is the strong bent of his 
thought towards Oriental and especially Buddhis 
tic ideals and methods. At about the same time it 
happened that Sturgis Bigelow returned to Boston 
from a long residence in Japan, and brought with 
him an atmosphere of Buddhistic training and 
esoteric culture quite new to the realities of Boston 
and Cambridge. The mystical side of religion had 
vanished from the Boston mind, if it ever existed 
there, which could have been at best, only in a 
most attenuated form; and Boston was as. fresh 
wax to new impressions. The oriental ideas were 
full of charm, and the oriental training was full 



48 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

of promise. Young Lodge, tormented by the old 
problems of philosophy and religion, felt the influ 
ence of Sturgis Bigelow deeply, for Bigelow was the 
closest intimate of the family, and during the sum 
mer his island of Tuckanuck, near Nantucket, was 
the favorite refuge and resource for the Lodges. As 
time went on, more and more of the young man s 
letters were addressed to Bigelow. 

Returning home after the winter of 1895-96 in 
Paris, he found himself more than ever harrowed 
by the conflict of interests and tastes. He went 
to Newport in August, for a few days, and rebelled 
against all its standards. "I hate the philistine- 

plutocrat atmosphere of this place, and it tends 

x 

not to diminish my views anent modern civiliza 
tion and the money power. I sincerely thank God 
I shall never be a rich man, and never will I, if 
my strength holds. The world cannot be fought 
with its own weapons; David fought Goliath with 
a sling, and the only way to kill the world is to fight 
it with one s own toy sword or sling, and deny 
strenuously contact with, or participation in, the 
power it cherishes. Much more of the same nature 



THE SONG OF THE WAVE 49 

is yearning to be said, but I will spare you. ... If 
I have n t it in me to write a poem, what a sordid 
farce my life will be!" The expression is strong, 
but in reality the young man had fairly reached the 
point where his life was staked on literary success. 
The bent of his energy was fixed beyond change, 
and as though he meant deliberately to make 
change impossible, he returned to Europe, to pass 
the next winter, 1896-97, in Berlin. 

A winter in Berlin is, under the best of circum 
stances, a grave strain on the least pessimistic 
temper, but to a young poet of twenty-two, fresh 
from Paris, and exuberant with the full sense 
of life and health, Berlin required a conscientious 
sense of duty amounting to self-sacrifice, in order 
to make it endurable. Socially it was complete 
solitude except for the presence of Cecil Spring- 
Rice, an old Washington intimate then in the 
British Embassy. As a matter of education in art 
or literature, the study of German had never been 
thought essential to poets, or even to prose writers, 
in the English language; and although, at about 
the middle of the century, many of the best Eng- 



50 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

lish and French authors, and some American, had 
insisted that no trained student could afford to be 
ignorant of so important a branch of human effort, 
none had ever imposed it on their pupils as a 
standard of expression. In that respect, a serious 
devotion to the language was likely to do more 
harm than good. 

The New England conscience is responsible for 
much that seems alien to the New England nature. 
Naturally, young Lodge would have gone to Rome 
to study his art, and no doubt he would have 
greatly preferred it. He needed to fill out his edu 
cation on that side, not on the side of Ger 
many, and his future work suffered for want of 
the experience. If he went to Berlin, he did it be 
cause in some vague way he hoped that Germany 
might lead to practical work. His letters show the 
strenuous conscientiousness with which he labored 
through the task. 

TO HIS MOTHER 

BERLIN, January, 1897. 

It s a week now since I wrote you and I ve not 
much more news than I had. I am very well off 



THE SONG OF THE WAVE 51 

here. All German bedrooms are bad and mine no 
worse than the rest, I imagine large enough for 
a bed and two tables for my books and papers, a 
porcelain stove and bureau, washstand, etc. To be 
sure, it has but one window, through which, by 
leaning uncomfortably to one side, one can per 
ceive the withered corner of a gray garden, but 
otherwise facing a dirty wall of brick. But, as I 
say, it seems this is a chronic malady of German 
bedrooms, and besides I have the use of a very 
pleasant front room where I work in the morning, 
and afternoon, too, sometimes. The people here 
are very nice, and eager to make me comfortable; 
otherwise all my news is contained in the word 
work. Nearer ten hours than eight of this have I 
done every day written translations from Ger 
man, reading of German Grammar, reading Schil 
ler with the man or his Frau, talking, going to the 
theatre, "Faust," "The Winter s Tale," very 
good, and a translation of the "Dindon," etc. All 
German, you observe, and in fact it seemed best 
at first to let Greek and everything go, and devote 
every energy to the acquisition of this tongue 



52 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

infernally hard it is too. I found, right off, I did n t 
know anything about it, and since then have really 
made a good deal of progress. 

It s wonderful how the soul clears itself up in 
this sort of solitude in which I am living picks 
up all the ravelled threads and weaves them care 
fully together again, and gradually simplifies and 
straightens itself out. All my life since last April 
I have been going over, as I have some of my poems, 
forcing the events into sequence and building a 
sort of soul-history, fibrous and coherent. It s a 
wonderful clearing out of refuse, and I feel strong 
and self-reliant as I never did before. I have ac 
quired the ability to write over poetry and work it 
into shape, which is a great step forward, I believe, 
and several of my poems have I been over in this 
way with much advantage. And so I am almost 
childlishly contented at getting back to an exist 
ence of sleep and food at a minimum and work at 
a maximum, and I really think I have never 
worked harder or lived more utterly simply. And 
oh! It is good with the entire spiritual solitude 
and mental solitude that I abide in. 



THE SONG OF THE WAVE 53 

BERLIN, January 17, 1897. 

I am now, after infinite pains and vast expense, 
matriculate at the University here, with several 
large and most beautiful diplomas certifying in 
Latin that I am in fact matriculate. The diplomas 
alone are worth the price of admission. It was 
heavy, though four solid mornings work and 
about 75 marks. First I went with the man I am 
living with, and found I could n t hear any lectures 
at all unless I did matriculate and that to matricu 
late I had to have my degree from Cambridge, 
which I had carefully left at home. Then the next 
day I went to the Embassy and found Mr. Jack 
son, who had very kindly written me a letter al 
ready, saying he hoped I would come to see him 
when I wanted to. Well, Mr. Jackson gave me a 
letter certifying that I had a degree, and with this 
and my passport I went again to the University, 
and found I was too late that day and must come 
the next. So the next this time alone I went 
and passed oh, such a morning! First I sat in 
a room while the Rector went over my papers; then 
I and two Germans were called in to the Rector 



54 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

and he gave us handsome degrees and swore us to 
obedience to all the rules of the University, and 
then we shook hands with him. Then some one 
said, "Go to room 4." So I and the two Germans 
went, and there they wrote my name and birth 
place and papa s business, which I tried to explain 
and failed, and so he is registered in the Berlin 
University as anything from a coal-heaver up. 

All this time my nerves were rasping like taxed 
wires for fear I should n t understand what was 
said to me. 

And then I wrote my own name, birthplace, etc., 
in my own sweet hand in another big book, and 
then was given a little card where I wrote my name 
again, and a huge card filled with questions. When 
I understood them I answered; when not, I put 
"ja" and "nein" alternately. Then they said, 
"Go to room 15." So I went and gave a man my 
filled-out card and he wrote something which he 
gave me and said, "Go to room 4 zurtick"; so I 
went. There I got a book and another card, the 
last one, and then I filled out all sorts of things 
in the book and finally went to room 2, where I 



THE SONG OF THE WAVE 55 

paid out vast sums, got some receipts, and left, 
a shattered man in mind and soul. The strain of 
trying to understand and write correctly and being 
always afraid you won t is really terrible. Then 
to-day I had to go again to see the Dean of the 
Philosophical Department in which I matriculated, 
and he gave me another beautiful degree. And 
now it s all over. I am an academischer Biirger, 
and if the police try to arrest me all I ve got to do 
is to show my card and they can t touch me. . . . 
This place is gray, gray, gray. I have done a 
constant stream of work, which has flowed in a 
steady and almost uninterrupted course, with six 
hours sleep-interval in the twenty-four. I have 
been theatre-going a lot. I have seen a good deal 
of Shakespeare, Schiller, and Sudermann. 



BERLIN, January 26, 1897. 

It is for the best my being here, of that rest as 
sured. I am entirely convinced that it was and is 
the very best thing possible for me in the circum 
stances, and I find sufficient content and interest, 
and especially work, to keep me far from stagnant. 



56 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

As I wrote you, I feel a sense of increased strength 
and reliance, which I don t explain and don t try 
to. Sufficient that so it is. Much of my life have 
I overlooked and condemned and profited by in 
this solitude and I finally begin to feel a certain 
strength that I trust will urge into expression fit 
and simple and sufficient one day, and not be 
trampled under in this awful struggle to acquire a 
financial independence which I see is inevitable for 
me. Writing prose is the only utterly depressing 
thing I have done, and that, D. V., I shall learn by 
mere gritting of teeth. 

I ve this moment got back from Dresden, where 
I ve been since Friday with Springy 1 a little va 
cation. It s very pretty and the gallery very won 
derful. Naturally there I spent my days, and twice 
I went to the opera. 

BERLIN, February 9, 1897. 

I have written some new verse and written over 
with much time and labor a good deal more old. 
It s with the greatest difficulty that I can take any 
1 Cecil Spring-Rice. 



THE SONG OF THE WAVE 57 

other form of literary endeavor seriously; and put 
my heart in it, I can t. I live and breathe in an 
atmosphere of imagination and verse here, all alone 
when I am not a working-machine, and it s all 
around me like a garment. It s hard to express 
what I mean but the other day I went early to 
the University and saw a radiant sunrise through 
the snowy Thiergarten and sort of sang inside all 
the rest of the day odd rhythms with here and 
there a word. I was so content I did n t even want 
to write down anything. I wonder if you have ever 
had the feeling I suppose you have of having 
a beautiful thing compose the scatteredness of 
your mind into an order, a rhythm, so that you 
think and feel everything rhythmically. My ex 
pression is weak, but if you ve had it you ll know 
what I mean. 

I saw the whole of "Wallenstein" the other 
day or rather in two successive evenings 
first the "Lager" and the " Picolomini," and sec 
ond evening the "Tod," which is certainly very 
fine both dramatically and poetically, quite 
the biggest German play I ve seen. I m reading 



58 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

"Faust" with my teacher here, and admiring very 
much of it. 

BERLIN, February, 1897. 

I have been reading over some of Schopenhauer 
and Kant in the German and enjoying it im 
mensely. I think the study and pursuit of pure 
metaphysical thought makes a man more content 
edly, peacefully happy than any other thing. There 
is a white purity consisting in its utter lack of con 
nection to the particular, in its entire devotion 
to the pure, synthetical ideas which never touch 
the feeling, individual world, which makes meta 
physics the nearest approach to will-lessness, to 
pure intellectual contemplation, that I know. And 
of course, as all suffering is willful (in its essential 
meaning) and emotional, pure intellectual contem 
plation must be that privation of suffering in which 
happiness consists for I become more than ever 
convinced that in this world of evil and separation 
happiness is only the privation of pain as good is 
the privation of evil. Tis only the transcendent 
emotion that you get in poetry or in great passions 
such as pity and love, that can be called positive 



THE SONG OF THE WAVE 59 

happiness. Pity or love, I mean, so aggrandized 
that the sense of individuality is lost in the feeling 
of union with the whole where there is no space or 
time or separation. That is, that only morally and 
esthetically can one be positively happy all 
other happiness must be simply the denial of pain. 
Metaphysics is the completest expression of such 
a denial, I think, and also with an almost esthetic 
poetic value some times in some metaphysi 
cians an undoubted poetic value, as for instance in 
Plato and Schopenhauer. But it seems I am writ 
ing you an essay on metaphysics, so I will stop. 

BERLIN, February, late, 1897. 

I am gradually digging a way into the language, 
and you d be suprised at my fluent inaccuracy 
in the German tongue, and I can write it pretty 
well, too. Reading is thoroughly acquired, and I 
am more than satisfied with my progress. I have 
heard a good deal of music which always does me 
good, though, as Joe tells me, I don t in the least 
understand it. I saw the Emperor the other day for 
the first time, and rather a fine strong face he has. 



60 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

I really believe that nothing I ever did benefited 
me as much as has this short time here. I have 
grown more rigid and surer of myself, and withal 
have acquired a certain capacity and love of a great 
deal of work, which I never had before, and which 
is only surpassed by my love of not doing work 
after I have done a great deal. My poetry, I think, 
shows that I have tried to hope so. Please tell 
me if you think any of the things I sent you show 
a clearer, firmer touch than before. As I say, I try 
to think so and almost feel sometimes as if it 
really was in me after all to speak a strong sincere 
word clearly for men to hear; but then, on the other 
hand, whiles I think I am going to dry up, and in 
my perfectly lucid moments, I see with a ghostly 
distinctness how far short all my work falls of what 
I seem sometimes to know as an ideal. 

The dear Springy came to see me yesterday and 
I had a good talk with him and subsequently dined 
with him. I Ve seen very little of him this month, 
as society has been on the rampage, and he has 
rampaged with it perforce. He went to London 
for a week to-day, but when he comes back, the 



THE SONG OF THE WAVE 61 

world will be quiet and I expect to see a great 
deal of him. 

The German experience added little or nothing 
to his artistic education, for Schopenhauer can be 
studied anywhere, and neither Goethe nor Schiller 
needs to be read in Berlin; but his letters show that 
his enforced, solitary labor during this winter threw 
him back upon himself, and led him to publish his 
work before he fairly knew in what direction his 
strength lay. During these three years of post-grad 
uate education he had toiled, with sure instinct, to 
learn the use of his tools, and chiefly of his tongue. 
All art-students must go through this labor, and 
probably the reason why so many young poets 
begin by writing sonnets is that the sonnet is the 
mode of expression best adapted for practice; it 
insists on high perfection in form; any defect or 
weakness betrays itself, and the eye can cover four 
teen lines at once without too great an effort. Lodge 
liked the labor of sonnet- writing, and it taught him 
the intricacies of language and the refinements of 
expression which every literary artist must try at 



62 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

!/ least to understand, even when he does not choose 
to practise them; but, at heart, Lodge was less a 
poet than a dramatist, though he did not yet know 
it; and the dramatic art is the highest and most ex 
acting in all literature. The crown of genius belongs 
only to the very rare poets who have written 
successful plays. They alone win the blue ribbon 
of literature. This was the prize to which Lodge, 
perhaps unconsciously, aspired, and his labor in 
sonnet-writing, however useful as training in verse, 
was no great advantage for his real purpose, even 
though he had Shakespeare for his model. 

On the other hand, the lack of society in a man 
ner compels the artist to publish before he is ready. 
The artist, living in a vacuum without connection 
with free air, is forced by mere want of breath to 

cry out against the solitude that stifles him; and 
the louder he cries, the better is his chance of 
attracting notice. The public resents the outcry, 
but remembers the name. A few very few 
readers appreciate the work, if it is good, on its 
merits; but the poet himself gets little satisfac 
tion from it, and, ten years afterwards, will pro- 



THE SONG OF THE WAVE 63 

bably think of it only as a premature effort of his 
youth. 

To this rule a few exceptions exist, like Swin 
burne s "Poems and Ballads," where the poet, at 
the first breath, struck a note so strong and so new 
as to overpower protest; but, as a rule, recognition 
is slow, and the torpor of the public serves only to 
discourage the artist, who would have saved his 
strength and energy had he waited. When young 
Lodge returned from Germany in the summer of 
1897, he felt himself unpleasantly placed between 
these two needs, that of justifying his existence, 
on the one hand, and that of challenging prema 
ture recognition, on the other. He chose boldly to 
assert his claims to literary rank, and justified his 
challenge by publishing, in the spring of 1898, the 
volume of a hundred and thirty-five pages, called 
"The Song of the Wave." 

Here are some eighty short poems, one half of 
which are sonnets, and all of which reflect the long 
tentative, formative effort of the past five years. 
Most of them have a personal character, like " The 
Song of the Wave" itself, which has been already 



64 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

quoted. From a simple, vigorous nature like 
Lodge s, one would have expected, in a first effort, 
some vehement or even violent outburst of self-as 
sertion; some extravagance, or some furious protest 
against the age he lived in; but such an attitude is 
hardly more than indicated by the dedication to 
Leopardi. The exordium, "Speak, said my soul!" 
expresses rather his own need of strength and the 
solitude of his ambitions: 

Speak! thou art lonely in thy chilly mind, 
With all this desperate solitude of wind, 
The solitude of tears that make thee blind, , 

Of wild and causeless tears. 

Speak! thou hast need of me, heart, hand and head, 
Speak, if it be an echo of thy dread, 
A dirge of hope, of young illusions dead, 

Perchance God hears! 

Most of these poems are echoes of early youth, 
of the ocean, of nature: simple and vigorous ex 
pressions of physical force, with an occasional re 
currence to Schopenhauer and Leopardi; but the 
verses that most concern the artist are those which 
show his effort for mastery of his art, and his pro 
gress in power of expression. He scattered such 



THE SONG OF THE WAVE 65 

verses here and there, for their own sake, on nearly 
every page, as most young poets do, or try to do, 
and such verses are more or less a measure, not only 
of his correctness of ear, but of his patient labor. 
Take, for instance, the first half-dozen lines of 
"The Gates of Life," which happens to be written 
in a familiar metre: 

Held in the bosom of night, large to the limits of wonder, 
Close where the refluent seas wrinkle the wandering sands, 
Where, with a tenderness torn from the secrets of sorrow, and 

under 

The pale pure spaces of night felt like ineffable hands, 
The weak strange pressure of winds moved with the moving of 

waters, 
Vast with their solitude, sad with their silences, strange with 

their sound, 
Comes like a sigh from the sleep . . . 

This metre seems to call for excessive elabora 
tion of phrase; a few pages further, the poet has 
tried another metre which repels all such refine 
ments; it is called "Age," and begins: - 

Art thou not cold ? 

Brother, alone to-night on God s great earth ? 

The two last stanzas run: 



66 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

Shalt thou not die, 

Brother ? the chill is fearful on thy life, 

Shalt thou not die ? 

Is this a lie ? 

This threadbare hope of death ? 

A lie, like God, and human love, and strife 

For pride, and fame, this soiled and withered wreath. 

Art thou not cold ? 

Brother ? alone on God s great earth to-night; 

Art thou not cold ? 

Art thou not old 

And dying and forlorn ? 

Art thou not choking in the last stern fight 

While in divine indifference glows the morn ? " 

The sonnet, again, offers a different temptation. 
The verses tend of their own accord to group them 
selves about the favorite verse. The first sonnet in 
this series begins with what Mrs. Wharton calls 
the magnificent apostrophe to Silence: 

Lord of the deserts, twixt a million spheres, 

and need go no further; the rest of the lines infalli 
bly group themselves to sustain the level of the 
first. So, the sonnet to his own Essex begins with 
the singularly happy line, 



THE SONG OF THE WAVE 67 

Thy hills are kneeling in the tardy spring, 
which leads to an echo in the last verse: 

We know how wanton and how little worth 
Are all the passions of our bleeding heart 
That vex the awful patience of the earth. 

