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Set up and electrotypcd. Published September, 1922. Reprinted 
January, July, 1923. 






An Introduction to Poetry is intended for the college 
freshman or sophomore as well as for the general reader. 
Its chief aims are two: first, to offer in a natural and 
interesting manner the technical apparatus, the criticism, 
and the examples needed for a good elementary knowledge 
of English poetry; second, to offer a convenient oppor- 
tunity for a comparison of the new and the older English 
and American poets. 

The twelve chapters approach poetry from various 
angles type, meter, subject, and period. Each chapter 
includes enough poems to illustrate well the points 
brought out in the text. The explanations of poetic tech- 
nique are, we believe, sufficiently full, and are so intro- 
duced as to be neither difficult nor tedious. General 
criticism is provided at appropriate places, and many 
points of possible difficulty or exceptional interest are 
explained not in foot-notes, but in the text. We have 
arranged poems in such groups that the reader is able to 
criticize for himself; and we have, as far as possible, 
made the transition from poem to poem easy and 
continuous. We have begun with the song because it is 
a primitive and universally understood type of poem. If 
we have given too generous space to the Old French 
forms, light verse, or free verse, we have done so on the 
grounds either of special difficulty or of unusual interest 
at the present time. 



We have, in the second place, invited an almost con- 
stant comparison between the older and the contemporary 
poets. In this poetic age, the touchstone of the old is 
the best criterion for judging the new. Moreover 
since new writers arise while the span of life continues 
essentially the same it is necessary that each generation 
should discard some of the verse approved by its prede- 
cessors as "classic." Our omission of popular older 
poems is, nevertheless, due also in large part to the con- 
straining limitations of an anthology of the inductive 
type. Still, if the proportion of contemporary verse 
seems too great, one should remember that contempo- 
raneity is second only to absolute value in determining 
the appeal of a work of art. A poem can to no future 
generation mean as much as to the sympathetic con- 
temporaries of its author. 

It should be reiterated here that the several hundred 
poems included in this work are not offered as the several 
hundred greatest poems in the English language. Con- 
siderations of space, of points to be illustrated, of diffi- 
culties of structure have compelled us to omit some poems 
that we should have liked to use. We believe, however, 
that a reader of catholic taste will find little to object to 
in the selections. We have met with such willing co- 
operation from the poets and publishers who own the 
copyrights of the included contemporary selections that 
the list of poems originally chosen has had to be modified 
in less than a dozen cases. The necessary omissions have 
nevertheless been, we regret to say, some of the greatest 
of recent poems. To mention but one instance, Mr. John 
Masefield, although generously granting our other re- 


quests, declined to authorize the use of his "August, 

The plan of An Introduction to Poetry was conceived 
by Mr. Beaty. At first it was intended that each author 
should write six chapters, but circumstances prevented 
Mr. Beaty from writing more than four Chapters III, 
IV, VII, and VIII. The other eight are by Mr. Hubbell. 
The entire book has, however, been revised by both 
authors, and each assumes full responsibility for all 
selections, critical comments, and errors. 

We owe a general obligation to many of the works 
listed in the Bibliography and to the lectures of our 
former teachers especially those of Columbia University. 
To our colleagues, Professors John H. McGinnis and 
Marie D. Hemke, of the English Department of Southern 
Methodist University, we are indebted for valuable criti- 
cism. Miss Hemke has read the entire manuscript, much 
of it more than once, and has assisted us in many other 
ways. To Mrs. Beaty and Mrs. Hubbell we are deeply 
indebted for criticism and helpful suggestions, and, in 
the case of Mrs. Beaty, for very material assistance in 
preparing the manuscript for the press. 

J. B. H. 
J. O. B. 

Southern Methodist University, 
Dallas, Texas, 
July 27, 1922 a 


The generous cooperation of poets and publishers has 
made possible the inclusion of many poems which are 
still in copyright. We wish to express our grateful obli- 
gation to those poets who have added their permission 
to that of their publishers : Miss Amy Lowell, Mrs. 
Josephine Preston Peabody Marks, and Messrs. John 
Gould Fletcher, Robert Frost, Wilfrid Wilson Gibson, 
Richard Le Gallienne, Haniel Long, Christopher Morley, 
Edwin Arlington Robinson, Carl Sandburg, Siegfried 
Sassoon, and John Hall Wheelock. To the following 
publishers and other persons we are indebted for the use 
of poems still in copyright: 


For William Cullen Bryant's "To a Waterfowl," "The 
Death of Lincoln," "The Poet/' and parts of "Thanatop- 
sis" and "The Prairies" ; and for Edmund Gosse's "Ses- 
tina to F. H." 


For Austin Dobson's "The Prodigals/' "In After Days/' 
"The Wanderer/' "Vitas Hinnuleo/' "A Kiss," "When 
I Saw You Last, Rose," "Jocosa Lyra," "A Ballad of 
Heroes," and a selection from "Ars Victrix." 

For Joyce Kilmer's "Trees." 



For Richard Le Gallienne's "The Eternal Way"; for 
Rudyard Kipling's "For All We Have and Are," "The 
White Man's Burden/' "Recessional," "The King," 
"Danny Deever," and "The Gipsy Trail" ; for Chris- 
topher Morley's "To a Post-Office Inkwell" ; and for 
Walt Whitman's "To a Certain Civilian," "When I Heard 
the Learn'd Astronomer," "As Toilsome I Wander'd Vir- 
ginia's Woods," "Darest Thou Now, O Soul," "O Cap- 
tain! my Captain!", "To a Locomotive in Winter," and 
"To Old Age." 


For a selection from Francis Ledwidge's "Soliloquy." 


For Willard Wattles's "Creeds" and Siegfried's Sassoon's 
"Song-books of the War." 


For Carl Sandburg's "A. E. F."; John Gould Fletcher's 
"Exit" and "Blake" ; and for Louis Untermeyer's "Ques- 
tioning Lydia." 


For Swinburne's "The Garden of Proserpine," "A For- 
saken Garden," and "A Baby's Feet." 


For Robert Frost's "Mending Wall" and "The Tuft of 
Flowers" ; and for Carl Sandburg's "Chicago" and "A 


For Emerson's "The Snow-Storm," "Concord Hymn," 
and "This Shining Moment"; for Oliver Wendell 
Holmes's "The Last Leaf" and a stanza from "The 
Chambered Nautilus"; for Henry Wadsworth Long- 
fellow's "Hymn to the Night," two sonnets on Dante, 
and his translations of Goethe's "Wanderer's Night- 
songs"; for James Russell Lowell's "For an Autograph" 


and a portion of the "Ode Recited at the Harvard Com- 
memoration"; for John Greenleaf Whittier's "Skipper 
Ireson's Ride," "Telling the Bees/' and a selection from 
"Snow-Bound"; for Thomas Bailey Aldrich's "Palabras 
Carinosas" ; for Laurence Binyon's "For the Fallen"; 
for "H. D.'s" "Oread"; for Bret Harte's "Her Letter" 
and "Mrs. Judge Jenkins"; for Josephine Preston Pea- 
body's " 'Vanity, Saith the Preacher' " ; for Clinton Scol- 
lard's "In the Sultan's Garden"; for John Godfrey 
Saxe's "Woman's Will"; and for Odell Shepard's "Cer- 
tain American Poets." 


For Richard Hovey's "Unmanifest Destiny." 

For Henry Timrod's "At Magnolia Cemetery." 


For Edna St. Vincent Millay's "Elegy"; for an extract 
from Witter Bynner's "The New World." 


For Rupert Brooke's "The Soldier"; for Richard Le 
Gallienne's "The Eternal Way"; and for William Wat- 
son's "Written in Mr. Sidney Lee's Life of Shake- 
speare," "To Christina Rossetti," "His Friends He 
Loved," and "For Metaphors of Man." 


For Emily Dickinson's "A Book" and "This Quiet 
Dust"; for Lord Dunsany's "The Worm and the Angel" 
and "The Prayer of the Flowers"; for Edward Lear's 
"The Pobble Who Has No Toes" ; for Dante Gabriel Ros- 
setti's "Ballad of Dead Ladies" and "A Sonnet is a 
Moment's Monument"; and for Christina Rossetti's 
"When I am Dead, My Dearest." 


For "Dead Men Tell No Tales." 



For John Gould Fletcher's "Broadway's Canyon"; for 
Wilfrid Wilson Gibson's "Prelude"; for Thomas Hardy's 
"In a Wood" and "Her Initials"; for William Ernest 
Henley's "Romance/' "Margaritae Sorori," "Villanelle," 
and "Invictus"; for Vachel Lindsay's "Abraham Lincoln 
Walks at Midnight," "The Eagle that is Forgotten," and 
"On the Building of Springfield"; for John Masefield's 
"The West Wind," "A Consecration/' "The Yarn of 
the 'Loch Achray/ " three sonnets ("Now They Are 
Gone/' "I Never See the Red Rose," and "Be with Me, 
Beauty"), and a selection from "The Widow in the Bye 
Street" ; for Edgar Lee Masters's "Come, Republic," 
"Alexander Throckmorton," "George Gray," and "John 
Hancock Otis"; for Edwin Arlington Robinson's "The 
Master," "Mr. Flood's Party," "An Inscription by the 
Sea," "The Dark Hills," "Monadnock through the 
Trees," "Firelight," "Souvenir," and a selection from 
"Ben Jonson Entertains a Man from Stratford" ; for 
Tennyson's "The Splendor Falls," "Ring Out, Wild 
Bells," "To the Queen," "Crossing the Bar," "Sweet and 
Low," "Ulysses," "Sir John Franklin," "To Virgil," 
"Break, Break, Break," and "Flower in the Crannied 
Wall"; for Sara Teasdale's "I Shall Not Care," "Wis- 
dom," and "The Lamp" ; for Rabindranath Tagore's 
"Prayer for India"; for William Butler Yeats's "The 
Lake Isle of Innisfree," "When You are Old and Gray," 
and Song from "The Land of Heart's Desire"; and for 
"Jesse James" from John A. Lomax's Cowboy Songs. 

THE MANAS PRESS, Rochester, N. Y. 

For Adelaide Crapsey's "Triad," "The Warning," and 
"On Seeing Weather-beaten Trees." 

For Walter Malone's "Abraham Lincoln." 


For Robert Bridges's "Who Builds a Ship." 


For "Texas/' which appeared in that magazine for De- 
cember 29, 1920. 


For his "In a Station of the Metro." 


For "Joaquin" Miller's "Westward Ho!" 


For Andrew Lang's "Ballade of Theocritus in Winter" 
and "Ballade of the Southern Cross." 


For John McCrae's "In Flanders Fields." 


For Henry Cuyler Bunner's "A Pitcher of Mignonette" 
and "'One, Two, Three'"; for Eugene Field's "The 
Truth about Horace"; for Sidney Lanier's "The Song 
of the Chattahoochee" ; for Edwin Arlington Robinson's 
"The Master"; for Alan Seeger's "I Have a Rendezvous 
with Death"; for Robert Louis Stevenson's "Requiem"; 
for Henry van Dyke's "Tennyson"; and for John Hall 
Wheelock's "Earth." 


For Gelett Burgess's "The Purple Cow" ; and for Alfred 
Noyes's "Niobe," "Unity," "The Highwayman," "Kil- 
meny," Song from "Tales of the Mermaid Tavern," a 
portion of "Astrid," and Song from "Drake." 






I. THE STUDY OF POETHT ........... 1 













I. NOTES 483 







Watson, William: Lachrinue Musarum (in part) . . 1 

Dickinson, Emily: A Book 4 

Whittier, John Greenleaf: Burns (in part) ... 5 

Bryant, William Cullen: The Poet 9 

Fletcher, John Gould: Blake 15 


Foster, Stephen Collins: Old Folks at Home ... 23 

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot 28 

Burns, Robert: Afton Water 31 

Burns, Robert: Auld Lang Syne 33 

Douglas, William, and Lady John Scott: Annie Laurie 34 

Shakespeare, William: Hark, Hark, the Lark ... 36 

Jonson, Ben: Song to Celia 37 

Moore, Thomas: BeUeve Me if All Those Endearing 

Young Charms 38 

Oilman, Samuel: Fair Harvard 39 

Newman, John Henry: Lead, Kindly Light ... 41 

Key, Francis Scott: The Star-Spangled Banner . . 42 

Smith, Samuel Francis: America 44 

Carey, Henry: God Save the King 45 

John Brown's Body 46 

Howe, Julia Ward: The Battle Hymn of the Republic 48 

Randall, James Ryder: My Maryland 50 

Stevenson, Robert Louis: Requiem 53 

Kipling, Rudyard: The Gipsy Trail 53 

Burns, Robert: John Anderson 55 

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: Concord Hymn .... 56 

Shelley, Percy Bysshe: To Night 61 

Tennyson, Alfred: Crossing the Bar 62 

Tennyson, Alfred: Sweet and Low 63 

Yeats, William Butler: Song from The Land of 

Heart's Desire 64 


Byron, Lord: She Walks in Beauty 70 

Jonson, Ben: Hymn to Diana (in part) 71 

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth: Hiawatha (in part) 71 

Blake, William: The Tiger (in part) 72 


Scott, Sir Walter: Hunting Song 72 

Housman, Alfred Edward: Reveille (in part) . . 73 
Blake, William: Songs of Innocence: Introduetion . 74 
Herrick, Robert: Upon His Departure Hence ... 76 
Swinburne, Algernon Charles: The Garden of Proser- 
pine 78 

Wordsworth, William: The Solitary Reaper ... 84 

Wordsworth, William: / Wandered Lonely .... 86 

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: The Rhodora (in part) . . 87 

Waller, Edmund: Go, Lovely Rose 87 

Bryant, William Cullen: To a Water-fowl .... 88 

Bryant, William Cullen: Thanatopsis (in part) . . 90 
Holmes, Oliver Wendell: The Chambered Nautilus 

(in part) 90 

Henley, William Ernest: Invictus 91 

Arnold, Matthew: Destiny 92 

Kipling, Rudyard: The White Man's Burden ... 92 
Doyle, Sir Francis Hastings Charles: The Private of 

the Buffs 94 

Wordsworth, William: Ode to Duty 96 

Lovelace, Richard: To Lucasta, on Going to the Wars 98 

Burns, Robert: A Bard's Epitaph 99 

Kingsley, Charles: Young and Old 100 

Goldsmith, Oliver: When Lovely Woman Stoops to 

Folly 101 

Noyes, Alfred: Niobe 102 

Keats, John: Ode on a Grecian Urn 105 

Tennyson, Alfred: The Splendor Falls 107 

Tennyson, Alfred: Ring Out, Wild Bells .... 108 

Tennyson, Alfred: To the Queen 110 

van Dyke, Henry: Tennyson 112 

Beaumont, Francis: On the Tombs in Westminster 

Abbey 113 

Tennyson, Alfred: To Virgil 113 

Pierpont, John: The Ballot 115 

Miller, Cincinnatus Heine ("Joaquin") : Westward Ho 116 

Hovey, Richard: Unmanifest Destiny 117 

Kipling, Rudyard: For All We Have and Are . . 118 
Burns, Robert: Brace's Address to his Army at Ban- 

nockburn 120 

Henley, William Ernest: Romance 121 

Timrod, Henry: At Magnolia Cemetery 122 

Rossetti, Christina Georgina: Song 123 

Teasdale, Sara: I Shall Not Care 124 

Teasdale, Sara: Wisdom 124 

Whittier, John Greenleaf : Snow-Bound (in part) . . 125 
Scott, Sir Walter: The Lay of the Last Minstrel (in 

part) 125 



Long, Haniel: Dead Men Tell No Tales .... 126 

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth: Hymn to the Night . 127 

Poe, Edgar Allan: To One in Paradise 128 

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor: Kubla Khan 130 

Shelley, Percy Bysshe: To a Skylark 132 


Byron, Lord: The Destruction of Sennacherib . . . 138 

Byron, Lord: O Talk Not to Me 139 

Cowper, William: The Poplar Field 140 

Swinburne, Algernon Charles: A Forsaken Garden . 142 
Wolfe, Charles: The Burial of Sir John Moore at 

Corunna 145 

Browning, Robert: Prospice 146 

Scott, Sir Walter: Coronach 148 

Browning, Robert: The Year's at the Spring . . . 149 

Shelley, Percy Bysshe: The Cloud 149 

Hood, Thomas: The Bridge of Sighs 153 

Browning, Robert: The Lost Leader 157 

Noyes, Alfred: Unity 159 

Noyes, Alfred: Seven Wise Men 160 

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth: Evangeline (in part) 162 

Lanier, Sidney: The Song of the Chattahoochee . . 164 

Byron, Lord: The Bride of Abydos (in part) . . . 165 

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor: The Knight's Tomb . . 166 

O'Shaughnessy, Arthur William Edgar: Ode . . . 167 

Tennyson, Alfred: Break, Break, Break .... 168 

Yeats, William Butler: The Lake Isle of Innisfree , 169 

Masefield, John: The West Wind 170 


Emerson, Ralph Waldo: This Shining Moment . . 172 

Marlowe, Christopher: Doctor Faustus (in part) . . 173 
Shakespeare, William: A Midsummer Night's Dream 

(in part) 174 

Shakespeare, William: Hamlet (in part) .... 175 

Shakespeare, William: Othello (in part) .... 175 

Fletcher, John (?): Henry VIII (in part) .... 176 

Milton, John: Comus (in part) 177 

Milton, John: Paradise Lost (in part) 179 

Wordsworth, William: The Prelude (in part) . . . 179 

Keats, John: Hyperion (in part) 181 

Landor, W T alter Savage: To Robert Browning . . . 182 

Tennyson, Alfred: Ulysses 183 

Bryant, William Cullen: The Prairies (in part) . . 186 

Emerson, Ralph Waldo: The Snow-Storm .... 187 
Robinson, Edwin Arlington: Ben Jonson Entertains a 

Man from Stratford (in part) 188 



Frost, Robert: Mending Watt 189 

Dobson, Austin: Ars Victrix (in part) 192 

Homer: The Iliad (in part) 193 

Crapsey, Adelaide: On Seeing Weather-beaten Trees . 194 

Chaucer, Geoffrey: Prologue (in part) 195 

Dryden, John: Lines Printed under the Engraved Por- 
trait of Milton 197 

Pope, Alexander: Essay on Criticism (in part) . . 197 

Keats, John: Sleep and Poetry (in part) .... 198 

Browning, Robert: My Last Duchess 199 

Frost, Robert: The Tuft of Flowers 201 

Gray, Thomas: Elegy Written in a Country Church- 
yard 205 

Robinson, Edwin Arlington: Mr. Flood's Party . .211 
Fitzgerald, Edward: The Rubdiydt of Omar Khayyam 

(in part) 213 

Byron, Lord: The Vision of Judgment (in part) . . 214 

Morris, William: An Apology 215 

Masefield, John: The Widow in the Bye Street (in 

part) 217 

Spenser, Edmund: The Fcsrie Queene (in part) . . 218 
Thomson, James: The Castle of Indolence (in part) . 219 
Keats, John: The Eve of St. Agnes (in part) ... 220 
Byron, Lord: Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (in part) . 221 
Shelley, Percy Bysshe: Ode to the West Wind ... 223 
Wordsworth, William: Ode: Intimations of Immor- 
tality 228 


Lord Randal 239 

The Twa Corbies 240 

Sir Patrick Spens 241 

Fair Helen 243 

Jesse James 244 

Katharine Jaffray 246 

Scott, Sir Walter: Lochinvar 248 

Kipling, Rudyard: Danny Deever 252 

Masefield, John: The Yarn of the "Loch Achray" . . 254 

Keats, John: La Belle Dame sans Merci .... 257 

Whittier, John Greenleaf: Skipper Ireson's Ride . . 259 

Noyes, Alfred: The Highwayman 262 


Rossetti, Dante Gabriel: A Sonnet is a Moment's Mon- 
ument 268 

Milton, John: When I Consider 270 

Keats, John: On First Looking into Chapman's Homer 271 



Shakespeare, William: Shall I Compare Thee to a 

Summer's Day 272 

Shakespeare, William: No Longer Mourn for Me 

When I Am Dead 273 

Shakespeare, William: To Me, Fair Friend, You 

Never Can Be Old 274 

Spenser, Edmund: What Guile is This, that those 

her Golden Tresses 275 

Sidney, Sir Philip: Come, Sleep! O Sleep, the Certain 

Knot of Peace 276 

Drayton, Michael: Since There's No Help, Come Let 

us Kiss and Part 277 

Milton, John: On the Late Massacre in Piedmont . 278 

Wordsworth, William: London, 1803 278 

Wordsworth, William: The World is Too Much with 

Us 279 

Byron, Lord: Sonnet on Chilian 280 

Shelley, Percy Bysshe: Ozymandias 281 

Keats, John: On the Grasshopper and Cricket . . . 282 

Browning, Elizabeth Barrett: How Do I Love Thee? 283 

Bridges, Robert: Who Builds a Ship 284 

Brooke, Rupert: The Soldier 284 

Arnold, Matthew: Shakespeare 285 

Watson, Sir William: Written in Mr. Sidney Lee's 

Life of Shakespeare 286 

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth: Oft Have I Seen at 

Some Cathedral Door 287 

Longfellow, Henry Wadswcrth: O Star of Morning 

and of Liberty 287 

Masefield, John: Now They Are Gone with All Their 

Songs and Sins 288 

Masefield, John: I Never See the Red Rose Crown 

the Year 289 

Masefield, John: On Growing Old 290 

Robinson, Edwin Arlington: Firelight 290 

Robinson, Edwin Arlington: Souvenir 291 

Wordsworth, William: Scorn Not the Sonnet ... 292 

Watts-Dunton, Theodore: The Sonnefs Voice ... 293 


Lang, Andrew: Ballade to Theocritus, in Winter . . 295 

Lang, Andrew: Ballade of the Southern Cross . . 296 

Dobson, Austin: A Ballad of Heroes 297 

Dobson, Austin: The Prodigals 299 

Rossetti, Dante Gabriel: The Ballad of Dead Ladies . 300 

Chaucer, Geoffrey: To Rosemounde, a Balade . . 303 

McCrae, John: In Flanders Fields 304 

Napier, Eliot: All Men Are Free 304 


Dobson, Austin: In After Days 305 

Dobson, Austin: The Wanderer 306 

Dobson, Austin: Vitas Hinnuleo 307 

Swinburne, Algernon Charles: A Baby's Feet . . . 308 

Dobson, Austin: A Kiss 309 

Bunner, Henry Cuyler: A Pitcher of Mignonette . . 309 

Dobson, Austin: When I Saw You Last, Rose . . 310 

Henley, William Ernest: Villanelle 311 

Scollard, Clinton: In the Sultan's Garden .... 312 

Gosse, Edmund: Sestina to F. H. ...... 314 


Harte, Francis Bret: Her Letter 318 

Aldrich, Thomas Bailey: Palabras Carinosas . . . 323 
Moore, Thomas: The Time I've Lost in Wooing (in 

part) 324 

Herrick, Robert: To the Virgins, to Make Much of 

Time 325 

Field, Eugene: The Truth about Horace .... 326 

Untermeyer, Louis: Questioning Lydia 327 

Holmes, Oliver Wendell: The Last Leaf .... 328 

Locker-Lampson, Frederick: My Mistress's Boots . 330 
Peabody, Josephine Preston: "Vanity, Saith the 

Preacher" 332 

Prior, Matthew: To a Child of Quality Five Years Old 334 

Bunner, Henry Cuyler: "One, Two, Three" .... 335 

Byron, Lord: To Thomas Moore 337 

Pinkney, Edward Coate: A Health 338 

Burgess, Gelett: The Purple Cow ....... 340 

Lear, Edward: The Pobble Who Has No Toes ... 340 

Hood, Thomas: Faithless Nelly Gray 342 

The Young Lady of Niger 345 

Gary, Phoerbe: When Lovely Woman Wants a Favor . 345 
Harte, Francis Bret: Mrs. Judge Jenkins .... 346 
Loines, Russell Hilliard: On a Magazine Sonnet . . 348 
Browne, William: On the Countess Dowager of Pem- 
broke 349 

Pope, Alexander: Epitaph Intended for Sir Isaac 

Newton 349 

Tennyson, Alfred: Sir John Franklin: On the Ceno- 
taph in Westminster Abbey 349 

Robinson, Edwin Arlington: An Inscription by the Sea 350 

Gay, John: Life is a Jest 350 

Rochester, Earl of: Epitaph on Charles 77 .... 350 

Burns, Robert: Epitaph on John Dove 351 

Macaulay, Lord: A Jacobite's Epitaph 351 

Tinker, Chauncey B.: Brussels Cross Inscription . . 352 


Prior, Matthew: To His Soul 35J 

Dickinson, Emily: Thus Quiet Dust 353 

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang: Wanderer's Night-songs . 353 

Landor, Walter Savage: On His Seventy-fifth Birthday 354 

Lanclor, Walter Savage: On Death 354 

Landor, Walter Savage: With Petrarch's Sonnets . 354 

Prior, Matthew: Written in a Lady's Milton . . . 355 

Hardy, Thomas: Her Initials 355 

Pope, Alexander: / Am His Highness' Dog at Kew . 355 

Watson, Sir William: His Friends He Loved . . . 355 

Brereton, Mrs. Jane: On Beau Nash's Picture . . . 356 

Chesterfield, Earl of: Immortal Newton 356 

Saxe, John Godfrey: Woman's Will 356 

Wattles, Willard: Creeds 356 

Hunt, Leigh: Rondeau 357 

Morley, Christopher: To a Post-Office Inkwell . . . 357 

Byron, Lord: Lines Written in an Album at Malta . 357 

Lowell, James Russell: For an Autograph .... 358 

Lowell, James Russell: To Those Who Died ... 358 

Gilder, Richard Watson: Navies nor Armies . . . 359 

Watson, Sir William: To Christina Rossetti .... 359 

Whitman, Walt: To Old Age 359 

Pound, Ezra: In a Station of the Metro 360 

Crapsey, Adelaide: Triad 360 

Crapsey, Adelaide: The Warning 360 

Dobson, Austin: Jocosa Lyra 361 


Collins, William: Ode to Evening 365 

Nineteenth Psalm (in part) 368 

Teasdale, Sara: The Lamp 368 

Arnold, Matthew: Philomela 369 

Masters, Edgar Lee: Alexander Throckmorton . . 373 

Dunsany, Lord: The Worm and the Angel .... 373 
Swinburne, Algernon Charles: To Walt Whitman in 

America (in part) 375 

Whitman, Walt: To a Certain Civilian 376 

Whitman, Walt: When I Heard the Learn'd Astrono- 
mer 377 

Whitman, Walt: As Toilsome I Wander'd Virginia's 

Woods 378 

Whitman, Walt: Darest Thou Now, O Soul .... 379 

Henley, William Ernest: Margaritrp Sorori . , . 380 

Bynner, Witter: The New World (in part) .... 381 

Masters, Edgar Lee: Come, Republic 382 

Sandburg, Carl: A Fence 384 

Fletcher, John Gould: Exit 385 




Poe, Edgar Allan: The Sleeper 389 

Burns, Robert: Highland Mary 392 

Wordsworth, William: She Dwelt among the Untrod- 
den Ways 393 

. Landor, Walter Savage: Rose Aylmer 394 

Byron, Lord: Oh! Snatch' d Away in Beauty's Bloom 395 

Arnold, Matthew: Requiescat 39.5 

Whittier, John Greenleaf : Telling the Bees .... 396 

Millay, Edna St. Vincent: Elegy 398 

Malone, Walter: Abraham Lincoln 401 

Whitman, Walt: O Captain! my Captain! .... 40:2 

Bryant, William Cullen: The Death of Lincoln . . 403 
Lowell, James Russell: Ode Recited at the Harvard 

Commemoration (in part) 404 

Robinson, Edwin Arlington: The Master .... 406 

Lindsay, Vachel: Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight 409 
Watson, Sir William: For Metaphors of Man . . .410 

Morris, William: A Garden by the Sea (in part) . . 412 

Tennyson, Alfred: Flower in the Crannied Wall . . 412 

Wordsworth, William: Tintern Abbey (in part) . . 413 

Wordsworth, William: Elegiac Stanzas 414 

Poe, Edgar Allan: Sonnet To Science (in part) . 416 
Tennyson, Alfred: In Memoriam (in part) . . . .417 

Arnold, Matthew: Dover Beach 418 

Hardy, Thomas: In a Wood 420 

Kilmer, Joyce: Trees 422 

Wheelock, John Hall: Earth 423 

Byron, Lord: Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (in part) . 426 

Harte, Francis Bret: San Francisco (in part) . . . 427 
Wordsworth, William: Composed upon Westminster 

Bridge 428 

Browning, Robert: Up at a Villa Down in the City . 429 

Fletcher, John Gould: Broadway's Canyon .... 432 

Sandburg, Carl: Chicago 433 

Whitman, Walt: To a Locomotive in Winter . . . 43o 

Lindsay, Vachel: On the Building of Springfield . . 437 

Lowell, Amy: Texas 440 

Dunsany, Ix>rd: The Prayer of the Flowers . . . 442 


Kipling, Rudyard: The King 449 

Yeats, William Butler: When You Are Old and Gray 451 

Masefleld, John: A Consecration . 455 

Gibson, Wilfrid Wilson: Prelude 456 

Shepard, Odell: Certain American Poets .... 458 

Le Gallienne, Richard: The Eternal Way .... 459 

"H. D." (Mrs. Richard Aldington): Oread ... 461 



Robinson, Edwin Arlington: The Dark Hills . . . 462 
Robinson, Edwin Arlington: Monadnock Through the 

Trees 463 

Lindsay, Vachel: The Eagle That Is Forgotten . . 464 

Masters, Edgar Lee: George Gray 466 

Masters, Edgar Lee: John Hancock Otis .... 467 

Tagore, Rabindranath: A Prayer for India .... 469 
Mordaunt, Major Thomas O.: Sound, Sound the 

Clarion 471 

Kipling, Rudyard: Recessional 472 

Seeger, Alan: / Have a Rendezvous with Death . . 474 

Ledwidge, Francis: Soliloquy (in part) .... 475 

Binyon, Laurence: For the Fallen 476 

Sassoon, Siegfried: Song-books of the War .... 478 

Noyes, Alfred: Kilmeny 479 

Sandburg, Carl: A. E. F ,480 




The seasons change, the winds they shift and veer; 

The grass of yesteryear 

Is dead ; the birds depart, the groves decay : 

Empires dissolve and peoples disappear: 

Song passes not away. 

Captains and conquerors leave a little dust, 

And kings a dubious legend of their reign ; 

The swords of Caesars, they are less than rust: 

The poet doth remain. 

William Watson: "Lachrimce Musarum" 

"THE future of poetry is immense, because in poetry, 
where it is worthy of its high destinies, our race, as time 
goes on, will find an ever surer and surer stay." We can 
think of no better way of beginning a poetic anthology 
than by quoting this opening sentence of Matthew 
Arnold's Introduction to Ward's English Poets. These 
words are as true today as they were half a century ago 
when they were written. For "Poetry," as Wordsworth 
said, "is as immortal as the heart of man." If poetry is 
not immortal, it is at any rate more nearly so than any- 
thing else made by man. No one, in fine, can afford to 
remain indifferent to this great and imperishable posses- 
sion of the race. 



We are, however, living in a rapidly changing age 
which has little patience with anything belonging to the 
past. Old ideas, old conventions, old standards seem 
to be passing away. Although, strangely enough, no one 
suggests that poetry is something we have outgrown, there 
are nevertheless many who assert that we have outgrown 
much of the poetry which preceding generations thought 
great. This is natural and inevitable, and no one need 
regret it. We do not look for exactly the same things in 
poetry that our Victorian grandparents sought, for our 
view of life is different from theirs. Each age must give 
its own answer to the recurring question, Why read 
poetry? Although the answer which we give today is not 
essentially different from that given long ago by Aristotle 
or by Sir Philip Sidney, it is indispensable that we answer 
the question for ourselves, even though we may merely 
translate into modern terms what older apologists have 

Throughout this chapter and, to a less degree, through- 
out the entire book, we shall quote extensively from what 
the poets themselves have had to say about their aims 
and methods. The best interpreter is the poet himself, 
particularly if he be, like Arnold, Coleridge, Poe, or Amy 
Lowell, a gifted critic as well. 

Many are the motives which induce men to read books. 
In the preface to his novel, Pierre et Jean, Guy de 
Maupassant wrote : "The public is composed of numerous 
groups who say to us [writers] : 'Console me, amuse 
me, make me sad, make me sentimental, make me 
dream, make me laugh, make me tremble, make me 
weep, make me think.' But there are some chosen spirits 


who demand of the artist: 'Make for me something fine, 
in the form which suits you best, following your own tem- 
perament.' " In other words, the reasons why men turn 
to fiction and poetry are almost endless in their variety, 
but the reader whom every novelist and every poet most 
desires is he who first ascertains what the writer is trying 
to do and then judges his success or failure by that aim. 

Lord Dunsany, the Irish dramatist, has said : "Of pure 
poetry there are two kinds, that which mirrors the beauty 
of the world in which our bodies are, and that which builds 
the more mysterious kingdoms where geography ends and 
fairyland begins, with gods and heroes at war, and the 
sirens singing still, and Alph going down to the darkness 
from Xanadu." Borrowing the terminology of prose fic- 
tion, we shall call these two kinds of poetry realjsjbic and 

There are times when we turn to poetry as a means of 
escape from prosaic surroundings. In this mood poetry 
offers a pleasing means of beguiling an otherwise tedious 
hour. Poetry, said Keats, 

should be a friend 
To soothe the cares, and lift the thoughts of man. 

In this mood we turn from what Wordsworth called the 
"familiar matter of to-day" to 

old, unhappy far-off things 
And battles long ago. 

We lose ourselves in Camelot with Arthur, Lancelot, and 
Guinevere, or roam the Scottish Highlands with James 
Fitz-James and Ellen Douglas, or we turn to the age of 
chivalry which Keats magically resurrected in "The Eve 


of St. Agnes.'* Or again, we turn to external nature, as 
did Keats in his "Ode to a Nightingale." "On the viewless 
wings of Poesy" we may, with him, 

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget 

What thou among the leaves hast never known, 

The weariness, the fever, and the fret 

Here, where men sit and hear each other groan. 

Emily Dickinson, a New England poet whose work is too 
little known, has admirably expressed the mood in which 
we prefer the poetry of romance. 


There is no frigate like a book, 

To take us lands away, 
Nor any coursers like a page 

Of prancing poetry. 
This traverse may the poorest take 

Without oppress of toll; 
How frugal is the chariot 

That bears a human soul ! 

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) 

But there is a mood in which we turn to poetry of a 
different kind. Amy Lowell has said, 

All books are either dreams, or swords, 
You can cut, or you can drug, with words. 

We do not always wish to escape life; we often wish to 
learn more about it. The poet can show us the poetry 
latent in even the most prosaic surroundings. An old 
* Copyrighted by Little, Brown and Company. 


lady who was looking at a picture of the river Thames 
by Whistler said to the painter, "Mr. Whistler, I have 
lived in London fifty years, and I never saw the river look 
like that." The painter's reply was "Ah, but don't you 
wish you could!" As another painter, Browning's Fra 
Lippo Lippi, puts it, 

We're made so that we love 

First when we see them painted, things we have passed 
Perhaps a hundred times nor cared to see; 
And so they're better, painted better to us, 
Which is the same thing. Art was given for that. 

It is in this mood that we prefer the realistic Browning 
to the romantic Keats. The poet can teach us what 
Burns taught Whittier, as the latter tells us in "Burns" : 

New light on home-seen Nature beamed, 

New glory over Woman; 
And daily life and duty seemed 

No longer poor and common. 

I woke to find the simple truth 

Of fact and feeling better 
Than all the dreams that held my youth 

A still repining debtor. . . . 

Why drearn of lands of gold and pearl, 

Of loving knight and lady, 
When farmer boy and barefoot girl 

Were wandering there already? 

The poetry of words should help us to see the poetry 
of life. For poetry is not merely something found in 


books ; it is a way of looking at life. There is an embryo 
poet in every one of us. Emerson wrote in "The En- 

The little Shakespeare in the maiden's heart 
Makes Romeo of a plough-boy on his cart. 

The greatest thing a poet can do for us is to let us look 
at the world with his eyes. 

The poetry which holds us longest is that which has 
some intimate relation to our own lives. We do not care 
to linger in the weird world of Foe's "Ulalume," for the 
characters seem hardly human. The poet, however, need 
not always write of the near-at-hand and the contem- 
porary. He may "show virtue her own feature, scorn 
her own image" without being an ultra-realist. The 
characters of the most improbable romances, like Ivanhoe 
and Marmion, may be as real to us as the town drunkard 
in the Spoon River Anthology. Judged by any standard 
of probability, the plot of A Midsummer Night's Dream 
is utterly absurd; but Bottom and Puck are as real as 
ourselves. As Aristotle pointed out, it often happens that 
there is more truth in poetry than in history. 

To the question, What is poetry? no one will ever give 
a satisfactory answer. Poetry, as we have already sug- 
gested, does not mean the same thing to any two poets 
or lovers of poetry. It does not even mean the same 
thing to the same person in two successive decades. Most 
of us become ashamed of our youthful favorites, and many 
poets have omitted from later editions those verses of 
which they once were proudest. Poetry, again, resembles 
sorrow, love, and faith; only experience can teach us the 


full meaning of the words. As Wordsworth said of the 

you must love him, ere to you 
He will seem worthy of your love. 

Every definition of poetry should not only state its 
positive qualities but should also exclude certain things 
which are often confused with poetry but do not belong 
to it. For generations the best foreign and native critics 
have told us that we Anglo-Saxons are most likely to 
overestimate the intrinsic poetic worth of didactic poetry. 
While it is probably true that the greatest poetry, as 
Arnold said of all literature, gives us "a criticism of 
life," it does not follow that a poem should ever directly 
teach a moral. Poe never tired of condemning the 
didacticism of the New England poets, and contemporary 
American poets and critics agree that he was right. The 
older New England poets inherited too much of the 
Puritan attitude toward life to be able always to distin- 
guish between the ethical and the beautiful. Occasionally, 
as in Kipling's "If" and Wordsworth's "Character of 
the Happy Warrior," didactic verse is so excellent of 
its kind that only a very rash critic will deny that it is 
genuinely poetic. Longfellow's "Psalm of Life" is the 
classic example of the didactic poem which is popular 
with the average reader but has no standing with critics 
and scholars. As a sermon, it is magnificent ; as poetry, 
it is poor. It is unfortunate that Longfellow's sonnets 
on Dante are so little known, for they are much better 
poetry and are not marred by such moral tags as that 
which closes "The Village Blacksmith," 


Thanks, thanks, my worthy friend, 
For the lesson thou hast taught. 

The poet should follow the advice of Lowell, who wrote in 
"The Origin of Didactic Poetry," 

Put all your beauty in your rhymes, 
Your morals in your living. 

"The poet's only moral duty, as a poet," says Spingarn, 
"is to be true to his art, and to express his vision of 
reality as well as he can." 

Another common error is to imagine that there is some- 
thing supernatural about the act of writing poetry. The 
composition of poetry is not an abnormal process at all. 
A little experience in writing verse will help any one to 
see that the poet is a workman in words who excels the 
rest of us mainly in his larger conceptions and his greater 
skill in embodying these in poetic language. The poet 
is not a freak but a man of keen sensibilities whose emo- 
tional reactions naturally take the form of verse. In 
China, according to Witter Bynner, it is only the abnor- 
mal person who does not write verse. "A vein of Poetry," 
said Carlyle, "exists in the hearts of all men; no man is 
made altogether of Poetry. We are all poets when we 
read a poem well." Certain modern critics, Spingarn and 
Croce, go so far as to assert that the creative and the 
critical instincts are one and the same. This may well 
be doubted although Poe's well-known account of the 
composition of "The Raven" suggests the same position. 
Psychology will perhaps eventually throw more light upon 
the obscure process of poetic composition. Bryant's 


advice to would-be poets in the following poem is worth 
reading in this connection. 


Thou who wouldst wear the name 

Of poet 'mid thy brethren of mankind, 

And clothe in words of flame 

Thoughts that shall live within the general mind ! 

Deem not the framing of a deathless lay 

The pastime of a drowsy summer day. 

But gather all thy powers, 

And wreak them on the verse that thou dost weave, 
And in thy lonely hours, 

At silent morning or at wakeful eve, 
While the warm current tingles through thy veins 
Set forth the burning words in fluent strains. 

No smooth array of phrase, 

Artfully sought and ordered though it be, 

Which the cold rhymer lays 

Upon his page with languid industry, 

Can wake the listless pulse to livelier speed, 

Or fill with sudden tears the eyes that read. 

The secret wouldst thou know 

To touch the heart or fire the blood at will? 
Let thine own eyes o'erflow; 

Let thy lips quiver with the passionate thrill; 
Seize the great thought, ere yet its power be past, 

And bind, in words, the fleet emotion fast. 

Then, should thy verse appear 

Halting and harsh, and all unaptly wrought, 
Touch the crude line with fear, 

Save in the moment of impassioned thought; 


Then summon back the original glow, and mend 
The strain with rapture that with fire was penned. 

Yet let no empty gust 

Of passion find an utterance in thy lay, 
A blast that whirls the dust 

Along the howling street and dies away; 
But feelings of calm power and mighty sweep, 
Like currents journeying through the windless deep. 

Seek'st thou, in living lays, 

To limn the beauty of the earth and sky? 
Before thine inner gaze 

Let all that beauty in clear vision lie; 
Look on it with exceeding love, and write 
The words inspired by wonder and delight. 

Of tempests wouldst thou sing, 

Or tell of battles make thyself a part 

Of the great tumult; cling 

To the tossed wreck with terror in thy heart; 

Scale, with the assaulting host, the rampart's height, 

And strike and struggle in the thickest fight. 

So shalt thou frame a lay 

That haply may endure from age to age, 
And they who read shall say: 

"What witchery hangs upon this poet's page ! 
What art is his the written spells to find 
That sway from mood to mood the willing mind !" 

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878") 

It is impossible to frame a definition of poetry which 
will include all poetry and exclude prose. The true 
antithesis of poetry, as Coleridge pointed out, is not 
prose but science. Poetry is emotional; science is the 


opposite. Science deals with facts, poetry with sugges- 
tions. The scientist calls water H 2 O; the poet calls it 
murmuring, rippling, still, or blue. It is impossible to 
make any exact or comprehensive distinction between the 
language or the subject matter of poetry and prose. 
Nevertheless we all feel that poetry and prose are not 
the same thing. Instead of attempting a definition of 
poetry, we shall quote a number of representative defini- 
tions, which taken together give as accurate a conception 
of poetry as it is possible to convey in definitions. 

Ruskin defines poetry as "the presentment, in musical 
form, to the imagination, of noble grounds for the noble 
emotions." Wordsworth also emphasizes the emotional 
side of poetry when he defines it as "the spontaneous 
overflow of powerful feelings recollected in tranquillity." 
In another definition, which emphasizes the content of 
poetry, Wordsworth calls it "the breath and finer spirit 
of all knowledge." Shelley's definition is suggestive: 
"Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments 
of the best and happiest minds." Poe's definition is "the 
rhythmical creation of Beauty" in words. The language 
of poetry, said Milton, should be "simple, sensuous, 
and passionate." In a notable article on Poetry in the 
Encyclopaedia Britaimica, Theodore Watts-Dunton gives 
one of the most comprehensive of all definitions: "Abso- 
lute poetry is the concrete and artistic expression of the 
human mind in emotional and rhythmical language." An 
even better definition perhaps is that of the American 
poet, Edwin Arlington Robinson: "Poetry is a language 
that tells us, through a more or less emotional reaction, 
something that cannot be said. All poetry, great or 


small, does this. And it seems to me that poetry has^two 
characteristics. One is that it is, after all, undefinable. 
The other is that it is eventually unmistakable." 

There are a number of things which distinguish genuine 
poetry from mere versifying, but the one quality which 
needs most to be emphasized is sincerity. No poem can 
be great unless its author is sincere in telling us what he 
sees and feels and thinks. Above all, the poet must not 
try to make us feel what he himself does not completely 
feel. The untrained reader often fails to see that the 
language of an inferior poem is conventional and conse- 
quently insincere. Such poems, with their outworn 
phrases, to quote Pope, 

ring round the same unvaried chimes, 
With sure return of still expected rhymes ; 
Where'er you find "the cooling western breeze/' 
In the next line, it "whispers through the trees": 
If crystal streams "with pleasing murmurs creep," 
The reader's threatened (not in vain) with "sleep." 

Hamlet's "take arms against a sea of troubles" is a 
classic instance of the poet's failure to visualize what he 
is saying. Longfellow's mariner, in "A Psalm of Life" 
"sailing o'er life's solemn main" and at the same time 
examining "footprints on the sands of time," is another 
example of confused phrasing. Walt Whitman used to 
go through his poems ruthlessly cutting out all these 
trite phrases, which today are usually called cliches. 
Learning to detect the trite, the insincere, depends upon 
practice. Taste in poetry, as in everything else, grows 
by feeding upon the right things. 


But, one may ask, what are the right things and how 
do you know that they are the right things? This is a 
question difficult to answer. It is not enough to appeal to 
the great names of the past ; for, contrary to the popular 
notion, the great poets do not enjoy an unchanging fame. 
We cannot accept even Homer as a great poet merely 
because Matthew Arnold assures us that he is one; 
Homer must prove himself a great poet to us. 

With more recent poets, like Tennyson and Longfellow, 
the problem is still more difficult. The poets of the mid- 
nineteenth century are being severely tested today. There 
are many who deny that either Tennyson or Longfellow 
was a poet at all. Our fathers thought Longfellow's 
"Village Blacksmith" and Tennyson's "May Queen" great 
poems, but to us the former seems too didactic and the 
latter too sentimental to be great. 

In the last analysis, no one can tell exactly what makes 
a poem a classic ; and it is best for us frankly to admit 
that fact. Perhaps the best answer has been given by 
Arnold Bennett: 

"A classic is a work which gives pleasure to the minor- 
ity which is intensely and permanently interested in litera- 
ture. It lives on because the minority, eager to renew 
the sensation of pleasure, is eternally curious and is 
therefore engaged in an eternal process of rediscovery. 
A classic does not survive for any ethical reason. It does 
not survive because it conforms to certain canons, or 
because neglect would kill it. It survives because it is a 
source of pleasure, and because the passionate few can 
no more neglect it than a bee 'can neglect a flower. The 
passionate few do not read 'the right things' because they 


are right. That is to put the cart before the horse. 'The 
right things* are the right things solely because the pas- 
sionate few like reading them." 

Except in compiling a collection of contemporary 
poetry, most anthologists make it a rule never to admit 
a poem by a living author. This is undoubtedly playing 
safe, for, as every one knows, contemporary estimates 
are exceedingly liable to be wrong. Critics disagree even 
concerning poets who have long been dead. Matthew 
Arnold thought Gray a better poet than either Chaucer 
or Burns. Wordsworth and Tennyson both considered 
Burns a great poet ; but Wordsworth thought Burns's 
songs unworthy of him, whereas Tennyson greatly pre- 
ferred them to his other poems. Still another poet, 
Aubrey de Vere, did not care at all for Burns. Literary 
history is full of once hallowed names which are now 
forgotten. What verdict posterity will ultimately pass 
upon living poets, no man knows. 

We do not, however, wish the reader of this volume to 
rest under the misconception that poetry is something 
written only by the dead. Consequently, in full knowledge 
of our liability to error, we have included in this collection 
a large number of poems by living authors. It is prob- 
ably true that many of the poems we have included will 
not survive ; but there is, nevertheless, much to be gained 
from setting side by side the older and the contemporary 
poets. It is the surest test of each. If the living poets 
cannot withstand the test of being placed beside Burns, 
Shelley, Wordsworth, and Browning, then so much the 
worse for them. If an older poet offers nothing that inter- 
ests the present generation, we shall have to drop him. 


We include the poems of living poets especially because 
they should mean more to our generation than they can 
ever mean to any other. It is a matter of fundamental 
importance that we should, if possible, know and read 
our poets before they are dead. They write for us rather 
than for posterity. Why should some poet, a hundred 
years hence, find occasion to write of a poet now living 
as John Gould Fletcher has recently written of William 
Blake, whose work was hardly recognized until fifty years 
after his death? 


Blake saw 

Angels in a London street; 

God the Father on a hill, 

Christ before a tavern door. 

Blake saw 

All these shapes, and more. 

Blake knew 

Other men saw not as he; 

So he tried to give his sight 

To that beggarman, the world. 

"You are mad," 

Was all the blind world said. 

Blake died 

Singing songs of praise to God. 
"They are not mine," he told his wife, 
"I may praise them, they are not mine." 
Then he died. And the world called Blake divine. 
John Gould Fletcher (1886- ) 

"It appears," says Max Eastman, "that a poet in history 
is divine, but a poet in the next room is a joke." 


One should beware of assuming either of two pernicious 
attitudes: first, that only contemporary poetry is of any 
importance and, second, that only the older poetry is 
worthy of serious attention. In his admirable Study of 
Poetry Professor Bliss Perry has said: "I have little 
confidence in the taste of professed admirers of poetry 
who can find no pleasure in contemporary verse, and still 
less confidence in the taste of our contemporaries whose 
delight in the 'new era* has made them deaf to the great 
poetic voices of the past. I am sorry for the traditional- 
ist who cannot enjoy Robert Frost and Edwin Arlington 
Robinson and Edgar Lee Masters and Carl Sandburg. 
He is, in my opinion, in a parlous state. But the state 
of the young rebel who cannot enjoy 'Lycidas' and 'The 
Progress of Poesy' and the 'Ode to Dejection' is worse 
than parlous. It is hopeless." 

Present-day poetry is not essentially different from 
that of a century ago. We are in the midst of a rather 
violent reaction against nineteenth century poetic ideals ; 
but such a revolt, as Professor J. L. Lowes has ably 
demonstrated in his Convention and Revolt in Poetry, 
is no new thing in poetic history. Euripides, Marlowe, 
Dryden, Wordsworth, and Victor Hugo were rebels also. 
The past, in fact, holds the key to the understanding of 
present-day verse; for, as Miss Harriet Monroe has said, 
"The new in art is always the elder old." We need, 
furthermore, to turn to older writers to understand what 
it is that the new poets are rebelling against. Moreover, 
a knowledge of older poetry helps us to find a proper 
perspective for judging the poems of our own day. 

There is only one way of acquiring a thorough under- 


standing of the technical aspects of poetry; and that is 
by writing verse. In a sense it is doubtless true that 
poets are born and not made, but they certainly come into 
the world as ignorant of versification and language as the 
rest of us. The poet learns the use of his tools by prac- 
tice, just as the carpenter, the blacksmith, and the mason 
learn the use of theirs. It is not always remembered that 
practically all the important critics of poetry have at- 
tempted to write poetry themselves ; and our greatest 
English and American critics, Coleridge, Arnold, Lowell, 
and Poe, were genuine poets who had mastered their craft 
before they undertook to expound its laws. Practice in 
the writing of verse, moreover, increases one's ability to 
write good prose, as even the prosaic Benjamin Franklin 
found. It enlarges the vocabulary and sharpens the 
feeling for the subtle distinctions in words. 

And yet one hesitates to emphasize the value of verse 
writing because so many of those who can write fluent 
verse make the monumental mistake of thinking that they 
are great poets. In every state in the Union there are 
hundreds of these deluded persons who, alas, are not as 
mute as the inglorious Miltons in Gray's "Elegy." The 
love of poetry and the ability to write fluent verse do not 
make one a poet. Great poets are the rarest of nature's 
productions ; it seems as if she threw aside thousands of 
imperfect specimens, poetasters, while creating one great 

Although most great poems were written before the 
invention of the riming dictionary, many young versifiers 
fancy it an indispensable part of every poet's baggage. 
Only the beginner needs the riming dictionary, for the 


poet soon acquires from practice great facility in re- 
calling all the rime words available to his purpose. As 
a handy substitute for the large riming dictionary, we 
suggest the following vest pocket edition. Let us sup- 
pose that we wish a rime for the word glee. Glance 
down the following list of consonants, adding the vowel 
sound ee to each of them in turn. Make a list of the 
words which you find. 

b-, bl-, br-, c-, ch-, cl-, cr-, d-, dr-, f-, fl-, fr-, g-, 
gl-, gr-, h-, j-, k-, 1-, m-, n-, p-, pi-, pr-, qu-, r-, 
s-, sc-, sli-, si-, sm-, sn-, sp-, squ-, st-, sir-, sw-, 
t-, th-, tr-, tw-, v-, w-, wh-, wr-, y-, z-. 

After striking out the combinations which do not make 
words, we have be, bee, fee, flea, ftee, glee, agree, degree, 
he, key, lea, lee, me, kn#e, pea, plea, quay, sea, see, 
ski, she, tea, tee, thee, tree, wee, and ye. A little practice 
in looking for rimes will show that certain words, like 
love, have very few mates. Feminine, or doubte, rimes are 
particularly difficult to find in English. By employing 
participial endings like -ed and -ing, one can manage to 
find enough feminine rimes for a very short poem. The 
little dictionary given above reveals the following rimes 
for seeing: bemg, feeing , freeing, skiing, and treevng. 
For burning we find earning, churning, learning, con- 
cerning, turning, and yearning. The student who wishes 
to learn to write correct verse should study some of the 
manuals listed in the Bibliography, especially those of 
Fairchild and Andrews. He will probably find that rime 
presents fewer difficulties than several other matters. 

In conclusion, may we be permitted to make two sug- 


gestions to those who wish to learn to understand and 
enjoy poetry? One reason why many persons find poetry 
difficult or unpleasant reading is that they regard a poem 
as merely a collection of words upon the printed page. 
Poetry is meant not for the eye but for the ear; it is 
living human speech and not cold print. Above all things, 
he who would learn to love great poetry should avoid 
reading it as he reads his newspaper or the latest popular 
novel, skipping every other word and half the lines. 
Poetry is music; and, like other forms of music, it gains 
in meaning when interpreted by the human voice. When 
so situated that he cannot read aloud, the man who loves 
poetry will make sure that, as he reads, he hears distinctly 
every syllable. To understand and enjoy poetry, one 
must read and re-read it as a man reads and re-reads a 
letter from one he loves. 

If after a sympathetic and careful re-reading, you 
find that such a poem as Wordsworth's "Ode : Intimations 
of Immortality" does not stir you profoundly, perhaps 
the reason is that you have not yet had the experience 
of life necessary to give you an understanding of this 
great poem. The imagination of youth partially sup- 
plies the place of experience ; but much of what is greatest 
in poetry is comparatively meaningless to those who have 
never known love, sorrow, married life, children. It is 
unfortunate that most of us read the masterpieces of 
English poetry only in our immature years in school and 
college, for the great poets write mainly for the mature 
and the experienced. It is said that George Edward 
Woodberry, poet, scholar, and critic, was once delivering 
at Columbia University an enthusiastic lecture on the 


Italian poet Ariosto when he was interrupted by one of 
his students, the now well-known novelist Upton Sinclair, 
who said: "Professor Woodberry, I don't care anything 
about Ariosto. What shall I do about it?" Mr. Wood- 
berry paused a moment and said, "Young man, grow!" 
The great poets should be our life companions. The more 
we read them, the better we shall understand them. If we 
do not continue to read them after we leave school, we 
shall probably have to confess late in life, like Darwin, 
that we have lost the power to enjoy them. 



And ever, against eating cares, 
Lap me in soft Lydian airs, 
Married to immortal verse. 

Milton : "L'A llegro" 

THE song is a poem which is sung. It belongs equally 
to poetry and music, two arts which deal with sounds. 
In music the term often includes not only the lyric but 
also the ballad, which in poetry is classed separately and 
will be discussed in a later chapter. The song is the 
simplest and yet perhaps the most enduring form of 
either music or poetry. It is the oldest form of music 
and, the ballad alone excepted, also of poetry; and yet 
none of the later and more complex forms of either art 
has so wide an appeal as the song. The Greeks believed 
song to be the invention of the gods, and a Hebrew poet 
tells us that at the creation "the morning stars sang 
together" for joy. Nothing else in the whole range of 
art has such power to move the heart as this blending of 
melody and verse. Only Milton's "fit audience . . . 
though few" find pleasure in Paradise Lost, and Bee- 
thoven's "Moonlight Sonata" is "caviar to the general"; 
but "Annie Laurie" and "Auld Lang Syne" stir the 
hearts of millions. 



Beautiful melodies and great poems are abundant, but 
the perfect blend of the two is one of the rarest things 
in the world of art. There are many stirring airs like 
"Dixie," which are yet to find appropriate words; and 
there are many lyrics tike "Crossing the Bar" which, 
though repeatedly set to music, still lack an ideal musical 
setting. The musician and the poet are generally too 
ignorant of one another's fields to achieve the ideal union 
of great poetry and beautiful music. Great songs are as 
rare as they are beautiful. 

Just what each art contributes to this wedding of 
poetry and music is best discovered by examining them 
separately. The poem which is not sung Shelley's "To 
a Skylark" for instance often fails to arouse any emo- 
tion in the inexperienced reader. The poem does not sing 
itself to him, as the poet meant that it should. Music 
without words, on the other hand, is apt to arouse an 
emotion which is vague and undefined, not linked to any 
definite idea or image. When we hear even so simple an 
air as Dvorak's beautiful "Humoresque," most of us long 
for words to tell us what the composer is trying to ex- 
press. But when we listen to "My Old Kentucky Home" 
or "Lead, Kindly Light," we are satisfied because the 
words give us the idea while the music arouses in us the 
appropriate emotional response. 

The lyric, then, gives us the idea or theme and calls 
up appropriate pictures in language which is rich in 
suggestion, pictorial power, and sensuous beauty. The 
melody gives the poem greater expressiveness ; and it does 
this by intensifying the emotion and adding a color and 
a richness which words alone cannot impart. Although 


Rouget de Lisle wrote both words and air for the "Mar- 
seillaise" and Wagner wrote the librettos as well as the 
music of his operas, usually air and lyric are written by 
different persons. Ordinarily a musician like Schubert 
composes a melody for a poem like Shakespeare's "Hark, 
Hark, the Lark," or a poet like Mrs. Howe writes words 
for a well-known melody, as she did in "The Battle Hymn 
of the Republic." In every case, however, the poem and 
the air must blend to produce a harmonious whole. 

There are more perfect melodies and far greater poems 
than the air and words of Stephen Collins Foster's "Old 
Folks at Home" ; but in few other songs does one find so 
perfect a harmony between the two. The explanation is 
that Foster wrote both words and music for his songs. 
If the reader will read "Old Folks at Home" as a poem, 
he will find that it is not poetry of a high order ; in fact, 
without the music the words seem colorless and conven- 
tional. When sung to the melody, however, they seem 
suddenly to have become alive, full of unsuspected color 
and feeling. 


Way down upon de Swanee Ribber, 

Far, far away, 
Dere's wha my heart is turning ebber, 

Dere's wha de old folks stay. 
All up and down de whole creation 

Sadly I roam, 
Still longing for de old plantation, 

And for de old folks at home. 



All de world am sad and dreary, 

Eberywhere I roam; 
Oh ! darkeys, how my heart grows weary, 

Far from de old folks at home ! 

All round de little farm I wandered 

When I was young, 
Den many happy days I squandered, 

Many de songs I sung. 
When I was playing wid my brudder, 

Happy was I ; 
Oh, take me to my kind old mudder! 

Dere let me live and die. 

One little hut among de bushes, 

One dat I love, 
Still sadly to my memory rushes, 

No matter where I rove. 
When will I see de bees a-humming 

All round de comb? 
When will I hear de banjo tumming 

Down in my good old home? 

Stephen Collins Foster (1826-1864) 



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It is too much the fashion among musicians to think 
of the words of a song as comparatively unimportant. 
No mistake could be greater ; for, as Shakespeare has put 
it, "Orpheus' lute was strung with poets' sinews." With- 
out the words the air would seem to most of us unsatisfy- 
ing and pointless. The poem not only gives us the key 
to the emotion which the music arouses ; it also emphasizes 
it in every possible way. The theme of "Old Folks at 
Home" is the wanderer's longing for home and home folks. 
Every line of the poem calls up appropriate pictures of 
the darkey's home and relatives. Our emotions are at- 
tached to persons and things, and it is the part of the 
poet to picture them while the musician stirs our feelings. 
Foster's song illustrates perfectly one of Irving Berlin's 
eight rules for writing popular songs: "The title, which 
must be simple and easily remembered, must be 'planted' 


effectively in the song. It must be emphasized, accented 
again and again, throughout verses and chorus.'* 

Foster's songs come nearer to being distinctively 
American than any others that we possess ; but in reality 
we have none that compare with the best songs of Eng- 
land, Scotland, and Ireland. Foster's are not, strictly 
speaking, negro songs ; for the dialect is imperfect and 
negroes seldom sing them. The airs, nevertheless, are 
genuinely melodious and are not the echoes of European 
music. They are, however, colored by the sentimentality 
characteristic of much of our music and poetry. "The 
Old Oaken Bucket" and "A Perfect Day" illustrate this 
sentimental strain which vitiates many otherwise good 

Genuine negro folk-song is a very different thing from 
our parlor and vaudeville songs written in a pseudo-negro 
dialect. Most of the old negro airs are no longer sung 
by the negroes themselves, who now unfortunately prefer 
to sing the latest jazz tunes. Perhaps the best of the old 
negro camp-meeting songs is "Swing Low, Sweet 
Chariot," the melody of which the Bohemian musician 
Dvorak used in his "New World Symphony.'* 


Swing low, sweet chariot, 
Comin' for to carry me home. 

I looked over Jordan and what did I see, 
Comin' for to carry me home? 
A band of angels comin' aftah me, 
Comin' for to carry me home. 


If you git there before I do, 
Comin' for to carry me home, 
Tell all my frien's I'm a-comin', too, 
Comin' for to carry me home. 

The brightes' day that ever I saw, 
Comin' for to carry me home, 
When Jesus washed my sins away, 
Comin' for to carry me home. 

I'm sometimes up an' sometimes down, 
Comin' for to carry me home, 
But still my soul feel heavenly boun', 
Coming for to carry me home. 

From the art-song, which is the work of a known poet 
and a known musician, the folk-song differs in that no 
one knows who wrote either the melody or the words. 
The folk-song, although in many instances probably 
launched by an individual author, has been handed down 
by tradition until it has come to be the fitting expression 
of the spirit of a race. In poetic merit, it is, of course, 
inferior to the art-song ; but its sincerity and its natural- 
ness are inimitable. 

The folk-song is the ultimate basis of both modern 
music and modern poetry. "From it," says Mrs. Wode- 
house in her discussion of the Song in Grove's Dictionary 
of Music, "we have derived not only our scales, but the 
shape of our melodies, the outlines of our musical form, 
and indirectly the art of harmony and cadences." It 
follows that, as she points out, America has "no distinc- 
tive characteristics of her own in music. . . . Deprived 
as it has been of its natural foundation, t. e., the folk- 
song, her national music must be formed on the indi- 


viduality of her composers." Mrs. Wodehouse might 
have added with equal truth that American poetry has 
too often been feeble and imitative because it has little 
basis in native folk-lore apart from that of the negro 
and the Indian. 

When poetry and music emerge from the twilight 
obscurity of prehistoric times, they are practically always 
found together. Among present-day savages, who pre- 
serve for us the chief clues to the origin of music and 
poetry, the two arts are still united. It is believed by 
most authorities that both poetry and music evolved from 
the dance, which is intimately related to primitive poetry 
and music. Rhythm is the element which unites these 
three arts, as form is the element common to painting, 
sculpture, and architecture. 

The debt of modern poetry to the folk-song is clearly 
seen in the songs of Robert Burns, the greatest of all 
song-writers. Even before the time of Burns, Scotland 
Sad not only an almost unrivaled wealth of beautiful folk- 
nelodies but a widespread interest in song. This folk- 
music preserves the humor and pathos of thousands of 
long dead singers. During the Reformation the singing 
of these songs was forbidden by the clergy; but they 
continued to be sung in secret. At merry-makings when 
no minister was present, "the wee sinfu' fiddle" was 
brought out and the old songs were sung. By the begin- 
ning of the eighteenth century, though the airs were as 
beautiful as ever, the words had nearly all become corrupt 
and often indecent. It was the task of Burns and other 
Scottish poets to fit to the old airs equally beautiful and 
appropriate poems. 


With Burns, the poem grew directly out of the melody. 
He thus described his method of composition: "Until I 
am complete master of a tune in my own singing (such 
as it is), I can never compose to it. My way is: I con- 
sider the poetic sentiment corresponding to my idea of 
the musical expression, then choose my theme, begin one 
stanza, and when that is composed, which is generally 
the most difficult part of the business, I walk out, sit 
down now and then, look out for objects of nature around 
me that are in unison and harmony . . . humming every 
now and then the air with the verses I have composed. 
When I feel my muse beginning to jade, I retire to the 
solitary fireside of my study, and there commit my effu- 
sions to paper, swinging at intervals on the hind legs of 
my elbow chair by way of calling forth my own critical 
strictures as my pen goes on." In "Afton Water" Burns 
has thus wedded appropriate words to an old air. The 
Mary in whose honor the song was written seems not to 
have been the famous Highland Mary. A brae is a hill- 
side facing a stream ; birk is Scots for birch. 


Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes, 
Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise; 
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream, 
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream. 

Thou stock-dove whose echo resounds thro' the glen, 
Ye wild whistling blackbirds in yon thorny den, 
Thou green-crested lapwing, thy screaming forbear, 
I charge you disturb not my slumbering fair. 


How lofty, sweet Afton, thy neighbouring hills, 
Far mark'd with the courses of clear winding rills; 
There daily I wander as noon rises high, 
My flocks and my Mary's sweet cot in my eye. 

How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below, 
Where wild in the woodland the primroses blow; 
There oft as mild Ev'ning weeps over the lea, 
The sweet-scented birk shades my Mary and me. 

Thy crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides, 
And winds by the cot where my Mary resides; 
How wanton thy waters her snowy feet lave, 
As gathering sweet flow'rets she stems thy clear wave. 

Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes, 
Flow gently, sweet river, the theme of my lays; 
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream, 
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream. 
Robert Burns (1759-1796} 

The Scottish dialect will give the reader little difficulty 
if he will observe certain simple rules. English o is 
usually represented by Scottish a, ai, or aw, as in amang, 
baith^ and auld. K is often found where English has ch, 
as in birk and kirk, for birch and church. Certain con- 
sonants are frequently omitted in Scots, especially I and 
v, as in fa' and gi'e. 

Although all of Burns's songs are written to old airs, 
some of them, like "Afton Water" and "Highland Mary,'* 
are original poems. More often, however, Burns is found 
revising the words of a folk-song. Sometimes his changes 
are few; more often he recasts the entire poem. An 
excellent example of his revision is to be seen in "Auld 


Lang Syne," which is perhaps the most widely known 
song in the language. Strangely enough, though the air 
we now sing fits the poem well, it is not the one for which 
it was written. Burns is here trying to express the feel- 
ing of friendship. Imagine two old friends meeting after 
many years to talk over old times auld lang syne means 
old times, but it is more expressive than the English 
phrase. The first two lines in the second stanza mean 
I'll pay for my drink and you for yours ; or, in modern 
slang, "We'll go Dutch." Gowans means daisies ; burn, 
brook; fiere, comrade; a right guid-willie waught, a 
friendly drink. 


Should auld acquaintance be forgot 

And never brought to min'? 
Should auld acquaintance be forgot 

And auld lang syne? 

For auld lang syne, my dear, 

For auld lang syne, 
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet, 

For auld lang syne. 

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp, 

And surely I'll be mine; 
And we'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet 

For auld lang syne. 

We twa ha'e run about the braes, 

And pu'd the gowans fine; 
But we've wander'd mony a weary foot 

Sin' auld lang syne. 


We twa ha'e paidled i' the burn, 

From morning sun till dine; 
But seas between us braid ha'e roar'd 

Sin' auld lang syne. 

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere, 

And gi'e's a hand o' thine; 
And we'll tak' a right guid-willie waught, 

For auld lang syne. 

Robert Burns (1759-1796} 

Love songs are perhaps the best and certainly the mosl 
popular of all songs. In this field Burns is supreme. 
American poetry, to our great discredit be it said, has 
hardly a single great love lyric. The best known of all 
Scottish love songs is "Annie Laurie." The poem was 
originally written by Annie Laurie's lover, William Doug- 
las; but it was given its final form by Lady John Scott, 
to whom the air also has been ascribed. 


Maxwelton braes are bonnie, 

Where early fa's the dew; 
An' it's there that Annie Laurie 

Gi'ed me her promise true ; 
Gi'ed me her promise true, 

Which ne'er forgot sail be; 
And for bonnie Annie Laurie 

I'd lay me doun and dee. 

Her brow is like the snaw-drift, 

Her throat is like the swan, 
Her face it is the fairest 

That e'er the sun shone on; 


That e'er the sun shone on 

An' dark blue is her e'e; 
An' for bonnie Annie Laurie 

I'd lay me doun and dee. 

Like dew on the gowan lying 

Is the fa' o' her fairy feet; 
Like simmer breezes sighing, 

Her voice is low an' sweet; 
Her voice is low an' sweet 

An' she's a' the world to me; 
An' for bonnie Annie Laurie 

I'd lay me doun and dee. 

William Douglas and Lady John Scott 

Here we may pause to note how poems written to be 
sung differ from poems intended only to be read. The 
song must be simple and short. The metrical scheme 
must be simple and regular ; free verse and prose are much 
more difficult to set to music, although many of the 
Psalms and some of Whitman's poems have been sung. 
The lines of a song should be end-stopped; that is, the 
pauses should come at the end. The lines of the poem 
should be of such length that one musical phrase will 
correspond exactly to one line or a group of lines. The 
poet and the musician should stress the same syllables, 
as Foster does in "Old Folks at Home." Composers too 
often stress unimportant words like an, the, by, and shall. 
Above all, the words must be singable. Imagine yourself 
trying to sing Browning's line, 

Flouts Castle Brancepeth the Roundheads' array! 

The liquids, I, m, n, ng, r, are easiest to sing. The singer 
dislikes especially the hissing sounds, s, sh, and ch, which 


are common in English and German. It is by no means 
true, however, that the English language is poorly 
adapted to singing. The vowel sounds require careful at- 
tention on the part of poet and composer. The open vowel 
sounds, such as a in father, i in time, ow in down, e in 
ever, are preferable to the close sounds of u in full, oo in 
woo, and ee in meet. The open vowels are easier for the 
singer to sustain and increase in volume. For this reason 
singers prefer the less common pronunciation of the noun 
wind, riming it with blind rather than with thinned. 

Some of the most beautiful songs in English were writ- 
ten by the dramatic poets of Queen Elizabeth's time. 
Many of the Elizabethan actors had sung in church choirs 
before going on the stage. Shakespeare's plays are full 
of lovely little lyrics, such as "O Mistress Mine," "Under 
the Greenwood Tree," and "Tell me Where is Fancy 
Bred." Perhaps the best of all his songs is "Hark, Hark, 
the Lark," which in Cymbeline is sung at dawn by a lover 
just outside his sweetheart's door. If this song has any 
defect, it is Shakespeare's partiality to s's. The poem 
has been admirably set to music by Schubert, whom Liszt 
described as "the most poetical musician that ever wrote." 


Hark ! hark ! the lark at heaven's gate sings, 

And Phoebus 'gins arise, 
His steeds to water at those springs 

On chalic'd flowers that lies; 
And winking Mary-buds begin 

To ope their golden eyes: 


With everything that pretty is, 
My lady sweet, arise: 
Arise, arise. 

William Shakespeare (1564-1616") 

Shakespeare's friend and fellow-dramatist, Ben Jonson, 
wrote many beautiful songs. The only one which is now 
widely known is his "Song to Celia." The second stanza, 
which is hardly in keeping with the first, is marred by a 
"conceit," a far-fetched figure of speech which the Eliza- 
bethans admired. 


Drink to me only with thine eyes, 

And I will pledge with mine; 
Or leave a kiss but in the cup, 

And I'll not look for wine. 
The thirst that from the soul doth rise 

Doth ask a drink divine; 
But might I of Jove's nectar sip, 

I would not change for thine. 

I sent thee late a rosy wreath, 

Not so much honoring thee 
As giving it a hope, that there 

It could not wither'd be. 
But thou thereon didst only breathe, 

And sent'st it back to me; 
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear, 

Not of itself, but thee. 

Ben Jonson (1573-1637) 

Thomas Moore, the Irish poet, tried to do for his 
country what Burns had done for Scotland. His songs 


are melodious and pretty, but they are too sentimental 
and artificial; they belong to the English parlor, not to 
the Irish countryside. Though written for old Irish airs, 
the lyrics are not genuinely Irish. Some of them, how- 
ever, such as "The Last Rose of Summer" and "Oft in 
the Stilly Night," are still well known. 


Believe me, if all those endearing young charms 

Which I gaze on so fondly to-day, 
Were to change by to-morrow, and fleet in my arms, 

Like fairy-gifts fading away, 
Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art, 

Let thy loveliness fade as it will; 
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart 

Would! entwine itself verdantly still. 

It is not while beauty and youth are thine own, 

And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear, 
That the fervor and faith of a soul may be known 

To which time will but make thee more dear; 
No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets, 

But as truly loves on to the close, 
As the sunflower turns on her god when he sets 

The same look which she turned when he rose. 
Thomas Moore (1779-1852) 

Many of the old airs are best known today as college 
songs. "Fair Harvard," perhaps the best American rep- 
resentative of this type, is sung to the air of "Believe me 
if All those Endearing Young Charms." It is adapted 


to formal occasions like commencements and alumni re- 
unions, not to athletic rallies and contests. 


Fair Harvard! thy sons to thy jubilee throng 

And with blessings surrender thee o'er, 
By these festival rites, from the age that is past 

To the age that is waiting before. 
O relic and type of our ancestors' worth 

That has long kept their memory warm, 
First flower of their wilderness, star of their night, 

Calm rising through change and through storm. 

To thy bowers we were led in the bloom of our youth 

From the home of our infantile years, 
When our fathers had warned, and our mothers had prayed, 

And our sisters had blest, through their tears ! 
Thou then wert our parent, the nurse of our souls; 

We were moulded to manhood by thee, 
Till freighted with treasure-thoughts, friendships, and hopes, 

Thou didst launch us on Destiny's sea. 

When, as pilgrims, we come, to revisit thy halls, 

To what kindlings the season gives birth ! 
Thy shades are most soothing, thy sunlight more dear, 

Than descend on less privileged earth ; 
For the good and the great in their beautiful prime 

Through thy precincts have musingly trod 
As they guided their spirits or deepened the streams 

That make glad the fair city of God. 

Farewell, be thy destinies onward and bright! 
To thy children the lesson still give 


With freedom to think, and with patience to bear, 

And for right ever bravely to live. 
Let not moss-covered error moor thee at its side 

As the world on truth's current glides by; 
Be the herald of light and the bearer of love 

Till the stock of the Puritans die! 

Rev. Samuel Gilman (1791-1858} 

The hymn is probably the one kind of song which has 
lost nothing of its original importance in an age when 
poems are coming more and more to be read rather than 
sung. Yet, although there are a few hymns of great 
poetic beauty, it is a strange fact, admitted by every 
one, that most hymns have no poetic merit. This is 
partly explained by the fact that most hymns are writ- 
ten not by poets, but by ministers, who are naturally more 
concerned with the teaching of a moral than with the 
poetic expression of a great emotion. We should also 
remember that while inferior secular songs die a natural 
death, thousands of poor hymns are preserved in the 
hymnals. The great hymn is usually the product of a 
religious awakening such as that led by Whitefield and 
the Wesley brothers in the eighteenth century. The 
greatest hymn of modern times, it seems to us, is Cardi- 
nal Newman's "Lead, Kindly Light." The hymn reflects 
the doubt and gloom through which Newman, the leader 
of the Oxford Movement, passed before he attained faith 
and peace. The only serious defect in the poem when 
judged as a song is that there are too many "run-on" 
lines ; there ought to be a pause at the end of each 



Lead, kindly light, amid th' encircling gloom, 

Lead thou me on ! 
The night is dark, and I am far from home; 

Lead thou me on ! 

Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see 
The distant scene ; one step enough for me. 

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou 

Shouldst lead me on; 
I loved to choose and see my path; but now 

Lead thou me on ! 

I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears, 
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years ! 

So long thy power hath blest me, sure it still 

Will lead me on 
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till 

The night is gone, 

And with the morn those angel faces smile, 
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile ! 
John Henry Newman (1801-1890) 

Unlike the love song, the patriotic song is not the 
expression of the emotion of a single individual; like the 
hymn, it is the expression of the feeling of the crowd. 
Just as most hymns are written during a time of strong 
religious feeling, so most patriotic songs are written in 
war-time ; for it is war, not peace, which calls out the 
passionate love of country. The great national song 
cannot be made to order; it must await the conjunction 
of the man and the hour, and, curiously enough, it is 


almost never the work of a great poet. Great writers 
like Wordsworth and Milton stand too far apart from 
the crowd to write representative national songs. Who 
can recall off-hand the authors of "America," "The 
Watch on the Rhine,'* and "Dixie"? 

The American national anthem, "The Star-Spangled 
Banner," was written not by a Foe, a Longfellow, or a 
Whitman, but by a Baltimore lawyer named Francis Scott 
Key, who is known for nothing else. The poem was writ- 
ten during the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the 
British in 1814. Key, who had gone aboard the British 
fleet under a flag of truce to see a friend, was detained, 
and thus came to witness the bombardment during the 
night. In the morning he looked anxiously to see if the 
Stars and Stripes was still waving. Key wrote the poem 
immediately and set it to an English air, "To Anacreon 
in Heaven." Both the air and the poem are difficult to 
sing ; for the music has a wider compass than the average 
voice, and the lines are full of heavy unstressed syllables 
and difficult combinations of consonants. 


Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light, 

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? 
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the clouds of the 

O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? 
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, 

Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there; 
Oh, say, does that Star-Spangled banner yet wave 

O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave? 


Chorus : 

Oh, say, does the Star-Spangled Banner yet wave 
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave? 

On that shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep, 

Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes, 
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep, 

As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses ? 
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam, 

In full glory reflected now shines in the stream; 
"Tis the Star-Spangled banner; oh, long may it wave 

O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave ! 

And where is the band who so vauntingly swore, 

Mid the havoc of war and the battle's confusion, 
A home and a country they'd leave us no more? 

Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution. 
No refuge could save the hireling and slave 

From terror of flight or the gloom of the grave; 
And the Star-Spangled banner in triumph doth wave 

O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave. 

Oh ! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand 

Between their loved home, and the war's desolation ! 
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land 

Praise the Power that made and preserved us a nation. 
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, 

And this be our motto, "In God is our trust!" 
And the Star-Spangled banner in triumph shall wave 

O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave. 

Francis Scott Key (1780-1843) 

"America" was written in 1832 by Samuel Francis 
Smith, a Baptist minister and a classmate at Harvard of 
Oliver Wendell Holmes. Until after he had written the 


lyric, Smith did not know that he had composed it to 
the air of the English anthem, "God Save the King." 
The tune, however, is not certainly of English origin. 
The words of "God Save the King," and often the air as 
well, have been attributed to Henry Carey, who is sup- 
posed to have written the song about 1740. 


My country, 'tis of thee, 
Sweet Land of Liberty, 

Of thee I sing; 
Land where my fathers died, 
Land of the pilgrims' pride, 
From every mountain-side 

Let Freedom ring. 

My native country, thee, 
Land of the noble free, 

Thy name I love; 
I love thy rocks and rills, 
Thy woods and templed hills, 
My heart with rapture thrills 

Like that above. 

Let music swell the breeze, 
And ring from all the trees, 

Sweet Freedom's song; 
Let mortal tongues awake; 
Let all that breathe partake; 
Let rocks their silence break, 

The sound prolong. 

Our fathers' God, to Thee, 
Author of Liberty, 
To Thee I sing; 


Long may our land be bright 
With Freedom's holy light; 
Protect us by Thy might, 
Great God, our King. 

Samuel Francis Smith (1808-1895) 


God save our gracious King ! 
Long live our noble King! 

God save the King! 
Send him victorious, 
Happy and glorious, 
Long to reign over us ! 

God save the King! 

O Lord our God, arise! 
Scatter his enemies, 

And make them fall; 
Confound their politics, 
Frustrate their knavish tricks: 
On Thee our hopes we fix 

God save us all ! 

Thy choicest gifts in store 
On him be pleased to pour; 

Long may he reign ! 
May he defend our laws, 
And ever give us cause 
To sing with heart and voice 

God save the King! 

Henry Carey ? (d. 

The best American national songs date from about 
the time of the Civil War, the one great crisis which has 


stirred the nation to its depths. The words of most of 
the songs which the soldiers preferred have little merit 
beyond sincerity of feeling. "Dixie," the Confederate 
favorite, was written for a negro minstrel show, on one 
Sunday in 1859 by an Ohioan, Dan Emmett. The words, 
like those of "Yankee Doodle," are trivial; but the more 
poetic version of General Pike, "Southrons, Hear Your 
Country Call You," never became popular with the sol- 
diers. A Harvard professor of music has referred to 
"Dixie" as the best and most truly American of all our 
national airs. "Dixie" is as popular in the North as in 
the South ; we respond to it as we do to no other patriotic 

The Northern soldier's favorite, "John Brown's Body," 
is sung to an old negro camp-meeting tune. Since the 
authorship is still in dispute, it seems best to class "John 
Brown's Body" as a folk-song; the merits of the words 
are the merits of folk poetry simplicity, naturalness, 
and directness. 


John Brown's body lies a-mould'ring in the grave, 
John Brown's body lies a-mould'ring in the grave, 
John Brown's body lies a-mould'ring in the grave, 
His soul is marching on ! 

Chorus : 

Glory! Glory Hallelujah! 
Glory ! Glory Halleluj ah ! 
Glory! Glory Hallelujah! 
His soul is marching on. 


He's gone to be a soldier in the army of the Lord ! 
His soul is marching on. 

John Brown's knapsack is strapped upon his back. 
His soul is marching on. 

His pet lambs will meet him on the way, 
And they'll go marching on. 

They'll hang Jeff Davis to a sour apple tree, 
As they go marching on. 

Now for the Union let's give three rousing cheers, 
As we go marching on. 

Hip, hip, hip, hip, Hurrah! 

Mrs. Julia Ward Howe's poem, "The Battle Hymn of 
the Republic," resulted from an attempt to fit more ele- 
vated words to the tune of "John Brown's Body," which 
is undoubtedly one of the best of our military airs. She 
wrote the poem one night in December, 1861, after a visit 
to McClellan's army. The leading idea in the poem, 
according to Mrs. Howe, is "the sacredness of human lib- 
erty." "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" differs from 
the great majority of the war poems, "My Maryland," 
for instance, in the almost complete absence of sectional 
bitterness. It has the permanent quality which makes it 
appropriate to every struggle for human liberty. "The 
music made the words of 'John Brown's Body' famous," 
says Colonel Nicholas Smith, "but Mrs. Howe's match- 
less battle song has made the melody immortal." In her 
poem the song, originally a hymn, has become a hymn 
again, a great religious processional. 



Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord: 
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath 

are stored; 

He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword: 
His truth is marching on. 

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps ; 
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps ; 
I have read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps. 
His day is marching on. 

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel: 
"As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall 


Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with His heel, 
Since God is marching on." 

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat ; 
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat: 
Oh! be swift, my soul, to answer Him, be jubilant, my feet! 
Our God is marching on. 

