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the actual relationship supported by time and place. She does not often floor you with unimpeachability of dates, but she knows the very complexion of her time, “his form and color.” She remembers what wings beat the air of fortunate decades, dropping pinions more than one imitator snatched in falling and wore brazenly in his cap. She can rehearse the unbroken descent of metres. Her parallel between Mangan and Poe, their dependence on the haunting adjunct of the refrain, does revolve about chronology; but chiefly she relies upon the convictions of her divining mind. She compares the “neck and neck achievements of Mangan and Poe." She traces both back to the colossus Coleridge, with his wells of color. His was the spring of youth, and they bore away full flagons. It is hardly possible to overrate her value to the student of literature in these learned but uncharted flights all over the visible sky of the periods where her subjects moved. Literature, she knows, is a species of royal descent. The Titans may not live to see the faces of their own children, yet out
of those rich fecundities of authentic utterance children are born and show trace of august lineage. And it is hers, the "abstract and brief chronicler” of values, to find it.
To Louise Guiney, there were two transcending realities: poetry and what men call, with varying accent, religion. She believed in poetry as, in the old sense, an ecstasy. She loved archaic phrases and grieved because fit words should perish, mourning them as men would mourn if, believing there were children of immortal lineage among them, they discovered these could die. To her there were archetypes of beauty, the living heavenly substance we have, with an unshaken prescience, learned to call undying. Wandering evanescences, we persuade them down to us or snatch at them and cage them in our heavier atmosphere with the hope, sometimes bewilderingly justified, of their singing on and on. One condition of our even hearing the beat of those wings bending their swallow flight to the responsive mind, is the high vibration in ourselves, the intense activity of what we call imagination. And this vibra
tion is so often the effervescence of youth, the overplus of a richness of physical life—the speed of the blood, a quick sensibility of the brain—that after the pulse slows and the brain responds less eagerly the poet sings no more; or he clouds his verse with moralities and loads it with the stiff embroidery of intellectual conceits. Louise Guiney's singing life was not long, because, after the impulse, in its first capricious spontaneity, had left her, she did not urge it back again. It would have been impossible for her, at any period, to select desirable subjects for poetry as the landscape painter marks a lovely spot in his mind's eye, to return with tubes and brush. Once she did own to the tempting exercise of composing a poem in cold blood. It turned out to be compact of beauties appealing to the public mind, and she viewed it thenceforth from a hurt and wistful wonder. You might say she cherished a distaste for it, as being a child of indirect lineage, a mood disloyal to the greater gods. She was ever the acolyte in that temple, never beseeching at the altar, but serving it. For she was of those pilgrims
hills of space.
of destiny who are perpetually referring this world to the pattern of worlds existing before time began. To her, poetry is an unspoken allegiance to the very essence of mysticism, magic, glamourie. It is the echo from far
It is never without the witchery of the unknown, the guessed-at, the adores but never seen. Not all its dances are woven under the sky we scan chiefly for the weather, but in the elusive gleaming where not we but our dreams are denizens. It is perpetually looking from "magic casements.” It brings the twilight feeling. It may not be melancholy, yet it inspires melancholy. It may not be joyous, yet the pleasure it awakens is more exquisite than it has words to celebrate. These are matters far from the market where we buy and sell and measure our worth by cleverness in exploiting it. These are courts where our poet's "shy foot" dared penetrate with the confidence of a daughter of the house.
From Songs at the Start to Happy Ending (1909) this last bearing her stamp as comprising “the less faulty half of all the author's
published verse,” her work hardly varies in a certain cool, limpid, sometimes austere content. Songs at the Start is distinctly unlike the familiar books of perfervid and unbridled youth. Almost childlike, in some instances, the songs are always restrained within due
The gusts of a too tempestuous heart, the revolt of youth against a world ready made for it, are not hers. She might be the child of a pagan ardency of simple joy, singing to the echo in some waking spring. These are the dewy recognitions of a world "not realized." The faults she showed in this first printing are the ones that plagued her throughout, though she recognized them with a rueful self-dispraise and mock extravagance of remorse. They are the infrequent lapses of a not invariably musical ear. To the end, she would, from stanza to stanza, unconsciously change her cadence. It might be a fault for her to redress; but who among her lovers would complain of it now? It was an individual flaw, the little human imperfection like a mole on beauty's cheek; the too studied reverse of it might have been some