The sonnet to his friend Stickney after reading 
the twelfth-century Roman of "Amis and Amile," 
begins : 

And were they friends as thou and I are friends, 

in order to work out the personal touch of their 
common ambition: 

Ah, they who walked the sunshine of the world, 
And heard grave angels speaking through a dream, 
Had never their unlaurelled brows defiled, 
Nor strove to stem the world s enormous stream. 

The form of the sonnet tends to carry such 
verbal or personal refinements to excess; they be 
come labored; perhaps particularly so in denun 
ciation, like the sonnet, "Aux Modernes," which 
begins : 

Only an empty platitude for God; 

and ends with the line, 

The hard, gray, tacit distances of dawn. 



68 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

Such work marks the steps of study and attain 
ment rather than attainment itself, as the second 
"Nirvana" marks effort: 

TO W. STURGIS BIGELOW 

December 10, 1897. 

I will trouble you with this poem, which here I 
send to you. I wrote it without correction in half 
an hour before dinner, and I feel of it, as I have felt 
of so many of my things, that no one will under 
stand it except you; also I know it s my fault and 
not theirs that no one will understand it my im 
plements are still so rude my ideas seem lumi 
nous and limpid while they are wordless, and, I 
think, owing to practice, most ideas come to me 
now wordless but in words they become crude, 
misty, and imperfect; whiles I feel quite hopeless. 
But you have been there, have seen vividly all 
I Ve half perceived and you can supply my lapses 
in coherency. This was, I think, the result of an 
hour s practice last night. Certainly if it has a 
merit, it is that I have not been economical in this 
poem, every word seems to me now over-full with 



THE SONG OF THE WAVE 69 

meaning. My soul has gone into the writing of it 
and, good Lord, it s melancholy to feel how it 
might have been said luminously and unavoid 
ably and how it is said Well! perhaps, some 
day! . . . if I could only be with you to try to tell 
you all I have endeavored to say in these fourteen 
lines ! 

NIRVANA 

Woof of the scenic sense, large monotone 
Where life s diverse inceptions, Death and Birth, 
Where all the gaudy overflow of Earth 
Die they the manifold, and thou the one. 

Increate, complete, when the stars are gone 
In cinders down the void, when yesterday 
No longer spurs desire starvation-gray, 
When God grows mortal hi men s hearts of stone; 

As each pulsation of the heart divine 
Peoples the chaos, or with falling breath 
Beggars creation, still the soul is thine! 

And still, untortured by the world s increase, 
Thy wide harmonic silences of death. 
And last thy white, uncovered breast of peace! 

I will now, as did Michael Angelo, add a com 
mentary: 
Nirvana is the woof on which sense traces its 



70 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

scenic patterns; it is the one, the monotone upon 
which death and birth, both inceptions, in that 
death is merely the beginning of changed condi 
tions of life, and "the gaudy overflow of earth" 
that is, all finite things and emotions sing their 
perishable songs and, as rockets disperse their 
million sparks which die on the universal night- 
blackness, so they die and leave the constant un 
changing monotone. Nirvana is in-create because 
never created, and of course complete. Yesterday 
spurs desire to a state of starvation-grayness be 
cause desire and hope look back on every yesterday 
as a renewed disappointment. The phrase meant 
life. " When God grows mortal in men s hearts of 
stone," has two meanings, first that when men 
grow unbelieving God perishes God being the 
creature of belief; and second that Nirvana endur- 
eth when God himself perishes. The next three 
lines are an embodiment of the idea that with every 
beat of the heart divine a cosmos swells into exist 
ence, and with every subsiding of this heart it 
sinks, perishes into nothingness. Also from line 
five to line eleven means that after everything and 



THE SONG OF THE WAVE 71 

through everything the soul is still Nirvana s, if I 
can so express myself; thus reiterating the idea 
suggested in the first quatrain, that the condition 
of the finite is separateness and of the spiritual, 
unity; and that all life, though clothed in diverse 
forms, holds in it the identical soul which is Nir 
vana s, attained or potential. The world s increase 
is of course the cycle of life and death in its largest 
sense. This is of course a mere shadowing forth of 
the ideas I had in writing the poem. You will see 
their possible amplifications. 

January, 1898. 

Poetry is an absolute necessity for me, but when 
I think of dumping a volume of verse that nobody 
will read on to a gorged world, I say to myself: 
"A quoi bon?" The foolish publisher will have to 
be found first, however, so I don t worry. Does 
the enclosed ("The Wind of Twilight Tucka- 
nuck") say anything to you? The long things 
(Oh, be thankful) are too long to send, so I send 
this. I ve done several of these sorts of things 
lately. 



72 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

To the cold critic, this stage of an artist s life is 
the most sympathetic, and the one over which he 
would most gladly linger. He loves the youthful 
freshness, the candor, the honest workmanship, the 
naif self-abandonment of the artist, in proportion 
as he is weary of the air of attainment, of clever 
ness, of certainty and completion. He would, for 
his own amusement, go on quoting verse after 
verse to show how the artist approaches each 
problem of his art, what he gains; what he sac 
rifices; but this is the alphabet of criticism, and 
can be practised on Eginetan marbles or early 
Rembrandts better than on youthful lyrics. The 
interested reader has only to read for himself. 



CHAPTER IV 

WAR AND LOVE 

IN January, 1898, young Lodge was in Wash 
ington, acting as secretary to his father, varying 
between office-work all day and composition the 
greater part of the night. The outbreak of the 
Spanish War drew him at once into the govern 
ment service, and he obtained a position as cadet 
on board his uncle Captain Davis s ship, the 
Dixie. During the three summer months that 
this war in the tropics lasted, he had other things 
than poems to think about, and his letters convey 
an idea that perhaps the life of naval officer actu 
ally suited his inherited instincts best. 

TO HIS MOTHER 

FORTRESS MONROE, May, 1898. 
Here I am and here I rest until Saturday, when 
the ship will probably sail. I am, and feel like, a 
perfect fool. Everybody knows everything and I 



74 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

don t know anything; but they are kind and I 
guess I shall get on when the thing gets fairly 
started. I went over and saw the ship to-day 
and she is fine at any rate while I am here in 
this business, I am going to learn all I can. 

NEWPORT NEWS, May 20, 1898. 
I am getting on as well as possible and learning 
a good deal all the time. There is plenty of room 
for learning. These great golden days go over me, 
and it seems as if all the real imaginative side of 
me was under lock and key. The practical things 
occupy me entirely. 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 2, 1898. 
We have been taking on coal all day, and before 
it s all aboard we shall be chock-full. Uncle Harry 
has got orders to be ready to sail at a moment s no 
tice, and he is going to telegraph to-night that he 
is all ready. I hope it may mean that we are to be 
moved out of here very soon toward the scene of 
action. A day or two ago we went out for thirty- 
six hours and fired all the big guns. I fired both 
mine myself, and was surprised to find the shock 



WAR AND LOVE 75 

not at all serious. The whole process was very 
interesting, and I shall try to remember it all and 
be able to tell you all about it when I get back. I 
get on pretty well. There is one thing I am con 
vinced of and that is that I can make my gun 
crews fight and my guns effective, and that is after 
all the principal thing. 

The internal condition of Spain makes me be 
lieve that the war must end soon. I only hope it 
will last long enough to insure our possession of 
Cuba, Porto Rico, and the Philippines, and give 
me one fight for my money. 

OFF CIENFUEGOS, CUBA, June 25, 1898. 

We reached the squadron the day after I wrote 
from Mole St. Nicolas, and were immediately 
sent down here to patrol. In fact, the Admiral 
gave Uncle Harry discretion to do pretty much 
what he ple ased. We came down and on our way 
destroyed two block-houses which were at the 
southern end of the Trocha. The next day we en 
gaged a battery at a place called Trinidad, and 
yesterday we engaged the same battery, a gun- 



76 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

boat in the harbor, and a gun-boat that came out 
at us, and used them up pretty badly. So you see 
I am in it. Nothing very serious so far, but still we 
have been under fire and have killed a good many 
Spaniards. It is a most beautiful coast all along 
here, great splendid hills close to the water s edge, 
and splendid vegetation. The weather has been 
hot, but very fine and to me excessively pleasant, 
and I am quite happy to be on the scene of action 
and in the way of seeing all that s going. My two 
guns have behaved very well and I have had sev 
eral very nice compliments from the First Lieu 
tenant. We relieved the Yankee here and she 
goes to-day to Key West for coal, which gives me 
a chance to send this letter. I really enjoy the life 
immensely, far more than I thought I should 
the work interests me, and I am learning a good 
deal every day. Last night Uncle Harry and I 
dined with Captain Brownson on the Yankee and 
it was very interesting. 

August, 1898. 

Many thanks for your letter which I have just 
got to-day. I am more than delighted we are going 



WAR AND LOVE 77 

to Spain. We came up from Cape Cruz on the 6th 
and saw the wrecks of the Spanish fleet lying up on 
the beach below Santiago a great sight. It s a 
great business to be here and see the wheels go 
round and be a wheel one s self, even if not a very 
big one. I am very glad on the whole I came as a 
cadet and not as an ensign, for as a cadet I am not 
supposed to know anything, which puts me in a 
true position and not a false one. None of these 
militia officers know any more than I do, and they 
are in false positions. Anyway, I do a lot of work 
and I think accomplish something. It hardly 
seems as if the war could last now, and I only 
hope it will hang on long enough to give us a 
whack at Camara and the Spanish coast. 

Yesterday we got the first ice we have had since 
June 15, and to-day the first mail since we left Old 

Point. 

U. S. S. DIXIE, August 5, 1898. 

We left Guantanamo after having coaled, and 
went to Puerto Rico with the troops. On the way 
we were detached from the convoy and sent all 
round the island to hunt up transports, and so we 



78 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

did not get to Guanica until after the army had 
landed. We got there in the morning, and that 
afternoon we were sent with the Annapolis and the 
Wasp Uncle Harry 1 being the senior officer 
down to Ponce, Puerto Rico. We got there about 
four and went peacefully into the harbor. Then 
Uncle Harry sent Mr. Merriam 2 in to demand 
the surrender of the place, and I went along. We 
landed under a flag of truce, and found that there 
was a Spanish Colonel with about 300 men, who 
said he would "die at his post." He was back in 
the town, which is about two miles inland. How 
ever, during the night delegates came off and sur 
rendered the town, on condition that the troops be 
allowed to withdraw, which we granted, and at six 
o clock the next morning, we went in again and I 
myself raised the flag over the office of the Captain 
of the Port, amid immense enthusiasm of the popu 
lace. Haines, 3 the marine officer, was put in charge 
with a file of marines, and put guards and sentries 

1 Captain Davis, commanding the Dixie. 

2 Lieutenant and executive officer of the Dixie. 
1 Lieutenant of Marines on the Dixie. 



WAR AND LOVE 79 

on the Customs House and other public places; and 
then two other officers and I got into a carriage, 
with a Puerto Rican friend, and drove up to the 
town. 

It was most picturesque. The town had been 
deserted fearing a bombardment, and from every 
nook and corner crowds appeared cheering and 
crying, "Viva los conquistadores Americanos"; 
"Viva el Puerto Rico libre." We drove through the 
town, the crowd and enthusiasm increasing always, 
and finally returned and got Haines, who had for 
mally delivered the town to General Miles when he 
landed. . . . We then went back to Ponce with 
Haines. We were taken to the club and to the 
headquarters of the fire-brigade everywhere 
amid yelling mobs. While we were there I heard 
that there were some political prisoners confined 
in the City Hall. I told Haines, who was senior 
officer, and he went over to see about liberating 
them. 

Ponce is the largest town in Puerto Rico, about 
40,000 people. The City Hall stands at one end of 
a great square about as large as Lafayette 



80 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

Square. In it is the Mayor s office and the court 
room, with a dais and throne where the judges sat. 
There Haines liberated sixteen political prisoners; 
for the army, though supposed to be in possession 
of the town, had not taken the City Hall. Finding 
this to be the case, I got an American flag and told 
Haines I was going to raise it over the City Hall. I 
then went onto the roof where the flag-staff was, 
taking with me the Mayor of Ponce. There with 
great solemnity, the Mayor and I bare-headed, I 
raised the flag. The whole square was swaying 
with people, and as the flag went up they cheered 
such a noise as I never heard. Then the Mayor 
and I went below and the Mayor presented me 
with his staff of office, the Spanish flag which flew 
over the City Hall, and the banner of Ponce, and 
formally delivered over to me his authority. I sent 
to the barracks where were our soldiers, and got 
some over to occupy the City Hall. I then, with 
great ceremony, gave back to the Mayor his badge 
of office and the town of Ponce. Shortly after we 
left. 



WAR AND LOVE 81 

GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA, August 10, 1898. 

I got your letter just a day or two ago, and 
mighty glad I was to get it. The flagship has just 
signalled "Associated Press dispatch states that 
peace protocol has been arranged." I suppose this 
is the end. If so, if hostilities cease and peace is 
eventually certain, I wish you would find out if 
the Dixie is to be put out of commission. I sup 
pose it will take three or four months to patch 
up the treaty and have it ratified, and if the Dixie 
is to lie here or convoy transports during that time, 
I should like very much to be detached and ordered 
home on waiting orders, until my resignation is 
sent in and accepted. I suppose there would be no 
trouble about this. I came for the war, and as this 
is n t and never will be my life when the war is over, 
I want to get home as soon as possible, and pick 
up life again where I left off. Of course if the Dixie 
is to be put right out of commission, I should much 
prefer to go out of active service with the ship, and 
I should think that the Department would not 
wish to keep these auxiliary ships, manned with 
militia, in service any longer than was absolutely 



82 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

necessary. Well, I have learned a good deal and I 
am mighty glad I came. I have n t seen as much 
fighting as some, but I have had my share of the 
fun, I think, and anyway one does one s best and 
takes the chances of war. I really think I have 
made myself useful, and at least have not encum 
bered or hurt the service by coming, and that s as 
much as an amateur can hope for. Anyway I ve 
worked hard. I shall have a great story to tell you 
about Ponce, of which "Magna pars fui," and I 
have got some splendid trophies. I have had a 
good time and am happy now; but as peace grows 
more certain I long to get home and see you all 
again. It seems an enormous stretch of time since 
I left you. 

Extract from a letter of CAPTAIN DAVIS to H. c. L. 

July 20, 1898. 

. . . He [G. C. L.] shows unbounded zeal and 
unflagging industry, and a great aptitude for the 
profession. He has already developed the real 
sailor s trick of being always the first on hand. No 
one has ever been known to say, "Where is Mr. 



WAR AND LOVE 83 

Lodge ? " This is not the encomium of a fond uncle. 
I see very little of him on duty except in working 
ship, when his station is near mine. He is a daily 
companion to me in hours of leisure, but on duty 
he is the First Lieutenant s man, and I notice he is 
always called on for duty where promptness and 
intelligence are required. I could give you a much 
higher estimate of his usefulness if I quoted Mer- 
riam, than in recording my own observation. 

Brought back again to the chronic divergence 
between paths of life, the young man struggled as 
he best could to assert his mastery over his own 
fate, and developed a persistence of will that 
amounted to primitive instinct rather than to rea 
soning process. Constantly he threw himself with 
all his energy in the direction which led away 
from the regular paths of modern activity. He was 
familiar with them all, if only as Secretary of a 
Senate Committee, and he read science quite as 
seriously as poetry, but when he came to action he 
always widened the gap between himself and his 
world. "The Song of the Wave" was his first 



84 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

public act of divorce. Only the difficulty of find 
ing a publisher prevented him from taking a tone 
much more hostile to society, in novels, which he 
wrote and burned one after another, because they 
failed to satisfy him. His letters to his early friend, 
Marjorie Nott, have much to say of this phase 
of mind. On September 12, 1899, he wrote from 
Tuckanuck : 

TO MISS MARJORIE NOTT 

Why do your letters make me so needlessly 
happy ! I think it s because you believe in so much 
and because I do too, and need to have some one 
to tell me that it is so. Not that I doubt, what 
would my life be if I doubted ! No, it s only that 
pretty much everybody believes 1 5 m a crank or a 
fool, or asks when I m going to begin to do some 
thing; to which question, by the way, I invari 
ably respond never! and oh! it s so good not to 
be on the defensive, not to feel the good anger 
rising in you, and step on it because you know they 
won t understand; not to suffer with the desire to 
insult the whole world; to lay its ugliness naked; 



WAR AND LOVE 85 

to say: "There, there! don t you see all the dust 
and ashes that we re all admiring? don t you 
see? don t you understand? " And then not say it, 
because you know they can t see, and they won t 
understand. Ah, yes! it s so good to sit here, and 
write all this rot to you, and think that you ll 
know, that you ll understand. Is n t it horrible to 
get your mind twisted into cheap cynicisms while 
the tears are falling in your heart? and it s what we 
have to do, nous autres ! I shall certainly end 
in publishing my book if I can find a bold enough 
publisher. The temptation is too immense. I know 
they won t understand, and yet I m young enough 
to hope they will. Do you remember the book I 
talked to you of last winter? Well, that s it! I ve 
done it over again, and well! I don t know! I 
don t know why I write all this. I am here so calm, 
with my brother the sun and my sister the sea, 
by the way, Tuckanuck, and I feel as if I was 
anywhere except in the hither end of the nine 
teenth century; and my book, I don t think of it 
at all here. I write verse now nothing else. 



86 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

Naturally, since man or bird began to sing, he 
has sung to the woman, or the female. The male 
is seldom a sympathetic listener; he prefers to do 
his own singing, or not to sing at all. He is not 
much to blame, but his indifference commonly ends 
by stifling the song, and the male singer has to 
turn to the female, or perish. In America, the male 
is not only a bad listener, but also, for poetry, a 
distinctly hostile audience; he thinks poorly of 
poetry and poets, so that the singer has no choice 
but to appeal to the woman. That young Lodge 
should have done so with an intensity proportioned 
to the repression of his instinct for sympathy and 
encouragement elsewhere, was inevitable. Poets 
have always done it, but they have not shown by 
any means the surest instinct of poetry in their 
affairs of love, so that perhaps a woman who should 
criticise their work might feel tempted to use this 
test as the surest proof of force or failure in their 
instinct for art. By such a test, young Lodge would 
take rank among the strongest. Little credit is due 
to any man for yielding to altogether extraordin 
ary beauty and charm in the perfection of femin- 



WAR AND LOVE 87 

ine ideals, although few men do it, but it is 
far from being a rule that young men who rebel 
against the world s standards, and with infinite 
effort set up a standard of private war on the 
world, and maintain it with long and exhausting 
endurance, should go directly into the heart of the 
society they are denouncing, and carry off a wo 
man whom lovers less sensitive to beauty, and less 
youthful in temperament, than poets or artists, 
might be excused for adoring. 

