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ings and diagrams by so-called transference fication of phenomena that can be reproof the same from the agent to the percipient duced only by certain individuals, and under without, apparently, any sensuous communi- conditions which are very difficult, if not imcation between them. The results are cer- possible, to formulate. It is extremely dif tainly, in some instances, very extraordinary ficult for minds trained in familiar legal and inexplicable. Future researches will, methods to comprehend the utter untrustdoubtless, demonstrate whether all the pre- worthiness of human testimony, when the cautions necessary to obtain trustworthy re- sentiment of the marvelous is stimulatedsults were observed. In the meantime, it is when the hereditary supernatural instinct is but fair that every intelligent person should called into activity. In the scientific investithoroughly comprehend and justify the in- gations of this class of phenomena, this dif credulity which demands the complete veri- ficulty becomes overwhelming.

John Le Conte.


LAST winter at the holiday season a goodly little flock of slender volumes of poetry that was not so slender came to us for review: Browning at the head, and no one at the rear who had not at least a very respectable place among the "minor poets" of present American literature. This summer comes a fleet of very much smaller craft, with Edwin Arnold's and Mr. Stevenson's latest books in the lead, and, truth compels us to say, several Californian aspirants quite in the rear. A little fleet of this sort these very frail vessels is a pathetic sort of thing. The prosperous minor poets, such as we reviewed last winter, are nothing to grieve over; much of what they write has a title to existence, and brings them adequate return in esteem and possibly a little in cash. Nor need one compassionate the pretty volume in which some dilettant has given himself the satisfaction of seeing his verses printed; a few kindly notices, the knowledge for the rest of his life that he is a fairly enrolled private in the army of letters, and the pretty toy itself on his own and his friends' tables, really meet all his expectations; he knew beforehand that neither fame nor fortune come of such things, and the making of the rhymes was the amusement of his leisure. But the shabby, absurd little book, from a cheap press, with bindings that begin to warp before ten pages have been read; with misprints, and

occasional orthographical slips, and verses that might easily be made texts for ridiculethis is really rather pathetic than reprehensible. The critic generally ridicules it savagely, with the entirely reasonable plea that such things should be stopped. And undoubtedly they should; there can be no possible good to any one in some poor soul's saving enough out of scanty means to procure the cheapest possible dress for the giving to the world of the author's personal emotions in inefficient expressions, which will never bring back money enough to begin to pay for the painful expenditure. But these voluble expressions are usually pretty sincere; they are not art for art's sake, but the pure desire to express one's self. The untaught usually in all seriousness believe this to be the function of poetry. This makes the shabby little books all the more discomforting to read; but it ought to make the reader think somewhat gently of the very genuine blues, or ache of poverty, or loss of children, or mortification because another man got the position sought, or enjoyment of the sky and sunshine at a family picnic, that moved these metrical narrations to the world of Jones's or Miss Robinson's states of mind. They always expect a great deal of the book, too; even cherish the hope that it is going to bring them in money; so the volume not only tells its own story of the past, but also



of future disappointment, and of a sore spot over it in the memory. The proud consciousness of actual authorship, of being between covers, goes far to counterbalance this, it is true; and may, in some happily con stituted dispositions affect the poet as it did Volumnia in "Theophrastus Such." If the critic can find, by internal evidence, which are the future Volumnias among the authors of obviously hopeless poems, let him confine his lash to them; time will apply it fast enough to the others.

Having thus expressed in generalizations the reflections that much recent verse must awake, we turn to the special volumes now before us. Three of these, as we have said, are from California presses: Poems,1 by Madge Morris; The Land by the Sunset Sea, and Other Poems,2 by Hannah B. Gage; and Poems, by J. D. Steell. The first of these three contains poems mostly of an emotional cast, some of personal application, some occasional. There is a good deal of simple earnestness in them, and some bits of real feeling for nature, and an entirely correct, though far from subtle, ear for metre. Two or three touch the level of possible magazine verse, but the rest are all of the class that are valuable only for the pleasure and comfort the writing may have given the author, and probably also her personal friends. We quote a couple of stanzas, which, though above the average, will give an idea of the quality of the verses:

"In the twilight gray and shadowy,

Deepening o'er the sunset's glow,
Through the still, mysterious dimness,
Flitting shadows come and go.