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, 
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me: 
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, 
While God is marching on. 

Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910} 

The "Marseillaise of the Confederacy," "My Mary- 
land," now, after "My Old Kentucky Home," the best 
known of our state songs, was written in April, 1861, by 
James Ryder Randall. While teaching in Poydras Col- 
lege in Louisiana, Randall read an account of an attack 


upon some Union troops in his native city of Baltimore. 
The poem was written in much the same way as "The 
Battle Hymn of the Republic," as one may see from 
Randall's own account of its composition: "I had long 
been absent from my native city, and the startling event 
there inflamed my mind. That night I could not sleep, 
for my nerves were all unstrung, and I could not dis- 
miss what I read in the paper from my mind. About 
midnight I rose, lit a candle, and went to my desk. Some 
powerful spirit appeared to possess me, and almost invol- 
untarily I proceeded to write the song of 'My Maryland.' 
I remember that the idea appeared to first take shape as 
music in the brain some wild air that I cannot now 
recall. The whole poem was dashed off rapidly when 
once begun. It was not composed in cold blood, but 
under what may be called a conflagration of the senses, 
if not an inspiration of the intellect." 

The poem, in fact, has a superb fire and power, to 
which the air scarcely does justice, that make it worthy 
of comparison with Bruce's "Bannockburn" and Camp- 
bell's "Ye Mariners of England." Two Baltimore girls, 
Jennie and Hetty Gary, adapted the poem to an old 
German air, then popular as a Yale song under the title 
of "Lauriger Horatius." Stanzas three and four call 
the roll of famous Marylanders who had borne a dis- 
tinguished part in earlier wars. Sic semper, in the sixth 
stanza, is part of the motto of the state of Virginia, Sic 
Semper Tyrannis, "Thus always to tyrants." 



The despot's heel is on thy shore, 

Maryland ! 
His torch is at thy temple door, 

Maryland ! 

Avenge the patriotic gore 
That flecked the streets of Baltimore, 
And be the battle-queen of yore, 

Maryland, my Maryland ! 

Hark to an exiled son's appeal, 

Maryland ! 
My Mother State, to thee I kneel, 

Maryland ! 

For life and death, for woe and weal, 
Thy peerless chivalry reveal, 
And gird thy beauteous limbs with steel, 

Maryland, my Maryland! 

Thou wilt not cower in the dust, 

Maryland ! 
Thy beaming sword shall never rust, 

Maryland ! 

Remember Carroll's sacred trust, 
Remember Howard's warlike thrust, 
And all thy slumberers with the just, 

Maryland, my Maryland! 

Come ! 'tis the red dawn of the day, 

Maryland ! 
Come with thy panoplied array, 

Maryland ! 

With Ringgold's spirit for the fray, 
With Watson's blood at Monterey, 
With fearless Lowe and dashing May, 

Maryland, my Maryland! 


Dear Mother, burst the tyrant's chain, 

Maryland ! 
Virginia should not call in vain, 

Maryland ! 

She meets her sisters on the plain, 
"Sic semper!" 'tis the proud refrain 
That baffles minions back again, 

Maryland ! 
Arise in majesty again, 

Maryland, my Maryland ! 

Come ! for thy shield is bright and strong, 

Maryland ! 
Come ! for thy dalliance does thee wrong, 

Maryland ! 

Come to thine own heroic throng, 
Stalking with Liberty along, 
And chant thy dauntless slogan-song, 

Maryland, my Maryland! 

I see the blush upon thy cheek, 

Maryland ! 
For thou wast ever bravely meek, 

Maryland ! 

But lo ! there surges forth a shriek, 
From hill to hill, from creek to creek, 
Potomac calls to Chesapeake, 

Maryland, my Maryland! 

Thou wilt not yield the Vandal toll, 

Maryland ! 
Thou wilt not crook to his control, 

Maryland ! 

Better the fire upon thee roll, 
Better the shot, the blade, the bowl, 
Than crucifixion of the soul, 

Maryland, my Maryland ! 


I hear the distant thunder hum, 

Maryland ! 
The Old Line's bugle, fife, and drum, 

Maryland ! 

She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb; 
Huzza ! she spurns the Northern scum ! 
She breathes ! She burns ! She'll come ! She'll 


Maryland, my Maryland! 
James Ryder Randall (1839-1908) 

Nothing is stranger than the migrations of patriotic 
airs. Both "America" and "The Star-Spangled Banner" 
were written for English airs. "Dixie" was written by 
a Northerner. Foster, the most famous author of negro 
songs, was born in Pennsylvania. The air of "John 
Brown's Body" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" 
was originally Southern. The English poet, William 
Morris, borrowed this tune for his "March of the 
Workers." At the close of the Civil War Lincoln asked 
a band to play "Dixie," and said, "As we have captured 
the Confederate army, we have also captured the Con- 
federate tune, and both belong to us." In other words, 
as Brander Matthews puts it, "In the hour of battle a 
war-tune is subject to the right of capture, and, like the 
cannon taken from the enemy, it is turned against its 

Although songs are too various to permit a discussion 
here of all the types, some further examples are neces- 
sary to illustrate the rare excellence of the form. One of 
the best of recent songs is Robert Louis Stevenson's 
"Requiem," which has been set to music by Sidney Homer. 



Under the wide and starry sky, 
Dig the grave and let me lie. 
Glad did I live and gladly die, 
And I laid me down with a will. 

This be the verse you grave for me: 
Here he lies "where he longed to be; 
Home is the sailor, home from the sea, 
And the hunter home from the hill. 

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894~) 

Another superb song, of a different kind, is Kipling's 
"The Gipsy Trail," which has been widely sung to an 
air by Tod B. Galloway. Romany means gipsy; gorgio, 
one who is not a gipsy ; Austral, southern. 


The white moth to the closing bine, 

The bee to the opened clover, 
And the gipsy blood to the gipsy blood 

Ever the wide world over. 

Ever the wide world over, lass, 

Ever the trail held true, 
Over the world and under the world, 

And back at the last to you. 

Out of the dark of the gorgio camp, 
Out of the grime and the gray 

(Morning waits at the end of the world), 
Gipsy, come away! 


The wild boar to the sun-dried swamp, 

The red crane to her reed, 
And the Romany lass to the Romany lad 

By the tie of a roving breed. 

The pied snake to the rifted rock, 

The buck to the stony plain, 
And the Romany lass to the Romany lad, 

And both to the road again. 

Both to the road again, again ! 

Out on a clean sea-track 
Follow the cross of the gipsy trail 

Over the world and back! 

Follow the Romany patteran 
North where the blue bergs sail, 

And the bows are gray with the frozen spray, 
And the masts are shod with mail. 

Follow the Romany patteran 

Sheer to the Austral Light, 
Where the besom of God is the wild South wind, 

Sweeping the sea-floors white. 

Follow the Romany patteran 

West to the sinking sun, 
Till the junk-sails lift through the houseless drift, 

And the east and the west are one. 

Follow the Romany patteran 
East where the silence broods 

By a purple wave on an opal beach 
In the hush of the Mahim woods. 


"The wild hawk to the wind-swept sky, 

The deer to the wholesome wold 
And the heart of a man to the heart of a maid, 

As it was in the days of old." 

The heart of a man to the heart of a maid 

Light of my tents, be fleet. 
Morning waits at the end of the world, 

And the world is all at our feet! 

Rudyard Kipling (1865- ) 

Up to this point we have included only lyrics which 
are still sung to familiar melodies. There are, however, 
a very large number of poems which were written for airs 
that are now forgotten. These songs we must judge 
solely as poetry. The Scotch know Burns's immortal 
"John Anderson" as a song, but the rest of us know it 
only as a poem. Unlike most songs, it has sufficient poetic 
merit to enable it to dispense with the air. It is a love 
song of somewhat the same type as "Believe Me If All 
Those Endearing Young Charms" and "Silver Threads 
among the Gold" ; but it is incomparably greater poetry, 
and it has not the slightest trace of the false sentiment 
which mars these popular songs. Jo means sweetheart; 
acquent, acquainted; brent, smooth, unwrinkled; beld, 
bald ; pow, head ; canty, cheerful, happy. 


John Anderson my jo, John, 

When we were first acquent, 
Your locks were like the raven, 

Your bonnie brow was brent; 


But now your brow is held, John, 

Your locks are like the snaw; 
But blessings on your frosty pow, 

John Anderson, my jo. 

John Anderson my jo, John, 

We clamb the hill thegither; 
And mony a canty day, John, 

We've had wi' ane anither: 
Now we maun totter down, John, 

And hand in hand we'll go, 
And sleep thegither at the foot, 

John Anderson, my jo. 

Robert Burns (1759-1796} 

Emerson's "Concord Hymn," one of the finest of Ameri- 
can patriotic lyrics, was sung in 1837 at the completion 
of the monument erected in memory of the soldiers killed 
at Concord Bridge in the first fighting of the Revolution. 
Few poems written for special occasions have attained 
the apparent immortality which has come to this song. 


By the rude bridge that arched the flood, 
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled, 

Here once the embattled farmers stood 
And fired the shot heard round the world. 

The foe long since in silence slept; 

Alike the conqueror silent sleeps; 
And Time the ruined bridge has swept 

Down the dark stream that seaward creeps. 


On this green bank, by this soft stream, 

We set to-day a votive stone; 
That memory may their deed redeem, 

When, like our sires, our sons are gone. 

Spirit, that made those heroes dare 
To die, and leave their children free, 

Bid Time and Nature gently spare 
The shaft we raise to them and thee. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) 

When a nation passes out of the more primitive stages 
of civilization, the connection between music and poetry 
becomes less and less intimate. Poems gradually cease 
to be sung, although for a time they are chanted much 
as a negro preacher of the old school chants his sermons. 
Finally, poems come simply to be spoken or read much 
as we read prose. The vast majority of poems written 
today are written with no thought of a musical accom- 
paniment ; and the longer, more ambitious forms of music, 
such as the sonata and the symphony, have no words to 
accompany them. Even yet, however, the original con- 
nection between music and poetry is kept up in hymns, 
popular songs, musical comedies, and operas. Further- 
more, all poets from Homer to Kipling, according to 
William Butler Yeats, chant their poems when they read 
them aloud. 

Both loss and gain for each art result from this divorce 
of music and poetry. Music gains immensely in freedom 
and range. Later music attempts sometimes to rival 
poetry even in imparting ideas ; just how successfully 
musicians do not always agree. In the Overture to 


William Tell Rossini describes a storm on a lake so 
clearly that one hardly feels the need of words. A great 
deal of later music, however, is intelligible only to trained 
musicians ; and music, at least of the best kind, is no 
longer the possession of the whole people. 

For poetry also there is both loss and gain. Let us 
first consider the loss side of the ledger. When poetry 
ceases to be sung, it loses its appeal to many readers, 
who, missing the musical accompaniment, find the poem 
cold and dull. Thus poetry, like music, ceases to be the 
possession of the whole people and becomes the property 
of a class. Later poetry often lacks the spontaneity, 
simplicity, and sincerity of the folk-song. The work of 
the great poets frequently requires too much culture and 
too great a knowledge of technique to be readily under- 
stood. The ode and the sonnet lack the warmth and the 
color of the song. The poet who uses the more complex 
forms often writes of themes remote from the average 
man and woman; and, instead of depicting the great 
simple passions of mankind, he tries too often to express 
the subtler and less universal emotions. The language 
of poetry often becomes artificial, and sometimes ceases 
to be a spoken language at all. Poems come to be writ- 
ten for the eye, not for the ear. Even the rimes, as often 
with Tennyson, are meant for the eye alone. 

But in poetry, as in music, the gain is far greater than 
the loss. "The Ode to a Nightingale" and "The Moon- 
light Sonata" are greater works of art than "Highland 
Mary" and "Annie Laurie." In meter, in language, in 
ideas, even in emotions, the range of the song is narrow 
when compared with other forms of poetry. The later 


poet, writing merely to be read, finds open to him many 
new fields. Being no longer limited to the song and the 
ballad, he is free to cultivate the longer narrative, dra- 
matic, and reflective forms. He gives a stronger empha- 
sis to both form and content. After all, however, other 
forms of poetry are, when compared with the song, essen- 
tially less poetic and nearer the level of prose, for the 
singing quality is of the very essence of poetry. 

Poetry, when divorced from music, develops a kind of 
music of its own. Human speech as well as music has its 
own peculiar melody and rhythm. "Speech-tunes," as 
Sidney Lanier called them, are almost impossible to write 
down in any musical scale because of the minute differ- 
ences in pitch and time; but they are of the greatest im- 
portance for the poet. Lord Houghton tells us that "one 
of Keats's favorite topics of conversation was the prin- 
ciple of melody in verse, which he believed to consist in 
the adroit management of open and close vowels. He 
had a theory that vowels could be as skilfully combined 
and interchanged as differing notes of music and that all 
sense of monotony was to be avoided except when ex- 
pressive of a special purpose." A stanza from Keats's 
"Ode to a Nightingale" furnishes an almost perfect illus- 
tration of his theory. 

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird ! 

No hungry generations tread thee down: 
The voice I hear this passing night was heard 

In ancient days by emperor and clown: 
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path 

Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, 


She stood in tears amid the alien corn: 

The same that oft-times hath 
Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam 
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. 

With this superb example of word melody, compare some 
intentionally unmusical lines written by Lanier to show 
the effect of monotony in vowel sounds, 

'Tis May-day gay: wide-smiling skies shine bright 
Through whose true blue cuckoos do woo anew 
The tender spring, etc. 

A study of the most musical English and American 
poets Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Coleridge, Shelley, 
Keats, Tennyson, Swinburne, Yeats, Foe, and Lanier 
will teach one much about this word music in poetry. 
The skilful poet uses all the resources at his command, 
rime, alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia ; and he varies 
his stresses, his pauses, and the length and the rhythm 
of his lines. 

How this word melody of the poet differs from that of 
the song will be evident from the following quotation from 
an English critic, John Addington Symonds: "I once 
asked an eminent musician, the late Madame Goldschmidt, 
why Shelley's lyrics were ill-adapted to music. She made 
me read aloud to her the Song of Pan and those lovely 
lines To the [sic] Night, 'Swiftly walk over the western 
wave, Spirit of Night !' Then she pointed out how the 
verbal melody was intended to be self-sufficing in these 
lyrics, how full of complicated thoughts and changeful 
images the verse is, how packed with consonants the 
words are, how the tone of the emotion alters, and how 


no one melodic phrase could be found to fit the daedal woof 
of the poetic emotion." 


Swiftly walk o'er the western wave, 

Spirit of Night! 
Out of thy misty eastern cave, 
Where all the long and lone daylight, 
Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear, 
Which make thee terrible and dear, 

Swift be thy flight ! 

Wrap thy form in a mantle gray, 

Star-inwrought ! 

Blind with thine hair the eyes of Day; 
Kiss her until she be wearied out, 
Then wander o'er city, and sea, and land 
Touching all with thine opiate wand 

Come, long sought! 

When I arose and saw the dawn, 

I sighed for thee; 

When light rode high, and the dew was gone, 
And noon lay heavy on flower and tree, 
And the weary Day turned to his rest, 
Lingering like an unloved guest, 

I sighed for thee. 

Thy brother Death came, and cried, 

Wouldst thou me? 

Thy sweet child Sleep, the filmy-eyed, 
Murmured like a noontide bee, 
Shall I nestle near thy side? 
Wouldst thou me? And I replied, 

No, not thee! 


Death will come when thou art dead 

Soon, too soon 

Sleep will come when thou art fled; 
Of neither would I ask the boon 
I ask of thee, beloved Night 
Swift be thine approaching flight, 

Come soon, soon ! 

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) 

Although Tennyson's subject matter is often common- 
place, no later poet has surpassed him in poetic music. 
His "Crossing the Bar" has tempted many a com- 
poser; and yet it hardly seems to require a musical 
setting, so perfect is the verbal melody which Tennyson 
gave it. The poem was written in the poet's eighty-first 
year, and by his direction it is placed last in every edition 
of his poems. The "Pilot" Tennyson explained as "That 
Divine and Unseen Who is always guiding us." 


Sunset and evening star, 

And one clear call for me! 
And may there be no moaning of the bar, 

When I put out to sea, 

But such a tide as moving seems asleep, 

Too full for sound and foam, 
When that which drew from out the boundless deep 

Turns again home. 

Twilight and evening bell, 

And after that the dark! 
And may there be no sadness of farewell, 

When I embark; 


For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place 

The flood may bear me far, 
I hope to see my Pilot face to face 

When I have crost the bar. 

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) 

Tennyson's "Sweet and Low," one of the lyrics in The 
Princess, is as musical as "Crossing the Bar," but it has 
been wedded by Barnby to an air which fits it admirably. 
The song is one of the most beautiful lullabies in the 


Sweet and low, sweet and low, 

Wind of the western sea, 
Low, low, breathe and blow, 

Wind of the western sea! 
Over the rolling waters go, 
Come from the dying moon, and blow, 

Blow him again to me: 
While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps. 

Sleep and rest, sleep and rest, 

Father will come to thee soon; 
Rest, rest, on mother's breast, 

Father will come to thee soon; 
Father will come to his babe in the nest, 
Silver sails all out of the west 

Under the silver moon; 

Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep. 
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892} 

No living poet has written more melodious verse than 
William Butler Yeats. The following song from his 
poetic drama, The Land of Heart's Desire, is as musical 
as the best of Elizabethan songs. 



The wind blows out of the gates of day, 

The wind blows over the lonely of heart, 

And the lonely of heart is withered away 

While the faeries dance in a place apart, 

Shaking their milk-white feet in a ring, 

Tossing their milk-white arms in the air; 

For they hear the wind laugh and murmur and sing 

Of a land where even the old are fair, 

And even the wise are merry of tongue; 

"But I heard a reed of Coolaney say, 

When the wind has laughed and murmured and sung, 

The lonely of heart is withered away." 

William Butler Yeats (1865- ) 

For the last two centuries the lyric, which includes the 
song, has been the predominant type of poetry. This 
anthology is therefore concerned chiefly with lyric poetry. 
Of this important type, Professor Bliss Perry has written 
in his admirable Study of Poetry: "The lyric is the 
commonest, and yet, in its perfection, the rarest type of 
poetry ; the earliest, and yet the most modern ; the 
simplest, and yet in its laws of emotional association, 
perhaps the most complex; and it is all these because it 
expresses, more intimately than other types of verse, the 
personality of the poet." In the chapters which follow 
we shall study the meter, style, and subject matter of the 
lyric. Once again, however, in the chapter on the ballad, 
we shall return to the poem which is sung and note once 
more the debt of later poetry to the folk-song and the 



,f > * i ' ' - 

Trochee trips fr6m long t6 short; 
From long to long in solemn sort 
Slow spSndee stalks; strong foot! yea ill able 
Ever tfi come up with Dactyl trisyllable. 
Iambics march fr6m short t5 long; _ 
With a leap and a bound the swift Anapaests throng. 
Samuel Taylor Coleridge : 

"Metrical Feet: Lesson for a Boy" 

ALL persons acquainted with musical notation will recall 
that every normal composition consists of certain small 
units bars of equal length. Just as one finds in music 
common time, three-fourths time, and the like, one recog- 
nizes in poetry certain regularly recurring minor units. 
These units are based not, as in music, upon time, but 
upon the accent of English words. In prose, accented 
and unaccented syllables occur in an irregular order ; in 
poetry, the arrangement is usually alternate and nor- 
mally regular. In the following lines, from a song in 
Alfred Noyes*s romantic epic Drake, the accented syl- 
lables are marked with an a and the unaccented with an x 
conventional symbols which will be employed through- 
out this study : 

x a \ x a \ x a \ x a 
The moon is up: The stars are bright: 


x a | x a | x a 
The wind is fresh and free ! 

x a \ x a \ x a \ x a 
We're out to seek for gold to-night 
x a | x a | x a 
Across the silver sea ! 

The notation here, it will be observed, agreas exactly 
with the pronunciation of everyday speech. The words 
could not conceivably be accented in any other than the 
indicated way. The unit, it will also be noticed, consists 
of two syllables, the first unaccented, the second accented. 
This, or any similar minor unit of poetry, is called a 
foot. The marking or determination of feet is called 
scansion. The foot xa is known as an iamb, or an iambus; 
and the meter of the above selection is consequently de- 
scribed as iambic. 

The determination of stress is, however, not usually as 
easy as in this mechanically perfect passage. Consider 
the lines : 

ax a 
To sing in thoughtful ease this natural song 


x a x 

Where lay the porter in uneasy sprawl. 

In the first of these lines in is unaccented ; in the second, 
it is accented. These examples show an important char- 
acteristic of English accent the fact that it is largely 
relative. As in the case of m here, many short words or 
syllables are accented or unaccented according to the 
stress received by the adjacent syllables. These and other 


irregularities will be more fully discussed below. They 
are, of course, not a fault, for they contribute to the 
flexibility of English poetry. 

The question of time in English verse is much mooted. 
The analogy with music is suggestive, but may be carried 
too far. In the system of scansion, known to all who 
have read Vergil's JEneid in the original, length of syl- 
lable rather than accent is the criterion. This system 
cannot be applied to English poetry especially in an 
elementary treatise. A word like strength manifestly 
requires for its utterance more time than a word like the; 
but, when the two occur together, the longer word nor- 
mally receives the accent: 

x a \x a\ x a \ x a 

My strength is as the strength of ten. 

Even with the long word through in an unaccented posi- 
tion, no one would hesitate to read the following line as 
we have marked it: 

x a \ x a 

at a \ at a 

Through broad and fen the Norfolk men. 

Most authorities thus agree that in English verse time 
is, in comparison with accent, of slight or at least secon- 
dary importance and need be considered chiefly in avoid- 
ing heavy syllables in unaccented positions a fault 
which has been referred to as marring "The Star- 
Spangled Banner." In many treatises on versification, 
the symbols and - are used to denote unaccented and 
accented syllables respectively. These symbols are de- 
rived from classical prosody and should not be used in 


English with their usual names short and long, except 
with the understanding that these terms have no neces- 
sary reference to the amount of time required for pro- 
nouncing a syllable. 

In addition to the iambic there are three other fre- 
quently occurring feet: the trochee (ax), the anapest 
(xxa), and the dactyl (axx). These are respectively 
exemplified in the three lines below. The corresponding 
adjectives are trochaic, anapestic, and dactylic. 

a x \ a x\ a x\ a x 
Happy field or mossy cavern. 

x a 

x a 

And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold. 

a x x \ a x x 
Take her up tenderly. 

The four types of feet thus far exemplified are all 
which need consideration in an elementary study. The 
numerous additional types listed in treatises on versifica- 
tion have no real place in English except in imitations of 
Latin and other foreign rhythms. A few of these exotic 
feet are the pyrrhic (xx), the spondee (aa), the amphi- 
brach (xax), the amphimacer (axa), the anapestic poeon 
(xxxa), and the dactylic paeon (axxx). Attempts at 
employing these feet, as well as imitations of the classical 
meters, are usually, by the ordinary reader, felt to be 
either free verse or approximations at various combina- 
tions of the four familiar meters. 

The four English meters iambic, trochaic, anapestic, 
dactylic may be divided according to two criteria. The 
iambic and anapestic meters are, in the first place, some- 


times classed together as ascending or riavng pieters be- 
cause they begin with a light syllable and pass to a 
stressed syllable; and, for the opposite reason, the tro- 
chaic and dactylic meters are classed together as de- 
scending or fty/f-Miff- This classification is logical and con- 
venient ; that it is not fundamental may be shown by citing 
the fact that from the latter half of a line it is often im- 
possible to determine whether a measure is ascending or 
descending. A second and more important division is 
made between the iambic and trochaic meters on the one 
hand, and the anapestic and dactylic on the other. The 
meters whose feet consist of two syllables are called 
double or duple; those whose feet consist of three syl- 
lables are called triple. The double meters present a 
steady alternation between stressed and unstressed syl- 
lables, while the movement of the triple meters is more 
rapid. The distinction between double and triple rhythms 
is natural ; it is sensed by the ear throughout a poem. 

Since English nouns and verbs are commonly preceded 
by weaker parts of speech, particularly articles and pro- 
nouns, the first syllable in a sentence is likely to bear no 
accent, and English poetry accordingly is much more 
frequently ascending than descending. Moreover, since 
accented and unaccented syllables occur in approximately 
equal proportions, English poetry is much more fre- 
quently duple than triple. In fact, ever since the modern 
type of versification displaced the Old English alliterative 
poetry, the iambic rhythm, which is at once duple and 
ascending, has been the standard English rhythm. It is 
the vehicle of most of the great poetry of the language. 
The naturalness of the iambic rhythm may be further 


shown by pointing out that lofty prose often has an 
iambic quality. Well-known examples are Lincoln's 
"Gettysburg Address," and the concluding pages of 
Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities. 

The following stanza from Burns's "Bonnie Doon" 
(second version) is as purely iambic as the quotation 
from Noyes : 

Thou'll break my heart, thou bonnie bird, 

That sings upon the bough; 
Thou minds me o' the happy days 

When my fause luve was true. 

Common as is the iambic meter, a poem with no substi- 
tuted feet is not the rule but the rare exception. Among 
Byron's Hebrew Melodies is found a poem which is purely 
iambic except for the first foot in the fourth line. Thjs 
foot must be read not xa but ax; it is trochaic. In the 
first foot of an iambic line the trochee is a legitimate 
substitution, which affords variety and emphasis. 


She walks in beauty, like the night 

Of cloudless climes and starry skies; 

And all that's best of dark and bright 
Meet in her aspect and her eyes : 

Thus mellow'd to that tender light 
Which heaven to gaudy day denies. 

One shade the more, one ray the less, 
Had half impair'd the nameless grace 

Which waves in every raven tress, 
Or softly lightens o'er her face; 

Where thoughts serenely sweet express 
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place. 


And on that cheek, and o'er that brow, 

So soft, so calm, yet eloquent, 
The smiles that win, the tints that glow, 

But tell of days in goodness spent, 
A mind at peace with all below, 

A heart whose love is innocent! 

George Noel Gordon, Lord Byron (17 '88-182 4) 

The second duple meter, the trochaic, has already been 
partly described. The following selections are scanned 
respectively : 

ax | ax | ax \ a 


ax | ax | cue \ ax. 

Queen and Huntress, chaste and fair, 

Now the sun is laid to sleep, 

Seated in thy silver chair 

State in wonted manner keep. . . . 

From "Hymn to Diana," by Ben Jonson 

Give me of your bark, O Birch-tree ; 
Of your yellow bark, O Birch-tree ! 
Growing by the rushing river, 
Tall and stately in the valley ! 
I a light canoe will build me. . . . 
That shall float upon the river, 
Like a yellow leaf in Autumn, 
Like a yellow water-lily ! 
From "Hiawatha," by Henry Wads-worth Longfellow 

The meter of the first of the above selections lacks the 
unaccented syllable of the last foot of the line and is con- 
sequently said to be catalectic. Since poems of the first 
type are, however, more frequent than poems of the latter, 


the full trochaic line is often distinguished from the 
shorter by the term acatalectic. 

Although there is no great fundamental difference be- 
tween the iambic and the trochaic meters, the two are, 
except for substituted feet, usually not employed in the 
same poem. Well-known poems in which these meters 
are combined include, however, Milton's "L'Allegro" and 
"II Penseroso." The former has a far larger number of 
trochaic lines. In fact, if the trochaic meter can be said 
to have preempted any one field, it is that of lively 
emphatic presentment of a subject. The stress on the 
initial syllables is likely to induce an animated reading of 
the poem. In the following passage from William Blake's 
"The Tiger" the first three lines are trochaic while the 
last is iambic: 

Tiger, tiger, burning bright 
In the forests of the night, 
What immortal hand or eye 
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry? 

The blending of the two duple meters is nowheie better 
shown than in Scott's 


Waken, lords and ladies gay, 
On the mountain dawns the day, 
All the jolly chase is here, 
With hawk and horse and hunting-spear ! 
Hounds are in their couples yelling, 
Hawks are whistling, horns are knelling, 
Merrily, merrily, mingle they, 
"Waken, lords and ladies gay." 


Waken, lords and ladies gay, 
The mist has left the mountain gray, 
Springlets in the dawn are steaming, 
Diamonds on the brake are gleaming: 
And foresters have busy been 
To track the buck in thicket green; 
Now we come to chant our lay, 
"Waken, lords and ladies gay." 

Waken, lords and ladies gay, 
To the green-wood haste away; 
We can show you where he lies, 
Fleet of foot and tall of size; 
We can show the marks he made, 
When 'gainst the oak his antlers frayed; 
You shall see him brought to bay, 
"Waken, lords and ladies gay." 

Louder, louder chant the lay, 
Waken, lords and ladies gay ! 
Tell them youth and mirth and glee 
Run a course as well as we; 
Time, stern huntsman, who can balk, 
Stanch as hound and fleet as hawk? 
Think of this and rise with day, 
Gentle lords and ladies gay. 

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832} 

A similar call to a more serious purpose is voiced in 
vigorous trochaic verse in Alfred Edward Housman's 
"Reveille," from which we quote two stanzas : 

Up, lad, up, 'tis late for lying: 
Hear the drums of morning play; 

Hark, the empty highways crying 
"Who'll beyond the hills away? . . . 


Clay lies still, but blood's a rover; 

Breath's a ware that will not keep. 
Up, lad; when the journey's over 

There'll be time enough to sleep. 

Purely trochaic is William Blake's 


* H a, A *- * <*- 
Piping down the valleys 

_ ^L. % * K - ^ 

- fc ti --* 

,.***-% - 

iping son 

' ffi- if 


ipmg_ down the valleys wild, 
*L . *fc, % ~- fc A y cL 
Piping songs of pleasant glee. 
\ ^ .oS- jf~u \f ek-- 

n a cloud I saw a cln'ld. ^^ 
And he laughing said to me: 

"Pipe a song about a Lamb!" 

So I piped with merry cheer. 
"Piper, pipe that song again"; 

So I piped: he wept to hear. 

"Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe; 

Sing thy songs of happy cheer !" 
So I sung the same again, 

While he wept with j oy to hear. 

"Piper, sit thee down and write 

In a book, that all may read." 
So he vanished from my sight; 

And I plucked a hollow reed, 

And I made a rural pen, 

And I stained the water clear, 
And I wrote my happy songs 

Every child may joy to hear. 

William Blake (1757-1827) 

The reader should, perhaps, here be cautioned to re- 
member that mere metrical regularity does not produce 


a great poem. The irregularities found in English poetry 
contribute toward the marvelous musical range which is 
one of its chief glories. When poets vary from the metri- 
cal norm of a poem, their variations are, however, usually 
subtle. The same number of accented syllables in suc- 
cessive lines, irrespective of the number and position of 
the unaccented syllables, affords a crude sort of rhythm. 
Such work is found in the verse themes of college fresh- 
men, in rude ballads, and in the obituary columns of 
country newspapers ; it is found in no great or careful 
poetry. On the other hand, poetry suffers rather than 
gains from too regular a pattern. An easy metrical 
fluency can with practice be acquired by almost any edu- 
cated person. Swinburne and Poe, well-nigh faultless in 
technique, are the easiest poets to parody or imitate. 
The monotonous recurrence of stress and the unvaried 
rimes of Pope's heroic couplets make his lines seem 
monotonous and plodding to the modern ear. 

The lines thus far quoted have not, it will have been 
observed, the same number of feet. In "She Walks in 
Beauty" each line has four feet; in "Bonnie Doon" lines 
of four feet alternate with lines of three; and other line 
lengths will be found elsewhere in the chapter. For con- 
venience in discussing the length of lines, the following 
terminology is employed. A line consisting of a single 
foot is called a manometer; a line of two feet, a dimeter; 
three, trimeter; four, tetrameter; five, pentameter; six, 
hexameter; seven, heptameter; eight, octameter; nine, 
nonameter. Lines of eight and seven feet can, in fact, 
often be resolved into two shorter lines. Herrick's poem 
"Upon his Departure Hence" 


Thus I 
Pass by 
And die 
As one 
And gone 

consists of six lines of iambic monometer. A nonameter 
poem, Tennyson's "To Vergil," is quoted below. Need- 
less to say these extremes are rare. The great bulk of 
English poetry is written in lines of three, four, five, or 
six feet, lines of four and five feet occurring most fre- 
quently. In this connection it should be emphasized that 
the number of feet in a line is determined not by the num- 
ber of syllables, but by the number of accented syllables. 
For instance, the seven-syllable line scanned ax ax ax a 
contains four feet, while the nine-syllable line xxa xxa\ 


x contains but three. 

Poems, especially lyric poems, are usually divided into 
stanzas, metrical units each of which has the same pat- 
tern witj^ regard to the number of the lines, the length of 
the lines, and the rime,. Stanzas are metrical units and 
o?ten, though not necessarily, thought units. ~**+n***'f' 

In describing the structure of stanzas, critics some- 
times employ certain formulas making for brevity. Let- 
ters of the alphabet are used to indicate the rime arrange- 
ment, the stanza from "Bonnie Doon" being, for instance, 
said to rime abcb. A number prefixed to the symbol (xa t 
etc.) for a foot indicates the number of feet to the line; 
an iambic tetrameter, for example, is described as 4xa. 
If this symbol is placed in parentheses, a figure outside 
indicates the number of lines to the stanza. The stanza 


of "She Walks in Beauty" can thus be briefly described 
by the formula 6(4^a), riming dbabdb. If a stanza is 
complicated in structure, nothing is gained by these sym- 
bols, which are chiefly valuable as a means of concise 

The majority of stanzas have no name, and new com- 
binations of lines and rimes may be invented by a poet 
as they seem needed. A few stanzas are, however, suffi- 
ciently well known to be named. The stanza quoted from 
"Bonnie Doon" is termed the ballad stanza, because an- 
cient English folk poetry was often cast in that form. 
In hymnals this stanza is designated by the term common 
meter (C.M.) The rime may be abcb or abab. Other 
stanzas bearing descriptive names, or the names of great 
authors who have popularized them, will be noted as they 
are exemplified in the selections. 

Certain other questions of interest to the student of 
verse can be better understood after a careful reading of 
the following poem. Swinburne was one of the great mas- 
ter melodists of the English tongue. If he had had a 
thought-content worthy of his form, it would be hard to 
ascribe to him any save the highest place in Victorian 
poetry. He was a poet of sensuous beauty, of ancient 
Greece, of Republican patriotism, of child life, and of 
stormy and desolate nature. "The Garden of Proserpine" 
as typical as it is superb gives a pagan view of death ; 
but, as in much that this author wrote, the splendid 
rhythm and melody lull one into forgetfulness of the sub- 
ject. This poem should be compared with the author's 
sonorous, anapestic "Hymn to Proserpine." 



Here, where the world is quiet ;K ^>^ 

Here, where all trouble seems ^ 
Dead winds' and spent waves' rioto 

In doubtful dream of dreams; O 
I watch the green field growing > 
For reaping folk and sowing, / 
For harvest-time and mowing, c ^+ 
A sleepy world of streams. *"^ 

I am tired of tears and laughter, 
And men that laugh and weep; 
Of what may come hereafter 
For men that sow to reap: 
I am weary of days and hours, 
Blown buds of barren flowers, 
Desires and dreams and powers, 
And everything but sleep. 

Here life has death for neighbour, 

And far from eye or ear 
Wan waves and wet winds labour, 

Weak ships and spirits steer; 
They drive adrift, and whither 
They wot not who make thither; 
But no such winds blow hither, 

And no such things grow here. 

No growth of moor or coppice, 

No heather-flower or vine, 
But bloomless buds of poppies, 

Green grapes of Proserpine, 
Pale beds of blowing rushes, 
Where no leaf blooms or blushes, 
Save this whereout she crushes 

For dead men deadly wine. 


Pale, without name or number, 

In fruitless fields of corn, 
They bow themselves and slumber 

All night till light is born; 
And like a soul belated, 
In hell and heaven unmated, 
By cloud and mist abated 

Comes out of darkness morn. 

Though one were strong as seven, 

He too with death shall dwell, 
Nor wake with wings in heaven, 

Nor weep for pains in hell; 
Though one were fair as roses, 
His beauty clouds and closes; 
And well though love reposes, 

In the end it is not well. 

Pale, beyond porch and portal, 

Crowned with calm leaves, she stands 
Who gathers all things mortal 

With cold immortal hands; 
Her languid lips are sweeter 
Than love's who fears to greet her 
To men that mix and meet her 

From many times and lands. 

She waits for each and other, 

She waits for all men born; 
Forgets the earth her mother, 

The life of fruits and corn; 
And spring and seed and swallow 
Take wing for her and follow 
Where summer song rings hollow 

And flowers are put to scorn. 


There go the loves that wither, 

The old loves with wearier wings; 
And all dead years draw thither, 

And all disastrous things; 
Dead dreams of days forsaken, 
Blind buds that snows have shaken, 
Wild leaves that winds have taken, 
Red strays of ruined springs. 

We are not sure of sorrow, 

And joy was never sure; 
To-day will die to-morrow; 

Time stoops to no man's lure; 
And love, grown faint and fretful, 
With lips but half regretful 
Sighs, and with eyes forgetful 

Weeps that no loves endure. 

From too much love of living, 

From hope and fear set free, 
We thank with brief thanksgiving 

Whatever gods may be 
That no life lives forever; 
That dead men rise up never; 
That even the weariest river 

Winds somewhere safe to sea. 

Then star nor sun shall waken, 

Nor any change of light: 
Nor sound of waters shaken, 

Nor any sound or sight: 
Nor wintry leaves nor vernal, 
Nor days nor things diurnal; 
Only the sleep eternal 

In an eternal night. 

Algernon Charles Swinburne (1887-1909) 


The careful reader has noticed the system of rime 
which binds the lines of the above poem into groups of 
eight, riming ababcccb. The fe-rimes, like the rimes pre- 
viously considered, involve but one syllable, while the a- 
and the c-rimes involve two. For the sake of a convenient 
terminology, rimes involving one syllable are called mas- 
culine; those involving two or three, feminine.^ Equally 
useful, but somewhat less frequently employed, terms are 
single, double, and triple. An approximate rime, like that 
of river and never in the next to the last stanza is tole- 
rated occasionally by custom in cases where suitable rim- 
ing words are not easily found. The unaccented syllable 
at the end of a feminine rime-word in an ascending meter 
is, as has been stated, not considered a foot. The lines 

x a | x a | x a \ x 
For reaping folk and sowing 


x a | x a | x a 
A sleepy world of streams 

are both iambic trimeters. Lines of ascending meter 
possessing this extra final syllable are termed Jiyper- 

The first line of the second stanza of the above poem 
should be marked 

xx a \ x a | x a \ x 
I am tired of tears and laughter. 

The anapest is sometimes found as a substitute for the 
iambus, especially, as here, in the first foot of a line. 
The poetic device alliteration, the use of a succession 


of words with the same initial consonant, is nowhere 
better illustrated than in stanzas like the one beginning 

Pale, beyond porch and portal. 

Alliteration is usually confined to accented words, but 
Swinburne's fondness for the alliterative style led him to 
use it also in unaccented syllables : 

Wan waves and wet winds labour, 
Weak, ships. . . . 

Alliteration is sometimes referred to as initial rime. This 
term should be used cautiously, for it is also applied to 
a type of rime, exceedingly rare, exhibited in this stanza 
from Alfred Noyes's "Astrid": 

White-armed Astrid, ah, but she was beautiful! 

Nightly wandered weeping thro' the ferns in the moon, 

Slowly, weaving her strange garland in the forest, 

Crowned with white violets, 

Gowned in green. 

Holy was that glen where she glided, 

Making her wild garland as Merlin had bidden her, 

Breaking off the milk-white horns of the honey-suckle, 

Sweetly dripped the dew upon her small white 


Often associated with the term alliteration is the term 
assonance, which is used to describe one type of imperfect 
approximate rime. The vowel sound must be the same, 
but the concluding consonants are different, as in gnome- 
bold or beaux-roll. Rimes of this type were seen in early 
modern English poetry, are found in Spanish, but in 
recent English poetry are usually a sign of slovenly work- 
manship. George Eliot, William Butler Yeats, and a 


few others have, however, used assonance with some effect. 
The repetition of the same vowel sound in other than end 
words is also occasionally called assonance: 

... of dreams ; 
I watch the green field growing 
For reaping folk and sowing. . . . 

The skilful use of the sounds of speech results in a 
quality of poetry known as tone-color or melody. The 
basis of melody is to be sought principally in the markedly 
different pitch of the various vowels. In producing the 
sound ee, for instance, the vocal cords vibrate many 
times more rapidly than in pronouncing the sound uh. 
Consciously and unconsciously, poets avail themselves of 
this principle to produce subtle yet remarkable effects. 
Consonants, too, play a part in melody. The liquids Z, 
m, n, ng, and r join with the vowels to create the match- 
less word-music of "The Garden of Proserpine." With 
both consonants and vowels the possibilities are almost 

Wordsworth did more than any other individual to 
democratize English poetry. In his famous preface to 
the second edition (1800) of The Lyrical Ballads he 
advocated the use of "the real language of men." For 
his poetry he chose subjects from humble life and inter- 
preted them in terms of the loftiest thought. "The 
Solitary Reaper" is one of several "Memorials of a Tour 
in Scotland" a tour which Wordsworth made in com- 
pany with his sister Dorothy. The poem is rendered im- 
mortal by its vivid pictorial quality, its haunting melody, 
and its suggestive power. It is structurally perfect, each 


stanza being a complete unit in the development of the 


Behold her, single in the field, 
Yon solitary Highland Lass ! 
Reaping and singing by herself; 
Stop here, or gently pass ! 
Alone she cuts and binds the grain, 
And sings a melancholy strain; 

listen! for the Vale profound 
Is overflowing with the sound. 

No Nightingale did ever chaunt 
More welcome notes to weary bands 
Of travellers in some shady haunt, 
Among Arabian sands : 
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard 
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird, 
Breaking the silence of the seas 
Among the farthest Hebrides. 

Will no one tell me what she sings ? 

Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow 

For old, unhappy, far-off things, 

And battles long ago: 

Or is it some more humble lay, 

Familiar matter of to-day? 

Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain, 

That has been, and may be again ? 

Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang 
As if her song could have no ending; 

1 saw her singing at her work, 
And o'er the sickle bending; 


I listened, motionless and still ; 
And, as I mounted up the hill, 
The music in my heart I bore, 
Long after it was heard no more. 

William Wordsworth (1770-1850} 

The last stanza of "The Solitary Reaper" expresses, 
with especial reference to things heard, the chief value 
of experience. "I Wandered Lonely" bears witness to a 
similar benefit and delight derivable from things seen. 
What would be the value of a visit to the Grand Canyon, 
of spending an hour in Westminster Abbey, or of wit- 
nessing a performance of Hamlet, if no mental impression 
were carried forward into the rest of life? Culture is in 
part, at least the result of a number of such impressions. 
Herrick's "To Daffodils," Wordsworth's "I Wandered 
Lonely," and Austin Dobson's "To Daffodils" are an 
interesting trio of poems. Her rick sees only the frail 
duration of the daffodil to which he compares human life. 
For Wordsworth the daffodils afford a dual pleasure: the 
joy of beholding, the satisfaction of philosophizing re- 
membrance. Dobson, consciously sophisticated, refers not 
only to the daffodils, but to his poet predecessors who 
drew inspiration from them. In reading these poems it is 
perhaps stimulating to bear in mind the possibility that 
the greatest poem on the theme is yet unwritten. Words- 
worth owed an immeasurable debt to his wife and to his 
sister Dorothy. Mrs. Wordsworth composed the third 
and fourth lines of the last stanza of "I Wandered 
Lonely." We quote the account from Dorothy's journal 
of the incident which inspired the poem: 


"We saw a few daffodils close to the water-side. But 
as we went along there were more and yet more ; and at 
last, under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was 
a long belt of them along the shore. They grew among 
the mossy stones, about and about them; some rested 
their heads upon these stones, as a pillow, for weariness ; 
and the rest tossed and reeled and danced, and seemed 
as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon 
them over the lake . . . they looked so gay, ever glanc- 
ing, ever changing." 


I wandered lonely as a cloud 

That floats on high o'er vales and hills, 

When all at once I saw a crowd, 

A host, of golden daffodils; 

Beside the lake, beneath the trees, 

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. 

Continuous as the stars that shine 
And twinkle on the milky way, 
They stretched in never-ending line 
Along the margin of a bay: 
Ten thousand saw I at a glance, 
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. 

The waves beside them danced ; but they 

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: 

A Poet could not but be gay, 

In such a jocund company: 

I gazed and gazed but little thought 

What wealth the show to me had brought: 

For oft, when on my couch I lie 
In vacant or in pensive mood, 
They flash upon that inward eye 
Which is the bliss of solitude; 


And then my heart with pleasure fills, 
And dances with the daffodils. 

William Wordsworth (1770-1860} 

In its treatment of the flower, the above poem is 
essentially modern, as are, for instance, Bryant's "To the 
Fringed Gentian" and Emerson's "The Rhodora." From 
the latter we quote: 

Rhodora ! if the sages ask thee why 

This charm is wasted on the earth and sky, 

Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing, 

Then Beauty is its own excuse for being. 

With "I Wandered Lonely" let us compare Waller's 
"Go, Lovely Rose," a poem which exhibits a pre- 
Wordsworthian interpretation of floral loveliness. Two 
widely known American poems of this type are "The 
Wild Honeysuckle" by the Revolutionary poet Philip 
Freneau, and "My Life Is Like the Summer Rose," 
by another politician poet, Richard Henry Wilde. Her- 
rick's "To Daffodils" has already been mentioned. The 
last two lines of the poem below may be seen at Char- 
lottesville, Virginia, engraved on the tomb of a Miss 
Maude Woods, who won a prize for beauty at the Pan- 
American Exposition (Buffalo, 1901) and died within a 


Go, lovely Rose ! 
Tell her, that wastes her time and me, 

That now she knows, 
When I resemble her to thee, 
How sweet and fair she seems to be. 


Tell her that's young 
And shuns to have her graces spied, 

That hadst thou sprung 
In deserts, where no men abide, 
Thou must have uncommended died. 

Small is the worth 
Of beauty from the light retired: 

Bid her come forth, 
Suffer herself to be desired 
And not blush so to be admired. 

Then die ! that she 
The common fate of all things rare 

May read in thee: 

How small a part of time they share 
That are so wondrous sweet and fair ! 

Edmund Waller (1606-1687} 

In the following poem the author has received his im- 
pression not from a singer, not from a flower or a bed of 
flowers, but from a bird outlined in flight against the 
sunset. Bryant's poetry was largely the product of his 
youth. In later life he was editor of the New York Eve- 
ning Post and for a while before his death was commonly 
regarded as America's "first citizen." 


Whither, midst falling dew, 

While glow the heavens with the last steps of day, 
Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue 

Thy solitary way? 


Vainly the fowler's eye 

Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong, 
As, darkly seen against the crimson sky, 

Thy figure floats along. 

Seek'st thou the plashy brink 
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide, 
Or where the rocking billows rise and sink 

On the chafed ocean side? 

There is a Power whose care 
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast 
The desert and illimitable air 

Lone wandering, but not lost. 

All day thy wings have fanned, 
At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere, 
Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land, 

Though the dark night is near. 

And soon that toil shall end; 
Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest, 
And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend, 

Soon, o'er thy sheltered nest. 

Thou'rt gone, the abyss of heaven 
Hath swallowed up thy form; yet on my heart 
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given, 

And shall not soon depart. 

He who, from zone to zone, 

Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight, 
In the long way that I must tread alone, 

Will lead my steps aright. 

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) 


The conclusion of "To a Waterfowl" expresses a moral 
much more obviously than Wordsworth did in either of 
the poems just quoted. In fact, ending a poem with a 
moral is characteristic not only of Bryant but of most of 
his fellows in the early nineteenth century group of New 
England poets. Witness the conclusions of two other 
great compositions : 

So live, that when thy summons comes to join 
The innumerable caravan, which moves 
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take 
His chamber in the silent halls of death, 
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night, 
Scourged to his dungeon, but sustained and soothed 
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave 
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch 
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams. 

From "Thanatopsis," by William Cullen Bryant 

To a description of a tinted shell is applied the following 
moral, marred by an unfortunate phrase, "shut thee from 
heaven" : 

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul, 

As the swift seasons roll ! 

Leave thy low-vaulted past! 
Let each new temple, nobler than the last, 
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast, 

Till thou at length art free, 

Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea ! 
From "The Chambered Nautilus," by Oliver Wendell Holmes 

The poem below, now often heard as a song, is a noble 
expression of the indomitable quality of the human will. 
Henley, friend of Stevenson, literary critic, and master 


of light verse, lay on a sick bed when he wrote it. Invictus 
means unconquered. 


Out of the night that covers me, 

Black as the pit from pole to pole, 

I thank whatever gods may be 
For my unconquerable soul. 

In the fell clutch of circumstance 

I have not winced nor cried aloud. 
Under the bludgeonings of chance 

My head is bloody, but unbowed. 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
Looms but the Horror of the shade, 

And yet the menace of the years 
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid. 

It matters not how strait the gate, 

How charged with punishments the scroll, 

I am the master of my fate: 
I am the captain of my soul. 

William Ernest Henley (1849-1908) 

Though sharing with Spenser, Keats, Shelley, and Swin- 
burne the distinction of being a poet for poets, Matthew 
Arnold is admired less for his metrical subtlety than for 
his intellectual quality. The following poem, perhaps an 
echo from Goethe, succinctly reflects its author's phi- 
losophy of life. 



Why each is striving, from of old, 
To love more deeply than he can? 
Still would be true, yet still grows cold? 
Ask of the Powers that sport with man ! 

They yoked in him, for endless strife, 
A heart of ice, a soul of fire; 
And hurl'd him on the Field of Life, 
An aimless unallay'd Desire. 

Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) 

Whereas Arnold thinks almost wholly in terms of the 
individual, Kipling thinks in terms of the English race 
triumphant, beneficent, conscious of its mission. The title 
of "The White Man's Burden" has become a current 
phrase in the language. 


Take up the White Man's burden 

Send forth the best ye breed 
Go bind your sons to exile 

To serve your captives' need; 
To wait in heavy harness, 

On fluttered folk and wild 
Your new-caught, sullen peoples, 

Half-devil and half-child. 

Take up the White Man's Burden 

In patience to abide, 
To veil the threat of terror 

And check the show of pride; 
By open speech and simple, 

An hundred times made plain, 
To seek another's profit, 

And work another's gain. 


Take up the White Man's burden 

The savage wars of peace 
Fill full the mouth of Famine 

And bid the sickness cease; 
And when your goal is nearest 

The end for others sought, 
Watch Sloth and heathen Folly 

Bring all your hope to nought. 

Take up the White Man's burden 

No tawdry rule of kings, 
But toil of serf and sweeper 

The tale of common things. 
The ports ye shall not enter, 

The roads ye shall not tread, 
Go make them with your living, 

And mark them with your dead. 

Take up the White Man's burden 

And reap his old reward: 
The blame of those ye better, 

The hate of those ye guard 
The cry of hosts ye humour 

(Ah, slowly!) toward the light: 
"Why brought ye us from bondage, 

"Our loved Egyptian night?" 

Take up the White Man's burden 

Ye dare not stoop to less 
Nor call too loud on Freedom 

To cloak your weariness; 
By all ye cry or whisper, 

By all ye leave or do, 
The silent, sullen peoples 

Shall weigh your Gods and you. 


Take up the White Man's burden 

Have done with childish days 
The lightly proffered laurel, 

The easy, ungrudged praise. 
Comes now, to search your manhood 

Through all the thankless years, 
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom, 

The judgment of your peers! 

Rudyard Kipling (1865-} 

The following poem was written before Kipling was 
born; but it has as its subject an individual who bore the 
"white man's burden.'* Poems of this type are said to be 
occasional that is, inspired by or written for a particu- 
lar incident or occasion. The author of "The Private of 
the Buffs" was Matthew Arnold's successor as Professor 
of Poetry at Oxford. The Buffs was a Kentish regiment ; 
Lord Elgin, an Englishman prominent in Anglo-Chinese 
affairs about 1860. 


Some Sikhs and a private of the Buffs, having remained 
behind with the grog carts, fell into the hands of the Chinese. 
On the next morning they were brought before the authorities, 
and commanded to perform the Kotow. The Sikhs obeyed; 
but Moyse, the English soldier, declaring that he would not 
prostrate himself before any Chinaman alive, was imme- 
diately knocked upon the head, and his body thrown on a 
dunghill. The Times. 

Last night, among his fellow roughs, 

He jested, quaffed, and swore, 
A drunken private of the Buffs, 

Who never looked before. 


To-day, beneath the foeman's frown, 

He stands in Elgin's place, 
Ambassador from Britain's crown, 

And type of all her race. 

Poor, reckless, rude, low-born, untaught, 

Bewildered, and alone, 
A heart, with English instinct fraught, 

He yet can call his own. 
Aye, tear his body limb from limb, 

Bring cord, or ax, or flame: 
He only knows, that not through him 

Shall England come to shame. 

Far Kentish hop-fields round him seem'd, 

Like dreams, to come and go; 
Bright leagues of cherry-blossom gleamed, 

One sheet of living snow; 
The smoke, above his father's door, 

In grey soft eddyings hung: 
Must he then watch it rise no more, 

Doom'd by himself so young? 

Yes, honour calls ! with strength like steel 

He put the vision by. 
Let dusky Indians whine and kneel; 

An English lad must die. 
And thus, with eyes that would not shrink, 

With knee to man unbent, 
Unfaltering on its dreadful brink, 

To his red grave he went. 

Vain, mightiest fleets of iron framed; 

Vain, those all-shattering guns ; 
Unless proud England keep, untamed, 

The strong heart of her sons. 


So, let his name through Europe ring 

A man of mean estate, 
Who died, as firm as Sparta's King, 

Because his soul was great. 
Sir Francis Hastings Charles Doyle (1810-1888). 

From the foregoing objective treatment of honor, we 
turn to a subjective view of the sister virtue duty. The 
term ode, as used here in the loosest of its three meanings, 
implies a serious reflective poem of considerable length. 


Stern Daughter of the Voice of God ! 

O Duty ! if that name thou love 

Who art a light to guide, a rod 

To check the erring, and reprove; 

Thou, who art victory and law 

When empty terrors overawe; 

From vain temptations dost set free; 

And calm'st the weary strife of frail humanity ! 

There are who ask not if thine eye 
Be on them; who, in love and truth, 
Where no misgiving is, rely 
Upon the genial sense of youth: 
Glad Hearts ! without reproach or blot 
Who do thy work, and know it not: 
O ! if through confidence misplaced 

They fail, thy saving arms, dread Power ! around them 

Serene will be our days and bright, 
And happy will our nature be, 
When love is an unerring light, 
And joy its own security. 


And they a blissful course may hold 

Even now, who, not unwisely bold, 

Live in the spirit of this creed; 

Yet seek thy firm support, according to their need. 

I, loving freedom, and untried; 

No sport of every random gust, 

Yet being to myself a guide, 

Too blindly have reposed my trust: 

And oft, when in my heart was heard 

Thy timely mandate, I deferred 

The task, in smoother walks to stray; 

But thee I now would serve more strictly, if I may. 

Through no disturbance of my soul, 

Or strong compunction in me wrought, 

I supplicate for thy control; 

But in the quietness of thought: 

Me this unchartered freedom tires; 

I feel the weight of chance-desires: 

My hopes no more must change their name, 

I long for a repose that ever is the same. 

Stern Lawgiver ! yet thou dost wear 
The Godhead's most benignant grace; 
Nor know we anything so fair 
As is the smile upon thy face: 
Flowers laugh before thee on their beds 
And fragrance in thy footing treads ; 
Thou dost preserve the stars from wrong; 
And the most ancient heavens, through Thee, 
are fresh and strong. 

To humbler functions, awful Power ! 
I call thee: I myself commend 
Unto thy guidance from this hour; 
Oh, let my weakness have an end! 


Give unto me, made lowly wise, 

The spirit of self-sacrifice; 

The confidence of reason give; 

And in the light of Truth thy Bondman let me live ! 

William Wordsworth (1770-1850} 

The second and fourth lines of the first of the above 
stanzas do not rime in pronunciation. Ending each in 
-ove, however, the words on the page appear to rime. 
This type of rime, found occasionally in the work of some 
of the greatest poets, is called eye-rime. On the con- 
trary, the second and fourth lines of the second stanza 
rime in pronunciation, although they are not spelled 
alike. Such rime, though wholly satisfactory, is called 
ear-rime to distinguish it from rime such as God-rod in 
which both sound and spelling are identical. Free and 
humanity represent a type of approximate rime. In 
Elizabethan as well as in some later poems this final y is 
to be considered as riming with try. 

Compare the two foregoing poems with the following. 
Note that a similar theme devotion to duty is brought 
out almost equally well by a narrated incident, a bit of 
reasoned philosophy, or the lyric cry of a lover. In "To 
Lucasta" note the rime nunnery-fly. It was typical of 
the seventeenth century to address a lady by a Latin 
name. Lovelace is remembered with Suckling and Carew 
as a Cavalier poet. 


Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind 

That from the nunnery 
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind 

To war and arms I fly. 


True, a new mistress now I chase, 

The first foe in the field ; 
And with a stronger faith embrace 

A sword, a horse, a shield. 

Yet this inconstancy is such 

As you too shall adore; 
I could not love thee, Dear, so much, 

Loved I not Honour more. 

Colonel Richard Lovelace (1618-1668} 

It is perhaps a platitude that one admires secretly, 
at least a quality one lacks. Burns, a creature of im- 
pulse, in writing the epitaph of a brother worker, gave 
highest praise to self-control. The stanza of "A Bard's 
Epitaph," found also in such well-known poems as "To 
a Mouse" and "To a Mountain Daisy," has been given 
Burns's name. Note in this poem the change from dialect 
to standard English. Owre means over; blate, timid; 
snool, yield weakly ; dool, sorrow. 


Is there a whim-inspired fool, 

Owre fast for thought, owre hot for rule, 

Owre blate to seek, owre proud to snool? 

Let him draw near; 
And owre this grassy heap sing dool, 

And drap a tear. 

Is there a bard of rustic song, 

Who, noteless, steals the crowds among, 

That weekly this area throng? 

Oh, pass not by ! 
But, with a frater-feeling strong, 

Here, heave a sigh. 


Is there a man, whose judgment clear 
Can others teach the course to steer, 
Yet runs, himself, life's mad career 

Wild as the wave? 
Here pause and thro' the starting tear, 

Survey this grave. 

The poor inhabitant below 

Was quick to learn, and wise to know, 

And keenly felt the friendly glow, 

And softer flame; 
But thoughtless follies laid him low, 

And stain'd his name! 

Reader, attend ! whether thy soul 
Soars fancy's flights beyond the pole, 
Or darkling grubs this earthy hole, 

In low pursuit; 
Know, prudent, cautious self-control 

Is wisdom's root. 

Robert Burns (1759-1796} 

Poems charged with homely sentiment are, like songs 
and narrative verse, enjoyed by persons uninitiated into 
the subtleties of the unsung lyric. Kingsley is, of course, 
best known not as a poet but as the author of the novels 
Westward Ho! and Hereward the Wake. Note the femi- 
nine rimes in "Young and Old." Were the words lad and 
there omitted, the sense would be equally clear, but the 
poem would somehow lose its slow tempo and pathetic 



When all the world is young, lad, 

And all the trees are green; 
And every goose a swan, lad, 

And every lass a queen; 


Then hey for boot and horse, lad, 

And round the world away; 
Young blood must have its course, lad, 

And every dog his day. 

When all the world is old, lad, 

And all the trees are brown; 
And all the sport is stale, lad, 

And all the wheels run down; 
Creep home, and take your place there, 

The spent and maimed among: 
God grant you find one face there, 

You loved when all was young. 

Charles Kingsley (1819-1875} 

In the above poem the second stanza affords a contrast 
with the first. In the following, the second answers a ques- 
tion which the first has propounded. Goldsmith, a mem- 
ber of Dr. Johnson's Club, was the versatile author of 
She Stoops to Conquer, The Vicar of Wakefield, The 
Deserted Village, and The Citizen of the World. A 
brilliant parody of "When Lovely Woman" may be found 
in the chapter on Light Verse. 


When lovely woman stoops to folly 
And finds too late that men betray, 

What charm can soothe her melancholy, 
What art can wash her guilt away? 

The only art her guilt to cover, 

To hide her shame from every eye, 
To give repentance to her lover 

And wring his bosom, is to die. 

Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774) 


The art, the mythology, and the mystery of the ancient 
world have always been popular subjects with English 
poets. The Niobe of Greek mythology, who lost her six 
sons and six daughters and would not be comforted, has, 
for instance, become a type of the bereaved mother of 
all times and lands. For Byron's cultivated audience a 
hundred words could not have described Rome so well as 
the phrase "the Niobe of nations." In "Niobe," as in 
"Orpheus and Eurydice," and "The Venus of Milo," 
Noyes has attained a high rank among modern inter- 
preters of the legends of Greek mythology. "Niobe" is, 
perhaps, the finest presentation in words of the legendary 


How like the sky she bends above her child, 

One with the great horizon of her pain ! 
No sob from our low seas where woe runs wild, 

No weeping cloud, no momentary rain, 
Can mar the heaven-high visage of her grief, 
That frozen anguish, proud, majestic, dumb. 
She stoops in pity above the labouring earth, 

Knowing how fond, how brief 
Is all its hope, past, present, and to come, 

She stoops in pity, and yearns to assuage its dearth. 

Through that fair face the whole dark universe 

Speaks, as a thorn-tree speaks thro' one white flower; 

And all those wrenched Promethean souls that curse 
The gods, but cannot die before their hour, 

Find utterance in her beauty. That fair head 
Bows over all earth's graves. It was her cry 


Men heard in Rama when the twisted ways 

With children's blood ran red ! 
Her silence utters all the sea would sigh; 

And, in her face, the whole earth's anguish prays. 

It is the pity, the pity of human love 

That strains her face, upturned to meet the doom, 
And her deep bosom, like a snow-white dove 

Frozen upon its nest, ne'er to resume 
Its happy breathing o'er the golden brace 

Whose fostering was her death. Death, death alone 
Can break the anguished horror of that spell ! 

The sorrow on her face 

Is sealed: the living flesh is turned to stone; 
She knows all, all, that Life and Time can tell 

Ah, yet, her woman's love, so vast, so tender; 

Her woman's body, hurt by every dart; 
Braving the thunder, still, still hide the slender 

Soft frightened child beneath her mighty heart. 
She is all one mute immortal cry, one brief 
Infinite pang of such victorious pain 

That she transcends the heavens and bows them downs 

The majesty of grief 
Is hers, and her dominion must remain 

Eternal. God nor man usurps that crown. 

Alfred Noyes (1880- ) 

In this iambic poem, note the substitution of the lighter 
ascending foot in the last line of the first stanza. The 
fifth line may be similarly explained, or heaven may be 
considered as a monosyllable. These substitutions are 
fairly frequent in iambic poetry. Similarly the dactyl 
appears occasionally in a trochaic line. Much as the 
words Promethean and Rama may connote, it is evident 


that they possess also a musical value. George White- 
field, it is said, could bring an audience to tears by his 
pronunciation of the word Mesopotamia. Poets likewise 
know the human ear and the capabilities of the language. 
In each of the following lists of female names, the very 
essence of the author's melody is accurately reflected : 

Faustina, Fragoletta, Dolores, 
Felise and Yolande and Juliette. . . . 
From "Dedication," by Algernon Charles Swinburne 

Cecily, Gertrude, Magdalen, 
Margaret and Rosalys. 
From "The Blessed Damosel," by Dante Gabriel Rossetti 

Milton is, of course, the classic example. 

Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn" is one of the supreme 
English masterpieces of subtle melody. The last two lines 
are often compared with the passage already quoted from 
Emerson's "The Rhodora" and with the opening lines of 
Keats's own Endymion, 

A thing of beauty is a joy forever. 

Though almost purely lyric, the "Ode on a Grecian Urn" 
is far removed from the simplicity of the song; it relies 
not only upon rime and rhythm but upon sound-harmony 
or tone-color. To enjoy the poem fully, one must visu- 
alize the antique urn upon which some forgotten genius 
told his story not in words but in design. With reference 
to sight and sound, Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn" 
and "Ode to a Nightingale" bear to each other a relation 
similar to that which exists between Wordsworth's "I 
Wandered Lonely" and "The Solitary Reaper." 



Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness, 

Thou foster-child of silence and slow time, 
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express 

A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme: 
What leaf-fring'd legend haunts about thy shape 

Of deities or mortals, or of both, 

In Temple or the dales of Arcady? 
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth? 

What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? 
What pipes and timbrels ? What wild ecstasy ? 

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard 

Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on; 
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd, 

Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone: 
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave 

Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare ; 
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss, 
Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve ; 

She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, 
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair! 

Ah, happy, happy boughs ! that cannot shed 

Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu; 
And, happy melodist, unwearied, 

For ever piping songs for ever new; 
More happy love ! more happy, happy love ! 

For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd, 

For ever panting, and for ever young; 
All breathing human passion far above, 

That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd, 
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue. 


Who are these coming to the sacrifice? 

To what green altar, O mysterious priest, 
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies, 

And all her silken flanks with garlands drest? 
What little town by river or sea shore, 

Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel, 

Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn? 
And, little town, thy streets for evermore 

Will silent be; and not a soul to tell 
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return. 

O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede 

Of marble men and maidens overwrought, 
With forest branches and the trodden weed; 

Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought 
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral! 

When old age shall this generation waste, 

Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe 
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st, 

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," that is all 
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. 

John Keats (1795-1821) 

There is sometimes a close kinship between a poem and 
an example of some other art. The historic and funda- 
mental relation between poetry and music has been dis- 
cussed in the chapter on the Song. Though these sister 
arts have in the main followed divergent paths, they are 
still often associated. In the Gilbert and Sullivan oper- 
ettas, for instance, airs and lyrics are happily blended. 
The relation of poetry to sculpture has been suggested by 
Noyes's "Niobe," the conception of which seems to have 
been largely derived from the Uffizi statue. The figured 


Grecian urn, supposedly a copy of an original by Scopas, 
comes a step nearer to painting; Keats, endowed with a 
high pictorial quality, is, in Browning's "Popularity," 
described as the one who fished up the murex, the shell-fish 
which yields royal purple. The picture quality of poetry 
reached its culmination in Rossetti, who, like Blake, was 
a painter as well as a poet and often expressed the same 
idea in each of the two arts. The Imagists of the twen- 
tieth century aim at painting pictures with words. Ten- 
nyson, a poetic heir of Keats, wrote many poems expres- 
sive of color and form. From "The Lady of Shalott," for 
instance, J. W. Waterhouse and George H. Boughton 
each drew the subject for a painting. Although Tenny- 
son wrote "The Splendor Falls" "after hearing the 
echoes of Killarney in 1848," the poem is even more 
pictorial than suggestive of sounds. 


The splendor falls on castle walls 

And snowy summits old in story; 
The long light shakes across the lakes, 

And the wild cataract leaps in glory. 
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying, 
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying. 

O hark, O hear ! how thin and clear, 

And thinner, clearer, farther going! 
O sweet and far from cliff and scar 

The horns of Elfland faintly blowing! 
Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying: 
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying. 


O love, they die in yon rich sky, 

They faint on hill or field or river; 
Our echoes roll from soul to soul, 

And grow for ever and for ever. 
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying, 
And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying. 
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) 

When a word within a line rimes with one at the end 
(falls-walls, line one, above) the rime is described as 
internal. The difference between internal rime and the 
normal end rime is slight, the latter being, of course, some- 
what more emphatic. Note that the refrain of the above 
stanzas differs markedly from the regular iambic tetrame- 
ters of the first four lines. In the refrain the call of a 
bugle is imitated in words. This adaptation of sound to 
sense, common in poetry, is called onomatorjozia. The 
adjective is onomatopoeic or onomatopoetic. 

Although the quatrain of iambic tetrameters riming 
abba had been used previously, it remained for Tennyson 
to give the meter a great poem. In Memoriam has since 
given the name to the stanza in which it is written. The 
following passage is often sung as a Christmas carol. 


Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, 

The flying cloud, the frosty light: 

The year is dying in the night; 
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die. 

Ring out the old, ring in the new, 
Ring, happy bells, across the snow: 


The year is going, let him go; 
Ring out the false, ring in the true. 

Ring out the grief that saps the mind, 
For those that here we s"ee no more; 
Ring out the feud of rich and poor, 

Ring in redress to all mankind. 

Ring out a slowly dying cause, 

And ancient forms of party strife; 
Ring in the nobler modes of life, 

With sweeter manners, purer laws. 

Ring out the want, the care, the sin, 
The faithless coldness of the times; 
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes, 

But ring the fuller minstrel in. 

Ring out false pride in place and blood, 

The civic slander and the spite; 

Ring in the love of truth and right, 
Ring in the common love of good. 

Ring out old shapes of foul disease; 

Ring out the narrowing lust of gold; 

Ring out the thousand wars of old, 
Ring in the thousand years of peace. 

Ring in the valiant man and free, 
The larger heart, the kindlier hand; 
Ring out the darkness of the land, 

Ring in the Christ that is to be. 

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) 

In the preceding hymn Tennyson expressed a general 
appeal for better conditions. In the following poem the 


newly appointed laureate complimented the great sov- 
ereign who was regarded by her contemporaries as the 
epitome of an age of morality and idealism. A dedication 
in verse is difficult. Swinburne's self-dedication in his 
Poems and Ballads, First Series, displays high metrical 
skill. Whittier's "Proem," Morris's "An Apology," 
and Masefield's "A Consecration" ably characterize the 
aims of their respective authors. Happily phrased is 
William Watson's sonnet offering a volume "To Lord 
Tennyson." It is safe to say, however, that no dedication 
has surpassed in felicity the subjoined poem. The refer- 
ence in the second stanza is to William Wordsworth, who 
preceded Tennyson as poet laureate. 


Revered, beloved O you that hold 
A nobler office upon earth 
Than arms, or power of brain, or birth 

Could give the warrior kings of old, 

Victoria, since your Royal grace 

To one of less desert allows 

This laurel greener from the brows 
Of him that utter 'd nothing base; 

And should your greatness, and the care 
That yokes with empire, yield you time 
To make demand of modern rhyme 

If aught of ancient worth be there; 

Then while a sweeter music wakes, 

And thro' wild March the throstle calls, 


Where all about your palace-walls 
The sun-lit almond-blossom shakes 

Take, Madam, this poor book of song; 

For tho' the faults were thick as dust 

In vacant chambers, I could trust 
Your kindness. May you rule us long, 

And leave us rulers of your blood 

As noble till the latest day ! 

May children of our children say, 
"She wrought her people lasting good; 

"Her court was pure; her life serene; 

God gave her peace; her land reposed; 
A thousand claims to reverence closed 
In her as Mother, Wife, and Queen; 

"And statesmen at her council met 
Who knew the seasons when to take 
Occasion by the hand, and make 
The bounds of freedom wider yet 

"By shaping some august decree 

Which kept her throne unshaken still, 
Broad-based upon her people's will, 
And compass'd by the inviolate sea!" 

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892} 

As Tennyson lay on his death-bed, Henry van 
Dyke, author, clergyman, professor, and later ambas- 
sador to Holland and Luxemburg, penned the follow- 
ing poem, felicitous in its reference to "Crossing the 
Bar,'* and carrying in the fourth and fifth lines the 
noblest conceivable tribute. The trochaic octame- 


ter lines harmonize well with the tone of stately 


In Lucem Transitus, October, 1892 

From the misty shores of midnight, touched with splendors of 

the moon, 
To the singing tides of heaven, and the light more clear than 

Passed a soul that grew to music till it was with God in tune. 

Brother of the greatest poets, true to nature, true to art; 
Lover of Immortal Love, uplifter of the human heart, 
Who shall cheer us with high music, who shall sing, if thou 

Silence here for love is silent, gazing on the lessening sail; 
Silence here for grief is voiceless when the mighty minstrels 


Silence here but, far beyond us, many voices crying, Hail ! 

Henry van Dyke (1852- ) 

Tennyson was buried in London, in the "Poets' Corner" 
of Westminster Abbey. That venerable Gothic building 
contains many more immortals now than when Beaumont 
wrote his poem, and among those recently buried therein 
are a number of men of letters. Speaking for a British 
colony, Kipling well terms Westminster "The Abbey that 
makes us we." Beaumont's name is almost inseparably 
connected with that of John Fletcher the two constitute 
the most famous pair of collaborators in English 


Mortality, behold and fear, 
What a change of flesh is here ! 
Think how many royal bones 
Sleep within these heaps of stones; 
Here they lie, had realms and lands, 
Who now want strength to stir their hands, 
Where from their pulpits seal'd with dust 
They preach, "In greatness is no trust." 
Here's an acre sown indeed 
With the richest royallest seed 
That the earth did e'er suck in 
Since the first man died for sin: 
Here the bones of birth have cried 
"Though gods they were, as men they died !" 
Here are sands, ignoble things, 
Dropt from the ruin'd sides of kings: 
Here's a world of pomp and state 
Buried in dust, once dead by fate. 
Francis Beaumont 

Tennyson strove in The Idylls of the King to do for 
the obscure dawn of his country what Vergil had done for 
Rome. His selection by the Mantuans as the nineteenth 
centenary poet was consequently exceedingly happy, and 
his response justified the choice. This excellent occa- 
sional poem is written in trochaic nonameter catalectic, 
a very unusual form. 



Roman Virgil, thou that singest Ilion's lofty temples robed 
in fire, 


Ilion falling, Rome arising, wars, and filial faith, and Dido's 

Landscape-lover, lord of language, more than he that sang the 

"Works and Days," 
All the chosen coin of fancy flashing out from many a golden 


Thou that singest wheat and woodland, tilth and vineyard, 

hive and horse and herd; 
All the charm of all the Muses often flowering in a lonely 


Poet of the happy Tityrus piping underneath his beechen 

bowers ; 
Poet of the poet-satyr whom the laughing shepherd bound 

with flowers; 

Chanter of the Pollio, glorying in the blissful again 

to be, 
Summers of the snakeless meadow, unlaborious earth and 

oarless sea; 

Thou that seest Universal Nature moved by Universal Mind; 
Thou majestic in thy sadness at the doubtful doom of human 

Light among the vanish'd ages; star that gildest yet this 

phantom shore; 
Golden branch amid the shadows, kings and realms that pass 

to rise no more; 

Now thy Forum roars no longer, fallen every purple Ceesar's 

Tho' thine ocean-roll of rhythm sound forever of Imperial 



Now the Rome of slaves hath perish'd, and the Rome of 

freemen holds her place, 
I, from out the Northern Island sunder'd once from all the 

human race, 

I salute thee, Mantovano, I that loved thee since my day 

Wielder of the stateliest measure ever moulded by the lips 

of man. 

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) 

The next three poems are alike in their reflection 
of the spirit of America, and alike in the use of iambic 
tetrameter a line as characteristic of the English lyric 
as iambic pentameter is of longer poems. An excellent 
composition may be very short. "The Ballot" is by a 
nearly forgotten poet of the early national period of 
American literature and history. 


A weapon that comes down as still 
As snowflakes fall upon the sod; 

But executes a freeman's will, 
As lightning does the will of God. 

John Pierpont (1785-1866) 

"Westward Ho !" commemorates an epic phase of 
American civilization, a phase neglected by the New Eng- 
land poets. Its author was a native Westerner whose 
name is often associated with that of Bret Harte. 



What strength! what strife! what rude unrest! 

What shocks! what half-shaped armies met! 

A mighty nation moving west, 

With all its steely sinews set 

Against the living forests. Hear 

The shouts, the shots of pioneer, 

The rended forests, rolling wheels, 

As if some half-check'd army reels, 

Recoils, redoubles, comes again, 

Loud sounding like a hurricane. 

O bearded, stalwart, westmost men, 

So tower-like, so Gothic built ! 

A kingdom won without the guilt 

Of studied battle, that hath been 

Your blood's inheritance . . . Your heirs 

Know not your tombs: the great plowshares 

Cleave softly through the mellow loam 

Where you have made eternal home, 

And set no sign. Your epitaphs 

Are writ in furrows. Beauty laughs 

While through the green ways wandering 

Beside her love, slow gathering 

White, starry-hearted May-time blooms 

Above your lowly leveled tombs; 

And then below the spotted sky 

She stops, she leans, she wonders why 

The ground is heaved and broken so, 

And why the grasses darker grow 

And droop and trail like wounded wing. 

Yea, Time, the grand old harvester, 
Has gather'd you from wood and plain. 
We call to you again, again; 


The rush and rumble of the car 
Comes back in answer. Deep and wide 
The wheels of progress have passed on ; 
The silent pioneer is gone. 
His ghost is moving down the trees, 
And now we push the memories 
Of bluff, bold men who dared and died 
In foremost battle, quite aside. 
Cincinnatus Heine ("Joaquin") Miller (1841-1913) 

Though less imaginative than "Westward Ho !", "Un- 
manifest Destiny" is more vigorous, and its phrasing har- 
monizes more effectively with its metrical structure. 
Hovey poet, translator, collaborator with Bliss Carman 
belongs with Miller, Aldrich, Cawein, and a few others 
in a rather distinguished group of American poets whose 
careers fell in the fallow period about the close of the 
last century. 


To what new fates, my country, far 

And unforeseen of foe or friend, 
Beneath what unexpected star, 

Compelled to what unchosen end, 

Across the sea that knows no beach 

The Admiral of Nations guides 
Thy blind obedient keels to reach 

The harbor where thy future rides! 

The guns that spoke at Lexington 

Knew not that God was planning then 

The trumpet word of Jefferson 
To bugle forth the rights of men. 


To them that wept and cursed Bull Run, 
What was it but despair and shame? 

Who saw behind the cloud and sun? 
Who knew that God was in the flame? 

Had not defeat upon defeat, 

Disaster on disaster come, 
The slave's emancipated feet 

Had never marched behind the drum. 

There is a Hand that bends our deeds 
To mightier issues than we planned; 

Each son that triumphs, each that bleeds, 
My country, serves Its dark command. 

I do not know beneath what sky 
Nor on what seas shall be thy fate; 

I only know it shall be high, 
I only know it shall be great. 

Richard Hovey (1864-1900} 

During the World War a pamphlet by Kipling entitled 
Twenty Poems had an enormous sale in England. The 
timely "For All We Have and Are" sounded a clarion 
call to what was, for England, a modern crusade. Kip- 
ling is said to have been the first to apply the epithet 
Hun to the German. "For All We Have and Are," 
although not intended for singing, has a chorus a char- 
acteristic of many of its author's poems. 



For all we have and are, 
For all our children's fate, 
Stand up and take the war. 
The Hun is at the gate ! 


Our world has passed away 

In wantonness o'erthrown. 

There is nothing left to-day 

But steel and fire and stone ! 

Though all we knew depart, 
The old Commandments stand: 
"In courage keep your heart, 
In strength lift up your hand." 

Once more we hear the word 
That sickened earth of old : 
"No law except the Sword 
Unsheathed and uncontrolled." 
Once more it knits mankind, 
Once more the nations go 
To meet and break and bind 
A crazed and driven foe. 

Comfort, content, delight, 

The age's slow-bought gain, 

They shrivelled in a night. 

Only ourselves remain 

To face the naked days 

In silent fortitude, 

Through perils and dismays 

Renewed and re-renewed. 

Though all we made depart 
The old Commandments stand: 
"In patience keep your heart 
In strength lift up your hand." 

No easy hope or lies 
Shall bring us to our goal, 
But iron sacrifice 
Of body, will, and soul. 


There is but one task for all 
One life for each to give. 
What stands if Freedom fall? 
Who dies if England live? 

Rudyard Kipling (1865- ) 

Whereas Kipling's poem grew directly from a time of 
national crisis, Burns's patriotic challenge was written 
centuries after the event which it commemorates. 
At Bannockburn the Scots under Robert Bruce routed 
the invading army of Edward II. The heroic deeds of 
Sir William Wallace antedated those of Bruce by a score 
of years. This entire poem is made a unit by the riming 
of the fourth lines of the stanzas. 


Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled, 
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led; 
Welcome to your gory bed, 
Or to Victorie! 

Now's the day, and now's the hour; 
See the front o' battle lour ; 
See approach proud Edward's pow'r 
Chains and slaverie ! 

Wha will be a traitor knave? 
Wha can fill a coward's grave? 
Wha sae base as be a slave ? 
Let him turn and flee! 

Wha for Scotland's king and law 
Freedom's sword will strongly draw, 
Free-man stand, or Free-man fa'? 
Let him follow me! 


By Oppression's woes and pains ! 
By your sons in servile chains ! 
We will drain our dearest veins, 
But they shall be free! 

Lay the proud usurpers low ! 
Tyrants fall in every foe ! 
Liberty's in every blow ! 
Let us do or die ! 

Robert Burns (1759-1796') 

The next two poems reflect different phases of the same 
struggle and afford two glimpses of the same place, 
Charleston, S. C. The first poem, vigorous and graphic, 
gives the impressions of a British sailor who made the 
port on a blockade runner in the last days of the Con- 
federacy. The second is one of the world's finest tributes, 
at once sweet and elevated, to the heroic dead. Compare 
also the meters. That of "Romance" is a stanzaic ar- 
rangement of the rimeless trochaic tetrameter popularized 
by Longfellow's Hiawatha. 


"Talk of pluck!" pursued the Sailor, 

Set at euchre on his elbow, 
"I was on the wharf at Charleston, 

Just ashore from off the runner. 

"It was gray and dirty weather, 
And I heard a drum go rolling, 
Rub-a-dubbing in the distance, 
Awful dour-like and defiant. 


"In and out among the cotton, 
Mud, and chains, and stores, and anchors, 
Tramped a squad of battered scarecrows- 
Poor old Dixie's bottom dollar! 

"Some had shoes, but all had rifles, 
Them that wasn't bald was beardless, 
And the drum was rolling 'Dixie,' 
And they stepped to it like men, sir ! 

"Rags and tatters, belts and bayonets, 
On they swung, the drum a-rolling, 
Mum and sour. It looked like fighting, 
And they meant it too, by thunder !" 

William Ernest Henley (184.9-1903) 


Sleep sweetly in your humble graves, 

Sleep, martyrs of a fallen cause; 
Though yet no marble column craves 

The pilgrim here to pause. 

In seeds of laurel in the earth 

The blossom of your fame is blown, 

And somewhere, waiting for its birth, 
The shaft is in the stone ! 

Meanwhile, behalf the tardy years 

Which keep in trust your storied tombs, 

Behold ! your sisters bring their tears, 
And these memorial blooms. 

* This selection from Timrod is reprinted from the Memorial 
Edition through the courtesy of the holder of the copyright. Johnson 
Publishing Company. 


Small tributes ! but your shades will smile 
More proudly on these wreaths to-day, 

Than when some cannon-moulded pile 
Shall overlook this bay. 

Stoop, angels, hither from the skies ! 

There is no holier spot of ground 
Than where defeated valor lies, 

By mourning beauty crowned. 

Henry Timrod (1829-1867} 

The next two poems afford an opportunity for com- 
paring a Victorian and a modern poet on the same sub- 
ject. Christina Rossetti shared the inheritance of a 
family of genius. "Song" is a lyric in the truest sense; 
the words almost sing themselves. Among living poets 
Sara Teasdale holds a high place for her shorter lyrics. 
Note the effect of the three different line-lengths in "I 
Shall Not Care." 