Elizabeth Davis another survival of rare 
American stock: Davis of Plymouth, Frelinghuy- 
sen of New Jersey, Griswold of Connecticut, with 
the usual leash of Senators, Cabinet officers, and 
other such ornaments, in her ancestry was in 
truth altogether the highest flight of young Lodge s 
poetry, as he constantly told her when her own 
self-confidence naturally hesitated to believe it; 
and since his letters to her strike a note which rises 
high above the level of art or education, they can 
not be wholly left out of his life. The man or wo 
man who claims to be a poet at all, must prove 
poetry to the heart, and neither Shakespeare nor 



88 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

Shelley can be exempted from the proof, neither 
Dante nor Petrarch, whatever their society 
might think about it. 

Lodge s letters began in March, 1899, when he 
was starting with his father and mother on a trip 
to Europe, which led to Sicily. From New York he 
wrote to bid good-bye ; the engagement was not 
yet avowed. And from Rome, a month later: 

TO MISS DAVIS 

I saw the grave of Keats the other day, and also 
of Shelley. It was a very keen sensation more 
living, I think, than anything I have felt since 
you. My life is happy here, but my soul is very 
dolorous and strenuous. In life nothing resolves 
itself well. If a good issue is to come to anything, 
so much must be struggled with and sacrificed, so 
much confusion and distress, before serenity comes ! 
When one is very young, it does n t seem fitting. 
One wants so much ! Heaven and Earth is hardly 
enough for the large desire of youth, and the gates 
of possible expansion close one by one, until at last 
one runs through the last one just closing, without 



WAR AND LOVE 89 

perhaps its being the right one. The period of 
choice is very short; then comes the short, sharp 
stab of necessity, and then one has made one s 
bed, and one must lie in it. It s all very eager and 
restless, and perhaps better for being so. 

From Rome in April he wrote: 

"One makes oneself so very largely, and to 
make oneself greater or better, one must believe. 
Apply your religion: "Thy faith has made thee 
whole!" That s the most wonderful thing Christ 
ever said, and it applies everywhere in life. Be 
lieve in yourself! it should be so easy for you. I 
do it, and it is of course far harder for me, for 
I ve less to believe in. 

The young people had much need to believe in 
themselves, for, in a worldly point of view, they 
had not much else to believe in. He wrote in July: 

TO HIS MOTHER 

BOSTON, July, 1899. 

I am almost crazed with the desire to be inde 
pendent, and yet I won t do anything that I don t 



90 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

approve and I won t give up my writing, God will 
ing. I must keep at it and accomplish what I can in 
my own way. I feel sure it s the only way for me, 
and I know my intention is not low, whatever my 
performance may be. I feel desperate sometimes 
that it all comes so slowly and that I do no better; 
but I grit my teeth and keep at it. The agony 
of getting a thought into adequate expression is 
enormous. However, I feel so much resolution 
that I take heart, and now, too, I see my path 
clearer ahead of me. I must write and write, and 
as I say, I believe my purposes are good. 

TUCKANUCK, September, 1899. 

I have n t written for a long time, I am afraid, 
but since I have been here the last ten days I 
have been so happy in the sun and sea that I 
have n t written to any one at all and have hardly 
done any work. I have just lived very happily. I 
have begun to write a tragedy in verse, and it s 
terrible work and not very encouraging. However, 
I get along I have in my head also a plot for a 
prose play, very good, I think, and some other 



WAR AND LOVE 91 

things besides. Indeed my mind is quite fertile, 
and physically I am in splendid condition. I got a 
letter from Mr. Stedman this morning, who is 
preparing an anthology of American poets and 
wants to put me in it. J apporte un bagage assez 
mince, but still if he can find anything he wants 
to print he is welcome to it. 

A few days afterwards, he wrote from Boston: 

TO MISS DAVIS 

To get away, very far from all this greasy gos 
sip, this world of little motives and little desires ! 
We must do it very soon. Only men who live in the 
constant strain of feeling alone against the world 
are forced to concentrate their passions on an ob 
ject that seems to them above the world. 



CHAPTER V 

MARRIAGE 

NATURALLY, life cannot be lived in heroics. The 
man who places himself out of line with the cur 
rent of society sees most the ridiculous or grotesque 
features of his surroundings, and finds most in 
them to laugh at. The conviction that either he or 
society is insane, or perhaps, both, becomes 
a fixed idea, with many hunorous sides; and 
though the humor tends to irony and somewhat 
cruel satire, it is often genial and sometimes play 
ful. Young Lodge laughed with the rest, at the 
world or himself by turns. When Bigelow re 
belled at his anarchic handwriting, he replied: 

TO W. STURGIS BIGELOW 

Ballade d ung excellent poete au Sieur Bigelow au sujet d ung 
certain plaint dudit Sieur Bigelow a luy addresse. 

BALLADE 

I 
I like to see the phrases flow 

So smooth in writing round and plain 
Pooh! Hang the time and trouble! Though 
^ It gave me fever on the brain 



MARRIAGE 93 

And caused intolerable pain 
In hand and wrist you set at nought 

The beautiful, and still maintain 
That writing must be slave to thought. 

ii 
I wrote for beauty and I know 

That beauty is its own best gain; 
"Art for art s sake," I cried, and so 

My unintelligible train 

Of words was writ you grew insane 
Trying to read them, for you sought 

A meaning and you swore again 
That writing must be slave to thought. 

in 
You held the sheet above, below 

Your head, and every nerve did strain 
To read, and from your lips did go 

Grim curses manifold as rain. 

You should have known your toil was vain; 
For Art s sole sake my writing wrought; 

I scorned the axiom with disdain 
That writing must be slave to thought. 

IV 

Prince, speak! Does anything remain 

Now art is gone? No sense you ve caught! 
Then tell not me, the pure inane, 

That writing must be slave to thought. 
Fin de la Ballade d ung excellent poete au Sieur Bigelow. Com- 
posee et mise en escript ce neuvieme Decembre A. D. MDCCCXCIX. 



04 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

From Washington, on April 28, he wrote again 
to Bigelow: 

Well! the point is here! one should learn that 
it is not life that should be taken seriously, but liv 
ing. In that way, one gets pleasure if not happi 
ness. I wish I was going to Tuckanuck with you 
right off; but I m not, and I have yards and miles 
of drudgery that maketh the heart sick. I ve got 
to write another play before June. I have written 
several this winter, all on a steadily decreasing 
scale of merit, and I hope this one will be bad 
enough to be successful. The trees are full of 
leaves, and the air full of sun, and only I am vile. 
I wish I could pretend it was all somebody else s 
fault, but I can t. Voilhl 

A successful play needs not only to be fairly bad 
in a literary sense, but bad in a peculiar way which 
had no relation with any standard of .badness that 
Lodge could reach. He toiled in vain* 

When one is twenty-six years old, splendid in 
health and strength, and still more splendid in 



MARRIAGE 95 

love, one enjoys the exuberant energy of complaint 
with a Gargantuan appetite: 

TO W. STURGIS BIGELOW 

WASHINGTON, May 16, 1900. 

Here it has been as high as 106 Why don t 
you go to Tuckanuck? I would if I could, Gawd 
knows. It is of course self-evident to you as it is to 
me, that in the event of one s absence the world 
will cease to function, but then who the Devil 
cares whether it functions or not? Not you, nor yet 
I. I would willingly barter the tattered remnants 
of a devilish tried soul to be under one of the great 
waves on the outside beach and, please Heaven, I 
soon shall be doing it. Meanwhile I grovel along 
in the living heat which I like, and do all the work 
that s in me but after these months of it, the 
supply is running a little short, I m afraid. I sup 
pose I am here for about three weeks more and 
then, with your permission, kind Sir! surf, Sir! and 
sun, Sir! and nakedness! Oh, Lord! how I want 
to get my clothes off alone in natural solitudes. 
In this heavy springtime I grow to feel exquisitely 



96 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

pagan, and worship the implacable Aphrodite, and 
read Sappho (with considerable difficulty) in the 
Greek. 

From the beginnings of life, the poet and artist 
have gone on, surprising themselves always afresh 
by the discovery that their highest flights of poetry 
and art end in some simple and primitive emotion; 
but the credit of seeing and feeling it is the best 
proof of the poet. In his next volume of Poems, 
published in 1902, two years afterwards, he put 
these emotions into verse, "for E. L.," no 
longer Elizabeth Davis but Elizabeth Lodge. 

She moves in the dusk of my mind, like a bell with the sweet 
ness of singing 

In a twilight of summer fulfilled with the joy of the sadness of 
tears; 

And the calm of her face, and the splendid, slow smile are as 
memories clinging 

Of songs and of silences filling the distance of passionate years. 

She moves in the twilight of life like a prayer in a heart that is 
grieving, 

And her youth is essential and old as the spring and the fresh 
ness of spring; 



MARRIAGE 97 

And her eyes watch the world and the little low ways of the 

sons of the living, 
As the seraph might watch from the golden grave height of his 

heaven-spread wing. 

The variations on this oldest of themes are end 
less, and yet are eternally new to some one who dis 
covers them afresh; so that very slight differences 
of expression have artistic value. So, for example, 
the sonnet beginning : 

Why are you gone? I grope to find your hand. 
Why are you gone? The large winds seaward-bound, 
Tell of long journeying in the endless void. 
Why are you gone? I strain to catch the sound 
Of footsteps, watch to see the dark destroyed 
Before your lustrous fingers that would creep 
Over my eyes, and give me strength to sleep. 

One does not venture to suggest a famous line of 
a great poet for the sake of imitating the art, but 
one does it readily for the sake of rivalling the 
feeling. "You and I have gone behind the scenes 
and beyond, where all is light. I say, grip my 
hand always, for it is always laid in yours. Get 
from me some of the joy you give, some of the 



98 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

light and strength. I am overflowing with love, 
which is force, and you must take from me for my 
sake. Everywhere there is love, vast treasures of 
love, that people deny and conceal, but cannot 
kill, and in the earth and sea also. I am there for 
you, and love is there!" 

All this is the purest sentiment, and yet young 
Lodge was not sentimental, and especially disliked 
sentimentality in literature. He would have ruth 
lessly burned any verse that offered to him the 
suggestion of sentimentalism. His idyll was in 
tense because it was as old and instinctive as na 
ture itself, and as simple. If he ever approached 
a sentimental expression, it was in the relation 
between parent and child, not between lover and 
mistress. Love was to him a passion, and a very 
real one, not capable of dilution or disguise. Such 
passions generally have their own way, and force 
everything to yield. The marriage took place in 
Boston, August 18, 1900. True to his instinct of 
shrinking from close and serious contact with the 
forms and conventions of a society which was to him 
neither a close nor a serious relation, he was mar- 



MARRIAGE 99 

ried without previous notice, and without other 
than the necessary witnesses, at the Church of the 
Advent. The officiating clergyman is said to have 
remarked that he had never seen a more beautiful 
wedding; but he was the only person present to 
appreciate its beauty. 

They went off to Concord to pass the honey 
moon, and thence to Tuckanuck. All the practical 
difficulties in their way were ignored, and remained 
ignored through life, without interfering with the 
young couple s happiness. The world is still kind 
to those who are young, and handsome, and in 
love, and who trample on respectability. Natu 
rally, as soon as the winter came, they set off for 
Paris. 

TO HIS MOTHER 

PARIS, January, 1901. 

We have found a most charming little apart 
ment, furnished with only the indispensable, 
thank Heaven! The superfluous in a furnished 
apartment of modest price is horrible and for 
only two hundred francs a month. We took it. It 
is 46 Rue du Bac. The house is an old palace of the 



100 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

days when the Ruedu Bac was a fashionable street. 
It is built on three sides of an enormous court as 
wide as Massachusetts Avenue without the side 
walks. At the back of the court are large green 
houses of a florist very pretty. Our apartment 
is on the court, on a southwest corner, filled with 
sun and very nice for us. It is at the top of the 
house. The stair-case is really splendid, very 
large, with three great windows on every landing 
and fine wrought-iron railing, the first flight in 
stone, the other two in bricks. The apartment it 
self is the funniest nicest place you ever saw, a sort 
of Vie de Bohme poetry about it, and sun and air 
to waste. The walls are very thick, so that the 
place is full of closets and the windows are all in 
deep recesses. Some of the floors are stone, others 
hardwood. We are delighted with it. The Rue du 
Bac runs up from the Pont Royal, if you remem 
ber, and 46 is near the river, and in fact within 
striking distance of everywhere. Well, we got the 
apartment, and you may imagine we have been 
busy, and Mrs. Cameron has been kindness itself, 
lending us things to cover the walls, etc. We are 



MARRIAGE 101 

having a bully time getting installed and altogether 
I never had such fun in my life. 

And there s for the practical side of things. I 
have n t got round to the absorbing psychological 
problems surrounding me, nor to the theatres 
we ve seen, nor the work I ve done, a good deal, 
nor the thoughts we ve thought. 

TO HIS FATHER 

PARIS, 1901. 

We live quite alone and see hardly any one. I 
am hard at work on one or two things. The law 
against religious associations has at last passed 
and all socialists are happy. The next move is to 
confiscate Rothschild, then the manufacturers, 
then the other bourgeois, and so on to socialism. 
There are one or two new things here which would 
interest you, I think such as casts of some of 
the things found at Delphi, the new bridge over 
the Seine, Pont Alexandre III, which is really very 
good, and some other things too. 

PARIS, 1901. 

I have sent the Louis to Bourgouin, and I will at 
once attend to the books. The socialists here have 



102 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

started a "librairie socialiste." How it differs from 
an ordinary book-shop neither they nor I know; 
but as I live more or less among socialists, I find 
myself obliged to get my books there and yours will 
be sent from there. Curiously enough it is an ex 
cellent shop. I was very glad to hear that you 
expect to get through without an extra session. I 
had been afraid that Cuba and the Philippines 
might delay you and produce discord. You know, 
however, how difficult it is to know what is hap 
pening de par le monde in this most provincial capi 
tal. The New York "Herald" had become merely 
a vulgar sort of "Town Topics," published every 
day, and has, I really think, less news than the 
best French papers. In which connection I should 
like extremely to know the truth about the row 
Sampson has got himself into. I saw that Allen 
attacked him in his usual polished way in the 
Senate, which, coupled with the fact that I greatly 
admire Sampson, warmed my heart for him. But it 
seems impossible to find out what it was all about. 
Here the whole of France is shaken over the 
pending bill confiscating the property of the reli- 



MARRIAGE 103 

gious orders. It is going to pass and the Church 
is pretty sick. The debate has produced one inter 
esting piece of statistics: that there are three times 
as many monks in France now as there were in 
1789, whereas the population has not quite 
doubled. My friend, Hubert, says, "C est curieux, 
c.a demontre que nous retournions a la barbarie." 

B saw some American colonist lady the other 

day, who told her that Porter was a very bad 

ambassador. B . Why? American colonist 

lady. Because he is pro-Boer. B . But I 

thought that was popular in France. American 
colonist lady. Oh, no, all the Americans here are 
pro-English. This strikes me as a very charac 
teristic expression of the American colonist point 
of view. 

We see very few people and no society, and less 
than no American colony, and we are very happy 
indeed. We are looking forward very much to 
your advent on the scene. There are some new 
plays and things which may amuse you. Also they 
have at last arranged the great series of Rubenses in 
the Louvre, as decorations, which is what they are 



104 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

meant to be. I am writing a good deal and study 
ing the rest of the time. Please give my love to 
Theodore when he takes the veil. I hope it will be 
a fine day for him. 

PARIS, 1901. 

I am so glad you got through the session so well, 
and I hope you are not worn out. I was very much 
interested to see that England had refused our 
treaty, and I wonder what is coming next. Is the 
sentiment strong to abrogate the Clayton-Bulwer 
treaty by resolution? I hope so. This refusal really 
makes one believe that those whom the Gods wish 
to destroy they first make mad. 

PARIS, Spring f r 1901. 

Many, many thanks for your kind letter, and 
for all the trouble you have taken about my novel 
and my play. I am very glad indeed to have R. S. s 
criticism, and I think that dramatically you and he 
are pretty nearly right. Indeed I think the action 
in "Villon" is really too subjective for the stage. 
It is far more the presentation of an idea than of 
an action, and I doubt very much if it can be fitted 



MARRIAGE 105 

for acting. I should be very glad, however, if you 
would bring it over when you come. I have so 
much on my hands now that I could not attend to 
it before then. 

The other night I went to hear Jaures, the So 
cialist, speak. He is, I think, a very remarkable 
orator and a very sincere man. 

The salon is open here and I have been through 
it once. There are seven kilometers of canvas, I 
think, and it s altogether a pretty poor showing, so 
it seems to me. There are, however, one or two 
good things, especially in the sculpture, and many 
clever things. 

I hope you will succeed in getting the Bayreuth 
tickets. We are all very much looking forward to 
going. 

TO HIS MOTHER 

PARIS, Spring, 1901. 

Day before yesterday Hubert took us to St. Ger 
main, where he is " attache" au Musee." It was very 
interesting and we had a drive in the forest 
superb. Hubert is the nicest little man in the 



106 GEORGE CABOT LODGE) 

world sympathetic, gentle, bright, and with a 
preposterous amount of learning. He insists he is 
going to make me collaborate in some scientific 
magazine on an Egyptian topic. I hope not. How 
ever, I am tolerably strong in Egyptian now. I can 
read the texts with considerable fluency and the 
inscriptions on tombs, etc., become very intelligi 
ble. It is certainly a useless accomplishment, but 
excessively interesting. At the same time I have 
been reading up Chaldea and Syria, Babylonia, 
etc., so that I have a pretty good idea of the classic 
Orient. It s a point of departure I have always 
lacked and needed. Meanwhile, I have written 
considerably. I enclose a couple of things you may 
like to see. I am very glad the "Atlantic" and 
"Century" received me so well. I have just re 
ceived Papa s letter with the letter from Gilder, 
and shall answer it at once. Gissing has gone 
away, I am sorry to say. I should have been glad 
to see more of him. He is a real man. 



CHAPTER VI 



THE European part of the idyll ended with a 
week at Baireuth and the return home in August, 
1901. Thenceforward, the life at Washington in 
winter, and at Nahant or Tuckanuck in summer, 
the life of husband and father, becomes only 
the background for literary work, and the work 
alone remains to tell of the life. The poet s educa 
tion was finished; what the poet could do with it 
remains to be shown. 

The first result appeared in the volume already 
mentioned, entitled "Poems (1899-1902)," which 
appeared in the winter of 1902-03. The next was 
"Cain," published in November, 1904. The first 
volume, of one hundred and fifty pages, consisted 
of the short efforts of the poet s youth. The sec 
ond volume is a single, sustained effort of drama, 
and claimed attention less for its poetic than for its 
dramatic qualities. 