"As my thoughts in listless wandering
With these phantom shadows fly,
Meseems they wear the forms of faces,

Faces loved in days gone by."

Mr. Steell's poems belong in a general way to the same class-poems whose chief reason for existence is in the pleasure that 1 Poems. By Madge Morris. San Francisco: The Golden Era Company. 1885.

2 The Land by the Sunset Sea, and Other Poems. By Hannah B. Gage. San Francisco: Philip J. Figel. 1884. For sale by Chilion Beach.

Poems. By J. D. Steell. San Francisco: Golden

Era Company. 1885.

the writing has evidently given the author; as Mr. Whittier sweetly expressed it to a suppliant for criticism: "If it be true, as it has been said, that poetry is its own reward, thy gift will not be useless to thee." These verses betoken more reading and mental training than those of the collection just noticed: they are refined and sincere in spirit, correct in language, and show (and this is their strongest point) a very sincere pleasure in nature, though expressed totally without originality. Thus:

"The sun is warm, the sky is bright,

The circling meadows gleam with light;
"The silver lakelet sweetly smiles,
Soft dimpling round its fairy isles;
"The purple cliffs tower dark and high,
Outlined against a sapphire sky;

"By myriads sweet wild roses blow,

Reflected in the wave below."

The author is saturated with the work of the standard poets, and the one really original point of his book is that he announces frankly that he does not propose to express his ideas in feeble language of his own, when some one else has already expressed the same thing well; but that, in order to be perfectly above-board in this availing himself of others' language, he will credit each quotation to the original in a note. He has not caught himself in every instance—the ode on Garfield's death, for instance is modelled with even amusing fidelity on Tennyson's Wellington ode, and without credit-but he has done so in enough cases to prove his intentions perfectly honest. In one instance, he calls attention to a whole poem as being "little more than an imitation" of one by Elizabeth Akers Allen. The imitation was unconscious, and he prints the verses "to illustrate the effect produced on my mind by Mrs. Allen's fine lyric." It illustrates more than this: it illustrates the motive-power of all this sort of verse-writing. Young people who love poetry (and that Mr. Steel is young a dated poem on his own twenty-first birthday assures us), are almost sure to take the one step from admiration to imitation; and if they find in themselves a certain facility at

the mechanics of it, they will produce a great deal of verse which is in reality only the expression of their admiration for poetry and the poetic mood. So long as they are modest, this verse-habit does no harm it gives themselves pleasure, and supplies an often very convenient reservoir of local occasional verse-the town Fourth of July celebration, the baby's birthday, the minister's death; it may pleasantly characterize in verse, too, the local streams and mountains and woods, and cultivate the appreciation of the dwellers among these. If it must go beyond the local paper and the neighborhood circle, and seek book-covers, it certainly goes beyond its sphere of usefulness: but it can do no harm to any one but the author (certainly not to the public, which is far less at the mercy of verse within book-covers than in papers or magazines or on platforms). When these very mortal verses are assuming, they are somewhat irritating to the reviewer; but when they are as modest, frank, and simple as those at present under review, he cannot have any feeling but of good-will toward


The Land by the Sunset Sea is more assuming, and hints that the author would not be greatly surprised to become famous. There is cleverness and vigor about the verses, too; but no critical taste to speak of. There is evidence of very fair natural turn for society verses, but it is only half developed. Society verses, of all things, must be done with the most finely trained critical taste. There is not behind these verses a fraction of the mental training, the knowledge of the poetic art, the familiarity with good models necessary to poetry-writing. There is no indication of any existence of that complex quality in feeling and observation that go to make the poetic "gift," in its more serious moods. The serious verse runs about like this:

"A ship swung proud in the lower bay,
Awaiting her master to sail away;
While he on the shore said a parting word
To his blue-eyed love; but the wavelets heard
The long, long kiss on her fond lips pressed
While the ship lay tossing in wild unrest."