When I am dead, my dearest, 

Sing no sad songs for me; 
Plant thou no roses at my head, 

Nor shady cypress tree: 
Be the green grass above me 

With showers and dewdrops wet; 
And if thou wilt, remember, 

And if thou wilt, forget. 

I shall not see the shadows, 

I shall not feel the rain; 
I shall not hear the nightingale 

Sing on, as if in pain; 


And dreaming through the twilight 

That doth not rise nor set, 
Haply I may remember, 

And haply may forget. 
Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894) 


When I am dead and over me bright April 

Shakes out her rain-drenched hair; 
Though you should lean above me broken-hearted, 

I shall not care. 

I shall have peace, as leafy trees are peaceful 

When rain bends down the bough; 
And I shall be more silent and cold-hearted 

Than you are now. 

Sara Teasdale (1884- ) 

We quote another of Sara Teasdale's compact lyrics. 
"Wisdom'* expresses in contemporary terms an ancient 
cynical thought. 


When I have ceased to break my wings 
Against the faultiness of things, 
And learned that compromises wait 
Behind each hardly opened gate, 
When I can look life in the eyes, 
Grown calm and very coldly wise, 
Life will have given me the Truth 
And taken in exchange my youth. 

Sara Teasdale (1884- ) 


The meter of the preceding selection demands special 
notice. The stanzaic unit, consisting of two riming lines 
of iambic tetrameter, is known as the short or octosyllabic 
couplet. This meter has been the vehicle of many long 
narrative poems from Chaucer's time to the present day. 
It is perhaps best known as the favorite meter of Sir 
Walter Scott. Variety is achieved by an occasional ter- 
cet and sometimes by a quatrain riming abab or abba. 
These irregularities are illustrated in the famous passages 

Alas for him who never sees 
The stars shine through his cypress trees ! 
Who, hopeless, lays his dead away, 
Nor looks to see the breaking day 
Across the mournful marbles play ! 
Who hath not learned, in hours of faith, 
The truth to flesh and sense unknown, 
That Life is ever lord of Death, 

And Love can never lose its own! 
From "Snowbound," by John Greenleaf Whittier 

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, 
Who never to himself hath said, 

This is my own, my native land? 
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned, 
As home his footsteps he hath turned 

From wandering on a foreign strand? 
If such there breathe, go, mark him well; 
For him no minstrel raptures swell; 
High though his titles, proud his name, 
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim, 
Despite those titles, power, and pelf, 
The wretch, concentred all in self, 


Living, shall forfeit fair renown, 
And, doubly dying, shall go down 
To the vile dust from whence he sprung, 
Unwept, unhonored, and unsung. 
From "The Lay of the Last Minstrel," by Sir Walter Scott 

Arnold's elegy on Wordsworth, "Memorial Verses, April, 
1850," too long to quote here, affords excellent oppor- 
tunity for studying the short couplet. 

In the following poem is seen a departure from the 
usual custom of printing the couplets continuously. Note 
the suggestive power of the couplet stanzas. 


They say that dead men tell no tales! 

Except of harges with red sails 
And sailors mad for nightingales; 

Except of jongleurs stretched at ease 
Beside old highways through the trees; 

Except of dying moons that break 
The hearts of lads who lie awake ; 

Except of fortresses in shade, 

And heroes crumbled and betrayed. 

But dead men tell no tales, they say! 

Except old tales that burn away 
The stifling tapestries of day: 

Old tales of life, of love and hate, 
Of time and space, and will, and fate. 
Haniel Long (18S8- ) 


Night and sleep vie with death as favorite themes of 
poets. Shakespeare's "sleep that knits up the ravelled 
sleeve of care" is one of more than seventy passages on 
sleep in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. The poem below 
may be compared with William Collins's "Ode to Eve- 
ning," Blake's "Night," and Shelley's "To Night." 


I heard the trailing garments of the Night 

Sweep through her marble halls ! 
I saw her sable skirts all fringed with light 

From the celestial walls ! 

I felt her presence, by its spell of might, 

Stoop o'er me from above; 
The calm, majestic presence of the Night, 

As of the one I love. 

I heard the sounds of sorrow and delight, 

The manifold, soft chimes, 
That fill the haunted chambers of the Night, 

Like some old poet's rhymes. 

From the cool cisterns of the midnight air 

My spirit drank repose; 
The fountain of perpetual peace flows there, 

From those deep cisterns flows. 

O holy Night! from thee I learn to bear 

What man has borne before! 
Thou layest thy finger on the lips of Care, 

And they complain no more. 


Peace ! Peace ! Orestes-like I breathe this prayer ! 

Descend with broad-winged flight, 
The welcome, the thrice-prayed for, the most fair, 

The best-beloved Night! 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) 

After reading the poems above and below this para- 
graph, one may find it hard to believe that lovers of Poe's 
melody have decried Longfellow, while admirers of Long- 
fellow's homely philosophy have approved the epithet 
"jingle man" which Emerson applied to Poe. "To One in 
Paradise" presents no uniformity in rime. To apply a 
term suggested by C. Alphonso Smith, the poet has here 
"liquefied' the stanza, or has, in other words, made it a 
more flexible unit. 


Thou wast that all to me, love, 

For which my soul did pine: 
A green isle in the sea, love, 

A fountain and a shrine 
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers, 

And all the flowers were mine. 

Ah, dream too bright to last ! 

Ah, starry Hope, that didst arise 
But to be overcast! 

A voice from out the Future cries, 
"On! on!" but o'er the Past 

(Dim gulf) my spirit hovering lies 
Mute, motionless, aghast. 


For, alas ! alas ! with me 

The light of Life is o'er! 

No more no more no more 
(Such language holds the solemn sea 

To the sands upon the shore) 
Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree, 

Or the stricken eagle soar. 

And all my days are trances, 

And all my nightly dreams 
Are where thy gray eye glances, 

And where thy footstep gleams 
In what ethereal dances, 

By what eternal streams. 

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) 

We quote now a poem of irregular meter. "Kubla 
Khan" stands with Keats's "Hyperion" among the 
most interesting fragmentary poems in the English lan- 
guage. Coleridge was, like his friend DeQuincey, a vic- 
tim of the opium habit. One afternoon, after taking a 
dose of the drug, he fell asleep while reading from a book 
of Oriental travels a description of the palace of an 
emperor, the Khan Kubla. Coleridge claimed to have 
composed while asleep several hundred lines ; some he 
wrote down immediately on awaking, the others he was, 
after an interruption, unable to recall. There is no good 
reason for doubting Coleridge's account of the composi- 
tion of the poem, for similar instances are well authenti- 
cated, and the poem itself has a dreamy quality difficult 
to counterfeit. The variation in rime, in length of line, 
in vowels and in consonants, is worthy of serious study on 
the part of the student who desires to know how the poet 


attains various effects. "Strange,'* says Theodore Watts- 
Dunton in his article on Poetry in the Encyclopaedia 
Britannica, "that it is not in an ode at all but in this 
unique lyric 'Kubla Khan,' descriptive of imaginative 
landscape, that an English poet has at last conquered the 
crowning difficulty of writing in irregular meters. Hav- 
ing broken away from all restraints of couplet and 
stanza having caused his rhymes and pauses to fall just 
where and just when the emotion demands that they 
should fall, scorning the exigencies of makeshift no less 
than the exigencies of stanza he has found what every 
writer of irregular English odes has sought in vain, a 
music as entrancing as natural, and at the same time as 
inscrutable, as the music of the winds or of the sea." 


In Xanadu did Kubla Khan 
A stately pleasure-dome decree: 
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran 
Through caverns measureless to man 
Down to a sunless sea. 

So twice five miles of fertile ground 
With walls and towers were girdled round: 
And here were gardens bright with sinuous rills, 
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree; 
And here were forests ancient as the hills, 
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery. 

But oh ! that deep romantic chasm which slanted 
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover ! 
A savage place ! as holy and enchanted 


As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted 

By woman wailing for her demon-lover! 

And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething, 

As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing, 

A mighty fountain momently was forced: 

Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst 

Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail, 

Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail: 

And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever 

It flung up momently the sacred river. 

Five miles meandering with a mazy motion 

Through wood and dale the sacred river ran, 

Then reached the caverns measureless to man, 

And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean: 

And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far 

Ancestral voices prophesying war! 

The shadow of the dome of pleasure 

Floated midway on the waves; 

Where was heard the mingled measure 

From the fountain and the caves. 
It was a miracle of rare device, 
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice! 

A damsel with a dulcimer 

In a vision once I saw: 

It was an Abyssinian maid, 

And on her dulcimer she played, 

Singing of Mount Abora. 

Could I revive within me 

Her symphony and song, 

To such a deep delight 'twould win me, 
That with music loud and long, 
I would build that dome in air, 
That sunny dome ! those caves of ice ! 
And all who heard should see them there, 


And all should cry, Beware ! Beware ! 
His flashing eyes, his floating hair ! 
Weave a circle round him thrice, 
And close your eyes with holy dread, 
For he on honey-dew hath fed, 
And drunk the milk of Paradise. 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-183 Ji) 

This chapter may well be concluded with Shelley's "To 
a Skylark," a poem which combines the iambic and tro- 
chaic meters in an effective lyric manner. Because of 
their musical notes and their ability to rise above the 
earth, birds have always appealed to the imagination of 
poets. The nightingale has been celebrated in entire 
poems or in famous passages by Milton, Mark Akenside, 
Coleridge, Keats, Matthew Arnold, and Robert Bridges. 
The popular American mocking-bird is the subject of 
poems by Lanier, Walt Whitman, and Albert Pike. The 
later of Wordsworth's two poems on the skylark affords 
a marked contrast with the poem below. While Shelley 
admires the bird's ability to escape from the earth, 
Wordsworth sees it as a 

Type of the wise who soar, but never roam; 

to the kindred points of Heaven and Home ! 


Hail to thee, blithe Spirit! 

Bird thou never wert, 
That from Heaven, or near it, 

Pourest thy full heart 
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art. 


Higher still and higher 

From the earth thou springest 

Like a cloud of fire; 

The blue deep thou wingest, 

And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest. 

In the golden lightning 

Of the sunken sun, 
O'er which clouds are bright'ning, 

Thou dost float and run; 
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun. 

The pale purple even 

Melts around thy flight; 
Like a star of heaven 

In the broad daylight 
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight, 

Keen as are the arrows 

Of that silver sphere, 
Whose intense lamp narrows 

In the white dawn clear 
Until we hardly see we feel that it is there. 

All the earth and air 

With thy voice is loud, 
As when Night is bare, 

From one lonely cloud 
The moon rains out her beams, and Heaven is overflowed. 

What thou art we know not; 

What is most like thee? 
From rainbow clouds there flow not 

Drops so bright to see 
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody. 


Like a Poet hidden 

In the light of thought, 
Singing hymns unbidden, 

Till the world is wrought 
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not: 

Like a high-born maiden 

In a palace tower, 
Soothing her love-laden 

Soul in secret hour 
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower: 

Like a glow-worm golden 

In a dell of dew, 
Scattering unbeholden 

Its aerial hue 
Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view: 

Like a rose embowered 

In its own green leaves, 
By warm winds deflowered, 

Till the scent it gives 
Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-winged thieves. 

Sound of vernal showers 

On the twinkling grass, 
Rain-awaken'd flowers, 

All that ever was 
Joyous and clear and fresh, thy music doth surpass. 

Teach us, Sprite or Bird, 

What sweet thoughts are thine: 
I have never heard 

Praise of love or wine 
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine. 


Chorus Hymeneal, 

Or triumphal chant, 
Matched with thine would be all 

But an empty vaunt, 
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want. 

What objects are the fountains 

Of thy happy strain? 
What fields or waves or mountains? 

What shapes of sky or plain? 
What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain? 

With thy clear keen joyance 

Languor cannot be: 
Shadow of annoyance 

Never came near thee: 
Thou lovest but ne'er knew love's sad satiety. 

Waking or asleep 

Thou of death must deem 
Things more true and deep 

Than we mortals dream 
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream? 

We look before and after, 

And pine for what is not; 
Our sincerest laughter 

With some pain is fraught; 
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought. 

Yet if we could scorn 

Hate, and pride, and fear; 
If we were things born 

Not to shed a tear, 
I know not how thy joy we ever should come near. 


Better than all measures 

Of delightful sound, 
Better than all treasures 

That in books are found, 
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground ! 

Teach me half the gladness 

That thy brain must know, 
Such harmonious madness 

From my lips would flow 
The world should listen then as I am listening now. 

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) 



Before the poet begins to write ... he should ask himself 
whether his natural impulse is towards the weighty iambic 
movement, whose primary function is to state, or towards 
those lighter movements which we still call, for want of more 
convenient words, anapaestic and dactylic, whose primary 
function is to suggest. Theodore Watts-Dunton in "Poetry " 
Encyclopedia Britannica (Eleventh Edition^) 

IN discussing the elementary phenomena of English 
poetics, we have had occasion to explain briefly the triple 
measures, anapestic and dactylic. The main purpose of 
this chapter is to group representative poems with the 
view of affording a somewhat extended acquaintance with 
the use and possibilities of these rhythms. For reasons 
explained in the preceding chapter, poems purely ana- 
pestic or dactylic are rare. The movement of a poem is, 
however, decidedly triple when fifty per cent of the feet 
contain two unstressed syllables. 

A poem in a triple meter tends, in unskilled hands, to 
be wordy, for important thoughts are carried chiefly by 
accented syllables of which it has a relative scarcity. 
With appropriate subject-matter and in the hands of 
true poets the triple rhythms lend themselves, however, 
to the production of remarkable word music. In these 
measures Shelley and Swinburne achieved faultless works 



of art, and the major nineteenth century poets were gen- 
erally successful. 

The anapestic meter seems especially adapted to sub- 
jects involving movement or action. We quote a poem 
which in content and spirit is well suited to the expression 
it receives. Few widely known poems outside of light 
verse are as purely anapestic as the one below. Sen- 
nacherib was an Assyrian king who invaded Palestine. 
Ashur and Baal were high gods in the religion of the 
Assyrians. See 2 Kings, xix:35. 


The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, 
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold; 
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea, 
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee. 

Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green, 
The host with their banners at sunset were seen; 
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown. 
The host on the morrow lay withered and strown. 

For the angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, 
And breathed in the face of the foe as he pass'd; 
And the eyes of the sleepers wax'd deadly and chill, 
And their hearts but once heaved, and forever grew still ! 

And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide, 
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride ; 
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf, 
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf. 


And there lay the rider distorted and pale, 
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail; 
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone, 
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown. 

And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail, 
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal; 
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword, 
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord ! 

George Noel Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824.) 

Byron's "O Talk Not to Me" has a spirited anapestic 
movement. Note the characteristic iambic substitutions in 
the first feet of the lines. In the Golden Treasury, Pal- 
grave places this poem directly after Coleridge's "Love," 
which begins 

All thoughts, all passions, all delights, 
Whatever stirs this mortal frame, 
All are but ministers of Love, 
And feed his sacred flame. 


O talk not to me of a name great in story; 
The days of our youth are the days of our glory; 
And the myrtle and ivy of sweet two-and-twenty, 
Are worth all your laurels, though ever so plenty. 

What are garlands and crowns to the brow that is wrinkled ? 
'Tis but as a dead flower with May-dew besprinkled: 
Then away with all such from the head that is hoary 
What care I for the wreaths than can only give glory ? 


Oh FAME ! if I e'er took delight in thy praises, 
'Twas less for the sake of thy high-sounding phrases, 
Than to see the bright eyes of the dear one discover 
She thought that I was not unworthy to love her. 

There chiefly I sought thee, there only I found thee; 
Her glance was the best of the rays that surround thee; 
When it sparkled o'er aught that was bright in my story, 
I knew it was love, and I felt it was glory. 

George Noel Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-18&4.) 

In the case of "The Poplar Field" it is to b doubted 
if the anapestic is the meter best adapted to the subject. 
The key-note is found in the transitory quality of human 
joy and human life a subject which seems to demand a 
more sober rhythm. On the contrary, Tennyson, refer- 
ring to this poem, said to Palgrave: "People nowadays, 
I believe, hold this style and meter light ; I wish there 
were any who could put words together with such ex- 
quisite flow and evenness." The river Ouse, here referred 
to, passes near the scene of the author's retirement in 
northern Buckinghamshire. 


The poplars are fell'd; farewell to the shade 
And the whispering sound of' the cool colonnade ; 
The winds play no longer and sing in the leaves, 
Nor Ouse on his bosom their image receives. 

Twelve years have elapsed since I first took a view 
Of my favourite field, and the bank where they grew: 
And now in the grass behold they are laid, 
And the tree is my seat that once lent me a shade. 


The blackbird has fled to another retreat, 
Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat; 
And the scene where his melody charm'd me before 
Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no more. 

My fugitive years are all hasting away, 
And I must ere long lie as lowly as they, 
With a turf on my breast and a stone at my head, 
Ere another such grove shall arise in its stead. 

'Tis a sight to engage me, if anything can, 
To muse on the perishing pleasure of man; 
Though his life be a dream, his enjoyments, I see, 
Have a being less durable even than he. 

William Cozvper (1731-1800) 

The masterly "A Forsaken Garden" affords an ex- 
cellent contrast with the poem just quoted. Here the 
emphasis is not on anything human; it is on a picture 
of desolation. The rushing iambic-anapestic rhythm is 
exceedingly effective, but the author relies chiefly on other 
devices of poetry. It is not altogether alliteration which 
gives the subtle quality to lines like 

When the weeds that grew green from the graves of its roses. 

The explanation lies largely in the skilful choice of the 
vowels in the accented syllables. No lover of supreme 
poetic technique should fail to read in this connection 
the choruses of Swinburne's Atalanta m Calydon, which 
stands with Milton's Samson Agonistes and Shelley's 
Prometheus Unbound in the great trio of English imita- 
tions of ancient Greek drama. 



In a coign of the cliff between lowland and highland, 
At the sea-down's edge between windward and lee, 

Walled round with rocks as an inland island, 
The ghost of a garden fronts the sea. 

A girdle of brushwood and thorn encloses 

The steep square slope of the blossomless bed 

Where the weeds that grew green from the graves of its roses 
Now lie dead. 

The fields fall southward, abrupt and broken, 

To the low last edge of the long lone land. 
If a step should sound or a word be spoken, 

Would a ghost not rise at the strange guest's hand? 
So long have the gray bare walks lain guestless, 

Through branches and briars if a man make way, 
He shall find no life but the sea-wind's, restless 
Night and day. 

The dense hard passage is blind and stifled 

That crawls by a track none turn to climb 
To the strait waste place that the years have rifled 

Of all but the thorns that are touched not of time. 
The thorns he spares when the rose is taken ; 

The rocks are left when he wastes the plain. 
The wind that wanders, the weeds wind-shaken, 
These remain. 

Not a flower to be prest of the foot that falls not; 

As the heart of a dead man the seed-plots are dry; 
From the thicket of thorns whence the nightingale calls not, 

Could she call, there were never a rose to reply. 
Over the meadows that blossom and wither 

Rings but the note of a sea-bird's song; 
Only the sun and the rain come hither 
All year long. 


The sun burns sere and the rain dishevels 

One gaunt bleak blossom of scentless breath. 

Only the wind here hovers and revels 

In a round where life seems barren as death. 

Here there was laughing of old, there was weeping, 
Haply, of lovers none ever will know, 

Whose eyes went seaward a hundred sleeping 
Years ago. 

Heart handfast in heart as they stood, "Look thither," 

Did he whisper? "Look forth from the flowers to the sea; 

For the foam-flowers endure when the rose-blossoms wither, 
And men that love lightly may die but we?" 

And the same wind sang and the same waves whitened, 
And or ever the garden's last petals were shed, 

In the lips that had whispered, the eyes that had lightened, 
Love was dead. 

Or they loved their life through, and then went whither? 

And were one to the end but what end who knows? 
Love deep as the sea as a rose must wither, 

As the rose-red seaweed that mocks the rose. 
Shall the dead take thought for the dead to love them? 

What love was ever as deep as a grave? 
They are loveless now as the grass above them, 
Or the wave. 

All are at one now, roses and lovers, 

Not known of the cliffs and the fields and the sea. 
Not a breath of the time that has been hovers 

In the air now soft with a summer to be. 
Not a breath shall there sweeten the seasons hereafter, 

Of the flowers or the lovers that laugh now or weep, 
When as they that are free now of weeping and laughter 
We shall sleep. 


Here death may deal not again forever; 

Here change may come not till all change end. 
From the graves they have made they shall rise up never, 

Who have left naught living to ravage and rend. 
Earth, stones, and thorns of the wild ground growing, 

While the sun and the rain live, these shall be; 
Till a last wind's breath upon all these blowing 
Roll the sea. 

Till the slow sea rise and the sheer cliff crumble, 
Till terrace and meadow the deep gulfs drink, 
Till the strength of the waves of the high tides humble 

The fields that lessen, the rocks that shrink; 
Here now in his triumph where all things falter, 

Stretched out on the spoils that his own hand spread, 
As a god self-slain on his own strange altar, 
Death lies dead. 

Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909) 

The Napoleonic wars, like all great struggles, left an 
impress on literature. The great world novels, Vanity 
Fair and Les Miserables, have their Waterloo episodes. 
Among the most quoted parts of Byron's Childe Harold's 
Pilgrimage are the Waterloo stanzas. Wordsworth and 
Coleridge each vibrated like a harp to certain phases of 
the contemporary world struggle. Perhaps the best 
known short poem inspired by this war was written by 
Charles Wolfe, a man famous for nothing else. "The 
Burial of Sir John Moore at Corunna" combines sol- 
dierly dignity with simplicity. Its keynote is the same 
as that of Rupert Brooke's great sonnet, "The Soldier." 



Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note, 
As his corpse to the rampart we hurried; 

Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot 
O'er the grave where our hero we buried. 

We buried him darkly at dead of night, 

The sods with our bayonets turning; 
By the struggling moonbeam's misty light 

And the lantern dimly burning. 

No useless coffin enclosed his breast, 

Not in sheet or in shroud we wound him; 

But he lay like a Warrior taking his rest, 
With his martial cloak around him. 

Few and short were the prayers we said, 

And we spoke not a word of sorrow; 
But we steadfastly gaz'd on the face that was dead, 

And we bitterly thought of the morrow. 

We thought, as we hollow'd his narrow bed 

And smoothed down his lonely pillow, 
That the Foe and the Stranger would tread o'er 
his head, 

And we far away on the billow ! 

Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone 

And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him, 
But little he'll reck, if they let him sleep on 

In the grave where a Briton has laid him. 


But half of our heavy task was done 

When the clock struck the hour for retiring: 

And we heard the distant and random gun 
That the foe was sullenly firing. 

Slowly and sadly we laid him down, 

From the field of his fame fresh and gory; 

We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone 
But we left him alone with his glory. 

Charles Wolfe (1791-1823} 

The anapests in "Prospice" assist in conveying the 
note of anticipated triumph. Mrs. Browning had been 
dead but a few months when the poem was written. When 
her husband, late in life, penned his swan-song, the "Epi- 
logue" to Asolando, his view had not changed. Browning, 
the poet for those growing old, vigorously opposes 
Byron's thesis that 

The days of our youth are the days of our glory. 

For a virile philosophical poem glorifying the latter part 
of life, see "Rabbi Ben Ezra." Prospice means look for- 


Fear death? to feel the fog in my throat, 

The mist in my face, 
When the snows begin, and the blasts denote 

I am nearing the place, 
The power of the night, the press of the storm, 

The post of the foe; 
Where he stands, the Arch Fear in a visible form, 

Yet the strong man must go : 


For the journey is done and the summit attained, 

And the barriers fall, 
Though a battle's to fight ere the guerdon be gained, 

The reward of it all. 
I was ever a fighter, so one fight more, 

The best and the last! 
I would hate that death bandaged my eyes, and forebore, 

And bade me creep past. 

No ! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers 

The heroes of old, 
Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad life's arrears 

Of pain, darkness, and cold. 
For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave, 

The black minute's at end, 
And the elements' rage, the fiend-voices that rave, 

Shall dwindle, shall blend, 
Shall change, shall become first a peace out of pain, 

Then a light, then thy breast, 
O thou soul of my soul ! I shall clasp thee again, 

And with God be the rest! 

Robert Browning (1812-1889} 

"Prospice" and "Coronach" afford a striking contrast 
in thought. Scott, in this song from The Lady of the 
Lake, is not, however, giving his own views of death. The 
work of a narrative poet may be nearly if not wholly 
impersonal. The lyric poet may, on the other hand, be 
considered to hold the views he expresses in a subjective 
work. That he may sometimes portray opposite moods is, 
nevertheless, forcefully illustrated by the titles of two of 
Tennyson's poems, "Nothing Will Die" and "All Things 
Will Die." The word coronach, Gaelic in origin, means a 
song of lamentation ; correi is Scottish for a hollow in the 
side of a hill ; cumber, distress or difficulty. 



He is gone on the mountain, 

He is lost to the forest, 
Like a summer-dried fountain, 

When our need was the sorest. 
The font, reappearing, 

From the rain-drops shall borrow, 
But to us comes no cheering, 

To Duncan no morrow ! 

The hand of the reaper 

Takes the ears that are hoary, 
But the voice of the weeper 

Wails manhood in glory. 
The autumn winds rushing 

Waft the leaves that are searest, 
But our flower was in flushing 

When blighting was nearest. 

Fleet foot on the correi, 

Sage counsel in cumber, 
Red hand in the foray, 

How sound is thy slumber! 
Like the dew on the mountain, 

Like the foam on the river, 
Like the bubble on the fountain, 

Thou art gone, and forever! 

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1888) 

The next two poems, one very short and one rather 
long, are both anapestic. While Shelley's "The Cloud" 
is a complete poem, "The Year's at the Spring" is only a 
part, the famous song of the girl from the silk-mills in 
Browning's drama, Pippa Passes. 



The year's at the spring 
And day's at the morn; 
Morning's at seven; 
The hillside's dew-pearled; 
The lark's on the wing; 
The snail's on the thorn: 
God's in his heaven 
All's right with the world! 

Robert Browning (1812-1889) 

"The Cloud" has often been quoted to illustrate the 
anapestic meter. The internal rimes contribute abun- 
dantly to the melody. Note the numerous iambic feet even 
in a poem extremely anapestic in its effect. 


I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers, 

From the seas and the streams; 
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid 

In their noonday dreams. 
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken 

The sweet buds every one, 
When rocked to rest on their mother's breast, 

As she dances about the sun. 
I wield the flail of the lashing hail, 

And whiten the green plains under, 
And then again I dissolve it in rain, 

And laugh as I pass in thunder. 

I sift the snow on the mountains below, 
And their great pines groan aghast; 


And all the night, 'tis my pillow white, 

While I sleep in the arms of the blast. 
Sublime on the towers of my skyey bowers, 

Lightning my pilot sits; 
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder, 

It struggles and howls at fits; 
Over earth and ocean with gentle motion, 

This pilot is guiding me, 
Lured by the love of the genii that move 

In the depths of the purple sea; 
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills, 

Over the lakes and the plains, 
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream, 

The Spirit he loves remains ; 
And I all the while bask in heaven's blue smile, 

Whilst he is dissolving in rains. . 

The sanguine sunrise, with his meteor eyes, 

And his burning plumes outspread, 
Leaps on the back of my sailing rack, 

When the morning star shines dead; 
As on the jag of a mountain crag, 

Which an earthquake rocks and swings, 
An eagle alit one moment may sit 

In the light of its golden wings. 
And when sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath, 

Its ardors of rest and of love, 
And the crimson pall of eve may fall 

From the depth of heaven above, 
With wings folded I rest, on mine airy nest, 

As still as a brooding dove. 

That orbed maiden, with white fire laden, 

Whom mortals call the Moon, 
Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor, 

By the midnight breezes strewn; 


And wherever the beat of her unseen feet, 

Which only the angels hear, 
May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof, 

The stars peep behind her and peer; 
And I laugh to see them whirl and flee, 

Like a swarm of golden bees, 
When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent, 

Till the calm rivers, lakes, and seas, 
Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high, 

Are each paved with the moon and these. 

I bind the sun's throne with a burning zone, 

And the moon's with a girdle of pearl; 
The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim, 

When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl. 
From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape, 

Over a torrent sea, 
Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof, 

The mountains its columns be. 
The triumphal arch, through which I march, 

With hurricane, fire, and snow, 
When the powers of the air are chained to my chair, 

Is the million-colored bow; 
The sphere-fire above its soft colors wove, 

While the moist earth was laughing below. 

I am the daughter of earth and water, 

And the nursling of the sky; 
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores; 

I change, but I can not die. 
For after the rain, when with never a stain 

The pavilion of heaven is bare, 
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams 

Build up the blue dome of air, 
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph, 

And out of the caverns of rain, 


Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb, 
I arise and unbuild it again. 

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) 

It has been explained why, in English, trochaic verse 
is less natural and anapestic verse less frequent than 
iambic. Dactylic verse, being at once descending and 
triple, combines the difficulties of trochaic and anapestic 
verse, and is not very common. Triple rime is very rare, 
yet triple rime is a requisite of pure dactylic verse, if it is 
to rime at all. 

ax x \ a x x \ a x x \ a x x 
Barney McGee, there's no end of good luck in you, 
Will-o-the-wisp, with a flicker of Puck in you, 
Wild as a bull-pup, and all of his pluck in you. . . . 

From "Barney McGee," by Richard Hovey 

Verse on such a pattern as this could scarcely be more 
than a tour de force, but the allowing of catalexis (omis- 
sion of unaccented syllable or syllables in the last foot of a 
descending line) makes dactylic verse possible. The last 
foot of a line is almost always a trochee or a solitary 
accented syllable. The two types of line are illustrated in 
this passage from the "Boat Song" in Scott's Lady of 
the Lake' 

a x x a x x \ a x x \ a x 
Hail to the Chief who in triumph advances! 

a x x a xx\axx\a 

Honored and blessed be the evergreen Pine. 

Tennyson's "A Welcome to Alexandra: March 7, 1863" 
has lines which exhibit a processional dignity similar to 
that of these lines from Scott. 


The poem below is dactylic. The lines are all dimeters, 
pure or catalectic. Note the irregularities, some but not 
all of which can be explained by considering the lines 
continuous (e.g. Dreadfully staring through | muddy 
im | purity). 


7 '*>.. Y 'X. 

One more Unfortunate 

Weary of breath, 
Rashly importunate 

Gone to her death ! 

Take her up tenderly, 

Lift her with care; 
Fashioned so slenderly, 

Young, and so fair! 

Look at her garments, 
Clinging like cerements; 
Whilst the wave constantly 

Drips from her clothing; 
Take her up instantly, 

Loving, not loathing. 

Touch her not scornfully; 
Think of her mournfully, 

Gently and humanly, 
Not of the stains of her 
All that remains of her 

Now is pure womanly. 

Make no deep scrutiny 
Into her mutiny 

Rash and undutiful: 
Past all dishonour, 
Death has left on her 

Only the beautiful. 


Still, for all slips of hers, 
One of Eve's family 

Wipe those poor lips of hers 
Oozing so clammily. 

Loop up her tresses 

Escaped from the comb, 

Her fair auburn tresses; 

Whilst wonderment guesses, 
Where was her home? 

Who was her father? 

Who was her mother? 
Had she a sister? 

Had she a brother? 
Or was there a dearer one 
Still, and a nearer one 

Yet, than all other? 

Alas ! for the rarity 
Of Christian charity 

Under the sun ! 
Oh ! it was pitiful ! 
Near a whole city full, 

Home she had none. 

Sisterly, brotherly, 
Fatherly, motherly, 

Feelings had changed: 
Love, by harsh evidence, 
Thrown from its eminence; 
Even God's providence 

Seeming estranged. 

Where the lamps quiver 
So far in the river, 
With many a light 


From window and casement, 
From garret to basement, 
She stood with amazement, 
Houseless by night. 

The bleak wind of March 

Made her tremble and shiver; 
But not the dark arch, 

Or the black flowing river: 
Mad from life's history, 
Glad to death's mystery 

Swift to be hurled 
Any where, any where 

Out of the world! 

In she plunged boldly 
No matter how coldly 

The rough river ran 
Over the brink of it, 
Picture it think of it, 

Dissolute Man! 
Lave in it, drink of it, 

Then, if you can ! 

Take her up tenderly, 

Lift her with care; 
Fashion'd so slenderly, 

Young, and so fair! 

Ere her limbs frigidly 
Stiffen too rigidly, 

Decently, kindly, 
Smooth and compose them; 
And her eyes, close them, 

Staring so blindly. 


Dreadfully staring 

Through muddy impurity, 
As when with the daring 
Last look of despairing 

Fixed on futurity. 

Perishing gloomily, 
Spurr'd by contumely, 
Cold inhumanity, 
Burning insanity, 

Into her rest. 
Cross her hands humbly, 
As if praying dumbly, 

Over her breast! 

Owning her weakness, 

Her evil behaviour, 
And leaving with meekness 

Her sins to her Saviour ! 

Thomas Hood (1799-1845} 

"The Lost Leader," a dactylic poem the meter of 
which is less obvious than that of "The Bridge of Sighs," 
was written shortly after the venerable Wordsworth 
had, in 1843, been made poet laureate. Wordsworth as 
a young man had been a radical, and the youthful Brown- 
ing for the moment misjudged the sobering of age as a 
selling out to mammon. The conferring of the laurel 
traditionally presupposed official poems; but, in justice 
to Wordsworth, it must be said that he accepted the 
honor on the express condition that nothing be expected 
from him. The phrase "a handful of silver" refers to the 
meagerness of the poet's pension in comparison with the 
rewards lavished on other public men. Members of some 


governmental orders the French Legion of Honor, for 
instance today wear ribbons or rosettes in the button- 
holes of their civilian dress. For another famous poetic 
attack of one great man upon another, see "Ichabod" 
in which Whittier flayed Webster. For an example of 
ferocious diatribe, see William Watson's sonnet "To the 


Just for a handful of silver he left us, 

Just for a riband to stick in his coat 
Found the one gift of which fortune bereft us, 

Lost all the others she lets us devote; 
They, with the gold to give, doled him out silver, 

So much was theirs who so little allowed; 
How all our copper had gone for his service! 

Rags were they purple, his heart had been proud ! 
We that had loved him so, followed him, honored him, 

Lived in his mild and magnificent eye, 
Learned his great language, caught his clear accents, 

Made him our pattern to live and to die ! 
Shakespeare was of us, Milton was for us, 

Burns, Shelley, were with us, they watch from 

their graves ! 
He alone breaks from the van and the freemen, 

He alone sinks to the rear and the slaves ! 
We shall march prospering, not through his presence; 

Songs may inspirit us, not from his lyre; 
Deeds will be done, while he boasts his quiescence, 

Still bidding crouch whom the rest bade aspire: 
Blot out his name, then, record one lost soul more, 

One task more declined, one more footpath untrod, 
One more devils'-triumph and sorrow for angels, 

One wrong more to man, one more insult to God ! 


Life's night begins : let him never come back to us ! 

There would be doubt, hesitation and pain, 
Forced praise on our part the glimmer of twilight, 

Never glad confident morning again ! 
Best fight on well, for we taught him, strike gallantly, 

Menace our heart ere we master his own ; 
Then let him receive the new knowledge and wait us, 

Pardoned in heaven, the first by the throne ! 

Robert Browning (1812-1889} 

In the above dactylic poem, the reader may have noticed 
a frequent divergence between the metrical and the sense 
grouping of the unaccented syllables. Consider the lines: 

We that had loved him so, followed him, honored him, 
Lived in his mild and magnificent eye. 

The phrases followed him and honored him are not only 
dactylic by scansion, but are units in speech-formation. 
On the contrary, lived in his is the scansion unit, while 
in his mild is the thought unit centered around the one 
stress. If the thought-grouping of syllables were the 
basis of scansion, much dactylic poetry could be classified 
as anapestic with a single accented syllable constituting 
the first foot of each line: 

a \ x x a \ x x a\x x a 
Lived in his mild and magnificent eye 

The greatest influence toward making the dactylic meter 
seem ascending is, nevertheless, the frequent substitution 
of a trochee in the first foot of an iambic or an anapestic 
line. The reader, accustomed to ascending meters, senses 
the first part of a dactylic line not as axx a, but as 
ax | xa. For the purpose of metrical study and descrip- 


tion it is best to adhere to the traditional dactylic 
scansion, but the legitimacy of the alternative markings 
should not be ignored. Noyes's "Unity" affords a good 
illustration ; it is dactylic ; but, if one reads it slowly, the 
natural grouping of words will show that, barring per- 
haps the first word in each line, the movement of the poem 
is ascending. 


<\ ' " 4 x --:"> <... ,*v O^ 

Heart of my heart, the world is young; 

LdVe lies Bidden in every rose ! 
Every song that the skylark sung 

Once, we thought, must come to a close: 
Now we know the spirit of song, 

Song that is merged in the chant of the whole, 
Hand in hand as we wander along, 

What should we doubt of the years that roll? 

Heart of my heart, we can not die! 

Love triumphant in flower and tree, 
Every life that laughs at the sky 

Tells us nothing can cease to be: 
One, we are one with a song today, 

One with the clover that scents the wold, 
One with the Unknown, far away, 

One with the stars, when earth grows old. 

Heart of my heart, we are one with the wind, 

One with the clouds that are whirled o'er the lea, 
One in many, O broken and blind, 

One as the waves are at one with the sea ! 
Ay! when life seems scattered apart, 

Darkens, ends as a tale that is told, 
One, we are one, O heart of my heart, 

One, still one, while the world grows old. 

Alfred Noyes (1880- ) 


What has just been said of the dactylic rhythm is not 
usually true of its sister descending rhythm, the trochaic, 
except in the case of some abnormally long lines. The 
number of English dissyllables of ax pronunciation makes* 
the trochaic, in fact, a not unnatural rhythm: 

ax a x a x 

Happy field or mossy cavern, 

ax a x a x 

Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern. 

The rollicking song from Noyes's Tales of the Mer- 
maid Tavern is dactylic. Old Saint Paul's, destroyed 
in the fire of 1666, stood on the site of the present 
cathedral, which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren 
and completed in 1719. The Mermaid, a famous tavern 
in Elizabethan London, has resulted in at least two other 
good poems, one by Theodore Watts-Dunton and one 
from which we have just quoted by Keats. 


Seven wise men on an old black settle, 

Seven wise men of the Mermaid Inn, 
Ringing blades of the one right metal 

What is the best that a blade can win ? 
Bread and cheese and a few small kisses? 

Ha! Ha! Ha! Would you take them you? 
Ay, if Dame Venus would add to her blisses, 

A roaring fire and a friend or two ! 

Chorus : 

Up now, answer me, tell me true ! 
Ay, if the hussy would add to her blisses 
A roaring fire and a friend or two ! 


What will you say when the world is dying? 

What, when the last wild midnight falls 
Dark, too dark for the bat to be flying 

Round the fuins of old St. Paul's? 
What will be last of the lights to perish? 

What but the little red ring we knew, 
Lighting the hands and the hearts that cherish 

A fire, a fire, and a friend or two ! 

Chorus : 

Up now, answer me, tell me true ! 
What will be last of the stars to perish? 
The fire that lighteth a friend or two ! 

Up now, answer me on your mettle, 

Wisest man of the Mermaid Inn, 
Soberest man on the old black settle, 

Out with the truth ! It was never a sin. 
Well, if God saved me alone of the seven, 

Telling me you must be damned, or you, 
"This," I would say, "this is hell, not heaven 

Give me the fire and a friend or two." 

Chorus : 

Steel was never so ringing true: 
"God," we would say, "this is hell, not heaven ! 
Give us the fire, and a friend or two !" 

Alfred Noyes (1880- ) 

The above poem exhibits an effective use of the refrain. 
The phrase "fire and a friend or two" becomes, with each 
repetition, more intense in its meaning. Similar refrains 
are the "Nevermore" of Foe's "Raven" and the "God 
save the Tsar !" of Thomas Bailey Aldrich's "Batuschka." 

Inspired by the Latin and Greek epic masterpieces, 


writers in English have, as has been stated, often sought 
to develop in English an imitation of the classical dactylic 
hexameter. Undoubtedly, the best known of the resulting 
poems is Longfellow's Evangeline, the romantic subject 
of which was considered by Hawthorne and Whittier 
before it was used by Longfellow. The subjoined passage, 
the prelude to the narrative, sets the key for the poem. 


This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the 
t hemlocks, ;* 

Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the 


Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic, 
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms. 
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring 

Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the 


This is the forest primeval ; but where are the hearts that 

beneath it 
Leaped like the roe, when he hears in the woodland the voice 

of the huntsman? 
Where is the thatch-roofed village, the home of Acadian 


Men whose lives glided on like rivers that water the wood- 
Darkened by shadows of earth, but reflecting an image of 

heaven ? 
Waste are those pleasant farms, and the farmers forever 

departed ! 
Scattered like dust and leaves, when the mighty blasts of 



Seize them, and whirl them aloft, and sprinkle them far o'er 

the ocean. 
Naught but tradition remains of the beautiful village of 

Ye who believe in affection that hopes, and endures, and is 


Ye who believe in the beauty and strength of woman's devo- 
List to the mournful tradition, still sung by the pines of the 

forest ; 
List to a Tale of Love in Acadie, home of the happy. 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) 

Longfellow, imitating Goethe's practice in Hermann 
and Dorothea, as well as classical models, substituted in 
unaccented positions one syllable for two when he consid- 
ered the one "long" enough for example garments in line 
2. The experiment may be regarded as a success, but, as 
Poe pointed out, there are prosy passages for instance, 
"men whose lives glided on like rivers." Treatises on 
versification contain references to other poems in this 
meter and to imitations of many other classical meters. 
With the possible exception of the dactylic hexameter, 
however, all these exotic forms have failed to take vig- 
orous root in English. 

We quote a poem showing very varied effects in triple 
rhythm. Sidney Lanier was a poet, a musician, and a 
critic of verse. Habersham and Hall are Georgia counties 
on the upper reaches of the Chattahoochee. As an ex- 
pression of American idealism, compare this poem with 
Longfellow's "Excelsior." For the successful employ- 
ment of onomatopoeia, compare it with the lyric portions 
of Tennyson's "The Brook." 



Out of the hills of Habersham, 

Down the valleys of Hall, 
I hurry amain to reach the plain, 
Run the rapid and leap the fall. 
Split at the rock and together again, 
Accept my bed, or narrow or wide, 
And flee from folly on every side 
With a lover's pain to attain the plain 

Far from the" hills of Habersham, 

Far from the valleys of Hall. 

All down the hills of Habersham, 

All through the valleys of Hall, 
The rushes cried Abide, abide, 
The willful waterweeds held me in thrall, 
The laving laurel turned my tide, 
The ferns and the fondling grass said Stay, 
The dewberry dipped for to work delay, 
And the little reeds sighed Abide, abide, 

Here in the hills of Habersham, 

Here in the valleys of Hall. 

High o'er the hills of Habersham, 

Veiling the valleys of Hall, 
The hickory told me manifold 
Fair tales of shade, the poplar tall 
Wrought me her shadowy self to hold, 
The chestnut, the oak, the walnut, the pine, 
Overleaning, with flickering meaning and sign, 
Said, Pass not, so cold, these manifold 

Deep shades of the hills of Habersham, 

These glades in the valleys of Hall. 


And oft in the hills of Habersham, 

And oft in the valleys of Hall, 

The white quartz shone, and the smooth brook-stone 
Did bar me of passage with friendly brawl, 
And many a luminous jewel lone, 
Crystals clear, or a-cloud with mist, 
Ruby, garnet, and amethyst 
Made lures with the lights of streaming stone 

In the clefts of the hills of Habersham, 

In the beds of the valleys of Hall. 

But, oh, not the hills of Habersham, 

And oh, not the valleys of Hall, 
Avail: I am fain for to water the plain. 
Downward the voices of Duty call 
Downward, to toil and be mixed with the main, 
The dry fields burn, and the mills are to turn, 
And a myriad flowers mortally yearn, 
And the lordly main from beyond the plain 

Calls o'er the hills of Habersham, 

Calls through the valleys of Hall. 

Sidney Lanier (1842-1881) 

In the next selection the two dactylic lines do not 
detract from the anapestic movement. Gul is a Persian 
word for the rose. This passage is supposed to have been 
suggested to Byron by Mignon's song, "Kennst du das 
Land wo die Citronen bluhn," in Goethe's Wilhelm Meister. 


Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle 

Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime, 

Where the rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle, 
Now melt into sorrow, now madden to crime? 


Know ye the land of the cedar and vine, 
Where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine ; 
Where the light wing's of Zephyr, oppress'd with perfume, 
Wax faint o'er the gardens of Gul in her bloom; 
Where the citron and olive are fairest of fruit, 
And the voice of the nightingale never is mute: 
Where the tints of the earth, and the hues of the sky, 
In colour though varied, in beauty may vie, 
And the purple of Ocean is deepest in dye; 
Where the virgins are soft as the roses they twine, 
And all, save the spirit of man, is divine? 
"Pis the clime of the East; 'tis the land of the Sun 
Can he smile on such deeds as his children have done? 
Oh ! wild as the accents of lovers' farewell 
Are the hearts which they bear, and the tales which they tell. 
George Noel Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) 

The meter of "The Knight's Tomb" is almost too ir- 
regular for classification. Gilman, a biographer of 
Coleridge, states that the poem was composed "as an 
experiment in metre" a type of experiment that 
Coleridge delighted in. Note how the triple rhythm 
merges into a movement of exceedingly slow tempo. In 
Ivanhoe and Castle Dangerous Scott misquoted ("The 
knights are dust," etc.) and popularized the last three 


Where is the grave of Sir Arthur O'Kellyn? 

Where may the grave of that good man be? 

By the side of a spring, on the breast of Helvellyn, 

Under the twigs of a young birch tree ! 

The oak that in summer was sweet to hear, 

And rustled its leaves in the fall of the year, 


And whistled and roar'd in the winter alone, 

Is gone, and the birch in its stead is grown. 

The Knight's bones are dust, 

And his good sword rust; 

His soul is with the saints, I trust. 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1884} 

As a tribute to the power of poetry O'Shaughnessy's 
exuberantly rhythmical "Ode" surpasses Tennyson's 
widely known "The Poet." The complete "Ode" consists 
of nine stanzas, but is usually cut to three. Nineveh was 
the ancient capital of Assyria; Babel was the tower (see 
Genesis xi, 9) at the building of which there was a con- 
fusion of tongues. 


We are the music-makers, 

And we are the dreamers of dreams, 
Wandering by lone sea-breakers, 

And sitting by desolate streams; 
World-losers and world-forsakers, 

On whom the pale moon gleams: 
Yet we are the movers and shakers 

Of the world forever, it seems. 

With wonderful deathless ditties 
We build up the world's great cities, 

And out of a fabulous story 

We fashion an empire's glory: 
One man with a dream, at pleasure, 

Shall go forth and conquer a crown; 
And three with a new song's measure 

Can trample a kingdom down. 


We, in the ages lying 

In the buried past of the earth, 
Built Nineveh with our sighing, 

And Babel itself in our mirth; 
And o'erthrew them with prophesying 

To the old of the new world's worth; 
For each age is a dream that is dying, 

Or one that is coming to birth. 
Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy (1844-1881) 

"Break, Break, Break," a lament for Arthur Henry 
Hallam, was intended as a part of In Memoriam, but, 
because of its different meter, was printed separately. 
The first line presents the phenomenon of omitting all the 
unaccented syllables. Whether the omissions be explained 
on the ground of pauses or on the ground of the pro- 
longation of the accented syllables, the three-word lines 
are trimeters as are the other lines of the poem. 
"Break, Break, Break" proves that a poet's mind may 
transcend his surroundings. "It was made," says Tenny- 
son, "in a Lincolnshire lane at five o'clock in the morning 
between blossoming hedges." 


Break, break, break, 

On thy cold gray stones, O Sea, 
And I would that my tongue could utter 

The thoughts that arise in me. 

O, well for the fisherman's boy, 

That he shouts with his sister at play ! 

O, well for the sailor lad, 

That he sings in his boat on the bay ! 


And the stately ships go on 

To their haven under the hill; 
But O, for the touch of a vanish'd hand, 

And the sound of a voice that is still ! 

Break, break, break, 

At the foot of thy crags, O Sea! 
But the tender grace of a day that is dead 

Will never come back to me. 

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892} 

Modern poets show an occasional use of accented 
syllables in pairs and even in threes traits illustrated in 
the two following poems. The marked words in these 
lines could hardly be read except as indicated : 

a a 
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree. 

a a a 

I hear it in the deep heart's core. 

a> a a a a a 

It's a warm wind, the west wind, full of birds' cries. 

This variation from the traditions of English meter is 
one symptom of the poetic iconoclasm of today. In these 
poems it is well handled and apparently has possibilities. 
Like so much that is seemingly new, it is simply very old. 
For example, the xxaa of it's a fine land was the Latin 
foot, ionic a minore. 


I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, 

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made; 
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee, 

And live alone in the bee-loud glade. 


And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping 

Dropping from the veils of morning to where the cricket 

sings ; 

There midnight's all a-glimmer, and noon a purple glow, 
And evening full of the linnet's wings. 

I will arise and go now, for always night and day 

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore ; 

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavement gray, 
I hear it in the deep heart's core. 

William Butler Yeats (1865-) 


It's a warm wind, the west wind, full of birds' cries; 
I never hear the west wind but tears are in my eyes ; 
For it comes from the west lands, the old brown hills, 
And April's in the west wind, and daffodils. 

It's a fine land, the west land, for hearts as tired as mine, 
Apple orchards blossom there, and the air's like wine. 
There is cool green grass there, where men may lie at rest, 
And the thrushes are in song there, fluting from the nest. 

"Will you not come home, brother? You have been long 


It's April, and blossom time, and white is the spray; 
And bright is the sun, brother, and warm is the rain, 
Will you not come home, brother, home to us again? 

"The young corn is green, brother, where the rabbits run, 
It's blue sky, and white clouds, and warm rain and sun. 
It's a song to a man's soul, brother, fire to a man's brain, 
To hear the wild bees and see the merry spring again. 


"Larks are singing in the west, brother, above the green wheat, 
So will you not come home, brother, and rest your tired feet? 
I've a balm for bruised hearts, brother, sleep for aching eyes," 
Says the warm wind, the west wind, full of birds' cries. 

It's the white road westwards is the road I must tread 
To the green grass, the cool grass, and rest for heart and head, 
To the violets and the brown brooks and the thrushes' song, 
In the fine land, the west land the land where I belong. 

John Masefield (1874- ) 

At t ivrvvH. . v 

vc-C/ , -~ 



I salute thee, Mantovano, I that loved thee since my day 

Wielder of the stateliest measure ever moulded by the lips 

of man. 

Tennyson: "To Virgil" 

FOR longer, more elevated poems, English poetry has 
no one metrical form comparable to the classical hexam- 
eter of Homer and Vergil. Blank verse, the heroic 
couplet, the Spenserian stanza, and several other forms 
have been used in its stead. These forms, however, all 
employ the iambic pentameter line (5xa), which in Eng- 
lish poetry is used oftener than any other. It is more 
flexible and less monotonous than the tetrameter line, 
which tends to divide into two equal parts. Either with 
or without rime, iambic pentameter is the meter commonly 
employed in narrative, dramatic, reflective, and descrip- 
tive poetry ; in other words, in longer poems of all kinds. 

J$lankverse, which is iambic pentameter without rime, 
is the most distinguished of all English metrical forms. 
It is the meter which we instinctively associate with the 
two greatest English poets, Shakespeare and Milton. One 
of Emerson's very interesting fragments will illustrate 
the metrical structure of blank verse : 

This shining moment is an edifice 
Which the Omnipotent cannot rebuild. 


Blank verse was introduced from the Italian in the 
reign of Henry VIII by the Earl of Surrey, who used it 
in an incomplete translation of Vergil's /Eneid. A few 
years later it became the established metrical form of 
Elizabethan drama. Christopher Marlowe, who was the 
greatest of Shakespeare's predecessors, was the first to 
make effective use of it. "Marlowe's mighty line," as 
Ben Jonson called it, is characterized by a power and 
a melody that English poetry had not seen since Chaucer's 
time. Marlowe, who, like Keats and Shelley, died young, 
is the only Elizabethan dramatist of whom it can be con- 
jectured that, had he lived, he might possibly have rivaled 
Shakespeare. His best known tragedy is Doctor Faustus, 
which Goethe, the author of a greater play upon the same 
theme, praised most highly. Faustus is a magician who 
calls up from the tomb Helen of Troy, the most beautiful 
woman of antiquity. When she appears, he speaks : 

Was this the face that launched a thousand ships 

And burnt the topless towers of Ilium? 

Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss. 

Her lips suck forth my soul ; see where it flies ! 

Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again. 

Here will' I dwell, for Heaven is in these lips, 

And all is 'dross that is not Helena. 

I' will be Paris, and for love of thee, 

Instead of Troy shall Wertenberg be sacked: 

And I will combat with weak Menelaus, 

And wear thy colours on my plumed crest; 

Yea, I will wound Achilles in the heel, 

And then return to Helen for a kiss. 

Oh, thou art fairer than the evening air 

Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars ; 


Brighter art thou than flaming Jupiter 
When he appeared to hapless Semele: 
More lovely than the monarch of the sky 
In wanton Arethusa's azured arms: 
And none but thou shalt be my paramour. 

Winifred Kirkland has recently referred to these lines 
as "the highest praise ever given to any face in English 
literature." The wise poet in describing a beautiful 
woman does not employ a multitude of details, for no 
two of us have the same ideal of beauty; he describes 
instead the effect of her beauty on those who see her. It is 
thus that Homer, in the third book of the Iliad, describes 
the effect of Helen's beauty upon the Trojan elders. 
These unsusceptible old men, as they see Helen approach- 
ing, say one to the other, "Small blame is it that Trojans 
and well-greaved Achaians should for such a woman long 
time suffer hardship ; marvellously like is she to the im- 
mortal goddesses to look upon." 

Shakespeare is, of course, the great master of dramatic 
blank verse. His earlier use of it resembles Marlowe's, 
although he gives the measure a grace and a beauty which 
Marlowe's lines rarely possess. We quote the well-known 
passage on the Poet which Shakespeare puts into the 
mouth of Theseus in A Midsummer Night's Dream: 

The lunatic, the lover, and the poet 

Are of imagination all compact. 

One sees more devils than vast hell can hold; 

That is the madman. The lover, all as frantic, 

Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt. 

The poet's glance, in a fine frenzy rolling, 

Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven; 


And as imagination bodies forth 
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen 
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothings 
A local habitation and a name. 

Shakespeare's later plays have fewer passages, like the 
above selection, which can be detached from the context, 
for he learned to weave his poetry more closely into the 
texture of his plays. Among passages representing "the 
very highest poetical quality," Matthew Arnold has in- 
cluded the words which the dying Hamlet speaks to his 
bosom friend Horatio : 

If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart, 
Absent thee from felicity awhile, 
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain, 
To tell my story. 

Shakespeare's blank verse is characterized by a mar- 
velous variety and a perfect adaptation to the require- 
ments of the stage. As he writes it, blank verse is the 
most flexible of all metrical forms. In his later verse the 
pauses occur less regularly at the end of the line, and 
the number of extra syllables increases. The dying words 
of Othello are an excellent example of Shakespeare's 
blank verse at its best. It will be remembered that the 
jealous Moorish general has killed his faithful wife 
Desdemona only to discover immediately afterward that 
she was innocent. Just before he commits suicide, Othello 
speaks : 

I pray you, in your letters, 
When you shall these unlucky deeds relate, 
Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate*. 
Nor set down aught in malice : then must you speak 


Of one that lov'd not wisely but too well; 

Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought 

Perplex'd in the extreme; of one whose hand, 

Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away 

Richer than all his tribe ; of one whose subdued eyes, 

Albeit unused to the melting mood, 

Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees 

Their medicinable gum. Set you down this; 

And say besides, that in Aleppo once, 

Where a malignant and a turban'd Turk 

Beat a Venetian and traduc'd the state, 

I took by the throat the circumcised dog, 

And smote him, thus. (Stabs himself.} 

Other Elizabethan dramatists besides Marlowe and 
Shakespeare wrote excellent blank verse, and none handled 
the measure more skilfully than Beaumont and Fletcher. 
John Fletcher collaborated not only"~with Beaumont but 
also with Shakespeare. The famous passage from Henry 
VIII which follows was almost certainly written by him 
and not by Shakespeare. Fletcher's blank verse is char- 
acterized by a great number of lines ending in an un- 
stressed or half-stressed eleventh syllable. Wolsey, King 
Henry's minister, having displeased his master and lost 
his position, speaks to his successor, Thomas Cromwell: 

Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear 

In all my miseries ; but thou hast forced me, 

Out of thy honest truth, to play the woman. 

Let's dry our eyes: and thus far hear me, Cromwell; 

And when I am forgotten, as I shall be, 

And sleep in dull cold marble, where no mention 

Of me more must be heard of say I taught thee, 

Say Wolsey that once trod the ways of glory, 

And sounded all the depths and shoals of honour 


Found thee a way, out of his wreck, to rise in; 

A sure and safe one. though thy master miss'd it. 

Mark but my fall, and that/ that ruin'd me. 

Cromwell, I charge thee, filing away ambition; 

By that sin fell the angels ; how can man then, 

The image of his Maker, hope to win by 't? 

Love thyself last: cherish those hearts that hate thee: 

Corruption wins not more than honesty. 

Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace, 

To silence envious tongues. Be just and fear not: 

Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy country's.^ 

Thy Gqd'g, and truth's ; then^Tthou fall'st, O Cromwell, 

TKou fall'st a blessed martyr! Serve the king; 

And, pr'yth ee j lead me in: 

There take an inventory of all I have, 

To the last penny ; 'tis the king's : my robe 

And my integrity to heaven, is all 

I dare now call mine own. O Cromwell, Cromwell! 

Had I but served my God with half the zeal 

I served my king, he would not in mine age 

Have left me naked to mine enemies. 

To most persons, blank verse first suggests the name 
of John Milton, who, though less great a writer than 
Shakespeare, was a greater poet. Blank verse was 
Milton's favorite metrical form. He first used it in his 
Comus, a masque. As we should expect from a poet born 
while Shakespeare was still alive, Milton's earliest blank 
verse is Elizabethan rather than what we now think of as 
Miltonic. The elder brother's praise of chastity in 
Comus strikes the key-note of the play : 

She that has that is clad in complete steel, 
And, like a quivered nymph with arrows keen, 
May trace huge forests, and unharboured heaths, 


Infamous hills, and sandy perilous wilds ; 

Where, through the sacred rays of chastity, 

No savage fierce, bandit, or mountaineer 

Will dare to soil her virgin purity. 

Yea, there where very desolation dwells, 

By grots and caverns shagged with horrid shades, 

She may pass on with unblenched majesty, 

Be it not done in pride or in presumption. 

Some say no evil thing that walks by night, 

In fog or fire, by lake or moorish fen, 

Blue meagre hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost, 

That breaks his magic chains at curfew time, 

No goblin or swart faery of the mine, 

Hath hurtful power o'er true virginity. 

After the writing of Comus, some twenty 3'ears elapsed 
before Milton wrote his later poems, Paradise Lost, 
Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes, all of which 
are in blank verse. In these twenty years of service in 
the Puritan cause, Milton became almost a different man. 
After the Restoration in 1660, blind, poor, outcast, he 
sat down to write the great epic of Puritanism, Paradise 
Lost. His later poems lack the airy charm, the lightness, 
the grace of Comus and L' Allegro; but they possess a 
sublimity and a sonorous eloquence unequaled in British 
poetry. Milton's later blank verse does not greatly re- 
semble that of Shakespeare, for narrative poetry calls for 
a different use of the metrical form. Milton himself ex- 
plains his conception of the measure. "True musical de- 
light," says he, "consists only in apt numbers, fit quantity 
of syllables, and the sense variously drawn out from one 
verse into another, not in the jingling sound of like 
endings." In the following description of Satan, Milton 
varies his pauses with masterly skill: 


He, above the rest 

In shape and gesture proudly eminent, 
Stood like a tower ; his form had not yet lost 
All its original brightness ; nor appeared 
Less than archangel ruined, and the excess 
Of glory obscured : as when the sun, new risen, 
Looks through the horizontal misty air 
Shorn of his beams, or from behind the moon, 
In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds 
On half the nations, and with fear of change 
Perplexes monarchs. Darkened so, yet shone 
Above them all the archangel; but his face 
Deep scars of thunder had entrenched ; and care 
Sat on his faded cheek ; but under brows 
Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride 
Waiting revenge. 

Since the time of Shakespeare and Milton, blank verse 
has been much used in reflective and descriptive poetry. 
Although Wordsworth wrote much very poor blank verse, 
no poet since Milton has handled the measure with greater 
skill. Wordsworth is preeminently a nature poet ; no one 
has ever described natural phenomena with greater ac- 
curacy or finer insight. The following selection is from 
The Prelude, an autobiography of his boyhood and youth, 
which emphasizes those early influences which made him 
a poet. The reader should note the skill with which the 
poet manages to suggest, by the movement of his lines, 
the various motions and sounds of the skaters. 

And in the frosty season, when the sun 
Was set, and visible for many a mile 
The cottage windows blazed through twilight gloom, 
I heeded not their summons : happy time 
It was indeed for all of us for me 


It was a time of rapture ! Clear and loud 
The village clock tolled six, I wheeled about, 
Proud and exulting like an untired horse 
That cares not for his home. All shod with steel, 
We hissed along the polished ice in games 
Confederate, imitative of the chase 
And woodland pleasures, the resounding horn, 
The pack loud chiming, and the hunted hare. 
So through the darkness and the cold we flew, 
And not a voice was idle; with the din 
Smitten, the precipices rang aloud; 
The leafless trees and every icy crag 
Tinkled like iron ; while far distant hills 
Into the tumult sent an alien sound 
Of melancholy not unnoticed, while the stars 
Eastward were sparkling clear, and in the west 
The orange sky of evening died away. 
Not seldom from the uproar I retired 
Into a silent bay, or sportively 
Glanced sideway, leaving the tumultuous throng, 
To cut across the reflex of a star 
That fled, and, flying still before me, gleamed 
Upon the glassy plain; and oftentimes, 
When we had given our bodies to the wind, 
And all the shadowy banks on either side 
Came sweeping through the darkness, spinning still 
The rapid line of motion, then at once 
Have I, reclining back upon my heels, 
Stopped short ; yet still the solitan r cliffs 
Wheeled by me even as if the earth had rolled 
With visible motion her diurnal round ! 
Behind me did they stretch in solemn train, 
Feebler and feebler, and I stood and watched 
Till all was tranquil as a dreamless sleep. 

Although all of the Romantic poets, except Scott, used 
blank verse with great effectiveness, none of Wordsworth's 


contemporaries handled the measure with greater skill 
than Keats displayed in his fragmentary epic, Hyperion. 
This story of the fallen Grecian gods who reigned before 
Jupiter opens as follows: 

Deep in the shady sadness of a vale 

Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn, 

Far from the fiery noon, and eve's one star, 

Sat gray-hair'd Saturn, quiet as a stone, 

Still as the silence round about his lair; 

Forest on forest hung about his head 

Like cloud on cloud. No stir of air was there, 

Not so much life as on a summer's day 

Robs not one light seed from the feather'd grass, 

But where the dead leaf fell, there did it rest. 

A stream went voiceless by, still deadened more 

By reason of his fallen divinity 

Spreading a shade: the Naiad 'mid her reeds 

Press'd her cold finger closer to her lips. 

"There," says Professor Lowes, "if it ever was secured, 
is absolute truth of illusion, and flawless consistency of 
the imagery that creates it." 

Walter Savage Landor, of whom we shall have more to 
say in the chapter on Light Verse, links the Romantic 
and Victorian poets. Although born in 1775, he lived to 
know and admire Robert Browning. The following poem 
contains a vivid and accurate characterization of Brown- 
ing, who, like Landor, was then living in Italy. The num- 
ber of poets, novelists, and dramatists who have found 
inspiration in Italy is very great. A visit to Italy or a 
residence there plays a large part in the lives of Chaucer, 
Milton, Byron, Shelley, Landor, the Brownings, Goethe, 
Lamartine, Ibsen, Hawthorne, Cooper, Howells, Samuel 


Butler the novelist, and Henry James. The last line of 
Landor's poem contains an allusion to Mrs. Browning. 


There is delight in singing, tho' none hear 

Beside the singer; and there is delight 

In praising, tho' the praiser sit alone 

And see the prais'd far off him, far above. 

Shakespeare is not our poet, but the world's, 

Therefore on him no speech ! and brief for thee, 

Browning! Since Chaucer was alive and hale, 

No man hath walked along our roads with steps 

So active, so inquiring eye, or tongue 

So varied in discourse. But warmer climes 

Give brighter plumage, stronger wing: the breeze 

Of Alpine heights thou playest with, borne on 

Beyond Sorrento and Amalfi, where 

The Siren waits thee, singing song for song. 

Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864) 

Browning himself used blank verse very effectively in 
a number of his best poems and plays. His blank verse 
is essentially dramatic and conversational. Unfortu- 
nately, such poems as "Fra Lippo Lippi" and "Andrea 
del Sarto" are too long to quote here. So also are the 
blank verse poems of another great Victorian, Matthew 
Arnold, who uses the measure in "Balder Dead" and 
"Sohrab and Rustum." 

No Victorian poet wrote better blank verse than Tenny- 
son. His later poems, however, are usually regarded as 
inferior to those included in the 1842 volume which gave 
him his reputation. "Morte D' Arthur" probably marks 
the high-water mark of his poetry. The blank verse of 
the later Idylls of the King is more monotonous and 


conventional. "Ulysses," another poem from the 1842 
volume, illustrates Tennyson's use of blank verse at his 
best. The story of Ulysses comes, of course, ultimately 
from the Odyssey; but Tennyson found in Dante's Divine 
Comedy the episode with which he deals. The differ- 
ent uses made of the Homeric story by Dante and Tenny- 
son illustrate clearly the difference between the medieval 
and the modern attitude toward the desire for knowledge. 
Homer, in the conventional fashion of romance, brings 
Ulysses home, after his twenty years of wars and wan- 
dering, to live happily ever after with his faithful wife 
and son. Dante represents the old warrior, dissatisfied 
with this tame existence, as calling up his sailors in the 
Odyssey they had all died before Ulysses reached Ithaca 
to make another voyage in quest of the unknown. They 
sail beyond the straits of Gibraltar out into the unex- 
plored Atlantic, where they are all shipwrecked and 
drowned. Dante gives Ulysses a place in the Inferno 
because he had wanted to know things which no mortal 
should aspire to know. Tennyson, telling essentially the 
same story, gives it a distinctly modern interpretation. 
He makes his Ulysses the incarnation of the modern de- 
sire to know, which is largely the product of the scientific 
movement of Tennyson's own time. The mythological 
allusions should be looked up in a classical dictionary or 
in Gayley's Classic Myths. 


It little profits that an idle king, 
By this still hearth, among these barren crags, 
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole 


Unequal laws unto a savage race, 

That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me. 

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink 

Life to the lees: all times I have enjoy'd 

Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those 

That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when 

Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades 

Vext the dim sea: I am become a name. 

For always roaming with a hungry heart 

Much have I seen and known: cities of men, 

And manners, climates, councils, governments, 

Myself not least, but honour'd of them all; 

And drunk delight of battle with my peers, 

Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy. 

I am a part of all that I have met; 

Yet all experience is an arch wherethro' 

Gleams that untravell'd world, whose margin fades 

For ever and for ever when I move. 

How dull it is to pause, to make an end, 

To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use ! 

As tho' to breathe were life. Life piled on life 

Where all too little, and of one to me 

Little remains : but every hour is saved 

From that eternal silence, something more, 

A bringer of new things; and vile it were 

For some three suns to store and hoard myself, 

And this gray spirit yearning in desire 

To follow knowledge like a sinking star, 

Beyond the utmost bound of human thought. 

This is my son, mine own Telemachus, 
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle 
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil 
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild 
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees 
Subdue them to the useful and the good. 


Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere 

Of common duties, decent not to fail 

In offices of tenderness, and pay 

Meet adoration to my household gods, 

When I am gone. He works his work, I mine. 

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail: 
There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners, 
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me 
That ever with a frolic welcome took 
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed 
Free hearts, free foreheads you and I are old; 
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil; 
Death closes all: but something ere the end, 
Some work of noble note, may yet be done, 
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods. 
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks: 
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep 
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends, 
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world. 
Push off, and sitting well in order smite 
The sounding furrows ; for my purpose holds 
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths 
Of all the western stars, until I die. 
It may be the gulfs will wash us down: 
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles, 
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew; 
Tho' much is taken, much abides ; and tho'' 
We are not now that strength which in old days 
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are; 
One equal temper of heroic hearts, 
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will 
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. 

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) 

Only a few American poets have used blank verse with 
entire success. Bryant, who, because of his nature poems 


in blank verse, has often been called the American 
Wordsworth, uses this difficult measure better than any 
other American poet. His "Thanatopsis," "The An- 
tiquity of Freedom," "A Forest Hymn," and "A Winter 
Piece" are all excellent. "The Prairies," from which we 
quote the opening paragraph, deserves mention as one 
of the few notable poetic attempts to picture the scenery 
of the great West. 

These are the gardens of the Desert, these 
The unshorn fields, boundless and beautiful, 
For which the speech of England has no name 
The Prairies. I behold them for the first, 
And my heart swells, while the dilated sight 
Takes in the encircling vastness. Lo ! they stretch, 
In airy undulations, far away, 
As if the ocean, in his gentlest swell, 
Stood still, with all his rounded billows fixed, 
And motionless forever. Motionless? 
No they are all unchained again. The clouds 
Sweep over with their shadows, and, beneath, 
The surface rolls and fluctuates to the eye; 
Dark hollows seem to glide along and chase 
The sunny ridges. Breezes of the South ! 
Who toss the golden and the flame-like flowers, 
And pass the prairie-hawk that, poised on high, 
Flaps his broad wings, yet moves not ye have played 
Among the palms of Mexico and vines 
Of Texas, and have crisped the limpid brooks 
That from the fountains of Sonora glide 
Into the calm Pacific have ye fanned 
A nobler or a lovelier scene than this? 
Man hath no power in all this glorious work: 
The hand that built the firmament hath heaved 
And smoothed these verdant swells, and sown their slopes 


With herbage, planted them with island groves, 
And hedged them round with forests. Fitting floor 
For this magnificent temple of the sky 
With flowers whose glory and whose multitude 
Rival the constellations ! The great heavens 
Seem to stoop down upon the scene in love, 
A nearer vault, and of a tenderer blue, 
Than that which bends above our eastern hills. 

The passage which has been quoted from Wordsworth 
is one of the rare descriptions of winter scenery to be 
found in British poetry. Only among the poets of wintry 
New England do we find many poems which describe the 
snow-covered landscape. One recalls Bryant's "A Winter 
Piece" and "The Little People of the Snow," Lowell's 
"The Vision of Sir Launfal," Whittier's "Snow-Bound," 
and Emerson's "The Snow-Storm." 


Announced by all the trumpets of the sky, 
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields, 
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air 
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven, 
And veils the farm-house at the garden's end. 
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet 
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit 
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed 
In a tumultuous privacy of storm. 

Come see the north wind's masonry. 
Out of an unseen quarry evermore 
Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer 
Curves his white bastions with projected roof 


Round every windward stake, or tree, or door. 

Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work 

So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he 

For number or proportion. Mockingly 

On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths; 

A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn; 

Fills up the farmer's lane from wall to wall, 

Maugre the farmer's sighs ; and at the gate 

A tapering turret overtops the work. 

And when his hours are numbered, as he were not, 

Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art 

To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone, 

Built in an age, the mad wind's night-work, 

The frolic architecture of the snow. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) 

Most persons interested in present-day poetry seem 
unaware that blank verse is often used by living poets. 
William Butler Yeats's poetic dramas are written in 
blank verse of great beauty. Among living American 
poets, Edgar Lee Masters, Robert Frost, and Edwin 
Arlington Robinson frequently employ this long-estab- 
lished metrical form. The blank verse of Robinson's 
Merlin and Lancelot tempts comparison with that of 
The Idylls of the King; and, on the whole, it can hardly 
be said that Robinson's verse suffers from the comparison. 
We quote the opening lines of his superb portrait of 
Shakespeare, "Ben Jonson Entertains a Man from Strat- 

You are a friend then, as I make it out, 
Of our man Shakespeare, who alone of us 
Will put an ass's head in Fairyland 
As he would add a shilling to more shillings, 


All most harmonious, and out of his 

Miraculous inviolable increase 

Fills Ilion, Rome, or any town you like 

Of olden time with timeless Englishmen ; 

And I must wonder what you think of him 

All you down there where your small Avon flows 

By Stratford, and where you're an Alderman. 

The blank verse of Robert Frost, like that of Robinson, 
follows the rhythms of the human voice in actual speech. 
Frost's verse recalls the blank verse of Browning and of 
Shakespeare rather than that of Milton, Wordsworth, or 
Tennyson. Frost's poems are generally descriptions of 
New England rural life and scenery; they portray, how- 
ever, not the New England of Emerson and Whittier, but 
rather the decadent, neurasthenic New England of Mary 
Wilkins Freeman and Alice Brown. These short story 
writers, and not the older poets, are Frost's true pre- 


Something there is that doesn't love a wall, 
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it, 
And spills the upper boulders in the sun; 
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast. 
The work of hunters is another thing: 
I have come after them and made repair 
Where they have left not one stone on stone, 
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding, 
y To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean, 
No one has seen them made or heard them made, 
But at spring mending-time we find them there. 
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill ; 


And on a day we meet to walk the line 
And set the wall between us once again. 
We keep the wall between us as we go. 
To each the boulders that have fallen to each. 
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls 
We have to use a spell to make them balance: 
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned !" 
We wear our fingers rough with handling them. 
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game, 
One on a side. It comes to little more: 
He is all pine and I am apple-orchard. 
My apple trees will never get across 
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. 
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors." 
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder 
If I could put a notion in his head: 
"Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it 
Where there are cows ? But here there are no cows. 
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know 
What I was walling in or walling out, 
And to whom I was like to give offence. 
Something there is that doesn't love a wall, 
That wants it down !" I could say "Elves" to him, 
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather 
He said it for himself. I see him there, 
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top 
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed. 
He moves in darkness as it seems to me, 
Not of woods only and the shade of trees. 
He will not go behind his father's saying, 
And he likes having thought of it so well 
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors." 

Robert Frost (1875- ) 

Although blank verse is not so old as rimed verse, it is 
to be remembered that the oldest English poetry em- 


ployed not rime but alliteration. Rime was introduced 
about the time of the Norman Conquest from the conti- 
nent, where its use had become common in the Dark Ages. 
By the time of Chaucer's death in 1400, rime was thor- 
oughly established in British poetry; and the old Anglo- 
Saxon alliterative measure was obsolete. The English 
language, however, is poorer in rimes than other Euro- 
pean languages ; and this fact has long been an argument 
for abandoning rime for blank verse or free verse. Dante, 
writing in Italian, a language in which rimes are plentiful, 
boasted that the exigencies of rime had never forced him 
to say either more or less than exactly what he intended 
to say. Milton, however, after using rime in his minor 
poems with consummate skill, abandoned this "trouble- 
some and modern bondage of rhyming" as "the invention 
of a barbarous age, to set off wretched matter and lame 
metre," maintaining that the poets who had used rime 
had done so "much to their own vexation, hindrance, and 
constraint to express many things otherwise, and for 
the most part worse, than else they would have expressed 

There is more to be said for rime, however, than Milton 
admits ; for blank verse and free verse, though they seem 
the easiest of all forms, are in reality the most difficult. 
Paradoxical as it may appear, poets, as a rule, succeed 
most often in those metrical forms which allow the least 
freedom. Wordsworth's sonnets are, on the whole, better 
than his blank verse. In blank verse, free verse, and the 
octosyllabic couplets of Scott and Byron there is a fatal 
facility which often prevents the poet from making his 
poem compact and concise. For this reason minor poets 


have seldom succeeded so well with blank verse or free 
verse as with rime. In his "Ars Victrix" Austin Dobson, 
imitating the French poet Gautier, gives this advice to 
the poet: 

O Poet, then, forbear 

The loosely-sandalled verse, 
Choose rather thou to wear 
The buskin strait and terse; 

Leave to the tyro's hand 

The limp and shapeless style; 
See that thy form demand 

The labour of the file. 

Besides its most ^ppyfenfjjiflj'pQpa ** 
of a jaoem into the structural units which 
rime has several valuable functions. It serves at the 
outset to differentiate a poem from prose; it helps to 
give us the right mood at the beginning. It is almost 
indispensable in lyric poetry ; Tennyson's "Tears, Idle 
Tears" is almost the only successful blank verse lyric in 
the language. Rime, furthermore, supplies a partial 
substitute for the music which originally accompanied 
all poetry. The combined rimes of a stanza give some- 
thing of the same effect as a chord in music. Rime often 
serves also to stress the most important words in the line. 
In Pope's poems the rime word is often balanced against 
another word within the line, as in 

The sound must seem an echo to the sense. 

To illustrate the different effects obtainable from prose, 
blank verse, and rime, we quote three separate transla- 
tions of the opening paragraph of the Iliad. The first is 


from the poetic, semi-biblical prose version of Lang, Leaf, 
and Myers: 

Sing, goddess, the wrath of Achilles, Peleus' son, the ruin- 
ous wrath that brought on the Achaians woes innumerable, 
and hurled down into Hades many strong souls of heroes, and 
gave their bodies to be a prey to dogs and all winged fowls; 
and so the counsel of Zeus wrought out its accomplishment 
from the day when first strife parted Atreides, king of men, 
and noble Achilles. 

The second version, in blank verse modeled on that of 
Milton, is by the Earl of Derby : 

Of Peleus' son, Achilles, sing, O Muse, 
The vengeance deep and deadly; whence to Greece 
Unnumbered ills arose; which many a soul 
Of mighty warriors to the viewless shades 
Untimely sent; they on the battle plain 
Unburied lay, a prey to rav'ning dogs, 
And carrion birds ; but so had Jove decreed, 
From that sad day when first in wordy war, 
The mighty Agamemnon, King of men, 
Confronted stood by Peleus' godlike son. 

The third version, in rimed couplets, is from the famous 
translation by Alexander Pope: 

Achilles' wrath, to Greece the direful spring 
Of woes unnumbered, heavenly Goddess, sing! 
That wrath which hurled to Pluto's gloomy reign 
The souls of mighty chiefs untimely slain: 
Whose limbs, unburied on the naked shore, 
Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore: 
Since great Achilles and Atrides strove, 
Such was the sovereign doom, and such the will of Jove. 

The skilful poet selects that metrical form which is 
best suited to the expression of what he has to say. The 


ballad stanza and the octosyllabic couplet are best 
adapted to stirring narrative. Blank verse, as we have 
seen, is best adapted to dramatic, epic, and reflective 
poetry. For satire, the poet prefers the heroic couplet 
or the Ottawa jrima stanza ; for a pensive theme, the heroic 
quatrain; and for painting a dream-picture, the Spen- 
serian stanza. Each stanzaic form has a character of 
its own; and, in addition, it bears the impress of the 
personality of the poet who uses it. The personal equa- 
tion, lacking in the folk-song and the popular ballad, 
enters in ; and Keats's blank verse, in spite of the marked 
influence of Milton, can rarely be mistaken for that of 
Paradise Lost. The stanzaic forms which employ the 
iambic pentameter line are numerous, and the variety of 
effects which can be secured from varying the rimes is 
very large. We shall try to point out the fitness of the 
more important stanzaic forms to special purposes, and 
show also how different poets have adapted them to their 
own special ends. 

The heroic couplet consists of two iambic pentameter 
lines riming in pairs, aa, bb, cc, etc. Occasionally a poem 
consists of only one couplet, as in Adelaide Crapsey's 


Is it as plainly in our living shown, 
By slant and twist, which way the wind hath blown ? 
Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1914) 

The heroic couplet, however, is ordinarily found only in 
longer poems; and, in spite of one or two striking ex- 


ceptions, it is not cuited to the lyric. Chaucer used it 
with great effect in his Prologue and in several of the 
Canterbury Tales. The opening paragraph of the 
Prologue well illustrates Chaucer's consummate mastery 
of the couplet. It should be noted that in Chaucer's time 
the English language contained many final ^'s which are 
no longer pronounced. The larger proportion of vowels 
to consonants made Middle English almost as musical a 
language as Italian. The tf's which Chaucer pronounced 
are indicated thus : e. The vowels should be pronounced 
as in French or Latin. Whan is when; soote, sweet; 
swich, such ; sonne, sun ; y-ronne, run ; fowles, birds ; 
ye, eye ; corages, hearts ; seken, seek ; strondes, strands ; 
feme htdwes, distant shrines ; couthe, known ; Mr, their ; 
than, then; hem, them; seke, seek and sick. 

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote 

The droghte of Marche hath perced to the rootfc, 

And bathed every veyne in swich licour, 

Of which vertu engendred is the flour; 

Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth 

Inspired hath in every holt and heeth 

The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonn& 

Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne, 

And smale fowles maken melodye, 

That slepen al the night with open ye, 

(So priketh hem nature in hir corages) : 

Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages, 

And palmers for to seken straunge strondes, 

To feme halwes, couthe in sondry londes; 

And specially, from every shires ende 

Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende, 

The holy blissful martir for to seke, 

That hem hath holpen whan that they were seke. 


Marlowe employed the heroic couplet in his Hero and 
Leander, and Shakespeare used it frequently, in his 
early plays, for the closing lines of his scenes. Since the 
close of the Elizabethan age, two distinct types of the 
couplet have developed. The first, used by Dryden, Pope, 
and their followers, is really a stanza, although they 
always printed their lines continuously. In the "closed" 
couplet, as it is called, each couplet is a thought unit. 
There is almost invariably a marked pause at the end 
of the second line and usually one at the end of the first 
line as well. The typical "closed" couplet is illustrated 
by Pope's pithy lines, 

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, 
As those move easiest who have learned to dance. 

In the "open" couplet, much used by the Romantic poets, 
the movement, as in blank verse, is continuous. The 
pauses usually occur in the middle of the line, seldom at 
the end. 

Pope's period has been called the Age of Prose and 
Reason. At that time even poetry concerned itself with 
subjects now generally considered proper for treatment 
only in prose. The very titles of his poems, An Essay 
on Criticism, An Essay on Man, Moral Essays, sug- 
gest prose rather than verse. Pope's poetry belongs to 
the literature of knowledge rather than to the literature 
of power, of reason rather than of imagination. Seldom 
have later poets rivaled Pope and Dryden in epigrammatic 
point, in keenness of wit, in brilliant satire, or in technical 
dexterity. The heroic couplet, as they use it, is ad- 
mirably adapted to these ends. Later critics have fre- 


quently denied these verses any poetic merit ; but whether 
poetry or not, the "poems" are certainly literature. 
Dryden in his "Lines Printed under the Engraved Por- 
trait of Milton" ranks Milton above both Vergil and 
Homer. We have here printed each couplet as a separate 
stanza to indicate the independent character of each 
"closed" couplet. 

Three poets, in three distant ages born, 
Greece, Italy, and England did adorn. 

The first in loftiness of thought surpassed, 
The next in majesty, in both the last. 

The force of Nature could no farther go ; 

To make the third she joined the former two. 