Like all the poets of the same school, Lodge con- 



108 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

ceded nothing to mere decoration or ornament. 
The vigorous standards of this severe Academy re 
garded a popular or conventional flower as a blot. 
Every verse must have its stress, or strain, and 
every thought its intensity. This preliminary con 
dition is something not to be discussed, but to be 
accepted or rejected in advance, like the conditions 
of a color-scheme, or an architectural or musical 
composition; and, since few readers are trained to 
such technical appreciation, at a moment when the 
public refuses to make any mental effort that it 
can avoid, the poet s audience is very small. In 
reality the mental effort of reading is much less 
than that of listening to Wagner or Debussy; but 
the poet numbers his audience by scores, while the 
musician, if he gets any audience at all, numbers 
it by thousands. These restraints are a part of the 
given situation under which the dramatic poet 
works; conditions which he cannot change; they 
are in reality far more severe and paralyzing than 
the conditions imposed by the old unities. They 
must be kept in mind by the reader, unless his 
reading is to be waste of time. 



CAIN 109 

So, too, the dramatic idea is a condition given 
beforehand, to be accepted or refused as a whole. 
The poet does not want an audience that looks for 
gems, that selects a pretty song or verse, and 
rejects the whole, the unity. He has some one 
great tragic motive, which he tries to work out in a 
way he thinks his own, and he wants to be judged 
by his dramatic effect, as an actor is judged by his 
power of holding an audience. Properly he would 
ask, not whether his drama is liked, but whether it 
is dramatic; not whether the reader was pleased, 
but whether he was bored. 

Lodge s dramatic motive was always the same, 
whether in "Cain," or in "Herakles," or in the 
minor poems. It was that of Schopenhauer, of 
Buddhism, of Oriental thought everywhere, the 
idea of Will, making the universe, but existing 
only as subject. The Will is God; it is nature; it is 
all that is; but it is knowable only as ourself. Thus 
the sole tragic action of humanity is the Ego, 
the Me, always maddened by the necessity of 
self-sacrifice, the superhuman effort of lifting him 
self and the universe by sacrifice, and, of course, by 



110 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

destroying the attachments which are most vital, 
in order to attain. The idea is a part of the most 
primitive stock of religious and philosophical 
motives, worked out in many forms, as Prometheus, 
as Herakles, as Christ, as Buddha, to mention 
only the most familiar, but, in our modern con 
ception of life, impossible to realize except as a 
form of insanity. All Saviors were anarchists, but 
Christian anarchists, tortured by the self-contra 
dictions of their role. All were insane, because 
their problem was self -contradictory, and because, 
in order to raise the universe in oneself to its high 
est power, its negative powers must be paralyzed 
or destroyed. In reality, nothing was destroyed; 
only the Will or what we now call Energy 
was freed and perfected. 

This idea, which probably seemed simpler than 
shower or sunshine to a Hindoo baby two thousand 
years ago, has never taken root in the western mind 
except as a form of mysticism, and need not be 
labored further. It was what the French call the 
donnee of Lodge s drama, the condition to be 
granted from the start; and it had, for a dramatist, 



CAIN 111 

the supreme merit of being the most universal 
tragic motive in the whole possible range of 
thought. Again and again, from varied points of 
view, Lodge treated it in varied moods and tem 
pers; but his two dramas, "Cain" and "Hera- 
kles," were elaborately developed expansions of 
the theme. 

The general reader, who reads a Greek drama in 
the same spirit in which he reads the morning 
newspaper, can scarcely get beyond the first half- 
dozen pages of such a theme; and, in fact, the sub 
ject was never intended for him. The more serious 
student, who reads further, can seldom escape a 
sense of discomfort from the excessive insistence 
on the motive, the violence with which it is 
over and over again thrust before his eyes in 
its crudest form; and, in fact, Lodge has what the 
French call the faults of his qualities; he is exuber 
ant, and exuberance passes the bounds of mesure. 
Nature herself is apt to exaggerate in the same way. 
We must take it or reject it as we take a 
thunderstorm or a flood; it may be unnecessary, 
but is it dramatic? 



112 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

Every just critic will leave the reader to answer 
this question for himself. Taste is a matter about 
which the Gods themselves are at odds. American 
taste is shocked by every form of paradox except 
its own. Greek taste was lavish of paradox, espe 
cially about the Gods. Saturn ate his children, and 
Zeus dethroned his father. Questions of taste! 
while Lodge s paradox, as developed in Cain, was 
a question rather of logic, even almost of mathe 
matics. Step by step, like a demonstration in ge 
ometry, the primitive man is forced into the atti 
tude of submission to destiny or assertion of self, 
and Lodge develops each step as a necessary se 
quence, in the nature of the Greek fate, but a re 
sult of conscious Will. The paradox that Cain 
killed Abel because, from the beginning, man had 
no choice but to make himself slave of nature or 
its master, is, after all, nothing like so paradoxical 
as the philanthropist idea that man has gone on 
killing himself since the world began, without any 
reason at all. 

This, then, is the paradox of Cain which Lodge 
undertook to work out, as Byron had worked it out 



CAIN 113 

before him, in one of his strongest dramas; and the 
readers who take it in this sense can hardly fail to 
find it dramatic. They may not like the drama, 
but they will probably not toss it aside. They will 
admit its force. They may even, if particularly sen 
sitive to this oldest of emotional motives, follow 
the poet himself to the end. 

Captain, my Soul, despair is not for thee! 
Thou shall behold the seals of darkness lift, 
Weather the wrathful tempest and at last, 
Resolute, onward, headlong, dazed and scarred, 
Reel through the gates of Truth s enormous dawn! 

To develop this idea in its dramatic form, Lodge 
took as his text the words of Genesis, and allowed 
himself only the four characters, Adam, Eve, Cain 
and Abel. He gave himself no favors; he intro 
duced no light tones ; on his sombre background the 
figures move in no more light than is strictly neces 
sary to see them move at all; they follow the rules 
of the mediaeval Mystery Play, rather than those 
of the Greek drama. Yet any sympathetic work 
man of literary effect will probably admit that they 
do move, and even that at certain moments their 



114 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

movement is highly dramatic; so much so as to be 
genuinely emotional. 

So also with the characters themselves! If there 
is a character hard to deal with in the whole range 
of dramatic effort, Adam is he! No artist has suc 
ceeded in making Adam sympathetic, and very 
few indeed have tried to do so. "The woman 
tempted me and I did eat " has been his sentence 
of condemnation as a figure of drama, since drama 
was acted. Such a figure could not be heroic, and 
only with difficulty could be saved from being 
ridiculous on the stage. Even the twelfth-cen 
tury "Mystery of Adam s Fall" dwelt only on 
his weakness and abject submission to Eve on 
one side, and to God on the other. Lodge ac 
cepted the traditional figure, and made the best 
of it. 

Though my life is bruised with sore affliction 
And dire repentance blast my happiness; 
Though in remembrance Paradise forever 
Blooms with fresh light and flowers ineffable. 
Clear pieties and peaceful innocence, 
Against the gloom of this grieved sentience 
Of violence and starvation, yet I bear, 



CAIN 115 

Scornful of tears, the grief and scorn of life! 
Faith is the stern, austere acknowledgment 
And dumb obedience to the will of God: 
Such faith my soul has kept inviolable! 
What though he crush me, is not He the Lord! 

The drama permitted little development of 
Adam s character: he scarcely appears after the 
first act, leaving the stage to the two brothers to 
work out their inevitable antagonism, and their 
contradictory conceptions of duty. Although 
Cain s character necessarily had to be developed 
to the point of insanity, it was a logical insanity; 
while Abel s character remained also true to its 
logical conditions of submission to a force or will 
not its own. The two brothers represented two 
churches, and the strife ended as such strife in his 
tory has commonly ended, in the destruction of 
one or the other, the victory of faith or free-will. 

The character which Lodge developed with evi 
dent sympathy was not masculine but feminine. 
Cain might be himself, but Eve was the mother, a 
nature far more to his liking. Upon her was thrown 
the whole burden and stress of the men s weakness 



116 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

or insanity. The drama opens upon her, bearing 
the alternate reproaches and entreaties of Adam, 
and trying to infuse into him a share of her own 
courage and endurance; Adam implores her: 

" Hold me I need thy tenderness, I need 
Thy calm and pitiful hands to comfort me." 

Eve answers : 

"Be still a little; all will be well, I know." 

A total inversion of r61es! and it is carried 
through consistently to the end. All the men ap 
peal to Eve, and then refuse to listen to her. In 
the vehement dispute at the end of the first act, 
Adam at last turns to Eve, and bids her to lecture 
her son: 

And thou, Eve, Woman, most perilously wandered 
In weak delusion, now I charge thee speak 
Lest thou should fall again in deathless sin, 
Of God and man, God s all, man s nothingness! 

EVE 
Dear son, we are God s creatures every one 

CAIN 
Mother! 

EVE 

I ll speak no more! 



CAIN 117 

Except perhaps the somewhat undeveloped fig 
ure of Abel, all these characters are personally 
felt, to the dramatist they were real and living 
figures, but that of Eve is the most personal of 
all. As the drama opens on the wife bearing the 
reproaches and supporting the weakness of the 
husband, so it ends by the mother assuming the 
insanities of the son. After the traditional devel 
opment of the mediaeval drama, Eve is reproduced 
in the Virgin. Lodge adhered closely to the medi 
aeval scheme except in transposing the roles of the 
brothers, and intensifying the role of the mother. 
As, in the mediaeval conception, the role of the Vir 
gin almost effaced the role of Christ, the drama of 
Cain ends by almost effacing Cain in the loftier 
self-sacrifice of the. woman: 

"Go forth, go forth, lonely and godlike man! 
My heart will follow tho* my feet must stay. 
Yet in thy solitude shall there be a woman 
To care for thee through the incessant days, 
To lie beside thee in the desolate nights, 
To love thee as thy soul shall love the truth! 
In her thy generation shall conceive 
Passionate daughters, strong and fierce-eyed sons. 



118 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

To lift the light and bear the labor of truth 
Whereof the spark is mine, the fire is thine." 

Perhaps some readers would find more meaning 
and higher taste in the drama had Lodge called it 
"Eve" instead of calling it "Cain"; but here the 
dramatist was developing his theme in philosophy 
rather than in poetry, and the two motives almost 
invariably stand in each other s light. The ma 
ternal theme is the more poetic and dramatic, but 
without the philosophy the poem and the drama 
have no reason to exist. The reader must take it as 
it is given, or must throw it aside altogether, and 
compose a drama of his own, with a totally differ 
ent donnee. In either case, he will search long, and 
probably in vain, through American literature, for 
another dramatic effort as vigorous and sustained 
as that of "Cain," and, if he finds what he seeks, 
it is somewhat more than likely that he will end by 
finding it in "Herakles." 



CHAPTER VII 

THE GREAT ADVENTURE 

COMPOSITION, and especially dramatic composi 
tion, is an absorbing task. Night passes rapidly in 
shaping a single phrase, and dawn brings a harsh 
light to witness putting it in the fire. Lodge 
worked habitually by night, and destroyed as 
freely as he composed. Meanwhile life went on, 
with such pleasures and pains as American life 
offers; but, in narrative, the pains take the larger 
place, and the pleasures are to be understood as a 
background. The most serious loss to Lodge s life 
was the illness and death of his friend, Trumbull 
Stickney, whose companionship had been his best 
support since the early days of Paris and the Latin 
Quarter. Stickney owned a nature of singular 
refinement, and his literary work promised to take 
rank at the head of the work done by his genera 
tion of Americans; but he had hardly come home 
to begin it at Harvard College when he was struck 



120 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

down by fatal disease. Lodge s letters had much 
to say of the tragedy, and of the volume of verses 
which he helped to publish afterwards in order to 
save what relics remained of Stickney s poetry. 

From Boston in August, 1904, he wrote his wife: 
"Just after I wrote to you, John called me up on 
the telephone and told me that Joe [Stickney] was 
very seriously ill at the Victoria. I went down 
there at once and saw Lisel, the doctor, and Lucy, 
and I write to you now, in the greatest agony of 
mind. Joe has got a tumor on the brain. For ten 
days he has had almost constant terrific pains in 
his head. They brought him to Boston last Thurs 
day. You can imagine how dreadful a shock it 
was to get this frightful news when I had hoped to 
take Joe to Tuckanuck with us. I am completely 
unnerved. . . . The doctor told me I should cer 
tainly not be able to see him no one can. . . . 
I feel at present utterly prostrated. Somehow I 
have never conceived of Joe s dying." 

From Tuckanuck, September 1: "You can 
imagine better than I can tell you, with what a 
tense and anxious hope I cling to the possibility 



THE GREAT ADVENTURE 121 

that Joe will be saved, and returned to life a well 
man. I feel almost heart-broken when I think of 
him, and my mind goes back through all the im 
mense days and ways of life that we have seen to 
gether. . . . Doc [Sturgis Bigelow] is, as you may 
guess, the best and dearest companion in this 
twilight of grief and anxiety in which I have my 
present being, and this place is of course more 
soothing than anywhere else to me. . . ." 

From Nahant, November, 1904: "Don t get 
carried away with the idea that Joe s death has set 
the term to youth or is really the end of anything. 
Life our life, his life, the life of the human soul 
is quite continuous, I m convinced: one thing 
with another, big and little, sad and gay, real and 
false, and the whole business just life, which is its 
own punishment and reward, its own beginning 
and end. . . ." 

From Nahant, November, 1904: "I ve finished 
re-reading the Republic, and it is one of the few 
books in which my sons shall be thoroughly edu 
cated if I can manage it. There are not more than 
a very few books from which every man can catch 



122 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

a glimpse of the Great Idea, for there are only a 
very few great torch-bearers. But the Repub 
lic is one, and much more accessible than any 
other, except the * Leaves of Grass ; for Christ is 
deeply hidden in the rubbish of the Church, and 
Buddha and Liao Tze are very far removed from 
the processes of our minds." 

From Boston, January, 1905: "I Ve had the 
most warm and vivid delight in Dok s [Sturgis 
Bigelow s] company, which has been constantly 
with me since I came here. He has surpassed him 
self in kindness and clear, warm, wise sympathy 
and comprehensiveness. To-night I have passed a 
long and superb evening with him, in which we 
have together, in a manner of speaking, fait le tour 
on the parapets of thought. It has renewed and 
inspired me, given me, as it were, a new departure 
and a new vista. ... I hate to leave to-morrow, 
for he seems so glad to have me, and I, the Gods 
know, get everything from being with him. He 
does, as you might say, continually see me through, 
through confusion, and through mistakes and 
desperations, in fact, through life. It s im- 



THE GREAT ADVENTURE 123 

mense, what he has done and does for me. In short, 
after two days of him I feel all straightened out, 
and you, you best know how badly I needed this 
beneficent process. Last night we saw Rejane in 
*L Hirondelle, a play not at all superior, not of 
any brilliancy of merit or originality of human 
criticism, but so, after all, interesting by virtue of a 
certain apparent and immense genuine reality, 
so * written, with such glitter of words and phrase 
and epigram, and so acted, above all, that we both 
passed an evening of immense, contented, uncriti 
cal delight." 

From Mrs. Wharton s, New York, January, 
1905 : " I left Boston rather sadly, for my days there 
had been marvellous. A real readjustment and re- 
coherence of all the immense pressure of great ex 
perience which has, as you know, kept me strug 
gling and a little breathless since Joe s death. With 
Dok I really found my footing, brushed the night 
from my eyes, and took a long glance forward. . . . 
Mrs. Wharton was really glad to see me, and I to 
see her, and we have had a good deal of the swift, 
lucid, elliptical conversation which is so perfect 



124 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

and so stimulating and so neatly defined in its 
range. ... It is a great delight to be with her, as 
I am a good deal, and to be clear and orderly and 
correct in one s thought and speech, as far as one 
goes. It s good for one, and vastly agreeable be 
sides, indeed, it is to me a kind of gymnastic 
excitement, very stimulating." 

As these letters show, the death of Stickney 
threw Lodge rather violently back on himself and 
his personal surroundings, and he stretched out his 
hands painfully for intellectual allies. A stroke of 
rare good fortune threw a new friend in his way, 
to fill the void in his life that Stickney had left. 
Langdon Mitchell, another poet and dramatist, 
with much the same ideals and difficulties, but 
with ten years* more experience, brought him 
help and counsel of infinite value, as his letters 
show: 

TO LANGDON MITCHELL 

NAHANT (July, 1903). 

DEAR MITCHELL, Before receiving your letter 
and in an ecstasy of good manners, I wrote to your 



THE GREAT ADVENTURE 125 

wife to ask her if I might come to you on the 17th. 
I can t very well come earlier for I am by way of 
seeing my parents off to Europe, where my Dad is 
going to assist in despoiling the virtuous Briton, 
for whom the wrathful tears of the State Depart 
ment abundantly flow, of what neither is nor ought 
to be his except on the theory that everything of 
value should belong to that people who, when 
pressed, will blushingly confess that they are the 
chosen of God. My father starts, then, on this 
engaging mission l on the 17th, and after having 
given him my blessing and those counsels gained 
only by inexperience, without which no child with 
any sense of responsibility should take leave of his 
father, having in fact done all my duty, I shall at 
once turn myself to pleasure and embark with a 
mind wholly vague as to direction, you-ward. It s 
mighty good of you, dear Mitchell, and of your 
wife too to want me for a few days, and I can t tell 
you with how great pleasure I look forward to see 
ing you. We 11 have some great days. 

1 The Alaskan Boundary Tribunal, which met in London in 
the summer of 1903 and of which his father was a member. 



126 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

1925 F ST., October, 1903. 

DEAR MITCHELL, Good ! You understand 
Beaudelaire as I do; indeed you say things about 
him which make me realize as never before my own 
comprehension of him. I am doubtful about 
French poetry being, like Latin, "City poetry." 
Think of Ronsard and his crowd, or Victor Hugo 
or Leconte de Lisle but Beaudelaire, like Villon, 
like Verlaine, is certainly a city poet. And why not? 
The civilization of an old society is, I am certain, 
the fair material of poems. The best is that Beau 
delaire has given you pleasure, and I feel that you 
have appreciated as I do that he is, in his best mo 
ments, really a great poet, one of the torch-bearers. 
"Allons! after the great companions and to belong 
to them!" Ah! let us go and be of them if we can, 
dear Mitchell. At least we can follow on the " great 
road of the Universe." Which reminds me that I 
have been reading your verses again and again and 
I shall have, for what they re worth, some remarks 
to make when we next meet. 