Much less commonplace is the lighter vein:

"A wee brown maid on a doorstep sat, Her small face hid 'neath a wide-brimmed hat; A broken clock on her baby knee She wound with an ancient, rusty key. 'What are you doing, my pretty one? Playing with Time?' I asked in fun. Large and wise were the soft, dark eyes Lifted to mine in a grave surprise. 'I's windin' him up to make him go, For he's so drefful poky and slow."

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'Ah, baby mine! Some future day You will throw that rusted key away, And to Phoebus' car will madly cling, As it whirrs along like a winged thing, And wonder how, years and years ago, You could ever have thought that Time was slow." In taking up the Gray Masque,1 we pass over the vague boundary between verse that is not poetry and verse that is poetry: minor poetry, it is true, and not in the first rank of that; but still poetry. The author has long been a contributor to journals, and the poems that have been year by year printed in these, together with new ones, make a collection of nearly a hundred and fifty. This is undoubtedly too many: for the thread of inspiration that runs through them is by no means sufficient to save this long succession of mildly entertaining poems from becoming monotomany nous; and of them really lack reason for existence. Yet there is among them all no marked falling below the average of gently sincere and refined feeling. There is, perpoetic expression, pleasing versification, and haps, more warmth in this than in any other (and its suggestion of Mrs. Browning is not a trait of the other poems, which are not imitative) :

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For in this 'I love you' is a meaning
Far beyond the pen of simple fancy:
Measureless in love's enlightened language
Love's significancy.

Know of worth attested I approve you―.
Believe me that I love you.

Much poetry of this class fails to take a place in men's memories that it is really capable of taking, merely from lack of concentration. Not only are entirely useless lines, stanzas, poems, allowed to stand, to the dilution of the whole, but the thought is often so spread through two lines or two stanzas, that excision is impossible, and yet there is too much the two weak parts ought to have been condensed into one strong one. The only poem in the present collection which attracts our attention by this terseness is the following:

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'Tis loss, indeed, the loss of faith."

Pictures in Song1 is a somewhat dilettant little book- —a book of rondeaux and ballades and society verses and "impressions." These things, with their air of being not serious achievement, but merely sketches and studies, the amusement of a leisurely man or the recreation of a student, have an unpretentious effect; and the prefatory lines put this into words :

"For them no glory do I dream.

I only wish that they should seem
Like little birds that softly pour

Their low, sweet notes out as they soar,
Or wandering rills from Tempe's stream,
These songs of mine."

For the most part, they fulfil this modest aspiration fairly well, and may be classed

line of graceful trifling to the best very recent American writing of this sort—such as Bunner's or even Sherman's; but the best of them will compare very well with the lower level of these men's work, and none of them are really ill done; the only fault one can find with them is an occasional pedantry

which sounds almost crude :

"As merry are thy laughing lays
As his who gained Hipparchus' praise,
And hymned thy vine-god's glories;
As his of glad Sicilian days,
Or his who won Augustan bays

By honey-sweet amores.

"What loves were thine! First, Julia fair, Enthroned in graces far more rare

Than Grecian Autonoë."

"We see the heavenly band with gold citoles,

Their brows adorned with spotless nenuphars." This class of poetry builds its claim on perfection of form, not on feeling or thought, and therefore the least appearance of consciousness or of straining at an effect, the least flaw in manner, is a serious defect. The majority of these verses are not thus defective, and some are very neat. Perhaps more of them are good in the way of simple pictures of some natural scene than in any other. We quote one which gives a fair idea of both the descriptive and the bric-a-brac turn of these "Pictures":


The wind went soughing through the spicy pines

In tender undertone,

The throstles piped amid the tangled vines,

And soft the sunbeams shone.

Afar old ocean thundered on the rocks
With blatant, angry sound,

And Neptune drove his emerald-girded flocks
To pearly depths profound.

The oaks stood gnarled and grim like witches gray,
Erect and trim each fir;

The sweet veronica fringed the winding way,
Pale-hued as lavender.