In the extract quoted from Wordsworth's The Pre- 
lude, we noted that the poet contrives to suggest the 
motions of the skaters by the movement of his lines. 
Many striking examples of onomatopoeia are found in 
Tennyson. The following line from "Locksley Hall 
Sixty Years After" is said to have been his favorite line, 

Universal ocean softly washing all her warless isles. 
Another much quoted passage is from The Princess, 

The moan of doves in immemorial elms, 
And murmuring of innumerable bees. 

Perhaps the cleverest use of onomatopoeia is found in 
Pope's Essay on Criticism: 

'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence, 
The sound must seem an echo to the sense. 
Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows, 


And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows ; 

But when loud surges lash the sounding shore, 

The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar. 

When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw, 

The line too labours, and the words move slow; 

Not so, when swift Camilla scours the plain, 

Flies o'er th' unbending corn, and skims along the main. 

'The Romantic poets rebelled against the poetic con- 
ventions of Pope's time in much the same manner as living 
poets have rebelled against the practices of the Victorian 
poets. The Romanticists either discarded the heroic 
couplet or handled it in an entirely different manner. 
The following passage from Keats's "Sleep and Poetry" 
illustrates both the Romantic use of the couplet and the 
revolt against Pope's conception of poetry. The move- 
ment of the "open" couplet is not stanzaic but continu- 
ous ; the pauses occur chiefly inside the line and the rime 
words are often unstressed. 

A schism 

Nurtured by foppery and barbarism, 
Made great Apollo blush for this his land. 
Men were thought wise who could not understand 
His glories : with a puling infant's force 
They swayed about upon a rocking horse, 
And thought it Pegasus. Ah dismal souled ! 
The winds of heaven blew: the ocean rolled 
Its gathering waves ye felt it not. The blue 
Bared its eternal bosom, and the dew 
Of summer nights collected still to make 
The morning precious: beauty was awake! 
Why were ye not awake? But ye were dead 
To things ye knew not of, were closely wed 
To musty laws lined out with wretched rule 


And compass vile: so that ye taught a school 
Of dolts to smooth, inlay, and clip, and fit, 
Till, like the certain wands of Jacob's wit, 
Their verses tallied. Easy was the task! 
A thousand handicraftsmen wore the mask 
Of Poesy. Ill-fated, impious race ! 
That blasphemed the bright Lyrist to his face, 
And did not know it. 

The heroic couplet is not often found in Victorian 
poetry. Browning sometimes used it very effectively in 
the manner of the Romantic poets. So continuous is the 
movement of the verse in "My Last Duchess" that one 
may easily mistake it for blank verse. "My Last 
Duchess" is perhaps the finest example of the dramatic 
monologue, a type of poem which Browning made famous. 
Much of Browning's alleged obscurity is due to a failure 
to understand this type of poetry. The reader has doubt- 
less listened to a friend talking over the telephone, and 
tried to piece out the whole conversation from the half 
which he overhears. In the dramatic monologue the situa- 
tion is precisely the same ; we hear only one of the speak- 
ers. In "My Last Duchess" the speaker is an Italian 
nobleman who is showing a picture of his first wife to a 
messenger from the count whose daughter the speaker 
proposes to make his second wife. The fifty-six lines of 
the poem paint memorable pictures of two characters and 
reveal much of the spirit of Renaissance life in Italy. ' 


That's my last Duchess painted on the wall, 

Looking as if she were alive. I call 

That piece a wonder, now : Fra Pandolf 's hands 


Worked busily a day, and there she stands. 

Will't please you sit and look at her? I said 

"Fra Pandolf" by design, for never read 

Strangers like you that pictured countenance, 

The depth and passion of its earnest glance, 

But to myself they turned (since none puts by 

The curtain I have drawn for you, but I) 

And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst, 

How such a glance came there ; so, not the first 

Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 't was not 

Her husband's presence only, called that spot 

Of joy into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps 

Fra Pandolf chanced to say, "Her mantle laps 

Over my lady's wrist too much," or "Paint 

Must never hope to reproduce the faint 

Half-flush that dies along her throat": such stuff 

Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough 

For calling up that spot of joy. She had 

A heart how shall I say ? too soon made glad, 

Too easily impressed: she liked whate'er 

She looked on, and her looks went everywhere. 

Sir, 't was all one ! My favor at her breast, 

The dropping of the daylight in the West, 

The bough of cherries some officious fool 

Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule 

She rode with round the terrace all and each 

Would draw from her alike the approving speech, 

Or blush, at least. She thanked men, good ! but thanked 

Somehow I know not how as if she ranked 

My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name 

With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to blame 

This sort of trifling? Even had you skill 

In speech (which I have not) to make your will 

Quite clear to such an one, and say, "Just this 

Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss, 

Or there exceed the mark" and if she let 


Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set 

Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse, 

E'en then would be some stooping; and I choose 

Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt, 

Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without 

Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands; 

Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands 

As if alive. Will 't please you rise? We'll meet 

The company fcelow, then. I repeat, 

The Count your master's known munificence 

Is ample warrant that no just pretence 

Of mine for dowry will be disallowed; 

Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed 

At starting, is my object. Nay, we'll go 

Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though, 

Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity, 

Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me ! 

Robert Browning (1812-1889) 

Poets of today use the heroic couplet oftener than a 
casual reader would suppose from the manner in which 
older metrical forms are condemned. We may mention 
Masefield's "Biography" and "Ships," Rupert Brooke's 
"The Great Lover," and Robert Frost's "The Tuft of 


I went to turn the grass once after one 
Who mowed it in the dew before the sun. 

The dew was gone that made his blade so keen 
Before I came to view the levelled scene. 

I looked for him behind an isle of trees; 
I listened for his whetstone on the breeze. 


But he had gone his way, the grass all mown, 
And I must be, as he had been, alone, 

"As all must be/' I said within my heart, 
"Whether they work together or apart." 

But as I said it, swift there passed me by 
On noiseless wing a bewildered butterfly, 

Seeking with memories grown dim over night 
Some resting flower of yesterday's delight. 

And once I marked his flight go round and round, 
As where some flower lay withering on the ground. 

And then he flew as far as eye could see, 
And then on tremulous wing came back to me. 

I thought of questions that have no reply, 
And would have turned to toss the grass to dry ; 

But he turned first, and led my eye to look 
At a tall tuft of flowers beside a brook, 

A leaping tongue of bloom the scythe had spared 
Beside a reedy brook the scythe had bared. 

I left my place to know them by their name, 
Finding them butterfly-weed when I came. 

The mower in the dew had loved them thus, 
By leaving them to flourish, not for us, 

Nor yet to draw one thought of ours to him, 
But from sheer morning gladness at the brim. 


The butterfly and I had lit upon, 
Nevertheless, a message from the dawn, 

That made me hear the wakening birds around, 
And hear his long scythe whispering to the ground, 

And feel a spirit kindred to my own; 

So that henceforth I worked no more alone; 

But glad with him, I worked as with his aid, 
And weary, sought at noon with him the shade; 

And dreaming, as it were, held brotherly speech 
With one whose thought I had not hoped to reach. 

"Men work together," I told him from the heart, 
"Whether they work together or apart." 

Robert Frost (1875- ) 

The h^oic-^a-train, as it is usually called, is a stanza 
of four iambic pentameter lines riming abab. The form 
has never been frequently used in English or American 
poetry, but in it a few of the greatest poems have been 
written. The rime scheme produces an effect radically 
different from that of the epigrammatic, staccato move- 
ment of the heroic couplet. It is best adapted to thought- 
ful, often melancholy moods ; its rhythm is slower and 
statelier than that of the couplet. An excellent illustra- 
tion of the different effects to be obtained from the two 
forms is found in the Shakespearean sonnet, which con- 
sists of three heroic quatrains I l olloweo7"by~ a concluding 
couplet. The last two lines of the sonnet bring a change 
in the thought, a contrast or a summary ; and the change 
in the rime scheme emphasizes the change in thought. 


Both quatrain and couplet effects are skilfully com- 
bined in several of the stanzaic forms discussed later in 
this chapter. 

The most famous of all poems in the heroic quatrain is 
Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Church- 
yard." This poem, it should be noted, is not, strictly 
speaking, an elegy at all, for, unlike Milton's "Lycidas" 
and Shelley's "Adonais," it is not a lament occasioned 
by the death of a particular person. The heroic quatrain 
has been called the elegiac stanza because of its supposed 
resemblance to the Latin elegiac couplet. Both the an- 
cient and the modern form are well adapted to reflective 
poetry. In Gray's time melancholy was the poetic 
fashion. Milton's "II Penseroso" was a favorite, and 
it set the mood for the so-called "Graveyard School" of 
poets, which included Collins, Blair, Young, and Gray. 
Bryant's "Thanatopsis" and "Hymn to Death" are the 
American representatives of this melancholy type of 

As poems which both the average reader and the critic 
alike consider great, Gray's "Elegy" and Poe's "The 
Raven" are almost unrivaled. At the same time, it must 
be admitted that critics have frequently preferred the less 
known poems of both Gray and Poe. The "Elegy" is 
not a great poem because of any profound or original 
idea which it expresses, for every thoughtful man and 
woman who has visited a cemetery has had the same 
thoughts. The poem is great because Gray has given to 
thoughts common to all men the finest artistic expression 
which they have yet found. 

The chief defect to be found in the "Elegy" is the oc- 


casional use of a hackneyed poetic diction. Eighteenth 
century poets disliked to call a spade a spade; they were 
much more likely to call it a garden implement. Swain 
and glebe for man and soil are examples. The concluding 
epitaph, intended for the poet himself, is inferior to the 
remainder of the poem and detracts somewhat from its 
unity of tone. Provoke, in the eleventh stanza, is used 
in the Latin sense of call forth. In the second stanza 
stillness is the subject, and air the object, of holds. In 
the ninth stanza, which is often misquoted, hour is not 
the object but the subject of awaits; "the inevitable 
hour," or death, waits in ambush. 


The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, 
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea, 

The plowman homeward plods his weary way, 
And leaves the world to darkness and to me. 

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight, 

And all the air a solemn stillness holds, 
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight, 

And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds; 

Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r 
The moping owl does to the moon complain 

Of such, as wand'ring near her secret bow'r, 
Molest her ancient solitary reign. 

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade, 
Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap, 


Each in his narrow cell for ever laid, 

The rude Forefathers of the hamlet sleep. 

The breezy call of incense-breathing Morn, 

The swallow twitt'ring from the straw-built shed, 

The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn, 
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed. 

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn, 
Or busy housewife ply her evening care: 

No children run to lisp their sire's return, 
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share. 

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield, 

Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke; 

How jocund did they drive their team afield! 

How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke ! 

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil, 
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure; 

Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile, 
The short and simple annals of the poor. 

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r, 
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave, 

Awaits alike th' inevitable hour. 

The paths of glory lead but to the grave. 

Nor you, ye Proud, impute to These the fault, 
If Memory o'er their Tomb no Trophies raise, 

Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault 
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise. 

Can storied urn or animated bust 

Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath? 


Can Honor's voice provoke the silent dust, 

Or Flattery soothe the dull cold ear of Death? 

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid 

Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire; 

Hands, that the rod of empire might have swayed, 
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre. 

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page 
Rich with the spoils of time did ne'er unroll; 

Chill Penury repressed their noble rage, 
And froze the genial current of the soul. 

Full many a gem of purest ray serene, 

The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear; 

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, 
And waste its sweetness on the desert air. 

Some village Hampden, that with dauntless breast 

The little Tyrant of his fields withstood; 
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest, 

Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood. 

The applause of listening senates to command, 

The threats of pain and ruin to despise, 
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land, 

And read their history in a nation's eyes, 

Their lot forbade: nor circumscribed alone 

Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd; 

Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne, 
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind, 

The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide, 
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame, 


Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride 
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame. 

Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife, 
Their sober wishes never learned to stray; 

Along the cool sequestered vale of life 

They kept the noiseless tenor of their way. 

Yet even these bones from insult to protect, 

Some frail memorial still erected nigh, 
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked, 

Implores the passing tribute of a sigh. 

Their names, their years, spelt by the unlettered muse, 

The place of fame and elegy supply: 
And many a holy text around she strews, 

That teach the rustic moralist to die. 

For who to dumb Forgetfulness a prey, 
This pleasing anxious being e'er resigned, 

Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day, 
Nor cast one longing lingering look behind? 

On some fond breast the parting soul relies, 
Some pious drops the closing eye requires: 

Ev'n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries, 
Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted Fires. 

For thee, who mindful of the unhonored Dead, 
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate, 

If chance, by lonely contemplation led, 

Some kindred Spirit shall inquire thy fate, 

Haply some hoary-headed Swain may say, 
"Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn 


Brushing with hasty steps the dews away 
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn. 

"There at the foot of yonder nodding beech 

That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high, 
His listless length at noontide would he stretch, 
And pore upon the brook that babbles by. 

"Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn, 

Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove, 
Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn, 
Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless love. 

"One morn I missed him on the customed hill, 

Along the heath and near his favorite tree; 
Another came; nor yet beside the rill, 

Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he; 

"The next with dirges due in sad array 

Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne. 
Approach and read (for thou can'st read) the lay, 
Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn:" 


Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth 
A Youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown. 

Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth, 
And Melancholy mark'd him for her own. 

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere, 
Heav'n did a recompense as largely send: 

He gave to Mis'ry all he had, a tear, 

He gain'd from Heav'n ('twas all he wish'd) a friend. 


No farther seek his merits to disclose, 

Or draw his frailties from their dread abode, 

(There they alike in trembling hope repose) 
The bosom of his Father and his God. 

Thomas Gray (1716-1771) 

Gray was one of the most careful artists who ever wrote 
in verse. He worked on the "Elegy" intermittently for 
seven years, and published it at last only to prevent its 
being inaccurately printed by an unscrupulous bookseller. 
Poe, in "The Philosophy of Composition," states that if 
he could have written any better stanzas than that which 
marks the climax of "The Raven," he would "without 
scruple, have purposely enfeebled them, so as not to inter- 
fere with the climacteric effect." Gray discarded as un- 
suitable several stanzas which are as beautiful as many 
which he used. The first of the following omitted stanzas 
came after the eighteenth stanza, and the second imme- 
diately before the epitaph: 

Hark how the sacred Calm, that broods around, 
Bids ev'ry fierce tumultuous Passion cease, 

In still small Accents whisp'ring from the Ground 
A grateful Earnest of eternal Peace. 

There scatter'd oft the earliest of the year 
By hands unseen are frequent Violets found; 

The Robin loves to build and warble there, 
And little Footsteps lightly print the Ground. 

Though never widely used, the heroic quatrain seems 
to be employed as frequently today as it has ever been. 
Three of Masefield's best poems, "August, 1914," "The 
River," and "The 'Wanderer,' " are written in this stanza. 


Vachel Lindsay and Edwin Arlington Robinson also use 
it with great skill. Sometimes, as in the following poem, 
they omit the rime in the first and third lines of each 
stanza. In this poem, as in his "Richard Cory," Rob- 
inson departs widely from the traditional use of this 
measure. It is astonishing what novel effects he obtains 
from the stately pensive stanza of the "Elegy Written in 
a Country Churchyard." 


Old Eben Flood, climbing alone one night 
Over the hill between the town below 
And the forsaken upland hermitage 
That held as much as he should ever know 
On earth again of home, paused warily. 
The road was his with not a native near; 
And Eben, having leisure, said aloud, 
For no man else in Tilbury Town to hear : 

"Well, Mr. Flood, we have the harvest moon 
Again, and we may not have many more; 
The bird is on the wing, the poet says, 
And you and I have said it here before. 
Drink to the bird." He raised up to the light 
The jug that he had gone so far to fill, 
And answered huskily: "Well, Mr. Flood, 
Since you propose it, I believe I will." 

Alone, as if enduring to the end 
A valiant armor of scarred hopes outworn, 
He stood there in the middle of the road 
Like Roland's ghost winding a silent horn. 
Below him, in the town among the trees, 
Where friends of other days had honored him, 


A phantom salutation of the dead 

Rang thinly till old Eben's eyes were dim. 

Then, as a mother lays her sleeping child 

Down tenderly, fearing it may awake, 

He set the jug down slowly at his feet 

With trembling care, knowing that most things break; 

And only when assured that on firm earth 

It stood, as the uncertain lives of men 

Assuredly did not, he paced away, 

And with his hand extended paused again: 

"Well, Mr. Flood, we have not met like this 
In a long time; and many a change has come 
To both of us, I fear, since last it was 
We had a drop together. Welcome home !" 
Convivially returning with himself, 
Again he raised the jug up to the light; 
And with an acquiescent quaver said: 

"Well, Mr. Flood, if you insist, I might. 

"Only a very little, Mr. Flood 
For auld lang syne. No more, sir ; that will do." 
So, for the time, apparently it did, 
And Eben evidently thought so too; 
For soon amid the silver loneliness 
Of night he lifted up his voice and sang, 
Secure, with only two moons listening, 
Until the whole harmonious landscape rang 

"For auld lang syne." The weary throat gave out, 
The last word wavered; and the song being done, 
He raised again the jug regretfully 
And shook his head, and was again alone. 
There was not much that was ahead of him, 
And there was nothing in the town below 


Where strangers would have shut the many doors 
That many friends had opened long ago. 

Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869- ) 

In his paraphrase of a Persian poem, The Rubdiydt 
of Omar Khayyam, Edward Fitzgerald has made famous 
another four-line stanza, which rimes aaba. The popu- 
larity of the Rubdiydt in its day was due in part to a 
second vogue of melancholy poetry in the last half of the 
nineteenth century. We quote a few of the best stanzas : 

Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring 
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling: 

The Bird of Time has but a little way 
To nutter and the Bird is on the Wing. . . , 

A Book of Verses underneath the Bough, 
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread and Thou 

Beside me singing in the Wilderness 
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow ! . . , 

Oh, my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears 
To-day of past Regret and future Fears: 

To-morrow ! Why, To-morrow I may be 
Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n thousand Years. ... 

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, 
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit 

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line 
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it. ... 

And those who husbanded the Golden grain, 
And those who flung it to the winds like Rain, 

Alike to no such aureate Earth are turn'd 
As, buried once, Men want dug up again. 


The eight-line stanza known as ottava_rima, riming 
abababcc, is more common in Italian, from which it was 
borrowed, than in English. The form is best adapted to 
satire; admirable examples are Byron's "Beppo," "The 
Vision of Judgment," and Don Juan. Whittier's 
"Ichabod" and Browning's "The Lost Leader" contain 
no more scathing denunciation than "The Vision of Judg- 
ment," in which Byron expresses his opinion of Robert 
Southey and George III. 

In the first year of freedom's second dawn 

Died George the Third; although no tyrant, one 

Who shielded tyrants, till each sense withdrawn 
Left him nor mental nor external sun; 

A better farmer ne'er brush'd dew from lawn, 
A worse king never left a realm undone! 

He died but left his subjects still behind, 

One half as mad and t'other no less blind. 

He died ! his death made no great stir on earth : 
His burial made some pomp; there was profusion 

Of velvet, gilding, brass, and no great dearth 

Of aught save tears save those shed by collusion. 

For these things may be bought at their true worth; 
Of elegy there was the due infusion 

Bought also; and the torches, cloaks, and banners, 

Heralds, and relics of old Gothic manners 

Form'd a sepulchral melodrame. Of all 

The fools who flock'd to swell or see the show, 

Who cared about the corpse? The funeral 
Made the attraction, and the black the woe. 

There throbb'd not there a thought which pierced the pall; 
And when the gorgeous coffin was laid low, 


It seem'd the mockery of hell to fold 
The rottenness of eighty years in gold. 

The rime royal stanza, in seven lines riming ababbcc, 
owes its name so it is said to the fact that King James 
I of Scotland, a poetic follower of Chaucer, used it. 
Chaucer himself, for whom the stanza should have been 
named, used it with consummate skill in his Troilus, 
The Parliament of Fowls, and in several of the Canter- 
bury Tales. Notable poems employing the rime royal 
stanza are Shakespeare's Lucrece and Wordsworth's 
"Resolution and Independence." In more recent times 
the stanza has been frequently used by two ardent ad- 
mirers of Chaucer William Morris and John Masefield. 
Morris prefixed the following poem to The Earthly 


Of Heaven or Hell I have no power to sing, 
I cannot ease the burden of your fears, 
Or make quick-coming death a little thing, 
Or bring again the pleasure of past years, 
Nor for my words shall ye forget your tears, 
Or hope again, for aught that I can say, 
The idle singer of an empty day. 

But rather, when aweary of your mirth, 
From full hearts still unsatisfied ye sigh 
And, feeling kindly unto all the earth, 
Grudge every minute as it passes by, 
Made the more mindful that the sweet days die 
Remember me a little then, I pray, 
The idle singer of an empty day. 


The heavy trouble, the bewildering care 
That weighs us down who live and earn our bread 
These idle verses have no power to bear; 
So let me sing of names remembered, 
Because they, living not, can ne'er be dead, 
Or long time take their memory quite away 
From us poor singers of an empty day. 

Dreamer of dreams, born out of my due time, 
Why should I strive to set the crooked straight? 
Let it suffice me that my murmuring rhyme 
Beats with light wing against the ivory gate, 
Telling a tale not too importunate 
To those who in the sleepy region stay, 
Lulled by the singer of an empty day. 

Folk say, a wizard to a northern king 
At Christmas-tide such wondrous things did show 
That through one window men beheld the spring, 
And through another saw the summer glow, 
And through a third the fruited vines a-row, 
While still, unheard, but in its wonted way, 
Piped the drear wind of that December day. 

So with this Earthly Paradise it is, 
If ye will read aright, and pardon me, 
Who strive to build a shadowy isle of bliss 
Midmost the beating of the steely sea, 
Where tossed about all hearts of men must be; 
. Whose ravening monsters mighty men shall slay, 
Not the poor singer of an empty day. 

William Morris (1834-1896") 

John Masefield uses rime royal in Dauber, The 
Widow in the Bye Street, and The Daffodil Fields. 
Although Masefield received his poetic inspiration from 


Chaucer, his use of rime royal has little of the Chaucerian 
melody and charm which Morris often recaptured; in 
fact, the stanza gives an entirely different effect, that of 
vividness and power. We quote the opening stanzas of 
The Widow in the Bye Street: 

Down Bye Street, in a little Shropshire town, 
There lived a widow with her only son: 
She had no wealth nor title to renown, 
Nor any joyous hours, never one. 
She rose from ragged mattress before sun 
And stitched all day until her eyes were red, 
And had to stitch, because her man was dead. 

Sometimes she fell asleep, she stitched so hard, 

Letting the linen fall upon the floor; 

And hungry cats would steal in from the yard, 

And mangy chickens pecked about the door, 

Craning their necks so ragged and so sore 

To search the room for bread-crumbs, or for mouse 

But they got nothing in the widow's house. 

Mostly she made her bread by hemming shrouds 
For one rich undertaker in the High Street, 
Who used to pray that folks might die in crowds 
And that their friends might pay to let them lie sweet ; 
And when one died the widow in the Bye Street 
Stitched night and day to give the worm his dole. 
The dead were better dressed than that poor soul. 

The Spenserian stanza, named for Edmund Spenser, 
who first used it in The Faerie Queene, is the most stately 
and impressive stanzaic form in English poetry. It con- 
sists of nine lines riming ababbcbcc. Its rime scheme is 
identical with the first nine lines of the Spenserian sonnet. 
The ninth line, which contains six feet and is called an 


Alexandrine, gives a full round close to the stanza. Some 
of the greatest poems in English have been written in this 
exceedingly difficult measure, although it has been little 
used during the past hundred years. From The Faerie 
Queene, we quote the stanzas which describe the abode of 
Morpheus, the god of sleep. No finer example of 
onomatopoeia can be found in English poetry. Of noth- 
ing he takes keep means he pays no attention to any- 

He, making speedy way through 'spersed air, 
And through the world of waters wide and deep, 
To Morpheus' house doth hastily repair. 
Amid the bowels of the earth full steep, 
And low, where dawning day doth never peep, 
His dwelling is ; there Tethys his wet bed 
Doth ever wash, and Cynthia still doth steep 
In silver dew his ever-drooping head, 
Whiles sad Night over him her mantle black doth spread, 

Whose double gates he findeth locked fast, 
The one fair framed of burnished ivory, 
The other all with silver overcast; 
And wakeful dogs before them far do lie, 
Watching to banish Care, their enemy, 
Who oft is wont to trouble gentle Sleep. 
By them the sprite doth pass in quietly, 
And unto Morpheus comes, whom drowned deep 
In drowsy fit he finds: of nothing he takes keep. 

And more to lull him in his slumber soft, 

A trickling stream from high rock tumbling down, 

And ever-drizzling rain upon the loft, 

Mixed with a murmuring wind much like the soun' 

Of swarming bees, did cast him in a swoon. 


No other noise, nor people's troublous cries, 
As still are wont t' annoy the walled town, 
Might there be heard; but careless Quiet lies 
Wrapped in eternal silence far from enemies. 

The messenger approaching to him spake; 
But his waste words returned to him in vain: 
So sound he slept that nought mought him awake. 
Then rudely he him thrust, and pushed with pain, 
Whereat he 'gan to stretch ; but he again 
Shook him so hard that forced him to speak. 
As one then in a dream, whose drier brain 
Is tossed with troubled sights and fancies weak, 
He mumbled soft, but would not all his silence break. 

James Thomson, a Scottish poet of the early eighteenth 
century, was a forerunner of the Romantic poets. His 
Seasons is one of the earliest of nature poems. Though a 
contemporary of Pope, Thomson wrote not in the almost 
universally used heroic couplet, but in Miltonic blank 
verse and the Spenserian stanza. The following passage 
from his Castle of Indolence is an excellent example 
of onomatopoeia. The language is archaic in imitation 
of Spenser. Drowsy-head means drowsiness ; eke, also ; 
and noyance, annoyance. 

A pleasing land of drowsy-head it was : 
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye; 
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass, 
Forever flushing round a summer-sky. 
There eke the soft delights, that witchingly 
Instil a wanton sweetness through the breast, 
And the calm pleasures, always hovered nigh; 
But whate'er smackt of noyance, or unrest, 
Was far, far off expelled from this delicious nest. 


After The Faerie Queene, the two greatest poems in the 
Spenserian stanza are probably Keats's "Eve of St. 
Agnes" and Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. We 
quote the opening and closing stanzas of Keats's poem. 
Seldom do we find a poem which so well strikes the right 
note in the opening line and sustains it to the very end. 

St. Agnes' Eve Ah, bitter chill it was ! 
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold; 
The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen grass, 
And silent was the flock in woolly fold: 
Numb were the Beadsman's fingers, while he told 
His rosary, and while his frosted breath, 
Like pious incense from a censer old, 
Seem'd taking flight for heaven, without a death, 
Past the sweet Virgin's picture, while his prayer he saith. . . . 

And they are gone: ay, ages long ago 
These lovers fled away into the storm. 
That night the Baron dreamt of many a woe, 
And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form 
Of witch, and demon, and large coffin-worm, 
Were long be-nightmar'd. Angela the old 
Died palsy-twitch'd, with meagre face deform; 
The Beadsman, after thousand aves told, 
For aye unsought for slept among his ashes cold. 

Byron's use of the Spenserian stanza differs greatly 
from Spenser's. He gives the measure a power and sweep 
which compensate for the melody and finish which his 
poetry lacks. Byron's verse is singularly uneven. Some 
of the following lines are poor, and one is actually un- 
grammatical; but the other lines are almost perfect of 
their kind. We quote the apostrophe to the Ocean, 


probably the greatest of all the many fine passages in 
English poetry which deal with the sea. 

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, 
There is a rapture on the lonely shore, 
There is society where none intrudes, 
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar: 
I love not man the less, but Nature more, 
From these our interviews, in which I steal 
From all I may be, or have been before, 
To mingle with the Universe, and feel 
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal. 

Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean roll! 
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain; 
Man marks the earth with ruin his control 
Stops with the shore ; upon the watery plain 
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain 
A shadow of man's ravage, save his own, 
When for a moment, like a drop of rain, 
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan, 
Without a grave, unknell'd, uncoffin'd, and unknown. 

His steps are not upon thy paths thy fields 
Are not a spoil for him thou dost arise 
And shake him from thee ; the vile strength he wields 
For earth's destruction thou dost all despise, 
Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies, 
And send'st him, shivering in thy playful spray, 
And howling, to his Gods, where haply lies 
His petty hope in some near port or bay, 
And dashest him again to earth there let him lay. 

The armaments which thunderstrike the walls 
Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake, 
And monarchs tremble in their capitals, 


The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make 
Their clay creator the vain title take 
Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war; 
These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake, 
They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar 
Alike the Armada's pride, or spoils of Trafalgar. 

Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee 
Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they? 
Thy waters washed them power while they were free, 
And many a tyrant since : their shores obey 
The stranger, slave or savage; their decay 
Has dried up realms to deserts: not so thou, 
Unchangeable save to thy wild waves' play 
Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow 
Such as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now. 

Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form V 
Glasses itself in tempests: in all time, ^ 
Calm or convulsed in breeze, or gale, or storm,*' 
Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime V 
Dark-heaving; boundless, endless, and sublime J* 
The image of Eternity the throne *> 
Of the Invisible; even from out thy slime 
The monsters of the deep are made; each zone ** 
Obeys thee; thou goest forth dread, fathomless, alone.*' 

In terza rima, the difficult measure used by Dante in 
the Divine Comedy, the lines are grouped in divisions of 
three so that the middle rime of one stanza becomes the 
initial rime of the next. Each section of the poem closes 
with a couplet. As the stanzas are all interlocked by 
rime, the movement is not stanzaic but continuous, as in 
blank verse. Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind" is one 
of the greatest of longer English lyrics. The west wind 


is the Italian autumn wind which brings rain. At the 
time the poem was written, Shelley, then living in Italy, 
was perhaps the most unpopular poet of his day. 


O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being, 
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead 
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing, 

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, 
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou, 
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed 

The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low, 
Each like a corpse within its grave, until 
Thine azure sister of the spring shall blow 

Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill 
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air) 
With living hues and odors plain and hill; 

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere; 
Destroyer and preserver ; hear, Oh hear ! 


Thou on whose stream, 'mid the steep sky's commotion, 
Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed, 
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean, 

Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread 
On the blue surface of thine airy surge, 
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head 


Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge 

Of the horizon to the zenith's height 

The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge 

Of the dying year, to which this closing night 
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre, 
Vaulted with all thy congregated might 

Of vapors, from whose solid atmosphere 

Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: Oh hear! 


Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams 
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay, 
Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams, 

Beside a pumice isle in Baiae's bay, 
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers 
Quivering within the wave's intenser day, 

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers 

So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou 

For whose path the Atlantic's level powers 

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below 
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear 
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know 

Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear, 
And tremble and despoil themselves : Oh hear ! 


If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear; 

If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee; 

A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share 


The impulse of thy strength, only less free 
Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even 
I were as in my boyhood, and could be 

The comrade of thy wanderings over heaven, 
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed 
Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne'er have striven 

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need. 
Oh lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud ! 
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed! 

A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed 
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud. 

Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is: 
What if my leaves are falling like its own! 
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies 

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone, 
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, spirit fierce, 
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one! 

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe 
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth ! 
And, by the incantation of this verse, 

Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth 
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind ! 
Be through my lips to unawakened earth 

The trumpet of a prophecy ! O, wind, 
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? 
Percy Bysshe Shelley 


The ode may be defined as a lyric poem, longer than 
the song, which handles a lofty theme in a dignified and 
impressive manner. There are as to metrical form, three 
kinds of odes : regular, irregular, and stanzaic. The 
regular ode is written in imitation of the Greek ode. It 
consists of divisions known as strophes, antistrophes, and 
epodes. These terms allude to the positions assumed by 
the singers of the ode. All the strophes must have ex- 
actly the same metrical structure ; so also with the epodes 
and the antistrophes. Since, however, the music of 
Pindar's odes is lost, Cowley and other English poets 
came to imagine that the structure of the Greek ode was 
absolutely irregular. Hence arose the irregular, or 
Cowleyan, ode. Examples of this type are Dryden's 
"Alexander's Feast" and Wordsworth's "Ode: Intima- 
tions of Immortality." Gray's "The Progress of Poesy" 
is an excellent example of the regular ode. In the nine- 
teenth century several great odes, like those of Keats, 
have been written in stanzaic forms. 

As in the case of free verse, the rimed poem which has 
no regular structure has been much attacked. In each 
case the line of defence is the same. The Italian critic 
Croce and the Imagist poets of today tell us that every 
poetic idea demands its own special form. In his article 
on Poetry in the Encyclopaedia Britarmica, Theodore 
Watts-Dunton pointed out the principle underlying the 
seeming lawlessness of such irregular poems as Milton's 
"Lycidas," Poe's "The Bells," and Coleridge's "Kubla 

"In modern prosody the arrangement of the rhymes 


and the length of the lines in any rhymed metrical pas- 
sage may be determined either by a fixed stanzaic law, or 
by a law infinitely deeper by the law which impels the 
soul, in a state of poetic exaltation, to seize hold of every 
kind of metrical aid, such as rhyme, caesura, etc., for the 
purpose of accentuating and marking off each shade of 
emotion as it arises, regardless of any demands of stanza. 
... If a metrical passage does not gain immensely by 
being written independently of stanzaic law, it loses 
immensely. ... In the regular metres we enjoy the 
pleasure of feeling that the rhymes will inevitably fall 
under a recognized law of couplet or stanza. But if the 
passage flows independently of these, it must still flow 
inevitably it must, in short, show that it is governed 
by another and a yet deeper force, the inevitableness of 
emotional expression." 

Watts-Dunton considered "Kubla Khan" the most per- 
fect of irregular poems in English, but he thought Words- 
worth's "Ode: Intimations of Immortality" the greatest 
of all English odes in spite of the fact that certain pas- 
sages do not possess complete harmony between idea and 
metrical form. 

Changes in science soon render scientific writings ob- 
solete Sir Isaac Newton gives place to Einstein; but 
the obsolete philosophy and psychology on which Words- 
worth builded do not materially affect the value of his 
great ode to us. Although a philosopher of today would 
give different reasons for a belief in personal immortality, 
Wordsworth's ode has a permanent value which changes 
in philosophy and psychology are powerless to affect. In 


fairness to the poet, however, it should be said that 
Wordsworth did not mean literally to advocate the 
Platonic belief that the soul exists before birth. 



There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, 
The earth, and every common sight, 

To me did seem 
Apparelled in celestial light, 
The glory and the freshness of a dream. 
It is not now as it hath been of yore; 
Turn wheresoe'er I may, 

By night or day, 
The things which I have seen I now can see no more. 


The Rainbow comes and goes, 
And lovely is the Rose, 
The Moon doth with delight 
Look round her when the heavens are bare, 
Waters on a starry night 
Are beautiful and fair; 
The sunshine is a glorious birth; 
But yet I know, where'er I go, 
That there hath past away a glory from the earth. 


Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song, 
And while the young lambs bound 
As to the tabor's sound, 


To me alone there came a thought of grief: 
A timely utterance gave that thought relief, 

And I again am strong: 

The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep; 
No more shall grief of mine the season wrong; 
I hear the Echoes through the mountains throng, 
The Winds come to me from the fields of sleep, 
And all the earth is gay; 

Land and sea 
Give themselves up to jollity, 

And with the heart of May 
Doth every Beast keep holiday; 

Thou Child of Joy, 

Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy 
Shepherd-boy ! 


Ye blessed Creatures, I have heard the call 

Ye to each other make; I see 
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee; 

My heart is at your festival, 

My head hath its coronal, 
The fulness of your bliss, I feel I feel it all. 

Oh evil day! if I were sullen 

While Earth herself is adorning, 
This sweet May-morning, 

And the Children are culling 
On every side, 

In a thousand valleys far and wide, 

Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm, 
And the Babe leaps up on his Mother's arm: 

I hear, I hear, with j oy I hear ! 

But there's a Tree, of many, one, 
A single Field which I have looked upon, 
Both of them speak of something that is gone: 


The Pansy at my feet 

Doth the same tale repeat: 
Whither is fled the visionary gleam? 
Where is it now, the glory and the dream? 

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: 
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star, 

Hath had elsewhere its setting, 
And cometh from afar: 

Not in entire forgetfulness, 

And not in utter nakedness, 
But trailing clouds of glory do we come 

From God, who is our home: 
Heaven lies about us in our infancy ! 
Shades of the prison-house begin to close 

Upon the growing Boy, 
But He beholds the light, and whence it flows, 

He sees it in his joy; 
The Youth, who daily farther from the east 

Must travel, still is Nature's Priest, 

And by the vision splendid 

Is on his way attended; 
At length the Man perceives it die away, 
And fade into the light of common day. 


Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own; 
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind, 
And, even with something of a Mother's mind, 

And no unworthy aim, 

The homely Nurse doth all she can 
To make her Foster-child, her Inmate Man, 

Forget the glories he hath known, 
And that imperial palace whence he came. 



Behold the Child among his new-born blisses, 
A six years' Darling of a pigmy size! 
See, where 'mid work of his own hand he lies, 
Fretted by sallies of his mother's kisses, 
With light upon him from his father's eyes ! 
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart, 
Some fragment from his dream of human life, 
Shaped by himself with newly-learned art; 

A wedding or a festival, 

A mourning or a funeral; 
And this hath now his heart, 

And unto this he frames his song: 

Then will he fit his tongue 
To dialogues of business, love, or strife; 

But it will not be long 

Ere this be thrown aside, 

And with new joy and pride 
The little Actor cons another part; 
Filling from time to time his "humorous stage" 
With all the Persons, down to palsied Age, 
That Life brings with her in her equipage; 

As if his whole vocation 

Were endless imitation. 


Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie 

Thy Soul's immensity; 
Thou best Philosopher, who yet dost keep 
Thy heritage, thou Eye among the blind, 
That, deaf and silent, read'st the eternal deep, 
Haunted for ever by the eternal mind, 

Mighty Prophet! Seer blest! 

On whom those truths do rest, 


Which we are toiling all our lives to find, 
In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave; 
Thou, over whom thy Immortality 
Broods like the Day, a Master o'er a Slave, 
A Presence which is not to be put by; 
Thou little Child, yet glorious in the might 
Of heaven-born freedom on thy being's height, 
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke 
The years to bring the inevitable yoke, 
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife? 
Full soon thy Soul shall have her earthly freight, 
And custom lie upon thee with a weight, 
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life! 

O joy ! that in our embers 

Is something that doth live, 

That nature yet remembers 

What was so fugitive ! 

The thought of our past years in me doth breed 
Perpetual benediction: not indeed 
For that which is most worthy to be blest 
Delight and liberty, the simple creed 
Of Childhood, whether busy or at rest, 
With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast: 
Not for these I raise 
The song of thanks and praise; 

But for those obstinate questionings 

Of sense and outward things, 

Fallings from us, vanishings; 

Blank misgivings of a Creature 
Moving about in worlds not realised, 
High instincts before which our mortal Nature 
Did tremble like a guilty Thing surprised: 


But for those first affections, 

Those shadowy recollections, 
Which, be they what they may, 
Are yet the fountain light of all our day, 
Are yet a master light of all our seeing; 

Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make 
Our noisy years seem moments in the being 
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake, 

To perish never; 
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour, 

Nor Man nor Boy, 
Nor all that is at enmity with joy, 
Can utterly abolish or destroy ! 

Hence in a season of calm weather 

Though inland far we be, 
Our Souls have sight of that immortal sea 

Which brought us hither, 

Can in a moment travel thither, 
And see the Children sport upon the shore, 
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore. 

Then sing, ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous song! 

And let the young Lambs bound 

As to the tabor's sound ! 
We in thought will join your throng, 

Ye that pipe and ye that play, 

Ye that through your hearts to-day 

Feel the gladness of the May! 
What though the radiance which was once so bright 
Be now for ever taken from my sight, 

Though nothing can bring back the hour 
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower: 

We will grieve not, rather find 


Strength in what remains behind; 
In the primal sympathy 
Which having been must ever be; 
In the soothing thoughts that spring 
Out of human suffering; 
In the faith that looks through death, 
In years that bring the philosophic mind. 


And O, ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves, 

Forbode not any severing of our loves ! 

Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might; 

I only have relinquished one delight 

To live beneath your more habitual sway. 

I love the Brooks which down their channels fret, 

Even more than when I tripped lightly as they; 

The innocent brightness of a new-born Day 

Is lovely yet; 

The Clouds that gather round the setting sun 
Do take a sober colouring from an eye 
That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality; 
Another race hath been, and other palms are won. 
Thanks to the human heart by which we live, 
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears, 
To me the meanest flower that blows can give 
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears. 

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) 



I knew a very wise man that believed that ... if a man 
were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who 
should make the laws of a nation. 

Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun 

THE ballad, unlike the song, is not lyric but narrative. 
It is not the expression of a poet's mood or emotion, but 
the story of a bold deed, a dramatic incident, a chase, or 
a fight. In the lyric the poet tries to express his own 
feelings as completely as possible ; in the ballad he effaces 
himself in order that his characters may occupy the front 
of the stage. 

The ballad is the short story of poetry ; yet, unlike the 
prose short story, which of all the important literary 
types is the youngest, the ballad is among the most 
ancient. Only the folk-song is equally old. The ballad 
is older than the Iliad and the Odyssey; in fact, these 
epics had their beginnings in the ballad. The merits 
of a good ballad are much the same as those of the prose 
short story. The characters and incidents must be in- 
teresting; and the story must be vivid, spirited, full of 
movement and action. The brevity of the ballad, how- 
ever, compels its author to select a simpler story and to 
tell it more directly and more rapidly than he would tell 



it in prose. The limitations of poetic language, more- 
over, force him to suggest rather than describe in detail 
his characters and his background. 

Ballads are of two distinct types : the popular, or folk, 
ballad ; and the literary, or artistic, ballad. The literary 
ballad is the work of one author, a known individual ; the 
popular ballad is the work of unknown authors, so nu- 
merous and so obscure that we call it the work of the 
people. The popular ballad is much the older of the two 
types ; and it is often, as we shall presently see, the in- 
spiration of the literary ballad. 

In the earliest stage the popular ballad appears to 
have been, like the folk-song, always chanted or sung, 
often perhaps to the accompaniment of a dance. Traces 
of this connection of the ballad with music are to be seen 
in the choruses and refrains which some of the ballads 
preserve. Just how the ballads were composed, we do 
not know ; and authorities disagree rather violently. The 
orthodox theory is that they were composed by a singing, 
dancing group. Professor Louise Pound, of the Univer- 
sity of Nebraska, has attacked this theory in her inter- 
esting Poetic Origins and the Ballad. Her theory is that 
the ballads were written by individual authors, as in later 
poetry. However the ballads may have been originally 
composed, there is no doubt that they owe their chief 
stylistic characteristics to the way in which they have 
been handed down. Every one who has played the old 
game of Gossip knows that few persons can accurately 
repeat a verbal message of any length. One word or 
phrase replaces another until, by the time the sentence 
has gone round the circle, it seldom bears any resem- 


blance to the original message. The popular ballads have 
been handed down from generation to generation without 
being written down. Consequently, so many changes 
have crept into them that nearly all individual traces of 
the original author if, indeed, the ballad was ever the 
work of one man have vanished. The ballad has taken 
on something from all who have repeated it ; so that we 
may truthfully say it is the work not of one man but of 
the people. The style of the popular ballad, as a result 
of this process of transmission, is impersonal, simple, and 
direct. The ballad rings true because it is the poem of 
a race and not the unrepresentative work of one man. 

The popular ballads are poetry of the people, by the 
people, and for the people; they belong to a time when 
all people loved poetry. They are the work of those who 
had no other literature. American cowboys, miners, 
lumbermen, and mountaineers, cut off from books, news- 
papers, and theaters, have composed or borrowed ballads, 
set them to old airs, and sung them. The ballads of the 
Scottish border originated doubtless in much the same 
way. Such primitive poetry often possesses the power of 
pleasing even the cultivated reader. Of the ballad of 
"Chevy Chase" the scholarly Sir Philip Sidney wrote, "I 
never heard the old song of Percy and Douglas, that I 
found not my heart more moved than with a trumpet." 
Over a century later Addison wrote of the same ballad, 
"It is impossible that anything should be universally 
tasted and approved by a multitude, though they are the 
rabble of a nation, which hath not in it some peculiar 
aptness to please and gratify the mind of man." 

When the people in isolated districts come into contact 


with a higher civilization, they gradually give up their 
splendid ballads for songs of a very inferior kind. Thus, 
in our own country, the cowboys and the negroes are 
giving up such ballads as "Joe Bowser" and "Frankie 
was a Good Woman" for worthless songs from the vaude- 
ville stage. In the same way some of the finest of the old 
British ballads have been irrecoverably lost. In England 
there was little interest in ballad-collecting until Bishop 
Percy published in 1765 his Reliques of Ancient English 
Poetry. Percy's collection enormously stimulated the 
interest of scholars and poets in this poetry of the people. 
Since his time many of the great English poets, among 
them Scott, Wordsworth, Keats, Rossetti, and Kipling, 
have found in the old ballads inspiration for literary 
ballads of great merit. 

The popular ballad tells its story with the smallest 
possible amount of description and characterization. As 
in the drama, the characters reveal themselves by what 
they say and do. In the following ballad, "Lord Randal," 
none of the three characters is described, and the sweet- 
heart is not even present ;yet mother, son, and sweetheart 
all stand clearly revealed in the dialogue between mother 
and son. The mother's and the reader's suspicions are 
gradually aroused, but not until the last stanza is the 
tragic event made clear. With this climax the poem 
closes, at just the right moment and with exactly the 
right emphasis. This ballad, though it seems to have 
originated in England or Scotland, has also been found 
in various parts of America. The word down is here 
pronounced so as to rime with soon. The ballad is written 
in anapestic tetrameter couplets. 



"O where ha'e ye been, Lord Randal, my son? 

O where ha'e ye been, my handsome young man ?" 

"I ha'e been to the wildwood; mother, make my bed soon, 

For I'm weary wi' hunting, and fain would lie down." 

"Where gat ye your dinner, Lord Randal, my son? 
Where gat ye your dinner, my handsome young man?" 
"I dined wi' my true-love; mother, make my bed soon, 
For I'm weary wi' hunting, and fain would lie down." 

"What gat ye to your dinner, Lord Randal, my son? 
What gat ye to your dinner, my handsome young man?" 
"I gat eels boiled in brew; mother, make my bed soon, 
For I'm weary wi' hunting, and fain would lie down." 

"What became of your bloodhounds, Lord Randal my son? 
What became of your bloodhounds, my handsome young man ?" 
"O they swelled and they died; mother, make my bed soon, 
For I'm weary wi' hunting, and fain would lie down." 

"O I fear ye are poisoned, Lord Randal, my son! 
O I fear ye are poisoned, my handsome young man !" 
"O yes, I am poisoned; mother, make my bed soon, 
For I'm sick at the heart, and I fain would lie down." 

This ballad is in some respects so crude as to seem 
ridiculous, but it was not meant to be humorous. A 
better ballad is the old Scotch ballad of "The Twa 
Corbies," or the two ravens. A great poet would find it 
difficult to give more effectively the impression of com- 
plete desertion in which the knight dies. The reader will 
bear in mind that Scottish a, ai, and au generally repre- 
sent English o. Tone means the one; t'ither, the other; 


theek, thatch or line; gowden, golden; gang, go; sail, 
shall ; ae, a or one. 


As I was walking all alane, 

I heard twa corbies making a mane; 

The tane unto the t'ither say, 

"Where sail we gang and dine to-day?" 

"In behint yon auld fail dyke, 
I wot there lies a new slain knight; 
And naebody kens that he lies there, 
But his hawk, his hound, and lady fair. 

"His hound is to the hunting gane, 
His hawk to fetch the wild-fowl hame, 
His lady's ta'en another mate, 
So we may mak our dinner sweet. 

"Ye'll sit on his white hause-bane, 
And I'll pike out his bonny blue een; 
Wi' ae lock o' his gowden hair 
We'll theek our nest when it grows bare. 

"Mony a one for him makes mane, 
But nane sail ken where he is gane; 
O'er his white banes, when they are bare, 
The wind sail blaw for evermair." 

Perhaps the best of all the British popular ballads is 
the one which Coleridge referred to as "The grand old 
ballad of Sir Patrick Spence." The poem is written in 
what is known as the ballad stanza, although extra un- 
accented syllables are often found. Yestreen means yes- 


terday evening; shoon, shoes; aboon, above; kerns, combs; 
half owre, halfway over. It should be noted that in the 
Scottish dialect the relative pronoun is frequently omitted 
when it cannot be dropped in English. 


The king sits in Dumferling town, 

Drinking the blood-red wine: 
"O whar will I get guid sailor, 

To sail this ship of mine?" 

Up and spak' an eldern knicht, 

Sat at the king's right knee: 
"Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor, 

That sails upon the sea." 

The king has written a braid letter, 

And signed it wi' his hand, 
And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens, 

Was walking on the sand. 

The first line that Sir Patrick read, 

A loud laugh laughed he; 
The next line that Sir Patrick read, 

The tear blinded his e'e. 

"O wha is this has done this deed, 

This ill deed done to me, 
To send me out this time o' the year, 

To sail upon the sea ! 

"Mak' haste, mak' haste, my merry men all, 

Our guid ship sails the morn:" 
"O say na sae, my master dear, 

For I fear a deadly storm. 


"Late, late yestreen I saw the new moon, 
Wi' the auld moon in her arm, 

And I fear, I fear, my dear master, 
That we will come to harm." 

O our Scots nobles were right laith 
To wet their cork-heeled shoon; 

But lang ere a' the play were played, 
Their hats they swam aboon. 

O lang, lang may their ladies sit, 
Wi' their fans into their hand, 

Or e'er they see Sir Patrick Spens 
Come sailing to the land. 

O lang, lang may their ladies stand, 
Wi' their gold kerns in their hair, 

Waiting for their ain dear lords, 
For they'll see them na mair. 

Haf owre, half owre to Aberdour, 

It's fifty fadom deep, 
And there lies guid Sir Patrick Spens, 

Wi' the Scots lords at his feet. 

The popular ballad and the folk-song are very closely 
akin. "Fair Helen" has been classed both as a folk-song 
and as a popular ballad. Perhaps it is best classed as a 
lyrical ballad though not in the sense of Wordsworth's 
Lyrical Ballads. It is one of the exceedingly few folk- 
poems which Palgrave included in The Golden Treasury. 
Burd means maiden; meikle, great. 



I wish I were where Helen lies; 
Night and day on me she cries; 
O that I were where Helen lies 
On fair Kirconnell lea ! 

Curst be the heart that thought the thought., 
And curst the hand that fired the shot, 
When in arms burd Helen dropt, 
And died to succor me ! 

think na but my heart was sair 

When my Love dropt down and spak' nae mair ! 

1 laid her down wi' meikle care 
On fair Kirconnell lea. 

As I went down the water-side, 
None but my foe to be my guide, 
None but my foe to be my guide, 
On fair Kirconnell lea; 

I lighted down my sword to draw, 
I hacked him in pieces sma', 
I hacked him in pieces sma', 
For her sake that died for me. 

O Helen fair, beyond compare! 
I'll make a garland of thy hair 
Shall bind my heart for evermair 
Until the day I die. 

O that I were where Helen lies! 
Night and day on me she cries; 
Out of my bed she bids me rise, 
Says "Haste and come to me!" 


Helen fair! O Helen chaste! 
If I were with thee, I were blest, 
Where thou lies low and takes thy rest 

On fair Kirconnell lea. 

1 wish my grave were growing green, 
A winding-sheet drawn ower my een, 
And I in Helen's arms lying, 

On fair Kirconnell lea. 

I wish I were where Helen lies; 
Night and day on me she cries ; 
And I am weary of the skies, 
Since my Love died for me. 

The favorite hero of the ballads is the outlaw. Robin 
Hood and Johnnie Armstrong are the great heroes of 
British balladry. The outlaw hero is the enemy of the 
rich and the friend of the poor. In the cowboy ballads 
of the Western plains the outlaw plays a similar role. 
Jesse James in character strikingly resembles Robin 
Hood, and, like him, is betrayed to his death by one whom 
he supposes to be a friend. The cowboy ballads, though 
inferior to the best of the British ballads, possess the same 
general characteristics. We quote from John A. Lomax's 
Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads. 


Jesse James was a lad that killed a-many a man; 
He robbed the Danville train. 

But that dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard 
Has laid poor Jesse in his grave. 

Poor Jesse had a wife to mourn for his life, 
Three children, they were brave. 


But that dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard 
Has laid poor Jesse in his grave. 

It was Robert Ford, that dirty little coward, 

I wonder how he does feel, 

For he ate of Jesse's bread and he slept in Jesse's bed, 

Then laid poor Jesse in his grave. 

Jesse was a man, a friend to the poor, 

He never could see a man suffer pain: 

And with his brother Frank he robbed the Chicago bank, 

And stopped the Glendale train. 

It was his brother Frank that robbed the Gallatin bank, 
And carried the money from the town; 
It was in this very place that they had a little race, 
For they shot Captain Sheets to the ground. 

They went to the crossing not very far from there, 
And there they did the same; 

With the agent on his knees, he delivered up the keys 
To the outlaws, Frank and Jesse James. 

It was on Wednesday night, the moon was shining bright, 

They robbed the Glendale train; 

The people they did say, for many miles away, 

It was robbed by Frank and Jesse James. 

It was on Saturday night, Jesse was at home 
Talking with his family brave, 
Robert Ford came along like a thief in the night 
And laid poor Jesse in his grave. 

The people held their breath when they heard of Jesse's 

And wondered how he ever came to die. 


It was one of the gang called little Robert Ford, 
He shot poor Jesse on the sly. 

Jesse went to his rest with his hand on his breast; 
The devil will be upon his knee. 
He was born one day in the county of Clay 
And came from a solitary race. 

This song was made by Billy Gashade, 

As soon as the news did arrive; 

He said there was no man with the law in his hand 

Who could take Jesse James when alive. 

The literary ballad is to be sharply distinguished from 
the popular ballad. Fortunately, we have a unique op- 
portunity to compare a literary ballad with the popular 
ballad upon which it is based. Scott's "Lochinvar" had 
its source in the old Scottish ballad "Katharine Jaffray." 
The reader should carefully compare these poems as 
examples of the two types of the ballad. Laird means 
squire or lord ; mitJier, mother ; sindry, several persons ; 
nouther, neither; garred, made. The last stanza means: 
They drag you about from place to place, wear you out, 
and poison you. 


There lived a lass in yonder dale, 

And down in yonder glen, O, 
And Katharine Jaffray was her name, 

Well known by many men, O. 

Out came the Laird of Lauderdale, 
Out frae the South Countrie, 


All for to court this pretty maid, 
Her bridegroom for to be. 

He has telled her father and mither baith 

And a' the rest o' her kin, 
And has telled the lass hersel', 

And her consent has win. 

Then came the Laird of Lochinton, 

Out frae the English border, 
All for to court this pretty maid, 

Well mounted in good order. 

He's tell her father and mither baith, 

As I hear sindry say, 
Be he has nae telled the lass hersel', 

Till on her wedding day. 

When day was set, and friends were met, 

And married to be, 
Lord Lauderdale came to the place, 

The bridal for to see. 

"O are you come for sport, young man ? 

Or are you come for play? 
Or are you come for a sight o' our bride, 

Just on her wedding day?" 

"I'm nouther come for sport," he says, 

"Nor am I come for play; 
But if I had one sight o' your bride, 

I'll mount and ride away." 

There was a glass of the red wine 
Filled up them atween, 


And aye she drank to Lauderdale, 
Wha her true-love had been. 

Then he took her by the milk-white hand, 

And by the grass-green sleeve, 
And he mounted her behind him there, 

At the bridegroom he asked nae leave. 

Then the blood run down by the Cowden Banks, 

And down by Cowden Braes, 
And aye she garred the trumpet sound, 

"O this is foul, foul play !" 

Now a' ye that in England are, 

Or are in England born, 
Come ne'er to Scotland to court a lass, 

Or else ye'll get the scorn. 

They haik ye up and settle ye by, 

Till on your wedding day, 
And gi'e ye frogs instead o' fish, 

And play ye foul, foul play. 

Scott was thoroughly familiar with the old ballads of 
Scotland. In fact, early in life he published a collection 
of them entitled The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. 
We find echoes of the popular ballads in many of his 
novels and poems. "Lochinvar" is taken from his 
Marmion, in which it is sung as a song by Lady Heron. 


Oh ! young Lochinvar is come out of the west, 
Through all the wide Border his steed was the best; 
And save his good broadsword he weapons had nore. 


He rode all unarmed and he rode all alone. 
So faithful in love and so dauntless in war, 
There never was knight like the young Lochinvar. 

He stayed not for brake and he stopped not for stone, 

He swam the Eske river where ford there was none, 

But ere he alighted at Netherby gate 

The bride had consented, the gallant came late: 

For a laggard in love and a dastard in war 

Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar. 

So boldly he entered the Netherby Hall, 

Among bridesmen, and kinsmen, and brothers, and all: 

Then spoke the bride's father, his hand on his sword, 

For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word, 

"Oh ! come ye in peace here, or come ye in war, 

Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?" 

"I long wooed your daughter, my suit you denied; 
Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide 
And now am I come, with this lost love of mine, 
To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine, 
There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far, 
That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar." 

The bride kissed the goblet; the knight took it up, 
He quaffed off the wine, and he threw down the cup. 
She looked down to blush, and she looked up to sigh, 
With a smile on her lips and a tear in her eye. 
He took her soft hand ere her mother could bar, 
"Now tread we a measure !" said young Lochinvar. 

So stately his form, and so lovely her face, 

That never a hall such a galliard did grace; 

While her mother did fret, and her father did fume, 

And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume; 


And the bride-maidens whispered '"Twere better by far 
To have matched our fair cousin with young Lochinvar." 

One touch to her hand and one word in her ear, 

When they reached the hall-door, and the charger stood near; 

So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung, 

So light to the saddle before her he sprung! 

"She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur; 

They'll have fleet steeds that follow," quoth young Lochinvar. 

There was mounting 'mong Graemes of the Netherby clan; 

Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran! 

There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lee, 

But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see. 

So daring in love and so dauntless in war, 

Have ye e'er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar? 

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) 

When one analyzes the two ballads to find what it is 
that makes them so different, one notices, first, that Scott 
tells his story, not in the simple ballad stanza, but m_the 
more appropriate anapestic couplet, which, as we have 
noted in Byron's "Destruction of Sennacherib," is pe- 
culiarly well suited to stirring action. Scott omits, at 
the 'outset, the matter contained in the first five stanzas 
of "Katharine Jaffray" because he wishes to emphasize 
only the chief incident, the elopement. The skilful artist 
is known by what he rejects as clearly as by what he 
includes. Scott's most striking changes are seen in the 
rival lovers. In the old ballad the lairds are distinguished 
chiefly by the fact that the Scotch lover is successful, 
while the English lover is cheated of his bride. Scott 
makes Lochinvar an individual, a "person," The opening 


stanza and the comment of the bride-maidens give us his 
character: he is a handsome, gallant, impetuous knight. 
He is just the man to dare to attempt stealing the bride 
from the altar, and just the man, too, to succeed in the 
attempt. Of the English lover Scott makes "a laggard 
in love and a dastard in war." This is to produce an 
emphatic contrast between the two lovers and to lead us 
to sympathize with Lochinvar's bold theft of the bride. 
In the old ballad the English lover asks the newcomer his 
business at the wedding. In Scott's poem it is the bride's 
father who boldly challenges Lochinvar while "the poor 
craven bridegroom said never a word." Finally, Scott 
drops the moral contained in the last two stanzas of 
"Katharine Jaffray" as only a poor Scottish joke at the 
expense of the English. He makes us sympathize with 
Lochinvar, not because he is a Scotchman, but because 
he is the better man of the two. 

Popular ballads seldom or never have the faults of 
artificiality, false sentiment, and over-sophistication, 
which beset the cultivated poet; but they are rarely 
notable works of art. At their best they are deficient in 
metrical correctness, and rarely display any of the finer 
rhythmical harmonies. The literary ballad not only re- 
veals a far greater command of the resources of language 
and versification; it also shows greater skill in narration, 
description, and characterization. 

Nevertheless, the debt of the literary ballads to the 
popular ballads is very great. Just as all forms of the 
lyric derive ultimately from the folk-song, so all later 
narrative poetry has its beginnings in the ballad. More- 
over, the old ballads are still, like the Bible and Greek 


mythology, a storehouse from which later poets draw 
characters and incidents. Scott himself borrowed the 
Locksley of his Ivanhoe from the Robin Hood of the old 
ballads. There is a very distinct echo of "Sir Patrick 
Spens" in Longfellow's "Wreck of the Hesperus" and in 
Masefield's "Yarn of the 'Loch Achray."' Other lit- 
erary ballads which owe something to the popular ballads 
are Wordsworth's "Lucy Gray," Keats's "La Belle Dame 
sans Merci," Tennyson's "Lady Clare," Rossetti's "Troy 
Town" and "Sister Helen," Yeats's "Father Gilligan," 
and Kipling's "Danny Deever." Longer narrative poems 
like Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and 
Scott's Lay of the Last Minstrel also owe much to the 
old ballads. 

"Danny Deever," which, to the music of Walter 
Damrosch, is often sung like an old ballad, recalls "Lord 
Randal" in the question and answer method by which the 
story is told. Kipling employs the ballad stanza, as one 
may see from dividing his long lines ; but Kipling varies 
his refrain with a consummate skill far beyond the reach 
of the old ballad-makers. 


"What are the bugles blowin' for?" said Files-on-Parade. 

"To turn you out, to turn you out/' the Colour-Sergeant said. 

"What makes you look so white, so white?" said Files-on- 

"I'm dreadin' what I've got to watch," the Colour-Sergeant 


For they're hangin' Danny Deever, you can hear the 
Dead March play, 


The regiment's in 'ollow square they're hangin' him 

to-day ; 
They've taken of his buttons off an' cut his stripes 

An' they're hangin' Danny Deever in the mornin'. 

"What makes the rear-rank breathe so 'ard?" said Files-on- 


"It's bitter cold, it's bitter cold/' the Colour-Sergeant said. 
"What makes that front-rank man fall down?" said Files-on- 


"A touch o' sun, a touch o' sun," the Colour-Sergeant said. 
They are hangin' Danny Deever, they are marching of 

'im round, 
They 'ave 'alted Danny Deever by 'is coffin on the 

ground ; 
An' 'e'll swing in 'arf a minute for a sneakin' shootin' 

O they're hangin' Danny Deever in the mornin' ! 

" 'Is cot was right-'and cot to mine," said Files-on-Parade. 
" 'E's sleepin' out an' far to-night," the Colour-Sergeant said. 
"I've drunk 'is beer a score o' times," said Files-on-Parade. 
" 'E's drinkin' bitter beer alone," the Colour-Sergeant said. 

They are hangin' Danny Deever, you must mark 'im to 
'is place, 

For 'e shot a comrade sleepin' you must look 'im in the 

Nine 'undred of 'is county an' the Regiment's disgrace, 

While they're hangin' Danny Deever in the mornin'. 

"What's that so black agin the sun?" said Files-on-Parade. 
"It's Danny fightin' 'ard for life," the Colour-Sergeant said. 
"What's that that whimpers over'ead?" said Files-on-Parade. 
"It's Danny's soul that's passin' now," the Colour-Sergeant 


For they're done with Danny Deever, you can 'ear the 

quickstep play, 

The regiment's in column, an' they're marchin' us away; 
Ho ! the young recruits are shakin', an' they'll want their 

beer to-day, 
After hangin' Danny Deever in the mornin' ! 

Rudyard Kipling (1865- ) 

There are echoes of both Kipling and the popular 
ballads in Masefield's ballads, which often attain high 
excellence. "The Hounds of Hell" and "Cap on Head" 
are unfortunately too long for quotation here. We give 
the first of his Salt Water Poems and Ballads. 


The "Loch Achray" was a clipper tall 

With seven-and-twenty hands in all. 

Twenty to hand and reef and haul, 

A skipper to sail and mates to bawl 

"Tally on to the tackle-fall, 

Heave now V start her, heave 'n' pawl !" 

Hear the yarn of a sailor, 

An old yarn learned at sea. 

Her crew were shipped and they said "Farewell, 
So-long, my Tottie, my lovely gell; 
We sail to-day if we fetch to hell, 
It's time we tackled the wheel a spell." 

Hear the yarn of a sailor, 

An old yarn learned at sea. 

The dockside loafers talked on the quay 
The day that she towed down to sea: 
"Lord, what a handsome ship she be! 


Cheer her, sonny boys, three times three!" 
And the dockside loafers gave her a shout 
As the red-funnelled tug-boat towed her out; 
They gave her a cheer as the custom is, 
And the crew yelled "Take our loves to Liz 
Three cheers, bullies, for old Pier Head 
'N' the bloody stay-at-homes!" they said. 

Hear the yarn of a sailor, 

An old yarn learned at sea. 

In the grey of the coming on of night 
She dropped the tug at the Tuskar Light, 
'N' the topsails went to the topmast head 
To a chorus that fairly awoke the dead. 
She trimmed her yards and slanted South 
With her royals set and a bone in her mouth. 

Hear the yarn of a sailor, 

An old yarn learned at sea. 

She crossed the Line and all went well, 
They ate, they slept, and they struck the bell 
And I give you a gospel truth when I state 
The crowd didn't find any fault with the Mate, 
But one night off the River Plate. 

Hear the yarn of a sailor, 

An old yarn learned at sea. 

It freshened up till it blew like thunder 
And burrowed her deep lee-scuppers under. 
The old man said, "I mean to hang on 
Till her canvas busts or her sticks are gone" 
Which the blushing looney did, till at last 
Overboard went her mizzen-mast. 

Hear the yarn of a sailor, 

An old yarn learned at sea. 


Then a fierce squall struck the "Loch Achray" 
And bowed her down to her water-way ; 
Her main-shrouds gave and her forestay, 
And a green sea carried her wheel away; 
Ere the watch below had time to dress, 
She was cluttered up in a blushing mess. 
Hear the yarn of a sailor, 
An old yarn learned at sea. 

She couldn't lay-to nor yet pay-off, 
And she got swept clean in the bloody trough ; 
Her masts were gone, and afore you knowed 
She filled by the head and down she goed. 
Her crew made seven-and-twenty dishes 
For the big jack-sharks and the little fishes, 
And over their bones the water swishes. 

Hear the yarn of a sailor, 

An old yarn learned at sea. 

The wives and girls they watch in the rain 
For a ship as won't come home again. 
"I reckon it's them head-winds," they say, 
She'll be home to-morrow, if not to-day. 
I'll just nip home 'n' I'll air the sheets 
'N' buy the fixins 'n' cook the meats 
As my man likes 'n' as my man eats." 

So home they goes by the windy streets, 
Thinking their men are homeward bound 
With anchors hungry for English ground, 
And the bloody fun of it is, they're drowned! 

Hear the yarn of a sailor, 

An old yarn learned at sea. 

John Mase field (1878- ) 


The literary ballad, like the popular ballad, sometimes 
has decided lyrical qualities. In a superb ballad of this 
kind, "La Belle Dame sans Merci," Keats turned to the 
earlier period when people believed in elves, fairies, and 
other supernatural beings who, they thought, exercised 
great influence upon the destinies of mankind. Keats's 
beautiful siren the title means "the beautiful lady with- 
out pity" induces a knight to fall in love with her and 
then deserts him. Keats's stanza is the ballad stanza 
with two instead of three feet in the fourth line. In 
rhythmical harmony, pictorial power, and suggestion, 
however, Keats's poem immeasurably surpasses the old 


"O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms, 

Alone and palely loitering! 
The sedge has wither'd from the lake, 
And no birds sing. 

"O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms, 

So haggard and so woe-begone? 
The squirrel's granary is full, 
And the harvest's done. 

"I see a lily on thy brow 

With anguish moist and fever dew, 
And on thy cheeks a fading rose 
Fast withereth too." 

"I met a lady in the meads, 

Full beautiful a faery's child. 


Her hair was long, her foot was light, 
And her eyes were wild. 

"I made a garland for her head, 

And bracelets too, and fragrant zone; 
She look'd at me as she did love, 
And made sweet moan. 

"I set her on my pacing steed, 

And nothing else saw all day long, 
For sidelong would she bend, and sing 
A faery's song. 

"She found me roots of relish sweet, 
And honey wild, and manna tlew, 
And sure in language strange she said 
'I love thee true.' 

"She took me to her elfin grot, 

And there she wept, and sigh'd full sore, 
And there I shut her wild wild eyes 
With kisses four. 

"And there she lulled me asleep, 

And there I dream'd Ah ! woe betide ! 
The latest dream I ever dream'd 
On the cold hill's side. 

"I saw pale kings and princes too, 

Pale warriors, death-pale were they all; 
They cried 'La Belle Dame sans Merci 
Hath thee in thrall!' 

"I saw their starv'd lips in the gloam, 

With horrid warning gaped wide, 
And I awoke and found me here, 
On the cold hill's side. 


"And this is why I sojourn here, 

Alone and palely loitering, 
Though the sedge is wither'd from the lake 
And no birds sing." 

John Keats (1795-1821) 

Perhaps the best of American ballads are Longfellow's 
"Skeleton in Armor," Lanier's "Revenge of Hamish," and 
Whittier's "Skipper Ireson's Ride." Lowell, who sug- 
gested to Whittier the use of dialect in the refrain, called 
"Skipper Ireson's Ride" "by long odds the best of modern 


Of all the rides since the birth of time, 

Told in story or sung in rhyme, 

On Apuleius's Golden Ass, 

Or one-eyed Calender's horse of brass, 

Witch astride of a human back, 

Islam's prophet on Al-Borak, 

The strangest ride that ever was sped 

Was Ireson's out from Marblehead! 

Old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart, 
Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart 
By the women of Marblehead! 

Body of turkey, head of owl, 
Wings a-droop like a rained-on fowl, 
Feathered and ruffled in every part, 
Skipper Ireson stood in the cart. 
Scores of women, old and young, 
Strong of muscle, and glib of tongue, 
Pushed and pulled up the rocky lane, 
Shouting and singing the shrill refrain: 


"Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt, 
Torr'd and futherr'd and corr'd in a corrt 
By the women o' Morble'ead!" 

Wrinkled scolds with hands on hips, 

Girls in bloom of cheek and lips, 

Wild-eyed, free-limbed, such as chase 

Bacchus round some antique vase, 

Brief of skirt, with ankles bare, 

Loose of kerchief and loose of hair, 

With conch-shells blowing and fish-horns' twang, 

Over and over the Maenads sang: 

"Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt, 
Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt 
By the women o' Morble'ead!" 

Small pity for him! He sailed away 
From a leaking ship in Chaleur Bay, 
Sailed away from a sinking wreck, 
With his own town's-people on her deck ! 
"Lay by ! lay by !" they called to him. 
Back he answered, "Sink or swim ! 
Brag of your catch of fish again !" 
And off he sailed through the fog and rain ! 
Old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart, 
Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart 
By the women of Marblehead ! 

Fathoms deep in dark Chaleur 
That wreck shall lie forevermore. 
Mother and sister, wife and maid, 
Looked from the rocks of Marblehead 
Over the moaning and rainy sea, 
Looked for the coming that might not be ! 
What did the winds and the sea-birds say 
Of the cruel captain who sailed away? 


Old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart, 
Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart 
By the women of Marblehead! 

Through the street, on either side, 
Up flew windows, doors swung wide; 
Sharp-tongued spinsters, old wives gray, 
Treble lent the fish-horn's bray. 
Sea-worn grandsires, cripple-bound, 
Hulks of old sailors run aground, 
Shook head, and fist, and hat, and cane, 
And cracked with curses the hoarse refrain: 
"Here's Find Oirson, fur his horrd horrt, 
Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt 
By the women o' Morble'ead!" 

Sweetly along the Salem road 
Bloom of orchard and lilac showed. 
Little the wicked skipper knew 
Of the fields so green and the sky so blue. 
Riding there in his sorry trim, 
Like an Indian idol glum and grim, 
Scarcely he seemed the sound to hear 
Of voices shouting, far and near: 

"Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt, 
Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt 
By the women o' Morble'ead !" 

"Hear me, neighbors !" at last he cried, 
"What to me is this noisy ride? 
What is the shame that clothes the skin 
To the nameless horror that lives within? 
Waking or sleeping, I see a wreck, 
And hear a cry from a reeling deck ! 
Hate me and curse me, I only dread 
The hand of God and the face of the dead !" 


Said old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart 
Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart 
By the women of Marblehead ! 

Then the wife of the skipper lost at sea 
Said, "God has touched him! why should we!" 
Said an old wife mourning an only son, 
"Cut the rogue's tether and let him run !" 
So with soft relentings and rude excuse, 
Half scorn, half pity, they cut him loose, 
And gave him a cloak to hide him in, 
And left him alone with his shame and sin. 
Poor Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart, 
Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart 
By the women of Marblehead! 

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) 

Much of the best of recent poetry is narrative. Some 
of the ballads of Masefield and Noyes are worthy of com- 
parison with those of Whittier and Tennyson. Noyes's 
best ballad is probably "The Highwayman," which, like 
all good poems, gains immensely from being read aloud. 



The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees, 
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed up'on cloudy seas, 
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor, 
And the highwayman came riding 

Riding riding 
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door. 



He'd a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at 

his chin, 

A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin; 
They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the 

thigh ! 
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle, 

His pistol butts a-twinkle, 
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky. 


Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn- 

And tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked 
and barred; 

He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting 

But the landlord's black-eyed daughter, 
Bess, the landlord's daughter, 

Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair. 


And dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked 
Where Tim the ostler listened ; his face was white and peaked ; 
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay; 
But he loved the landlord's daughter, 

The landlord's red-lipped daughter, 
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say 

"One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I'm after a prize to-night, 
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning 


Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day, 
Then look for me by moonlight, 

Watch for me by moonlight, 

I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the 


He rose upright in the stirrups ; he scarce could reach her 

But she loosened her hair i' the casement! His face burnt 

like a brand 
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his 

breast ; 

(Oh, sweet black waves in the moonlight!) 
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped 

away to the West. 


He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon; 
And out o' the tawny sunset, before the rise o' the moon, 
When the road was a gipsy's ribbon, looping the purple moor, 
A red-coat troop came marching 

Marching marching 
King George's men came marching, up to the old inn-door. 


They said no word to the landlord, they drank his ale instead, 
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her 

narrow bed; 
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their 



There was death at every window; 

And hell at one dark window; 

For Bess could see through her casement, the road that Tie 
would ride. 


They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering j est ; 
They had bound a musket beside her, with the barrel beneath 

her breast ! 
"Now keep good watch !" and they kissed her. 

She heard the dead man say 
Look -for me by moonlight; 

Watch for me by moonlight; 

I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the 


She twisted her hands behind her ; but all the knots held good ! 
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or 

blood ! 
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours 

crawled by like years, 
Till now, on the stroke of midnight, 

Cold on the stroke of midnight, 
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was 


The tip of one finger touched it; she strove no more for the 


Up, she stood to attention, with the barrel beneath her breast, 
She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again; 
For the road lay bare in the moonlight ; 

Blank and bare in the moonlight; 


And the blood of her veins in the moonlight throbbed to her 
love's refrain. 


Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hoofs 

ringing clear; 
Tlot-tlot, tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they 

did not hear ? 

Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill, 
The highwayman came riding, 

Riding, riding! 
The red-coats looked to their priming ! She stood up, straight 

and still! 


Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing 

night ! 

Nearer he came and nearer ! Her face was like a light ! 
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep 

Then her finger moved in the moonlight, 

Her musket shattered the moonlight, 
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him with 

her death. 


He turned ; he spurred to the West ; he did not know who stood 
Bowed, with her head o'er the musket, drenched with her own 

red blood! 

Not till the dawn he heard it, his face grew grey to hear 
How Bess, the landlord's daughter, 

The landlord's black-eyed daughter, 
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the 

darkness there. 



Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky, 
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier 

brandished high! 
Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his 

velvet coat, 

When they shot him down on the highway, 
Down like a dog on the highway, 
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace 

at his throat. 

And still of a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the 


When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas, 
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor, 
A highwayman comes riding 

Riding riding 
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door. 


Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard; 
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and 

He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting 


But the landlord's black-eyed daughter, 
Bess, the landlord's daughter, 
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair. 

Alfred Noyes (1880- ) 



A Sonnet is a moment's monument, 
Memorial from the Soul's eternity 
To one dead deathless hour. Look that it be, 

Whether for lustral rite or dire portent, 

Of its own arduous fullness reverent: 
Carve it in ivory or in ebony, 
As Day or Night may rule; and let time see 

Its flowering crest impearled and orient. 

A Sonnet is a coin : its face reveals 

The soul, its converse, to what Power 'tis due: 
Whether for tribute to the august appeals 

Of Life, or dower in Love's high retinue, 
It serve: or, 'mid the dark wharf's cavernous breath, 
In Charon's palm it pay the toll to Death. 

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882} 

ALTHOUGH primitive poetry was largely spontaneous 
and more or less irregular, skill provoked emulation, poets 
soon followed models, and many fixed stanzaic forms 
eventually became established. In like manner at a later 
period whole poems came to be modeled on certain struc- 
tural patterns, the chief features of which were uniform- 
ity in meter, in rime, in the number of lines, and, some- 
times, in the use of a refrain. Great poems have as a 
rule been of simple structure, but the greatest poets 
have often, for some of their compositions, delighted in 



the fixed forms. Because of their difficulty, these forms 
challenge the careful workman. They encourage the 
search for the right word and compel condensation. 
While the thought may be as varied as human experience, 
the form offers the reader the pleasure of recognition. 

The most famous of all the fixed forms is the sonnet, 
great examples of which are found in Italian, French, 
German, and other modern languages as well as English. 
The sonnet was a product of the early Italian Renais- 
sance, a period when the crafts of the goldsmith, the 
painter, and the poet were plied with equal care and skill. 
It was introduced into England early in the sixteenth 
century by Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, Earl 
of Surrey, and at once attained a remarkable vogue. 
Shakespeare, Spenser, and Sidney, as well as a number 
of minor Elizabethan poets, wrote sonnet sequences. 
Between the death of Milton and the dawn of the Ro- 
mantic period the form was neglected, but from the 
appearance of William Lisle Bowles's Sonnets in 1789 it 
has, to the present day, embodied some of the finest 
thoughts of great poets both English and American. 

In poetry written in English there are, in order of im- 
portance, three main types of the sonnet: the Italian, 
the Shakespearean, and the Spenserian. The Italian, or 
Petrarchan, receives its name from the fact that it was 
used by Petrarch and other Italian poets. Each of the 
other two types takes its name from the most illustrious 
English poet who early made an extended use of it. 

The first great English poet to use the Italian sonnet 
form was the scholarly John Milton. Afflicted, it is be- 
lieved, by cataracts which a modern surgeon could have 


removed in an hour, the poet of Comus served the Com- 
monwealth in spite of failing eyesight, and lived to become 
the author of Paradise Lost. Milton's reaction from the 
gloom of blindness is given in a sonnet which concludes 
with one of the most frequently quoted and misquoted 
lines in the language. The following is a perfect Italian 
sonnet of the purest type. It consists of fourteen iambic 
pentameter lines. The first eight lines form the octave, 
which rimes abbanbba; the remaining six lines, riming 
cdecde, constitute the sestet. 


When I consider how my light is spent 

Ere half my days in this dark world and wide, 

And that one talent which is death to hide 
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent 
To serve therewith my Maker, and present 

My true account, lest He returning chide, 

"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?" 
I fondly ask: But Patience, to prevent 

That murmur, soon replies: "God doth not need 
Either man's work, or His own gifts: who best 

Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best: His state 
Is kingly; thousands at His bidding speed 
And post o'er land and ocean without rest: 
They also serve who only stand and wait." 

John Milton (1608-1674) 

John Keats who, among English poets, was peculiarly 
the high priest of beauty was especially stirred by the 
art and mythology of ancient Greece. In a sonnet he 
expressed his feelings upon first reading the Iliad and the 


Odyssey in the translations by the Elizabethan poet, 
George Chapman. Keats, of course, had Balboa, not 
Cortez, in mind. Darien is the Isthmus of Panama. All 
that was said of the form of Milton's "When I Consider" 
is true of this sonnet except that the sestet rimes cdcdcd, 
a succession nearly as common as cdecde. Whether a 
sonnet is printed in two divisions, or four, or three, or 
one, the structural principles are xhe same. 


Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold 

And many goodly states and kingdoms seen; 

Round many western islands have I been 
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold. 
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told 

That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne; 

Yet did I never breathe its pure serene 
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold: 

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies 

When a new planet swims into his ken; 
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes 

He stared at the Pacific and all his men 
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise 

Silent upon a peak in Darien. 

John Keats (1795-1821) 

The two parts of the Italian sonnet have more than a 
stanzaic significance. The thought is always cast in a 
certain form. The octave presents a thought, question, 
or problem, which the sestet completes appropriately. 
Verify this statement with regard to the sonnets already 
quoted, observing that the point of division is not always 


coincidental with the passing from octave to sestet. The 
thought of the octave frequently, in fact, runs over 
into the first half of the next line. In poorly constructed 
sonnets (which may, however, be excellent poems) the 
distinction between sestet and octave is not strictly main- 
tained. In all regular sonnets of the Italian type the 
rime scheme of the octave is abbaabba; in the sestet, how- 
ever, great latitude in rime is allowed. 

Although the Italian is regarded as the standard 
sonnet, the other types, particularly the Shakespearean, 
are vehicles for some superb poems. The Shakespearean 
sonnet does not afford the symphonic effect of the Italian, 
but its heroic quatrains produce a sweeping movement, 
and the concluding heroic couplet often gives to the 
thought an effective epigrammatic turn. The rime scheme 
of the three quatrains and the couplet is abab cdcd efef 
gg. Shakespeare's one hundred and fifty-four sonnets 
constitute a sequence unparalleled for sustained power 
and beauty. Like Horace, Ronsard, and other poets, the 
author spoke with prophetic confidence of his future 
fame. Strangely enough, however, the "fair friend" 
whom he addresses in Sonnet CIV has fallen heir to an 
anonymous immortality. The phrase "eye I ey'd" in this 
sonnet reflects the Elizabethan fondness for conceits. 
"Fair thou ow'st" means beauty you possess. A number 
quoted as a title refers to the sonnet's place in its cycle. 


Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? 
Thou art more lovely and more temperate: 


Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, 
And summer's lease hath all too short a date: 

Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines, 

And often is his gold complexion dimm'd: 
And every fair from fair sometime declines, 

By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd. 

But thy eternal summer shall not fade 
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st; 

Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade, 
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st: 

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, 
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. 

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) 


No longer mourn for me when I am dead 

Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell 
Give, warning to the world, that I am fled 

From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell. 

Nay, if you read this line, remember not 

The hand that writ it; for I love you so 
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot 

If thinking on me then should make you woe. 

O if, I say, you look upon this verse 

When I perhaps compounded am with clay, 

Do not so much as my poor name rehearse, 
But let your love even with my life decay, 

Lest the wise world should look into your moan, 
And mock you with me after I am gone. 

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) 



To me, fair friend, you never can be old, 
For as you were when first your eye I ey'd, 

Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold 
Have from the forests shook three summers' pride; 

Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn'd 

In process of the seasons have I seen, 
Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn'd, 

Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green. 

Ah ! yet doth beauty, like a dial-hand, 

Steal from his figure, and no pace perceiv'd; 

So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand, 
Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceiv'd: 

For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred, - 
Ere you were born, was beauty's summer dead. 