THE GREAT ADVENTURE 127 

1925 F ST., Spring, 1904. 

DEAR MITCHELL, I largely agree with what 
you say of Viele s book, though to my mind you 
rate it a little too high. His delight in words seems 
to me far his strongest trick. He says not very 
much. Of course keep Cain till April 1st or as long 
as you wish. As you may imagine, all that you say 
about it in your letter is deeply interesting to me. 
As I ve said to you, you are the only person from 
whom I expect genuine criticism and get it. As 
regards the stage directions I ll say this: Although 
the thing has no quality of a real play, nevertheless 
the action that is, the main points of the action 
are essential to the expression of the idea, and 
therefore it is necessary that there should be some 
environment indicated, and that the characters 
should perform certain motions (as few as possible, 
of course). The question, then, is merely this: 
whether the poem is more or less interrupted 
and the reader subjected to more or less of a jar, 
by having environment and action indicated as 
briefly and technically as possible, in brackets, or 
by having them introduced as verse into the body 



128 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

of the poem. It seemed to me, despite the obvious 
absurdities, the former was the method most frank 
and honest, and least likely to mar the poetic and 
intellectual integrity of the whole. Of course the 
mere technicalities could be eliminated if they 
seriously jarred. Thank you I wish I could 
for all that you say, which I find very just and of 
the utmost assistance to me in clarifying and en 
lightening my own criticism; and thank you, above 
all, for your interest, which is valuable to me be 
yond words. 

I m mighty sorry but not very greatly surprised 
to hear your news of the condition of the stage. 
It s depressing beyond measure to know that the 
American theatre is reserved exclusively, either 
for importations, or the worthless manufactures 
of almost illiterate Americans who regard plays 
merely as merchandise, and who would manufac 
ture boots with equal enjoyment and success. In 
deed it s most depressing; and what is to be done? 
Your assertion that the American public will take 
good plays as well as bad is I believe quite correct, 
but unfortunately it doesn t help as long as they ll 



THE GREAT ADVENTURE ,129 

take bad plays as well as good. The stage situa-~| 
tion is to me merely another sign of the intellectual, 
moral and spiritual childishness of the American. 
Indeed was there ever such an anomaly as the 
American man? In practical affairs his cynicism, 
energy and capacity are simply stupefying, and in 
every other respect he is a sentimental idiot pos 
sessing neither the interest, the capacity, nor the 
desire for even the most elementary processes of 
independent thought. Consider for one moment 
his position as a domestic animal as it was fifty 
years ago and as it is to-day. Then he was the 
unquestioned head of his family, the master of his 
house, the father of as many children as he wanted 
to have. His wife s business was to bear his chil 
dren and manage his household to suit him, and 
she never questioned it. To-day he is absolutely 
dethroned. A woman rules in his stead. His wife 
finds him so sexually inapt that she refuses to bear 
him children and so drivelling in every way except 
as a money-getter that she compels him to expend 
his energies solely in that direction while she leads 
a discontented, sterile, stunted life, not because 



130 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

she genuinely prefers it but because she cannot 
find a first-rate man to make her desire to be the 
mother of his children and to live seriously and 
happily. I speak of course only of the well-to-do 
classes, which as a matter of fact comprise most 
real Americans, and of which the average number 
of children per family is under two. We are, dear 
Mitchell, a dying race, as every race must be of 
which the men are, as men and not accumulators, 
third-rate. American women don t fall in love with 
the American men (I mean, really) and they re 
quite right; only a woman won t have children by 
a man she s not really in love with, and when you 
think of the travail and the peril of death can you 
blame her? It s an odd situation; we are a dying 
race and really we ve never lived. 

Forgive this long dissertation. I got started and 
could not stop. 

1925 F ST., April, 1904. 

DEAR MITCHELL, I m nearly in a position 
now to answer the question which we discussed 
perhaps you remember last summer at Tucka- 
nuck: namely whether or not Jesus Christ ap- 



THE GREAT ADVENTURE 131 

peared as the logical outcome of the Jewish reli 
gious tradition. You remember I contended he 
was wholly sporadic and attached to nothing. I 
begin now to see I was in a measure quite wrong, 
and perhaps to a small extent right. I am very 
anxious to talk it over with you when you return 
here, and also to discuss with you the whole state 
of thought and feeling in Judsea at the time of 
Christ s appearance. All this, you will guess, is 
the result of work I ve been doing in preparation 
for writing the Christ-play of which I spoke to you 
and which, to my immense delight, you seem to 
approve at least the idea in your last letter. 
I ve already gone far enough to realize that no 
subject could be more fascinating or more inter 
esting. Jesus Christ and his teachings, which are 
neglected and unknown, form a background 
against which the dark threads of the lives and 
passions and thoughts of worldly men should 
stand out like the black bars on the solar spectrum. 
I have re-read Kenan s "Vie de Jesus" and it s 
interesting in many ways and a "beau livre"; but, 
dear Mitchell, can you imagine a man spending 



132 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

ten years on the study of Jesus Christ and at last 
summing up his appreciation of the man in this 
phrase: "C est un charmeur!" It s staggering. 

1925 F ST. (Spring of 1904). 

DEAR MITCHELL, I imagine what you say of 
solitude is very true. "Tout se paie" in one 
form or another. Certainly you have kept singu 
larly balanced, singularly vital and sane in the 
true sense. What I shall be in ten years there s 
no guessing. One stakes one s life on the chance 
of ransoming "one lost moment with a rhyme" 
and the wheel turns 

Of course keep "Cam" as long as you want. I 
really feel ashamed to bother you with it when you 
are so busy, but it s vastly important to me to 
know precisely what you think; whether, in your 
deliberate opinion, it s the real thing in any degree 
whatever, and not merely and utterly litera 
ture! But don t, I beg you, look at it until it s 
convenient. I shan t write another long thing in 
verse for some time. Since publishing " Cain" I ve 
had a time of horrible reaction and "abattement" 



THE GREAT ADVENTURE 133 

the sort of thing we all go through occasionally. 
This has become a drearily egotistical and dull 
letter. . . . 

My days in New York were glorious, the only 
good days I ve had since finishing that poem. I 
need hardly say how deeply I hope you will dis 
pose of your plays to your satisfaction for your 
sake and for the sake of the stage. 

1925 F ST., WASHINGTON 
(Spring, 1904). 

I think, dear Mitchell, that we really about agree 
as to the Sonnet. The first rate ones are terribly 
few and in diverse forms. Witness Beaudelaire. 

My dear man, I ve got hold of such a splendid 
thing to write immense. I m shutting down on 
Society, in which we ve been wandering this win 
ter to the detriment of all I value in life, and I m 
getting to work God be praised. I wish I could 
have a talk with you about this and so many other 
things. One gets glimpses, such glimpses, of in 
credible, tremendous things. I wish you were by 



134 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

so we might share them. I feel always tempted to 
run over for a day to see you, but I m afraid it s 
quite impossible now. Still if the desire pushes me 
too hard I 11 turn up some afternoon. Spring-Rice 
has been here for a week and I had one splendid 
talk with him and wished more than ever you were 
here. There s a man who does, really, keep up 
wonderfully and by a very peculiar faculty he has 
of remaining, au fond, quite detached from his own 
circumstances and experience. He left to-night, 
alas ! He goes back to Russia, about which he had 
absorbing things to say. Now that he s gone, 
once more the "void weighs on us," the dread 
ful, blank, mild nothingness of this nice agreeable, 
easy, spacious vacuity (comp. James). And here I 
am again alone beyond belief, but, fortunately, 
with a very interesting thing to do, so I m very 
well off. 

NAHANT, MASS., October, 1904. 

DEAR MITCHELL, I was extremely glad to get 
your note and I would have answered it before 
had not events compelled me. On the eleventh my 
friend Stickney died quite suddenly at the last. 



THE GREAT ADVENTURE 135 

On the fourteenth we buried him. He was thirty 
years old by far the most promising man I have 
known, his best work still and surely to come. 
Under the terrible test of a mortal disease his 
mind and character rose to higher levels than 
they had ever touched before. He died, really, at 
the height of his powers. The future held nothing 
for him but suffering, mental and physical. He is 
very well out of it. Dear Mitchell, what a life 
it is ! what a life ! I am having an undoubtedly 
hard time. So, it must be said, are other people. 
I wish I could get to New York now and see you. 
I feel more deeply than ever how invaluable your 
friendship is to me and how incalculably better 
than anything else in life, such friendship as I 
think you and I share together is in the last analy 
sis. I would come if I had the energy, but I am 
pretty well done up morally and physically. I 
shall be in New York, though, from November 9th 
for some days. Could n t you be there then too? 
It would be to me so true a happiness to see you 
again. 



136 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

Naturally, too, in the social and literary se 
quence, young Lodge fell under the charm of 
Henry James : 

TO HIS MOTHER 

WASHINGTON, May, 1905. 

To this even existence of mine there has been 
one delightful interruption, namely the lecture and 
subsequent visions of Henry James. The lecture 
was profoundly, and to one who writes himself, 
wonderfully interesting; so many splendid things 
which had been long at home in my own conscious 
ness and which I first heard then, perfectly and 

irresistibly expressed. The amiable Miss T 

had asked us to tea for the next day; where I went 

and found, besides James, old Mrs. , a most 

original and charming and distinguished person, 
conveying, through all her rather stiff but flatter 
ing courtesy, the vivid impression that she might 
be, on occasion, equally original and the reverse of 
charming. There were besides some unremarkable 
people who all left, leaving me the chance to talk 
with James, which I did with the greatest delight 
then and also the next morning when, at his invi- 



THE GREAT ADVENTURE 137 

tation, I went with him to the Capitol and the 
Library for two most interesting hours. This, I 
believe, can be said of James, though it is not the 
most obvious remark to make of him, and is, at the 
same time, the rarest and most important compli 
ment that can be paid to any creative artist 
namely, that he is, in matters of art, incorruptibly 
honest, and in consequence hugely expensive. He 
is, I mean, as an artist, built through and through 
of the same material which you like or not 
according to your fancy. His very style again 
whether you like it or not bears by its mere tor 
tuous originality, if by no other sign, infallible wit 
ness that he has, at immense expenditure, done all 
the work artistically and intellectually and 
that all the work is his own. In ideas and art he 
lives in a palace built of his own time and thought, 
while the usual, you might say the ubiquitous, 
average person and literary prostitute lives con 
tentedly in one of an interminable row of hovels, 
built, so to speak, on an endless contract from bare 
material stolen from Time s intellectual scrap- 
heap. What it all amounts to is that, whether you 



138 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

like James or not, whether you think he is all on 
the wrong track or not, you are bound to respect 
him, for if you do not, whom, in this age of uni 
versal machine-made cheapness, whom more than 
James with his immense talent and industry and 
his small sales, are you going to respect? 

This is a long garrulous, egotistical (to a degree), 
and perhaps you will say, rather incoherent letter. 
So I will spare you any further palpitating details 
of my obscure life. 

WASHINGTON, June, 1905. 

Indeed, I wish I might have been with you, but 
on the other hand I have done an immense deal by 
being quietly and in much long solitude just now 
at this time. I have lived high most of my working 
hours, and in consequence my volume of sonnets 

- "The Great Adventure," I call it, which is, I 
think, a good title lies before me all but finished 

seventy-five sonnets or more, with which I am 
pretty well pleased. I feel lonely, as I always do 
when I am hard at work, but I also feel much ex 
hilaration. These are my great years. Well, I am 
sure I must have said all this before to you. My 



THE GREAT ADVENTURE 139 

interest in myself is so poignant that I elude it with 
difficulty. 

Joe s volume represents for me a good deal of 
work and an experience of grief that neither gives 
nor receives consolation, which has left its indelible 
mark upon me which is good. For I believe there 
are but two ways with real grief : get rid of it if you 
can; but if you can t, then take all you can get of 
it, live in it, work in it, experience it as far as you 
are capable of experiencing anything. Let it nour 
ish you! as it will, as anything will that is real, and 
in direct proportion to its reality and significance. 
I ll tell you that I sent my volume of sonnets to 
Houghton & Mifflin, who wrote me that they held 
my work in high consideration; which, I suppose, 
indicates that some people they have seen think 
well of "Cain." Also, perhaps you have seen 
"Moriturus" (by me) in the July " Scribner." 

"The Great Adventure" was published in 
October, a small volume of ninety pages, of 
which nearly one third were devoted to the mem 
ory of Stickney: 



140 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

He said: "We are the Great Adventurers; 
This is the Great Adventure : thus to be 
Alive, and, on the universal sea 
Of being, lone yet dauntless mariners. 

This is the Great Adventure!" All of us 
Who saw his dead, deep-visioned eyes, could see, 
After the Great Adventure, immanent, 
Splendid and strange, the Great Discovery. 

Love and Death were the two themes of these 
sonnets, almost as personal as the "Song of the 
Wave." Underneath the phrases and motives of 
each, lay almost always the sense of striving against 
the elements, like Odysseus, or against the myste 
ries, like Plato : 

"At least," he said, "we spent with Socrates 
Some memorable days, and in our youth 
Were curious and respectful of the Truth, 
Thrilled with perfections and discoveries, 
And with the everlasting mysteries 
We were irreverent and unsatisfied, 
And so we are!" he said . . . 

The irreverence mattered little, since it was 
mostly the mere effervescence of youth and health; 
but the dissatisfaction went deep, and made a 



THE GREAT ADVENTURE 141 

serious strain on his energy, a strain which 
Stickney s death first made vital. The verses be 
gan to suggest discouragement: 

In Time s cathedral, Memory, like a ghost, 
Crouched in the narrow twilight of the nave, 
Fumbles with thin pathetic hands to save j 
Relics of all things lived and loved and lost. 
Life fares and feasts, and Memory counts the cost 
With unrelenting lips that dare confess 
Life s secret failures, sins and loneliness. 
And life s exalted hopes, defiled and crossed. 

i "The Great Adventure" probably marked the 
instant when life did, in fact, hover between the 
two motives, the beginning and the end, 
Love and Death. Both were, for the moment, in 
full view, equally near, and equally intense, with 
the same background of the unknown : 

In the shadow of the Mystery 
We watched for light with sleepless vigilance. 
Yet still, how far soever we climbed above 
The nether levels, always, like a knife, 
We felt the chill of fear s blind bitter breath; 
For still a secret crazed the heart of Love, 
An endless question blurred the eyes of Life, 
A baffling silence sealed the lips of Death. 



142 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

Meanwhile life went on with what most people 
would, at least in retrospect, regard as altogether 
exceptional happiness. The small circle of sympa 
thetic companions was immensely strengthened 
by the addition of Edith Wharton, whose unerring 
taste and finished workmanship served as a correc 
tive to his youthful passion for license. Her fine 
appreciation felt this quality as the most insistent 
mark of his nature: 

"Abundance, that is the word which comes 
to me whenever I try to describe him. During the 
twelve years of our friendship, and from the day 
that it began, I had, whenever we were together, 
the sense of his being a creature as profusely as 
he was finely endowed. There was an exceptional 
delicacy in his abundance, and an extraordinary 
volume in his delicacy." 

Life is not wholly thrown away on ideals, if only 
a single artist s touch catches like this the life and 
movement of a portrait. Such a picture needs no 
proof; it is itself convincing. 

"The man must have had a sort of aura about 
him. Perhaps he was one of those who walk on the 



THE GREAT ADVENTURE 143 

outer rim of the world, aware of the jumping-off 
place; which seems the only way to walk, but 
few take it. Odd that your article should have 
appealed so much to me, when I know so little of 
the subject!" 

The more competent the reader, and this 
reader, though unnamed, was among the most 
competent, the more complete is the conviction; 
and the same simple quality of the truest art runs 
through the whole of Mrs. Wharton s painting, 
to which the critic was alluding. Every touch of 
her hand takes the place of proof. 

"All this," she continues, "on the day when he 
was first brought to see me, a spring afternoon 
of the year 1898, in Washington, was lit up by 
a beautiful boyish freshness, which, as the years 
passed, somehow contrived to ripen without fad 
ing. In the first five minutes of our talk, he gave 
himself with the characteristic wholeness that 
made him so rare a friend; showing me all the sides 
of his varied nature; the grave sense of beauty, the 
flashing contempt of meanness, and that large 
spring of kindly laughter that comes to many only 



144 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

as a result of the long tolerance of life. It was one 
of his gifts thus to brush aside the preliminaries of 
acquaintance, and enter at once, with a kind of 
royal ease, on the rights and privileges of friend 
ship; as though one might think with a fore 
boding of the short time given him to enjoy them. 
"Aside from this, however, there was nothing of 
the pathetically predestined in the young Cabot 
Lodge. Then and to the end he lived every 
moment to the full, and the first impression he 
made was of a joyous physical life. His sweet smile, 
his easy strength, his deep eyes full of laughter and 
visions, these struck one even before his look of 
intellectual power. I have seldom seen anyone in 
whom the natural man was so wholesomely blent 
with the reflecting intelligence; and it was not the 
least of his charms that he sent such stout roots 
into the earth, and had such a hearty love for all 
he drew from it. Nothing was common or unclean 
to him but the vulgar, the base, and the insincere, 
and his youthful impatience at the littleness of 
human nature was tempered by an unusually ma 
ture sense of its humors." 



THE GREAT ADVENTURE 145 

While young Lodge, or any other young artist, 
might find it the most natural thing in the world 
to give himself without thought or hesitation to 
another artist, like Mrs. Wharton, it by no means 
followed that he could give himself to men or wo 
men who had not her gifts, or standards, or sym 
pathies. He could no more do this than he could 
write doggerel. However much he tried, and the 
more he tried, to lessen the gap between himself 
his group of personal friends and the public, the 
gap grew steadily wider; the circle of sympathies 
enlarged itself not at all, or with desperate slow 
ness; and this consciousness of losing ground, 
of failure to find a larger horizon of friendship be 
yond his intimacy; the growing fear that, be 
yond this narrow range, no friends existed in the 
immense void of society, or could exist, in the 
form of society which he lived in, the suffocat 
ing sense of talking and singing in a vacuum that 
allowed no echo to return, grew more and more 
oppressive with each effort to overcome it. The 
experience is common among artists, and has often 
led to violent outbursts of egotism, of self-assertion, 



146 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

of vanity; but the New England temper distrusts 
itself as well as the world it lives in, and rarely 
yields to eccentricities of conduct. Emerson him 
self, protesting against every usual tendency of 
society, respected in practice all its standards. 

"One is accustomed," continued Mrs. Wharton, 
"in enjoying the comradeship of young minds, to 
allow in them for a measure of passing egotism, 
often the more marked in proportion to their sen 
sitiveness to impressions; but it was Cabot Lodge s 
special grace to possess the sensitiveness without 
the egotism. Always as free from pedantry as 
from conceit, he understood from the first the give 
and take of good talk, and was not only quick to 
see the other side of an argument, but ready to re 
inforce it by his sympathetic interpretation. And 
because of this responsiveness of mind, and of the 
liberating, vivifying nature from which it sprang, 
he must always, to his friends, remain first of all, 
and most incomparably, a Friend." 