Like flickering torches through the leafage green
The orioles fluttered by,

And from the thickets where they lurked unseen
Was heard the cuckoo's cry.

justly enough under the head of "graceful And yet there seemed a something wanting there, trifles." They are not nearly equal in the

1 Pictures in Song. By Clinton Scollard. New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1884.

To make all nature smile,

When, lo! sweet Clarice, like an oread fair, Came down the forest aisle."

The Chanson of Roland1 has been lately translated into English by Léonce Rabillon, of Johns Hopkins University. This is the second direct version that has been made in English, the former one being by J. O'Hagan. There is besides a version from a French paraphrase. The present translation is from M. Léon Gautier's version of the twelfth century Oxford manuscript, and makes the twenty-first translation of the "lay" extant, in six different European languages. It is quite literal, and is said by students of the original to render the spirit closely; considered as English verse, it is vigorous, dignified, and pleasing. The metre is simple blank verse; but the stanza division and the management of the rhythm quite differentiate this from the epic, the dramatic, or the descriptive movement of this most flexible metre, and give well the effect of a long narrative chant or recitative. It is a very satisfactory form in which to have the chivalrous old mediæval romance, inaccessible, of course, to all but specialists in its original language. The courage, the spirit, the curious mixture of dainty manners with a naïve brutality-punctilious observance of stately forms alternating with prompt exchange of defiance and blows in the very presence of royalty, or in the heat of battle-all the traits of the romance of chivalry that the English reader is familiar with as handed down in fragments through later writers, from Chaucer to Scott and Tennyson, here appear in their original fullness. No burlesque could caricature the occasional simplicity of the narrative; for in stance, when "Carlemagne" comes upon the battlefield too late, and finds only heaps of dead,

"He tears his beard with anger; all his knights And barons weep great tears dizzy with woe, And swooning, twenty thousand fall to earth";

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These sudden collapses of an army, from sheer emotion, are irresistible to the imagination. Rollánd, too, is able to swoon in the saddle, and also to exchange long passages of courtesy, bows and embraces, with "Olivier," in mid-mêlée, when the two are apparently standing off" some hundreds or thousands of Saracens. Such things as these throw a curious light on the minds of the eleventh century-their amazing lack of that ineffably quick-flashing, fine-discriminating critical perception which constitutes a sense of humor; their unqualified surrender of themselves to narrative interest, and their desire to have it "writ large." It would be a pity, however, to speak only of the quaintnesses of the gallant chronicle, and not of its main point-its splendid picture of knightly valor and loyalty. It is impossible to quote any passage out of the long account of the battle which will give any fair idea of the whole, and we will not attempt it.

In The Secret of Death and Other Poems,2 Mr. Edwin Arnold has gathered together the stray poems of years with some new ones, the whole introduced by a version of three "vallis," of the Katha Upanishad. Some reviewer has truly remarked that there is always a good deal of "journalism" in Mr. Arnold's poems. In his very best poetry— and that, it will probably be agreed, is to be found in "The Light of Asia "—there was undoubtedly a little of this ad captandum trick of thought and expression; and in his worst (and we think that is to be found in part of the present volume), there is more of it than of poetry. Nevertheless, there is a good deal of poetry, too. The leading poemthe Sanskrit translation-is an important one and has much beauty; nor is it a bad idea to picture the English student and Brahman teacher translating the roll together, and thus

while on the next day, when he finds the to give a glimpse of modern Hindu interbody of "Rollánd,"

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He plucks out his white beard

And tears his hair with both hands from his head. Swoon on the earth one hundred thousand Franks."

1 La Chanson de Roland. Translated from the seventh edition of Léon Gautier. By Léonce Rabillon. New York: Henry Holt & Co. 1885.

pretation of the old books, paraphrase the bare translation of obscure passages, and yet meddle not a whit with the truth of the version. But Mr. Arnold's sense of humor was

2 The Secret of Death and Other Poems. By Edwin Arnold. Boston: Roberts Brothers. 1885.

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