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) 

The following example of the Spenserian sonnet is taken 
from Spenser's cycle of love sonnets, the Amoretti. Al- 
though the poem was written more than three centuries 
ago, the word fondness (folly) is the only one that might 
not be used today. The spelling has, however, been mod- 
ernized as is usual in the reprinting of Elizabethan 
works. Extravagant laudation of female beauty was 
common in the court circles of Renaissance Europe. 
Well known is Spenser's own lavish praise of Queen 
Elizabeth, to whom he dedicated the Faerie Queene. The 
Spenserian sonnet differs from the Shakespearean only 
in that the quatrains are interlocked by rime, the scheme 
being dbab bcbc cdcd ee. 



What guile is this, that those her golden tresses 

She doth attire under a net of gold; 
And with sly skill so cunningly them dresses, 

That which is gold, or hair, may scarce be told? 

Is it that men's frail eyes, which gaze too bold, 
She may entangle in that golden snare; 

And, being caught, may craftily enfold 

Their weaker hearts which are not well aware? 

Take heed, therefore, mine eyes, how ye do stare 
Henceforth too rashly on that guileful net, 

In which, if ever ye entrapped are, 

Out of her hands ye by no means shall get. 

Fondness it were for any, being free, 
To covet fetters, though they golden be! 

Edmund Spenser (1552?-1599) 

Despite the fact that George Meredith described as 
sonnets the sixteen-line poems of his cycle on Modern 
Love, the term should be understood to mean invariably 
a poem of exactly fourteen lines. Iambic pentameter is 
equally obligatory. With regard to rime, however, the 
requirements are more flexible. Fourteen lines of blank 
verse or seven heroic couplets do not constitute a sonnet, 
yet the term is applied to poems which depart as much 
from the norm as do Shelley's "Ozymandias" and Arnold's 
"Shakespeare." Some critics, on the other hand, use the 
term sonnet only in its strictest Italian sense, applying 
to the Shakespearean model the term fourteener. Below 


are given different types of sonnets representing every 
age in which the form has flourished in English. 

Sir Philip Sidney, who died from battle-wounds at the 
age of thirty-two, was famous as a courtier, poet, critic, 
ambassador, and soldier. Especially when one considers 
that the author wrote before any of the great poets of 
modern England, the sonnet below is enough to prove 
the eminence of his poetic genius. Sidney's cycle is 
entitled Astrophel and Stella. Astrophel was, of course, 
the author. Stella was probably the Lady Penelope 
Devereux, whose parents broke her betrothal to Sidney 
in order to marry her to a wealthy nobleman. Rosy 
seems to imply the idea of sub rosa, i.e., quiet, silent. 
Prease is modern press ; the old form is retained for the 
sake of rime. This sonnet is, in rime, a Shakespearean 
and Spenserian hybrid. 


Come, Sleep ! O sleep, the certain knot of peace, 
The baiting-place of wit, the balm of woe, 

The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release, 
The indifferent judge between the high and low; 

With shield of proof shield me from out the prease 
Of those fierce darts Despair at me doth throw: 

O make in me those civil wars to cease; 
I will good tribute pay, if thou do so. 

Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed, 
A chamber deaf of noise and blind of light, 

A rosy garland and a weary head: 

And if these things, as being thine in right, 


Move not thy heavy grace, thou shalt in me, 
Livelier than elsewhere, Stella's image see. 

Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586) 

The next sonnet, with its strict Shakespearean form 
and the unexpected turn of thought in the couplet, is from 
Drayton's cycle entitled Idea. It shows more sincerity of 
feeling than most Elizabethan sonnets. 


Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part 
Nay I have done, you get no more of me; 

And I am glad, yea, glad with all my heart, 
That thus so cleanly I myself can free ; 

Shake hands for ever, cancel all our vows, 

And when we meet at any time again, 
Be it not seen in either of our brows 

That we one jot of former love retain. 

Now at the last gasp of love's latest breath, 
When, his pulse failing, passion speechless lies, 

When faith is kneeling by his bed of death, 
And innocence is closing up his eyes, 

Now if thou would'st when all have given him over, 
From death to life thou might'st him yet recover ! 

Michael Drayton (1561-1631) 

Milton's "On the Late Massacre in Piedmont" gives an 
English attitude toward the slaughter by troops of the 
Turin government of Protestants in the Italian province 
of Piedmont. Milton served in a dual capacity; he not 
only wrote the sonnet, but, as foreign secretary, penned 


in Latin Cromwell's sharp reply which protected the 
survivors. To the Puritans, the church of Rome was 


Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose bones 

Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold; 

Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old, 
When all our fathers worshipped stocks and stones, 
Forget not: in thy book record their groans 

Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold 

Slain by the bloody Piedmontese, that rolled 
Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans 
The vales redoubled to the hills, and they 

To heaven. Their martyred blood and ashes sow 
O'er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway 

The triple Tyrant, that from these may grow 
A hundredfold, who, having learnt thy way, 

Early may fly the Babylonian woe. 

John Milton (1608-1674) 

Wordsworth's sonnets do not show the sustained ex- 
cellence of Shakespeare's, but for lofty theme and notable 
expression a few stand near the head of any list. Among 
this number are "London, 1802" and "The World is Too 
Much with Us," both of which voice a young poet's dis- 
satisfaction with the spirit of his age. 

LONDON, 1802 

Milton ! thou should'st be living at this hour: 
England hath need of thee: she is a fen 
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen, 

Fireside^ the heroic wealth of hall and bower, 


Have forfeited their ancient English dower 
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men; 
Oh ! raise us up, return to us again ; 

And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power. 

Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart: 

Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea: 
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free, 

So didst thou travel on life's common way, 
In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart 
The lowliest duties on herself did lay. 

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) 


The world is too much with us ; late and soon, 
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: 
Little we see in Nature that is ours; 

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon ! 

The sea that bares her bosom to the moon ; 
The winds that will be howling at all hours, 
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers; 

For this, for everything, we are out of tune; 

It moves us not. Great God! I'd rather be 

A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; 
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, 

Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; 
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; 

Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn. 

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) 

In his life and his poetry, Byron, like Milton, rendered 
service to the cause of human liberty. He met his death 
in Greece, whither he had gone to lend a hand in the 


struggle for independence. "The Prisoner of Chillon" 
is widely known. We quote the prefatory sonnet. 
Chillon was an island prison in the Lake of Geneva ; 
Bonnivard was a Genevan patriot imprisoned there at a 
time when the city was under foreign domination. Note 
that the typical rime order of the octave is not here 


Eternal Spirit of the chainless Mind ! 

Brightest in dungeons, Liberty! thou art, 
For there thy habitation is the heart 

The heart which love of Thee alone can bind; 

And when thy sons to fetters are consign'd 
To fetters, and the damp vault's day less gloom, 
Their country conquers with their martyrdom, 

And Freedom's fame finds wings on every wind. 

Chillon ! thy prison is a holy place 

And thy sad floor an altar, for 'twas trod, 

Until his very steps have left a trace 

Worn, as if thy cold pavement were a sod, 

By Bonnivard ! May none those marks efface ! 
For they appeal from tyranny to Goji^. 
George Noel Gordon, Lord Byroj^ (1788-1824) 

Though Shelley, like Byron, wrote few sonnets, his 
"O/ymandias" was before Masefield perhaps the finest 
expression in English of the obliterating power of time a 
power that literary art alone seems able to withstand. 
There was apparently no such ruler as Ozymandias ; 
consequently Shelley coined for the king a sonorous 
imperial name. "Ozymandias" seemingly reflects its 
author's impression of Napoleon. 



I met a traveller from an antique land 

Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone 

Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand, 
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown 

And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command, 
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read 

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, 
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed; 

And on the pedestal these words appear 
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings : 

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!' ,. 

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay 

OS that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, 
The lone and level sands stretch far away." 

Percy Eysshe Shelley (1792-1822) 

An excellent idea of the range of poetic subject matter 
may be acquired by comparing the foregoing sonnet and 
the following. The "king of kings" and the cricket 
there is something in each for the interpretative imagina- 
tion of the poet. "On the Grasshopper and Cricket" 
was composed under interesting circumstances. Cowden 
Clarke, Leigh Hunt, and Keats were passing an evening 
together discussing poetry. Keats maintained that 
poetry could be found in everything. Clarke was skepti- 
cal and, perhaps not knowing that Cowley and Lovelace 
had used it, suggested the grasshopper as an impossible 
subject. The result was two great sonnets, one by Keats 
and one by Hunt. 



The poetry of earth is never dead: 

When all the birds are faint with the hot sun, 
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run 

From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead; 

That is the Grasshopper's he takes the lead 
In summer luxury, he has never done 
With his delights ; for, when tired out with fun, 

He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed. 

f " 

The poetry of earth is ceasing never: >^ 
On a lone winter evening, when the frost 

Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills 
The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever^ 
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost, 

The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills. 

John Keats (1795-1821) 

Several nineteenth century poets have followed the 
Elizabethan custom of writing a cycle of sonnets on 
love. Meredith's Modern Love has been mentioned. Less 
analytic than Rossetti's The House of Life and less 
pretentious than Bridges's The Growth of Love, Mrs. 
Browning's Sonnets from tJie Portuguese constituted the 
most widely read cycle of the nineteenth century. The 
sonnets express vividly the romantic love of the author 
for her poet husband. Mrs. Browning was a brunette, 
and her husband often playfully termed her "the Portu- 
guese" a title under which, following the early cus- 
tom of respectable women writers, she preserved her 



How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. 

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height 

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight 
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. 
I love thee to the level of every day's j ^- 

Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight. 

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right; 
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise. 
I love thee with the passion put to use 

In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith. 
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose 

With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath, 
Smiles, tears, of all my life ! and, if God choose, 

I shall but love thee better after death. 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861) 

Robert Bridges, the present poet laureate of England, 
is the successor of Alfred Austin, Alfred Tennyson, 
William Wordsworth, and Robert Southey to name the 
laureates of the past century only. The laureate need 
not necessarily be the greatest poet of his generation, but 
he should be a man of correct life and an upholder of the 
classic traditions of English poetry. He has no pre- 
scribed duties, but is expected to celebrate in verse im- 
portant occasions or anniversaries in the life of the 
sovereign or the history of the nation. Although in 
neither of these categories, the sonnet chosen from The 
Growth of Love is the appropriate utterance of a poet 
laureate, for it states the essentials of a nation's great- 
ness the strength, ambition, and purity of its youth. 
Note the elaborate figure of speech. 



Who builds a ship must first lay down the keel 
Of health, whereto the ribs of mirth are wed: 
And knit, with beams and knees of strength, a bed 

For decks of purity, her floor and ceil. 

Upon her masts, Adventure, Pride, and Zeal, 
To fortune's wind the sails of purpose spread: 
And at the prow make figured maidenhead 

O'erride the seas and answer to the wheel. 

And let him deep in memory's hold have stor'd 

Water of Helicon: and let him fit 
The needle that doth true with heaven accord: 

Then bid her crew, love, diligence and wit 
With justice, courage, temperance come aboard, 

And at her helm the master reason sit. 

Robert Bridges (1844- ) 

Rupert Brooke's talent was rapidly matured into 
authenticity by the World War. Like Byron, Brooke 
met death while serving the cause of liberty in the Near 
East. Partly because of his merit and apparent promise, 
partly because of the circumstances of his death, his post- 
humous fame has been considerable. From a sequence of 
five sonnets entitled "Nineteen-Fourteen" we quote the 
deservedly popular 


If I should die, think only this of me: 

That there's some corner of a foreign field 
That is forever England. There shall be 

In that rich earth a richer dust concealed; 


A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware, 
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam; 

A body of England's, breathing English air, 
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home. 

And think, this heart, all evil shed away, 
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less 

Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given; 
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day; 
And laughter, learnt of friends, and gentleness, 
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven. 

Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) 

Literary criticism is not exactly within the province 
of poetry, but one occasionally finds in verse a rare 
tribute or appreciation. Arnold's "Shakespeare," though 
it alludes only to Shakespeare's tragedies, is unsurpassed ; 
and Watson's sonnet rivals it closely. Sir Sidney Lee's 
Life is a recent exhaustive biography of Shakespeare. 


Others abide our question. Thou art free. 

We ask and ask: Thou smilest and art still, 

Out-topping knowledge. For the loftiest hill 
That to the stars uncrowns his majesty, 
Planting his stedfast footsteps in the sea, 

Making the Heaven of Heavens his dwelling-place, 

Spares but the cloudy border of his base 
To the foil'd searching of mortality: 
And thou, who didst the stars and sunbeams know, 

Self-school'd, self-scann'd, self-honour'd, self-secure, 
Didst walk on Earth unguess'd at. Better so ! 

All pains the immortal spirit must endure. 


All weakness that impairs, all griefs that bow, 
Find their sole voice in that victorious brow. 

Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) 


Lee, who in niggard soil hast delved, to find 

What things soever may be known or guessed 

Of him that to the ages gives no rest, 
The world-watched secret peak of human mind; 
Thy choice was well, who leav'st to fools and blind 

All visionary, vague, fantastic quest. 

None to the Presence hath more nearly pressed, 
Nor hast thou him dis-served to serve mankind. 

'Tis said of certain poets, that writ large 

Their sombre names on tragic stage and tome, 

They are gulfs or estuaries of Shakespeare's sea. 
Lofty the praise; and honour enough, to be 
As children playing by his mighty marge, 

Glorious with casual sprinklings of the foam. 

Sir William Watson (1858- ) 

Many great poets have been translators. Chapman, 
Pope, Cowper, and Bryant translated Homer, and opened 
up "the glory that was Greece" to hundreds of thousands 
who could not read the original. Longfellow, one of the 
most scholarly as well as one of the most popular of poets, 
translated the Divine Comedy of Dante. To his transla- 
tion he prefixed a number of sonnets, two of which, here 
reproduced, are among the best in American poetry. The 
first contains an excellent picture of the artist's close 
identification with his work. While translating Dante, 


Longfellow forgot the Civil War which was then raging, 
forgot the tragic death of his wife, and felt that he lived 
in the dawning years of the Italian Renaissance. 

Oft have I seen at some cathedral door 
A laborer, pausing in the dust and heat, 
Lay down his burden, and with reverent feet 

Enter, and cross himself, and on the floor 

Kneel to repeat his paternoster o'er; 
Far off the noises of the world retreat; 
The loud vociferations of the street 

Become an undistinguishable roar. 

So, as I enter here from day to day, 

And leave my burden at this minster gate, 

Kneeling in prayer, and not ashamed to pray, 
The tumult of the time disconsolate 

To inarticulate murmurs dies away, 
While the eternal ages watch and wait. 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) 


O star of morning and of liberty! 

O bringer of the light, whose splendor shines 

Above the darkness of the Apennines, 

Forerunner of the day that is to be ! 

The voices of the city and the sea, 

The voices of the mountains and the pines, 
Repeat thy "song, till the familiar lines 

Are footpaths for the thought of Italy ! 

Thy fame is blown abroad from all the heights, 
Through, all the nations ; and a sound is heard, 
As of a mighty wind, and men devout, 


Strangers of Rome, and the new proselytes, 

In their own language hear thy wondrous word, 
And many are amazed and many doubt. 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) 

John Masefield is one of the greatest poets alive today, 
and, in the number and power of his sonnets, is cer- 
tainly the greatest sonneteer since Wordsworth. He 
probably reached the acme of his skill in the series, merely 
entitled "Sonnets," the initial line of the first member of 
which is 

Like bones the ruins of the cities stand. 

We quote from this series the second sonnet which may be 
profitably compared with Shelley's "Ozymandias" and 
with "The Dead Village," by Edwin Arlington Robinson. 


1 Now they are gone with all their songs and sins, 
Women and men, to dust; their copper penny, 
Of living, spent, among these dusty inns ; 
The glittering One made level with the many. 

Their speech is gone, none speaks it, none can read 
The pictured writing of their conqueror's march; 
The dropping plaster of a fading screed 
Ceils with its mildews the decaying, arch. 

The fields are sand, the streets are fallen stones; 
Nothing is bought or sold there, nothing spoken, 
The sand hides all, the wind that blows it moans, 
Blowing more sand until the plinth is broken. 


Day in, day out, no other utterance falls ; 
Only the sand, pit-pitting on the walls. 

John Masefield (1874- ) 

We quote two other examples from Masefield's several 
dozen masterly sonnets which ring varying chimes on the 
universal subjects, love, beauty, and decay. Part of the 
thought of the first sonnet is expressed in the well-known 
quatrain from the Rubdiydt: 

I sometimes think that never blows so red 
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled; 

That every Hyacinth the Garden wears 
Dropt in its Lap from some once lovely Head. 

The second is the first in a series of two entitled "On 
Growing Old." 


I never see the red rose crown the year, j 

Nor feel the young grass underneath my tread, 
Without the thought "This living beauty here 
Is earth's remembrance of a beauty dead. 
Surely where all this glory is displayed 
Love has been quick, like fire, to high ends, 
Here, in this grass, an altar has been made 
For some white joy, some sacrifice of friends; 
Here, where I stand, some leap of human brains 
Has touched immortal things and left its trace, 
The earth is happy here, the gleam remains ; 
Beauty is here, the spirit of the place, 
I touch the faith which nothing can destroy, 
The earth, the living church of ancient joy." 

John Masefield (1874- ) 



Be with me, Beauty, for the fire is dying, 

My dog and I are old, too old for roving, 

Man, whose young passion sets the spindrift flying, 

Is soon too lame to march, too cold for loving. 

I take the book and gather to the fire, 
Turning old yellow leaves ; minute by minute, 
The clock ticks to my heart; a withered wire 
Moves a thin ghost of music in the spinet. 

I cannot sail your seas, I cannot wander 

Your cornland, nor your hill-land nor your valleys, 

Ever again, nor share the battle yonder 

Where the young knight the broken squadron rallies. 

Only stay quiet while my mind remembers 
The beauty of fire from the beauty of embers. 

John Masefield (1874- ) 

The contrast between Masefield and his greatest rival 
sonneteer, the American poet, Edwin Arlington Robinson, 
is to a certain extent the contrast between the Shake- 
spearean and the Italian sonnet. Masefield shows fire; 
Robinson restraint. Masefield is exuberant; Robinson, 
subtle. "Firelight" and "Souvenir" illustrate Robinson's 
mature manner. 


Ten years together without yet a cloud, 
They seek each other's eyes at intervals 
Of gratefulness to firelight and four walls 


For love's obliteration of the crowd. 
Serenely and perennially endowed 
And bowered as few may be, their joy recalls 
No snake, no sword ; and over them there falls 
The blessing of what neither says aloud. 

Wiser for silence, they were not so glad 
Were she to read the graven tale of lines 
On the wan face of one somewhere alone; 
Nor were they more content could he have had 
Her thoughts a moment since of one who shines 
Apart, and would be hers if he had known. 

Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869- ) 


A vanished house that for an hour I knew 
By some forgotten chance when I was young 
Had once a glimmering window overhung 
With honeysuckle wet with evening dew. 
Along the path tall dusky dahlias grew, 
And shadowy hydrangeas reached and swung 
Ferociously; and over me, among 
The moths and mysteries, a blurred bat flew. 

Somewhere within there were dim presences 
Of days that hovered and of years gone by. 
I waited, and between their silences 
There was an evanescent faded noise ; l 
And though a child, I knew it was the voice 
Of one whose occupation was to die. 

Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869- ) 

After reading a score of famous examples, one will 
doubly appreciate two or three sonnets on the sonnet. 
Rossetti's, quoted as a motto at the beginning of the 


chapter, is purely critical. Wordsworth's sonnet is less 
critical than historical. Dante, Petrarch, and Tasso were 
the supreme poets of Italy. Camoens, author of the epic 
The Lusiads, was the greatest poet of Portugal. Shake- 
speare, Spenser, and Milton were the greatest English 
sonneteers before Wordsworth himself. 


Scorn not the Sonnet; Critic, you have frowned, 
Mindless of its j ust honours ; with this key 
Shakespeare unlocked his heart; the melody 

Of this small lute gave ease to Petrarch's wound; 

A thousand times this pipe did Tasso sound; 
With it Camoens. soothed an exile's grief; 
The Sonnet glittered a gay myrtle leaf ^ 

Amid the cypress with which Dante crowned 

His visionary brow: a glow-worm lamp, S. 

It cheered mild Spenser, called from Faery-land 3 
To struggle through dark ways; and; when a damp 

Fell round the path of. -Milton, his hand '^ 
The Thing became a y trumpet, whence he blew 
Soul-animating jstrajns alas, too few ! ^ ^ 

V William Wordsworth (mO-1850) 

Other excellent sonnets on the sonnet are "Nuns fret 
not," by William Wordsworth; "The Sonnet," by 
Richard Watson Gilder; "The Master and the Slave," by 
Edwin Arlington Robinson; and "The Sonnet," by the 
Australasian poet, Louis Lavater. From Theodore Watts- 
Dunton we quote 



Yon silvery billows breaking on the beach 

Fall back in, foam beneath the star-shine clear, 
The while my rhymes are murmuring in your ear, 

A restless lore like that the billows teach; 

For on these sonnet-waves my soul would reach 
From its own depths, and rest within you, dear, 
As, through the billowy voices yearning here, 

Great Nature strives to find a human speech. 

A sonnet is a wave of melody: 

From heaving waters of the impassioned soul 

A billow of tidal music one and whole 
Flows in the "octave"; then, returning free, 

Its ebbing surges in the "sestet" roll 
Back to the deeps of Life's tumultuous sea. 

Theodore Watts-Dunton (1836-1914) 



No false constraint be thine ! 
But, for right walking, choose 

The fine, 

The strict cothurnus, Muse. 
Alfred Noyes: "Art" (from the French of Theophile Gautier) 

THE past half-century has seen established in English 
a number of poetic forms even more rigid than tho sonnet 
in structural requirements. The fact that most of these 
forms were zealously cultivated in the pre-classic period 
of French literature has led to their being described by 
the term "Old French." Although poems of this general 
type had been composed by Chaucer, who, living at 
the court of Edward III, was under French influence, 
it was not until 1871 that the revival of interest occurred. 
In modern English the most celebrated makers of these 
rigid molds of thought have been British Andrew Lang, 
Austin Dobson, and William Ernest Henley. Around 
New York, however, worthy examples have been produced, 
notably by Brander Matthews, Henry Cuyler Bunner, 
Frank Dempster Sherman, Edwin Arlington Robinson, 
and more recently Louis Untermeyer. As a result of 
fifty years of dissemination, the types can no longer be 
said to be strictly exotic. Of the numerous kinds men- 



tioned in more detailed studies, the ballade and the 
rondeau are undoubtedly the most important, their 
nearest rivals being the triolet and the villanelle. Others 
not infrequently met with are the rondel, the roundel, the 
pantoum, and the sestina. Variants of these, together 
with still other forms, are discussed and exemplified in 
Gleeson White's excellent book, Ballades and Rondeaus. 
The ballade, the nearest rival to the sonnet in express- 
ing serious thought in a pleasing stereotyped mold, can 
best be discussed after a few examples have been read. 
Our first specimen is taken from Lang's Ballades in Blue 
China, a volume characterized by its marked finish of 
workmanship and its presupposition of culture on the 
part of the reader. The "Ballade to Theocritus" ex- 
presses the power of poetry to enable a reader to tran- 
scend his surroundings. Sicily was a seat of late Greek 
wealth and culture. Theocritus, a Sicilian Greek of the 
third century B. C., was the "father" of pastoral poetry. 


Ah ! leave the smoke, the wealth, the roar 
Of London, and the bustling street, 
For still, by the Sicilian shore, 
The murmur of the Muse is sweet. 
Still, still, the suns of summer greet 
The mountain-grave of Helike, 
And shepherds still their songs repeat 
Where breaks the blue Sicilian sea. 

What though they worship Pan no more, 
That guarded once the shepherd's seat, 
They chatter of their rustic lore, 


They watch the wind among the wheat: 
Cicalas chirp, the young lambs bleat, 
Where whispers pine to cypress tree; 
They count the waves that idly beat 
Where breaks the blue Sicilian sea. 

Theocritus ! thou canst restore 
The pleasant years, and over-fleet; 
With thee we live as men of yore, 
We rest where running waters meet: 
And then we turn unwilling feet 
And seek the world so must it be 
We may not linger in the heat 
Where breaks the blue Sicilian sea ! 


Master, when rain, and snow, and sleet 
And northern winds are wild, to thce 
We come, we rest in thy retreat, 
Where breaks the blue Sicilian sea ! 

Andrew Lang (1844-1912) 

From Ballades in Blue China is taken also the following 
superb poem. The Southern Cross is the polar constella- 
tion of the southern hemisphere. 


Fair islands of the silver fleece, 
Hoards of unsunned, uncounted gold, 
Whose havens are the haunts of Peace, 
Whose boys are in our quarrel bold ; 
Our bolt is shot, our tale is told, 
Our ship of state in storms may toss, 
But ye are young if we are old, 
Ye Islands of the Southern Cross! 


Ay, toe may dwindle and decrease, 
Such fates the ruthless years unfold; 
And yet we shall not wholly cease, 
We shall not perish unconsoled; 
Nay, still shall freedom keep her hold 
Within the sea's inviolate fosse, 
And boast her sons of English mould, 
Ye Islands of the Southern Cross ! 

All empires tumble Rome and Greece 

Their swords are rust, their altars cold ! 

For us, the Children of the Seas, 

Who ruled where'er the waves have rolled. 

For us, in Fortune's book enscrolled, 

I read no runes of hopeless loss; 

Nor while ye last our knell is tolled, 

Ye Islands of the Southern Cross ! 


Britannia, when thy hearth's a-cold, 
When o'er thy grave has grown the moss, 
Still Rule Australia shall be trolled 
In Islands of the Southern Cross ! 

Andrew Lang (1844-1912) 

The poem we quote below holds a high place among 
tributes to the heroes of old. Although Dobson uses the 
term ballad, ballade should be used; for the former term 
has been preempted, as shown in Chapter VI, by an en- 
tirely different type of poem. 


Because you passed, and now are not 

Because, in some remoter day, 
Your sacred dust from doubtful spot 


Was blown of ancient airs away, 

Because you perished, must men say 
Your deeds were naught, and so profane 

Your lives with that cold burden? Nay, 
The deeds you wrought are not in vain! 

Though, it may be, above the plot 

That hid your once imperial clay, 
No greener than o'er men forgot 

The unregarding grasses sway; 

Though there no sweeter is the lay 
From careless bird, though you remain 

Without distinction of decay, 
The deeds you wrought are not in vain! 

No. For while yet in tower or cot 

Your story stirs the pulses' play; 
And men forget the sordid lot 

The sordid care, of cities gray; 

While yet beset in homelier fray, 
They learn from you the lesson plain 

That Life may go, so Honour stay, 
The deeds you wrought are not in vain! 


Heroes of old ! I humbly lay 

The laurel on your graves again; 
Whatever men have done, men may, 

The deeds you wrought are not in vain. 

Austin Dobson (1840-1921) 

"The Prodigals" not only exhibits the form, but, with its 
consciously archaic background and diction, reflects the 
tone of the typical medieval ballade. 



"Princes ! and you, most valorous, 

Nobles and Barons of all degrees ! 
Hearken awhile to the prayer of us, 

Beggars that come from the over-seas ! 

Nothing we ask or of gold or fees; 
Harry us not with the hounds we pray; 

Lo, for the surcote's hem we seize, 
Give us ah ! give us but Yesterday !" 

'Dames most delicate, amorous ! 

Damosels blithe as the belted bees! 
Hearken awhile to the prayer of us, 

Beggars that come from the over-seas ! 

Nothing we ask of the things that please; 
Weary are we, and worn, and gray; 

Lo, for we clutch and we clasp your knees, 
Give us ah! give us but Yesterday!" 

"Damosels Dames, be piteous !" 

(But the dames rode fast by the roadway trees.) 
"Hear us, O Knights magnanimous !" 

(But the knights pricked on in their panoplies.) 

Nothing they gat or of hope or ease, 
But only to beat on the breast and say: 

"Life we drank to the dregs and lees; 
Give us ah! give us but Yesterday!" 


Youth, take heed to the prayer of these ! 
Many there be by the dusty way, 

Many that cry to the rocks and seas 
"Give us ah ! give us but Yesterday !" 

Austin Dobson (1840-1921) 


As famous as any ballade in English is Rossetti's 
structurally irregular "Ballad of Dead Ladies," a trans- 
lation from the French of the vagabond poet, Fra^ois 
Villon (14*31-1465?). Lang's translation of the same 
poem, though more literal and correct structurally, is less 
well known. The "ladies" are from medieval romance and 
from history, the most famous, perhaps, being Heloise, 
whom Pope celebrated in his Epistle from Eloisa to 
Abelard; Bertha, the mother of Charlemagne; and Joan 
of Arc. 


Tell me now in what hidden way is 

Lady Flora, the lovely Roman? 
Where's Hipparchia, and where is Thai's, 

Neither of them the fairer woman? 

Where is Echo, beheld of no man, 
Ofi'ly* "heard on river and mere, 

She whose beauty was more than human? ... 
But where are the snows of yester-year? 

Where's Heloise, the learned nun, 

For whose sake Abeillard, I ween, 
Lost manhood and put priesthood on? 

(From love he won such dule and teen!) 

And where, I pray you, is the Queen 
Who willed that Buridan should steer 

Sewed in a sack's mouth down the Seine? . . . 
But where are the snows of yester-year? 

White Queen Blanche, like a queen of lilies, 
With a voice like any mermaiden, 


Bertha Broadfoot, Beatrice, Alice, 

And Ermengarde, the lady of Maine, 
And that good Joan whom Englishmen 

At Rouen doomed and burned her there, 
Mother of God, where are they then? . . . 

But where are the snows of yester-year? 


Nay, never ask this week, fair lord, 

Where they are gone, nor yet this year, 
Except with this for an overword, 

But where are the snows of yester-year? 

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) 

From an examination of the first three specimens 
quoted above, it will be seen that the ballade consists of 
three eight-line stanzas followed by a quatrain termed the 
envoi/. The last line of each of the four divisions is 
identical a refrain. Distinguishing this line by C the 
rime scheme may be described by the formula SababbcbC 
plus bcbC. Except in the refrain no rime word in a ballade 
should be repeated. The rime is thus difficult, and writers 
are sorely tempted to repeat a rime or line as is done in 
"The Prodigals'* or to use more than three rimes, as in 
"The Ballad of Dead Ladies.'* Such departures are, 
however, to be looked at askance. Legitimate departures 
are, as is shown below, in the direction of greater com- 
plication. Modern English ballades normally follow the 
old French example of addressing, in the first line of the 
envoy, a patron, or other person, or an abstrac- 
tion. In each specimen here quoted the custom is 


observed. The meter of the common type of bal- 
lade varies, but iambic tetrameter is the more usual 
form. Note, however, the anapestic movement of "The 

In addition to the normal ballade type, there are sev- 
eral variants. The envoy is sometimes omitted. Dobson's 
"Ballad of Prose and Rhyme'* has the metrical scheme 
SabaBbcbC plus bBcC that is, it has a double refrain. 
One of a fairly abundant class is Swinburne's "Ballad 
of Fran9ois Villon,'* which consists of three ten-line 
stanzas with a five-line envoy, the whole on four rimes, 
SababbccdcD plus ccdcD. Theoretically, this type of 
ballade with its ten-line stanzas should always be written 
in pentameters (ten syllables) just as the ballade with 
eight-line stanzas should always be written in tetrameters 
(eight syllables), but these rules are not strictly adhered 
to. The double ballade consists of six stanzas in three 
rimes, but usually omits the envoy; examples are Swin- 
burne's "Double Ballad of Good Counsel" and "Double 
Ballad of August." Alfred Noyes has written "A Triple 
Ballad of Old Japan." "King Boreas" by Clinton 
Scollard is an example of the chant royal SababccddedE 
plus ddedE an elaborate form of the ballade type. The 
best effects have, however, been achieved in the normal 
ballade structure. 

Because of the modern revival of the form, Chaucer's 
"balades" are of unusual interest. Several consist of 
rime-royal stanzas linked by refrain, the last stanza being 
often called the envoy. The following, however, except 
for the missing envoy, comes near to being a perfect 
ballade according to the modern conventions. 



Madame, ye ben of al beaute shryne 
As fer as cercled is the raappemounde; 
For as the cristal glorious ye shyne, 
And lyke ruby ben your chekes rounde. 
Therwith ye ben so mery and so jocunde, 
That at a revel whan that I see you daunce, 
It is an oynement unto my wounde, 
Thogh ye to me ne do no daliaunce. 

For thogh I wepe of teres ful a tyne, 
Yet may that wo myn herte nat confounde; 
Your seemly voys that ye so smal outtwyne 
Maketh my thoght in joye and blis habounde. 
So curteisly I go, with love bounde, 
That to my-self I sey, in my penaunce, 
Suffyseth me to love you, Rosemounde, 
Thogh ye to me ne do no daliaunce. 

Nas never pyk walwed in galauntyne 
As I in love am walwed and y- wounde; 
For which full ofte I of my-self divyne 
That I am trewe Tristam the secounde. 
My love may not refreyd be nor afounde; 
I brenne ay in an amorous plesaunce. 
Do what you list, I wil your thral be founde, 
Thogh ye to me ne do no daliaunce. 

Geoffrey Chaucer (1340?-1400) 

Among the stricter forms, the rondeau rivals the 
ballade in dignity. "In Flanders Fields," undoubtedly 
the best known rondeau in the language, was written by 
a Canadian lieutenant-colonel during the World War. It 
appeared first in Punch. 



In Flanders fields the poppies blow 
Between the crosses, row on row, 

That mark our place ; and in the sky 

The larks, still bravely singing, fly 
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

We are the Dead. Short days ago 
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
Loved and were loved, and now we lie 
In Flanders fields. 

Take up our quarrel with the foe; 
To you from failing hands we throw 
The torch ; be yours to hold it high. 
If ye break faith with us who die 
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow 
In Flanders fields. 

John McCrae (1872-1918) 

We quote another superb rondeau by a British colonial, 
Eliot Napier of Australasia: 


All men are free and equal born 
Before the Law!" So runs the worn 

And specious, lying, parrot-cry. 

All men are free to starve or sigh; 
But few to feed on Egypt's corn. 

There toils the sweated slave, forlorn; 
There weeps the babe with hunger torn; 
Dear God, forgive us for the lie 
"All men are free!" 


That man may laugh while this must mourn ; 
One's heir to honour, one to scorn 

Were they born free ? Were you ? Was I ? 
No ! Not when born, but when they die 
And of their robes or rags are shorn, 
All men are free ! 

Eliot Napier 

Austin Dobson wrote a number of graceful and dignified 
rondeaus which did much to popularize the form. "In 
After Days" is unsurpassed. It was widely quoted after 
the author's death in 1921. 


In after days when grasses high 
O'er-top the stone where I shall lie, 
Though ill or well the world adjust 
My slender claim to honoured dust, 
I shall not question nor reply. 

I shall not see the morning sky ; 
I shall not hear the night- wind sigh; 
I shall be mute, as all men must 
In after days! 

But yet, now living, fain were I 
That some one then should testify, 
Saying He held his pen in trust 
To Art, not serving shame or lust. 
Will none? Then let my memory die 
In after days ! 

Austin Dobson (1840-1921) 


The process of rondeau-making is cleverly stated by 
Austin Dobson in a rondeau, "You Bid Me Try." The 
rime scheme is aabba aabR aabbaR, R indicating the 
refrain which is always a repetition of the first part of 
the first line of the poem, and is usually identical with 
the title. In modern English the rondeau is a rigid type ; 
a deviation from it might result in an acceptable poem, 
but not in a true rondeau. 

The rondeau is, like the ballade, used for light as well as 
for serious subjects and is a frequent vehicle for vers de 
societe. In Untermeyer's "A Burlesque Rondo" a para- 
phrase from Horace the refrain remains the same in 
sound while it varies in meaning : "Cum tu, Lydia," "Come 
to Lydia," and "Come to ! Lydia." Frank D. Sherman's 
"An Acrostical Valentine" is a remarkable tour de force. 
The initial letters of the lines (excluding the refrain) spell 
the name of the author. 

Dobson is the author of the most felicitous rondels in 
English. We quote "The Wanderer" and "Vitas Hin- 
nuleo." Note that there are but two rimes and that the 
first two lines of the poem constitute a refrain, half of 
which may be omitted in the last division of the poem. 
The two rime orders shown below are typical, the scheme 
ABab baAB ababAB being perhaps most common. 


Love comes back to his vacant dwelling, 
The old, old love that we knew of yore ! 
We see him stand by the open door, 

With his great eyes, and his bosom swelling. 


He makes as though in our arms repelling 
He fain would lie as he lay before; 
Love comes back to his vacant dwelling, 

The old, old love that we knew of yore ! 

\h, who shall help us from over-spelling 
That sweet forgotten, forbidden lore! 
E'en as we doubt in our heart once more, 

With a rush of tears to our eyelids welling, 
Love comes back to his vacant dwelling. 

Austin Dobson (1840-1921) 

The odes of Horace have always lured the English poet- 
translator. In his recent engaging volume, Including 
Horace, Louis Untermeyer has two paraphrases of "Vitas 
Hinnuleo" an ode which Dobson made into a perfect 


You shun me, Chloe, wild and shy 

As some stray fawn that seeks its mother 

Through trackless woods. If spring winds sigh, 
It vainly strives its fears to smother; 

Its trembling knees assail each other 
When lizards stir the bramble dry; 

You shun me, Chloe, wild and shy 

As some stray fawn that seeks its mother. 

And yet no Libyan lion I, 

No ravening thing to rend another; 
Lay by your tears, your tremors by 

A Husband's better than a brother; 


Nor shun me, Chloe, wild and shy 

As some stray fawn that seeks its mother. 

Austin Dobson (1840-1921) 

For his own use, Swinburne invented the roundel, a 
variant on the rondeau. In a hundred examples, A Cen- 
tury of Roundels, he employed a wide variety of line- 
lengths and meters, but never varied from the number of 
lines, the type of refrain, and the rime-scheme shown in 
this example. "A Baby's Feet" is grouped with "A 
Baby's Hands" and "A Baby's Eyes" under the title 
"Etude Realiste." 


A baby's feet, like sea-shells pink, 
Might tempt, should heaven see meet, 

An angel's lips to kiss, we think, 
A baby's feet. 

Like rose-hued sea-flowers toward the heat 

They stretch and spread and wink 
Their ten soft buds that part and meet. 

No flower-bells that expand and shrink 

Gleam half so heavenly sweet 
As shine on life's untrodden brink 

A baby's feet. 

Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909) 

The most airy of the fixed forms is the triolet. The 
name refers to the triple recurrence of the first line. The 
rime and refrain scheme, ABaAabAB, is always adhered 
to, but the meter is varied in different examples. A 


felicitous effect depends on the naturalness of the repe- 
tition, a difficult matter in so short a poem. We quote 
from "Rose-Leaves" a perfect example entitled 


Rose kissed me to-day. 

Will she kiss me to-morrow? 
Let it be as it may, 

Rose kissed me to-day. 
But the pleasure gives way 

To a savour of sorrow; 
Rose kissed me to-day, 

Will she kiss me to-morrow? 

Austin Dobson (1840-1921) 

Of nearly equal structural perfection is Bunner's 
widely quoted, wistful "A Pitcher of Mignonette." A 
variation in the first few syllables of the repeated lines is 


A pitcher of mignonette 

In a tenement's highest casement: 

Queer sort of a flower-pot yet 

That pitcher of mignonette 

Is a garden in heaven set, 

To the little sick child in the basement 

The pitcher of mignonette 

In the tenement's highest casement. 

Henry Cuyler Bunner (1855-1896) 

The villanelle, a difficult but beautiful form, is, as may 
be seen by a scrutiny of the two following specimens, a 
poem of nineteen lines and two rimes. The first line of 


the first stanza becomes the last line of the second and 
fourth stanzas. The third line of the first stanza becomes 
the last line of the third and fifth stanzas. The two re- 
frains make a quatrain of the last stanza. Since they 
rime together, let A stand for the first and A' for the 
second. The scheme may then be described by the formula 
AbA' abA abA' abA abA' abAA' '. More than five tercets 
are occasionally found. The meter varies, but is usually 
iambic. The second villanelle below describes the form of 
which it is a pleasing example. 


When I saw you last, Rose, 
You were only so high; 
How fast the time goes ! 

Like a bud ere it blows, 

You just peeped at the sky, 
When I saw you last, Rose ! 

Now your petals unclose, 

Now your May-time is nigh; 
How fast the time goes ! 

And a life, how it grows! 

You were scarcely so shy, 
When I saw you last, Rose! 

In your bosom it shows 

There's a guest on the sly; 
(How fast the time goes !) 


Is it Cupid ? Who knows ! 
Yet you used not to sigh, 
When I saw you last, Rose; 
How fast the time goes ! 

Austin Dobson (1840-1921) 


A dainty thing's the Villanelle. 

Sly, musical, a jewel in rhyme, 
It serves its purpose passing well. 

A double-clappered silver bell 

That must be made to clink in chime, 
A dainty thing's the Villanelle; 

And if you wish to flute a spell, 

Or ask a meeting 'neath the lime, 
It serves its purpose passing well. 

You must not ask of it the swell 

Of organs grandiose and sublime 
A dainty thing's the Villanelle; 

And, filled with sweetness, as a shell 

Is filled with sound, and launched in time, 
It serves its purpose passing well. 

Still fair to see and good to smell 

As in the quaintness of its prime, 
A dainty thing's the Villanelle, 
It serves its purpose passing well. 

William Ernest Henley (1849-1908) 

The chief characteristic of the pantoum is the repeti- 
tion of each line. The second and fourth lines of a stanza 


recur respectively as the first and third of the following, 
the endless chain being usually completed by a return to 
the first line of the poem. The meter varies, and there 
may be any number of stanzas. In ultimate origin, the 
pantoum is not French, but Malaysian. Because of its 
structure, its field is very limited. It is normally used 
for a monotonous subject, well-known examples being "In 
Town" by Austin Dobson, and "En Route" by Brander 
Matthews. "In the Sultan's Garden" is colorful and 
dramatic, and repeats the lines in a natural manner. 


She oped the portal of the palace, 

She stole into the garden's gloom; 
From every spotless snowy chalice 

The lilies breathed a sweet perfume. 

She stole into the garden's gloom, 

She thought that no one would discover; 

The lilies breathed a sweet perfume, 
She swiftly ran to meet her lover. 

She thought that no one would discover, 

But footsteps followed ever near; 
She swiftly ran to meet her lover 

Beside the fountain crystal clear. 

But footsteps followed ever near; 

Ah, who is that she sees before her 
Beside the fountain crystal clear? 

'Tis not her hazel-eyed adorer. 


Ah, who is that she sees before her, 

His hand upon his scimitar? 
'Tis not her hazel-eyed adorer, 

It is her lord of Candahar! 

His hand upon his scimitar, 

Alas, what brought such dread disaster! 

It is her lord of Candahar, 

The fierce Sultan, her lord and master. 

Alas, what brought such dread disaster! 
"Your pretty lover's dead !" he cries 
The fierce Sultan, her lord and master. 
" 'Neath yonder tree his body lies." 

"Your pretty lover's dead !" he cries 

(A sudden, ringing voice behind him) ; 
" 'Neath yonder tree his body lies " 

"Die, lying dog ! go thou and find him !" 

A sudden, ringing voice behind him, 

A deadly blow, a moan of hate, 
"Die, lying dog! go thou and find him! 

Come, love, our steeds are at the gate !" 

A deadly blow, a moan of hate, 

His blood ran red as wine in chalice; 
"Come, love, our steeds are at the gate !" 

She oped the portal of the palace. 

Clinton Scollard (1860- ) 

Like the pantoum, the sestina is a tour de force of 
relatively rare occurrence in English. Kipling's "Sestina 
of the Tramp Royal" is a good example. More delicately 
graceful is Edmund Gosse's 



TO F. H. 

In fair Provence, the land of lute and rose, 
Arnaut, great master of the lore of love, 
First wrought sestines to win his lady's heart; 
For she was deaf when simpler staves he sang, 
And for her sake he broke the bonds of rhyme, 
And in this subtler measure hid his woe. 

"Harsh be my lines," cried Arnaut, "harsh the woe, 
My lady, that enthron'd and cruel rose, 
Inflicts on him that made her live in rhyme !" 
But through the meter spake the voice of Love, 
And like a wild-wood nightingale he sang 
Who thought in crabbed lays to ease his heart. 

It is not told if her untoward heart 

Was melted by her poet's lyric woe, 

Or if in vain so amorously he sang. 

Perchance through crowd of dark conceits he rose 

To nobler heights of philosophic love, 

And crowned his later years with sterner rhyme. 

This thing alone we know: the triple rhyme, 
Of him who bared his vast and passionate heart 
To all the crossing flames of hate and love, 
Wears in the midst of all its storm of woe, 
As some loud morn of March may bear a rose, 
The impress of a song that Arnaut sang. 

"Smith of his mother-tongue," the Frenchman sang 
Of Lancelot and Galahad, the rhyme 
That beat so bloodlike at its core of rose, 
It stirred the sweet Francesca's gentle heart 


To take that kiss that brought her so much woe, 
And sealed in fire her martydrom of love. 

And Dante, full of her immortal love, 

Stayed his drear song, and softly, fondly sang 

As though his voice broke with that weight of woe ; 

And to this day we think of Arnaut's rhyme 

Whenever pity at the labouring heart 

On fair Francesca's memory drops the rose. 

Ah! sovereign Love, forgive this weaker rhyme! 
The men of old who sang were great at heart, 
Yet have we too known woe, and worn thy rose. 

Edmund Gosse (1849- ) 

From reading the above poem it will be seen that not 
rime but repetition of end words characterizes the sestina. 
The end-words of the first line are repeated in an order 
which will permit the last end-word of each stanza to be 
the first end-word of the next, the sequence being 123456, 
615243, 364125, 532614, 451362, 246531. The three-line 
envoy has three of the terminal-words at the ends, the 
others earlier in the lines. The end-words sometimes rime, 
and the arrangement here outlined is not always followed. 
This exotic form vies with the chant royal in difficulty of 
structure. In theory, the end-words should be important 
nouns, which are turned and re-turned in the dreaming 
mind of the poet. The use of the verb rose for the noun 
in the third stanza should thus be regarded as a flaw in 
a careful piece of workmanship. 

In conclusion, mention by name should be made of a 
few other structural types. Kynelle is a term sometimes 
applied to a series of quatrains linked by a common 


fourth line. In chum verse the last line of one stanza 
becomes the first line of the next; more rarely, the last 
word of one stanza becomes the first word of the next. The 
rondeau redouble, glose, lay, virelai, Sicilian octave, and 
other rare forms deserve no place in an anthology of 
limited scope. The bibliography contains suggestions for 
further study. 

It is interesting to note that foreign languages are still 
being exploited for structural forms suitable for adapta- 
tion in English. It is quite possible, for instance, that 
Witter Bynner, Amy Lowell, or some other modern poet 
may find in Japanese or Chinese poetry a form worthy 
of permanent cultivation in English. Experiments and 
innovations have been numerous of late. The extrava- 
gant restraint of the artificial forms and the unrestraint 
of free verse are the extreme right and the extreme left 
in the poetry of today. 



I would be the Lyric 
Ever on the lip, 
Rather than the Epic 
Memory lets slip. 
Thomas Bailey Aldrich: "Lyrics and Epics" 

IN "The Day is Done" which was prefixed to The Waif, 
a collection of poems by minor poets, Longfellow elo- 
quently defended the humbler poets, whom we sometimes 
choose to read rather than "the grand old masters," 

the bards sublime 
Whose distant footsteps echo 
Through the corridors of Time. 

Indeed, there is more than one kind of poetry in which 
the lesser poets, like Longfellow and Aldrich, are the 
masters. This, as we have seen, is true of patriotic songs 
and the French forms ; and it is equally true of light 
verse. The great poet, Wordsworth or Milton for in- 
stance, is generally too deeply in earnest, too passionate, 
sometimes too unsocial to write what must seem to him 
mere literary small talk. In fact, the major poets who 
have tried to trip it on the light fantastic toe have nearly 



always failed. In spite of an apparent ease, "the familiar 
[style] is," as Cowper pointed out, "of all styles the 
most difficult to succeed in." Only the poet who is also 
a man of the world like Holmes or Thackeray can produce 
these "immortal ephemerae." 

The most important form of lighter poetry is that 
usually called vers de societe. Since an example is often 
more enlightening than a definition, let us first examine 
a fairly typical poem of this kind. Bret Harte, although 
most people remember him only for his stories, was also 
a poet of considerable importance. In "Her Letter" the 
daughter of a gold miner who has "struck it rich" is 
writing from New York to her sweetheart in California. 


I'm sitting alone by the fire, 

Dressed just as I came from the dance, 
In a robe even you would admire, 

It cost a cool thousand in France; 
I'm be-diamonded out of all reason, 

My hair is done up in a queue: 
In short, sir, "the belle of the season" 

Is wasting an hour upon you. 

A dozen engagements I've broken; 

I left in the midst of a set; 
Likewise a proposal, half spoken, 

That waits on the stairs for me yet. 
They say he'll be rich, when he grows up, 

And then he adores me indeed. 
And you, sir, are turning your nose up, 

Three thousand miles off, as you read. 


"And how do I like my position?" 

"And what do I think of New York?" 
"And now, in my higher ambition, 

With whom do I waltz, flirt, or talk?" 
"And isn't it nice to have riches, 

And diamonds and silks, and all that?" 
"And aren't they a change to the ditches 

And tunnels of Poverty Flat?" 

Well, yes, if you saw us out driving 

Each day in the park, four-in-hand, 
If you saw poor dear mamma contriving 

To look supernaturally grand, 
If you saw papa's picture, as taken 

By Brady, and tinted at that, 
You'd never suspect he sold bacon 

And flour at Poverty Flat. 

And yet, just this moment, when sitting 

In .the glare of the grand chandelier, 
In the bustle and glitter befitting 

The "finest soiree of the year," 
In the mists of a gauze de Chambery, 

And the hum of the smallest of talk, 
Somehow, Joe, I thought of the "Ferry," 

And the dance that we had on "The Fork"; 

Of Harrison's barn, with its muster 

Of flags festooned over the wall; 
Of the candles that shed their soft lustre 

And tallow on head-dress and shawl; 
Of the steps that we took to one fiddle; 

Of the dress of my queer vis-a-vis; 
And how I once went down the middle 

With the man that shot Sandy McGee; 


Of the moon that was quietly sleeping 

On the hill when the time came to go; 
Of the few baby peaks that were peeping 

From under their bed-clothes of snow; 
Of that ride, that to me was the rarest; 

Of the something you said at the gate. 
Ah, Joe, then I wasn't an heiress 

To "the best-paying lead in the State." 

Well, well, it's all past ; yet it's funny 

To think, as I stood in the glare 
Of fashion and beauty and money, 

That I should be thinking, right there, 
Of some one who breasted high water, 

And swam the North Fork, and all that, 
Just to dance with old Folinsbee's daughter, 

The Lily of Poverty Flat. 

But goodness ! what nonsense I'm writing ! 

(Mamma says my taste still is low,) 
Instead of my triumphs reciting, 

I'm spooning on Joseph, heigh-ho! 
And I'm to be "finished" by travel, 

Whatever's the meaning of that, 
Oh ! why did papa strike pay gravel 

In drifting on Poverty Flat? 

Good night, here's the end of my paper; 

Good night, if the longitude please, 
For maybe, while wasting my taper, 

Your sun's climbing over the trees. 
But know, if you haven't got riches, 

And are poor, dearest Joe, and all that, 
That my heart's somewhere there in the ditches, 

And you've struck it, on Poverty Flat. 

Francis Bret Harte (1836-1902') 


Clearly this is not the poetry of passionate love ; it is 
not the language of Burns's "Highland Mary" or of Mrs. 
Browning's Sonnets from the Portuguese. Nor is it 
the poetry of great thought or of lofty enthusiasm. 
Vers de societe is to greater poetry what the miniature 
and the cameo are to the paintings of Raphael and the 
statues of Michael Angelo. One should not, however, 
make the mistake of regarding such poems as mere trifles. 
Vers de societe, like the French forms, is one of the lesser 
divisions of poetry, but no lover of poetry should consider 
his taste wholly catholic until he can admire all kinds, 
small as well as great. 

Although all the names which have been suggested for 
what the French call vers de societe are unsatisfactory, 
it is worth while to mention some of them because each 
throws light on the nature of the type. The French 
phrase, for which society verse and social verse are in- 
adequate translations, is doubly objectionable because it 
is foreign and because it leads one to draw the mistaken 
inference that French poetry is richer than English in 
poetry of this type. Lyra Elegantiarum, which Locker- 
Lampson used as the title of his famous anthology of 
English vers de societe, is open to similar objections. 
Familiar verse, which Brander Matthews borrowed from 
Cowper for his excellent anthology, American Familiar 
Verse, is the least inadequate English name, but it too 
strongly suggests informality. Gentle verse, suggested 
by Carolyn Wells, and patrician rhymes, suggested by 
Edmund Clarence Stedman, emphasize the fact that vers 
de societe is essentially the poetry of the salon, of well- 
bred society. Occasional verse is the least satisfactory 


term of all, for poems written for special occasions are 
as varied in type as Lowell's "Under the Old Elm," an 
ode; Emerson's "Concord Hymn," a song; and Milton's 
Comus, a masque. Partly because other names are 
unsatisfactory and partly because we wish to include in 
this chapter poems not strictly to be classed as vers de 
societe, we have called this chapter Light Verse. 

There is little agreement among authorities as to the 
limitations in form and subject matter of vers de societe. 
The poem may be cast in the form of a letter, a song, a 
toast, an epitaph, a ballade, an autograph. The subject 
matter is generally social in nature. The poet writes 
most often perhaps of love in its lighter moods ; but the 
theater, books, friends, children, animals, and many other 
subjects are also open to him. The true criterion, it 
seems evident, is neither form nor subject but style. 
Frederick Locker-Lampson, in the preface to his Lyra 
Elegantiarum, has admirably characterized the style of 
vers de societe. Poems of this type, says he, "should be 
short, elegant, refined, and fanciful, not seldom distin- 
guished by chastened sentiment, and often playful. The 
tone should not be pitched high ; it should be idiomatic, 
and rather in the conversational key; the rhythm should 
be crisp and sparkling, and the rhyme frequent and never 
forced, while the entire poem should be marked by tasteful 
moderation, high finish, and completeness . . . the two 
qualities of brevity and buoyancy are absolutely essential. 
The poem may be tinctured with a well-bred philosophy, 
it may be gay and gallant, it may be playfully malicious 
or tenderly ironical, it may display lively banter, and it 
may be sarcastically facetious . . . but it must never be 


ponderous or commonplace." "In fine," as Stedman sums 
up the matter, "the true kind is marked by humor, by 
spontaneity, joined with extreme elegance of finish, by 
the quality we call breeding, above all, by lightness of 
touch." To these definitions we may add the Twelve Good 
Rules drawn up by Austin Dobson, the greatest recent 
writer of light verse: "1. Never be vulgar. 2. Avoid 
slang and puns. 3. Avoid inversions. 4. Be sparing of 
long words. 5. Be colloquial but not commonplace. 6. 
Choose the lightest and brightest of measures. 7. Let the 
rimes be frequent but not forced. 8. Let them be rigor- 
ously exact to the ear. 9. Be as witty as you like. 10. 
Be serious by accident. 11. Be pathetic with the greatest 
discretion. 12. Never ask if the writer of these rules has 
observed them himself." 

One of the later New England poets, Thomas Bailey 
Aldrich, at one time editor of the Atlantic Monthly, wrote 
much graceful verse in lighter vein. The following poem, 
in form a dramatic monologue in which a lover is bidding 
his sweetheart goodnight, treats love in a mood similar to 
that of "Her Letter." The Spanish title means "endear- 
ing words." 


Good-night ! I have to say good-night 
To such a host of peerless things ! 
Good-night unto the slender hand 
All queenly with its weight of rings; 
Good-night to fond, uplifted eyes, 
Good-night to chestnut braids of hair, 
Good-night unto the perfect mouth, 


And all the sweetness nestled there 
The snowy hand detains me, then 
I'll have to say good-night again ! 

But there will come a time, my love, 

When, if I read our stars aright, 

I shall not linger by this porch 

With my farewells. Till then, good-night! 

You wish the time were now? And I. 

You do not blush to wish it so? 

You would have blushed yourself to death 

To own so much a year ago 

What, both these snowy hands ! ah, then 
I'll have to say good-night again ! 

Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1836-1907) 

Vers de societe often handles the theme of love in a 
satiric, half-cynical fashion. The Irish poet, Tom Moore, 
has struck this note in one of his songs, from which we 
quote the first stanza: 

The time I've lost in wooing, 
In watching and pursuing 

The light that lies 

In woman's eyes, 
Has been my heart's undoing. 
Tho' wisdom oft has sought me, 
I scorn'd the lore she brought me, 

My only books 

Were woman's looks, 
And folly's all they taught me. 

The most famous poem of this kind is Robert Herrick't* 
"To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time." Aldrich called 
Herrick "a great little poet," a term which might well 


be applied to himself. Herrick, who in his youth was ap- 
prenticed to a goldsmith, loved to polish his miniature 
poems as a jeweler might delight in carving a cameo. 


Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, 

Old Time is still a-flying; 
And this same flower that smiles to-day, 

To-morrow will be dying. 

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun, 

The higher he's a-getting, 
The sooner will his race be run, 

And nearer he's to setting. 

That age is best which is the first, 
When youth and blood are warmer; 

But being spent, the worse and worst 
Times still succeed the former. 

Then be not coy, but use your time, 

And while ye may, go marry; 
For, having lost but once your prime, 

You may forever tarry. 

Robert Herrick (1591-1674") 

The disillusioned, satirical attitude toward youthful 
love is nothing new. It is as old as the Roman poet 
Horace and as recent as yesterday's Life and Punch. 
The poems of the great Augustan have tempted many 
imitators and translators, Milton and Pope among many 
others. More recent poets, however, have better ren- 
dered the light, graceful banter of Horace's verse. In the s> 


following poem Eugene Field, whose translations from 
Horace are among the best, protests against the tradi- 
tional class-room attitude toward Horace. Field was 
one of the earliest modern American newspaper poets. 
With few exceptions, the best American light verse of the 
last decade has been written by later newspaper "colyum- 
ists" like Franklin P. Adams, Christopher Morley, Don 
Marquis, and Bert Leston Taylor. 


It is very aggravating 

To hear the solemn prating 

Of the fossils who are stating 

That old Horace was a prude; 
When we know that with the ladies 
He was always raising Hades, 
And with many an escapade his 

Best productions are imbued. 

There's really not much harm in a 
Large number of his carmina, 
But these people find alarm in a 

Few records of his acts ; 
So they'd squelch the muse caloric, 
And to students sophomoric 
They'd present as metaphoric 

What old Horace meant for facts. 

We have always thought 'em lazy; 
Now we adjudge 'em crazy! 
Why, Horace was a daisy 

That was very much alive ! 
And the wisest of us know him 
As his Lydia verses show him, 


Go, read that virile poem, 
It is No. 25. 

He was a very owl, sir, 

And starting out to prowl, sir, 

You bet he made Rome howl, sir, 

Until he filled his date; 
With a massic-laden ditty 
And a classic maiden pretty, 
He painted up the city, 

And Maecenas paid the freight ! 

Eugene Field (1850-1895') 

Louis Uncermeyer, whose lighter verse is equaled by 
that of no other living American poet, has admirably 
translated many of Horace's famous odes in his Includ- 
ing Horace. Those familiar with the love affairs of 
college athletes will perhaps be surprised to find how 
much old Horace knew of human nature, which changes 
little from generation to generation. 


Lydia, die, per omnis. . . . Book I: Ode 8 

Lydia, why do you ruin by lavishing 

Smiles upon Sybaris, filling his eye 
Only with love, and the skilfully ravishing 

Lydia. Why? 

Ringing his voice was; above all the clamorous 
Throng in the play-ground his own would be high. 

Now it is changed ; he is softened and amorous. 
Lydia, why? 


Once he was blithe and, as swift as a linnet, he 
Wrestled and swam, or on horse-back flew by. 

Now he is dulled with this cursed femininity 
Lydia, why ? 

Yes, he is changed he is moody and servile, he 
Skulks like a coward and wishes to fly. 

What, can you smile at his acting so scurvily, 
Lydia? . . . Why? 

Louis Untermeyer (1885- ) 

The great American master of light verse is Oliver 
Wendell Holmes. No other American poet has quite 
equaled him in ease, polish, and wit. His "Contentment," 
"Dorothy Q," "My Aunt," and "The Deacon's Master- 
piece" are all superb, but by common consent "The Last 
Leaf" is placed slightly above them. "The Last Leaf" 
was a favorite of Abraham Lincoln, who spoke of the 
fourth stanza as "inexpressibly touching." "For pure 
pathos, in my judgment," he said, "there is nothing finer 
than those six lines in the English language !" Indeed, 
the only fault one can find with them is that they are 
almost too full of feeling for vers de societe. 


I saw him once before, 
As he passed by the door, 

And again 

The pavement stones resound 
As he totters o'er the ground 

With his cane. 


They say that in his prime 

Ere the pruning-knife of Time 

Cut him down, 
Not a better man was found 
By the Crier on his round 

Through the town. 

But now he walks the streets, 
And looks at all he meets 

Sad and wan, 

And he shakes his feeble head, 
That it seems as if he said, 

"They are gone." 

The mossy marbles rest 

On the lips that he has prest 

In their bloom, 

And the names he loved to hear 
Have been carved for many a year 

On the tomb. 

My grandmama has said, 
Poor old lady, she is dead 

Long ago, 

That he had a Roman nose, 
And his cheek was like a rose 

In the snow. 

But now his nose is thin, 
And it rests upon his chin 

Like a staff, 

And a crook is in his back, 
And a melancholy crack 

In his laugh. 


I know it is a sin 

For me to sit and grin 

At him here; 

But the old three-cornered hat, 
And the breeches, and all that, 

Are so queer ! 

And if I should live to be 
The last leaf upon the tree 

In the spring, 
Let them smile, as I do now, 
At the old forsaken bough 

Where I cling. 

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894} 

Locker-Lampson, who half a century ago spoke of 
Holmes as "perhaps the best living writer of this species of 
verse," paid him the further compliment of borrowing the 
very unusual metrical form which Holmes had used in 
"The Last Leaf." By his use of the stanza Holmes con- 
trived to suggest the tapping of an old man's cane, while 
Locker-Lampson tried to suggest the light patter of a 
lady's little feet. 



They nearly strike me dumb, 
And I tremble when they come 

Pit-a-pat : 

This palpitation means 
That these Boots are Geraldine's 

Think of that ! 

Oh where did hunter win 
So delectable a skin 
For her feet? 


You lucky little kid, 
You perish'd, so you did, 
For my sweet! 

The faery stitching gleams 
On the sides, and in the seams, 

And it shows 

That the Pixies were the wags 
Who tipt these funny tags, 

And these toes. 

The simpletons who squeeze 
Their extremities to please 


Would positively flinch 
From venturing to pinch 


What soles to charm an elf ! 
Had Crusoe, sick of self, 

Chanced to view 
One printed near the tide, 
Oh how hard he would have tried 

For the two ! 

For Gerry's debonair, 
And innocent and fair 

As a rose: 

She's an angel in a frock, 
With a fascinating cock 

To her nose. 

Cinderella's lefts and rights 
To Geraldine's were frights; 
And, I trow, 


The damsel, deftly shod, 
Has dutifully trod 
Until now. 

Come, Gerry, since it suits 
Such a pretty Puss (in Boots) 

These to don, 

Set this dainty hand awhile, 
On my shoulder, dear, and I'll 

Put them on. 
Frederick Locker-Lampson (1821-1895) 

Few women have excelled in writing vers de societe, for 
what reason we cannot guess unless it is that few of them 
have tried. There are many things, however, which a 
woman can treat better than a man. No man, for in- 
stance, could possibly have written the poem which we 
quote from Josephine Preston Peabody (Mrs. Lionel 
Marks), a contemporary American poet and dramatist. 
No other poem expresses so well the feminine attitude 
toward dress. 


I love my little gowns; 

I love my little shoes, 

All standing still below them, 

Set quietly by twos. 

All day I wear them careless, 
But when I put them by 
They look so dear and different, 
And yet I don't know why. 


My oldest one of all, 
Worn out; and then the best; 
But that I have not worn enough 
To love it, like the rest. 

The dimity for Sunday, 
The blue one and the wool, 
Now that I see them hanging up, 
Are somehow beautiful. 

Of all the white, with ribbons 
Gray-green, if I could choose; 
The fichu that helps everything 
Be gay; and then, my shoes. 

My shoes that skip and saunter, 
And one that will untie: 
They look so funny and so young, 
I hate to put them by. 

I wonder, if some day. . . . 

All this will be the Past? 

Poor Hop-the-brook and Dance-with-me, 

They cannot always last! 

Josephine Preston Peabody (1874~ ) 

During the last century and a half many poems have 
been written for children. The great majority of these 
do not come under the head of light verse, but much ex- 
cellent light verse has been written about children. The 
first of the two poems which we quote was written by 
Matthew Prior, probably the best eighteenth century 
writer of light verse. The only defect in the poem is the 
unnatural poetic diction which Prior and his contem- 
poraries could seldom escape. 



Lords, knights, and 'squires, the numerous band, 
That wear the fair Miss Mary's fetters, 

Were summoned by her high command, 
To show their passions by their letters. 

My pen among the rest I took, 

Lest those bright eyes that cannot read 

Should dart their kindling fires, and look 
The power they have to be obeyed. 

Nor quality, nor reputation 

Forbid me yet my flame to tell, 
Dear five-years-old befriends my passion, 

And I may write till she can spell. 

For, while she makes her silk-worms beds 
With all the tender things I swear; 

Whilst all the house my passion reads, 
In papers round her baby's hair; 

She may receive and own my flame, 

For, though the strictest prudes should know it, 
She'll pass for a most virtuous dame. 

And I for an unhappy poet. 

Then too, alas ! when she shall tear 
The lines some younger rival sends; 

She'll give me leave to write, I fear, 
And we shall still continue friends. 

For, as our different ages move, 

'Tis so ordained, (would Fate but mend it!) 

That I shall be past making love, 
When she begins to comprehend it. 

Matthew Prior (1664-1721") 


Best known for his short stories, Henry Cuyler Bunner, 
long editor of Puck, was also of considerable importance 
in the history of vers de societe and French forms. The 
following poem is one of the most charming light poems 
ever written about a child. All the stanzas are linked 
by a common rime scheme. 


It was an old, old, old, old lady, 
And a boy who was half past three; 

And the way that they played together 
Was beautiful to see. 

She couldn't go running and jumping, 

And the boy, no more could he, 
For he was a thin little fellow, 

With a thin, little, twisted knee. 

They sat in the yellow sunlight, 

Out under the maple-tree; 
And the game that they played I'll tell you, 

Just as it was told to me. 

It was Hide-and-Go-Seek they were playing, 
Though you'd never have known it to be 

With an old, old, old, old lady, 
And a boy with a twisted knee. 

The boy would bend his face down 
On his one little sound right knee, 

And he'd guess where she was hiding, 
In guesses One, Two, Three! 


"You are in the china-closet!" 

He would cry, and laugh with glee 

It wasn't the china-closet; 

But he still had Two and Three. 

"You are up in Papa's big bedroom, 
In the chest with the queer old key !" 

And she said: "You are warm and warmer; 
But you're not quite right/' said she. 

"It can't be the little cupboard 

Where Mamma's things used to be 

So it must be the clothes-press, Gran'ma !" 
And he found her with his Three. 

Then she covered her face with her fingers, 
That were wrinkled and white and wee, 

And she guessed where the boy was hiding, 
With a One and a Two and a Three. 

And they never had stirred from their places, 

Right under the maple-tree 
This old, old, old, old lady, 

And the boy with the lame little knee 
This dear, dear, dear old lady, 

And the boy who was half-past three. 

Henry Cuyler Bunner (1855-1896} 

Vers de societe sometimes takes the form of a toast. Lord 
Byron, though he did not write much light verse, was the 
author of one of the best toasts in the language. The 
following poem was addressed to his friend, Thomas 
Moore, when Byron was leaving England for the last time. 



My boat is on the shore, 

And my bark is on the sea; 
But, before I go, Tom Moore, 

Here's a double health to thee! 

Here's a sigh to those who love me, 
And a smile to those who hate; 

And, whatever sky's above me, 
Here's a heart for every fate. 

Though the ocean roar around me, 
Yet it still shall bear me on; 

Though a desert should surround me, 
It hath springs that may be won. 

Were't the last drop in the well, 

As I gasp'd upon the brink, 
Ere my fainting spirit fell, 

'Tis to thee that I would drink. 

With that water, as this wine, 

The libation I would pour 
Should be peace with thine and mine, 

And a health to thee, Tom Moore. 
George Noel Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) 

Edward Coate Pinkney, a gifted young Maryland poet 
who died at the age of twenty-six, wrote what is prob- 
ably the best of all toasts to a woman. Although the 
poem has several inferior lines, it is not unworthy of a 
place beside the Cavalier lyrics of Lovelace and Herrick. 
The sentimental extravagance of the poet's language 


recalls the grandiloquent strain in which the old-fashioned 
Southern gentleman paid his compliments to "the fair 


I fill this cup to one made up 

Of loveliness alone, 
A woman, of her gentle sex 

The seeming paragon; 
To whom the better elements 

And kindly stars have given 
A form so fair, that, like the air, 

'Tis less of earth than heaven. 

Her every tone is music's own, 

Like those of morning birds, 
And something more than melody 

Dwells ever in her words; 
The coinage of her heart are they, 

And from her lips each flows 
As one may see the burdened bee 

Forth issue from the rose. 

Affections are as thoughts to her, 

The measures of her hours; 
Her feelings have the fragrancy, 

The freshness of young flowers; 
And lovely passions, changing oft, 

So fill her, she appears 
The image of themselves by turns, 

The idol of past years ! 

Of her bright face one glance will trace 

A picture on the brain, 
And of her voice in echoing hearts 

A sound must long remain; 


But memory, such as mine of her, 

So very much endears, 
When death is nigh my latest sigh 

Will not be life's, but hers. 

I fill this cup to one made up 

Of loveliness alone, 
A woman, of her gentle sex 

The seeming paragon 
Her health ! and would on earth there stood 

Some more of such a frame, 
That life might be all poetry, 

And weariness a name. 

Edward Coate Pinkney (1802-1828} 

Vers de societe and other forms of light verse have 
flourished best in prosaic periods like the first half of the 
eighteenth and the second half of the nineteenth centuries ; 
the younger poets of today seldom attempt it. Pope, 
Gay, Prior, Swift, Cowper, and Goldsmith, all eighteenth 
century poets, excelled in light verse. Of the major 
Romantic poets, only Byron and Coleridge wrote light 
verse of importance ; but Walter Savage Landor, a minor 
poet of this period, is represented by more poems in 
Locker-Lampson's anthology than any other poet. In 
the Victorian age Locker-Lampson, Thackeray, Praed, 
and Hood all wrote brilliant light verse. Among more 
recent English poets we must mention two poets no longer 
living, Andrew Lang and Austin Dobson. Besides the 
American poets already quoted, Harte, Holmes, Aldrich, 
Field, Untermeyer, and Bunner, mention must be made 
of Lowell, Saxe, and Stedman. 

Nonsense verse is one of the most interesting varieties 


of light verse in spite of the fact that it lacks the thought 
content of serious poetry. Like vers de societe, it is 
difficult to write; for it takes a man of sense to write 
readable nonsense. The best known English writers of 
nonsense verse, all belonging to the nineteenth century, 
are Thomas Hood, Edward Lear, and Lewis Carroll 
(Charles L. Dodgson). Gelett Burgess and Oliver Her- 
ford are perhaps the most successful American authors of 
nonsense verse. 


I never saw a Purple Cow, 

I never hope to see one ; 
But I can tell you, anyhow, 

I'd rather see than be one. 

Gelett Burgess (1866- ) 

Nonsense verse has a logical consistency of its own ; it 
must not be a wild, incoherent mixture of absurdities. 
The Pobble, in the following poem by Edward Lear, is a 
wholly imaginary creature; but both the Pobble and his 
Aunt Jobiska act very like boys and aunts whom all of 
us know. 


The Pobble who has no toes 

Had once as many as we; 
When they said, "Some day you may lose them all," 

He replied, "Fish fiddle de-dee !" 
And his Aunt Jobiska made him drink 
Lavender water tinged with pink; 


For she said, "The World in general knows 
There's nothing so good for a Pobble's toes !" 

The Pobble who has no toes 

Swam across the Bristol Channel; 
But before he set out he wrapped his nose 

In a piece of scarlet flannel. 
For his Aunt Jobiska said, "No harm 
Can come to his toes if his nose is warm; 
And it's perfectly known that a Pobble's toes 
Are safe provided he minds his nose." 

The Pobble swam fast and well, 

And when boats or ships came near him, 
He tinkledy-binkledy-winkled a bell 

So that all the world could hear him. 
And all the Sailors and Admirals cried, 
When they saw him nearing the farther side, 
"He has gone to fish for his Aunt Jobiska's 
Runcible Cat with crimson whiskers !" 

But before he touched the shore 

The shore of the Bristol Channel, 
A sea-green Porpoise carried away 

His wrapper of scarlet flannel. 
And when he came to observe his feet, 
Formerly garnished with toes so neat, 
His face at once became forlorn 
On perceiving that all his toes were gone ! 

And nobody ever knew, 

From that dark day to the present, 
Whoso had taken the Pobble's toes, 

In a manner so far from pleasant. 
Whether the shrimps or crawfish gray, 
Or crafty mermaids stole them away, 


Nobody knew; and nobody knows 

How the Pobble was robbed of his twice five toes ! 

The Pobble who has no toes 

Was placed in a friendly Bark, 
And they rowed him back and carried him up 

To his Aunt Jobiska's Park. 
And she made him a feast at his earnest wish, 
Of eggs and buttercups fried with fish; 
And she said, "It's a fact the whole world knows, 
That Pobbles are happier without their toes." 

Edward Lear (1812-1888} 

Thomas Hood, one of the best of English humorous 
poets, is now remembered chiefly for his serious poem, 
"The Bridge of Sighs." Like Shakespeare, Hood was too 
fond of that questionable form of humor, the pun ; but if 
puns are at all allowable, Hood has the distinction of 
being the cleverest punster who ever wrote in verse. The 
following poem is a burlesque of sentimental and martial 
ballads as well as an excellent specimen of humorous 

A Pathetic Ballad 

Ben Battle was a soldier bold, 

And used to war's alarms; 
But a cannon-ball took off his legs, 

So he laid down his arms ! 

Now as they bore him off the field, 
Said he, "Let others shoot, 


For here I leave my second leg, 
And the Forty-second Foot !" 

The army-surgeons made him limbs: 

Said he, "They're only pegs: 
But there's as wooden members quite 

As represent my legs !" 

Now Ben he loved a pretty maid, 

Her name was Nelly Gray ; 
So he went to pay her his devours, 

When he'd devoured his pay! 

But when he called on Nelly Gray, 

She made him quite a scoff; 
And. when she saw his wooden legs, 

Began to take them off ! 

"Oh, Nelly Gray ! Oh, Nelly Gray. 

Is this your love so warm? 
The love that loves a scarlet coat 

Should be more uniform!" 

Said she, "I loved a soldier once, 

For he was blithe and brave; 
But I will never have a man 

With both legs in the grave! 

"Before you had those timber toes, 

Your love I did allow, 
But then, you know, you stand upon 

Another footing now!" 

"Oh, Nelly Gray ! Oh, Nelly Gray ! 
For all your jeering speeches, 


At duty's call, I left my legs, 
In Badajos's breaches!" 

"Why then," said she, "you've lost the feet 

Of legs in war's alarms, 
And now you cannot wear your shoes 

Upon your feats of arms !" 

"Oh, false and fickle Nelly Gray ! 

I know why you refuse: 
Though I've no feet some other man 

Is standing in my shoes ! 

"I wish I ne'er had seen your face; 

But, now, a long farewell ! 
For you will be my death ; alas ! 

You will not be my Nell!" 

Now when he went from Nelly Gray, 

His heart so heavy got 
And life was such a burthen grown, 

It made him take a knot! 

So round his melancholy neck, 

A rope he did entwine, 
And, for his second time in life, 

Enlisted in the Line! 

One end he tied around a beam, 
And then removed his pegs, 

And, as his legs were off, of course, 
He soon was off his legs ! 

And there he hung till he was dead 
As any nail in town, 


For though distress had cut him up, 
It could not cut him down ! 

A dozen men sat on his corpse, 

To find out why he died 
And they buried Ben in four cross-roads, 

With a stake in his inside ! 

Thomas Hood (1799-1845} 

No discussion of shorter, lighter poems would be com- 
plete without an example of the limerick. The author of 
"The Young Lady of Niger" is unknown. 

There was a young lady of Niger 
Who smiled as she rode on a Tiger; 

They came back from the ride 

With the lady inside, 
And the smile on the face of the Tiger. 

The parody is an exceptionally interesting variety of 
light verse. The better kind of parody burlesques not 
merely the rhythm and diction but also the sense. Phoebe 
Gary's parody on Goldsmith's well-known song (see Chap- 
ter III) is better than most of her serious poems. 


When lovely woman wants a favor, 

And finds, too late, that man won't bend, 

What earthly circumstance can save her 
From disappointment in the end? 

The only way to bring him over, 
The last experiment to try, 


Whether a husband or a lover, 
If he have a feeling is to cry. 
Phoebe Gary 

Bret Harte is probably the best of American parodists. 
His parody of Whittier's "Maud Muller" is not merely 
funny; it exposes effectively the false sentiment of that 
popular poem. Hence it is sound criticism. 

(Being the Only Genuine Sequel to "Maud Muller") 

Maud Muller all that summer day 
Raked the meadow sweet with hay; 

Yet, looking down the distant lane, 
She hoped the Judge would come again. 

But when he came, with smile and bow, 
Maud only blushed, and stammered, "Ha-ow?" 

And spoke of her "pa/' and wondered whether 
He'd give consent they should wed together. 

Old Muller burst in tears, and then 

Begged that the Judge would lend him "ten"; 

For trade was dull, and wages low, 

And the "craps," this year, were somewhat slow. 

And ere the languid summer died, 
Sweet Maud became the Judge's bride. 

But on the day that they were mated, 
Maud's brother Bob was intoxicated; 


And Maud's relations, twelve in all, 
Were very drunk at the Judge's hall; 

And when the summer came again, 
The young bride bore him babies twain; 

And the Judge was blest, but thought it strange 
That bearing children made such a change; 

For Maud grew broad and red and stout, 
And the waist that his arm once clasped about 

Was more than he now could span ; and he 
Sighed as he pondered, ruefully, 

How that which in Maud was native grace 
In Mrs. Jenkins was out of place; 

And thought of the twins, and wished that they 
Looked less like the men who raked the hay 

On Muller's farm, and dreamed with pain 
Of the day he wandered down the lane. 

And looking down that dreary track, 
He half regretted that he came back; 

For, had he waited, he might have wed 
Some maiden fair and thoroughbred; 

For there be women fair as she, 
Whose verbs and nouns do more agree. 

Alas for maiden! alas for judge! 

And the sentimental, that's one-half "fudge"; 


For Maud soon thought the Judge a bore, 
With all his learning and all his lore ; 

And the Judge would have bartered Maud's fair face 
For more refinement and social grace. 

If, of all words of tongue and pen, 
The saddest are, "It might have been," 

More sad are these we daily see: 
"It is, but hadn't ought to be." 

Francis Bret Harte (1836-1902} 

In most studies of poetry little attention is paid to 
poems shorter than the sonnet and the song. In an 
anthology, in which the editor is unable to include a tenth 
of what he would like to use, short poems are a veritable 
godsend; but they are so interesting and often so ex- 
cellent that no apology is needed for their inclusion. "A 
little thing may be perfect," said Aldrich, "but perfection 
is not a little thing." Although by no means all the 
shorter poems which are here quoted belong to vers de 
societe, they are all, at their best, characterized by ease, 
naturalness, finish, and to a greater degree than any 
other form of poetry, by an epigrammatic conciseness. 
The brief poem calls for an idea that can be briefly ex- 
pressed. It would be fatal to expand into an ode one of 
the sonnets of Keats or to make a sonnet out of Russell 
Hilliard Loines's quatrain, "On a Magazine Sonnet": 

"Scorn not the sonnet," though its strength be sapped, 
Nor say malignant its inventor blundered; 

The corpse that here in fourteen lines is wrapped 
Had else been covered with a hundred. 


The short poem often takes the form of an epigram, 
an epitaph, an inscription, or an autograph. As com- 
pared with the elegy, the epitaph is less an expression of 
grief than an attempt to sum up the merits or faults of 
its subject. The following poem, formerly ascribed to 
Ben Jonson, who wrote many excellent epitaphs, was 
written by William Browne, a minor poet of the seven- 
teenth century. The Countess of Pembroke was a sister 
of Sir Philip Sidney ; it was for her that Sidney wrote his 
romance, The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia. 

Underneath this sable hearse 
Lies the subject of all verse, 
Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother: 
Death, ere thou hast slain another 
Fair and learn'd and good as she, 
Time shall throw a dart at thee. 

In many short poems the heroic couplet, which lends 
itself admirably to epigrammatic conciseness and point, 
is used to excellent effect. An example is the epitaph 
which Alexander Pope wrote for Sir Isaac Newton, the 
celebrated discoverer of the law of gravitation : 

Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night: 
God said, Let Newton be! and all was light. 

Tennyson used a different measure for another superb 
poem of the same type, "Sir John Franklin: On the 
Cenotaph in Westminster Abbey." Franklin was an 
Arctic explorer who died in the far North. 

Not here ! the white North has thy bones ; and thou, 
Heroic sailor-soul, 


Art passing on thine happier voyage now 
Toward no earthly pole. 

Not inferior to any of the preceding poems is Edwin 
Arlington Robinson's version of a poem in the Greek 
Anthology, "An Inscription by the Sea" : 

No dust have I to cover me, 

My grave no man may show; 
My tomb is this unending sea, 

And I lie far below. 
My fate, O stranger, was to drown; 
And where it was the ship went down 

Is what the sea-birds know. 

Epitaphs in lighter vein are very numerous. An eight- 
eenth century poet, John Gay, wrote an epitaph for 
himself which some one actually inscribed upon his tomb : 

Life is a jest, and all things show it: 
I thought so once, and now I know it. 

A famous epitaph by an otherwise forgotten poet is the 
Earl of Rochester's "Epitaph on Charles II." King 
Charles, who came to the throne in 1660, was easy-going, 
witty, and good-natured, but dissipated and unprincipled. 

Here lies our Sovereign Lord the King, 

Whose word no man relies on, 
Who never said a foolish thing, 

Nor ever did a wise one. 

Some of the best of British epitaphs were written by 
Burns. Most of them are humorous, but "A Bard's 
Epitaph," already quoted, is one of the best of his serious 


poems. The poem quoted below is his "Epitaph on John 
Dove," an innkeeper. Ken means know ; carl, fellow ; 
maun, must; memento mori, remember that all must die; 
warl\ world. 

Here lies Johnny Pidgeon ; 
What was his religion ? 

Wha e'er desires to ken, 
To some other warl' 
Maun follow the carl, 

For here Johnny Pidgeon had nane ! 