This quality was strongly felt by others. One 
who knew him intimately when he was Secretary 
of the British Embassy in Washington and later 



THE GREAT ADVENTURE 147 

when they were together in Berlin, Sir Cecil Spring- 
Rice, now minister of Great Britain in Stockholm, 
wrote of him after his death: 

"The first time I saw him was at Nahant when 
the children were all there together; and since then 
I have always seemed to know him closely and 
intimately. We bathed together there, and I re 
member so well the immense joy he had in jumping 
into the water, and then lying out in the sun till he 
was all browned as strong and healthy a human 
creature as I have ever seen, and exulting in his 
life. Then we rode together at Washington, and I 
can see him now galloping along in the woody 
country near Rock Creek. It did n t strike me 
then that he was anything but a strong healthy 
boy, absolutely straight, sincere, and natural. 

"It was n t till I saw a good deal of him in Berlin 
that I realized what a rare and extraordinary mind 
he had. He was then studying hard at philosophy. 
In an extraordinarily quick time he learnt German 
and seemed to take naturally to the most difficult 
books just as he had done to the sea, without any 
conscious effort. We had many talks then, and his 



148 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

talk was most inspiring. He constantly lived face 
to face with immense problems, which he thought 
out thoroughly and earnestly, things men often 
read and study in order to pass examinations or 
achieve distinction; but I am quite sure with him 
there was no object except just the attainment and 
the presence of truth. He had a most living mind, 
and a character absolutely independent; resolved 
on finding out things by himself, and living by his 
own lights and thinking out his own problems. 
Nothing would have stopped him or interfered 
with him. In all my experience of people about the 
world, I never knew anyone so detached, deaf to 
the usual voices of the world; and so determined 
to live in the light of Truth, taking nothing for 
granted till he had proved it by his own original 
thought. He had greatly developed when I last saw 
him in Washington, during the few days I spent 
there. I had two long talks with him in his house. 
I think he was the sort of stuff that in the middle 
ages would have made a great saint or a great 
heresiarch I dare say we have no use for such 
people now; I wonder if he found he was born out 



THE GREAT ADVENTURE 149 

of his time, and that ours was not a world for him. 
I am not thinking of what he wrote or what he said, 
but of the atmosphere in which he lived, and the 
surroundings of his own soul what his thoughts 
lived and moved in. 

"In that detachment and independence and 
courage I have never known any one like him. Yet 
it was hardly courage: for he did n t give the en 
emy a thought. 

"I wonder if one often meets a man in these 
times who is literally capable of standing alone, to 
whom the noises and sights of the world, which 
to most people are everything, are nothing, abso 
lutely nothing the state of mind of some one 
who is madly in love, but with him it seemed nor 
mal and natural, an everyday habit of being. 

"It was only last week I had a long think as I 
was walking about through these lonely woods 
here, and I was wondering whether I should see 
you all soon again, and I was saying to myself: At 
any rate Bay will have grown he won t disap 
point me: he is the sort of man who is bound to get 
bigger every day and he is younger and stronger 



150 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

than I and he will last. And about how many 
men of his age could one say that with certainty, 
that time would surely improve and perfect him, 
and that with every new meeting one could gain 
something new? 

"And that is how I thought of him naturally." 
Like most of the clever young men of his time, 
Oscar Wilde, Bernard Shaw, Gilbert Chesterton, 
he loved a good paradox, and liked to chase it 
into its burrow. "When you are accustomed to 
anything, you are estranged from it"; and his su 
preme gift for liking was never to get accustomed 
to things or people. By way of a historical paradox 
he maintained that the Church was devised as a 
protection against the direct rays of Christ s spirit, 
which, undimmed, would compel to action and 
change of character. By way of a poetical para 
dox he loved Walt Whitman to fanaticism, and 
quoted, as his favorite description of the world, 
Walt s "little plentiful mannikins skipping about 
in collars and tailcoats." Yet he sometimes de 
clared that his favorite line in poetry was Swin 
burne s : 



THE GREAT ADVENTURE 151 

Out of the golden remote wild west where the sea without shore 

is. 
Full of the sunset, and sad, if at all, with the fulness of joy. 

Perhaps, too, if he had chosen a verse of poetry 
to suggest his own nature, after the description of 
Mrs. Wharton he might have found it in another 
line of Swinburne s : 

Some dim derision of mysterious laughter. 

However remote he thought himself from his 
world, he was, in fact, very much of his literary 
time, and would not have been recognized at all 
by any other. Like most of his young contempo 
raries in literature, he loved his paradoxes chiefly 
because they served as arrows for him to practise 
his art on the social conventions which served for 
a target; and the essence of his natural simple- 
mindedness showed itself in his love for this boy s- 
play of fresh life which he tired of only too soon, as 
he will himself tell in his " Noctambulist." He 
knew, at bottom, that the world he complained of 
had as little faith in its conventions as he had; but, 
apart from the fun and easy practice of paradox, 



152 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

Lodge s most marked trait of mind lay in his in 
stinctive love of logic, which he was probably not 
even aware of, although often as is seen every 
where in the "Cain" and "Herakles" the rea 
soning is as close and continuous as it might be in 
Plato or Schopenhauer. 

This contrast of purposes disconcerted most 
readers. The usual reader finds the effort of fol 
lowing a single train of thought too severe for him; 
but even professional critics rebel against a para 
dox almost in the degree that it is logical, and 
find the Greek severity of Prometheus, in its mo 
tive, a worse fault than what they call the "ex- .~^. 
cess of loveliness," which, in Shelley, "militates 
against the awful character of the drama." In 
modern society, the Greek drama is a paradox; 
which has not prevented most of the greatest 
nineteenth -century poets from putting their 
greatest poetry into that form; and Lodge loved 
it because of its rigorous logic even more than 
for its unequalled situations. Lodge could be 
exuberant enough when he pleased, but what he 
exacted from his readers was chiefly mind. 



THE GREAT ADVENTURE 153 

With this preamble, such readers as care for in 
tellectual poetry can now take up his work of the 
years 1906 and 1907, published under the titles, 
"The Soul s Inheritance" and "Herakles." "The 
Soul s Inheritance" appeared only after his death, 
but in the natural order of criticism it conies 
first. Although the vigor of his verse was greater, 
there were already signs that his physical strength 
was less, and that he was conscious of it. His 
health had begun to cause uneasiness; his heart 
warned him against strains; but he scorned warn 
ings, and insisted that his health was never bet 
ter. Submission to an obnoxious fact came hard 
to him, at all times; but the insidious weakness of 
literary workmen lies chiefly in their inability to 
realize that quiet work like theirs, which calls 
for no physical effort, may be a stimulant more 
exhausting than alcohol, and as morbid as mor 
phine. The fascination of the silent midnight, the 
veiled lamp, the smouldering fire, the white paper 
asking to be covered with elusive words; the 
thoughts grouping themselves into architectural 
forms, and slowly rising into dreamy structures, 



154 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

constantly changing, shifting, beautifying their 
outlines, this is the subtlest of solitary temp 
tations, and the loftiest of the intoxications of 
genius. 



CHAPTER VIII 

" HERAKLES" 

"THE SOUL S INHERITANCE" was a poem de 
livered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society at 
Cambridge in 1906, and in delivering it, Lodge 
discovered in himself a new power that would pro 
bably have led him in time into a new field, where 
he could put himself into closer relations with the 
world. His delivery was good, his voice admira 
ble, and his power over his audience was evident. 
He was probably an orator by right of inheritance, 
though he had never cared to assert the claim, 
preferring to rest his distinction on his poetry. 

In this poem he reiterated his life-long theme 
that the Soul, or Will, is the supreme energy of 
life:- 

That here and now, no less for each of us, 
That inward voice, cogent as revelation, 
That trance of truth s sublime discovery, 
Which in the soul of Socrates wrought out 
Gold from the gross ore of humanity, 



156 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

Still speak, still hold, still work their alchemy; 
That here and now and in the soul s advance, 
And by the soul s perfection, we may feel 
The thought of Buddha in our mortal brain, 
The human heart of Jesus in our breast, 
And in our will the strength of Hercules! 

Again, as always in his poetry, he recurred to the 
sense of struggle, of 

The multitudinous menace of the night, 
and the soul s need to stand out, 
Importunate and undissuadable, 

over the utmost verge of venture: 

There in our hearts the burning lamp of love, 
There in our sense the rhythm and amplitude, 
And startled splendor of the seas of song. 

This last verse, the " startled splendor of the 
seas of song," was one of the kind in which 
he delighted, and which he had a rare power of 
framing, but the thought was ever the same: the 
Soul of Man was the Soul of God; and it was 
repeated in various forms in the three sonnets 
attached to the blank verse: 



HERAKLES 157 

Strangely, inviolably aloof, alone, 

Once shall it hardly come to pass that we, 

As with his Cross, as up his Calvary, 

Burdened and blind, ascend and share his throne. 

Again it was repeated in the poem called "Pil 
grims," delivered at the annual dinner of the New 
England Society, in New York, December, 1906. 
The theme, on such an occasion and before such 
an audience, in the fumes of dinner and tobacco, 
was adventurous, but Lodge adhered to it bravely, 
and insisted all the more on its value, 

Lest we grow tired and tame and temperate. 
He boldly asserted: "We are the Pilgrims," and 
proved it by attaching to the blank verse three 
sonnets, as beautiful as he ever wrote: 

They are gone. . . . They have all left us, one by one: 

Swiftly, with undissuadable strong tread, 

Cuirassed in song, with wisdom helmeted. 

They are gone before us, into the dark, alone. . . . 
Upward their wings rushed radiant to the sun; 

Seaward the ships of their emprise are sped; 

Onward their starlight of desire is shed; 

Their trumpet-call is forward; they are gone! 
Let us take thought and go! we know not why 

Nor whence nor where, let us take wings and fly! 



158 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

Let us take ship and sail, take heart and dare! 
Let us deserve at last, as they have done, 
To say of all men living and dead who share 
The soul s supreme adventure, We are gone! 

These verses appeared in print only after his 
death, as though he had intended them for his epi 
taph; and perhaps he did, for he continued in the 
same tone: 

Let us go hence! however dark the way, 

Haste! lest we lose the clear, ambitious sense 
Of what is ours to gain and to gainsay. 

Let us go hence, lest dreadfully we die! 

Two poems cast in the same form followed: "Life 
in Love," and "Love in Life"; which return to the 
intensely personal theme. Readers who feel the 
theme will probably feel the poetry as the highest 
he ever reached in feeling. Again the three sonnets 
follow, with their studied beauties of expression: 

Her voice is pure and grave as song; 

Her lips are flushed as sunset skies; 

The power, the myth, the mysteries 

Of life and death in silence throng 
The secret of her silences; 

Her face is sumptuous and strong, 

And twilights far within prolong 

The spacious glory of her eyes. 



HERAKLES 159 

On these themes of Love and Life Lodge had 
dwelt without interruption from the start; and 
now, suddenly, without apparent steps of transi 
tion, he passed to a new motive, Doubt! "The 
Noctambulist" suggests some change, physical or 
moral; some new influence or ripened growth, or 
fading youth. Perhaps he would himself have 
traced the influence and the change, to the death 
of Stickney. Mrs. Wharton says that "in its har 
mony of thought and form, it remains perhaps the 
completest product " of his art; and it is certainly 
the saddest. The note is struck in the first line : 

That night of tempest and tremendous gloom, 

when, 

Across the table, for it seemed to us 
An age of silence, in the dim-lit room, 
Tenantless of all humans save ourselves 
Yet seeming haunted, as old taverns are, 
With the spent mirth of unremembered men, 
He mused at us. ... And then, "I know! ..." he said, 
"I know! O Youth! ... I too have seen the world 
At sunrise, candid as the candid dew; 

. . . You look abroad, 
And see the new adventure wait for you, 



160 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

Splendid with wars and victories; for you 
Trust the masked face of Destiny. But I! 
I ve turned the Cosmos inside out! " he said; 
And on his lips the shadow of a smile 
Looked hardly human. . . . 

Some two hundred lines of unbroken disillusion 
ment follow, which should not be torn to pieces to 
make easy quotations; but the passages that here 
and there suggest autobiography may serve as 
excuse for cutting up such a poem into fragments 
which now and then resemble the letters in their 
spontaneous outbursts. 

Yes! and I feel anew the splendid zest 

Of youth s brave service in truth s ancient cause, 

When, with the self-same thunders that you use, 

Edged with a wit at no time Greek! I too 

Most pleasurably assailed and tumbled down, 

With a fine sense of conquest and release, 

The poor, one, old, enfeebled, cheerless God 

Left to us of our much be-Deitied 

And more be-Devilled past . . . 

And all s well done I doubt not; though the times 

Of life may well seem all too brief to waste! 

But this comes later, when we learn, as learn 

We must, if we go forward still from strength 

To strength incessantly, to wage no more 



HERAKLES 161 

With phantoms of the past fortunate wars; 
To die no longer on the barricades 
For the true faith; to spend no more the rich 
And insufficient days and powers of life 
Striving to shape the world and force the facts, 
Tame the strong heart, and stultify the soul, 
To fit some creed, some purpose, some design 
Ingeniously contrived to spare the weak, 
Protect the timid and delude the fools. 

The time must come 
When we can deal in partialities 
No more, if truth shall prosper; for we stand 
Awfully face to face with just the whole 
Secret, our unrestricted Universe, 
Spirit and sense! . . . And then, abruptly then 
Swift as a passion, brutal as a blow, 
The dark shuts down! 

Whether he felt the dark already shutting down, 
brutal as a blow, or only divined it from the fate of 
Stickney, one need not know. The verses prove 
that he felt it personally, for he repeated it again 
and again: 

In the strict silence, while he spoke no more, 
We heard the tumult of our hearts, and feared 
Almost as men fear death, and know not why, 
We feared, . . . until at last, while at the closed 
Windows the wind cried like a frenzied soul, 



162 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

He said: "I too have tried, of mortal life, 
The daily brief excursions; . . . 

and I have felt the one 
Utterly loosed and loving woman s heart, 
There where the twilight failed and night came on, 
Thrill to life s inmost secret on my breast; 
And I have known the whole of life and been 
The whole of man! The Night is best!" 

The letters will show that the "Noctambulist" 
was meant as "a really new and large and valid 
departure," which, if followed in its natural direc 
tion, should have led to dramatic lyrics and prob 
lems more or less in the feeling of "Men and Wo 
men"; but, immediately, the "Noctambulist" 
abuts on "Herakles," which properly closes the 
cycle. In the " Herakles," the poet exhausted, once 
for all, the whole range of thought and expression 
with which his life had begun; it was an immense 
effort; and in approaching the analysis of this 
drama, which, in bulk, is nearly equal to all the 
rest of the poet s writings together, and in sus 
tained stress stands beyond comparison with them, 
the critic or biographer is embarrassed, like the 
poet himself, by the very magnitude of the scheme. 



HERAKLES 163 

Although no reader can be now safely supposed 
to know anything of the Greek drama, he must be 
assumed to have an acquaintance with ^Eschylus 
and Euripides at least. Something must be taken 
for granted, even though it be only the bare agree 
ment that Shelley s "Prometheus Unbound" does 
not interfere with "Empedocles on Etna" and 
that neither of these Greek revivals jostles against 
" Atalanta in Calydon." Here are five or six of the 
greatest masterpieces of literature with which a 
reader must be supposed to be acquainted ; and 
perhaps he would do well to keep in mind that, in 
bulk, Browning s "The Ring and the Book" is 
large enough to contain them all, and the "Hera- 
kles" too; while the methods and merits of all are 
as distinct and personal as the poets. 

The reader, too, who takes up the "Herakles" 
for the first time, must be supposed to know that 
the plot of the drama is not of the poet s making: 
it is ^given, imposed; and the dramatist has 
taken care to quote at the outset the words of the 
historian, Diodorus, whose story he meant to fol 
low. Herakles and Creon and Megara are familiar 



164 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

characters in history as well as on the stage, and 
as real as historians can make them. Herakles 
did marry Megara, the daughter of Creon, King 
of Thebes; he did refuse to obey the orders of 
Eurystheus, King of Argos; he was actually ac 
cording to the historian seized with frenzy, and 
pierced his children with arrows; he submitted to 
the will of God, performed his miracles, freed 
Prometheus, and became immortal. All this is 
fact, which the Greeks accepted, as they after 
wards accepted the facts of the Christ s life and 
death, his miracles and immortality; and for the 
same reasons: for both were Saviors, Pathfinders, 
and Sacrifices. 

Lodge took up this dramatic motive, the 
greatest in human experience, as it was given 
him; and so the reader must take it, or leave it, 
since he has nothing to do with the argument of 
the play once he has accepted it. His interest is in 
the dramatic development of the action, and the 
philosophic development of the thought. As for 
the thought, something has already been said; but 
the reader must be assumed to know that it is the 



HERAKLES 165 

oldest thought that seems to have been known 
to the human mind, and, in the Christian religion, 
is the substantial fact which every Catholic sees 
realized before his eyes whenever he goes to mass. 
The God who sacrifices himself is one with the vic 
tim. The reader who does not already know this 
general law of religion which confounds all the dif 
ferent elements that enter into ordinary sacrifice, 
can know neither poetry nor religion. Christ car 
ries the whole of humanity in his person. The 
identification of subject and object, of thought 
and matter, of will and universe, is a part of the 
alphabet of philosophy. The conception of a God 
sacrificing himself for a world of which he is him 
self a part, may be a mystery, a confusion of 
ideas, a contradiction of terms, but it has 
been the most familiar and the highest expression 
of the highest and perhaps also of the lowest 
civilizations. 

The reader s whole concern lies therefore not in 
the poem s motive but in its action, the stages 
of its movement, the skill and power with which 
the theme is developed, the copiousness of the 



166 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

poet s resources, the art and scope of his pre 
sentation. The critic can do no more than sketch 
an outline of the difficulties; he cannot attempt to 
discuss the solutions. Scholars seem inclined to 
think that Euripides himself failed in his treat 
ment of this theme; that JSschylus scarcely rose 
quite to its level; and that Shelley used it chiefly as 
a field on which to embroider beauties wholly his 
own. Where three of the greatest poets that ever 
lived have found their highest powers taxed to the 
utmost, a critic can afford to keep silence. 

The play opens at Thebes in the empty agora, 
at sunset, by a dialogue between the eternal poet 
and the eternal woman, who serve here in the place 
of the Greek chorus, each seeking, after the way of 
poet or woman, for something, the light, and 
so introducing the action, which begins abruptly 
by a feast in the palace of Creon, the king, who has 
called his people together to witness his abdication 
in favor of his son-in-law, Herakles. 

Creon is a new creation in Lodge s poetry, a 
deliberate effort at character-drawing till now un- 
attempted. Creon is the man-of-the-world, the 



HERAKLES 167 

administrator, the humorist and sage, who has 
accepted all the phases of life, and has reached the 
end, which he also accepts, whether as a fact or 
a phantasm, whatever the world will, but 
which has no more value to him than as being the 
end, neither comprehended nor comprehensible, 
but human. Perhaps it is only a coincidence that 
^Eschylus vaguely suggested such a critic in 
Okeanos, who appears early in the "Prometheus." 
Creon speaks, "in an even, clear, quiet voice": 
I am your King; and I am old, and wise. 

And I can now afford your censure! Yes, 
I can afford at last expensive things 
Which cost a man the kingdoms of the world, 
And all their glory! I have lived my life; 
You cannot bribe me now by any threat 
Of ruin to my life s high edifice, 
Or any dazzled prospect of ambition. . . . 
I think despite these sceptical strange words, 
You will respect me, for I am your King, 
And I have proved myself among you all 
An architect. Therefore you will not say, 
"This is the voice of failure!" - - Yet I know 
That you will find some other things to say 
Not half so true! For, when a man is old, 



168 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

He knows at least how utterly himself 

Has failed! But say what things of me you will 

And be assured I sympathize! Indeed, 

A voice like mine is no- wise terrible, 

As might be the tremendous voice of truth 

Should it find speech that you could understand. 

Yet it may vex and dreadfully distress 

Reflective men, if such indeed there be 

Among you all, and therefore be assured, 

I sympathize! 

With that, Creon names Herakles as his suc 
cessor, and the crowd departs, leaving the family 
surrounding Herakles and congratulating him, 
until Herakles, breaking away, turns fiercely on the 
king with passionate reproaches for sacrificing him 
to selfish politics : 

Is this your wisdom, Sire? and is it wise. 
Lightly, and thus with calm complacency, 
Now to believe that I, that Herakles 
Should hold himself so cheaply as your price? 

The unshaped, mystical consciousness of a des 
tiny to become the Savior, not the Servant, the 
creator, not the economist, the source itself, not 
the conduit for "these safe human mediocrities," 
forces Herakles to reject the crown. He will be 



HERAKLES 169 

fettered by none of these ties to common, casual 
supremacies: 

Sire, I will not serve the Gods or you! 
Sire, I will not rule by grace of God 
Or by your grace! I will be Lord of none, 
And thus unto myself be Lord and Law! 

Therewith the inexorable, tragic succession of 
sacrifices, insanities, begins. The dramatist fol 
lows up each step in the rising intensities of the 
theme, with almost as much care as though he were 
a professional alienist. He builds his climax from 
the ground, that is to say, from the family, 
which is always the first sacrifice in these mystical 
ideals of the Savior. The first of the scenes is laid 
at night before the house of Herakles, who listens 
to Megara within, singing her children to sleep : 

My children sleep, whose lives fulfil 

The soul s tranquillity and trust; 

While clothed in life s immortal dust 
The patient earth lies dark and still. 

All night they lie against my breast 
And sleep, whose dream of life begins; 
Before the time of strife and sins, 

Of tears and truth, they take their rest. 



170 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

The next scene is laid before a tavern door, at 
dawn, where Herakles, in his sleepless wandering, 
stops to listen to the men and women carousing 
within. The poet is heard singing: 

I know not what it is appears 
To us so worth the tragic task: 
I know beneath his ribald masque 

Man s sightless face is grey with tears! 

This tavern scene, to readers who know their 
drama of sacrifice and redemption, "is grey with 
tears"; and the more because, true to tradition, it 
is the woman who first recognizes the Savior, and 
putting an end to his anguish of doubt and self- 
distrust, draws him on to his fated duty of self- 
immolation. The messenger from Eurystheus ar 
rives, while Herakles is parting from his wife and 
children, bringing the order to submit to the King 
of Argos and the gods, to perform the imposed 
labors, and to remain a subject man; but the ac 
tion of the drama is interrupted here by a discus 
sion between Creon and the poet, of the drama 
itself, the dilemma of Herakles, a discussion 
which is, in a way, more dramatic than the drama 



HERAKLES 171 

because it broadens the interest to embrace hu 
manity altogether. Like the chorus of Okeanids 
in ^Eschylus, Creon sees the hero, and admires 
him, but doubts what good will come of him to 
man. He lays down the law, as a King and a Judge 
must: 

Crowds are but numbers; and at last I see 
There are not merely players of the game; 
There is not, high or low, only the one 
Sensible and substantial prize, to which 
The fiat of the world gives currency, 
And which, in various ways, is always won! 
There is, besides, the one, estranged, rare man, 
Whose light of life is splendid in the soul, 
Burns with a kind of glory in his strength, 
And gives such special grandeur to ambition 
That he will make no terms with fortune. . . . 

Creon s reply to this "estranged, rare man," is 
that " all men living are not ever free," and that, if 
not pliant, they are broken. In a dozen lines, as 
terse as those of ^Eschylus, he sums up the law of 
life:- 

Life, like a candle in a starless night, 

Brightens and burns, or flutters and is spent, 

As man s wise weakness spares the guarded flame, 



172 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

Or man s rash strength resolves in all despite 
To lift his torch into the spacious winds, 
To blaze his path across the darknesses, 
And force the elements to his own undoing . . . 
Only the strong go forward and are slain! 
Only the strong, defenceless, dare and die! 
Only the strong, free, fain and fearless fail! 
Remember this! lest a worse thing than mere 
Passion and ecstasy of poems befall you! 

"Listen to me," says Mercury to Prometheus, 
at the close of the same dispute in ^Eschylus; 
"When misfortune overwhelms you, do not accuse 
fate; do not upbraid Zeus for striking you an unfair 
blow! Accuse no one but yourself! You know what 
threatens you! No surprise! No artifice! Your 
own folly alone entangles you in these meshes of 
misery which never release their prey." Creon, as 
a wise judge, was bound to repeat this warning, 
and the Poet in the poem makes but an un 
convincing answer to it, in fact, loses his tem 
per altogether, until both parties end, as usual, by 
becoming abusive, in spite of Creon s self-control. 

The action of the play repeats the motive of the 
dialogue. Herakles is exasperated by the insolence 



HERAKLES 173 

of the messenger, to the point of striking him, and 
threatening to destroy his master. Then, over 
whelmed by the mortification of having yielded to 
a degraded human passion, and of having sunk to 
the level of the servitude against which he had re 
belled, he sets out, in fury and despair, to chal 
lenge the oracle of the God at Delphi. 

The scene in the temple of Apollo at Delphi 
follows, where Herakles drags the Pythia from her 
shrine, and finds himself suddenly saluted as the 
God. 

THE PYTHIA 

Yours is the resurrection and the life! 



I am the God! 

THE PYTHIA 

There is no God but I! 

I am whatever is! 

I am despair and hope and love and hate, 

Freedom and fate, 

Life s plangent cry, Death s stagnant silences! 

I am the earth and sea and sky, 

The race, the runner and the goal; 

There is no thought nor thing but IlJ 



174 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

To the ecstasy of the Pythia, the chorus re 
sponds in the deepest tones of despair: 

Have we not learned in bitterness to know 
It matters nothing what we deem or do, 
Whether we find the false or seek the true, 
The profit of our lives is vain and small ? 
Have we not found, whatever price is paid, 
Man is forever cheated and betrayed ? 
So shall the soul at last be cheated after all! 

"Coward and weak and abject," is the rejoinder 
of Herakles, who rises at last to the full conscious 
ness of his divine mission and of the price he must 
pay for it: 

, I am resolved! And I will stand apart, 
Naked and perfect in my solitude 
Aloft in the clear light perpetually, 
Having afforded to the uttermost 
The blood-stained, tear-drenched ransom of the soul! 
Having by sacrifice, by sacrifice 
Severed his bondage and redeemed the God! 
The God I am indeed! For man is slain, 
And in his death is God illustrious 
And lives! 

Then follows the Tenth Scene, the killing of the 
children. On this, the poet has naturally thrown his 



HERAKLES 175 

greatest effort, and his rank and standing as a 
dramatist must finally rest on it. The reader had 
best read it for himself; it is hardly suited to ex 
tracts or criticism; but perhaps, for his own con 
venience, he had better read first the same scene 
as Euripides rendered it. This is one of the rare 
moments of the dramatic art where more depends 
on the audience than on the poet, for the violence 
of the dramatic motive the Sacrifice carries 
the action to a climax beyond expression in words. 
The ordinary reader shrinks from it; the tension of 
the Greek drama overstrains him; he is shocked at 
the sight of an insane man killing his children with 
arrows, and refuses to forgive the dramatist for 
putting such a sight before him. Insanity has al 
ways been the most violent of tragic motives, and 
the insanity of Herakles surpassed all other insan 
ities, as the Crucifixion of Christ surpassed all other 
crucifixions. Naturally, the person who objects to 
the Crucifixion as a donnee of the drama, is quite 
right in staying away from Ober-Ammergau; but 
if he goes to Ober-Ammergau, he must at least 
try to understand what the drama means to the 



176 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

audience, which feels or should feel itself en- 
globed and incarnated in it. The better-informed 
and the more accomplished the critic may be, 
who reads the "Herakles" for the first time, 
knowing nothing of the author, the more discon 
certed he is likely to be in reading it a second 
time. His first doubts of the poet s knowledge or 
merits will be followed by doubts of his own. 

In one respect at least, as a question of dramatic 
construction, the doubt is well founded. Critics 
object to the "Herakles" of Euripides that it con 
sists of two separate dramas. The same objection 
applies to the myth itself. The Savior whether 
Greek, or Christian, or Buddhist always repre 
sents two distinct motives the dramatic and 
the philosophic. The dramatic climax in the 
Christian version is reached in the Crucifixion; the 
philosophic climax, in the Resurrection and Ascen 
sion; but the same personal ties connect the whole 
action, and give it unity. This is not the case either 
with Herakles or Buddha. The climax of the Greek 
version is reached in the killing of the children, so 
far as the climax is dramatic; while the philoso- 



HERAKLES 177 

phic climax the attainment is proved by the 
freeing of Prometheus; and these two donnees are 
dramatically wide apart, in fact, totally uncon 
nected. Critics are Creons, and object to being 
tossed from one motive to another, with an im 
patient sense of wrong. As drama, one idea was 
capable of treatment; the other was not. 

Probably, the ordinary reader might find an ad 
vantage in reading the Twelfth Scene of "Hera- 
kles," the Prometheus, as a separate poem. 
After the violent action of killing the children, the 
freeing of Prometheus seems cold and uncon 
vincing; much less dramatic than the raising of 
Lazarus or even the Ascension. The Greek solu 
tion of this difficulty seems to be known only 
through fragments of the lost "Prometheus Un 
bound" of ^Eschylus, which are attached to most 
good editions of the poet. Lodge s solution is the 
necessary outcome of his philosophy, and is worth 
noting, if for no other reason, because it is per 
sonal to him, or, more exactly, to his Oriental 
and Schopenhauer idealism. Possibly perhaps 
one might almost say probably it is both as 



178 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

logic and as history the more correct solution; 
but on that point, historians and metaphysicians 
are the proper sources of authority. Literature has 
no right to interfere, least of all to decide a ques 
tion disputed since the origin of thought. 

The "Prometheus Unbound" the Twelfth 
Scene of " Herakles" opens, then, upon the At 
tainment. Herakles has, by self-sacrifice, made 
himself and the whole of humanity within him 
one with the infinite Will which causes and main 
tains the universe. He has submitted to God by 
merging himself in God; he has, by his so-called 
labors, or miracles, raised humanity to the divine 
level. ^Eschylus puts in the mouth of Prometheus 
the claim to have freed man from the terrors of 
death and inspired him with blind hopes: "And 
a precious gift it is that you have given them," 
responds the chorus! Lodge puts the claim into 
the mouth of Herakles, and with it his own deifica 
tion: 

Not in vain, out of the night of Hell, 

I drew the Hound of Hell, the ravening Death, 

Into the light of life, and held him forth 



HERAKLES 179 

Where the soul s Sun shed lightnings in his eyes, 
And he was like a thing of little meaning, 
Powerless and vain and nowise terrible. 
While with my inmost heart I laughed aloud 
Into the blind and vacant face of Death, 
And cast him from me, so he fled away 
Screaming into the darkness whence he came! 
Nothing is vain of all that I have done! 
I have prevailed by labors, and subdued 
All that man is below his utmost truth, 
His inmost virtue, his essential strength, 
His soul s transcendent, one pre-eminence! 
Yea, I have brought into the soul s dominion 
All that I am! and in the Master s House 
There is no strength of all my mortal being 
That does not serve him now; there is no aim, 
There is no secret which He does not know; 
There is no will save one, which is the Lord s! 

The Church had said the same thing from the 
beginning; and the Greek, or Oriental, or German 
philosophy changed the idea only in order to 
merge the universe in man instead of merging man 
in the universe. The Man attained, not by ab 
sorption of himself in the infinite, but by absorb 
ing the infinite and finite together, in himself, as 
his own Thought, his Will, 



180 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

Giving to phases of the senseless flux. 
One after one, the soul s identity; 

so that the philosophic climax of the " Prometheus 
Unbound" suddenly developed itself as a Prome 
theus bound in fetters only forged by himself; 
fetters of his own creation which never existed 
outside his own thought; and which fell from his 
limbs at once when he attained the force to will it. 
Prometheus is as much astonished at his own 
energy as though he were Creon, and, in a dazed 
and helpless way, asks what he is to do with it: 

I stand in the beginning, stand and weep. 
Here in the new, bleak light of liberty . . . 
And who am I, and what is liberty? 

The answer to this question is that liberty, in 
itself, is the end, the sufficient purpose of the 
will. This simple abstract of the simple thought is 
the theme of the last speech of Herakles on the 
last page of the drama: 

When the long life of all men s endless lives, 
Its gradual pregnancies, its pangs and throes, 
Its countless multitudes of perished Gods 
And outworn forms and spent humanities, 



HERAKLES 181 

When all the cosmic process of the past 

Stands in the immediate compass of our minds; 

When all is present to us, and all is known, 

Even to the least, even to the uttermost, 

Even to the first and last, when, over all, 

The widening circles of our thought expand 

To infinite horizons everywhere, 

Then, tenoned in our foothold on the still. 

Supernal, central pinnacle of being, 

Shall we not look abroad and look*within, 

Over the total Universe, the vast, 

Complex and vital sum of force and form 

And say in one, sufficient utterance, 

The single, whole, transcendent Truth, "I am! * 

Not only philosophers, but also, and particu 
larly, society itself, for many thousands of years, 
have waged bloody wars over these two solutions of 
the problem, as Prometheus and Herakles, Buddha 
and Christ, struggled with them in turn: but 
while neither solution has ever been universally 
accepted as convincing, that of Herakles has at 
least the advantage of being as old as the oldest, 
and as new as the newest philosophy, as fa 
miliar as the drama of the Savior in all his innu 
merable forms, as dramatic as it is familiar, 



182 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

as poetic as it is dramatic, and as simple as sac 
rifice. Paradox for paradox, the only alternative 
Creon s human solution is on the whole 
rather more paradoxical, and certainly less logical, 
than the superhuman solution of Herakles. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE END 

THIS is the whole story! What other efforts 
Lodge might have made, if he had lived into an 
other phase of life, the effort he had made in this 
first phase was fatal and final. He rebelled against 
admitting it, refused to see it, yet was con 
scious that something hung over him which would 
have some tragic end. Possibly the encourage 
ment of great literary success might have helped 
and stimulated the action of the heart, but he 
steeled himself against the illusion of success, and 
bore with apparent and outward indifference the 
total indifference of the public. As early as Sep 
tember 30, 1907, he wrote to Marjorie Nott: "I 
am, for one thing, and to open a subject too 
vast to be even properly hinted at here, draw 
ing to the close of the immense piece of work which 
has held and compelled me for a year past. The 
end looms large in my prospect and I am doing my 



184 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

best, as you shall one day see. You, in fact, will 
be one of only a half-dozen, at best, who will see it. 
Which is, I imagine, all to my credit; and certainly 
as much as I reasonably want. What I have 
learned in the last year, through the work and the 
days, I shall never live to express; which is, I take 
it, illustrative as so much else is of the radi 
cal inferiority of writing your truth instead of 
being and living it, namely that by writing you 
can never, at all, keep abreast of it, but inevitably 
fall more and more behind as your pace betters. 
So I shall eventually perish having consciously 
failed, with (like Esme) * all my epigrams in me. 
I wonder if Jesus consciously failed; I don t mean, 
of course, his total, obvious, practical failure, 
which the world for so long has so loudly recorded 
in blood and misery and ruin; I mean, did he have 
that consciousness of personal, solitary failure, 
which one can hardly, with one s utmost imagina 
tion, dissociate from the religious being of the soul 
of man? I believe he did, though perhaps his 
mind was too simple and single, as, to some 
extent, apparently, was the mind of Socrates. I 



THE END 185 

sometimes think that the peasant of genius is, 
perhaps, more outside our comprehension than 
any other type of man. I perceive that I moon, 
vaguely moon, and I shall soon be boring 
you." 

In June, 1908, he went abroad with his mother 
and father, for change and rest, but his letters 
show a growing sense of fatigue and effort. To his 
wife he wrote from the steamer, before landing in 
England : 

"Our own voyage has come so warmly, so beau 
tifully, back to me in these tranquil sea-days, our 
own so clear and fine and high adventure into 
strange new ways, our great adventure which is 
still in the making. It seems to me, that gay glad 
beginning, so alone and so one as we were, as 
something, now, inexpressibly candid and lovely, 
and humanly brave. And since then, how much, 
how really much of our young, our confident and 
defiant boast, flung, at that time, so happily, 
and so, after all, grandly, at large, has been 
proved and greatened and amplified!" 

From London, in July: "London has given 



186 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

me a new sense of itself, a flavor of romance and 
adventure, and the pervading sense of a great, 
dingy charm. Yes! it s all been quite new to me, 
and wonderfully pleasant; which just satisfac 
torily means, I surmise, that I come all new to it, 

unimpeded by unimportant prejudices, and 
prepared vastly more than I was, for life in all its 
varieties and interests." 

Later, from Paris: "I ve lunched and dined 
everywhere; I ve been to what theatre there is, and 
chiefly I ve drifted about the streets. And I find 
essentially that I seem to demand much more of 
life than I ever did, and in consequence take it all 
here with a less perfect gayety and a more intense 
reflection. I feel matured to an incredible degree, 

as if I did now quite know the whole of life; and 
when one s matured, really matured, there is, I 
imagine, not much ahead except work. So, back to 
you and to work I m coming soon." 

In August, again from Paris: "This whole 
Paris experience has been queer and wonderful. 
Joe and you have been with me in all the familiar 
streets and places, and my youth has appeared to 



THE END 187 

me in colors richer and more comprehensible than 
ever before. . . . >! 

He came home, and brought out "Herakles" in 
November. In reply to a letter of congratulation 
from Marjorie Nott, he wrote to her, on December 
17: "Thank you! You know that I write for my 
self, of course, and then, as things are in fact, just 
for you and so few others. Which is enough ! and 
sees me, so to speak, admirably through. Well! 
I m glad you like it, and if you ever have anything 
more to say of it, you know, my dear, that I want 
to hear it. You 11 find it, of course, long; and you 11 
strike, I guess, sandy places. Perhaps, though, 
there are some secrets in it, and some liberties. . . ." 