Strong ale was ablution, 
Small beer persecution, 

A dram was memento mori; 
But a full flowing bowl 
Was the saving his soul, 

And port was celestial glory. 

As every reader of Burns, Scott, and Stevenson will 
recall, some of the strangest and most romantic episodes 
in English poetry and fiction concern the attempts of the 
Jacobites, followers of James II and his descendants, to 
place one or another of the worthless Stuart family upon 
the British throne. In "A Jacobite's Epitaph," another 
Scotchman, Lord Macaulay, points out the real pathos 
of this devotion to a lost cause: 

To my true king I offered free from stain 
Courage and faith; vain faith, and courage vain. 
For him I threw lands, honours, wealth away, 
And one dear hope that was more prized than they. 
For him I languished in a foreign clime, 
Grey-haired with sorrow in my manhood's prime; 


Heard on Lavernia Scargill's whispering trees, 
And pined by Arno for my lovelier Tees ; 
Beheld each night my home in fevered sleep, 
Each morning started from the dream to weep; 
Till God, who saw me tried too sorely, gave 
The resting-place I asked, an early grave. 
O thou, whom chance leads to this nameless stone, 
From that proud country which was once mine own, 
By those white cliffs I never more must see, 
By that dear language which I spake like thee, 
Forget all feuds, and shed one English tear 
O'er English dust. A broken heart lies here. 

There are a number of beautiful short poems concerned 
with death which do not come under the head of epitaphs. 
One of the best of these is an Anglo-Saxon couplet sup- 
posed to have been inscribed upon the true cross on which 
Jesus was crucified. This poem, known as the "Brussels 
Cross Inscription," has been thus translated by Professor 
Chauncey B. Tinker: 

Rood is my name. Once long ago I bore 
Trembling, bedewed with blood, the mighty King. 

A more famous short poem is the Roman Emperor 
Hadrian's address "To his Soul," which has been trans- 
lated by Matthew Prior : 

Poor little, pretty, fluttering thing, 

Must we no longer live together? 
And dost thou prune thy trembling wing, 

To take thy flight thou know'st not whither? 

Thy humorous vein, thy pleasing folly 
Lie all neglected, all forgot: 


And pensive, wavering, melancholy, 

Thou dread'st and hop'st thou know'st not what. 

The following lines by Emily Dickinson recall Gray's 
famous "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard": 

This quiet Dust was Gentlemen and Ladies, 

And Lads and Girls ; 
Was laughter and ability and sighing, 

And frocks and curls. 
This passive place a Summer's nimble mansion, 

Where Bloom and Bees 
Fulfilled their Oriental Circuit, 

Then ceased like these.* 

Two of the most beautiful of all brief poems are 
Goethe's "Wanderer's Night-songs," which Longfellow 
has skilfully translated: 

Thou that from the heavens art, 
Every pain and sorrow stillest, 
And the doubly wretched heart 
Doubly with refreshment fillest, 
I am weary with contending! 
Why this rapture and unrest? 
Peace descending 
Come, ah, come into my breast ! 


O'er all the hill-tops 
Is quiet now, 
In all the tree-tops 
Hearest thou 

* Copyrighted by Little, Brown and Company. 


Hardly a breath; 

The birds are asleep in the trees: 

Wait; soon like these 

Thou too shalt rest. 

Walter Savage Landor has more great short poems to 
his credit than any other English poet. The best known 
of these, after "Rose Aylmer," is "On his Seventy-fifth 
Birthday" : 

I strove with none, for none was worth my strife ; 

Nature I loved, and, next to Nature, Art; 
I warm'd both hands before the fire of life; 

It sinks, and I am ready to depart. 

Hardly inferior to this is his quatrain, "On Death": 

Death stands above me, whispering low 

I know not what into my ear: 
Of his strange language all I know 

Is, there is not a word of fear. 

In a lighter vein is Lander's "With Petrarch's Son- 

Behold what homage to his idol paid 

The tuneful suppliant of Valclusa's shade. 

His verses still the tender heart engage, 

They charm'd a rude, and please a polish'd age: 

Some are to nature and to passion true, 

And all had been so, had he lived for you. 

Using the same metrical form, Matthew Prior pays a lady 
a similar compliment in his lines "Written in a Lady's 


With virtue such as yours had Eve been arm'd, 
In vain the fruit had blush'd, the serpent charm'd. 
Nor had our bliss by penitence been bought, 
Nor had frail Adam fall'n, nor Milton wrote. 

"Her Initials," by Thomas Hardy, tells a different story. 

Upon a poet's page I wrote 
Of old two letters of her name; 
Part seemed she of the effulgent thought 
Whence that high singer's rapture came. 
When now I turn the leaf the same 
Immortal light illumes the lay, 
But from the letters of her name 
The radiance has waned away ! 

The eighteenth century was fond of such witty, cynical 
epigrams as the following couplet which Pope caused to 
be engraved on the collar of a dog which he presented to 
the Prince of Wales : 

I am His Highness' dog at Kew; 
Pray, tell me, sir, whose dog are you? 

Much more modern in sentiment is William Watson's 
epitaph for a dog: 

His friends he loved. His direst earthly foes 
Cats I believe he did but feign to hate. 

My hand will miss the insinuated nose, 

Mine eyes the tail that wagg'd contempt at fate. 

Let us return for a moment to the eighteenth century, 
which has given us so many epigrams. Mrs. Jane Brereton 
wrote the clever quatrain, "On Beau Nash's Picture, which 


once Stood between the Busts of Newton and Pope.'* 
Beau Nash was a famous dandy and social leader at Bath. 

This picture placed these busts between, 

Gives satire its full strength; 
Wisdom and wit are seldom seen, 

But folly at full length. 

The above lines suggested the following quatrain by the 
Earl of Chesterfield : 

Immortal Newton never spoke 

More truth than here you'll find; 

Nor Pope himself e'er penn'd a joke 
Severer on mankind. 

One of the best of American quatrains is "Woman's 
Will" by John Godfrey Saxe: 

Men, dying, make their wills; but wives 

Escape a work so sad; 
Why should they make what all their lives 

The gentle dames have had? 

A contemporary American poet, Willard Wattles, has 
written a clever quatrain entitled "Creeds" : * 

How pitiful are little folk 

They seem so very small; 
They look at stars, and think they are 


Leigh Hunt, the friend of Keats, is best remembered 
for his "Rondeau," which is technically not a rondeau at 
all. The Jenny of the poem was Mrs. Thomas Carlyle. 

* By permission from Lanterns in Oethsemane by Willard Wattles, 
copyright by E. P. Dutton and Company. 


Jenny kissed me when we met, 

Jumping from the chair she sat in; 
Time, you thief, who love to get 

Sweets into your list, put that in ! 
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad, 

Say that health and wealth have missed me, 
Say I'm growing old, but add 

Jenny kissed me. 

"To a Post-Office Inkwell," by Christopher Morley, who 
edits for the New York Evening Post a "colyum" called 
"The Bowling Green," is one of the best of latter-day 
short poems : 

How many humble hearts have dipped 
In you, and scrawled their manuscript! 
How shared their secrets, told their cares, 
Their curious and quaint affairs ! 
Your pool of ink, your scratchy pen, 
Have moved the lives of unborn men, 
And watched young people, breathing hard, 
Put Heaven on a postal card. 

Autograph poems are numerous but usually poor in 
quality. Not quite sincere, perhaps, but certainly im- 
pressive are Byron's "Lines Written in an Album at 

As o'er the cold sepulchral stone 
Some name arrests the passer-by; 

Thus, when thou view'st this page alone, 
May mine attract thy pensive eye ! 

And when by thee that name is read, 
Perchance in some succeeding year, 


Reflect on me as on the dead, 

And think my heart is buried here. 

Although Lowell's "For an Autograph" is too much of 
a sermon, it is otherwise excellent: 

Though old the thought and oft exprest, 
'Tis his at last who says it best, 
I'll try my fortune with the rest. 

Life is a leaf of paper white 
Whereon each one of us may write 
His word or two, and then comes night. 

"Lo, time and space enough," we cry, 
"To write an epic !" so we try 
Our nibs upon the edge, and die. 

Muse not which way the pen to hold, 
Luck hates the slow and loves the bold, 
Soon come the darkness and the cold. 

Greatly begin ! though thou have time 
But for a line, be that sublime, 
Not failure, but low aim, is crime. 

Ah, with what lofty hope we came ! 
But we forget it, dream of fame, 
And scrawl, as I do here, a name. 

For the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in Boston 
Lowell wrote the following quatrain: 

To those who died for her on land and sea, 
That she might have a country great and free, 
Boston builds this: build ye her monument 
In lives like theirs, at duty's summons spent. 


Perhaps Richard Watson Gilder had the above poem in 
mind when he wrote the following quatrain for Lowell's 
birthday : 

Navies nor armies can exalt the state, 

Millions of men, nor coined wealth untold: 
Down to the pit may sink a land of gold; 

But one great name can make a country great. 

William Watson has more good epigrams to his 
credit than any other living poet. His "To Christina 
Rossetti" is a beautiful tribute to one of the greatest 
women who have written poetry ; for Christina Rossetti 
was a genuine poet, not a poetaster or a mere "poetess." 
The two other women referred to in the poem are prob- 
ably Sappho and Mrs. Browning. 

Songstress, in all times ended and begun, 
Thy billowy-bosom'd fellows are not three. 

Of those sweet peers, the grass is green o'er one; 
And blue above the other is the sea. 

Brief poems in free verse are rare, for free verse ap- 
pears so easy to write that it tempts the poet into diffuse- 
ness. Nevertheless there are some short poems in free 
verse which attain high excellence. Whitman's "To Old 
Age" is one of the best : 

I see in you the estuary that enlarges and spreads 
itself grandly as its pours in the great sea. 

Ezra Pound's "In a Station of the Metro," or London 
subway, gives a striking picture: 


The apparition of these faces in the crowd; 
Petals on a wet, black bough. 

A contemporary American poet, Adelaide Crapsey, has 
written many "cinquains," free verse poems in five lines. 


These be 

Three silent things: 

The falling snow . . . the hour 

Before the dawn . . . the mouth of one 

Just dead. 


Just now, 

Out of the strange 

Still dusk ... as strange, as still . . . 

A white moth flew. Why am I grown 

So cold? 

These two poems remind one of the short Japanese 
form called the hokkti, a poem of only three lines, in 
which the poet endeavors to condense his thought into 
the smallest possible space. The great and growing in- 
fluence of Asfiatic poetry on contemporary verse has 
tended to bring about greater conciseness and finish. 
Amy Lowell and Witter Bynner have recently translated 
a large number of Chinese poems for American readers. 

In taking leave of light verse, we can do no better than 
quote Austin Dobson's plea for this rare and difficult type 
of poetry. Dobson, until his death in 1921, was the 


greatest living master of vers de societe and kindred 
forms. The following poem is very exceptional in that it 
employs only feminine rimes. 


In our hearts is the Great One of Avon 


And we climb the cold summits once built on 

By Milton. 

But at times not the air that is rarest 

Is fairest, 

And we long in the valley to follow 


Then we drop from the heights atmospheric 

To Herrick, 

Or we pour the Greek honey, grown blander, 

Of Landor; 

Or our cosiest nook in the shade is 

Where Praed is, 

Or we toss the light bells of the mocker 

With Locker. 

Oh, the song where not one of the Graces 


Where we woo the sweet Muses not starchly, 

But archly, 

Where the verse, like a piper a-Maying, 

Comes playing, 

And the rhyme is as gay as a dancer 

In answer, 


It will last till men weary of pleasure 

In measure ! 

It will last till men weary of laughter . . 

And after ! 
Austin Dobson 





The conceits of the poets of other lands I'd bring thee not, 
Nor the compliments that have served their turn so long, 
Nor rime, nor the classics, nor perfume of foreign court or 

indoor library. 
Walt Whitman: "Thou Mother with thy Equal Brood" 

RIME, as we have seen, is not essential to poetry; for 
if it were, we should be forced to the absurd conclusion 
that Hamlet and Paradise Lost are not poetry. Writers 
of free verse have forced us to abandon meter, the tradi- 
tional mark of distinction between poetry and prose. 
Rhythm, every one admits, is essential ; but literary prose 
has also a rhythm of its own which it is difficult, if not 
impossible, to distinguish from that of poetry. A bril- 
liant contemporary critic, J. E. Spingarn, actually goes 
so far as to say, "The fact is that there is no real dis- 
tinction between prose and verse." 

Certain older poets and critics long ago conceded the 
fundamental principle of free verse when they admitted 
that meter is not an essential of poetry. Aristotle, 
writing over two thousand years ago, said that poetry is 
to be distinguished from prose by something other than 
meter. The history of Herodotus, he said, would remain 
history if it were written in verse. Sidney, Wordsworth, 



Coleridge, Shelley, and Emerson all admitted that meter 
is not essential, although none of them attempted free 
verse, as logically they should have done. Poetic prose, 
or prose poetry, however, many older authors did write. 
In this anomalous form Sidney, Sir Thomas Browne, 
Milton, DeQuincey, Lamb, Poe, and Emerson, to name no 
others, all endeavored, like present-day writers of free 
verse, to explore the uncertain borderland which separates 
verse from prose. The prose poems of Ossian, which 
enjoyed a tremendous vogue all over Europe in the late 
eighteenth century, are perhaps the most famous of the 
early specimens of free verse. 

Ever since the divorce of poetry from music, there has 
been an increasing tendency to irregularity in poetic form. 
Many older poems are to be distinguished from free verse 
only by the use of rime. Dryden's "Alexander's Feast," 
Coleridge's "Kubla Khan," Arnold's "Dover Beach," and 
Tennyson's "Ode on the Death of the Duke of Welling- 
ton" have neither regular stanzaic form, length of line, 
nor uniform metrical movement. Dryden, in his irregular 
ode, mixes trochaic, iambic, and anapestic feet almost as 
freely as Walt Whitman and Carl Sandburg do. More- 
over, in poems which purport to be regular, we find wide 
variations from the normal form. Browning's line, 

Historical and philosophical, 
is meant for blank verse; but so also is Milton's 

Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and shades of death. 

Both these lines are meant to be read as iambic pentam- 
eter! Anapestic and dactylic poems, as we have seen, 


are almost invariably irregular. Their popularity 
throughout the nineteenth century is significant. 

Long before the time of Whitman, English poets ex- 
perimented with unrimed forms apart from blank verse. 
Orthodox poets like Scott, Tennyson, Longfellow, and 
Lowell imitated Anglo-Saxon and Icelandic poetry, which 
employed alliteration instead of rime and required no fixed 
number of syllables in each line. In fact, as one reads 
Tennyson's translation of the Old English "Battle of 
Brunanburh," free verse seems almost a reversion to the 
earliest known form of English poetry. In "Merlin and 
the Gleam," Tennyson, without stressing alliteration, 
imitated this Anglo-Saxon unrimed form. 

Launch your vessel, 
And crowd your canvas, 
And, ere it vanishes 
Over the margin, 
After it, follow it, 
Follow the Gleam. 

Aside from blank verse and free verse, probably the 
best unrimed poem in the language is William Collins's 
"Ode to Evening." The stanza which Collins employs 
consists of two iambic pentameter lines followed by two 
of iambic trimeter. 


If aught of oaten stop or pastoral song 

May hope, chaste Eve, to soothe thy modest ear 

Like thy own solemn springs, 

Thy springs, and dying gales; 


O Nymph reserved, while now the bright-haired sun 
Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts, 

With brede ethereal wove, 

O'erhang his wavy bed: 

Now air is hushed, save where the weak-eyed bat, 
With short shrill shriek flits by on leathern wing; 

Or where the beetle winds 

His small but sullen horn, 

As oft he rises midst the twilight path, 
Against the pilgrim borne in heedless hum: 

Now teach me, Maid composed 

To breathe some softened strain, 

Whose numbers, stealing through thy darkening vale, 
May, not unseemly, with its stillness suit, 

As musing slow, I hail 

Thy genial loved return. 

For when thy folding star arising shows 
His paly circlet, at his warning lamp 

The fragrant Hours, and Elves 

Who slept in buds the day, 

And many a Nymph who wreathes her brows with sedge, 
And sheds the freshening dew, and, lovelier still, 

The pensive Pleasures sweet 

Prepare thy shadowy car. 

Then let me rove some wild and heathy scene; 
Or find some ruin, midst its dreary dells, 

Whose walls more awful nod 

By thy religious gleams. 

Or if chill blustering winds, or driving rain 
Prevent my willing feet, be mine the hut 


That from the mountain's side 
Views wilds, and swelling floods, 

And hamlets brown, and dim-discovered spires; 
And hears their simple bell, and marks o'er all 

Thy dewy fingers draw 

The gradual dusky veil. 

While Spring shall pour his showers, as oft he wont, 
And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Eve ! 

While Summer loves to sport 

Beneath thy lingering light; 

While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves; 
Or Winter, yelling through the troublous air, 

Affrights thy shrinking train, 

And rudely rends thy robes; 

So long, regardful of thy quiet rule, 

Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, smiling Peace, 

Thy gentlest influence own, 

And love thy favorite name. 

William Collins (1721-1759} 

If we go to other literatures than English, we find 
that both rime and meter are often unknown. Rime is not 
found in classical Latin, Greek, or Hebrew, and very 
rarely in English poetry until after the Norman Conquest 
in 1066. Hebrew poetry has nothing, either in the 
original or in translation, which corresponds to English 
meter or rime. Yet who that disputes the claims of free 
verse will deny that the following lines from the Nine- 
teenth Psalm are poetry? 


The heavens declare the glory of God; 

And the firmament sheweth his handywork. 

Day unto day uttereth speech, 

And night unto night sheweth knowledge. 

There is no speech nor language; 

Their voice cannot be heard. 

Their line is gone out through all the earth, 

And their words to the end of the world. 

Ever since the time of Elizabeth, there have been 
attempts in English to write poetry in classical meters, 
in order to avoid rime and the iambic movement. The 
hexameter used by Longfellow in Evangeline is the one 
classical form which has won a real foothold and since 
in Latin and Greek verse quantity and not accent is the 
guiding principle, Longfellow's hexameters are very dif- 
ferent from those of Homer and Vergil. Upon the modern 
reader, who, like Shakespeare, usually has "small Latin 
and less Greek," the effect is practically the same as that 
of free verse. The sapphic stanza, named for the Greek 
poet Sappho, has tempted a considerable number of Eng- 
lish and American poets. Sara Teasdale (Mrs. Fil- 
singer), one of the best of contemporary lyric poets and 
an ardent admirer of Sappho, has written the following 
striking lyric in the sapphic stanza. 


If I can bear your love like a lamp before me, 
When I go down the long steep Road of Darkness, 
I shall not fear the everlasting shadows, 
Nor cry in terror. 


If I can find out God, then I shall find Him; 
If none can find Him, then I shall sleep soundly, 
Knowing how well on earth your love sufficed me, 
A lamp in darkness. 

Sara Teasdale (1884- ) 

Not long before Whitman published his Leaves of 
Grass in 1855, Matthew Arnold began to write unrimed 
poems which approximate free verse. "The Youth of 
Nature," "The Future," "The Strayed Reveller," and 
"Rugby Chapel" are much nearer to free verse than we 
should have expected from any Victorian poet. Arnold 
may have found a precedent in Southey's Thalaba, 
Shelley's Queen Mob, or even in the choruses of Milton's 
Samson Agonistes; all these are distinguished from free 
verse only by a prevailing iambic movement. After 
Keats's "Ode to a Nightingale," Arnold's "Philomela" is 
the best poem upon the favorite bird of the English poets. 


Hark! ah, the nightingale 

The tawny-throated ! 

Hark, from that moonlit cedar what a burst! 

What triumph ! hark ! what pain ! 

O wanderer from a Grecian shore, 

Still, after many years, in distant lands, 

Still nourishing in thy bewilder'd brain 

That wild, unquench'd, deep-sunken, old-world pain 

Say, will it never heal? 

And can this fragrant lawn 

With its cool trees, and night, 


And the sweet, tranquil Thames, 
And moonshine, and the dew, 
To thy rack'd heart and brain 
Afford no balm? 

Dost thou to-night behold, 

Here, through the moonlight on this English grass, 

The unfriendly palace in the Thracian wild? 

Dost thou again peruse 

With hot cheeks and sear'd eyes 

The too clear web, and thy dumb sister's shame? 

Dost thou once more assay 

Thy flight, and feel come over thee, 

Poor fugitive, the feathery change 

Once more, and once more seem to make resound 

With love and hate, triumph and agony, 

Lone Daulis, and the high Cephissian vale? 

Listen, Eugenia 

How thick the bursts come crowding through the leaves ! 

Again thou hearest? 
^Eternal passionJ 
VEternal pain!^ 

Matthew Arnold (1822-1888} 

Modern free verse, or vers libre, as it is often unnec- 
essarily named, goes back chiefly to Walt Whitman. Yet 
the English poet William Blake wrote free verse before 
Whitman was born. Blake came to the conclusion that 
meter was as much of a bondage as rime. "I therefore," 
he says, "produced a variety in every line, both of 
cadences and number of syllables. Every word and every 
letter is studied and put into its fit place: the terrific 
numbers are reserved for the terrific parts, and the pro- 
saic for inferior parts : all are necessary to each other. 


Poetry Fetter'd Fetters the Human Race!'* One can 
hardly find a better definition of free verse even today. 
Blake's poetry, however, attracted practically no atten- 
tion until half a century after his death; and he has 
received little credit as an innovator. It was Whitman 
who fought and won the battle for free verse. 

As we have shown, there were many poems which ap- 
proximated modern free verse before Whitman published 
his Leaves of Grass in 1855. Whitman's only metrical 
innovation consisted in discarding at once both meter and 
rime; each of these had been separately abandoned by 
older poets. It is difficult nowadays to understand the 
uproar raised by Leaves of Grass until we discover that 
it was really the strangeness of Whitman's language and 
subject matter that called down upon "the good gray 
poet" the wrath of our fathers. Present-day readers like- 
wise frequently condemn contemporary free verse solely 
because they dislike the poet's language and opinions. 

Every great poet first disturbs and ultimately enlarges 
our conception of poetry; and hence almost every great 
poet finds critics who deny that he is a poet at all. The 
literary taste of the average reader, founded upon older 
authors like Keats and Tennyson, is usually at least half 
a century behind that of living writers. When the 
average person comes across a poem by Carl Sandburg 
or Edgar Lee Masters, he is shocked by something to 
which he is unaccustomed; and he illogically calls it bad 
art. Norwegian critics maintained that Ibsen's Peer 
Gynt was not poetry because it violated all established 
rules. Ibsen replied : "My book is poetry. . . . The Nor- 
wegian conception of what poetry is, shall be made to fit 


my book." So Whitman said of his Leaves of Grass; and 
today few or no literary critics deny that both Ibsen and 
Whitman were genuine poets. Nothing is more foolish 
than to condemn an author for not conforming to rules. 
As Sidney Lanier once wrote, "For the artist in verse 
there is no law; the perception and love of beauty con- 
stitute the whole outfit." 

Much of the objection to free verse is due solely to its 
unconventional appearance on the printed page. The 
free verse poet divides his sentences so that the pauses 
shall come at the ends of the lines ; in other words, he 
prints his poem as it is to be read. When an unrimed 
poem is read aloud, the average person is unable to dis- 
tinguish free verse from blank verse or even from rhythmic 
prose. One of the four following selections is in free 
verse, another in blank verse, a third in prose, and a 
fourth in rime. Can you tell at a glance which is which? 

She lay stone-still 

In a trance of terror and mournfulness, 
Mechanically counting the tears as they fell, 
One by one. 

The white mist, 
Like a face-cloth to the face, 
Clung to the dead earth, 
And the land was still. 

The New World shook him off; 

The Old yet groans beneath what he and his prepared, 

If not completed: 

He leaves heirs on many thrones to all his vices, 

Without what begot compassion for him 

His tame virtues. 


In youth my wings were strong and tireless, 

But I did not know the mountains. 

In age I knew the mountains 

But my weary wings could not follow my vision 

Genius is wisdom and youth. 

The first passage is in prose, and is taken from Mere- 
dith's Ordeal of Richard Feverel. The second is in blank 
verse, from Tennyson's "Guinevere." The third is part 
of a rimed stanza in Byron's "Vision of Judgment." 
Only the fourth selection is free verse; it is a complete 
poem entitled "Alexander Throckmorton" from Edgar 
Lee Masters's Spoon River Anthology. All four passages 
are poetic and rhythmical, but only the second and third 
are metrical. 

One of the most poetic writers of today is the Irish 
dramatist, Lord Dunsany. Although written in prose, 
his plays are full of poetry. His Fifty-one Tales, from 
which the following selection is taken, come much nearer 
being great poetry than most contemporary free verse. 
Dunsany's style, which seems to have been modeled upon 
Homer and the Bible, is characterized by a chaste beauty 
and a rigid economy. The line which he quotes from the 
Iliad is one of the most admired lines in Homer. It 
may be translated: "He went silently along the shore of 
the loud-sounding sea." 


As he crawled from the tombs of the fallen a worm met 
with an angel. 

And together they looked upon the kings and kingdoms, 
* Copyrighted by Little, Brown and Company. 


and youths and maidens and the cities of men. They saw 
the old men heavy in their chairs and heard the children 
singing in the fields. They saw far wars and warriors and 
walled towns, wisdom and wickedness, and the pomp of 
kings, and the people of all the lands that the sunlight knew. 
And the worm spake to the angel saying: "Behold my 

"&?! 8' aKtuv irapa Blva 7roXu0Xoto'/3oto 0aXd(r<r?7s," 

murmured the angel, for they walked by the sea, "and can 
you destroy that too?" 

And the worm paled in his anger to a greyness ill to behold, 
for for three thousand years he had tried to destroy that line 
and still its melody was ringing in his head. 

Lord Dunsany (1878- ) 

Walt Whitman is preeminently the poet of American 
democracy. While Longfellow and Holmes were wooing 
the courtly muses of Europe, Whitman turned his back 
upon the traditional subject matter, metrical forms, and 
language of poetry in an endeavor to translate into 
poetry American life and American ideals. There is little 
that is distinctively national about the work of Foe and 
the New England poets, excellent as their poems often 
are. "Too many of your American writers are echoes," 
says the Hindu poet Tagore ; "but Whitman is a voice." 
Before America could be adequately put into poetry, so 
it seemed to Whitman, poetry itself had to be democra- 
tized. Rime and meter had to go. The "divine average," 
not Shakespeare's kings, Tennyson's knights, or Homer's 
chieftains, were to supply the heroes of American poetry. 
Poems were to be written, not for a few cultured aristo- 
crats, but for the whole people. 


The strangest fact about Whitman's work is that 
though it was intended for the masses, the average man in 
the street has remained wholly indifferent to it. In Whit- 
man's time the prevailing American notion of poetry was 
represented not by Leaves of Grass but by "The Village 
Blacksmith" and Evangeline. During his lifetime Whit- 
man's chief admirers were cultured Englishmen. Curi- 
ously enough, it was Whitman's vogue abroad, which is 
still enormous and increasing, that forced Americans to 
recognize him. Although Emerson and Thoreau both 
hailed him as a genuine poet, it is to Englishmen like 
Rossetti and Swinburne that we go for characteristic 
praise. The finest tribute ever paid to Whitman is Swin- 
burne's "To Walt Whitman in America," from which we 
quote the following stanzas : 

Send but a song oversea for us, 
Heart of their hearts who are free, 

Heart of their singer, to be for us 
More than our singing can be; 

Ours in the tempest at error, 

With no light but the twilight of terror ; 
Send us a song oversea ! . . . 

Make us, too, music, to be with us 

As a word from a world's heart warm, 

To sail the dark as a sea with us, 
Full-sailed, outsinging the storm, 

A song to put fire in our ears 

Whose burning shall burn up tears, 
Whose sign bid battle reform. 

Since Whitman's verse is singularly uneven, it is best 
for the beginner to read him first in selected poems. 


When trying to illustrate his theory that all things are 
poetical, Whitman often wrote wretched stuff which 
sounds like a telephone directory or Who's Who in 
America ; but when he wrote spontaneously of what he 
knew and felt, he produced great and original poetry. 
His later poems are much less uneven in merit than his 
earlier verse. 

Whitman's poetry was not meant for those who wish 
merely to while away an idle hour. He might have said of 
his poems, as Browning said of his, that he never meant 
them to take the place of an after-dinner cigar. 


Did you ask dulcet rhymes from me? 

Did you seek the civilian's peaceful and languishing rhymes ? 

Did you find what I sang erewhile so hard to follow, 

Why, I was not singing erewhile for you to follow, to under- 
stand nor am I now 

(I have been born of the same as the war was born, 

The drum-corps' rattle is ever to me sweet music, I love well 
the martial dirge, 

With slow wail and convulsive throb leading the officer's 
funeral) ; 

What to such as you anyhow such a poet as I ? therefore leave 
my works, 

And go lull yourself with what you can understand, and with 

For I lull nobody, and you will never understand me. 

Walt Whitman (1819-1892} 

There are those who maintain that Whitman's compo- 
sitions are not finished poems but merely the raw material 
untranslated into poetry. Of some of his poems and of 


parts of others, this is undeniably true. In the following 
poem the opening lines seem prosaic, but they prepare us 
for the conclusion, which is genuine poetry. One who 
looks at the stars from the point of view of the mathema- 
tician will see very little poetry in them, for science and 
poetry hold opposite attitudes toward the facts of life. 
The poetic attitude is found in the Nineteenth Psalm or 
in the poem which we quote from Whitman. 


When I heard the learn'd astronomer, 

When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before 

When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, 

and measure them, 
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with 

much applause in the lecture-room, 
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick, 
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself, 
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time, 
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars. 

Walt Whitman (1819-1892} 

The Civil War marks the great crisis in Whitman's 
life. Though it tried his faith in American democracy as 
nothing else ever did, he came out with his faith con- 
firmed. His Drum-Taps is the best volume of poems in- 
spired by the War. His war poems describe not the 
great battles but minor incidents which bring out the 
human qualities of the participants in that tremendous 
conflict. What more could any soldier say of a faithful 
comrade-in-arms than Whitman says of an unknown sol- 
dier killed in Virginia? 



As toilsome I wander'd Virginia's woods, 

To the music of rustling leaves kick'd by my feet (for 't was 


I mark'd at the foot of a tree the grave of a soldier; 
Mortally wounded he and buried on the retreat (easily all 

could I understand), 
The halt of a mid-day hour, when up ! no time to lose yet 

this sign left, 

On a tablet scrawl'd and nail'd on the tree by the grave, 
Bold, cautious, true, and my loving comrade. 

Long, long I muse, then on my way go wandering, 

Many a changeful season to follow, and many a scene of life, 

Yet at times through changeful season and scene, abrupt, 

alone, or in the crowded street, 

Comes before me the unknown soldier's grave, comes the in- 
scription rude in Virginia's woods, 
Bold, cautious, true, and my loving comrade. 

Walt Whitman (1819-1892") 

At his best Whitman does not suffer from comparison 
with poets who use only the regular metrical forms. With 
other poems expressing a poet's attitude toward death 
Tennyson's "Crossing the Bar," Browning's "Prospice," 
and Sara Teasdale's "The Lamp" one should compare 
Whitman's "Barest Thou Now, O Soul" and other poems 
in free verse to be quoted later in the chapter. In earlier 
years Whitman had written: 

Has any one supposed it lucky to be born ? 
I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I 
know it. 


All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses, 
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and 

Whitman's youthful optimism we may attribute to his 
extraordinary physical vitality; but the optimism of the 
chronic invalid that he became after the Civil War is not 
easy to explain. 


Barest thou now, O soul, 

Walk out with me toward the unknown region, 

Where neither ground is for the feet nor any path to follow? 

No map there, nor guide, 

Nor voice sounding, nor touch of human hand, 
Nor face with blooming flesh, nor lips, nor eyes, are in that 

I know it not, O Soul, 

Nor dost thou, all is a blank before us, 

All waits undream'd of in that region, that inaccessible land. 

Till when the ties loosen, 

All but the ties eternal, Time and Space, 

Nor darkness, gravitation, sense, nor any bounds bounding us. 

Then we burst forth, we float, 
In Time and Space, O soul, prepared for them, 
Equal, equipt at last (O joy! O Fruit of all!) them to fulfil, 
O soul. 

Walt Whitman (1819-1892') 

The leading contemporary poets use free verse much 
less than is generally supposed. Three of the best known 


American poets, Robinson, Frost, and Lindsay, rarely or 
never use it. Sandburg and Masters use free verse a 
great deal, but only Sandburg, of our major contempo- 
rary poets, seems to use it to the exclusion of regular 
forms. Among latter-day English poets only Wilfrid 
Wilson Gibson and the late William Ernest Henley have 
used free verse to any great extent. Henley's free verse 
resembles Arnold's rather than Whitman's ; in fact, its 
rhythm is almost invariably iambic. 


A late lark twitters from the quiet skies: 

And from the west, 

Where the sun, his day's work ended, 

Lingers as in content, 

There falls on the old, gray city 

An influence luminous and serene, 

A shining peace. 

The smoke ascends 

In a rosy-and-golden haze. The spires 

Shine and are changed. The lark sings on. The sun, 

Closing his benediction, 

Sinks, and the darkening air 

Thrills with a sense of the triumphing night 

Night with her train of stars 

And her great gift of sleep. 

So be my passing! 

My task accomplish'd and the long day done, 

My wages taken, and in my heart 

Some late lark singing, 


Let me be gather'd to the quiet west, 
The sundown splendid and serene, 

William Ernest Henley (1849-1908} 

j.'he free verse of Masters and Sandburg resembles that 
of Whitman, whereas the free verse of Amy Lowell and 
"H.D." (Mrs. Richard Aldington) resembles rather the 
French vers libre poets who imitated Whitman. Thus, 
whether direct or indirect, Whitman's influence upon con- 
temporary writers of free verse is very great. In style 
and subject matter he has influenced nearly all contem- 
porary American poets. It was he who taught them to 
write upon American themes in unconventional language. 
He taught them not only how to handle free verse but 
also how to paint the poetic aspects of our modern urban 
and industrial life. In The New World a living American 
poet, Witter Bynner, has written the following tribute 
to Whitman: 

Somebody called Walt Whitman 


He is alive instead, 

Alive as I am. When I lift my head, 

His head is lifted. When his brave mouth speaks, 

My lips contain his word. And when his rocker creaks 

Ghostly in Camden, there I sit in it and watch my hand grow 


And take upon my constant lips the kiss of younger truth . . . 
It is my joy to tell and to be told 
That he in all the world and me, 
Cannot be dead, 

That I, in all the world and him, youth after youth 
Shall lift my head. 


If the reader has mistaken the above passage for free 
verse, let him re-read it and note the rime scheme. 

An excellent recent poem in free verse of the Whitman 
type is "Come, Republic," by Edgar Lee Masters, of 
whom we shall have more to say in the chapter on the 
Contemporary Poets. The poem was published in 1916, 
before America entered the World War. For "the A. D. 
Bloods," see the Spoon River Anthology. 


Come ! United States of America, 

And you one hundred million souls, O Republic, 

Throw out your chests, lift up your heads, 

And walk with a soldier's stride. 

Quit burning up for money alone. 

Quit slouching and dawdling, 

And dreaming and moralising. 

Quit idling about the streets, like the boy 

In the village, who pines for the city. 

Root out the sinister secret societies, 

And the clans that stick together for office, 

And the good men who care nothing for liberty, 

But would run you, O Republic, as a household is run. 

It is time, Republic, to get some class, 

It is time to harden your muscles, 

And to clear your eyes in the cold water of Reality, 

And to tighten your nerves. 

It is time to think what Nature means, 

And to consult Nature, 

When your soul, as you call it, calls to you 

To follow principle ! 

It is time to snuff out the A. D. Bloods. 

It is time to lift yourself, O Republic, 

From the street corners of Spoon River. 


Do you wish to survive, 

And to count in the years to come? 

Then do what the plow-boys did in sixty-one, 

Who left the fields for the camp, 

And tightened their nerves and hardened their arms 

Till the day they left the camp for the fields 

The bravest, readiest, clearest-eyed 

Straight-walking men in the world, 

And symbolical of a Republic 

That is worthy the name! 

If you, Republic, had kept the faith 

Of a culture all your own, 

And a spiritual independence, 

And a freedom large and new. 

If you had not set up a Federal judge in China, 

And scrambled for place in the Orient, 

And stolen the Philippine Islands, 

And mixed in the business of Europe, 

Three thousand miles of water east, 

And seven thousand west 

Had kept your hands untainted, free 

For a culture all your own ! 

But while you were fumbling, and while you were dreaming 

As the boy in the village dreams of the city 

You were doing something worse: 

You were imitating! 

You came to the city and aped the swells, 

And tried to enter their set! 

You strained your Fate to their fate, 

And borrowed the mood to live their life! 

And here you are in the game, Republic, 

But not prepared to play ! 

But you did it. 

And the water east and water west 


Are no longer your safeguard: 

They are now your danger and difficulty ! 

And you must live the life you started to imitate 

In spite of these perilous waters. 

For they keep you now from being neutral 

For you are not neutral, Republic, 

You only pretend to be. 

You are not free, independent, brave, 

You are shackled, cowardly 

For what could happen to you overnight 

In the Orient, 

If you stood with your shoulders up, 

And were Neutral! 

Suppose you do it, Republic. 

Get some class, 

Throw out your chest, lift up your head, 

Be a ruler in the world, 

And not a hermit in regimentals with a flint-lock. 

Colossus with one foot in Europe, 

And one in China, 

Quit looking between your legs for the re-appearance 

Of the star of Bethlehem 

Stand up and be a man! 

Edgar Lee Masters (1869- ) 

Carl Sandburg's best known poem, "Chicago," is quoted 
in the following chapter. The poem which we quote here 
is a cutting satire upon a certain type of American 


Now the stone house on the lake front is finished and the 

workmen are beginning the fence. 
The palings are made of iron bars with steel points that can 

stab the life out of any man who falls on them. 


As a fence, it is a masterpiece, and will shut off the rabble 
and all vagabonds and hungry men and all wandering 
children looking for a place to play. 

Passing through the bars and over the steel points will go 
nothing except Death and the Rain and To-morrow. 

Carl Sandburg (1878- ) 

On the part of the best contemporary writers of free 
verse, there is a tendency toward a greater regularity of 
form. It is felt that free verse is too easy to write and 
that its facility betrays the poet into diffuseness and 
feebleness. Hence the attempt to define free verse and 
to lay down certain laws for its composition. The 
Imagists define free verse as "a verse-form based upon 
cadence." One of the rules for the writing of poetry laid 
down by the Imagists is, in part : "To create new rhythms 
as the expressions of new moods and not to copy old 
rhythms, which merely echo old moods. ... In poetry, a 
new cadence means a new idea." The Imagists insist that 
the unit is not the foot or the line but the strophe, which 
may comprise the whole poem or only a part of it. Each 
strophe is conceived as a circle, a departure and a return. 
The following poem by John Gould Fletcher shows this 
tendency toward greater regularity of form. 


Thus would I have it: 
So should it be for me, 
The scene of my departure. 
Cliffs ringed with scarlet, 
And the sea pounding 


The pale brown sand 
Miles after miles; 
And then, afar off, 
White on the horizon, 
One ship with sails full-set 
Passing slowly and serenely, 
Like a proud burst of music, 
To fortunate islands. 

John Gould Fletcher (1886- ) 

Free verse is a hybrid form; it is the result of an at- 
tempt to explore the no man's land which divides prose 
from verse. Of late years there has been much confusion of 
the arts. Music, poetry, and painting have all overstepped 
their traditional boundaries. Some of the later poets, 
not satisfied with free verse, have borrowed from the 
French a form called "polyphonic prose." This form, 
however, differs even less than free verse from what used 
to be called prose poetry or poetic prose. Mr. Patter- 
son, in his excellent study, The Rhythm of Prose, states 
his conviction that the rhythm of free verse is not that 
of poetry but of prose "spaced prose," he calls it. In 
other words, free verse is, in the main, only a new name 
for a very old thing, poetic or impassioned prose. 

The bulk of current free verse is, like the great ma- 
jority of rimed poems printed in our newspapers and 
magazines, not poetry at all; it is not even good prose. 
There are, however, poems in free verse which challenge 
comparison with anything that has been said or sung in 
rime. This anomalous form seems especially effective in 
poems which attempt to describe the complex industrial 
civilization of our time. Skyscrapers, railroads, and cot- 


ton mills do not lend themselves readily to conventional 
poetic treatment. Theoretically, free verse permits the 
writer to use all the resources of both prose and poetry 
in his effort to say what has never been effectively said 
before. Free verse is least suited to lyric poetry; it is 
nearer the prose level and farther from the song than 
any other type of poetry. It is, however, excellent in 
realistic narrative and descriptive poetry. 



/ Cynics have said since the first outpourings of men's hearts, 
"There is nothing new in art; there are no new subjects." 
But the very reverse is true. There are no old subjects; every 
subject is new as soon as it has been transformed by the 
imagination of the poet. Joel Elias Spingarn: "Creative 


UP to this point we have studied poems either accord- 
ing to metrical form, as in the sonnet, or according to 
type, as in the song. There are, of course, many other 
ways of studying poetry, and each of them has its spe- 
cial merits. The method employed in this chapter, 
though seldom used, has decided advantages. A very illu- 
minating comparison can be made of what poets in vari- 
ous countries and epochs have found to say of such peren- 
nially interesting subjects as nature, patriotism, love, 
war, death, and immortality. The comparative test is 
also an excellent test to apply to the work of a poet whose 
rank we wish to determine. After reading the poems con- 
tained in this chapter, the reader should decide whether, 
in his estimation, the American poets come up to the level 
of the British, and whether the present-day poets of 
either country measure up to older writers like Words- 
worth and Poe. We shall consider four widely dif- 



fering general themes: Death, Abraham Lincoln, Nature, 
and the City. 

"Our sweetest songs,'* wrote Shelley, "are those that 
tell of saddest thought." Melancholy, said Poe, is "the 
most legitimate of all the poetical tones." Death seemed 
to Poe most poetical when it "most closely allies itself to 
Beauty; the death, then," reasoned Poe, "of a beautiful 
woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the 
world; and equally is it beyond doubt that the lips best 
suited for such topic are those of a bereaved lover." 
Here, in reality, Poe has combined two themes, love and 
death. The death of a lovely woman is the theme of 
nearly all of Poe's best poems, "The Raven," "Annabel 
Lee," "Ulalume," "Lenore," and "The Sleeper." 
Although "The Raven" is the best known of these, "The 
Sleeper" was, in Poe's estimation, a greater poem. "In 
the higher qualities of poetry," said he, "it is better than 
'The Raven' ; but there is not one man in a million who 
could be brought to agree with me in this opinion." 


At midnight, in the month of June, 
I stand beneath the mystic moon. 
An opiate vapor, dewy, dim, 
Exhales from out her golden rim, 
And, softly dripping, drop by drop, 
Upon the quiet mountain top, 
Steals drowsily and musically 
Into the universal valley. 
The rosemary nods upon the grave; 
The lily lolls upon the wave; 
Wrapping the fog about its breast, 


The ruin moulders into rest; 
Looking like Lethe, see ! the lake 
A conscious slumber seems to take, 
And would not, for the world, awake. 
All Beauty sleeps ! and lo ! where lies 
Irene, with her Destinies ! 

Oh, lady bright ! can it be right 
This window open to the night? 
The wanton airs, from the tree-top, 
Laughingly through the lattice drop 
The bodiless airs, a wizard rout, 
Flit through thy chamber in and out, 
And wave the curtain canopy 
So fitfully so fearfully 
Above the closed and fringed lid 
'Neath which thy slumb'ring soul lies hid, 
That, o'er the floor and down the wall, 
Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall! 
Oh, lady dear, hast thou no fear? 
Why and what art thou dreaming here? 
Sure thou art come o'er far-off seas, 
A wonder to these garden trees ! 
Strange is thy pallor ! strange thy dress ! 
Strange, above all, thy length of tress, 
And this all solemn silentness ! 

The lady sleeps ! Oh, may her sleep 
Which is enduring, so be deep ! 
Heaven have her in its sacred keep ! 
This chamber changed for one more holy, 
This bed for one more melancholy, 
I pray to God that she may lie 
Forever with unopened eye, 
While the pale sheeted ghosts go by! 


My love, she sleeps ! Oh, may her sleep, 
As it is lasting, so be deep ! 
Soft may the worms about her creep ! 
Far in the forest, dim and old, 
For her may some tall vault unfold 
Some vault that oft hath flung its black 
And winged panels fluttering back, 
Triumphant, o'er the crested palls, 
Of her grand family funerals 
Some sepulchre, remote, alone, 
Against whose portal she hath thrown, 
In childhood, many an idle stone 
Some tomb from out whose sounding door 
She ne'er shall force an echo more, 
Thrilling to think, poor child of sin! 
It was the dead who groaned within. 

Edgar Allan Foe (1809-184-9) 

The death of a beautiful woman is a theme which, like 
most others, may be treated in narrative and dramatic as 
well as in lyric poetry. It may also be employed in prose 
fiction or in sculpture and painting, as every one who 
has seen Millais's "Ophelia" will recall. In fiction one 
thinks of the beautiful Amy Robsart in Scott's Kenil- 
worth, of Eustacia Vye in Hardy's Return of the 
Native, of Maggie Tulliver in George Eliot's Mill on 
the Floss, and of Zenobia in Hawthorne's Blithedale 
Romance. In Shakespeare's plays one recalls the deaths 
of Juliet, Desdemona, Cleopatra, and Ophelia. The 
student should compare the following poems as to sin- 
cerity of feeling, beauty of expression, and point of view. 
He will find it worth while also to look up other notable 
poems on the same general theme, such as Lamb's 


"Hester"; Browning's "My Last Duchess," "Evelyn 
Hope," and "Porphyria's Lover"; Tennyson's "Lady of 
Shalott" and "Lancelot and Elaine"; Pope's "Elegy to 
the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady"; Landor's "The 
Death of Artemidora" ; Hood's "The Bridge of Sighs" ; 
and Rossetti's "The Blessed Damozel," which was inspired 
by "The Raven." 

In "Highland Mary" and "To Mary in Heaven" Burns 
celebrated a woman who is now almost as famous as 
Dante's Beatrice and Petrarch's Laura. Yet little is 
known of Mary Campbell except that she came from the 
Scottish Highlands and was probably a nurserymaid. 
The story of her romantic parting with the poet is fa- 
miliar. They stood on opposite banks of a little brook, 
exchanged vows, and parted never to meet again, for 
five months later Highland Mary was dead. Drumlie 
means muddy ; aft , often ; sae, so. 


Ye banks, and braes, and streams around 

The castle o' Montgomery, 
Green be your woods, and fair your flowers, 

Your waters never drumlie ! 
There Simmer first unfauld her robes, 

And there the langest tarry; 
For there I took the last fareweel 

O' my sweet Highland Mary. 

How sweetly bloom'd the gay green birk, 

How rich the hawthorn's blossom, 
As underneath their fragrant shade 

I clasp'd her to my bosom ! 


The golden hours on angel wings 

Flew o'er me and my dearie; 
For dear to me as light and life 

Was my sweet Highland Mary. 

Wi' mony a vow and lock'd embrace 

Our parting was fu' tender; 
And, pledging aft to meet again, 

We tore oursel's asunder; 
But oh! fell death's untimely frost, 

That nipt my flower sae early ! 
Now green's the sod, and cauld's the clay, 

That wraps my Highland Mary ! 

O pale, pale now, those rosy lips, 

I aft ha'e kiss'd sae fondly! 
And closed for aye the sparkling glance 

That dwelt on me sae kindly ! 
And mould'ring now in silent dust, 

That heart that lo'ed me dearly! 
But still within my bosom's core 

Shall live my Highland Mary. 

Robert Burns (1759-1796) 

If little is known of Highland Mary, less still is defi- 
nitely known concerning the woman whom, under the 
name of Lucy, Wordsworth celebrated in three or four 
beautiful lyrics. The second stanza of the following poem 
is one of the finest passages in Wordsworth's poems. 


She dwelt among the untrodden ways 

Beside the springs of Dove, 
A Maid whom there were none to praise 

And very few to love: 


A violet by a mossy stone 

Half hidden from the eye ! 
Fair as a star, when only one 

Is shining in the sky. 

She lived unknown, and few could know 

When Lucy ceased to be; 
But she is in her grave, and oh, 

The difference to me ! 

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) 

A German critic of the following poem by Landor is 
said to have remarked that one night is far too little to 
consecrate to grief for a lost sweetheart ; why not a life- 
time? But one cannot judge of the sincerity of a man's 
sorrow by the extravagance of his language. In poetry, 
as everywhere else, he who says less than he feels is surest 
to convince us of his sincerity. Rose Aylmer, the daugh- 
ter of Baron Aylmer, died in India in 1800. 


Ah, what avails the sceptred race, 

Ah, what the form divine ! 
What every virtue, every grace ! 

Rose Aylmer, all were thine. 

Rose Aylmer, whom these wakeful eyes 

May weep, but never see, 
A night of memories and of sighs 

I consecrate to thee. 

Walter Savage Landor (1773-1864) 

Among the shorter poems of Lord Byron, few have been 
more admired than the following stanzas : 



Oh ! snatch'd away in beauty's bloom 
On thee shall press no ponderous tomb ; 

But on thy turf shall roses rear 

Their leaves, the earliest of the year; 
And the wild cypress wave in tender gloom: 

And oft by yon blue gushing stream 

Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head, 
And feed deep thought with many a dream, 

And lingering pause and lightly tread; 

Fond wretch! as if her step disturb'd the dead! 

Away ! we know that tears vain, 

That death nor heeds nor hears distress: 

Will this unteach us to complain? 

Or make one mourner weep the less? 

And thou who tell'st me to forget, 

Thy looks are wan, thine eyes are wet. 

George Noel Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) 

Unlike the preceding selections, Matthew Arnold's 
"Requiescat" is not a love poem. The Latin title means 
May she rest in peace ! 


Strew on her roses, roses, 

And never a spray of yew! 
In quiet she reposes; 

Ah, would that I did too! 

Her mirth the world required; 

She bathed it in smiles of glee. 
But her heart was tired, tired, 

And now they let her be. 


Her life was turning, turning, 

In mazes of heat and sound. 
But for peace her soul was yearning, 

And now peace laps her round. 

Her cabin'd, ample spirit, 

It flutter'd and fail'd for breath. 

To-night it doth inherit 
The vasty hall of death. 

Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) 

The poems we have quoted are all lyrics. Whittier's 
"Telling the Bees" is narrative and idyllic. The super- 
stition that, when a member of the family dies, the bees 
will fly away unless they are told of it, is found in rural 
districts in New England and the West. The New Eng- 
land summer landscape is here described as skilfully as 
are the winter scenes in "Snow-Bound." 


Here is the place; right over the hill 

Runs the path I took; 
You can see the gap in the old wall still, 

And the stepping-stones in the shallow brook. 

There is the house, with the gate red-barred, 

And the poplars tall; 
And the barn's brown length, and the cattle-yard, 

And the white horns tossing above the wall. 

There are the beehives ranged in the sun ; 

And down by the brink 
Of the brook are her poor flowers, weed-o'errun, 

Pansy and daffodil, rose and pink. 


A year has gone, as the tortoise goes, 

Heavy and slow; 
And the same rose blows, and the same sun glows, 

And the same brook sings of a year ago. 

There's the same sweet clover-smell in the breeze; 

And the June sun warm 
Tangles his wings of fire in the trees, 

Setting, as then, over Fernside farm. 

I mind me how with a lover's care 

From my Sunday coat 
I brushed off the burrs, and smoothed my hair, 

And cooled at the brookside my brow and throat. 

Since we parted, a month had passed, 

To love, a year; 
Down through the beeches I looked at last 

On the little red gate and the well-sweep near. 

I can see it all now, the slantwise rain 

Of light through the leaves, 
The sundown's blaze on her window-pane, 

The bloom of her roses under the eaves. 

Just the same as a month before, 

The house and the trees, 
The barn's brown gable, the vine by the door, 

Nothing changed but the hives of bees. 

Before them, and under the garden wall, 

Forward and back, 
Went drearily singing the chore-girl small, 

Draping each hive with a shred of black. 

Trembling, I listened: the summer sun 
Had the chill of snow; 


For I knew she was telling the bees of one 
Gone on the journey we all must go! 

Then I said to myself, "My Mary weeps 

For the dead to-day: 
Haply her blind old grandsire sleeps 

The fret and the pain of his age away." 

But her dog whined low; on the doorway sill, 

With his cane to his chin, 
The old man sat ; and the chore-girl still 

Sang to the bees stealing out and in. 

And the song she was singing ever since 

In my ear sounds on: 
"Stay at home, pretty bees, fly not hence! 

Mistress Mary is dead and gone!" 

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) 

Edna St. Vincent Millay's "Elegy," from Second April, 
is one of a group of beautiful poems dedicated to the 
memory of a Vassar friend. Does it suffer from compari- 
son with the poems which precede it? 


Let them bury your big eyes 
In the secret earth securely, 
Your thin fingers, and your fair, 
Soft, indefinite-colored hair, 
All of these in some way, surely, 
From the secret earth shall rise; 
Not for these I sit and stare, 
Broken and bereft completely; 
Your young flesh that sat so neatly 


On your little bones will sweetly 
Blossom in the air. 

But your voice, never the rushing 

Of a river underground, 

Not the rising of the wind 

In the trees before the rain, 

Not the woodcock's watery call, 

Not the note the white-throat utters, 

Not the feet of children pushing 

Yellow leaves along the gutters 

In the blue and bitter fall, 

Shall content my musing mind 

For the beauty of that sound 

That in no new way at all 

Ever will be heard again. 

Sweetly through the sappy stalk 
Of the vigorous weed, 
Holding all it held before, 
Cherished by the faithful sun, 
On and on eternally 
Shall your altered fluid run, 
Bud and bloom and go to seed; 
But your singing days are done; 
But the music of your talk 
Never shall the chemistry 
Of the secret earth restore. 
All your lovely words are spoken. 
Once the ivory box is broken, 
Beats the golden bird no more. 

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892- ) 

It is a noteworthy fact that although many beautiful 
short lyrics have been inspired by the death of a woman, 
the great English elegies all express a poet's grief for a 


lost friend of his own sex. By common consent, the three 
greatest English elegies are Milton's "Lycidas," occa- 
sioned by the death of a college friend, Edward King; 
Shelley's "Adonais," a memorial to the poet Keats ; and 
Tennyson's In Memoriam, inspired by the death of his 
friend, Arthur Henry Hallam. To these three a fourth 
is often added in Matthew Arnold's "Thyrsis," which 
laments the death of the poet Clough. Other notable 
poems of the same type are Spenser's "Astrophel," an 
elegy upon Sir Philip Sidney; Tennyson's "Ode on the 
Death of the Duke of Wellington" ; Swinburne's "Ave 
atque Vale," an elegy on the French poet Baudelaire; 
and William Watson's "Lachrimas Musarum," an elegy 
on Tennyson. The two greatest American elegies are 
Emerson's "Threnody," the subject of which is his own 
son, and Whitman's "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard 
Bloom'd," an elegy on Abraham Lincoln. 

Abraham Lincoln is the subject of more great poems 
than any other American. In fact, no Englishman, if we 
except the Celtic and possibly unhistorical Arthur, has 
been made the subject of so many excellent poems. Lin- 
coln's poetic fame is partly due to his tragic death but 
most of all to the conviction that he is the most thor- 
oughly American of all our great men. "He is," said 
Emerson, "the true history of the American people in his 
time." Born in Kentucky of Virginian parents, Lincoln 
grew up in the Middle West, where Northern and 
Southern immigrants were being remolded into Ameri- 
cans. Maurice Thompson, an ex-Confederate soldier 
who, like Lincoln, removed from the South to the Middle 
West, wrote of him, 


He was the North, the South, the East, the West, 
The thrall, the master, all of us in one. 

The story of Lincoln's rise from the social level of the 
"poor white trash" to the presidency is, to quote Henry 
Watterson, an "epic in homespun." Speaking of Lin- 
coln's life, Brand Whitlock says, "Rightly told, it is the 
epic of America." With the exception of Lee, Lincoln is 
the one supremely great figure brought forward by the 
Civil War ; and the Civil War is, as we have said before, 
the one great crisis in our history. Lincoln's death, com- 
ing immediately after Appomattox, is as dramatic as that 
of Julius Caesar. Lincoln, moreover, is the most many- 
sided man of our great men. There is something in him 
which appeals to every man. He was, as a Southern poet, 
Walter Malone, sums him up in a poem of only four lines : 

A blend of mirth and sadness, smiles and tears ; 
A quaint knight-errant of the pioneers; 
A homely hero born of star and sod; 
A Peasant Prince; a Masterpiece of God. 

Lincoln, for some reason, has played only a small part 
in drama and fiction. The best of the novels which de- 
scribe him are The Crisis, by Winston Churchill; The 
Gray sons, by Edward Eggleston; and A Man for the 
Ages, by Irving Bacheller. The only good Lincoln play 
is by John Drinkwater, a living English poet and 
dramatist. In American poetry, however, Lincoln's part 
is a very large one. The greatest of all Lincoln poems 
is Walt Whitman's "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard 
Bloom'd," which Swinburne called "the most sonorous 


anthem ever chanted in the church of the world." Since 
this elegy is unfortunately too long for quotation, we 
give one of Whitman's shorter poems on Lincoln. Owing 
to the fact that "O Captain! my Captain" is written in 
rime, it is much better known than Whitman's more char- 
acteristic poems. 


O Captain ! my Captain ! our fearful trip is done, 

The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is 


The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, 
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; 
But O heart ! heart ! heart ! 
O the bleeding drops of red, 

Where on the deck my Captain lies, 
Fallen cold and dead. 

O Captain ! my Captain ! rise up and hear the bells ; 

Rise up for you the flag is flung for you the bugle trills, 

For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths for you the shores 


For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; 
Here Captain! dear father! 
This arm beneath your head! 

It is some dream that on the deck, 
You've fallen cold and dead. 

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, 

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will, 

The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and 


From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won; 
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells! 


But I with mournful tread, 

Walk the deck my Captain lies, 
Fallen cold and dead. 

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) 

William Cullen Bryant was among the first prominent 
Easterners to divine the greatness of the homely Western 
statesman. Bryant presided at Lincoln's Cooper Insti- 
tute address in February, 1860, and was so much im- 
pressed that in the New York Evening Post, of which he 
was editor, he advocated Lincoln's nomination for the 
presidency. On Lincoln's assassination he wrote the fol- 
lowing simple and noble tribute to the martyred president. 


Oh, slow to smite and swift to spare, 

Gentle and merciful and just! 
Who, in the fear of God, didst bear 

The sword of power, a nation's trust! 

In sorrow by thy bier we stand, 

Amid the awe that hushes all, 
And speak the anguish of a land 

That shook with horror at thy fall. 

Thy task is done; the bond are free: 
We bear thee to an honored grave, 

Whose proudest monument shall be 
The broken fetters of the slave. 

Pure was thy life; its bloody close 

Hath placed thee with the sons of light, 

Among the noble host of those 

Who perished in the cause of Right. 

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878} 


The justest poetic estimate of Lincoln's character and 
genius is found in Lowell's "Ode Recited at the Harvard 
Commemoration" in July, 1865. We quote: 

. . . Such was he, our Martyr-Chief, 

Whom late the Nation he had led, 

With ashes on her head, 
Wept with the passion of an angry grief: 
Forgive me, if from present things I turn 
To speak what in my heart will beat and burn, 
And hang my wreath on his world-honored urn. 

Nature, they say, doth dote, 

And cannot make a man 

Save on some worn-out plan, 

Repeating us by rote: 
For him her Old-World moulds aside she threw, 

And choosing sweet clay from the breast 

Of the unexhausted West, 
With stuff untainted shaped a hero new, 
Wise, steadfast in the strength of God, and true. 

How beautiful to see 

Once more a shepherd of mankind indeed, 
Who loved his charge, but never loved to lead; 
One whose meek flock the people joyed to be, 

Not lured by any cheat of birth, 

But by his clear-grained human worth, 
And brave old wisdom of sincerity ! 

They knew that outward grace is dust; 

They could not choose but trust 
In that sure-footed mind's unfaltering sidll, 

And supple-tempered will 
That bent like perfect steel to spring again and thrust. 

His was no lonely mountain-peak of mind, 

Thrusting to thin air o'er our cloudy bars, 

A sea-mark now, now lost in vapors blind; 

Broad prairie rather, genial, level-lined, 


Fruitful and friendly for all human kind, 
Yet also nigh to heaven and loved of loftiest stars. 

Nothing of Europe here, 
Or, then, of Europe fronting mornward still, 
Ere any names of Serf and Peer 
Could Nature's equal scheme deface 
And thwart her genial will ; 
Here was a type of the true elder race, 
And one of Plutarch's men talked with us face to face. 

I praise him not; it were too late; 
And some innative weakness there must be 
In him who condescends to victory 
Such as the Present gives, and cannot wait, 
Safe in himself as in a fate. 
So always firmly he: 
He knew to bide his time, 
And can his fame abide, 
Still patient in his simple faith sublime, 

Till the wise years decide. 
Great captains, with their guns and drums, 
Disturb our judgment for the hour, 

But at last silence comes ; 

These all are gone, and, standing like a tower, 
Our children shall behold his fame. 

The kindly-earnest, brave, foreseeing man, 
Sagacious, patient, dreading praise, not blame, 

New birth of our new soil, the first American. . . . 

Although there are important poems on Lincoln by 
Holmes, Whittier, Stoddard, Sill, and Bret Harte, it 
was not until the last decade or two that Lincoln came 
fully into his own. There is scarcely a living American 
poet of importance who has not written a poem about 
Lincoln. The list includes Edgar Lee Masters, Edwin 
Arlington Robinson, John Gould Fletcher, Percy Mac- 


kaye, Hermann Hagedorn, Vachel Lindsay, James Oppen- 
heim, Edwin Markham, Witter Bynner, Bliss Carman, 
Arthur Guiterman, Clinton Scollard, Harriet Monroe, 
Robert Underwood Johnson, Frank Dempster Sherman, 
and Carl Sandburg. Most of their Lincoln poems can 
be found in Mary Wright-Davis's interesting anthology, 
The Book of Lincoln. 

The finest recent tribute to Lincoln is by Edwin Arling- 
ton Robinson. The poem will be clearer if the reader 
will remember that the speaker is not the poet but one of 
the many persons who, until after the assassination, did 
not recognize Lincoln's greatness. So few of Lincoln's 
contemporaries divined his greatness during his lifetime 
that Edward Rowland Sill has well asked: 

Were there no crowns on earth, 
No evergreens to wreathe a hero's wreath, 
That he must pass beyond the gates of death, 

Our hero, our slain hero, to be crowned? 


A flying word from here and there 

Had sown the name at which we sneered, 

But soon the name was everywhere, 

To be reviled and then revered: 

A presence to be loved and feared, 

We cannot hide it, or deny 

That we, the gentlemen who jeered, 

May be forgotten by and by. 

He came when days were perilous 

And hearts of men were sore beguiled; 

And having made his note of us, 


He pondered and was reconciled. 

Was ever master yet so mild 

As he, and so untamable? 

We doubted, even when he smiled, 

Not knowing what he knew so well. 

He knew that undeceiving fate 

Would shame us whom he served unsought; 

He knew that he must wince and wait 

The jest of those for whom he fought; 

He knew devoutly what he thought 

Of us and of our ridicule; 

He knew that we must all be taught 

Like little children in a school. 

We gave a glamour to the task 

That he encountered and saw through, 

But little of us did he ask, 

And little did we ever do. 

And what appears if we review 

The season when we railed and chaffed? 

It is the face of one who knew 

That we were learning while we laughed. 

The face that in our vision feels 
Again the venom that we flung, 
Transfigured to the world reveals 
The vigilance to which we clung. 
Shrewd, hallowed, harassed, and among 
The mysteries that are untold, 
The face we see was never young, 
Nor could it wholly have been old. 

For he, to whom we had applied 
Our shopman's test of age and worth, 
Was elemental when he died, 


As he was ancient at his birth: 
The saddest among kings of earth, 
Bowed with a galling crown, this man 
Met rancor with a cryptic mirth, 
Laconic and Olympian. 

The love, the grandeur, and the fame 
Are bounded by the world alone; 
The calm, the smouldering, and the flame 
Of awful patience were his own: 
With him they are forever flown 
Past all our fond self-shadowings, 
Wherewith we cumber the Unknown 
As with inept, Icarian wings. 

For we were not as other men: 
'Twas ours to soar and his to see. 
But we are coming down again, 
And we shall come down pleasantly; 
Nor shall we longer disagree 
On what it is to be sublime, 
But flourish in our perigee 
And have one Titan at a time. 

Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869- ) 

So well established is Lincoln today as a world figure 
that Lloyd George, placing him ahead of Gladstone, Bis- 
marck, and Cavour, has called him "the greatest states- 
man of the nineteenth century." The war with Germany 
caused us to realize Lincoln's greatness as we had never 
realized it before. During the war we felt that, as Arthur 
Guiterman expressed it, 

Here truth must triumph, honour must prevail: 
The nation Lincoln died for cannot fail. 


One of the best poems occasioned by the war against 
Germany is Vachel Lindsay's "Abraham Lincoln Walks 
at Midnight." Lindsay's home is in Springfield, Illinois, 
where Lincoln practiced law until his election to the presi- 
dency. The poem was written in 1914, nearly three years 
before America entered the war ; and it reflects our first 
feeling that the war was the result of imperialistic ambi- 
tions on both sides. 


(In Springfield, Illinois) 

It is portentous, and a thing of state 
That here at midnight, in our little town 
A mourning figure walks, and will not rest, 
Near the old court-house pacing up and down, 

Or by his homestead, or in shadowed yards 
He lingers where his children used to play, 
Or through the market, on the well-worn stones 
He stalks until the dawn-stars burn away. 

A bronzed, lank man ! His suit of ancient black, 
A famous high top-hat and plain worn shawl 
Make him the quaint great figure that men love, 
The prairie-lawyer, master of us all. 

He cannot sleep upon his hillside now. 
He is among us : as in times before ! 
And we who toss and lie awake for long, 
Breathe deep, and start, to see him pass the door. 

His head is bowed. He thinks of men and kings, 
Yea, when the sick world cries, how can he sleep? 


Too many peasants fight, they know not why; 
Too many homesteads in black terror weep. 

The sins of all the war-lords burn his heart. 
He sees the dreadnaughts scouring every main. 
He carries on his shawl-wrapped shoulders now 
The bitterness, the folly and the pain. 

He cannot rest until a spirit-dawn 
Shall come: the shining hope of Europe free: 
A league of sober folk, the Workers' Earth, 
Bringing long peace to Cornland, Alp, and Sea. 

It breaks his heart that things must murder still, 
That all his hours of travail here for men 
Seem yet in vain. And who will bring white peace 
That he may sleep upon his hill again? 

Vachel Lindsay (1879- ) 

In the last analysis, there are only two themes in all 
poetry, man and his environment. Poems which deal with 
one part of man's environment, external nature, are very 
numerous. Poems which describe man's surroundings, 
country and city alike, interest us because of their inti- 
mate relation to our own lives. "In our life alone does 
Nature live," said Coleridge. William Watson has aptly 
expressed the same idea in an epigram : 

For metaphors of man we search the skies, 
And find our allegory in all the air. 

We gaze on Nature with Narcissus' eyes, 
Enamour'd of our shadow everywhere. 

Our feeling about nature, which we often significantly 
spell with a capital letter, is a distinctly modern thing. 


Petrarch, the great Italian sonneteer of the Renaissance, 
was the first man on record who climbed a mountain for 
pleasure; but it is not until the eighteenth century that 
we find, in the poems of James Thomson and Lady Win- 
chilsea, the beginnings of modern nature poetry. After 
"a very troublesome journey over the Alps" in 1701, 
Addison wrote, "My head is still giddy with mountains 
and precipices ; and you cannot imagine how much I am 
pleased with the sight of a plain!" Gray, after a similar 
journey in 1739, wrote of the Alps, "Not a precipice, 
not a torrent, not a gliff, but is pregnant with religion 
and poetry." 

Although there are many beautiful and vivid descrip- 
tions of nature in the poems of Gray, Collins, Cowper, 
and Burns, it was not until the first quarter of the nine- 
teenth century that nature poetry came into its own. 
Since that time external nature has been a stock poetic 
theme; and even today a poet's sensitiveness to beauty 
is too often judged solely by his response to beautiful 
landscapes. Romantip and Victorian literature is 
peculiarly rich in nature poetry. Scott's Lady of the 
Lake is said to have sent tourists by the thousand to 
visit the Trossachs; and Byron's descriptions of conti- 
nental scenes in Childe Harold's Pilgrimage were so 
successful that, as he expressed it, he awoke one morn- 
ing to find himself famous. The poems of Wordsworth, 
Coleridge, Landor, Shelley, Keats, Tennyson, Arnold, 
Browning, Morris, and Swinburne are full of descrip- 
tions of beautiful landscapes. These lines from "A 
Garden by the Sea," by William Morris, are unforget- 


I know a little garden-close, 
Set thick with lily and red rose, 
Where I would wander if I might 
From dewy morn to dewy night, 
And have one with me wandering. 

The greatest nature poet of all time is William Words- 
worth. No other poet ever observed or described more 
accurately or more magically the phenomena of nature. 
Nothing escaped him that could be seen, heard, or in any 
other way perceived. At the same time Wordsworth read 
more into nature than any other poet. 

To me the meanest flower that blows can give 
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears. 

For Wordsworth, nature held the answer to the riddle of 
existence, as it did for Tennyson, who was echoing Words- 
worth when he wrote the following suggestive poem. 


Flower in the crannied wall, 

I pluck you out of the crannies, 

I hold you here, root and all, in my hand, 

Little flower but if I could understand 

What you are, root and all, and all in all, 

I should know what God and man is. 

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) 

Wordsworth's attitude toward nature is best expressed 
in his "Tintern Abbey," which, though written in blank 
verse, has the qualities of a great ode. To Wordsworth, 
nature is a delight, a comforter, and a temple where one 


may commune with the Spirit of the universe. His poetic 
creed is entwined with a semi-pantheistic conception of 

I have learned 

To look on nature, not as in the hour 
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes 
The still, sad music of humanity, 
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power 
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt 
A presence that disturbs me with the joy 
Of elevated thoughts ; a sense sublime 
Of something far more deeply interfused, 
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, 
And the round ocean and the living air, 
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man; 
A motion and a spirit, that impels 
All thinking things, all objects of all thought, 
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still 
A lover of the meadows and the woods, 
And mountains . . . 

. . . well pleased to recognise 
In nature and the language of the sense, 
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse, 
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul 
Of all my moral being. 

Sometimes the work of the nature poet tempts a com- 
parison with that of the landscape painter; and it is 
surprising how well the poem bears comparison with 
the picture. One of Wordsworth's greatest poems was 
suggested by a painting of Sir George Beaumont. Words- 
worth gives two pictures of Peele Castle, one in calm and 
one in storm; and he makes each picture symbolic of a 
different conception of life. The poet's mood is colored 


by his grief for the death of his brother John, who was a 
sailor. The clumsy title is characteristic of Wordsworth. 


Suggested by a Picture of Peele Castle, in a Storm, 
Painted by Sir George Beaumont 

I was thy neighbour once, them rugged pile ! 
Four summer weeks I dwelt in sight of thee: 
I saw thee every day; and all the while 
Thy Form was sleeping on a glassy sea. 

So pure the sky, so quiet was the air! 
So like, so very like, was day to day ! 
Whene'er I looked, thy Image still was there; 
It trembled, but it never passed away. 

How perfect was the calm! it seemed no sleep; 
No mood, which season takes away, or brings: 
I could have fancied that the mighty Deep 
Was even the gentlest of all gentle Things. 

Ah ! THEN, if mine had been the Painter's hand, 
To express what then I saw; and add the gleam, 
The light that never was, on sea or land, 
The consecration, and the Poet s dream; 

I would have planted thee, thou hoary Pile, 
Amid a world how different from this ! 
Beside a sea that could not cease to smile; 
On tranquil land, beneath a sky of bliss. 

Thou shouldst have seemed a treasure-house divine 
Of peaceful years; a chronicle of heaven; 


Of all the sunbeams that did ever shine 
The very sweetest had to thee been given. 

A Picture had it been of lasting ease, 
Elysian quiet, without toil or strife; 
No motion but the moving tide, a breeze, 
Or merely silent Nature's breathing life. 

Such, in the fond illusion of my heart, 
Such Picture would I at that time have made: 
And seen the soul of truth in every part, 
A stedfast peace that might not be betrayed. 

So once it would have been, 'tis so no more; 
I have submitted to a new control: 
A power is gone, which nothing can restore; 
A deep distress hath humanised my Soul. 

Not for a moment could I now behold 

A smiling sea, and be what I have been: 

The feeling of my loss will ne'er be old; 

This, which I know, I speak with mind serene. 

Then, Beaumont, Friend! who would have been the Friend, 

If he had lived, of Him whom I deplore, 

This work of thine I blame not, but commend; 

This sea in anger, and that dismal shore. 

'tis a passionate Work ! yet wise and well, 
Well chosen is the spirit that is here; 

That Hulk which labours in the deadly swell, 
This rueful sky, this pageantry of fear! 

And this huge Castle, standing here sublime, 

1 love to see the look with which it braves, 
Cased in the unfeeling armour of old time, 

The lightning, the fierce wind, and trampling waves. 


Farewell, farewell the heart that lives alone, 
Housed in a dream, at distance from the Kind! 
Such happiness, wherever it be known, 
Is to be pitied; for 'tis surely blind. 

But welcome fortitude, and patient cheer, 
And frequent sights of what is to be borne ! 
Such sights, or worse, as are before me here. 
Not without hope we suffer and we mourn. 

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) 

The scientific discoveries of Darwin and others had a 
marked effect upon the nature poetry of the Victorian 
period. To the poets it seemed that science was robbing 
nature of its poetry. Keats, in an earlier period, had 
thought that the spectrum analysis spoiled the rainbow 
for poetic purposes. Poe wrote in his "Sonnet To 
Science" : 

Vulture, whose wings are dull realities, 
How should we love thee? . . . 
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car? 
And driven the Hamadryad from the wood 
To seek a shelter in some happier star? 
Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood, 
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me 
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree? 

With Tennyson and Arnold the effect of scientific dis- 
coveries was far more serious. They found it difficult 
to believe not only in creatures of the imagination like 
elves and fairies, but even in the God whom Wordsworth 
had seen everywhere in nature. To Tennyson, mourning 
the death of his friend Hallam, it seemed for a time im- 


possible to believe in God or personal immortality. 
Nature, to which Wordsworth had gone for consolation 
after witnessing the horrors of the French Revolution, 
now seemed man's enemy. Darwin's theory of evolution 
revealed that all nature was at war. Tennyson's In 
Memoriam was written before the publication in 1859 of 
The Origin of Species, but science had already begun 
to ask such questions as Tennyson raises : 

Are God and Nature then at strife, 

That Nature lends such evil dreams? 
So careful of the type she seems, 

So careless of the single life. 

But this is not the worst. Tennyson continues : 

"So careful of the type?" but no. 

From scarped cliff and quarried stone 
She cries, "A thousand types are gone: 

I care for nothing, all shall go. 

"Thou makest thine appeal to me: 

I bring to life, I bring to death; 

The spirit does but mean the breath: 
I know no more." And he, shall he, 

Man, her last work, who seem'd so fair, 
Such splendid purpose in his eyes, 
Who roll'd the psalm to wintry skies, 

Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer, 

Who trusted God was love indeed 
And love Creation's final law 
Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw 

With ravine, shriek'd against his creed 


Who loved, who suffer'd countless ills, 
Who battled for the True, the Just, 
Be blown about the desert dust, 

Or seal'd within the iron hills? 

No more? A monster then, a dream, 
A discord. Dragons of the prime, 
That tare each other in their slime, 

Were mellow music match'd with him. 

O life as futile, then, as frail! 

O for thy voice to soothe and bless! 

What hope of answer, or redress? 
Behind the veil, behind the veil. 

In the end Tennyson recovered his faith in God and 
nature; but Matthew Arnold did not. Nothing is more 
pathetic than Arnold's confession, after his painful search 
through history for proof of the existence of God, that 
all he could discover was an indication of some force out- 
side of ourselves which makes for righteousness. In 
"Dover Beach" Arnold confesses his inability to believe 
in God and a future life. Though the metrical scheme of 
the poem is irregular, the changes in rime and length of 
line harmonize perfectly with the changing thoughts of 
the poet. 


The sea is calm to-night, 

The tide is full, the moon lies fair 

Upon the straits ; on the French coast the light 

Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, 

Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay. 


Come to the window, sweet is the night-air! 

Only, from the long line of spray 

Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land, 

Listen ! you hear the grating roar 

Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, 

At their return, up the high strand, 

Begin, and cease, and then again begin, 

With tremulous cadence slow, and bring 

The eternal note of sadness in. 

Sophocles long ago 

Heard it on the ^Egean, and it brought 

Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow 

Of human misery; we 

Find also in the sound a thought, 

Hearing it by this distant northern sea. 

The Sea of Faith 

Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore 

Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd. 

But now I only hear 

Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, 

Retreating, to the breath 

Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear 

And naked shingles of the world. 

Ah, love, let us be true 

To one another ! for the world, which seems 

To lie before us like a land of dreams, 

So various, so beautiful, so new, 

Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, 

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; 

And we are here as on a darkling plain 

Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, 

Where ignorant armies clash by night. 

Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) 


"In a Wood," by Thomas Hardy, best known as a 
novelist but also important as a poet, shows the influence 
of the scientific conception of nature as a perpetual field 
of battle between the various forms of life. Unlike 
Wordsworth, Hardy, finding no comfort in nature, re- 
turns to his own kind. 


Pale beech and pine so blue, 

Set in one clay, 
Bough to bough cannot you 

Live out your day? 
When the rains skim and skip, 
Why mar sweet comradeship, 
Blighting with poison-drip 

Neighbourly spray? 

Heart-halt and spirit-lame, 

Unto this wood I came 

As to a nest; 

Dreaming that sylvan peace 
Offered the harrowed ease 
Nature a soft release 

From men's unrest. 

But, having entered in, 

Great growths and small 
Show them to men akin 

Combatants all ! 
Sycamore shoulders oak, 


Bines the slim sapling yoke, 
Ivy-spun halters choke 
Elms stout and tall. 

Touches from ash, O wych, 

Sting you like scorn ! 
You, too, brave hollies, twitch 

Sidelong from thorn. 
Even the rank poplars bear 
Lothly a rival's air, 
Cankering in black despair 

If overborne. 

Since, then, no grace I find 

Taught me of trees, 
Turn I back to my kind, 

Worthy as these. 
There at least smiles abound, 
There discourse trills around, 
There, now and then, are found 


Thomas Hardy (1840- ) 

When we turn to more recent writers, we find that, 
though the poetry of nature is less in vogue than it was 
a century ago, nature poems of a high degree of ex- 
cellence are still being written. In England Masefield, 
Noyes, Walter de la Mare, and others have all used 
natural backgrounds effectively. In our own country 
Robinson and Frost describe the New England landscape, 
which somehow seems more bleak than in the poems of 
Emerson, Whittier, and Lowell. One of the most popular 
of recent nature poems is Joyce Kilmer's "Trees." 



I think that I shall never see 
A poem lovely as a tree. 

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest 
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast; 

A tree that looks at God all day, 
And lifts her leafy arms to pray; 

A tree that may in summer wear 
A nest of rohins in her hair; 

Upon whose bosom snow has lain; 
Who intimately lives with rain. 

Poems are made by fools like me, 
But only God can make a tree. 

Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918) 

No living American poet has written better nature 
poetry than John Hall Wheelock. "Earth,'* which we 
quote, contains some of the best lines to be found in con- 
temporary poetry ; his "Storm and Sun" and "Golden 
Noon" are almost if not quite as beautifully done. Wheel- 
ock's last volume, Dust and Light, no poet ever gave 
a happier title to a book, contains also some of the best 
of contemporary love poems. It will be noted that in 
"Trees" and "Earth" poets have found a way to har- 
monize the poetic and the scientific views of nature. 

* From Joyce Kilmer: Poems, Essays and Letters, copyright, 1918. 
George H. Doran Company, Publishers. 



Grasshopper, your fairy song 
And my poem alike belong 
To the dark and silent earth 
From which all poetry has birth; 
All we say and all we sing 
Is but as the murmuring 
Of that drowsy heart of hers 
When from her deep dream she stirs: 
If we sorrow, or rejoice, 
You and I are but her voice. 

Deftly does the dust express 

In mind her hidden loveliness, 

And from her cool silence stream 

The cricket's cry and Dante's dream; 

For the earth that breeds the trees 

Breeds cities too, and symphonies. 

Equally her beauty flows 

Into a savior, or a rose 

Looks down in dream, and from above 

Smiles at herself in Jesus' love. 

Christ's love and Homer's art 

Are but the workings of her heart; 

Through Leonardo's hand she seeks 

Herself, and through Beethoven speaks 

In holy thunderings around 

The awful message of the ground. 

The serene and humble mold 
Does in herself all selves enfold 
Kingdoms, destinies, and creeds, 
Great dreams, and dauntless deeds, 
Science that metes the firmament, 


The high, inflexible intent 
Of one for many sacrificed 
Plato's brain, the heart of Christ; 
All love, all legend, and all lore 
Are in the dust forevermore. 

Even as the growing grass 

Up from the soil religions pass, 

And the field that bears the rye 

Bears parables and prophecy. 

Out of the earth the poem grows 

Like the lily, or the rose; 

And all man is, or yet may be. 

Is but herself in agony 

Toiling up the steep ascent 

Toward the complete accomplishment 

When all dust shall be, the whole 

Universe, one conscious soul. 

Yea, the quiet and cool sod 

Bears in her breast the dream of God. 

If you would know what earth is, scan 

The intricate, proud heart of man, 

Which is the earth articulate, 

And learn how holy and how great, 

How limitless and how profound 

Is the nature of the ground 

How without terror or demur 

We may entrust ourselves to her 

When we are wearied out, and lay 

Our faces in the common clay. 

For she is pity, she is love, 

All wisdom, she, all thoughts that move 

About her everlasting breast 


Till she gathers them to rest: 
All tenderness of all the ages, 
Seraphic secrets of the sages, 
Vision and hope of all the seers, 
All prayer, all anguish, and all tears 
Are but the dust, that from her dream 
Awakes, and knows herself supreme 
Are but the earth, when she reveals 
All that her secret heart conceals 
Down in the dark and silent loam, 
Which is ourselves, asleep, at home. 

Yea, and this, my poem, too, 
Is part of her as dust and dew, 
Wherein herself she doth declare 
Through my lips, and say her prayer. 

John Hall JVheelock (1886- ) 

It is a curious and notable fact that until recently the 
great majority of poets neglected the city as though only 
the country supplied suitable material for poetry. After 
a visit to a cotton mill, Goethe said that it was the most 
poetical sight he had ever witnessed; but has Goethe or 
any other poet ever written a great poem about a cotton 
mill? Novelists and dramatists learned long ago how to 
handle modern city types and backgrounds ; but while the 
Victorian novelists were describing life in London, Tenny- 
son was writing about Lincolnshire wolds or Camelot. 
Poetry is the most conservative of the arts, and the last, 
in some respects, to come in touch with the actual life of 
the author's own time. Its language tends to be archaic, 
its themes traditional. For over a hundred years poets 
generally echoed Cowper's line, "God made the country 


and man made the town." The continued neglect of the 
city seems absurd when we remember that during this very 
period practically all of the poets and most of their 
readers lived in cities. Today over one-half of the popu- 
lation of the United States is urban, and England has 
been an industrial nation for over a century. Contem- 
porary poets rebel against the notion that only woods, 
lakes, and mountains offer suitable material for poetry. 
Older poems which deal with the city generally describe 
the romantic cities of Europe, Venice, Rome, or Athens. 
One recalls Poe's "The Coliseum" and the descriptions of 
Rome in Byron's Manfred and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. 
We quote part of the famous passage in the fourth canto 
of the latter poem : 

Oh Rome ! my country ! City of the soul ! 

The orphans of the heart must turn to thee, 

Lone mother of dead empires! and control 

In their shut breasts their petty misery. 

What are our woes and sufferance? Come and see 

The cypress, hear the owl, and plod your way 

O'er steps of broken thrones and temples, Ye! 

Whose agonies are evils of a day 

A world is at our feet as fragile as our clay. 

The Niobe of nations! there she stands 

Childless and crownless, in her voiceless woe; 

An empty urn within her withered hands, 

Whose holy dust was scattered long ago; 

The Scipios' tomb contains no ashes now; 

The very sepulchers lie tenantless 

Of their heroic dwellers; dost thou flow, 

Old Tiber ! through a marble wilderness ? 

Rise, with thy yellow waves, and mantle her distress. 


The Goth, the Christian, Time, War, Flood, and Fire 

Have dealt upon the seven-hilled city's pride; 

She saw her glories star by star expire, 

And up the steep barbarian monarchs ride, 

Where the car climbed the Capitol; far and wide 

Temple and tower went down, nor left a site: 

Chaos of ruins ! who shall trace the void, 

O'er the dim fragments cast a lunar light, 

And say, "Here was, or is," where all is doubly night? 

The older poet usually hated the typical city of his 
generation. For him the city of his day represented 
greed and commercialism, blindness to beautiful and per- 
manent things. 

The world is too much with us; late and soon, 
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers : 
Little we see in Nature that is ours; 
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! 

This Wordsworthian hatred of materialism is powerfully 
expressed in Bret Harte's "San Francisco," from which 
the following stanzas are taken : 

lion's whelp, that hidest fast 

In jungle growth of spire and mast! 

1 know thy cunning and thy greed, 
Thy hard high lust and wilful deed, 

And all thy glory loves to tell 
Of specious gifts material. 

Wordsworth's magnificent sonnet, "Westminster 
Bridge," is a striking exception to the Romantic attitude 


toward the town and the country. For once the great 
nature poet saw and painted with unrivaled skill the 
beauty of a great city. 


September 3, 1802 

Earth has not anything to show more fair: 

Dull would he be of soul who could pass by 

A sight so touching in its majesty: 

This City now doth, like a garment, wear 

The beauty of the morning; silent, bare, 

Ships, towers, domes, theatres and temples lie 

Open unto the fields, and to the sky; 

All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. 

Never did sun more beautifully steep 
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill; 
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep ! 
The river glideth at his own sweet will: 
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep; 
And all that mighty heart is lying still! 

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) 

Something of the modern poetic attitude toward the 
city can be found in the poems of Bryant and Browning. 
"The Crowded Street" and the "Hymn of the City" show 
that Bryant found God in the city as well as in the prime- 
val forest. In the following poem by Browning city and 
country life are contrasted by an Italian whom the high 
cost of living has compelled, against his will, to live in 
the country. Browning's own point of view, it need 
hardly be said, is not identical with that of the speaker. 



(As Distinguished by an Italian Person of Quality) 

Had I but plenty of money, money enough and to spare, 
The house for me, no doubt, were a house in the city-square ; 
Ah, such a life, such a life, as one leads at the window there ! 

Something to see, by Bacchus, something to hear, at least! 
There, the whole day long, one's life is a perfect feast; 
While up at a villa one lives, I maintain it, no more than a 

Well now, look at our villa! stuck like the horn of a bull 
Just on a mountain-edge as bare as the creature's skull, 
Save a mere shag of a bush with hardly a leaf to pull ! 
I scratch my own, sometimes, to see if the hair's turned 

But the city, oh the city the square with the houses ! Why ? 
They are stone-faced, white as a curd, there's something to 

take the eye! 

Houses in four straight lines, not a single front awry; 
You watch who crosses and gossips, who saunters, who 

hurries by; 
Green blinds, as a matter of course, to draw when the sun 

gets high; 
And the shops with fanciful signs which are painted properly. 

What of a villa? Though winter be over in March by rights, 

'Tis May perhaps ere the snow shall have withered well off 
the heights: 

You've the brown ploughed land before, where the oxen 
steam and wheeze, 

And the hills over-smoked behind by the faint gray olive- 


Is it better in May, I ask you? You've summer all at once; 
In a day he leaps complete with a few strong April suns. 
'Mid the sharp short emerald wheat, scarce risen three fingers 

The wild tulip, at the end of its tube, blows out its great 

red bell 
Like a thin clear bubble of blood, for the children to pick 

and sell. 

Is it ever hot in the square? There's a fountain to spout 

and to splash ! 
In the shade it sings and springs ; in the shine such f oambows 

On the horses with curling fish-tails, that prance and paddle 

and pash 

Round the lady atop in her conch fifty gazers do not abash, 
Though all that she wears is some weeds round her waist in 

a sort of sash. 

All the year long at the villa, nothing to see though you 

Except yon cypress that points like death's lean lifted 

Some think fireflies pretty, when they mix i' the corn and 


Or thrid the stinking hemp till the stalks of it seem a-tingle. 
Late August or early September, the stunning cicala is shrill,, 
And the bees keep their tiresome whine round the resinous 

firs on the hill. 
Enough of the seasons, I spare you the months of the fever 

and chill. 

Ere you open your eyes in the city, the blessed church-bells 

begin : 

No sooner the bells leave off than the diligence rattles in: 
You get the pick of the news, and it costs you never a pin. 


By and by there's the travelling doctor gives pills, lets blood, 

draws teeth ; 

Or the Pulcinello-trumpet breaks up the market beneath. 
At the post-office such a scene-picture the new play, piping 

And a notice how, only this morning, three liberal thieves 

were shot. 

Above it, behold the Archbishop's most fatherly of rebukes, 
And beneath, with his crown and his lion, some little new law 

of the Duke's ! 
Or a sonnet with flowery marge, to the Reverend Don So- 

and so, 

Who is Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarca, Saint Jerome, and Cicero, 
"And moreover," (the sonnet goes rhyming,) "the skirts of 

Saint Paul has reached, 
Having preached us those six Lent-lectures more unctuous 

than ever he preached." 
Noon strikes, here sweeps the procession ! our Lady borne 

smiling and smart 
With a pink gauze gown all spangles, and seven swords stuck 

in her heart ! 

Bang-whang-tvhang goes the drum, tootle-te-tootle the fife; 
No keeping one's haunches still: it's the greatest pleasure in 


But bless you, it's dear it's dear; fowls, wine, at double the 

They have clapped a new tax upon salt, and what oil pays 

passing the gate 
It's a horror 'to think of. And so, the villa for me, not the 


Beggars can scarcely be choosers: but still ah, the pity, the 

Look, two and two go the priests, then the monks with cowls 

and sandals, 


And the penitents dressed in white shirts, a-holding the yellow 

candles ; 
One, he carries a flag up straight, and another a cross with 

And the Duke's guard brings up the rear, for the better 

prevention of scandals: 

Bang whang-whang goes the drum, tootle-te-tootle the fife. 
Oh, a day in the city-square, there's no such pleasure in life ! 

Robert Browning (1812-1889) 

The first poet who deliberately tried to put the city into 
poetry was Walt Whitman, who believed that all life is 
intrinsically poetic. Whitman loved New York as Charles 
Lamb loved London, as few poets ever loved any city. "A 
Broadway Pageant," "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," and 
"Mannahatta" are all attempts to picture the multifari- 
ous life of the American metropolis. Among the contem- 
porary American poets who have followed in Whitman's 
footsteps, none has more successfully painted the city 
than John Gould Fletcher. 


This is like the nave of an unfinished cathedral 

With steep shadowy sides. 

Light and shade alternate, 

Repeat and die away. 

Golden traceries of sunlight, 

Blue buttresses of shadow, 

Answer like pier and column, 

All the way down to the sea. 


But the temple is still roofless: 

Only the sky above it 

Closes it round, encircling 

With its weightless vault of blue. 

There is no image or inscription or altar, 

And the clamor of free-moving multitudes 

Are its tireless organ tones, 

While the hammers beat out its chimes. 

Blue grey smoke swings heavily, 
Fuming from leaden censers, 
Upwards about the street. 
Lamps glimmer with crimson points of flame. 
The black canyon 
Bares its gaunt, stripped sides. 
Heavily, oppressively, the skies roll on above it, 
Like curses yet unfulfilled. 
The wind shrieks and crashes, 
The burly trucks rumble; 

Ponderous as funeral-cars, undraped, and unstrewn with 

John Gould Fletcher (1886- ) 

In "Chicago" Carl Sandburg has given a vivid and 
powerful impression of the city in which he lives. If one 
should object that the picture is not beautiful, the poet's 
answer would be that Chicago's chief characteristic is not 
beauty but power. 


Hog-Butcher for the World, 

Tool-maker, Stacker of Wheat, 

Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight-handler; 


Stormy, husky, brawling, 
City of the Big Shoulders : 

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have 

seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring 

the farm boys. 
And they tell me you are crooked, and I answer, Yes, it is 

true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill 

And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is, On the faces 

of women and children I have seen the marks of 

wanton hunger. 
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer 

at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say 

to them: 
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so 

proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning. 
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, 

here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little 

soft cities; 
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a 

savage pitted against the wilderness, 

Building, breaking, rebuilding, 
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white 

Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young 

man laughs, 
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never 

lost a battle, 
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, and 

under his ribs the heart of the people, 
Laughing ! 


Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of youth; 
half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog-butcher, Tool- 
maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads, and 
Freight-handler to the Nation. 

Curl Sandburg (1878- ) 

Is this poetry at all? some readers will inevitably ask. 
Others will raise the question, Is our industrial life, our 
machinery, proper material for poetry? We believe they 
are proper but enormously difficult subjects for poetry. 
We would not say that these subjects are any better than 
others, but that no one has the right to exclude these, or 
any other themes, from the world of poetry. Under cer- 
tain conditions, science, invention, and machinery are 
proper subjects for poetry; and no one has better ex- 
plained these conditions than Wordsworth. "Poetry," 
said he, "is as immortal as the heart of man. If the 
labors of the men of science should ever create any ma- 
terial revolution, direct or indirect, in our condition . . . 
the poet . . . will be ready to follow the steps of the 
man of science. . . . The remotest discoveries of the 
chemist, the botanist or mineralogist will be as proper 
objects of the poet's art as any upon which it can be 
employed, if the time should ever come when these things 
shall be familiar to us, and . . . manifestly and palpa- 
bly material to us as enjoying and suffering beings." 

Has not this time come? Today the majority of us 
live in towns. Our civilization is industrial; it is based 
largely on the intelligent use of machinery. And yet, so 
slow were the poets to respond to changing conditions, 
that the first transatlantic steamer had crossed the Atlan- 
tic over half a century before Kipling wrote his "M'An- 


drews' Hymn,'* one of the first great poems dealing with 
machinery. In "The King," quoted in the succeeding 
chapter, Kipling protests against the notion that modern 
machinery is not poetic. In this field also Walt Whitman 
was something of a pioneer. 


Thee for my recitative, 

Thee in the driving storm even as now, the snow, the winter- 
day declining, 

Thee in thy panoply, thy measur'd dual throbbing and thy 
beat convulsive, 

Thy black cylindric body, golden brass and silvery steel, 

Thy ponderous side-bars, parallel and connecting rods, 
gyrating, shuttling at thy sides, 

Thy metrical, now swelling pant and roar, now tapering in 
the distance, 

Thy great protruding head-light fix'd in front, 

Thy long, pale, floating vapor-pennants, tinged with delicate 

The dense and murky clouds out-belching from thy smoke- 

Thy knitted frame, thy springs and valves, the tremulous 
twinkle of thy wheels, 

Thy train of cars behind, obedient, merrily following, 

Through gale or calm, now swift, now slack, yet steadily 

Type of the modern emblem of motion and power pulse 
of the continent, 

For once come serve the Muse and merge in verse, even as 
here I see thee, 

With storm and buffeting gusts of wind and falling snow, 

By day thy warning ringing bell to sound its notes, 

By night thy silent signal lamps to swing. 


Fierce-throated beauty ! 

Roll through my chant with all thy lawless music, thy swing- 
ing lamps at night, 

Thy madly-whistled laughter, echoing, rumbling like an earth- 
quake, rousing all, 

Law of thyself complete, thine own track firmly holding, 
(No sweetness debonair of tearful harp or glib piano thine,) 
Thy trills of shrieks by rocks and hills return'd, 
Launch'd o'er the prairies wide, across the lakes, 
To the free skies unpent and glad and strong. 

Walt Whitman (1819-1891) 

The movement for beautifying American cities has 
found expression in the poems of Vachel Lindsay. "The 
things most worth while," he says, "are one's own hearth 
and neighborhood. We should make our own home and 
neighborhood the most democratic, the most beautiful 
and the holiest in the world." Like other poets, he pro- 
tests against the greed, the ugliness, and the commercial- 
ism of most large cities. 


Let not our town be large remembering 
That little Athens was the Muses' home; 

That Oxford rules the heart of London still, 
That Florence gave the Renaissance to Rome. 

Record it for the grandson of your son 

A city is not builded in a day: 
Our little town cannot complete her soul 

Till countless generations pass away. 

Now let each child be joined as to a church 
To her perpetual hopes, each man ordained; 


Let every street be made a reverent aisle 

Where music grows, and beauty is unchained. 

Let Science and Machinery and Trade 

Be slaves of her, and make her all in all 

Building against our blatant restless time 
An unseen, skillful mediaeval wall. 

Let every citizen be rich toward God. 

Let Christ, the beggar, teach divinity 
Let no man rule who holds his money dear. 

Let this, our city, be our luxury. 

We should build parks that students from afar 

Would choose to starve in, rather than go home- 
Fair little squares, with Phidian ornament 
Food for the spirit, milk and honeycomb. 

Songs shall be sung by us in that good day 
Songs we have written blood within the rhyme 

Beating, as when old England still was glad, 
The purple, rich, Elizabethan time. 

Say, is my prophecy too fair and far? 

I only know, unless her faith be high, 
The soul of this our Nineveh is doomed, 

Our little Babylon will surely die. 

Some city on the breast of Illinois 
No wiser and no better at the start, 

By faith shall rise redeemed by faith shall rise 
Bearing the western glory in her heart 

The genius of the Maple, Elm and Oak, 
The secret hidden in each grain of corn 


The glory that the prairie angels sing 

At night when sons of Life and Love are born 

Born but to struggle, squalid and alone, 
Broken and wandering in their early years. 

When will they make our dusty streets their goal, 
Within our attics hide their sacred tears? 

When will they start our vulgar blood athrill 
With living language words that set us free ? 

When will they make a path of beauty clear 
Between our riches and our liberty? 

We must have many Lincoln-hearted men 

A city is not builded in a day 
And they must do their work, and come and go 

While countless generations pass away. 

Vachel Lindsay (1879- ) 

In many of the Western states the transition from 
one stage of civilization to the next succeeding stage has 
been phenomenally rapid. Centuries have been com- 
pressed into decades, and decades into a day. The fron- 
tiersman scout, hunter, miner, or cowboy is speedily 
followed by the farmer, who fences in the open prairie, 
builds a home, and raises cotton or wheat. The farmer, 
in turn, is often driven further west by the city, with its 
shops, factories, and railways. In this last stage the 
West has become a second East. Although few Eastern- 
ers have suspected it, Texas has almost wholly lost her 
cowboys and the picturesque life of the cattle ranch. 
Not only that, for after being for two or more decades 
a leading agricultural state, Texas has already entered 


the stage of industrial development. What not a few 
old-time Texans feel as they contrast the picturesque 
Texas which is" gone with the hustling commercialistic 
Texas which is at hand, Texans have left to an Eastern 
poet, Amy Lowell, to tell. 


I went a-riding, a-riding, 

Over a great long plain. 

And the plain went a-sliding, a-sliding 

Away from my bridle-rein. 

Fields of cotton, and fields of wheat, 

Thunder-blue gentians by a wire fence, 

Standing cypress, red and tense, 

Holding its flower rigid like a gun, 

Dressed for parade by the running wheat, 

By the little bouncing cotton. Terribly sweet . 

The cardinals sing in the live-oak trees, 

And the long plain breeze, 

The prairie breeze, 

Blows across from swell to swell 

With a ginger smell. 

Just ahead, where the road curves round, 

A long-eared rabbit makes a bound 

Into a wheat-field, into a cotton-field, 

His track glitters after him and goes still again 

Over to the left of my bridle-rein. 

But over to the right is a glare glare glare 
Of sharp glass windows. 

A narrow square of brick jerks thickly up above the cotton 


A raucous mercantile thing flaring the sun from thirty-six 


Brazenly declaring itself to the lovely fields. 
Tram-cars run like worms about the feet of this thing, 
The coffins of cotton-bales feed it, 
The threshed wheat is its golden blood. 
But here it has no feet, 

It has only the steep ironic grin of its thirty-six windows, 
Only its basilisk eyes counting the fields, 
Doing sums of how many buildings to a city, all day and all 


Once they went a-riding, a-riding, 

Over the great long plain. 

Cowboys singing to their dogey steers, 

Cowboys perched on forty-dollar saddles, 

Riding to the North, six months to get there, 

Six months to reach Wyoming. 

"Hold up, paint horse, herd the little dogies. 

Over the lone prairie." 

Bones of dead steers, 

Bones of cowboys, 

Under the wheat, maybe. 

The sky-scraper sings another way, 

A tune of steel, of wheels, of gold. 

And the ginger breeze blows, blows all day 

Tanged with flowers and mold. 

And the Texas sky whirls down, whirls down, 

Taking long looks at the fussy town. 

An old sky and a long plain 

Beyond, beyond, my bridle-rein. 

A my Lowell (1874- ) 

In reality, something of the traditional hostility of the 
poets to the cities will continue while selfish men live in 


them and run them for their own selfish ends. The old 
attitude re-appears with a new emphasis in the following 
poem in prose by Lord Dunsany, who looks upon the 
great city as a violent distortion of the purpose of nature. 


It was the voice of the flowers on the West wind, the lovable, 
the old, the lazy West wind, blowing ceaselessly, blowing 
sleepily, going Greecewards. 

"The Woods have gone away, they have fallen and left us ; 
men love us no longer, we are lonely by moonlight. Great 
engines rush over the beautiful fields, their ways lie hard and 
terrible up and down the land. 

"The cancrous cities spread over the grass, they clatter in 
their lairs continually, they glitter about us blemishing the 

"The Woods are gone, O Pan, the woods, the woods. And 
thou art far, O Pan, and far away." 

I was standing by night between two railway embankments 
on the edge of a Midland city. On one of them I saw the 
trains go by, once in every two minutes, and on the other, 
the trains went by twice in every five. 

Quite close were the glaring factories, and the sky above 
them wore the fearful look that it wears in dreams of fever. 

The flowers were right in the stride of that advancing city, 
and thence I heard them sending up their cry. And then I 
heard, beating musically up wind, the voice of Pan reproving 
them from Arcady "Be patient a little, these things are not 
for long." 

Lord Dunsany (1878- ) 

* Copyrighted by Little, Brown and Company. 



Lo, with the ancient 
Roots of man's nature, 
Twines the eternal 
Passion of song. 

Ever Love fans it, 
Ever Life feeds it; 
Time cannot age it, 

Death cannot slay. 
William Watson : "England my Mother" 

WE are living in a poetic age. It is a little difficult to 
grasp this fact until one recalls the status of poetry some 
twenty years ago. In 1900 the public read little beside 
fiction; the short story was in its heyday. A volume of 
verse was something to be printed at the author's expense 
and read only by the poet's friends. The few poems that 
were published were, in the main, thin and bookish re- 
echoings of older poets. Poetry had nearly lost its con- 
tact with life. Only those writers who cultivated light 
verse and the French forms were making any real ad- 
vance. In England twenty years ago there was no 
younger poet of first importance except Kipling. In 
America the older New England poets were all dead, and 



such poets as were writing were not widely read. Edmund 
Clarence Stedman, Madison Cawein, and William Vaughn 
Moody did not write the kind of poetry which many per- 
sons will ever care to read. Even as recently as 1910, only 
one of the strictly contemporary American poets had 
begun to write: this was Edwin Arlington Robinson, then 
almost entirely unknown. Foreign observers might well 
imagine that America was too materialistic ever to pro- 
duce a supremely great poet. We even said the same thing 
of ourselves. Some shared Macaulay's opinion that "as 
civilization advances, poetry almost necessarily de- 

Today, however, no poet has cause to lament, like Mil- 
ton, that he is "fallen on evil days," for never before in 
the history of the world were so many people interested 
in poetry. The evidence is unmistakable. There are 
several magazines devoted wholly to poetry. Many of the 
older publications, which in 1910 used verse only as a 
"filler," now make it a feature. In recent years both 
publishers and authors have been known to reap large 
profits from a volume of verse. Nor is this all. At hun- 
dreds of club meetings and popular lectures recent poetry 
is being read and discussed. Numerous handbooks and 
anthologies have been published to meet the widespread 
demand for information in regard to contemporary poets. 
Most remarkable fact of all perhaps, present-day poetry 
has at last received recognition in that conservative quar- 
ter, the college curriculum. If we except the little com- 
munity around Boston in the middle of the last century, 
nothing like this wide interest in poetry has ever been 
known in America. 


One of the most striking aspects of contemporary 
poetry is its re-conquest of much of the territory which 
verse had lost to prose. When literature emerged from 
the twilight obscurity of prehistoric times, it consisted 
solely of poetry ; prose was a later development. The 
Greeks had no Muse for either the novel or the short 
story. Ever since the invention of printing, prose has 
encroached more and more upon the narrowing confines 
of poetry. The novel, the short story, and the essay 
rendered the epic and the ballad well-nigh obsolete. It 
began to look as though poetry were to be limited to the 
lyric. For a decade or more if we except certain 
brilliant young novelists who have come into prominence 
within the last two or three years prose fiction has been 
conventional and inferior in quality; this is especially 
true of America. The short story in particular has be- 
come stereotyped, machine-made, and out of touch with 
life. Hence those writers who have stories to tell now 
frequently turn to poetry as a freer medium of expres- 
sion. The best of the poems of Noyes and Masefield, of 
Frost, Robinson, Masters, and Amy Lowell are narra- 

We shall discuss the British poets first because they 
illustrate, better than the American, the transition from 
the older poetry to the new. In English poetry we find 
two strongly contrasted groups of poets, who, for want 
of more exact terms, are usually called the conservatives 
and the radicals. Among the conservatives we may class 
William Watson ; Robert Bridges, the poet laureate ; 
Alfred Noyes ; and three poets no longer living, Stephen 
Phillips, Andrew Lang, and Austin Dobson. The best 


known poets of the radical group are John Masefield and 
Wilfrid Wilson Gibson. With them we may class two 
older poets, Kipling and Yeats, and the younger poets 
known as the Georgians. The conservative poets, in the 
main, continue the ideals and methods of the Victorians, 
especially Swinburne and Tennyson. The radicals rebel 
against the ideals of the Victorians and seek new themes 
and experiment with new modes of expression. 

Tennyson is the pet aversion of the radicals; and 
Tennyson, though a genuine poet and a great artist, had 
certain faults which his successors widely imitated. The 
result was that poetry became highly conventional in 
language, in ideas, and in technique. Professor Thorn- 
dike in a brilliant study of the Victorian period, Litera- 
ture in a Changing Age, points out the conventional 
side of Tennyson's diction: "Flowers, moonlight, the lap- 
ping wave, jewels and silks, the open road, the wind in 
the trees, the flash of swords, the pale face and the deep 
eyes, the rose of dawn, the lone sea mew whatever is 
pretty, melodious, picturesque, and rather superfluous in 
the day's work furnish the thread of poetic embroidery 
for Tennyson, and for how many imitators!" Tenny- 
son's followers, being unable to rival his original merits, 
imitated his faults: his over-ornate diction, his sentimen- 
tality, his artificial themes. The subjects of Swinburne, 
Morris, and Rossetti, for instance, are drawn oftener 
from books than from life; their poems presuppose more 
culture than the average reader possesses. Late Vic- 
torian poetry was out of touch with the life of the Eng- 
lish people. The time was ripe for a new poetic move- 


ment which should bring poetry back into touch with the 
common man. Before that could be done, however, it was 
necessary to abandon the outworn poetic diction and the 
dead stock ideas of the older poets. 

Before we take leave of Tennyson, let us point out cer- 
tain poems by living poets which furnish an excellent 
basis for a comparison between his work and theirs. In 
The Daffodil Fields Masefield has told a story which 
bears a striking resemblance to that of Enoch Arden. 
The plot of Amy Lowell's "Dried Marjoram" is very 
similar to that of Tennyson's "Rizpah." In Merlin 
and Lancelot Edwin Arlington Robinson has tempted 
comparison with The Idylls of the King. A study of 
these poems will give the reader an accurate conception 
of the great changes in poetic language and technique 
which have come about in the last two or three dec- 

One discerns the first signs of an approaching change 
in poetic ideals and methods in Browning, whose versifica- 
tion, diction, and subject matter were more modern than 
those of any of his Victorian contemporaries. Rudyard 
Kipling, however, was the first to break completely with 
the waning Victorian tradition. He employed not the 
ornate diction of Swinburne, Rossetti, and Morris but the 
simple dialect of the British Tommy. In his Barrack- 
room Ballads, he wrote, not of Camelot, or Old Japan, or 
the Earthly Paradise, but of the life he knew at first hand 
in India. By adopting the simple language and rhythm 
of the ballad, he managed to write poetry which the 
average person, indifferent to Swinburne, could readily 


understand and enjoy. The result was a great popular 
success. His poems were widely imitated by other writers, 
including Robert W. Service, the Canadian poet; Alfred 
Noyes ; and John Masefield. 

Some of the later poems of Kipling are much less 
popular than they deserve to be, for they possess a more 
substantial content of thought. The later poems show 
also a much greater range than the early poems. Kip- 
ling is one of the most versatile of living poets. In 
everything but name he is the laureate of the British 
Empire. He was the first of British writers in prose or 
verse to perceive the poetry latent in the Empire. With 
him for the first time Great Britain seems to have become 
conscious of her world-wide territory and her duties and 
opportunities. Lord Kitchener must have felt this when 
he put into the hands of every British soldier in France 
a copy of Kipling's "If." 

Kipling, like most contemporary poets, finds his ro 
mance in the present rather than in the past. To most 
older poets, novelists, and dramatists, romance implied 
the far-off in space or time. Recent writers like 
Masefield and O. Henry follow Kipling in revealing the 
romantic side of familiar things. More than any other 
poet, Kipling has tried to point out the poetry and ro- 
mance latent in modern machinery. "The King," which 
we quote, is a most effective satire upon the notion that 
only the past is romantic. This poem, like Kipling's 
"To the True Romance," "The Conundrum of the Work- 
shops," "The Story of Ung," and "The Three- 
decker," is in addition to its poetic merits, valuable as 



"Farewell, Romance!" the Cave-men said; 

"With bone well carved he went away. 
Flint arms the ignoble arrowhead, 

And jasper tips the spear to-day. 
Changed are the Gods of Hunt and Dance, 
And he with these. Farewell, Romance!" 

"Farewell, Romance!" the Lake- fold sighed; 

"We lift the weight of flatling years ; 
The caverns of the mountain-side 

Hold him who scorns our hutted piers. 
Lost hills whereby we dare not dwell, 
Guard ye his rest. Romance, Farewell !" 

"Farewell, Romance!" the Soldier spoke; 

"By slight of sword we may not win, 
But scuffle 'mid uncleanly smoke 

Of arquebus and culverin. 
Honour is lost, and none may tell 
Who paid good blows. Romance, farewell !" 

"Farewell, Romance!" the Traders cried; 

"Our keels have lain with every sea; 
The dull-returning wind and tide 

Heave up the wharf where we would be; 
The known and noted breezes swell 
Our trudging sail. Romance, farewell!" 

"Good-bye, Romance!" the Skipper said; 

"He vanished with the coal we burn; 
Our dial marks full steam ahead, 

Our speed is timed to half a turn. 
Sure as the ferried barge we ply 
'Twixt port and port. Romance, good-bye!" 


"Romance !" the season-tickets mourn, 

"He never ran to catch his train, 
But passed with coach and guard and horn 

And left the local late again !" 
Confound Romance ! . . . And all unseen 
Romance brought up the nine-fifteen. 

His hand was on the lever laid, 

His oil-can soothed the worrying cranks, 

His whistle waked the snowbound grade, 
His fog-horn cut the reeking Banks; 

By dock and deep and mine and mill 

The Boy-god reckless laboured still! 

Robed, crowned and throned, he wove his spell, 
Where heart-blood beat or hearth-smoke curled, 

With unconsidered miracle, 

Hedged in a backward-gazing world: 

Then taught his chosen bard to say: 

"Our King was with us yesterday !" 

Rudyard Kipling (1865- ) 

The leader of the Irish literary movement, William 
Butler Yeats, though he has little else in common with 
Kipling, shows an equal aversion to the conventional lan- 
guage of Tennyson's imitators. Speaking in Chicago 
several years ago, he said : "We tried to strip away every- 
thing that was artificial, to get a style like speech, as 
simple as the simplest prose, like a cry of the heart." 
Some of Yeats's poems, like his ballad, "Father Gilli- 
gan," possess this Wordsworthian simplicity; but many 
of them are tinged with a vague mysticism. 

Yeats is the greatest poet Ireland has yet produced; 
if we may accept Masefield's estimate, he is also the great- 


est living poet. "Unhappy Ireland," says Mary C. Stur- 
geon in her Studies of Contemporary Poets, "is at least 
happy in her laureate. The poet of dreams, of patriotism 
and proud humility, of old legend and song, of sweet 
sorrow and bitter joy, of a land and a people beyond the 
world this is indeed the poet of Ireland ; and it does not 
matter if no hand has ever set the wreath upon his brow." 
Yeats has discovered and developed most of the members 
of the Irish group, which includes Lord Dunsany, "^E" 
(George William Russell), Francis Ledwidge, who was 
killed in France, and the most brilliant of the Irish 
dramatists, the late John Millington Synge. There is a 
poetic strain even in those Irish writers who, like Dun- 
sany and Synge, write mainly in prose. Earlier Irish 
authors, like Swift, Steele, Goldsmith, Burke, Sheridan, 
and Moore, were essentially English. Yeats and his 
fellow-writers have added a new field to British literature 
in Irish legend and Irish life. We quote one of Yeats's 
many excellent short lyrics, for Yeats is probably the 
only great living poet of whom it can be said that his best 
work has been done in the lyric. 


When you are old and gray and full of sleep, 
And nodding by the fire, take down this book, 
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look 
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; 

How many loved your moments of glad grace, 
And loved your beauty with love false or true; 
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, 
And loved the sorrows of your changing face. 


And bending down beside the glowing bars 
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled 
And paced upon the mountains overhead 
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars. 

William Butler Yeats (1865- ) 

Although hardly a typical conservative, Alfred Noyes 
in the main impresses one as a belated Victorian. He is 
much more interested in England's past than any of his 
fellow-poets. His versification, his diction, his subjects 
often recall Swinburne, Tennyson, or Keats. Too often 
also he seems to be trying to express something which has 
already been effectively said by some older poet. In his 
political and social as well as in his poetic ideals, he is 
with the majority of his generation. He has, like Ten- 
nyson and Longfellow, the faculty of saying in not too 
literary a manner what the average reader of poetry is 
thinking; hence he has been enormously popular. His 
popularity with the masses, as in the case of Longfellow, 
has caused some critics to deny him any poetic merit. 
This is manifestly unfair. A man may be a genuine poet 
in spite of the fact that he is not a startlingly original 
thinker. Noyes's poetry, however, does to a considerable 
degree reflect modern English life and thought. Perhaps 
the fact that his wife is an American accounts in part 
for his interest in this country and in what he would call 
the Anglo-American "mission." 

Noyes's technical skill, possibly his chief claim to fame, 
is little short of marvelous. He is equally at home in the 
ballad stanza, the sonnet, blank verse, and in the various 
lyric forms. His best poems are, by general consent, his 
ballads, among which "The Highwayman" and "Forty 


Singing Seamen" are probably the best. His collected 
poems contain many other excellent narratives, the best 
of which perhaps are the Tales of the Mermaid Tavern 
and Drake, a romance of Elizabethan England. 

John Masefield's early life taught him many things 
which poets who, like Noyes, Tennyson, and Wordsworth, 
go to Oxford or Cambridge, seldom have an opportunity 
to learn. At an early age he ran away and went to sea. 
As a result of his experience as a sailor, he is better able 
to picture the sea than any other writer except such 
novelists as Conrad, Melville, and Cooper, all of whom 
learned the sailor's life from actual experience. Mase- 
field had many other unusual experiences before he began 
his career as poet. Once for a living he was forced to 
work as assistant in a New York barroom ; his experience 
there has occasioned an interesting sonnet by William 
Rose Benet. Unlike most poets, Masefield has seen life 
from below as well as from above ; and in his poems he 
has described the life of the lowly which until compara- 
tively recent times got into literature none too often. 
Salt Water Poems and Ballads, somewhat in the vein of 
Kipling, was his first volume; but it was The Everlasting 
Mercy and The Widow in the Bye Street which brought 
him recognition. These two narratives are full of vivid 
pictures of the hard life of the poor; they fill the reader 
with a sense of the injustice of the social order which 
condemns certain individuals to a life of toil and suffering. 

Like most poets, Masefield owes his awakening to a poet 
whom he read at a critical time. Milton seems to have 
been first stimulated to write poetry by a reading of 
Spenser, "the poet's poet." It was Spenser also who 


awakened Keats ; and it was Keats who seems to have been 
the inspiration of Amy Lowell. We quote Masefield's own 
account of his first reading of Chaucer, who gave him his 
first conception of what poetry might mean to him: "I 
did not begin to read poetry with passion and system until 
1896. I was. living then in Yonkers, N. Y. (at 8 Maple 
Street), Chaucer was the poet, and the Parliament of 
Fowls the poem, of my conversion. I read the Parliament 
all through one Sunday afternoon, with the feeling that I 
had been kept out of my inheritance and had then sud- 
denly entered upon it, and had found it a new world of 
wonder and delight. I had never realized, until then, what 
poetry could be." 

Although the influence of Shakespeare, Kipling, and 
other poets is to be seen in his work, the influence of 
Chaucer is the strongest to be found there. His later 
poems are less full of a rather lurid realism than The 
Everlasting Mercy. Masefield is perhaps no longer to be 
classed with the radical poets ; certainly no tag describes 
his later verse, which is in harmony with the best tradi- 
tions of English poetry. His subject matter and his 
diction are new, but the metrical forms which he employs 
are in the main the older forms used by Chaucer, Shake- 
speare, and Scott. Though he has written some excel- 
lent lyrics and many good Shakespearean sonnets, his 
best poems are probably his narrative poems, Dauber, 
The Widow in the Bye Street, Reynard the Fox, Enslaved, 
and Right Royal. The poem which we quote, although 
more characteristic of the earlier Masefield, furnishes an 
excellent illustration of the difference in spirit and subject 
between the new and the older poets. This poem is pre- 


fixed to Masefield's Collected Poems as indicating his 
poetic aims. 


Not of the princes and prelates with periwigged charioteers 
Riding triumphantly laurelled to lap the fat of the years, 
Rather the scorned the rejected the men hemmed in with 
the spears; 

The men of the tattered battalion which fights till it dies, 
Dazed with the dust of the battle, the din and the cries, 
The men with the broken heads and the blood running into 
their eyes. 

Not the be-medalled Commander, beloved of the throne, 
Riding cock-horse to parade when the bugles are blown, 
But the lads who carried the koppie and cannot be known. 

Not the ruler for me, but the ranker, the tramp of the road, 
The slave with the sack on his shoulders pricked on with the 

The man with too weighty a burden, too weary a load. 

The sailor, the stoker of steamers, the man with the clout, 
The chantyman bent at the halliards putting a tune to the 

The drowsy man at the wheel and the tired lookout. 

Others may sing of the wine and the wealth and mirth, 
The portly presence of potentates goodly in girth ; 
Mine be the dirt and the dross, the dust and scum of the 
earth ! 

THEIRS be the music, the colour, the glory, the gold; 
MINE be a handful of ashes, a mouthful of mould. 


Of the maimed, of the halt and the blind in the rain and the 

Of these shall my songs be fashioned, my tales be told. 


John Mase field (1878- ) 

In the following poem Wilfrid Wilson Gibson suggests 
the change in his own poetic ideals which corresponds in 
general to that we note in passing from the Victorian 
poets to those of the present time. 


As one, at midnight, wakened by the call 
Of golden-plovers in their seaward flight, 
Who lies and listens, as the clear notes fall 
Through tingling silence of the frosty night 
Who lies and listens, till the last note fails, 
And then, in fancy, faring with the flock 
Far over slumbering hills and dreaming dales, 
Soon hears the surges break on reef and rock; 
And, hearkening, till all sense of self is drowned 
Within the mightier music of the deep, 
No more remembers the sweet piping sound 
That startled him from dull, undreaming sleep; 
So I, first waking from oblivion, heard, 
With heart that kindled to the call of song, 
The voice of young life, fluting like a bird, 
And echoed that light lilting; till, ere long, 
Lured onward by that happy singing-flight, 
I caught the stormy summons of the sea, 
And dared the restless deeps that, day and night, 
Surge with the life-song of humanity. 

Wilfrid Wilson Gibson (1878- ) 


In America the break with the older poetic tradition is 
more marked than in England ; we have few living poets 
who can be classed as conservative. The only older Ameri- 
can poets who exert any appreciable influence on contem- 
porary poetry are Poe and Whitman, neither of whom 
was a New Englander. Contemporary American poets 
endorse Poe's oft-affirmed conviction that the business of 
poetry is not morality but beauty. Whitman's influence, 
as we have already suggested, is much greater. In his 
use of free verse, in his American themes, and in his hatred 
of conventional poetic diction Whitman was clearly a 
forerunner of the new poets. Whitman's "Poets to 
to Come" seems almost prophetic: 

Poets to come ! orators, singers, musicians to come ! 

Not to-day is to justify me and answer what I am for, 

But you, a new brood, native, athletic, continental, greater 

than before known, 
Arouse! for you must justify me. 

Poets and critics of today, even those who were born 
in New England, have little sympathy with the older 
poets of that section. Tht poems of Longfellow, Holmes, 
Whittier, and Lowell, we are reminded, were often vitiated 
by their provincialism, their prudish reticence, their in- 
cessant moralizing. Even the conservative Edmund Clar- 
ence Stedman, after compiling his American Anthology, 
said to a friend that what this country needed was some 
"adult male verse." Louis Untermeyer, a contemporary 
poet and critic, refers to the work of the older New 
England poets as "poems of the insistently didactic type, 
where all things in and out of nature, from a cham- 


bered nautilus to a village blacksmith, are used to point a 
specious and usually irrelevant moral." A contemporary 
American poet has cleverly expressed the attitude of his 
fellows in a Shakespearean sonnet. 


They cowered inert before the study fire 

While mighty winds were ranging wide and free, 

Urging their torpid fancies to aspire 

With "Euhoe ! Bacchus ! Have a cup of tea." 

They tripped demure from church to lecture-hall, 
Shunning the snare of farthingales and curls, 
Woman they thought half angel and half doll, 
The Muses' temple a boarding-school for girls. 

Quaffing Pierian draughts from Boston pump, 
They toiled to prove their homiletic art 
Could match with nasal twang and pulpit thump 
In maxims glib of meeting-house and mart. 

Serenely their ovine admirers graze. 
Apollo wears frock-coats, the Muses stays. 

Odell Shepard (1884- ) 

It is true that Longfellow thought it "exquisite to read 
good novels in bed with wax lights in silver candlesticks." 
It is true also that after reading Fremont's account of a 
journey through the Rockies, he wrote in his journal: 
"What a wild life, and what a fresh kind of existence! 
But ah, the discomforts !" And yet the sonnet we have 
quoted is not wholly just even to Longfellow, the pet 
aversion of the American poets of today. It is a char- 


acteristic of every new movement in literature that it 
begins by rebelling against the traditions set by its pre- 
decessors. Hence we do not look to poets for sound lit- 
erary criticism. Doubtless Longfellow, Lowell, Holmes, 
and Whittier have been considerably overrated and, worse 
still, praised for their poorest work; but the poets of 
today will have to face the same process of re-valuation 
in the next generation. That there is still life in the older 
poetic tradition is the opinion of Richard Le Gallienne, an 
English poet now living in this country. 


I take no shame that still I sing the rose 

And the young moon, and Helen's face and spring; 

And strive to fill my song with sound of streams 

And light of dreams; 

Choosing some beautiful eternal thing, 

That ever comes like April and ever goes. 

I have no envy of those dusty themes 

Born of the sweat and clamor of the hour 

Dust unto dust returning nor any shame have I, 

'Mid sack of towns, to ponder on a flower: 

For still the sorrow of Troy-town is mine, 

And the great Hector scarce is dead an hour. 

All heroes, and all lovers, that came to die 

Make pity's eyes with grief immortal shine; 

Yea ! still my cheeks are wet 

For little Juliet, 

And many a broken-hearted lover's tale, 

Told by the nightingale. 

Nor have I shame to strive the ancient way, 

With rime that runs to meet its sister rime, 


Or in some meter that hath learnt from Time 
The heart's own chime. 
These ways are not more old 
Than the unmeditated modern lay, 
And all those little heresies of song 
Already old when Homer still was young. 

Richard Le Gallienne (1866- ) 

The aims of the radical poets, both British and Ameri- 
can, have been best expressed by the group known as the 
Imagists. The best known members of this varying group 
are Richard Aldington, D. H. Lawrence, and T. S. Flint, 
all Englishmen; and three Americans, "H. D." (Mrs. 
Richard Aldington, nee Hilda Doolittle), John Gould 
Fletcher, and Amy Lowell. In 1915 they prefixed to a 
collection of their work, Some Imagist Poems, six rules 
for the writing of poetry. We quote in part the first 

1. To use the language of common speech, but to employ 
always the exact word, not the nearly exact, nor the merely 
decorative word. 

2. To create new rhythms as the expressions of new 
moods and not to copy old rhythms, which merely echo old 
moods. We do not insist upon "free verse" as the only 
method of writing poetry. We fight for it as a principle of 
liberty. We believe that the individuality of the poet may 
often be better expressed in free verse than in conventional 
forms. In poetry, a new cadence means a new idea. 

3. To allow absolute freedom in the choice of subject. . . . 
We believe passionately in the artistic value of modern 
life. . . . 

4. To present an image (hence the name "Imagist"). We 
are not a school of painters, but we believe that poetry should 


render particulars exactly and not deal in vague generalities, 
however magnificent and sonorous. . . . 

As the Imagists themselves state, these principles are 
not new but fallen into disuse. Had they wished to appeal 
to the history of poetry for precedent, they could have 
found a striking example of these Imagist principles in 
the Preface which Wordsworth prefixed to the 1800 edi- 
tion of The Lyrical Ballads. Wordsworth argued for 
freer choice of subject, for writing with one's eye on the 
object described, and for the abandonment of a conven- 
tional poetic diction in favor of a language drawn from 
the living speech of the people. The Imagists, in their 
desire to get away from conventions, like Wordsworth, 
lay down rules which it is impossible always to live up to. 
Like him, they find it difficult to limit themselves to "the 
language of common speech"; and sometimes, like him, 
they fall into the hackneyed diction and the "inversions" 
which they condemn. But the new poets have pretty 
effectively freed poetry of such trite expressions as O 
thou, 'mongst, doth, e'en, erst, and whilom. 

The following poem by "H. D." is typical of Imagist 
poetry except that it is more compact and highly finished 
than most other compositions in free verse. An oread is a 
mountain nymph. 


Whirl up, sea 
Whirl your pointed pines. 
Splash your great pines 
On our rocks. 


Hurl your green over us 
Cover us with your pools of fir. 

"H. D." (1886- ) 

In discussing the Imagists we have departed from the 
order of chronology. Edwin Arlington Robinson is the 
pioneer of living American poets and the greatest of them 
all. He is, in our opinion, a more painstaking artist than 
any other living poet. Although he has been writing and 
publishing poems for twenty-five years, not until six or 
seven years ago did he really begin to get a hearing. He 
is even now much less widely known than he deserves to 
be; for his poems, like Browning's, are not easy to read. 
His best poems are narrative. "Ben Jonson Entertains 
a Man from Stratford" is not only one of the finest 
dramatic monologues ever written; it is also the best 
characterization of Shakespeare ever written in verse. 

The great majority of recent poems do not come up to 
the level of the classics that we all know. Now and then, 
however, we come across a new poem like "The Dark 
Hills'* so perfect in conception and phrasing that one re- 
calls Holmes's comment upon a passage in Emerson's 
"Voluntaries," "These lines, a moment after they were 
written, seemed as if they had been carved on marble for a 
thousand years." Could anything be more nearly perfect 
than the two poems which are given below? 


Dark hills at evening in the west, 
Where sunset hovers like a sound 
Of golden horns that sang to rest 


Old bones of warriors under ground, 
Far now from all the bannered ways 
Where flash the legions of the sun, 
You fade as if the last of days 
Were fading, and all wars were done. 

Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869- ) 


Before there was in Egypt any sound 
Of those who reared a more prodigious means 
For the self-heavy sleep of kings and queens 
Than hitherto had mocked the most renowned, 
Unvisioned here and waiting to be found, 
Alone, amid remote and older scenes, 
You loomed above ancestral evergreens 
Before there were the first of us around. 

And when the last of us, if we know how, 
See farther from ourselves than we do now, 
Assured with other sights than heretofore 
That we have done our mortal best and worst, 
Your calm will be the same as when the first 
Assyrians went howling south to war. 

Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869- ) 

Although Robinson and Amy Lowell are also New 
England poets, Robert Frost, born in San Francisco, is 
the distinctive poet of contemporary New England. Two 
of Frost's poems, "Mending Wall" and "The Tuft of 
Flowers," are quoted in Chapter V, to which the reader is 
referred for further discussion of Frost's poetry. 

The Illinois poets, Vachel Lindsay, Edgar Lee Masters, 
and Carl Sandburg, are, as we should expect from their 


Western origin, more given to innovation than the East- 
ern poets. Vachel Lindsay is a sort of Puritan trouba- 
dour; and his poems are, in Louis Untermeyer's phrase, 
a curious "mixture of rhymes, rag-time, and religion." 
Lindsay has described his own poetry as "the Higher 
Vaudeville." He wishes to bring poetry back to the 
people, to make it a matter of supreme importance to 
every American. He once tramped over a large part of 
the United States preaching the Gospel of Beauty, ob- 
taining his food and lodging by exchanging his Rhymes 
to be Traded for Bread. Poetry, he maintains, is an 
oral art, meant for the ear and not for the eye. Hence he 
recites his poems in dramatic fashion, and in his pub- 
lished verse often supplies printed directions as to how it 
should be read. Among the best of his longer poems we 
may mention "On the Building of Springfield" and 
"Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight," already quoted, 
"The Congo," "The Chinese Nightingale," and "General 
William Booth Enters into Heaven." The short poem 
which we quote below recalls Swinburne, whom Lindsay 
greatly admires. Its subject, John P. Altgeld, was prom- 
inent in Middle Western politics a generation ago. 


Sleep softly . . . eagle forgotten . . . under the stone. 
Time has its way with you there, and the clay has its own. 

"We have buried him now/' thought your foes, and in secret 

rej oiced. 
They made a brave show of their mourning, their hatred 



They had snarled at you, barked at you, foamed at you day 

after day; 
Now you were ended. They praised you . . . and laid you 


The others that mourned you in silence and terror and truth, 
The widow bereft of her crust, and the boy without youth, 
The mocked and the scorned and the wounded, the lame and 

the poor, 
That should have remembered forever . . . remember no 


Where are those lovers of yours, on what name do they call 
The lost, that in armies wept over your funeral pall? 
They call on the names of a hundred high-valiant ones; 
A hundred white eagles have risen, the sons of your sons. 
The zeal in their wings is a zeal that your dreaming began, 
The valor that wore out your soul in the service of man. 

Sleep softly . . . eagle forgotten . . . under the stone. 
Time has its way with you there and the clay has its own. 
Sleep on, O brave-hearted, O wise man, that kindled the 


To live in mankind is far more than to live in a name; 
To live in mankind, far, far more . . . than to live in a name. 

Vachel Lindsay (1879- ) 

Edgar Lee Masters has published several volumes of 
verse, but he is known for one book, the Spoon River 
Anthology. This volume is in reality a collection of short 
stories, which twenty years ago would probably have been 
written in prose. It is perhaps significant that Masters 
has published a novel, Mitch Miller. More recently, how- 
ever, he has returned to poetry in Domesday Book, a long 


narrative in blank verse which has been compared to 
Browning's Ring and the Book. 

Masters himself has admitted that the title and the 
original idea of his Spoon River Anthology were derived 
from the Greek Anthology, a collection of short poems 
by many authors. Like Chaucer's Prologue and 
the Divine Comedy of Dante, the Spoon River An- 
thology is a collection of portraits, many of them such 
as one finds in a rogues' gallery. The plan of the book is 
unique. The poet goes to the cemetery in the decaying 
village of Spoon River and summons the spirits of the 
dead to come forth and tell the stories of their lives. In 
the ordinary acceptation of the term, these miniature 
autobiographies are not often poetical, but they are vivid 
and powerful. Possibly Masters's profession he is a 
criminal lawyer in Chicago accounts in part for the 
pessimism and cynicism of many of the sketches. The 
best known poem in the collection, "Anne Rutledge," we 
are unable to quote. The two selections which we give 
seem fairly representative. 


I have studied many times 
The marble which was chiseled for me 
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor. 
In truth it pictures not my destination 
But my life. 

For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusion- 

Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid; 
Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances. 


Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life. 

And now I know that we must lift the sail 

And catch the winds of destiny 

Wherever they drive the boat. 

To put meaning in one's life may end in madness, 

But life without meaning is the torture 

Of restlessness and vague desire 

It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid. 

Edgar Lee Masters (1869- ) 


As to democracy, fellow citizens, 

Are you not prepared to admit 

That I, who inherited riches and was to the manner born, 

Was second to none in Spoon River 

In my devotion to the cause of Liberty? 

While my contemporary, Anthony Findlay, 

Born in a shanty and beginning life 

As a water carrier to the section hands, 

Then becoming a section hand when he was grown, 

Afterwards foreman of the gang, until he rose 

To the superintendency of the railroad, 

Living in Chicago, 

Was a veritable slave driver, 

Grinding the faces of labor, 

And a bitter enemy of democracy. 

And I say to you, Spoon River, 

And to you, O republic, 

Beware of the man who rises to power 

From one suspender. 

Edgar Lee Masters (1869- ) 

Carl Sandburg, the only contemporary poet of first 
importance who limits himself to free verse, is of Swedish 
descent, and is by profession a Chicago journalist. Like 


Masefield and Masters, he has been charged with "bru- 
tality" ; but if his poems lack polish and good taste, they 
have great power. Synge, the Irish dramatist, was of 
the opinion that before poetry could be made human 
again, it would have to learn to be brutal. Sandburg is 
perhaps too much of a propagandist to be a consistent 
artist; but his poems are full of a hatred of injustice and 
are filled with sympathy for poverty and suffering. More 
than any other poet of our time, he has endeavored to 
write the poetry of life in large cities. His best known 
poem, "Chicago," has been quoted in the preceding chap- 

Although we have not space enough to discuss other 
living poets in detail, we must at least mention by name 
other American poets of importance, such as Sara Teas- 
dale (Mrs. Filsinger), Edna St. Vincent Millay, John 
Hall Wheelock, James Oppenheim, Edwin Markham, 
Josephine Preston Peabody (Mrs. Lionel Marks), Anna 
Hempstead Branch, Adelaide Crapsey, Witter Bynner, 
Ezra Pound, Louis Untermeyer, William Rose Benet, 
Stephen Vincent Benet, Christopher Morley, Arthur 
Guiterman, Conrad Aiken, Cale Young Rice, Lola Ridge, 
Arthur Davison Ficke, and Percy Mackaye. Many other 
names will be found in any good anthology of contem- 
porary verse. 

It should be noted that the production of poetry in the 
English language is no longer confined to England and 
the United States. We can no longer ignore the work 
of poets in Canada, Australia, and other British colonies. 
John McCrae, the author of "In Flanders Fields," and 
Eliot Napier, whose "All Men are Free" has been quoted, 


are British colonials. A better known poet, Rabindranath 
Tagore, comes from India. A few years ago Tagore's 
poetry was enormously popular among those superficial 
readers who are always looking for some new sensation; 
but the comparative unpopularity into which his work 
has fallen since the war should not cause us to overlook 
his real importance. In the original Bengali, Tagore's 
poems possess both meter and rime; in their English 
form, as translated by Tagore himself, they are perhaps 
best classed as free verse. Since poems in which verbal 
melody or the subtle associations of words form the 
dominant interest are most difficult to translate, we have 
selected for quotation from Tagore's Gitanjali (Song 
Offerings) a poem in which the thought is the major 
element. We have entitled it 


Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; 

Where knowledge is free; 

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by 

narrow domestic walls; 

Where words come out from the depths of truth; 
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection; 
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into 

the dreary desert sand of dead habit; 
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening 

thought and action 
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country 


Rabindranath Tagore (1861- ) 

The differences between contemporary and older poets 
are clearly seen in their use of war as poetic material. 


As in their treatment of other themes, the new poets have 
not re-echoed many of the conventional notes of older 
poetry. It seems worth while to develop this point in 
some detail in a discussion of the poetry occasioned by 
the World War. 

The most striking thing about recent war poetry is 
that much of it has been written by the soldiers them- 
selves. Not being either professional soldiers or pro- 
fessional patriotic poets, they have described war as they 
saw it with their own eyes a horrible thing, defensible 
only as a means to a great end. Modern war poetry, 
accordingly, is not romantic but realistic. 

In primitive times the chief business of the bard was to 
celebrate the warlike deeds of his lord and to incite the 
warriors to fight. The poet's praise was fame. Of those 
chieftains who died "unwept, unhonored, and unsung," 
Pope says, 

Vain was the chief's, the sage's pride! 
They had no poet,, and they died. 

In later days war poetry took often the form of a 
narrow jingoistic patriotism. Like Stephen Decatur, the 
poet felt bound to sanction the stand of his country, 
right or wrong. A striking instance of this is found in 
Shakespeare's Henry V. King Henry's war of aggres- 
sion against the French had as little justification as 
Germany's attack upon Belgium; and the King's speech 
to the inhabitants of Harfleur, in the third scene of the 
third act, is morally almost as infamous as the German 
ultimatum to the Belgian government. It is unfair, how- 
ever, to expect even a great poet to be in all respects 


ahead of his age. It is something to be grateful for that 
while Germany was chanting her "Hymn of Hate," Eng- 
land and America had to a great extent outgrown this 
primitive form of patriotism. 

"Peace hath her victories no less renowned than War," 
wrote Milton ; but peace has never appealed to the imagi- 
nation of the poet as war has done. Possibly the true 
explanation of this has been given in William James's 
brilliant essay, "The Moral Equivalent of War." "Our 
ancestors," he says, "have bred pugnacity into our bone 
and marrow, and thousands of years of peace won't breed 
it out of us." That perhaps is why the sights and sounds 
of military life have so great a fascination for us all. 
We cannot resist 

the neighing steed, and the shrill trump, 
The spirit-stirring drum, and the ear-piercing fife, 
The royal banner, and all the quality, 
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war, 

to which Othello sadly bade farewell. The characteristic 
attitude of older war poets is superbly expressed in a 
famous quatrain formerly ascribed to Scott, but recently 
discovered to have been written by a certain Major 
Mordaunt : 

Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife! 

To all the sensual world proclaim: 
One crowded hour of glorious life 

Is worth an age without a name. 

Yet we do not mean to leave the reader under the im- 
pression that all the wars in the past have been unjust 


or that the poets have invariably glorified the worse 
cause. War inspires in us the best as well as the worst. 
Many of the poems occasioned by the American Revolu- 
tion, the Civil War, and the Napoleonic wars are thor- 
oughly modern in spirit. "The Battle Hymn of the 
Republic," "The Burial of Sir John Moore," the "Con- 
cord Hymn," and Coleridge's "France" require no 

The new feeling about war and the poetry of war is 
the outgrowth of democracy and internationalism. Some- 
thing of the modern feeling is to be found even in Kipling, 
the laureate of the British Empire. In 1897 England 
celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of Victoria's accession 
to the throne. In the sixty years of her reign the Empire 
had grown enormously in size and in power. Kipling, 
feeling that there was too strong a disposition to boast 
about the greatness of the Empire, wrote his "Reces- 
sional" as a warning against the Prussian kind of im- 
perialism. In the Anglican church service the hymn sung 
by the retiring choir is called the recessional. The poem 
has been admirably set to music by Harry Rowe Shelley. 


God of our fathers, known of old 

Lord of our far-flung battle line 
Beneath whose awful hand we hold 

Dominion over palm and pine 
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, 
Lest we forget lest we forget! 

The tumult and the shouting dies 
The Captains and the Kings depart 


Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice, 

An humble and a contrite heart. 
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, 
Lest we forget lest we forget! 

Far-called, our navies melt away 
On dune and headland sinks the fire 

Lo, all our pomp of yesterday 
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre! 

Judge of the Nations, spare us yet, 

Lest we forget lest we forget! 

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose 
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe 

Such boasting as the Gentiles use, 
Or lesser breeds without the Law 

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, 

Lest we forget lest we forget! 

For heathen heart that puts her trust 

In reeking tube and iron shard 
All valiant dust that builds on dust, 

And guarding calls not Thee to guard, 
For frantic boast and foolish word, 
Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord! AMEN. 

Rudyard Kipling (1865- ) 

When we examine the poetry inspired by the War with 
Germany, we find that the first poems were written by 
poets of established reputation like Masefield and Kipling. 
These poems were written from the civilian standpoint. 
Vachel Lindsay's "Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight," 
quoted in the preceding chapter, well describes the usual 
American reaction to the outbreak of the war in 1914. 
The best expression of English feeling at the outset is 


found in what is still the greatest poem of the war, 
Masefield's "August, 1914." 

The feeling of the volunteer who has given up home, 
relatives, friends, and career to die for his country is 
well expressed in Rupert Brooke's five sonnets, "Nineteen- 
Fourteen," the last of which is quoted in the chapter on 
the Sonnet. Somewhat the same mood is expressed in 
McCrae's "In Flanders Fields" (see Chapter VII) and 
in Alan Seeger's "I Have a Rendezvous with Death." 
Both these poems were written by poets who were unknown 
before the war. Seeger was a young Harvard graduate 
who enlisted in the French army and was killed in France 
in 1916, nearly a year before America entered the war. 


I have a rendezvous with Death 

At some disputed barricade, 

When Spring comes back with rustling shade 

And apple-blossoms fill the air 

I have a rendezvous with Death 

When Spring brings back blue days and fair. 

It may be he shall take my hand 

And lead me into his dark land 

And close my eyes and quench my breath 

It may be I shall pass him still. 

I have a rendezvous with Death 

On some scarred slope of battered hill, 

When Spring comes round again this year 

And the first meadow-flowers appear. 

God knows 'twere better to be deep 
Pillowed in silk and scented down, 


Where love throbs out in blissful sleep, 
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath, 
Where hushed awakenings are dear. . . . 
But I've a rendezvous with Death 
At midnight in some flaming town, 
When Spring trips north again this year, 
And I to my pledged word am true, 
I shall not fail that rendezvous. 

Alan Seeger (1888-1916) 

The War with Germany proved at once a great stimu- 
lus to the production of poetry and a great interruption 
to its composition. It called forth some splendid poems 
from well-known poets like Noyes, Masters, and Mase- 
field; it brought to our attention some new poets like 
Alan Seeger, John McCrae, and Siegfried Sassoon. It 
also practically put an end, for four years, to the poetic 
career of Masefield. The war cost us the lives of several 
promising young poets who died in the service, Rupert 
Brooke, Julian Grenfell, Alan Seeger, Joyce Kilmer, and 
Francis Ledwidge. After the death of the Irish peasant 
poet, Francis Ledwidge, Lord Dunsany wrote, "He has 
gone down in that vast maelstrom into which poets do 
well to adventure and from which their country might per- 
haps be wise to withhold them." Ledwidge shared 
Dunsany's opinion in part, for shortly before his death 
he wrote : 

It is too late now to retrieve 
A fallen dream, too late to grieve 
A name unmade, but not too late 
To thank the gods for what is great; 


A keen-edged sword, a soldier's heart, 
Is greater than a poet's art. 
And greater than a poet's fame 
A little grave that has no name. 

Probably the best elegiac poem of the war has been 
written by Laurence Binyon. 


With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children, 
England mourns for her dead across the sea. 
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit, 
Fallen in the cause of the free. 

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal 
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres. 
There is music in the midst of desolation 
And a glory that shines upon our tears. 

They went with songs to the battle, they were young, 
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow. 
They were stanch to the end against odds uncounted, 
They fell with their faces to the foe. 

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old: 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them. 

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again; 
They sit no more at familiar tables of home; 
They have no lot in our labor of the daytime ; 
They sleep beyond England's foam. 


But where our desires are and our hopes profound, 
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight, 
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known 
As the stars are known to the Night; 

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust, 
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain ; 
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness, 
To the end, to the end, they remain. 

Laurence Binyon (1869- ) 

To most of the poets who saw active service, the war 
eventually became a matter of routine, a prosaic business, 
horrible when not dull. Some of them, notably Siegfried 
Sassoon and Robert Graves, have undertaken to strip off 
the traditional romantic halo of war and paint the fight- 
ing trade as it really is. Certain other realistic poets like 
Gibson and Sandburg, who apparently saw none of the 
fighting, picture war in the same manner. Sassoon, who 
is perhaps the ablest poet whose reputation has been made 
by the war, has said: "Let no one ever from henceforth 
say a word in any way countenancing war. . . . For war 
is hell and those who institute it are criminals. Were 
there anything to say for it, it should not be said for its 
spiritual disasters far outweigh any of its advantages." 
Many of Sassoon's poems are full of the gruesome details 
which most of us try to forget. The fact that every other 
generation which has experienced the horrors of war has 
also tried to forget them probably explains why the 
second and third generations imagine war as something 
romantic and holy. This point is brought out in the 
following poem. 



In fifty years, when peace outshines 
Remembrance of the battle lines, 
Adventurous lads will sigh and cast 
Proud looks upon the plundered past. 
On summer morn or winter's night, 
Their hearts will kindle for the fight, 
Reading a snatch of soldier-song, 
Savage and jaunty, fierce and strong; 
And through the angry marching rhymes 
Of blind regret and haggard mirth, 
They'll envy us the dazzling times 
When sacrifice absolved our earth. 

Some ancient man with silver locks 
Will lift his weary face to say: 
"War was a fiend who stopped our clocks 
Although we met him grim and gay." 
And then he'll speak of Haig's last drive, 
Marvelling that any came alive 
Out of the shambles that men built 
And smashed, to cleanse the world of guilt. 
But the boys, with grin and sidelong glance, 
Will think, "Poor grandad's day is done," 
And dream of those who fought in France 
And lived in time to see the fun. 

Siegfried Sassoon (1886- ) 

The war on the sea has been best described by Alfred 
Noyes. The following poem suggests the story of a 
trawler which has just come into port from a fight with 
a German submarine. 

* By permission, from Counter-attack and Other Poems, copyrighted 
by E. P. Dutton and Company. 



Dark, dark lay the drifters against the red West, 

As they shot their long meshes of steel overside; 
And the oily green waters were rocking to rest 

When Kilmeny went out, at the turn of the tide; 
And nobody knew where that lassie would roam, 

For the magic that called her was tapping unseen. 
It was well-nigh a week ere Kilmeny came home, 

And nobody knew where Kilmeny had been. 

She'd a gun at her bow that was Newcastle's best, 

And a gun at her stern that was fresh from the Clyde, 
And a secret her skipper had never confessed, 

Not even at dawn, to his newly-wed bride; 
And a wireless that whispered above, like a gnome, 

The laughter of London, the boasts of Berlin. . . . 
O, it may have been mermaids that lured her from home; 

But nobody knew where Kilmeny had been. 

It was dark when Kilmeny came home from her quest 

With her bridge dabbled red where her skipper had died; 
But she moved like a bride with a rose at her breast, 

And Well done Kilmeny! the Admiral cried. 
Now, at sixty-four fathom a conger may come 

And nose at the bones of a drowned submarine; 
But late in the evening Kilmeny came home, 

And nobody knew where Kilmeny had been. 

There's a wandering shadow that stares at the foam, 

Though they sing all the night to old England, their queen. 

Late, late in the evening, Kilmeny came home; 
And nobody knew where Kilmeny had been. 

Alfred Noyes (1880- ) 


Perhaps the most notable poem occasioned by the close 
of the World War is Sandburg's "A. E. F." It is hardly 
necessary to note that poets are not historians. The 
soldiers of the recent war were not allowed to keep their 
rifles as the soldiers of the Civil War seem to have done. 
Does not the effect obtained prove that this violation of 
historical fact is justified? 

A. E. F. 

There will be a rusty gun on the wall, sweetheart, 

The rifle grooves curling with flakes of rust. 

A spider will make a silver string in the darkest, warmest 

corner of it. 

The trigger and the range-finder, they too will be rusty. 
And no hands will polish the gun, and it will hang on the wall. 
Forefingers and thumbs will point absently and casually 

toward it. 
It will be spoken of among half-forgotten, wished-to-be- 

forgotten things. 

They will tell the spider: Go on, you're doing good work. 

Carl Sandburg (1878- ) 

What shall we say, in conclusion, of the relative merits 
of contemporary poetry when compared with that of 
earlier periods? In making any such comparison, one 
should bear several things in mind. First, it is unfair to 
set off the work of a dozen living poets against the nu- 
merous poems written by scores of poets in various 
periods which cover many centuries. It would be fairer 
to compare the British poets of today with the Romantic 
poets of a century ago, or the living American poets with 
the New England poets of the last century. Yet even 


then one must remember two things: first, that many of 
our living poets probably still have their best years ahead 
of them and, second, that the great output of contem- 
porary verse is as yet unwinnowed by the hand of time. 
This is not the case with the poets of the Romantic 
Movement. Here we know at once who the great poets 
are: Wordsworth, Coleridge, Scott, Byron, Shelley, and 
Keats. In the case of Wordsworth, for instance, we 
know that only about a fourth of what he wrote is worth 
reading today. Although he died at the age of eighty, 
practically all his best poems were composed in one de- 
cade, 1797-1807. In the case of a minor Romantic poet 
like Thomas Campbell, only three poems can be said to 
have lived: "Hohenlinden," "Ye Mariners of England," 
and "The Battle of the Baltic." No one now reads his 
long poems, The Pleasures of Hope and Gertrude of 
Wyoming. For Frost, Robinson, and Masefield, the 
sifting is yet to be done. Such anthologies as ours at- 
tempt it only tentatively and with trepidation. It is idle 
to say that all the poems of these poets are immortal; 
but who shall say just which of their poems will not be 
remembered ? 

The criticism of contemporary poetry is notoriously 
unreliable. Much of it is ignorant or partisan ; much of 
it is mere advertising. One should be careful not to ac- 
cept without question the estimates put upon the living 
poets by their publishers or their friends. Lord Byron 
attempted to forestall posterity's estimate of his fellow- 
poets. At the head of his list he placed Crabbe and 
Rogers, both almost forgotten; in the middle, Moore and 
Campbell ; at the end, Wordsworth and Coleridge. Byron 


could hardly have made a poorer guess, for though pos- 
terity has accepted his list, it reads it backwards. 

While we shall, therefore, not attempt to estimate the 
achievement of the poets of today, we do wish to point out 
two things which they have undoubtedly accomplished. 
In the first place, they have put into their poetry much 
of contemporary life and thought. Equally important 
is the fact that they have helped to bring about an enor- 
mous revival of interest in poetry. While in this country 
in 1918, John Masefield said: "America is making ready 
for the coming of a great poet. In England, in the days 
before Chaucer, many people were reading and writing 
verse. Then he came. The same intense interest in 
poetry was shown again just before the coming of Shake- 
speare. And now, in this country, you are all writing 
poems or enjoying them. You are making ready for a 
master. A great poetic revival is in progress." 


The following are excellent discussions of poetry: Haz- 
litt: "On Poetry in General"; Arnold: Introduction to 
Ward's English Poets; Poe's lecture, "The Poetic Principle"; 
Theodore Watts-Dunton's article on Poetry in the Encyclo- 
paedia Britannica; and Max Eastman's The Enjoyment of 
Poetry. See Bibliography for other titles. 

The following references throw further light upon the 
process of poetic composition: W. L. Cross: "The Act of 
Composition," Atlantic Monthly, May, 1906; Lane Cooper: 
Methods and Aims in the Study of Literature, Section IV 3 
Conrad Aiken: Scepticisms, Chapter II, "The Mechanism of 
Poetic Inspiration." Dorothy Canfield Fisher: "How 'Flint 
and Fire' Started," in Benjamin A. Heydrick: Americans All, 
is an exceptionally interesting account of the composition of 
a short story. Compare also Poe's account of the writing of 
"The Raven" in "The Philosophy of Composition." 


For further discussion of the song, see Mrs. Wodehouse's 
article on the Song in Grove's Dictionary of Music and Mu- 
sicians; Alfred Hayes: "The Relation of Music to Poetry," 
Atlantic Monthly, January, 1914; Prof. Percy H. Boynton's 
chapter on "Patriotic Songs and Hymns" in Volume IV of 
the Cambridge History of American Literature; Brander 
Matthews: "The Songs of the Civil War," in Pen and Ink; 
John Erskine: The Elizabethan Lyric, Chapter I. There is 
an interesting account of Stephen Collins Foster in Henry 


484 NOTES 

Watterson's autobiography, Marse Henry. For Elizabethan 
songs, see Robert Bell: Songs from the Dramatists. Gay ley 
and Flaherty: The Poetry of the People contains a large 
number of English, Scottish, Irish, and American songs, with 
valuable notes. For negro folk-songs, see Thomas W. Tal- 
ley: Negro Folk Rhymes and John A. Lomax: "Self-pity in 
Negro Folk-songs," The Nation, August 9, 1917. 

The following songs and closely related poems are quoted 
in other chapters of this book: Henley: "Invictus" (iii) ; 
Lovelace: "To Lucasta" (iii); Kingsley: "Young and Old" 
(iii); Goldsmith: "When Lovely Woman" (iii); Tennyson: 
"The Splendor Falls" (iii) and "Ring Out, Wild Bells" 
(iii); Kipling: "For All We Have and Are" (iii); Burns: 
"Bannockburn" (iii); Christina Rossetti: "When I Am Dead" 
(iii); Teasdale: "I Shall Not Care" (iii); Byron: "All for 
Love" (iv) ; Scott: "Coronach" (iv) ; Browning: Song from 
Pippa Passes (iv) ; Noyes: Song from Tales of the Mer- 
maid Tavern (iv) ; Coleridge: "The Knight's Tomb" (iv) ; 
Yeats: "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" (iv) ; Masefield: "The 
West Wind" (iv) ; Herrick: "To the Virgins" (iv) ; Burns: 
"Highland Mary" (xi) ; Kipling: "Recessional" (xii). 

For further reading, the following songs are suggested: 
All of Shakespeare's songs and most of those by Burns ; Mar- 
lowe: "The Passionate Shepherd to his Love"; Jonson: 
"Hymn to Diana" and "Still to be Neat" ; Collins : "Dirge 
in 'Cymbeline' " ; Thomson: "Rule Britannia"; Shelley: 
"Hymn of Pan," "The Indian Serenade," and the songs in 
Hellas and Prometheus Unbound; Emerson: "To Ellen"; 
Richard Henry Wilde: "My Life is Like a Summer Rose"; 
Richard Hovey: "Comrades" and "A Stein Song"; Eugene 
Field: "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod"; the songs in Sara Teas- 
dale's Rivers to the Sea and other volumes. 

The following hymns are worthy of study Addison: "The 
Spacious Firmament on High"; Charles Wesley: "Jesus, 
Lover of my Soul"; Cowper: "God Moves in a Mysterious 
Way" and "There is a Fountain Filled with Blood"; Thomas 
Moore: "Come ye Disconsolate"; Reginald Heber: "The Son 
of God Goes Forth to War"; Holmes: "A Sun-Day Hymn"; 
Lyte: "Abide with Me"; Toplady: "Rock of Ages"; Bliss 
Carman: "Lord of the Heart's Elation." 

NOTES 485 


For fuller or different discussions of the duple meters, see 
the manuals listed in the Bibliography. Since the great ma- 
jority of English poems are iambic, it is not necessary to 
make any particular suggestions for further reading of poems 
in the iambic meter. Note that all the poems contained in 
Chapters V and VII are iambic. Milton's "L'Allegro" and 
"II Penseroso," Arnold's "The Forsaken Merman," and John 
Hall Wheelock's "Earth" (ix) are interesting for their 
mingling of iambic and trochaic feet in varying proportions. 
The following poems in trochaic rhythm are suggested for 
further study: Edna St. Vincent Millay: "Elegy" (xi) ; 
Keats: "Bards of Passion and of Mirth" and "Fancy"; 
Blake: "The Tiger"; Burns: "Ae Fond Kiss"; Shelley: "Mu- 
sic, When Soft Voices Die"; Campbell: "The Battle of the 
Baltic"; Browning: "One Word More"; Tennyson: "Locks- 
ley Hall" and "Locksley Hall Sixty Years After"; James 
Russell Lowell: "The Present Crisis"; Longfellow: HiOf 
watha, "Nuremberg," and "The Belfry of Bruges"; Poe: 
"The Raven"; Whitman: "Pioneers! O Pioneers!"; Robin- 
son: "The Valley of the Shadow." 

With reference to the named stanzas, some suggested read- 
ings are: 

Ballad Stanza. Emily Dickinson: "A Book" (i) ; "Sir 
Patrick Spens" (vi) ; Herrick: "To the Virgins" (ix) ; Hood: 
"Faithless Nelly Gray" (ix) ; Burns: "Highland Mary" (xi). 
See also Kipling: "Danny Deever" (vi). 

Short, or Octosyllabic, Couplet. Poe: "The Sleeper" 
(xi) ; Whittier: "Maud Muller"; Collins: "How Sleep the 
Brave"; Wordsworth: "To a Highland Girl"; Shelley: "Lines 
Written among the Euganean Hills"; Joyce Kilmer: "Trees" 
(ix) ; Butler: Hudibras. 

William H. Davies: "Days Too Short" is in the "In Me- 
moriam" stanza. Wordsworth: "At the Grave of Burns" and 
"Thoughts Suggested the Day Following" are appropriately 
cast in the Burns stanza. Most of the stanzas which bear 
names are, however, associated with iambic pentameter. See 
notes to Chapter V. 

The hymn stanza, 4(4xa), is known as the long meter 

486 NOTES 

stanza (L.M.) Similarly, the ballad stanza (C.M.), when 
shortened by the omission of one foot in the first line, is 
known as short meter (S.M.). 


For fuller discussion of the triple meters, see the manuals 
of versification listed in the Bibliography. The following 
additional poems, some of them quoted in other chapters, are 
suggested: Burns: "Afton Water" (ii) ; Moore: "Believe Me, 
if All those Endearing Young Charms" (ii) ; Oilman: "Fair 
Harvard" (ii) ; Yeats: Song from The Land of Heart's De- 
sire (ii) ; Key: "The Star-spangled Banner" (ii) ; "Lord 
Randal"; Scott: "Lochinvar" (vi) ; Harte: "Her Letter" 
(ix) ; Untermeyer: "Questioning Lydia" (ix) ; Whittier: 
"Telling the Bees" (xi) ; Browning: "Up at a Villa Down in 
the City" (xi) ; Masefield: "A Consecration" (xii) ; Lindsay: 
"The Eagle that is Forgotten" (xii); Noyes: "Kilmeny" 
(xii); Dobson: "The Prodigals" (vii), "The Wanderer" 
(vii), "A Kiss" (vii), and "When I Saw You Last, Rose" 
(vii) ; Shelley: "The Sensitive Plant"; Scott: "Proud Maisie"; 
Tennyson: "Come into the Garden, Maud"; Poe: "Annabel 
Lee" and "For Annie"; Browning: "How They Brought the 
Good News from Ghent to Aix" and "Cavalier Tunes"; 
Lowell: "A Fable for Critics"; Lanier: "The Marshes of 
Glynn," "Sunrise," and "The Revenge of Hamish"; Swin- 
burne: "Hymn to Proserpine" and "To Walt Whitman in 

Wordsworth: "The Reverie of Poor Susan" and Bryant: 
"Green River" are poems in which, perhaps, the triple rhythm 
should not have been employed. With Longfellow's use of 
the dactylic hexameter in Evangeline and The Courtship 
of Miles Standish, the student may compare that of Goethe 
in Hermann und Dorothea and that of Clough in The Bothie 
of Tober-na-Vuolich. 


Matthew Arnold's essay, "On Translating Homer," con- 
tains some suggestive comments on the various metrical forms 

NOTES 487 

which have been used in rendering the classical hexameter 
into English. In addition to those poems quoted in part in 
this chapter, the following are suggested for further study: 

Blank Verse. Thomson: The Seasons; Cowper: "The 
Task"; Wordsworth: "Michael" and "Tintern Abbey" (xi) ; 
Coleridge: "Hymn before Sunrise"; Byron: Manfred and 
"The Dream"; Shelley: "Alastor"; Bryant: "Thanatopsis" 
and "The Antiquity of Freedom"; Tennyson: "Morte d' Ar- 
thur"; Browning: "Fra Lippo Lippi" and "Andrea del 
Sarto"; Arnold: "Sohrab and Rustum"; Yeats: The Land of 
Heart's Desire; Noyes: Drake; Frost: "An Old Man's 
Winter Night" and "Birches"; Masters: The Domesday 
Book; Robinson: Avon's Harvest, Lancelot and Mer- 

Heroic Couplet. Chaucer: Prologue to The Canterbury 
Tales (following the introductory section quoted in this 
chapter); Spenser: "Mother Hubbard's Tale"; Marlowe: 
"Hero and Leander"; Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, act 
ii, scene iii; Dryden: "Absalom and Achitophel"; Pope: The 
Rape of the Lock and An Essay on Man; Goldsmith: 
"The Deserted Village"; Cowper: "On the Receipt of my 
Mother's Picture"; Wordsworth: "Character of the Happy 
Warrior"; Byron: "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers"; 
Shelley: "Epipsychidion" ; Keats: Endymion and "Lamia"; 
Longfellow: "Morituri Salutamus"; Holmes: "At the Satur- 
day Club"; Macaulay: "A Jacobite's Epitaph" (ix) ; Swin- 
burne: "Tristram of Lyonesse"; Masefield: "Biography" and 
"Ships"; Rupert Brooke: "The Great Lover"; Frost: "The 
Cow in Apple Time." 

Heroic Quatrain. Dryden: "Annus Mirabilis"; Words- 
worth: "Elegiac Stanzas" (xi) ; Arnold: "Palladium"; Long- 
fellow: "At the Arsenal of Springfield"; Watson: "Words- 
worth's Grave"; Masefield: "August, 1914," "The River," and 
"The Wanderer"; Gibson: "Prelude" (xii) ; Lindsay: "Abra- 
ham Lincoln Walks at Midnight" (xi) and "On the Building 
of Springfield" (xi) ; Robinson: "Richard Cory," "Old 
Trails," "Theophilus," and "Veteran Sirens." 

Ottava Rima. Byron: Don Juan and "Beppo"; Shel- 
ley: "The Witch of Atlas"; Keats: "Isabella"; Longfellow: 
"The Birds of Killingworth." 

488 NOTES 

Rime Royal. Chaucer: "The Parliament of Fowls"; 
Shakespeare: "The Rape of Lucrece"; Wordsworth: "Reso- 
lution and Independence"; Masefield: "Dauber" and 
"The Daffodil Fields"; Amy Lowell: "The Cremona Vio- 

Spenserian Stanza. Burns: "The Cotter's Saturday 
Night"; Shelley: "Adonais" and "The Revolt of Islam"; 
Tennyson: "The Lotos-Eaters" (in part). 

Terza Rima. Byron: "The Prophecy of Dante"; Shelley: 
"The Triumph of Life"; Morris: "The Defence of Guene- 
vere"; Noyes: "The Progress of Love"; Masters: "The Mu- 
nicipal Pier." Browning: "The Statue and the Bust" em- 
ploys the terza rima rime scheme with anapestic tetra- 

Odes. Jonson: "A Pindaric Ode"; Milton: "On the Morn- 
ing of Christ's Nativity"; Dryden: "Alexander's Feast"; 
Gray: "The Bard" and "The Progress of Poesy"; Collins: 
"Ode to Evening" (x) ; Wordsworth: "Ode to Duty" (Hi); 
Coleridge: "France" and "Dejection"; Shelley: "To a Sky- 
lark" (iii) ; Keats: "Ode on a Grecian Urn" (iii), "Ode to a 
Nightingale," and "To Autumn"; Tennyson: "Ode on the 
Death of the Duke of Wellington"; Swinburne: "To Victor 
Hugo"; Lowell: "Under the Old Elm" and "Ode Recited at 
the Harvard Commemoration"; William Vaughn Moody: "An 
Ode in Time of Hesitation." 

Irregular Poems in Rime. Milton: "Lycidas"; Dryden: 
"Song for St. Cecilia's Day" and "Alexander's Feast"; Col- 
lins: "The Passions"; Coleridge: "Kubla Khan" (iii) and 
"Christabel" ; Arnold: "Dover Beach" (xi) ; Le Gallienne: 
"The Eternal Way" (xii) ; Amy Lowell: "Texas" (xi) ; See- 
ger: "I Have a Rendezvous with Death" (xii); Robinson: 
"The Man Against the Sky"; Lindsay: "The Santa Fe 
Trail"; Poe: "The Bells," "To Helen," and "Israfel"; 
Goethe: "Wanderer's Night-songs" (ix) ; Emerson: "Termi- 
nus"; Tennyson: "Maud"; Lanier: "Sunrise" and "The 
Marshes of Glynn"; Browning: "Home-Thoughts from 
Abroad"; Arnold: "The Forsaken Merman." An interesting 
study can be made of Victor Hugo's "Les Djinns," in which 
the lines vary in length to suit the subject matter of the 

NOTES 489 


For further discussion of the Popular Ballad, see Pro- 
fessor George Lyman Kittredge's Introduction to Kittredge 
and Sargent: English a.nd Scottish Popular Ballads; Francis 
B. Gummere: The Popular Ballad and The Beginnings of 
Poetry; and Andrew Lang's article on the Ballad in the En- 
cyclopaedia Britannica. These authors give what is called 
the orthodox theory of ballad authorship; the views of Pro- 
fessor Louise Pound are set forth in her Poetic Origins and 
the Ballad. W. Roy Mackenzie's The Quest of the Ballad 
is an extremely interesting account of the author's experiences 
in ballad collecting in Nova Scotia. Excellent collections of 
popular ballads are Gummere: Old English Ballads; Kittredge 
and Sargent: English and Scottish Popular Ballads; R. Brim- 
ley Johnson: The Book of British Ballads; Quiller-Couch : 
The Oxford Book of Ballads; Olive Dame Campbell and 
Cecil J. Sharp: English Folk Songs from the Southern Appa- 
lachians; and John A. Lomax: Cowboy Songs and Other 
Frontier Ballads. 