Six months afterwards he took up the theme 
again, in the last few days of his life, making 
Marjorie Nott his confidant, as he had done since 
childhood. 

He wrote from Nahant July 31, 1909:- 

" Before all else I must thank you, my dear, for 
the grave and deep emotions roused within me by 
your letter with its fine, clear note of serious trust 
and loving favor towards me. Than just that, there 



188 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

is n t for me anything better to be had. I derive 
from it precisely the intimate encouragement 
which one so perpetually wants and so exception 
ally gets. Moreover, in all your letter I don t find 
a word with which I can possibly disagree. It oc 
curs to me that there may have been, in my pages 
to you, some note of complaint, which, in sober 
truth, I did n t intend and don t feel. Every man 
of us has the Gods to complain of; every man of us, 
sooner or later, in some shape, experiences the 
tragedy of life. But that, too obviously, is nothing 
to cry about, for the tragedy of life is one thing, and 
my tragedy or yours, his or hers, is another. All of 
us must suffer in the general human fate, and some 
must suffer of private wrongs. I ve none such to 
complain of. At all events, I don t, as I said be 
fore, disagree with a word of your letter, but I do, 
my dear, find it dreadfully vague. You surely 
can t doubt that I deeply realize the value of 
human communion of any sort; but that does n t 
take me far toward getting it. As I understand 
your letter it says to me: Well! you might get 
more and better if you tried more and better! 



THE END 189 

Perhaps ! at any rate, goodness knows I do try 
and more and more as best I can. And surely I 
don t complain of the solitude, which has, of course, 
its high value; but I do, inevitably, well know it s 
there. I 11 spare you more." 

His letters to Langdon Mitchell expressed the 
same ideas, with such slight difference of form as 
one naturally uses in writing to a man rather than 
to a woman : 

TO LANGDON MITCHELL 

WASHINGTON (Spring, 1906). 

Thank you, my dear Langdon, for your kind and 
so welcome letters. I want to thank you for your 
generous offer of help should I try my hand at a 
play. . . . 

I should have but one personal advantage in 
writing a play, namely a genuine indifference as to 
its being played or being successful if played. I call 
this an advantage because it eliminates the possi 
bility of my mind being disturbed and my powers 
consequently impaired by any influences external 
to myself. I become so increasingly convinced that 
precisely as perfection of being consists in a per- 



190 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

fectly transparent reality, so artistic perfection 
depends upon the degree to which the artist speaks 
his own words in his own voice and is unhampered 
by the vocabulary of convention and the mega 
phone of oratory which exists and could exist 
only on the theory of an omnipresent multitude. 
Let any man speak his own word and he is as 
original as Shakespeare and as permanently in 
teresting as Plato. The whole core of the struggle, 
for ourselves and for art, is to emerge from the 
envelope of thoughts and words and deeds which 
are not our own, but the laws and conventions 
and traditions formed of a kind of composite of 
other men s ideas and emotions and prejudices. 
Excuse this dissertation ! . . . 

Your first letter interested me profoundly, for 
my winter has been curiously similar to yours as 
you describe it. I have had very poignantly the 
same sense of growth, of a revelation and of a con 
sequent observable process of maturity. When 
shall we meet and make some exchange of 
thoughts? It seems absurd that so great a ma 
jority of my life should be spent without you . 



THE END 191 

I Ve been asked (peals of Homeric and scornful 
laughter from Mitchell) to deliver the poem at the 
Phi Beta Kappa in Cambridge this spring June. 
(Mitchell chokes with mirth and shows symptoms 
of strangulation. Is patted on the back and re 
covers. Lodge then good-naturedly continues:) 
You observe how low I ve sunk and for a punish 
ment for your superior sneers I m going to send 
you my poem for the occasion to read and criti 
cise. (Mitchell sourly admits that the joke is not 
entirely on Lodge.) I shall send it soon, in fact it 
may arrive any day. So I hope that your condi 
tion of health is improved. 

WASHINGTON, 2346 MASSACHUSETTS AVE. 
(Winter, 1908). 

MY DEAR, DEAR LANGDON, I shall never have 
words and ways enough to thank you for your 
letter. What it meant, what it means to me the 
encouragement, the life, the hope and above 
all the high felicities of friendship all these 
things and other and more things, which you, my 
dear friend, of your abundance so liberally afford, 



192 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

have enriched and fortified me beyond expres 
sion. . . . 

My Herakles is done to the last three scenes and 
hastens somewhat to its end. I won t write you 
about it, for there is too much to say and finally 
you 11 have to read it however much it s long 
and dull. 

It s too, too bad you should have been having 
such a devil s time with this world. But, good 
heavens, I know what it is to wait; how intolerable 
it may become sometimes just holding on. But 
the muscles of patience and that true daily cour 
age which patience implies are fine muscles to have 
well developed even at some cost is n t this so, 
dear man? The living bread and the consecrated 
wine must be earned and eaten day by day and 
day by day; we are not made free of perfection by 
any sudden moment s violence of virtue; the key 
of the gate of Paradise is not purchased in any 
single payment however heavy; the travail of God s 
nativity within us is gradual and slow and labori 
ous. It is the sustained courage, the long stern 
patience, the intensest daily labor, the clear, per- 



THE END 193 

petual vigilance of thought, the great resolve, 
tranquil and faithful in its strength, it is these 
things, it is the work in short, the wonderful slow 
work of man about the soul s business, which ac 
complishes constantly as we both know so well 

some real thing which makes us, however grad 
ually, other and nobler and greater than we are, 
because precisely it makes us more than we are. 
All of which you know better than I, for better 
than I you do the work and reap the result. But 
it s a truth none the less which takes time to learn 

if it is ever learned at all for the temptation 
to think that the reward, the advance is to-morrow, 
and that Paradise is in the next county, and that 
both can be got by some adventurous extrava 
gance, some single, tense deed of excellence, is very 
great, I imagine, to us all. We never realize quite 
at once that only patience can see us through, and 
that if the moment is not eternity and the place 
not Paradise it must be just because we are busy 
about what is not, in the true strict test, our real 
concern. 



194 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

WASHINGTON, 2346 MASSACHUSETTS AVE. 
(Spring, 1908). 

O! MY DEAR LANGDON, Your letter thrilled 
and moved me beyond expression. If I do not 
thank you for it it is because it has roused within 
me emotions nobler and more profound than grati 
tude; and it is in the glamour and power of these 
emotions which will remain permanently inter 
fused with all that I am that I now write to you. 
I tried to read your letter aloud to B. but it moved 
me so much and to such depths that I was unable 
to continue. This may seem strange to you, for you 
will not have thought of all that it means to me; 
you will not have been aware of the bare fact that, 
apart from the immense inward satisfaction which 
the effort of expression must always bring, your 
letter is just all of real value I shall get for " Hera- 
kles." And it is more, my dear friend, far more 
than enough! That is certain. I speak to you with 
an open heart and mind, which your letter has lib 
erated, restored, revived, nourished and sustained. 
You know as well as I how passionately we have 
understanding and sympathy for what is best and 



THE END 195 

noblest within us. The conception of God the 
Father, I believe, came from this longing in the 
human heart. But the habit of solitude and silence, 
which in this queer country, we perforce assume, 
ends by making us less attentive to the heart s 
need, and it is only when we are fed that we realize 
how consuming was our hunger. For all that is 
not what we at best and most truly are, we find 
recognition enough, but the very soul within us is 
like a solitary stranger in a strange land and 
your letter was to me like a friendly voice speaking 
the words of my own tongue and like the lights of 
welcome. It is perhaps your criticisms that I re 
joice in most, for I know them to be valid and just. 
I feel the faults you find as you feel them, I believe; 
and I keep alive the hope that I may learn to feel 
them with sufficient force and clearness to correct 
them. It would be of infinite advantage to me if 
you would, some day, go over the whole thing 
with me in detail. Nothing could so much im 
prove my chances of better work in the future. 
In fact it would be to me the most essential assist 
ance that I could possibly receive; for if I had you 



196 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

there to put your finger on the dreadful Saharas 
and other undeniable shortcomings, it would il 
luminate my understanding as nothing else could 
do. ... 

Just one thing more. It was a noble act of friend 
ship for you to write me that letter amid all the 
labors of your present days. Thanks for that with 
all my heart. 

With this single condition, the happy life went 
on, filled with affection and humor to the end, as 
his last letters tell:- 

TO HIS MOTHER 

NAHANT, June 13, 1909. 

Our train was seven hours late to Boston, which 
fact, when in the East River, after four hours of 
open sea, at 6: 30 A. M., and by the dull glare of the 
hot sun through a white fog, it first gradually and 
at last with agonizing completeness possessed my 
mind, produced in that sensitive organ emotions 
too vivid to be here described. 

I had retired to rest reconciled, or at least 
steeled, to the thought of a two hours delay in our 



THE END 197 

journey; and when, on waking (abysmal moment!) 
in the squalor of my berth I found that the fog had 
changed the two hours delay to seven, I felt in the 
first shock, other emotions besides surprise. . . . 
Before emerging in unwashed squalor from my 
section, I had determined, however, in view of 
everything, to suppress my feelings and to be, for 
my poor good children and their nurses, just the 
requisite hope, cheer and comfort and this de 
termination (it was the one consoling event of the 
dreadful day) I did, to the end, successfully carry 
out. Well, when at last from that dreadful boat 
we were jerkily drawn once more onto firm land, 
we fell of course inevitably into the mean hands of 
the N. Y.,N.H. and H. R. R., which characteristi 
cally decided that it would, of course, be both 
cheaper and easier, to give us, instead of the din 
ing car to which Heaven knows we seemed 
entitled, a "fifteen minutes for refreshments" at 
New Haven; and there, at ten o clock, in the heart 
breaking, dingy dreadfulness of the waiting-room, 
we that is the passengers of that luckless train 
thronged four deep round a vastly rectangular 



198 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

barrier like a shop-counter, girdled, for the public, 
by high, greasy, "fixed" stools, covered with in 
edible pseudo-foods under fly-blown glass bells, 
and defended, so to speak, by an insufficient and 
driven horde of waiters and waitresses. You can 
imagine what chance there was dans cette galere for 
the babes ! Fraiilein and the nurse secured, by pro 
digious exertions, and wonderfully drank, cups of a 
dim grey fluid which they believed to be coffee, 
while I and the children got back to the train with 
some apples, oranges, and sinister sandwiches, 
which all, later, and with every accompanying de 
gradation of drip and slop and grease, all mixed 
with car dirt, we did devour, to avoid starva 
tion. I was still further, however, to be in a posi 
tion to appreciate the exquisite benefits of a rail 
road monopoly, for when at last our interminable 
journey did end at Boston, we found, of course, no 
porters ! And with a heavy microscope, book, coat 
and cane, my three poor unceasingly good, weary 
and toy-laden children, and my two weary and 
child-laden nurses, were, perforce, obliged to leave 
our four bags on the platform, in charge of the 



THE END 199 

well-feed train porter, to be immediately "called 
for" by Moore s man. Which man, young Moore 
himself, I duly found and straitly charged about 
the four bags, as well as about my seven pieces 
in the "van." Then, somewhat cheered, and hav 
ing renewed to Moore (who, as you will presently 
perceive, I have come to regard as an abysmal 
though quite well-intentioned young ass) my 
charge as to the four bags, I drove off to the 
North Station, stopping en route merely to reward 
my lambs for their exemplary conduct by a rubber 
toy apiece. Well ! at that point, I think you will 
agree with me that the wariest might have been 
lulled into a sense that the worst was over and 
plain sailing ahead. Such at least was my condi 
tion of confidence, and though in the North Sta 
tion waiting-room, our bedraggled, dirty, worn- 
out company waited a full hour for Moore and 
the trunks, I just put it down as evidence that 
the benefits of the railroad we had just left were 
still accumulating, and hoped on. And then Moore 
arrived arrived, having just merely forgotten 
the four bags having in short left them one 



200 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

of them containing Uncle Henry s manuscript and 
all of mine, both irreplaceable just there on the 
platform where I could n t have not left them. 
Well! for a moment I didn t "keep up" a bit 
and addressed to Moore a few how inadequate! 
"feeling words." I then dispatched him back 
to recover the bags, packed my poor babes into 
the 3: 20 for Lynn, trusting, as I had to, to 
Fraiilein s ability to get them out at Lynn, and 
remained myself at the North Station, where I 
waited for Moore for exactly one hour and fifteen 
minutes. My state of mind I won t describe. At 
the end of that vigil, however, I mounted al 
ways with microscope, book, coat and cane in a 
taxicab, went to the South Station, found Moore, 
and after an interval of almost panic, when I 
thought all the manuscripts were lost for good, 
did, by dint of energy at last thank Heaven 
find the bags. . . . Well ! I felt then a little "gone" 
and went therefore to the Club, had a drink and a 
sandwich, just in time, and got, at last, to Nahant, 
at about seven o clock, to find that, by some mis 
take, they had given me, for the nurse s bag, the 



THE END 201 

bag of a total stranger. In the nurse s bag was, 
beside her own effects, some of Helena s, includ 
ing a silver mug; and so as I lay, at last, in my 
bath I heard, strangely concordant with my whole 
horrible day s experience, Fraiilein and Hedwig 
mourning, in shrill German, the loss. So Mon 
day, I go to town to do some errands and to find if 
possible the damned bag. The children are none 
the worse for the journey and are already bene 
fited by the good air. The house is incredibly clean 
and charming and we are delighted with it. 

TUCKANUCK, July, 1909. 

I am having the most beautiful days endless 
air and sea and sun and beauty, and best of 
all with Langdon s splendid companionship. It s 
all just what I ve wanted and needed for so 
long. I have shown Langdon my latest work, 
"The Noctambulist," etc., what I read to you 
in Washington, and he is most splendidly en 
couraging. He feels as strongly as I could wish 
that I have made, both in thought and form, a 
really new and large and valid departure. Which 



202 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

endlessly cheers me, as you will believe. We talk 
together of everything first and last, off and on, 
but chiefly on, all day and night with the exception 
of many hours of sleep. I do no work and just 
take easily all my present blessings as greedily 
as I can. 

Langdon Mitchell was one of the half-dozen 
readers, as he said, for whose approbation he 
wrote, and this last companionship with him at 
Tuckanuck in July, gave Lodge keen pleasure. 
On returning to Nahant he wrote to Sturgis Bige- 
low, who was then ill in Paris : 

" I Ve just returned home from Tuckanuck, 
browned to the most beautiful color by ten glorious 
days of sun. Langdon and I went together, and ex 
cept for one day of warm, sweet rain, and one morn 
ing of fog, which cleared splendidly in time for 
the bath, we had weather of uninterrupted mag 
nificence. Immeasurable sky and sea and sun, warm 
water, hot clean sand, clear light, transparent air, 
Tuckanuck at its perfect best. I ve returned 
made over in mind and body, feeling better in 



THE END 203 

every way than I ve felt since I can remember. 
For this I have to thank you, for Tuckanuck, 
and Langdon for his wonderful, interesting, vital 
companionship. Together with every variety 
of the best talk, the finest communion we lived 
all day and night long immersed in the beneficent 
elements, the prodigious light and air, the sounding, 
sparkling, flowing sea; and the bathing was dif 
ferent and better every day. The sea showed us 
all its loveliest moods. On one day it was stretched 
and smooth to the horizon, drawn away from the 
shore, on a light north wind, in endless fine blue 
wrinkles, with just the merest crisp, small ripple 
on the beach. Another day, fresh southwest wind, 
with a fine, high, lively, light surf. And even on 
one day the biggest waves of the season too 
big for comfort. Well! it was all glorious; you 
will understand; we have had it just like that so 
often together. Indeed your presence was the one 
thing we longed for, and did n t have, throughout 
our whole visit. There was hardly an hour down 
there when I did n t think of you and long for you. 
. Never had I more needed the restorative 



204 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

magic of nature and companionship than when 
I set forth for that blessed island, and never did it 
more wonderfully work upon me its beneficent 
spell. To judge by the way I feel now, I have n t 
known what it was to be really rested and well 
since I finished Herakles. I feel pages more of 
enthusiasm at the end of my pen, but I will spare 
you. I took down to the island with me my win 
ter s work, which has taken the shape of a volume 
of poems ready for publication, and read it to 
Langdon, who, thank goodness, felt high praise 
for them more enthusiastic approval, indeed, 
than I had dared to hope for." 

Langdon Mitchell s encouragement and sym 
pathy were pathetically grateful to him, so rare 
was the voice of an impartial and competent judge. 
He wrote to his wife in the warmest appreciation 
of it. 

1" I have been having such good days ! Langdon 
is of course the utmost delight to me, and the 
presence of companionship day by day is fresh 
and wonderful to me beyond measure. Also the 
weather in general has been glorious, and the whole 



THE END 205 

spectacle of the world clothed in light and beauty. 
I lead a sane and hygienic life. We go to bed before 
twelve, and sleep all we can. We breakfast, read, 
write perhaps an occasional letter, talk for long, 
fine, clear stretches of thought, and regardless of 
time, play silly but active games on the grass, 
swim, bask in the sun, sail, and talk, and read 
aloud, and read to ourselves, and talk, and talk. 
. . . I m getting into splendid condition." 

When his father, fagged by the long fatigues of 
the tariff session, returned north, they went back 
to Tuckanuck together in August, and there he 
had the pleasure of a visit from a new and enthu 
siastic admirer, Mr. Alfred Brown, lecturer and 
critic, who brought him for the first time a sense 
of possible appreciation beyond his personal 
friends. 

He never alluded to his own symptoms. Even 
his father, though on the watch, noticed only that 
he spared himself, and took more frequent rests. 
To Sturgis Bigelow he wrote of his anxiety about 
both Bigelow and his father, whom, he said, he 
was helping to "get his much-needed rest and re- 



206 GEORGE CABOT LODGE 

cuperation, and I think he is getting them, both, 
good and plenty, but the knowledge that you will 
probably not get here this season makes the dear 
island seem singularly deserted. ... It s all do 
ing him good, and what is more, he thinks it is. 
... I read a good deal, and take my swim, and 
an occasional sail. Also, after a month s vacation 
during which I have n t written a line, I ve now 
begun again, 5 and write and meditate for four 
or five hours every day ... so that life flows 
evenly and quietly and cheerfully. Still, lacking 
the stimulus of your prospective arrival, I shan t 
be sorry to get back to my Pussy and my babes." 
This seems to have been one of the last letters 
he wrote. It was mailed at Nantucket, August 18, 
and on the 19th he was seized at night by violent 
indigestion, probably due to some ptomaine poison. 
The next day he was better. The distress re 
turned on the night of the twentieth. Twenty- 
four hours of suffering ensued ; then the heart 
suddenly failed and the end came. 



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