For further reading, the following British popular ballads 
are suggested: "Edward"; "The Three Ravens"; "Thomas 
Rymer"; "The Twa Brothers"; "Lord Thomas and Fair An- 
net"; "Fair Margaret and Sweet William"; "The Wife of 
Usher's Well"; "Bonny Barbara Allen"; "The Gay Goshawk"; 
"Adam Bell"; "Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne"; "The 
Hunting of the Cheviot"; "Johnie Armstrong"; "Kinmont 

The following literary ballads will repay study: Drayton: 
"The Battle of Agincourt"; Cowper: "The Diverting History 
of John Gilpin"; Wordsworth: "Lucy Gray"; Coleridge: 
"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (not strictly a ballad) ; 
Scott: "Rosabelle" and "The Eve of St. John"; Campbell: 
"Lord Ullin's Daughter"; Macaulay: "Horatius"; Tennyson: 
"The Defence of Lucknow," "The Revenge/' and "Lady 
Clare"; Browning: "Herve Riel"; Rossetti: "Sister Helen" 
and "The White Ship"; Longfellow: "The Skeleton in Ar- 
mor," "The Wreck of the Hesperus," and "A Ballad of the 
French Fleet"; Whittier: "The Pipes at Lucknow," "Barclay 
of Ury," and "Cassandra Southwick"; Lanier: "The Re- 

490 NOTES 

venge of Hamish"; Yeats: "The Ballad of Moll Magee" and 
"The Ballad of Father Gilligan"; Kipling: "Gunga Din," 
"Fuzzy- Wuzzy," and "The Ballad of East and West"; Noyes: 
"Forty Singing Seamen"; Masefield: "Cap on Head" and 
"The Hounds of Hell"; Amy Lowell: Legends, which con- 
tains some excellent ballads and narrative poems of the same 
general type. 


Three sonnets are given in other chapters: Wordsworth: 
"Composed upon Westminster Bridge" (xi) ; Odell Shepard: 
"Certain American Poets" (xii) ; and Robinson: "Monadnock 
through the Trees" (xii). Most poetic anthologies contain a 
number of sonnets. Collections devoted wholly to the sonnet 
are Laura E. Lockwood: English Sonnets and William Sharp: 
Sonnets of the Nineteenth Century. The Oxford Book of 
Australasian Verse contains a number of excellent sonnets. 
A detailed discussion of the technique of the sonnet is given 
in the Introduction to Sharp's Sonnets of the Nineteenth Cen- 
tury. Austin Dobson wrote a clever "A Sonnet in Dialogue." 
See also Romeo and Juliet, act i, scene v, lines 91 ff. In 
French verse the decasyllabic line is not a strict requirement. 
De Musset's well known "Tristesse" has octosyllabic lines. 
Comte de Resseguier's "Epitaphe d'une Jeune Fille" is a 
sonnet in single-syllable lines: 















NOTES 491 

The continued and growing popularity of the form has led 
to the recent establishment of a magazine entitled The Sonnet. 


Gleeson White's invaluable Ballades and Rondeaus con- 
tains an excellent history of the traditional exotic forms, and 
offers an inclusive anthology of these forms down to 1887. 
A volume of the same scope covering the past third of a cen- 
tury would be useful in giving an appraisal of recent efforts 
in the French forms. Suggestions for further reading have 
already been made in the chapter under the various types 


Excellent discussions of vers de societe will be found in 
the following admirable anthologies : Locker-Lampson : Lyra 
Elegantiarum; Brander Matthews: American Familiar Verse; 
Carolyn Wells: A Vers de Societe Anthology. For all types 
of humorous verse Carolyn Wells's A Book of Humorous 
Verse is an invaluable collection. 

Nearly all the poems given in Chapter VII (The Old 
French Forms) belong to light verse. See also Waller: "Go, 
Lovely Rose" in Chapter III. For very short poems of 
various types, see Kipling's "Epitaphs of the War"; Robin- 
son's "Variations of Greek Themes"; William Watson's "Epi- 
grams"; and any of the poems of Emily Dickinson and John 
B. Tabb. 


Interesting discussions of free verse will be found in Amy 
Lowell's Tendencies in Modern American Poetry and in her 
prefaces to Can Grande 's Castle and Sword Blades and Poppy 
Seed; Spingarn: Creative Criticism; Perry: A Study of 
Poetry; and Lowes: Convention and Revolt in Poetry. The 
student who has read little or nothing from Whitman will do 
well to begin with Perry's biography, Stevenson's Essay on 
Whitman, and the selections from Whitman's poetry in Boyn- 
ton's American Poetry or Page's Chief American Poets. Ex- 
cellent examples of "polyphonic prose" are Amy Lowell's 

492 NOTES 

"Guns as Keys" in Can Grande's Castle and John Gould 
Fletcher's "The Passing of the West" in Breakers and Gran- 
ite. For a discussion of other rimeless forms than free verse, 
see Brander Matthews: A Study of Versification, Chapter IX. 
Whitman's "The Singer in the Prison" combines free verse 
with rimed regular verse in an interesting manner. 

Poems in free verse quoted in other chapters are : Fletcher : 
"Blake" (i) ; Crapsey: "Triad" (ix) and "The Warning" 
(ix) ; Fletcher: "Broadway's Canyon" (xi) ; Sandburg: "Chi- 
cago" (xi) and "A. E. F." (xii); Masters: "George Gray" 
(xii) and "John Hancock Otis" (xii). 


Poe's discussion of "The Raven" is found in "The Philoso- 
phy of Composition." Other poems on death will be found 
in Chapters III, IX, and X. The following poems on old 
age may be profitably compared: Tennyson: "Ulysses" (v) ; 
Browning: "Rabbi ben Ezra"; Arnold: "Growing Old"; 
Longfellow: "Mprituri Salutamus"; Holmes: "The Old Man 
Dreams"; Dobson: "Growing Gray"; Robinson: "Isaac and 
Archibald"; Masefield: "On Growing Old." 

Most of the poems about Lincoln are found in Mary Wright- 
Davis's The Book of Lincoln. An earlier and less complete 
anthology is A. Dallas Williams's The Praise of Lincoln. 
For discussion of Lincoln's role in poetry, see Carl Van 
Doren: "The Poetical Cult of Lincoln" in The Nation for 
May 17, 1919; and John Drinkwater's Lincoln, the World- 

Other nature poems in the book are: Burns: "Afton Water" 
(ii) ; Stevenson: "Requiem" (ii) ; Kipling: "The Gipsy 
Trail" (ii) ; Shelley: "To Night" (ii) ; Swinburne: "The Gar- 
den of Proserpine" (iii) ; Wordsworth: "I Wandered Lonely" 
(iii); Shelley: "To a Skylark" (iii); Cowper: "The Poplar 
Field" (iv) ; Swinburne: "A Forsaken Garden" (iv) ; Shelley: 
"The Cloud" (iv) ; Lanier: "The Song of the" 
(iv) ; Yeats: "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" (iv) ; Masefield: 
"The West Wind" (iv) ; Wordsworth: From The Prelude (v) ; 
Keats: From "Hyperion" (v) ; Tennyson: "Ulysses" (v) ; 
Bryant: From "The Prairies" (v) ; Emerson: "The Snow- 

NOTES 493 

Storm" (v); Frost: "Mending Wall" (v) and "The Tuft of 
Flowers" (v) ; Gray: "Elegy Written in a Country Church- 
yard" (v) ; Byron: From Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (v) ; 
Shelley: "Ode to the West Wind" (v) ; Keats: "On First 
Looking into Chapman's Homer" (vii) ; Wordsworth: "The 
World is Too Much with Us" (vii); Shelley: "Ozymandias" 
(vii); Keats: "On the Grasshopper and Cricket" (vii); 
Lang: "Ballade to Theocritus in Winter" (viii) ; McCrae; 
"In Flanders Fields" (viii); Bunner: "A Pitcher of Mignon- 
ette" (viii); Scollard: "In the Sultan's Garden" (viii); 
Goethe: "Wanderer's Night-songs" (ix) ; Arnold: "Philomela" 
(x) ; Whitman: "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" 
(x) and "As Toilsome I Wander'd Virginia's Woods" (x) ; 
Henley: "Margaritae Sorori" (x) ; Fletcher: "Exit" (x) ; 
Gibson: "Prelude" (xii) ; Robinson: "The Dark Hills" (xii) 
and "Monadnock through the Trees" (xii). 

Interesting poems dealing with the city are: Bryant: "The 
Hymn of the City"; Harte: "San Francisco"; Masters: "The 
Loop"; Amy Lowell: "Towns in Color," in her Men, Women 
and Ghosts. See also many poems in Fletcher: Breakers and 
Granite and Sandburg: Chicago Poems. 


Interesting discussions of contemporary poets are found in 
Amy Lowell: Tendencies in Modern American Poetry; Louis 
Untermeyer: The New Era in American Poetry; Con- 
rad Aiken: Scepticisms: Notes on Contemporary Poetry; 
Mary C. Sturgeon: Studies of Contemporary Poets; Manly 
and Rickert: Contemporary British Literature and Contempo- 
rary American Literature; Marguerite Wilkinson: New Voices; 
Arthur Waugh: Tradition and Change; John Erskine: The 
Kinds of Poetry; Lowes: Convention and Revolt in Poetry; 
Phelps: The Advance of English Poetry in the Twentieth 

Most of the following excellent anthologies also contain 
valuable criticism: Untermeyer: Modern American Poetry 
(revised and enlarged edition) and Modern British Poetry; 
Marguerite Wilkinson: New Voices; Harriet Monroe and 
Alice Corbin Henderson: The New Poetry; Jessie B. Ritten- 

494 NOTES 

house: The Little Book of Modern Verse and The Second 
Book of Modern Verse. 

In this chapter we have not discussed all the contemporary 
poets who are represented by poems in other chapters. For 
review it will be well to look up the following names in the 
General Index at the end of the volume, although some of 
these poets are contemporary in time only (the names of 
American poets are indicated by an asterisk) : 

Robert Bridges ; Rupert Brooke ; * Gelett Burgess ; * Witter 
Bynner; * Adelaide Crapsey; Walter de la Mare; Austin Dob- 
son; Lord Dunsany; * John Gould Fletcher; * Robert Frost; 
Wilfrid Wilson Gibson; Edmund Gosse; Thomas Hardy; 

* "H. D."; William Ernest Henley; * Joyce Kilmer; Rud- 
yard Kipling; Francis Ledwidge; Richard Le Gallienne; 

* Vachel Lindsay; Andrew Lang; * Haniel Long; * Amy 
Lowell ; John Masefield ; * Edgar Lee Masters ; John McCrae ; 

* Edna St. Vincent Millay; * Christopher Morley; Eliot Na- 
pier; Alfred Noyes; * Josephine Preston Peabody; * Ezra 
Pound; * Edwin Arlington Robinson; * Carl Sandburg; Sieg- 
fried Sassoon ; * Clinton Scollard ; * Alan Seeger ; * Odell 
Shepard; Rabindranath Tagore; * Sara Teasdale; * Louis 
Untermeyer ; * Henry van Dyke ; William Watson ; * Willard 
Wattles; Theodore Watts-Dunton ; * John Hall Wheelock; 
William Butler Yeats. 



Scepticisms: Notes on Contemporary Poetry. 

An Introduction to Poetry. 

English Verse: Specimens Illustrating its Principles and 


The Writing and Reading of Verse. 

Old English Ballads and Folk Songs. 

"The Study of Poetry" (Introduction to Ward's Eng- 
lish Poets). 

American Poetry. 

Oxford Lectures on Poetry. 

A Treasury of War Poetry. 

The Lyric. 

The Enjoyment of Poetry. 

The Elizabethan Lyric. 

The Kinds of Poetry. 

The Poetry of the People. 
GAYLEY, C. M., and KURTZ, B. P. 

Methods and Materials of Literary Criticism. 
GAYLEY, C. M., YOUNG, C. C., and KURTZ, B. P. 

English Poetry: Its Principles and Progress (revised 




The Classic Myths in English Literature. 

The Beginnings of Poetry. 

The Popular Ballad. 

Old English Ballads. 
HART, W. M. 

English Popular Ballads. 

The Book of British Ballads. 


English and Scottish Popular Ballads. 

Poems of the War and the Peace. 

Lyra Elegantiarum. 

English Sonnets. 

Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads. 

Songs of the Cattle Trail and the Cow Camp. 

Tendencies in Modern American Poetry (see also the 

prefaces to her various volumes of verse). 

Convention and Revolt in Poetry. 

The Quest of the Ballad. 

Contemporary British Literature: Bibliographies and 
Study Outlines. 

Contemporary American Literature: Bibliographies and 

Study Outlines. 

American Familiar Verse. 

A Study of Versification. 

Some Contemporary Poets. 

Some Soldier Poets. 



The Essentials of Poetry. 

Burns : How to Know Him. 

The Muse in Arms: A Collection of War Poems. 

The Golden Treasury. 

The Rhythm of Prose. 

Reliques of Ancient English Poetry. 

A Study of Poetry. 

The Advance of English Poetry in the Twentieth Cen- 

"The Poetic Principle." 

"The Philosophy of Composition." 

Poetic Origins and the Ballad. 

The Poetic Mind. 


The Oxford Book of Ballads. 
The Oxford Book of English Verse. 

The New Golden Treasury. 


The Little Book of Modern Verse. 

The Second Book of Modern Verse. 

The English Lyric 

The Defense of Poesy. 

Sonnets of the Nineteenth Century. 

A Defence of Poetry. 



Creative Criticism. 

Poems of American History. 

Negro Folk Rhymes. 

The New Era in American Poetry. 

Modern American Poetry. 

Modern British Poetry. 

Article on Poetry in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. 

The Book of Humorous Verse. 

Ballades and Rondeaus, Chants Royal, Sestinas, Villa- 

nelles, etc. 

Preface to Leaves of Grass. 

New Voices: An Introduction to Contemporary Poetry. 


"A New Defence of Poetry" (in The Heart of Man). 
The Appreciation of Literature. 



The names of poets quoted in this anthology are printed in small 
capitals. American poets are indicated by an asterisk (*), 
living poets by a dagger ((). All titles are printed in italics. 

ANONYMOUS (i.e., poems by un- 
known authors), Swing Low, 
Sweet Chariot, 28-29; John 
Brown's Body, 46-47; Lord 
Randal, 239; The Twa Cor- 
bies, 240; Sir Patrick Spens, 
241-242; Fair Helen, 243-244; 
Jesse James, 244-246; Katha- 
rine Jaffray, 246-248; The 
Young Lady of Niger, 345; 
Brussels Cross Inscription, 

Abraham Lincoln (Malone), 
quoted 401. 

Abraham Lincoln Walks at Mid- 
night (Lindsay), 473, quoted 

acatalectic, 72. 

accent, 66. 

f* Adams, Franklin P., 326. 

Addison, Joseph, 237, 411. 

A. E. F. (Sandburg), quoted 

Jlneid, Vergil's, 67. 

Afton Water (Burns), quoted 

|*Aiken, Conrad, 468. 

{Aldington, Richard, 460. 

See "H. D." 

324, 348; poem quoted: Pala- 
bras Carinosas, 323-324. 

Alexander Throckmorton (Mas- 
ters), quoted 372. 

All Men are Free (Napier), 
quoted 304-305. 

alliteration, 81, 82. 

Altgeld, John P., 464. 

America (Smith), 42, 43-45, 
quoted 44-45. 

American Anthology, An, 457. 

American Familiar Verse, 321. 

anapestic meters, 68, 138, 140, 
238, 250. 

Anglo-Saxon verse, 352, 365. 

Annie Laurie (Lady Scott), 
quoted 34-35. 

Anthology, the Greek, 350, 466. 

Apology, An (Morris), 110, 
quoted 215-216. 

Aristotle, 2, 6, 363. 

ARNOLD, MATTHEW, 1, 2, 7, 13, 
14, 17, 91-92, 182, 275, 285, 
364, 369, 400, 411, 418; poems 
quoted: Destiny, 92; Shake- 
speare, 285-286 ; Philomela, 
369-370; Requiescat, 395-396; 
Dover Beach, 418-419. 

Ars Victrix (Dobson), quoted in 
part 192. 

Arthur, King, 400. 

As Toilsome I Wander 1 'd Vir- 
ginia's Woods (Whitman), 
quoted 378. 

assonance, 82, 83. 

Astrid (Noyes), quoted in part 

At Magnolia Cemetery (Timrod), 
quoted 122-123. 




Atalanta in Calydon, 141. 
Atlantic Monthly, The, 323. 
August, 1914, 474. 
Auld Lang Syne (Burns), quoted 


autograph poems, 357-358. 
Aylmer, Rose, 394. 

Baby's Feet, A (Swinburne), 
quoted 308. 

Bacheller, Irving, 401. 

ballad, the, Chapter VI passim, 
235 ff. 

Ballad of Dead Ladies, The (Vil- 
lon), quoted 300-301. 

Ballad of Heroes, A (Dobson), 
quoted 297-298. 

ballad stanza, the, 77, 252, 257. 

ballade, the, 295 if. 

Ballade of the Southern Cross 
(Lang), quoted 296-297. 

Ballade to Theocritus, in Win- 
ter (Lang), quoted 295-296. 

Ballades and Rondeaus, 295. 

Ballades in Blue China, 295, 

Ballot, The (Pierpont), quoted 

Bannockburn (Burns), quoted 

Bard's Epitaph, A (Burns), 351, 
quoted 99-100. 

Barney McGee (Hovey), quoted 
in part 152. 

Barrack-room Ballads, 252, 253, 

Battle Hymn of the Republic, 
The (Mrs. Howe), 47-48, quoted 

Baudelaire, Charles, 400. 

quoted: On the Tombs in West- 
minster Abbey, 113. 

Beaumont, Sir George, 413, 414. 

Beethoven, Ludwig Van, 21. 

Believe Me if All Those Endear- 
ing Young Charms (Moore), 
55, quoted 38. 

f*Benei, Stephen Vincent, 468. 

f*Bent, William Rose, 453, 468. 

Ben Jonson Entertains a Man 
from Stratford (Robinson), 
462, quoted in part 188-189. 

Bennett, Arnold, 13. 

Berlin, Irving, 27. 

Bible, the, 251-252, 367, 368, 373. 

quoted: For the Fallen, 476- 

BLAKE, WILLIAM, 15, 107, 127, 
370-371; poems quoted: The 
Tiger (in part), 72; Songs of 
Innocence: Introduction, 74. 

Blake (Fletcher), quoted 15. 

blank verse, 172 ff., 192. 

Blessed Damozel, The, 104, 392. 

Bonnie Doon (Burns), quoted in 
part 70. 

Book, A (Dickinson), quoted 4. 

Book of Lincoln, The, 406. 

Bowles, W T illiam Lisle, 269. 

f*Branch, Anna Hempstead, 468. 

Break, Break, Break (Tenny- 
son), quoted 168-169. 

quoted: On Beau Nosh's Pic- 
ture, 356. 

Bride of Abydos, The (Byron), 
quoted in part 165-166. 

Bridge of Sighs, The (Hood), 
342, quoted 153-156. 

{-BRIDGES, ROBERT, 282-284, 445; 
poem quoted: Who Builds a 
Ship, 284. 

Broadway's Canyon (Fletcher), 
quoted 432-433. 

BROOKE, RUPERT, 210, 284, 474, 
475; poem quoted: The Soldier, 

Browne, Sir Thomas, 364. 

BROWNE, WILLIAM, poem quoted: 

On the Countess Dowager of 
Pembroke, 349. 

RETT, 282-283, 321, 359; poem 
quoted: How Do I Love Thee? 

BROWNING, ROBERT, 5, 156, 181, 
182, 282, 364, 376, 392, 411, 
428, 447, 466; poems quoted: 



Prospice, 146-147; The Year's 
at the Spring, 149; The Lost 
Leader, 157-158; My Last 
Duchess, 199-201; Up at a 
Villa Down in the City, 429- 

Bruce 's Address to his Army at 
Bannockburn (Burns), quoted 

Brussels Cross Inscription, quoted 

88-90, 185-186, 204, 286, 428; 
poems quoted: The Poet, 9-10; 
To a Water-fowl, 88-89; Thana- 
topsis (in part), 90; The 
Prairies (in part), 186-U87; 
The Death of Lincoln, 403. 

309; poems quoted: A Pitcher 
of Mignonette, 309; "One, Two, 
Three," 335-336. 

{'BURGESS, GELETT, 340; poem 
quoted: The Purple Cow, 340. 

Burial of Sir John Moore, The 
(Wolfe), quoted 145-146. 

BURNS, ROBERT, 14, 30-34 (his 
songs), 55-56, 321, 350, 351, 
392, 411; poems quoted: Afton 
Water, 31-32; Auld Lang Syne, 
33-34; John Anderson, 55-56; 
Bonnie Doon (in part), 70; 
A Bard's Epitaph, 99-100; 
Bruce's Address to his Army at 
Bannockburn, 120-121 ; Epi- 
taph on John Dove, 351 ; High- 
land Mary, 392-393. 

Burns (Whittier), quoted in part 

f*BYNNER, WITTER, 8, 316, 360, 
406, 468; poem quoted in part: 
The New World, 381. 

BYRON, LORD, 102, 144, 279-280, 
336, 339, 372, 373, 411, 481; 
poems quoted: She Walks in 
Beauty, 70-71; The Destruc- 
tion of Sennacherib, 138-139; 
O Talk Not to Me, 139-140; 
The Bride of Abydos (in part), 
165-166; The Vision of Judg- 

ment (in part), 214-215; 
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (in 
part), 221-222, 426-4-27; Son- 
net on Chilian, 280; To Thomas 
Moore, 337; Lines Written in 
an Album at Malta, 357-358; 
Oh! Snatch' d Away in Beauty's 
Bloom, 395. 

Campbell, Mary, 392-393. 

Campbell, Thomas, 481. 

CAREY, HENRY (?), 44-45, poem 
quoted: God Save the King, 45. 

Carlyle, Thomas, 8. 

f-*Carman, Bliss, 406. 

Carroll, Lewis, 340. 

*CARY, PHOSBE, poem quoted: 
When Lovely Woman Wants a 
Favor, 345-346. 

Castle of Indolence, The (Thom- 
son), quoted in part 219. 

catalectic, 71. 

catalexis, 152. 

*Cawein, Madison, 444. 

Century of Roundels, A, 308. 

Certain American Poets (Shep- 
ard), quoted 458. 

chain verse, 316. 

Chambered Nautilus, The 
(Holmes), quoted in part 90. 

chant royal, the, 302. 

Chapman, George, 271. 

Charles II, 350. 

CHATJCEH, GEOFFREY, 14, 215, 294, 
302, 454; poems quoted: Pro- 
logue (in part), 195; To Rose- 
mounde, A Balade, 303. 

quoted: Immortal Newton, 356. 

Chevy Chase, 237. 

Chicago (Sandburg), 384, 433, 
quoted 433-435. 

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage 
(Byron), 144, 411, 426, quoted 
in part 221-222, 426-427. 

Churchhill, Winston, 401. 

cliches, 12. 

city in poetry, the, 386-387, 425- 

classical meters, 68, 161-162, 368. 



Cloud, The (Shelley), quoted 149- 

Clough, Arthur Hugh, 400. 

60, 65, 129, 144, 166, 226, 240, 
252, 339, 364, 410, 411, 481; 
poems quoted: Metrical Feet 
(in part), 65; Kubla Khan, 
130-132; The Knight's Tomb, 

COLLINS, WILLIAM, 204, 411 ; poem 
quoted: Ode to Evening, 365- 

"colyumists," 326. 

Come, Republic (Masters), quoted 

Come, Sleep! O Sleep (Sidney), 
quoted 276-277. 

common meter, 77. 

Composed upon Westminster 
Bridge (Wordsworth), quoted 

Comus (Milton), 322, quoted in 
part 177-178. 

Concord Hymn (Emerson), 
quoted 56-57. 

Conrad, Joseph, 453. 

Consecration, A (Masefield), 
110, quoted 455-456. 

contemporary poetry, see Chap- 
ter XII passim 443 ff., and 
notes to Chapter XII. 

Convention and Revolt in Poetry, 

Cooper, James Fenimore, 453. 

Coronach (Scott), 147, quoted 

cowboy ballads, 237, 244 ff. 

Cowboy Songs and Other Fron- 
tier 'Ballads, 244. 

COWPER, WILLIAM, 286, 318, 339, 
411, 425; poem quoted: The 
Poplar Field, 140-141. 

Crabbe, George, 481. 

*CRAPSEY, ADELAIDE, 468; poems 
quoted: On Seeing Weather- 
beaten Trees, 194; Triad, 360; 
The Warning, 360. 

Creative Criticism, 388. 

Creeds (Wattles), quoted 356. 

Croce, Benedetto, 8, 226. 
Crossing the Bar (Tennyson), 22, 
quoted 62-63. 

dactylic verse, 68, 152 ff. 

Daffodil Fields, The, 447. 

Danny Deever (Kipling), quoted 

Dante, 183, 191, 222, 286 ff., 292, 

Darest Thou Now, O Soul (Whit- 
man), 378, quoted 379. 

Dark Hills, The (Robinson), 462, 
quoted 462-463. 

Darwin, Charles, 20, 416, 417. 

Dauber, 454. 

Dead Men Tell No Tales (Long), 
quoted 126. 

death, poems on, 378, 389-400. 

Death of Lincoln, The (Bryant), 
quoted 403. 

Decatur, Stephen, 470. 

Dedication, 104. 

fde la Mare, Walter, 421. 

DeQuincey, Thomas, 129, 364. 

Derby, Earl of, 193. 

Destiny (Arnold), quoted 92. 

Destruction of Sennacherib, 
The (Byron), quoted 138-139. 

*Dickinson, Emily, poems quoted: 
A Book, 4; This Quiet Dust, 

didactic verse, 7-8, 90. 

dimeter, 75. 

Dixie, 22, 42, 46. 

306, 312, 323, 339, 360-361, 446; 
poems quoted: Ars Victrix (in 
part), 192; A Ballad of 
Heroes, 297-298; The Prodi- 
gals, 299; In After Days, 305; 
The Wanderer, 306-307; Vitas 
Hinnuleo, 307-308; A Kiss, 
309; When I Saw You Last, 
Rose, 310-311; Jocosa Lyra, 

Dodgson, Charles L. See Carroll, 

Domesday Book, 465. 

double ballade, the, 302. 



DOUGLAS, WILLIAM, poem quoted: 

Annie Laurie, 34-35. 
Dover Beach (Arnold), 364, 418, 

quoted 418-419. 

CHARLES, 94; poem quoted: 

The Private of the Buffs, 94- 


Drake, 65, 453. 
dramatic monologue, the, 199. 
DRAYTOX, MICHAEL, poem quoted: 

Since There's No Help, 277. 
Dried Marjoram, 447. 
fDrinkwater, John, 401. 
Drum-Taps, 377. 
duple meters, the, see Chapter 

III passim, 65 ff. 
Dvorak, 22, 28. 
DRYDEX, JOHN, 196, 226, 364; 

poem quoted: Lines Printed 

under the Engraved Portrait 

of Milton, 197. 
{DUXSAXY, LORD, 3, 373; poems 

in prose quoted: The Worm 

and the Angel, 373-374; The 

Prayer of the Flowers, 442. 

Earth (Wheelock), 422, quoted 


-j-*Eastman, Max, 15. 
Eggleston, Edward, 401. 
Elegiac Stanzas (Wordsworth), 

quoted 414-416. 
elegies, great, 399-400. 
Elegy (Millay), quoted 398-399. 
Elegy Written in a Country 

Churchyard (Gray), 204, 

quoted 205-210. 
Eliot, George, 391. 

364, 375, 400, 462; poems 

quoted: Concord Hymn, 56-57; 

The Rhodora (in part), 87; 

This Shining Moment, 172; 

The Snow-Storm, 187-188. 
Emmett, Daniel Decatur, 46. 
Endymion, 104. 
England my Mother (Watson), 

quoted in part 443. 
Enoch Arden, 447. 

Enslaved, 454. 

epitaph, the, 99, 209, 349 ff. 

Epitaph Intended for Sir Isaac 
Newton (Pope), quoted 349. 

Epitaph on Charles II (Roches- 
ter), quoted 350. 

Epitaph on John Dove (Burns), 
quoted 351. 

Eternal Way, The (Le Gal- 
lienne), quoted 459-460. 

Evangeline (Longfellow), 368, 
375, quoted in part 162-163. 

Eve of St. Agnes, The (Keats), 
3, quoted in part 220. 

Everlasting Mercy, The, 453, 454. 

Exit (Fletcher), quoted 385-386. 

eye-rime, 58, 98. 

Faerie Queene, The (Spenser), 

quoted in part 218-219. 
Fair Harvard (Oilman), 38-40, 

quoted 39-40. 
feminine rime, 81, 100. 
Fence, A ,(Sandburg), quoted 


-f-*Ficke, Arthur Davison, 468. 
*FIELD, EUGEXE, 326; poem 

quoted: The Truth about, 

Horace, 326-327. 
Fifty-one Tales, 373. 
f*FiLsixoEH, MRS. See Teasdale, 

Firelight (Robinson), quoted 


quoted in part: The Rubdiydt 

of Omar Khayyam, 213. 
fixed forms, 268-269, 294 ff. 
Fletcher, Andrew, of Saltoun, 

FLETCHER, JOHX, poem quoted in 

part; Henry VIII, 176-177. 

460; poems quoted: Exit, 385- 

386; Broadway's Canyon, 432- 


fFlint, T. S., 460. 
Flower in the Crannied Wall 

(Tennyson), quoted 412. 
folk-song, 28-30, 58. 



For All We Have and Are (Kip- 
ling), quoted 118-120. 

For an Autograph (J. R. 
Lowell), quoted 358. 

For Metaphors of Man (Wat- 
son), quoted 410. 

Forsaken Garden, A (Swin- 
burne), 141, quoted 142-144. 

28, 35, 52; poem quoted: Old 
Folks at Home, 23 If. 

Fra Lippo Lippi (Browning,) 
quoted in part 5. 

free verse, 359, 360, 363 ff (Chap- 
ter X passim). 

*Freneau, Philip, 87. 

f* FROST, ROBERT, 188, 380, 421, 
445, 463; poems quoted: Mend- 
ing Wall, 189-190; The Tuft of 
Flowers, 201-203. 

Garden by the Sea, A (Morris), 
411, quoted in part 412. 

Oar den of Proserpine, The 
(Swinburne), 83, quoted 78-80. 

Gautier, Theophile, 192, 294. 

GAY, JOHN, 339; poem quoted: 
Life is a Jest, 350. 

George, David Lloyd, 408. 

George Gray (Masters), quoted 

Georgians, the, 446. 

446, 477; poem quoted: Pre- 
lude, 456. 

poem quoted: Navies nor 
Armies, 359. 

*GILMAN, REV. SAMUEL, 38; poem 
quoted: Fair Harvard, 39-40. 

Gipsy Trail, The (Kipling), 
quoted 53-55. 

163, 165, 425; poems quoted: 
Wanderer's Night-songs, 353- 
354. See also Longfellow, H. 

Golden Treasury, The, 139, 242. 

Goldschmidt, Mme., 60. 

GOLDSMITH, OLIVER, 101, 339, 345 ; 

poem quoted: When Lovely 

Woman Stoops to Folly, 101. 
Go, Lovely Rose (Waller), quoted 

fGossE, EDMUND, poem quoted: 

Sestina to F. H., 314-315. 
{Graves, Robert, 477. 
GRAY, THOMAS, 14, 17, 204, 210, 

226, 353, 411; poem quoted: 

Elegy Written in a Country 

Churchyard, 205-210. 
Greek Anthology, the, 350, 466. 
Grenfell, Julian, 475. 
Guinevere, 372, 373. 
j-*Guiterman, Arthur, 406, 408, 


HADRIAN, poem quoted: To his 
Soul, 352-353. See also Prior, 

(*Hagedorn, Hermann, 406. 

Hallam, Arthur Henry, 400, 416. 

Hamlet (Shakespeare), 12, quoted 
in part 1 75. 

{HARDY, THOMAS, 391 ; poems 
quoted: Her Initials, 355; In 
a Wood, 420-421. 

Hark! Hark! the Lark (Shake- 
speare), quoted 36-37. 

*HARTE, FRANCIS BRET, 115, 318, 
405; poems quoted: Her Letter, 
318-320; Mrs. Judge Jenkins, 
346-348; San Francisco (in 
part), 427. 

Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 391. 

f*"H. D." (Mrs. Richard Alding- 
ton), 381, 460; poem quoted: 
Oread, 461-462. 

Health, A (Pinkney), quoted 

Helen of Troy, 173, 174. 

294, 380; poems quoted: In- 
victus, 91; Romance, 121-122; 
Villanelle, 311; Margaritae 
Sorori, 380-381. 

Henry, O., 448. 

Henry V, 470. 



Henry VIII (Shakespeare and 

Fletcher), quoted in part 176- 


heptameter, 75. 
Her Initials (Hardy), quoted 

Her Letter (Harte), quoted 318- 


f*Herford, Oliver, 340. 
Herodotus, 363. 
heroic couplet, 194 If., 349. 
heroic quatrain, 203 ff. 
HERRICK, ROBERT, 324, 361 ; poems 

quoted: Upon his Departure 

Hence, 76; To the Virgins, to 

Make Much of Time, 325. 
hexameter, 75, 162-163, 368. 
Hiawatha (Longfellow), quoted 

in part 71. 
Highland Mary (Burns), quoted 

Highwayman, The (Noyes), 262, 

452, quoted 262-267. 
His Friends He Loved (Watson), 

quoted 355. 
hokku, the, 360. 

405, 457, 459, 462; poems 

quoted: The Chambered Nau- 
tilus (in part), 90; The Last 

Leaf, 328-330. 
HOMER, 13, 286, 368, 373-374; 

opening paragraph of the Iliad 

quoted 193. 
HOOD, THOMAS, 339, 340, 342; 

poems quoted: The Bridge of 

Sighs, 153-156; Faithless Nelly 

Gray, 342-345. 
HORACE, 272, 307, 326-329; poem 

quoted : Questioning Lydia, 

327-328. See also Untermeyer, 


poem quoted in part: Reveille, 

*HOVEY, RICHARD, 117, 152; poem 

quoted: Unmanifest Destiny, 

How Do I Love Thee? (Mrs. 

Browning), quoted 283. 

*HowE, MRS. JULIA WARD, 47; 
poem quoted: The Battle 
Hymn of the Republic, 48. 

HUNT, LEIGH, 281, 356, 357; poem 
quoted: Rondeau, 357. 

Hunting Song (Scott), quoted 

hymn, the, 40-41. 

Hymn to the Night (Longfel- 
low), quoted 127-128. 

hypercatalectic, 81. 

Hyperion (Keats), quoted in 
part 181. 

iambic verse, 66, 69, 70. See 
Chapters II and V passim, 

iambic pentameter, 172, 194. See 
Chapter V passim. 

iambic tetrameter, 115. 

/ am His Highness' Dog at Kew 
(pope), quoted 355. 

I Have a Rendezvous with Death 

(Seeger), quoted 474-475. 
Ibsen, Henrik, 371, 372. 
Idea, 277. 
Idylls of the King, The, 113, 182, 


If, 448. 
Iliad, The, 235, 270, 373, 374; 

opening paragraph quoted 193. 

II Penseroso, 72, 204. 
Imagists, the, 107, 226, 365, 460- 

Immortal Newton (Chesterfield), 

quoted 356. 
I Never See the Red Rose Crown 

the Year (Masefield), quoted 

In After Days (Dobson), quoted 

In a Station of the Metro 

(Pound), quoted 360 
In a Wood (Hardy), quoted 


industrial life in poetry, 435 ff. 
initial rime, 82. 
In Flanders Fields (McCrae), 

303, 474, quoted 304. 
In Memoriam (Tennyson),, 



quoted in part 108-109, 417- 

Inscription by the Sea, An (Rob- 
inson), quoted 350. 

internal rime, 108. 

In the Sultan's Garden (Scol- 
lard), quoted 312-313. 

Intimations of Immortality 
(Wordsworth), 412, quoted 

Invictus (Henley), quoted 91. 

I Shall Not Care (Teasdale), 
quoted 124. 

Ivanhoe, 252. 

I Wandered Lonely (Words- 
worth), quoted 86. 

Jacobite's Epitaph, A (Macau- 
lay), quoted 351-352. 

James, Jesse, 244-246. 

James, William, 471. 

Jesse James, quoted 244-246. 

Jocosa Lyra (Dobson), quoted 

John Anderson (Burns), quoted 

John Brown's Body, quoted 46-47. 

John Hancock Otis (Masters), 
quoted 467. 

f*Johnson, Robert Underwood, 

JONSON, BEN, 71, 349; poems 
quoted: Hymn to Diana (in 
part), 71; Song to Celia, 37. 

Katharine Jaffray, quoted 246-48. 

KEATS, JOHN, 3, 4, 5, 59, 60, 104, 
106, 129, 160, 181, 226, 252, 
270, 281, 369, 400, 411; 
poems quoted: Ode on a Ore- 
dan Urn, 105-106; Hyperion 
(in part), 181; Sleep and 
Poetry (in part), 198-199; The 
Eve of St. Aynes (in part), 
220; La Belle Dame sans 
Merci, 257-259 ; On First Look- 
ing into Chapman's Homer, 
271 ; On the Grasshopper and 
Cricket, 282. 


quoted: The Star-Spangled 

Banner, 42-43. 

Kilmeny (Noyes), quoted 479. 
*KILMER, JOYCE, 475; poem 

quoted: Trees, 422. 
King, The (Kipling), 436, quoted 

KIXGSLEY, CHARLES, poem quoted: 

Young and Old, 100-101. 

fKlPLING, RUDYAHD, 7, 92, 112, 

313, 436, 443, 446, 448-450, 
472-473; poems quoted: The 
Gipsy Trail, 53-55; The White 
Man's Burden, 92-94; For All 
We Have and Are, 118-120; 
Danny Deevcr, 252-254; The 
King, 449-450; Recessional, 472- 

Kirkland, Winifred, 174. 

Kiss, A (Dobson), quoted 309. 

Kitchener, Lord, 448. 

Knight's Tomb, The (Coleridge), 
quoted 166-167. 

Kubla Khan (Coleridge), 129, 
226, 227, 364, quoted 130-132. 

kyrielle, the, 315-316. 

La Belle Dame sans Merci 
(Keats), 252, quoted 257-259. 

Lachrimae Musarum (Watson), 
400, quoted in part, 1. 

Lady of the Lake, The, 147-148, 
152, 411. 

Lake Isle of Innisfree, The 
(Yeats), quoted 169-170. 

L' Allegro, 21, 72. 

Lamb, Charles, 364, 391, 432. 

Lamp, The (Teasdale), quoted 

Lancelot, 188, 447. 

Land of Heart's Desire, The 
(Yeats), song quoted 64. 

361, 392, 411; poems quoted: 
To Robert Browning, 182; On 
his Seventy-fifth Birthday, 354; 
On Death, 354 ; With Petrarch's 
Sonnets, 354; Rose Aylmer, 



LANG, ANDREW, 193, 294, 295 ff., 
300, 339, 446; poems quoted: 
Ballade to Theocritus, in Win- 
ter, 295-296; Ballade of the 
Southern Cross, 296-297. 

*LANIEH, SIDNEY, 59, 60, 163, 
259, 372; poem quoted: The 
Song of the Chattahoochee, 

Last Leaf, The (Holmes), quoted 

Lavater, Louis, 299. 

fLawrence, D. H., 460. 

Lay of the Last Minstrel, The 
(Scott), quoted in part 125- 

LEAR, EDWARD, 340; poem quoted: 
The Pobble Who Has No Toes, 

Leaves of Grass, 369, 371, 372. 

quoted in part: Soliloquy, 475- 

Lee, Robert E., 401. 

Lee, Sir Sidney, 285. 

quoted: The Eternal Way, 459- 

Les Mteerables, 144. 

Life is a Jest (Gay), quoted 

light verse, Chapter IX passim, 
317 ff. 

limerick, the, 345. 

Lincoln, Abraham, 52, 70, 328, 
400-410, 439. 

{'LINDSAY, VACHEL, 211, 380, 
406, 437, 463-464, 473; poems 
quoted: Abraham Lincoln 
Walks at Midnight, 409-410; 
On the Building of Springfield, 
437-439 ; The Eagle that is For- 
gotten, 464-465. 

Lines Printed under the En- 
graved Portrait of Milton 
(Dryden), quoted 197. 

Lines Written in an Album at 
Malta (Byron), quoted 357- 

Lisle, Rouget de, 23. 

Literature in a Changing Age, 

Lochinvar (Scott), 246 ff., quoted 


322, 339, 361; poem quoted: 

My Mistress's Boots, 330-331, 


quoted: On a Magazine Son- 
net, 348. 

Lomax, John A., 244. 
London, 1802 (Wordsworth), 

quoted 278-279. 
J"*LONG, HANIEL, poem quoted: 

Dead Men Tell No Tales, 


WORTH, 7, 12, 13, 71, 252, 259, 
286-287, 317, 365, 368, 374, 
375, 452, 457, 458-459; poems 
quoted: Hiawatha (in part), 
71 ; Hymn to the Night, 127- 
128; Evangeline (in part), 162- 
163; Oft Have I Seen at Some 
Cathedral Door, 287; O Star of 
Morning and of Liberty, 287; 
Wanderer's Night-songs, 353- 

Lord Randal, quoted 239. 

Lost Leader, The (Browning), 
156, quoted 157-158. 

Love, 139. 

LOVELACE, RICHARD, poem quoted: 
To Lucasta, on Going to the 
Wars, 98-99. 

f* LOWELL, AMY, 2, 4, 316, 360, 
381, 445, 447, 454, 460, 463; 
poem quoted: Texas, 440-441. 

259, 339, 358, 359, 457, 459; 
poems quoted: For an Auto- 
graph, 358; To Those Who 
Died, 358; Ode Recited at the 
Harvard Commemoration (in 
part), 404-405. 

Lowes, John L., 16, 181. 

Lyra Elegantiarum, 321, 322. 

lyric, the, 64. 

Lyrical Ballads, The, 83, 461. 



Lyrics and Epics (Aldrich), 
quoted in part 317. 

MACAUI.AY, LORD, 444; poem 
quoted: A Jacobite's Epitaph, 

machinery, and poetry, 435-437, 

f*Mackaye, Percy, 406, 468. 

*MAI.ONE, WALTER, poem quoted: 
Abraham Lincoln, 401. 

Manfred, 426. 

Margarita 1 Sorori (Henley), 
quoted 380-381. 

f*Markham, Edwin, 406, 468. 

body, Josephine Preston. 

poem quoted: Doctor Faustus 
(in part), 173-174. 

Ma.rm.ion, 248. 

masculine rime, 81. 

J-MASEFIELD, JOHN, 110, 201, 210, 
215-217, 252, 262, 280, 288-290, 
421, 445, 446, 447, 448, 453- 
456, 473, 475, 482; poems 
quoted: The West Wind, 170- 
171; The Widow in the Bye 
Street (in part), 217; The 
Yarn of the "Loch Achray," 
254-256; Now They are Gone, 
288-289; I Never See the Red 
Rose Crown the Year, 289; On 
Growing Old, 290; A Conse- 
cration, 455-456. 

M aster, The (Robinson), quoted 

('MASTERS, EDGAR LEE, 188, 373, 
380, 381, 405, 445, 463, 465- 
467; poems quoted: Alexander 
Throckmorton, 372; Come, Re- 
public, 382-384; George Gray, 
466-467; John Hancock Otis, 

f*Matthews, Brander, 294, 312, 

Hand Muller, 346. 

Maupassant, Guy de, 2. 

McCRAE, JOHN, 303, 468, 474, 475; 

poem quoted: In Flandert 

Fields, 304. 
Melville, Herman, 453. 
Mending Wall (Frost), quoted 


Meredith, George, 275, 372, 373. 
Merlin, 188, 447. 
Merlin and the Gleam, 365. 
methods of studying poetry, 

Midsummer Night's Dream, A 

(Shakespeare), quoted in part 


Millais, John Everett, 391. 

468; poem quoted: Elegy, 398- 



("JOAQUIN"), 115, 117; poem 
quoted: Westward Ho, 116-117. 

MILTON, JOHN, 21, 42, 60, 72, 
141, 172, 177-179, 191, 204, 226, 
269, 277-278, 317, 354, 361, 364, 
369, 400, 444, 453, 471; poems 
quoted: Comus (in part), 
177-178; Paradise Lost (in 
part), 179; When I Consider, 
270; On the Late Massacre in 
Piedmont, 278. 

Minstrelsy of the Scottish Bor- 
der, The, 248. 

mockingbird in poetry, the, 

Modern Love, 275. 

Monadnock through the Trees 
(Robinson), quoted 463. 

monometer, 75, 76. 

j-*Monroe, Harriet, 16, 406. 

*Moody, William Vaughn, 444. 

MOORE, THOMAS, 37-38, 336-337, 
481; poems quoted: Believe Me 
if All Those Endearing Youna 
Charms, 38 ; The Time I've Lost 
in Wooing (in part), 324. 

Moral Equivalent of War, The, 

poem quoted: Sound, Sound 
the Clarion, Fill the Fife, 471. 




poem quoted: To a Post-Office 

Inkwell, 357. 
MORRIS, WILLIAM, 52, 110, 217, 

411-412, 446; poems quoted: 

An Apology, 215-216; A Gar- 
den by the Sea (in part), 

Mr. Flood's Party (Robinson), 

quoted 211-213. 
Mrs. Judge Jenkins (Harte), 

quoted 346-348. 
music, relation of poetry to, 

Chapter II passim; verbal 

music, 59-61, 65. 
My Last Duchess (Browning), 

quoted 199-201. 
My Maryland (Randall), 48-52, 

quoted 50-52. 
My Mistress's Boots (Locker- 

Lampson), quoted 330-332. 
mythology, 102, 251-252, 270. 

NAPIER, ELIOT, 468; poem quoted: 

All Men are Free, 304-305. 
nature in poetry, 179, 187, 189, 

410-425. See also notes to 

Chapter XI. 
Navies nor Armies (Gilder), 

quoted 359. 

negro songs, 28-29, 238. 
New England poets, the, 7, 374, 

457-459, 4(i3. 
New World, The (Bynner), 

quoted in part 381. 
Newton, Sir Isaac, 349. 
nightingale in poetry, the, 132. 
Nineteenth Psalm, 367, 377, 

quoted in part 368. 
Niobe (Noyes), quoted 102-103. 
No Longer Mourn for Me When 

I Am Dead (Shakespeare), 

quoted 273. 
nonameter, 75. 
nonsense verse, 339-342. 
Now They are Gone (Masefield), 

quoted 288-289. 
fNoYES, ALFRED, 65, 82, 302, 421, 

445, 448, 452-453, 478; poems 

quoted: Astrid (in part), 82; 

Niobe, 102-103; Unity, 159; 

Seven Wise Men, 160-161; The 
Highwayman, 262-267; Art (in 
part), 294; Kilmeny, 479. 

O Captain! my Captain! (Whit- 
man), quoted 402-403. 
octameter, 75. 
octosyllabic couplet, 125. 
ode, the, 226-227. 
Ode (CyShaughnessy), quoted 

Ode: Intimations of Immortality 

(Wordsworth), 412, quoted 

Ode on a Grecian Urn (Keats), 

quoted 105-106. 

Ode Recited at the Harvard Com- 
memoration (J. R. Lowell), 

quoted in part 404-405. 
Ode to a Nightingale (Keats), 4, 

369, quoted in part 59-60. 
Ode to Duty (Wordsworth), 

quoted 96-98. 
Ode to Evening (Collins), quoted 

Ode to the West Wind (Shelley), 

quoted 223-225. 
Odyssey, the, 183, 235, 271. 
Oft Have I Seen at Some Cathe- 
dral Door (Longfellow), 

quoted 287. 
Oh! Snatch'd Away in Beauty's 

Bloom (Byron), quoted 395. 
Old French Forms, see Chapter 

VIII passim, 294 ff. 
On a Magazine Sonnet (Loines), 

quoted 348. 
In a Station of the Metro 

(Pound), quoted 360. 
On Beau Nosh's Picture (Mrs. 

Brereton), quoted 356. 
On Death (Landor), quoted 354. 
On his Seventy-fifth Birthday 

(Landor), quoted 354. 
On First Looking into Chapman's 

Homer (Keats), quoted 271. 
On Growing Old (Masefield), 

quoted 290. 
On Seeing Weather-beaten Trees 

(Crapsey), quoted 194, 



On the Building of Springfield 
(Lindsay), quoted 437-439. 

On the Countess Dowager of 
Pembroke (Browne), quoted 

On the Grasshopper and Cricket 
(Keats), 281, quoted 282. 

On the Late Massacre in Pied- 
mont (Milton), 277, quoted 288. 

On the Tombs in Westminster 
Abbey (Beaumont), quoted 

onomatopoeia, 108, 179, 197-198, 
218, 219. 

t*Oppenheim, James, 406, 468. 

Ordeal of Richard Feverel, The, 
372, 373. 

Origin of Species, The, 417. 

LIAM EDGAR, poem quoted: Ode, 

Ossian, 364. 

O Star of Morning and of Lib- 
erty (Longfellow), quoted 287. 

O Talk Not to Me (Byron), 
quoted 139-140. 

Othello (Shakespeare), quoted in 
part 175-176, 471. 

ottava rima, 214. 

Ozymandias (Shelley), 275, 280, 
288, quoted 281. 

painting, its relation to poetry, 

30, 107, 413. 
Palabras Carinosas (Aldrich), 

quoted 323-324. 
Palgrave, Francis Turner, 139, 

140, 242. 

pantoum, the, 311-313. 
Paradise Lost (Milton), quoted in 

part 179-180. 
parody, the, 345-348. 
Patterson, W. M., 386. 

(Mrs. Lionel Marks), 468; 

poem quoted: "Vanity, Saith 

the Preacher," 332-333. 
Peele Castle, 413-414. 
pentameter, 75. See also iambic 


Percy, Bishop Thomas, 238. 

Perry, Bliss, 16, 64. 

Petrarch, Francis, 269, 292, 354, 
392, 411. 

Phillips, Stephen, 446. 

Philomela (Arnold), quoted 369- 

*PIERPONT, JOHN, poem quoted: 
The Ballot, 115. 

quoted: A Health, 338-339. 

Pippa Passes, 148. 

Pobble Who Has No Toes, The 
(Lear), quoted 340-342. 

*PoE, EDGAR ALLAN, 2, 6, 8, 11, 
17, 60, 75, 128, 204, 210, 226, 
364, 389, 426, 457; poems 
quoted: To One in Paradise, 
128-129; The Sleeper, 389-391; 
Sonnet To Science (in part), 

Poet, The (Bryant), quoted 9-10. 

poet laureate, the, 110, 156, 

Poetic Origins and the Ballad, 

poetry; two kinds of, 2; defini- 
tions of, 6 ff. ; didactic, 7-8; 
how to read, 19, 57; methods 
of studying, 388. 

"polyphonic prose," 386. 

POPE, ALEXANDER, 12, 75, 192, 
196-198, 300, 339, 392, 470; 
poems quoted: Essay on Criti- 
cism (in part), 12, 197-198; 
Iliad (in part), 193; Epitaph 
Intended for Sir Isaac New- 
ton, 349; / Am His Highness' 
Dog at Kew, 355. 

Poplar Field, The (Cowper), 
quoted 140-141. 

popular ballad, the, 235 ff. 

f* POUND, EZRA, 359, 468; poem 
quoted: In a Station of the 
Metro, 360. 

Pound, Professor Louise, 236. 

Praed, Winthrop Mackworth, 
339, 361. 

Prairies, The (Bryant), quoted 
in part 186-187. 



Prayer for India, A (Tagore), 

quoted 469. 
Prayer of the Flowers, The 

(Dunsany), quoted 442. 
Prelude (Gibson), quoted 456. 
Prelude, The (Wordsworth), 

quoted in part, 179-180. 
PRIOR, MATTHEW, 333, 339; poems 

quoted: To a Child of Quality, 

334; To his Soul, 352-353; 

Written in a Lady's Milton, 

Private of the Buffs, The 

(Doyle), quoted 94-96. 
Prodigals, The (Dobson), quoted 


Prometheus Unbound, 141. 
prose, its relation to poetry, 10, 

193, 363-364, 3T3-374, 386-387, 


prose poetry, 364, 373-374. 
Prospice (Browning), quoted 146- 

Psalm, the Nineteenth, 367, 377, 

quoted in part 368. 
Psalm of Life, A, 7, 12. 
puns, 342. 
Purple Cow, The (Burgess), 

quoted 340. 

Questioning Lydia (Untermeyer 
from Horace), quoted 327-328. 


poem quoted : My Maryland, 50- 

Recessional (Kipling), quoted 


refrain, the, 161, 259. 
Reliques of Ancient English 

Poetry, 238. 
Renaissance, the Italian, 199, 


Requiem (Stevenson), quoted 53. 
Requiescat (Arnold), quoted 

Reveille (Housman), quoted in 

part 73-74. 
Reynard the Fox, 454. 

Rhymes to be Traded for Bread, 

Rhythm of Prose, The, 386. 

f*Rice, Cale Young, 468. 

f* Ridge, Lola, 468. 

Right Royal, 454. 

rime, kinds of, 81-82, 108; eye- 
rime, 58, 98; functions of, 190- 

rime royal stanza, the, 215 ff. 

riming dictionary, 18. 

Ring Out, Wild Bells (Tenny- 
son), quoted 108-109. 

Rizpah, 447. 

Robin Hood, 252. 

11 (his definition of poetry), 
188, 211, 288, 290, 291, 292, 294, 
380, 405, 421, 444, 445, 447, 
462, 463; poems quoted: Ben 
Jonson Entertains a Man from 
Stratford (in part), 188-189; 
Mr. Flood's Party, 211-213; 
Firelight, 290-291; Souvenir, 
291; An Inscription by the Sea, 
350; The Master, 406-408; The 
Dark Hills, 462-463; Monad- 
nock through the Trees, 463. 

quoted: Epitaph on Charles II, 

Rogers, Samuel, 481. 

Romance (Henley), quoted 121- 

rondeau, the, 303 ff. 

Rondeau (Hunt), quoted 357. 

Rose Aylmer (Landor), quoted 

123, 359; poem quoted: Song, 

107, 252, 282, 392, 446; poems 
quoted: A Sonnet is a Mo- 
ment's Monument, 268; The 
Ballad of Dead Ladies (from 
Villon), 300-301. 

Rossini, 58. 

roundel, the, 308. 

Rubdiydt of Omar Khayyam, The 



(Fitzgerald), quoted in part 
213, 289. 
Ruskin, John, 11. 

Salt Water Poems and Ballads, 

254, 453. 

Samson Agonistes, 141. 
(*SANDBURG, CARL, 364, 380, 381, 

406, 433, 463, 467-468, 477; 

poems quoted: A Fence, 384- 

385; Chicago, 433-435; A. E. F., 

San Francisco (Harte), quoted in 

part 427. 

sapphic stanza, the, 368-369. 
Sappho, 359, 368. 
fSASsooN, SIEGFRIED, 475, 477-478; 

poem quoted: Song-books of 

the War, 478. 
*SAXE, JOHN GODFREY, 339; poem 

quoted: Woman's Will, 356. 
scansion, 65 if. 
Schubert, Franz, 36. 
science, its relation to poetry, 10- 

11, 416-418, 435. 
|-*SCOLLARD, CLINTON, 302, 406; 

poem quoted: In the Sultan's 

Garden, 312-313. 
SCOTT, LADY JOHN, poem quoted: 

Annie Laurie, 34-35. 
SCOTT, SIR WALTER, 147, 152, 

246-251, 252, 365, 391, 411, 471; 

poems quoted: Hunting Song, 

72-73; The Lay of the Last 

Minstrel (in part), 125-126; 

Coronach, 148; Lochinvar, 248- 


Scottish dialect, the, 32. 
Second April, 398. 
*SEEGER, ALAN, 474-475; poem 

quoted: / Have a Rendezvous 

with Death, 474-475. 
j-Service, Robert W., 448. 
sestina, the, 313-315. 
Sestina to F. H. (Gosse), quoted 

Seven Wise Men (Noyes), quoted 


(his songs), 60, 127, 172, 175- 

177, 196, 215, 269, 272-274, 391, 
470, 471; poems quoted: Hark! 
Hark! the Lark, 36-37; A Mid- 
summer Night's Dream (in 
part), 174-175; Hamlet (in 
part), 175; Othello (in part), 
175-176, 471; Shall I Compare 
Thee to a Summer's Day, 272- 
273; No Longer Mourn for Me 
When I am Dead, 273; To Me, 
Fair Friend, You Never Can 
Be Old, 274. 

Shakespeare (Arnold), 275, 285, 
quoted 285-286. 

Shall I Compare Thee to a Sum- 
mer's Day? (Shakespeare), 
quoted 272-273. 

She Dwelt among the Untrodden 
Ways (Wordsworth), quoted 

Shelley, Harry Rowe, 472. 

definition of poetry), 60, 141, 

275, 280, 288, 364, 369, 400, 411; 
poems quoted: To Night, 61- 
62; To a Skylark, 132-136; The 
Cloud, 149-152; Ode to the 
West Wind, 223-225; Ozyman- 
dias, 281. 

(*SHEPARD, ODEI.T,, poem quoted: 
Certain American Poets, 458. 

*Sherman, Frank Dempster, 294, 
306, 406. 

She Walks in Beauty (Byron), 
75, quoted 70-71. 

short poems, 348 ff. 

SIDNEY, SIR PHILIP, 2, 237, 269, 

276, 349, 363, 364, 400; poem 
quoted: Come, Sleep! O Sleep, 

*Sill, Edward Rowland, 405, 406. 

Since There's No Help (Dray- 
ton), quoted 277. 

Sinclair, Upton, 20. 

Sir John Franklin (Tennyson), 
quoted 349-350. 

Sir Patrick Spens, 240, 252, 
quoted 241-242. 

Skipper Ireson's Ride (Whit- 
tier), quoted 259-262. 



Sleep and Poetry (Keats), 
quoted in part 198-199. 

Smith, C. Alphonso, 128. 

Sleeper, The (Poe), quoted 389- 

43, poem quoted: America, 44- 

Snow-Bound (Whittier), 396, 
quoted in part 125. 

Snow-Storm, The (Emerson), 
quoted 187-188. 

Soldier, The (Brooke), quoted 

Solitary Reaper, The (Words- 
worth), quoted 84-85. 

Some Imagist Poems, 460. 

song; denned, 21; love songs, 34; 
college songs, 38-39; hymns, 
40-41 ; patriotic songs, 41 ff. ; 
songs no longer sung, 55 if. 

Song (Christina Rossetti), 
quoted 123-124. 

Sony to Celia (Jonson), quoted 

Song-books of the War (Sas- 
soon), quoted 478. 

Songs of Innocence: Introduc- 
tion (Blake), quoted 74. 

sonnet, the, 348, Chapter VII 
passim, 268 ff. ; Italian, 269 ff. ; 
Shakespearean, 272 ff. ; Spen- 
serian, 274-275; sonnets on the 
sonnet, 268, 292-293. 

Sonnet i* a Moment's Monu- 
ment, A (Rossetti), quoted 

Sonnets from the Portuguese, 

Sonnets Voice, The (Watts- 
Dunton), quoted 293. 

Sound, Sound the Clarion, Fill 
the Fife (Mordaunt), quoted 

Southey, Robert, 369. 

Souvenir (Robinson), quoted 

SPENSER, EDMUND, 60, 217, 269, 
274, 400, 453; poems quoted: 
The Faerie Queene (in part), 

218-219; What Guilt it This, 

Spenserian sonnet, the, 274-275. 

Spenserian stanza, 217 ff. 

Spingarn, Joel Elias, 8, 363, 

Splendor Falls, The (Tennyson), 
quoted 107-108. 

Spoon River Anthology (Mas- 
ters), 373, 382, quoted in part 
372, 465-467. 

stanza, 76, 77, 194. 

Star-Spangled Banner, The 
(Key), 42, 67, quoted 42-43. 

*Stedman, Edmund Clarence, 321, 
323, 339, 444, 457. 

poem quoted: Requiem, 53. 

*Stoddard, Richard Henry, 405. 

Study of Poetry, A, 16, 64. 

Surrey, Earl of, 173, 269. 

Sweet and Low (Tennyson), 
quoted 63. 

Swift, Jonathan, 339. 

75, 77, 104, 110, 141, 400, 401, 
411, 446, 447, 464; poems 
quoted: The Garden of Proser- 
pine, 78-80; A Forsaken Gar- 
den, 142-144; A Baby's Feet, 
308; To Walt Whitman in 
America (in part), 375. 

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, 
quoted 28-29. 

Symonds, John Addington, 60. 

Synge, John Millington, 468. 


469; poem quoted: A Prayer 

for India, 469. 
Taylor, Bert Leston, 326. 
(TEASDALE, SABA (Mrs. Filsing- 

er), 123, 124, 368, 468; poems 

quoted: I Shall Not Care, 124; 

Wisdom, 124; The Lamp, 368- 

Telling the Bees (Whittier), 

quoted 396-398. 
TENNYSON, ALFRED, 13, 60, 108- 

113, 140, 147, 152, 192, 197, 



252, 283, 364, 365, 372, 392, 
400, 411, 412, 425, 446-447, 452, 
453; poems quoted: Crossing the 
Bar, 62-63; Sweet and Low, 
63; The Splendor Falls, 107- 
108; Ring Out, Wild Bells, 
108-109; To the Queen, 110-111; 
To Virgil, 113-115; Break, 
Break, Break, 168-169; Ulysses, 
183-185; Sir John Franklin, 
349-350; Flower in the Cran- 
nied Wall, 412; In Memoriam 
(in part), 108-109, 417-418. 

Tennyson (van Dyke), quoted 

terza rima, 222 ff. 

tetrameter, 75. 

Texas (Amy Lowell), quoted 440- 

Thackeray, William Makepeace, 

Thanatopsis (Bryant), quoted in 
part 90. 

Theocritus, 295. 

This Quiet Dust (Dickinson), 
quoted 353. 

Thompson, Maurice, 400, 401. 

Thomson, James, 219, 411. 

Thoreau, Henry David, 375. 

Thorndike, Ashley Horace, 446. 

Tiger, The (Blake), quoted in 
part 72. 

time element in English verse, 
the, 67. 

Time I've Lost in Wooing, The 
(Moore), quoted in part 324. 

*TIMHOD, HENRY; poem quoted: 
At Magnolia Cemetery, 121- 

Tinker, Chauncey B., 352. 

Tintern Abbey (Wordsworth), 
412, quoted in part 413. 

To a Certain Civilian (Whitman), 
quoted 376. 

To a Child of Quality Five Years 
Old (Prior), quoted 334. 

To a Locomotive in Winter 
(Whitman), quoted 436-437. 

To a Post-Office Inkwell (Mor- 
ley), quoted 357. 

To a Skylark (Shelley), 22, 
quoted 132-136. 

To a Water-fowl (Bryant), 
quoted 88-89. 

To Christina Rossetti (Watson), 
quoted 359. 

To his Soul (Prior from Had- 
rian), quoted 352-353. 

To Lucasta, on Going to the 
Wars (Lovelace), quoted 98-99. 

To Me, Fair Friend, You Never 
Can Be Old (Shakespeare), 
quoted 274. 

To Night (Shelley), 61, 127, 
quoted 61-62. 

To Old Age (Whitman), quoted 

To One in Paradise (Poe), quoted 

To Robert Browning (Landor), 
quoted 182. 

To Rosemounde. A Balade 
(Chaucer), quoted 303. 

To the Queen (Tennyson), quoted 

To the Virgins, to Make Much 
of Time (Herrick), 324, quot- 
ed 325. 

To Thomas Moore (Byron), 
quoted 337. 

To Those Who Died (J. R. 
Lowell), quoted 358. 

To Virgil (Tennyson), 172, quot- 
ed 113-115. 

To Walt Whitman in America 
(Swinburne), quoted in part 

toast, the, 336-339. 

tone-color, 83. See also onoma- 

translators, 192-193, 286-287. 

Trees (Kilmer), quoted 422. 

Triad (Crapsey), quoted 360. 

trimeter, 75. 

triolet, the, 308-309. 

triple meters, the, 69; see Chap- 
ter IV passim, 137 ff. 

trochaic verse, 68, 72. 

Truth about Horace, The (Field), 
quoted 326-327. 



Tuft of Flowers, The (Frost), 

quoted 201-203. 
Twa Corbies, The, 239, quoted 


Ulysses (Tennyson), quoted 183- 


unity (Noyes), quoted 159. 
Unmanifest Destiny (Hovey), 

quoted 117-118. 
J^UXTERJIEYER, Louis, 294, 306, 

307, 457, 464, 468; poem 

quoted: Questioning Lydia, 

Up at a Villa Down in the 

City (Browning), quoted 429- 

Upon his Departure Hence 

(Herrick), quoted 76. 

f*VAX DYKE, HEXRY; poem 
quoted: Tennyson, 112. 

Vanity Fair, 144. 

"Vanity, Saith the Preacher" 
(Peabody), quoted 332-333. 

Vergil, 67, 172, 173, 368. 

vers de societe, 306, 318 ff. 

verse-writing, 17 ff. 

Victorian poets, the; 2, 13; con- 
temporary aversion to, 446- 
447, 450. 

villanelle, the, 309-311. 

Villanelle (Henley), quoted 311. 

VILLON, FRAX^OIS, 300, 302 ; poem 
quoted: The Ballad of Dead 
Ladies, 300-301. 

Vision of Judgment, The 
(Byron), 373, quoted in part 

Vitas Hinnuleo (Dobson), quoted 

Wagner, Richard, 23. 

WALLER, EDMUND; poem quoted: 
Go, Lovely Rose, 87-88. 

Wanderer, The (Dobson), quoted 

Wanderer's Night-songs (Long- 
fellow from Goethe), quoted 

war and poetry, 470 ff. 

War with Germany, poetry of, 
469 ff. 

Warning, The (Crapsey), quoted 

fWATSox, SIR WILLIAM, 110, 157, 
285, 400, 445; poems quoted: 
Lachrimat Musarum (in part), 
1 ; Written in Mr. Sidney Lee's 
Life of Shakespeare, 286; His 
Friends He Loved, 355; To 
Christina Rossetti, 359; For 
Metaphors of Man, 410; Eng- 
land, my Mother (in part), 

Watterson, Henry, 401. 

quoted: Creeds, 356. 

(his definition of poetry), 137, 
226-227; poem quoted: The 
Sonnet's Voice, 293. 

Wells, Carolyn, 321. 

West in poetry, the, 116-117, 
186-187, 439. 

West Wind, The (Masefield), 
quoted 170-171. 

West Wind, Ode to the (Shelley), 
quoted 223-225. 

Westminster Abbey, 112-113. 

Westward Ho (Miller), 115, 
quoted 116-117. 

What Guile is This (Spenser), 
quoted 275. 

When I Consider (Milton), 270, 
271, quoted 270. 

f*WHEELocK, JOHN HALL, 422, 
468; poem quoted: Earth, 423- 

When I Heard the Learn'd 
Astronomer (Whitman), quoted 

When I Saw You Last, Rose 
(Dobson), quoted 310-311. 

When Lovely Woman Stoops to 
Folly (Goldsmith), quoted 101. 

When Lovely Woman Wants a 
Favor (Cary), quoted 345-346. 

Whistler, James McNeil, 5. 

White, Gleeson, 295. 



White Man's Burden, The (Kip- 
ling), quoted 92-94. 

Whitefield, George, 104. 

Whitlock, Brand, 401. 

WHITMAN, WALT, 12, 363, 364, 
365, 369, 370, 371, 372, 374- 
379, 380, 381, 400, 432, 457; 
poems quoted: To Old Age, 
359 ; To a Certain Civilian, 376 ; 
When I Heard the Learn'd 
Astronomer, 377; As Toilsome 
I Wander'd Virginia's Woods, 
378; Darest Thou Now, O Soul, 
379; O Captain! my Captain! 
402-403; To a Locomotive in 
Winter, 436-437. 

110, 125, 157, 346, 405, 457, 
459; poems quoted: Burns (in 
part), 5; Snow-Bound (Whit- 
tier), quoted in part 125; 
Skipper Ireson's Ride, 259-262; 
Telling the Bees, 396-398. 

Who Builds a Ship (Bridges), 
quoted 284. 

Widow in the Bye Street, The 
(Masefield), 453, 454, quoted 
in part 217. 

Wilde, Richard Henry, 87. 

William Tell, 58. 

Winchilsea, Lady, 411. 

Wisdom (Teasdale), quoted 124. 

With Petrarch's Sonnets (Lan- 
dor), quoted 354. 

WOLFE, CHARLES, 144; poem 
quoted: The Burial of Sir 
John Moore, 145-146. 

Woman's Will (Saxe), quoted 

f*Woodberry, George Edward, 

11, 42, 83, 85, 87, 132, 144, 
156, 179, 215, 226, 227, 252, 
278-279, 283, 317, 363, 411, 

412-416, 427-428, 435, 461, 481; 
poems quoted: The Solitary 
Reaper, 84-85; I Wandered 
Lonely, 86; Ode to Duty, 96- 
98; The Prelude (in part), 
179-180; Ode: Intimations of 
Immortality, 228-234; London, 
1802, 278-279; The World Is 
Too Much With Us, 279; She 
Dwelt among the Untrodden 
Ways, 393-394; Tintern Abbey 
(in part), 413; Elegiac Stan- 
zas, 414-416; Composed upon 
Westminster Bridge, 428. 

World Is Too Much With Us, 
The (Wordsworth), 278, 427, 
quoted 279. 

Worm and the Angel, The (Dun- 
sany), quoted 373-374. 

Wren, Sir Christopher, 160. 

Wright-Davis, Mary, 406. 

Written in a Lady's Milton 
(Prior), quoted 355. 

Written in Mr. Sidney Lee's Life 
of Shakespeare, 285, quoted 

Wyatt, Sir Thomas, 269. 

Yarn of the "Loch Achray," The 

(Masefield), 252, quoted. 254- 

Year's at the Spring, The 

(Browning), quoted 149. 

63-64, 188, 252, 446, 450-452; 

poems quoted: Song from The 

Land of Heart's Desire, 64; 

The Lake Isle of Innisfree, 

169-170; When You are Old 

and Oray, 451-452. 
Young and Old (Kingsley), 

quoted 100-101. 
Young Lady of Niger, The, 

quoted 345. 



A baby's feet, like sea-shells pink 308 

A blend of mirth and sadness, smiles and tears 401 

A dainty thing's the Villanelle 311 

A flying word from here and there 406 

A late lark twitters from the quiet skies 380 

A pitcher of mignonette 309 

A pleasing land of drowsy-head it was 219 

A schism Nurtured by foppery and barbarism 198 

A Sonnet is a moment's monument 26& 

A vanished house that for an hour I knew 291 

A weapon that comes down as still 115 

Ah! leave the smoke, the wealth, the roar 295 

Ah, what avails the sceptred race 394 

Alas for him who never sees 125 

All men are free and equal born 304 

And in the frosty season, when the sun 179 

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky 187 

As he crawled from the tombs of the fallen 373 

As I was walking all alane 240 

As one, at midnight, wakened by the call 456 

As o'er the cold sepulchral stone . 357 

As to democracy, fellow citizens 467 

As toilsome I wander'd Virginia's woods 378 

At midnight, in the month of June 389 

Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose bones . . . 278 

Because you passed, and now are not 297 

Before there was in Egypt any sound 463 

Behold her, single in the field 84 

Behold what homage to his idol paid 354 

Believe me, if all those endearing young charms 38 

Ben Battle was a soldier bold 342 

Be with me, Beauty, for the fire is dying 290 

Blake saw 15 

Break, break, break 168 

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead 125 

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul 90 

By the rude bridge that arched the flood 56 

Come, fill the Cup and in the fire of Spring 213 



Come, Sleep ! O Sleep, the certain knot of peace ..... 276 

Come! United States of America .......... 382 

Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear ....... 176 

Darest thou now, O Soul ............ 379 

Dark, dark lay the drifters against the red West .... 479 

Dark hills at evening in the west ......... 462 

Death stands above me, whispering low ........ 354 

Deep in the shady sadness of a vale ......... 181 

Did you ask dulcet rhymes from me ........ 37e. 

Down Bye Street, in a little Shropshire town ..... 217 

Drink to me only with thine eyes .......... 37 

Earth has not anything to show more fair ...... 428 

Eternal Spirit of the chainless Mind ........ 280 

Fair Harvard ! thy sons to thy j ubilee throng ..... 39 

Fair islands of the silver fleece .......... 296 

Farewell, Romance! the Cave-men said ....... 449 

Fear death? to feel the fog in my throat ....... 146 

Flower in the crannied wall ........... 412 

Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes .... 31 

For afl we have and are ............ 118 

For metaphors of man we search the skies ...... 410 

From the misty shores of midnight ......... 112 

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may ......... 385 

Give me of your bark, O Birch-tree ......... 71 

Go, lovely Rose ............... 87 

God of our fathers, known of old ......... 472 

God save our gracious King ............ 45 

Good-night! I have to say good-night ........ 383 

Grasshopper, your fairy song ........... 423 

Had I plenty of money, money enough and to spare . . . 429 

Hail to thee, blithe Spirit ........... 132 

Hark! ah, the nightingale ............ 369 

Hark! hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings ...... 36 

He above the rest .............. 

He is gone on the mountain ........... 1*8 

He, making speedy way through 'spersed air ...... 218 

Heart of my heart, the world is young ........ 159 

Here is the place; right over the hifl ........ 396 

Here lies Johnny Pidgeon ............ 351 

Here lies our Sovereign Lord the King ........ 350 

Here, where the world is quiet ........... 78 

His friends he loved. His direst earthly foes ...... 355 


Hog-Butcher for the World 433 

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways 283 

How like the sky she bends above her child 102 

How many humble hearts have dipped 357 

How pitiful are little folk 356 

I am His Highness' dog at Kew 355 

I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers 149 

I fill this cup to one made up 338 

I have a rendezvous with Death 474 

I have learned to look on nature 413 

I have studied many times 466 

I heard the trailing garments of the Night 127 

I know a little garden-close 412 

I love my little gowns 332 

I met a traveller from an antique land 281 

I never saw a Purple Cow 340 

I never see the red rose crown the year 289 

I pray you, in your letters 175 

I saw him once before 328 

I see in you the estuary that enlarges 359 

I strove with none, for none was worth my strife .... 354 

I think that I shall never see 422 

I take no shame that still I sing the Rose 459 

I wandered lonely as a cloud 86 

I was thy neighbour once, thou rugged pile 414 

I went a-riding, a-riding 440 

I went to turn the grass once after one 201 

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree 169 

I wish I were where Helen lies 243 

I would be the Lyric 317 

If aught of oaten stop or pastoral song 365 

If I can bear your love like a lamp before me 368 

If I should die, think only this of me 284 

I'm sitting alone by the fire 318 

Immortal Newton never spoke 356 

In a coign of the cliff between lowland and highland . . . 142 

In after days when grasses high 305 

In fair Provence, the land of lute and rose 314 

In fifty years, when peace outshines 478 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow 304 

In our hearts is the Great One of Avon 361 

In the first year of freedom's second dawn 214 

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan 130 

In youth my wings were strong and tireless 373 

Is it as plainly in our living shown 194 

Is there a whim-inspired fool 99 

It is portentous, and a thing of state 409 



It is too late now to retrieve 475 

It is very aggravating 326 

It little profits that an idle king 183 

It was an old, old, old, old lady 335 

It was the voice of the flowers on the West Wind .... 442 
It's a warm wind, the west wind, full of birds' cries . . . .170 

Jenny kissed me when we met 357 

Jesse James was a lad that killed a-many a man .... 244 

John Anderson my jo, John 55 

John Brown's body lies a-mould'ring in the grave .... 46 

Just for a handful of silver he left us 157 

Just now 360 

Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle 165 

Last night, among his fellow roughs 94 

Lead, kindly light, amid th' encircling gloom 41 

Lee, who in niggard soil hast delved, to find 286 

Let not our town be large remembering 437 

Let them bury your big eyes 398 

Life is a jest, and all things show it 350 

Lo with the ancient 443 

Lords, knights, and 'squires, the numerous band 334 

Love comes back to his vacant dwelling 306 

Lydia, why do you ruin by lavishing 327 

Madame, ye ben of al beaute shryne 303 

Maud Muller all that summer day 346 

Maxwelton braes are bonnie 34 

Men, dying, make their wills; but wives 356 

Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour 278 

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord . . 48 

Mortality, behold and fear 113 

My boat is on the shore 337 

My country, 'tis of thee 44 

Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold 271 

Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night 349 

Navies nor armies can exalt the state 359 

No dust have I to cover me 350 

No longer mourn for me when I am dead 273 

Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note 145 

Not here! the white North has thy bones; and thou .... 349 

Not of the princes and prelates 455 

Now the stone house on the lake front is finished .... 384 

Now they are gone with all their songs and sins 288 



O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done .... 402 

O star of morning and of liberty 287 

O talk not to me of a name great in story 139 

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms 257 

O where ha'e ye been, Lord Randal, my son? 239 

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being .... 223 

O'er all the hill-tops 353 

Of all the rides since the birth of time 259 

Of Heaven or Hell I have no power to sing 215 

Oft have I seen at some cathedral door 287 

Oh Rome ! my country ! City of the soul 426 

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light 42 

Oh, slow to smite and swift to spare 403 

Oh ! snatch'd away in beauty's bloom 395 

Oh! young Lochinvar is come out of the west 248 

Old Eben Flood, climbing alone one night 211 

One more Unfortunate 153 

Others abide our question. Thou are free 285 

Out of the hills of Habersham 164 

Out of the night that covers me 91 

Pale beech and pine so blue 420 

Piping down the valleys wild 74 

Poor little, pretty, fluttering thing 352 

Princes ! and you, most valorous 299 

Queen and Huntress, chaste and fair 71 

Revered, beloved O you that hold 110 

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky 108 

Roman Virgil, thou that singest 113 

Rood is my name. Once long ago 352 

Rose kissed me to-day 309 

Scorn not the Sonnet; Critic, you have frowned 292 

"Scorn not the sonnet," though its strength be sapped . . . 348 

Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled 120 

Send but a song oversea for us 375 

Seven wise men on an old black settle 160 

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? 272 

She dwelt among the untrodden ways 393 

She oped the portal of the palace 312 

She that has that is clad in complete steel 177 

She walks in beauty, like the night 70 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot 33 

Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part 277 

Sleep softly . . . eagle forgotten . . . under the stone . . . 464 

Sleep sweetly in your humble graves 122 


"So careful of the type?" but no ......... 417 

So live, that when thy summons comes to join ...... 90 

Somebody called Walt Whitman Dead! ....... 381 

Something there is that doesn't love a wall ...... 189 

Songstress, in all times ended and begun ....... 359 

Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife ........ 471 

St. Agnes' Eve Ah, bitter chill it was ........ 920 

Stern Daughter of the Voice of God ........ 96 

Strew on her roses, roses ............ 395 

Such was he, our Martyr-chief .......... 404 

Sunset and evening star ............ 62 

Sweet and low, sweet and low .......... 63 

Swiftly walk o'er the western wave ......... 61 

Swing low, sweet chariot ............ 98 


Take up the White Man's burden ......... 92 

"Talk of pluck!" pursued the Sailor ........ 121 

Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind ......... 98 

Tell me now in what hidden way is ......... 300 

Ten years together without yet a cloud ........ 290 

That's my last Duchess painted on the wall ...... 199 

The apparition of these faces in the crowd ...... 360 

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold .... 138 

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day ....... 205 

The despot's heel is on thy shore .......... 50 

The heavens declare the glory of God ........ 368 

The "Loch Achray" was a clipper tall ........ 254 

The lunatic, the lover, and the poet ......... 174 

The king sits in Dumferling town ......... 241 

The Pobble who has no toes ........... 340 

The poetry of earth is never dead ......... 282 

The poplars are felled; farewell to the shade ...... 140 

The seasons change, the winds they shift and veer .... 1 

The sea is calm to-night ............ 418 

The splendor falls on castle walls ......... 107 

The time I've lost in wooing ........... 324 

The white moth to the closing bine ......... 53 

The wind blows out ~of the gates of day ....... 64 

The wind was a torrent of darkness ......... 262 

The world is too much with us; late and soon ..... 279 

The year's at the spring ............ 149 

Thee for my recitative . . .......... 436 

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods ....... 221 

There is delight in singing, tho' none hear ...... 182 

There is no frigate like a book .......... 4 

There lived a lass in yonder dale ......... 246 

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream .... 228 

There was a young lady of Niger ......... 345 



There will be a rusty gun on the wall, sweetheart .... 480 

These are the gardens of the Desert, these 186 

These be 360 

They cowered inert before the study fire 458 

They nearly strike me dumb 330 

They say that dead men tell no tales 126 

This is like the nave of an unfinished cathedral 432 

This is the forest primeval 162 

This quiet Dust was Gentlemen and Ladies 353 

This picture placed these busts between 356 

This shining moment is an edifice 172 

Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness 105 

Thou that from the heavens art 353 

Thou wast that all to me, love 128 

Thou who wouldst wear the name 9 

Though old the thought and oft exprest 358 

Three poets, in three distant ages born 197 

Thus I 76 

Thus would I have it 385 

Tiger, tiger, burning bright 72 

"Tis not enough no harshness gives offence 197 

To me, fair friend, you never can be old 274 

To my true king I offered free from stain 351 

To those who died for her on land and sea 358 

To what new fates, my country 117 

Trochee trips from long to short 65 

Under the wide and starry sky 53 

Underneath this sable hearse 349 

Up, lad, up, 'tis late for lying 73 

Upon a poet's page I wrote 355 

Waken, lords and ladies gay 72 

Was this the face that launched a thousand ships .... 173 

Way down upon de Swanee Ribber 23 

We are the music-makers 167 

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote 195 

"What are the bugles blowin' for?" 252 

What guile is this, that those her golden tresses 275 

What strength ! what strife ! what rude unrest 116 

When all the world is young, lad 100 

When I am dead and over me bright April 124 

When I am dead, my dearest 123 

When I consider how my light is spent 270 

When I have ceased to break my wings 124 

When I heard the learn'd astronomer 377 

When I saw you last, Rose 310 

When lovely woman stoops to folly 101 



When lovely woman wants a favor 345 

When you are old and gray and full of sleep 451 

Where is the grave of Sir Arthur O'Kellyn? 166 

Where the mind is without fear 469 

Whirl up, sea 461 

White-armed Astrid, ah, but she was beautiful 82 

Whither, midst falling dew 88 

Who builds a ship must first lay down the keel 284 

Why each is striving, from of old 92 

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children . . . 476 

Ye banks, and braes, and streams around 392 

Yon silvery billows breaking on the beach 293 

You are a friend then, as I make it out 188 

You shun me, Chloe, wild and shy . 307 




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