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with heroes and ladies, all living, all harmonious ever with themselves. Chance drew not the beauty, the sweetness, the helplessness of Helen; the courage of Hector, invincible and unclouded, though well he knows that sacred Ilios must perish, the city of Priam of the ashen spear. Chance makes not Odysseus always consistent with himself, the hardy heart, the ready at need, the man of wile, the indomitable by war and wave, the much enduring, the loved of goddesses. Chance never breathed life and love and hate and honor and ruthlessness into the breast of Achilles, and then melted the hatred in pity, and turned the ruthlessness to ruth at the sight of the tears and the gray hairs of his broken foe: who "seemed so like his father."
It is because thou art so great, and men so little, that they misdoubt thee, not believing that the eyes of one alone have seen Hera on her couch of flowers, and Poseidon in the chariot of the sea; have looked on the face of war, on the arraying of goddesses, on the bridal chamber of Helen; have watched the lonely isle where Circe chants at her loom, and the gray vaporous dwellings of the dead. They believe not that one human soul has known every art, and all the thoughts of women as of men, all lives of beasts on hill and plain, all the innocence of childhood, and its beautiful ways, all the delight of battle, the dread of ambush, the slow agony of siege, the storms and the calms of the sea. In thy soul, as in the soul of Zeus, is the whole world mirrored; there is no mood but thou knowest and canst divine and declare it: but this is too much for the belief of bookmen "buzzing in a corner, trifling with monosyllables," and they vow that thou art not one, but a multitude. Then, as even they know that Chance alone cannot shape many lays of many minstrels into one song, they must feign that some later wight, himself a bookman, patched and forged, and botched and bungled, till, somehow, he joined the scattered lays into the immortal wholes. Still, as being but a bookman, and scarce other than themselves, he must needs have been a blunderer, they are driven to justify themselves and their doctrine by finding blunders in thee. He who is bent on finding at all costs, discovers what he seeks. If Time has touched even thy work, here covering an altar with lichen, there making a stone to molder, or dimming the bronze work, or half obliterat ing a scroll, pedants seize on these things as proofs of their opinion, and the mistakes which they cannot find they very
readily make out of their own abundance of misunderstanding.
The city is not builded by an architect, the altar is not graven, the god is not carved by an artist. There is but a patched, botched ruin of many ages; fragments by many hands; scraps, odds and ends, rubbish, rough-hewn stones; a lumber-room of discrepant centuries: these things the learned see in the temples where the wise and brave of thirty centuries have worshiped, in the city where they have dwelt with souls divine, all honoring thee. Barbarians they are, and everywhere they see barbarism: living in a chaos, among the wrecks of worlds and faiths, they know not law, they find ruin everywhere, even in thine Iliad and Odyssey. The eye of each man sees but what it has the power of seeing, and what spectacles behold is not that which lies visible to the naked glance of natural men. We now possess instruments which show us a world within the common world, which thou and thy coevals, looking on, were glad. The smooth becomes rough under these instruments; the beautiful is changed; the cheek of Helen is scarred, seamed, pitted, when we stare at it through these glasses. Thy poems, too, so spied upon, are found thick with flaw and blemish, like the face of Helen; therefore, it is argued they are not thine, nor any one man's, but a heap of things old and not so old, fair and base as each man chooses to deem, and most deem differently, each squabbling with the other. Nay, let the learned turn the same instruments on any other art of men lately dead or of men living. The same blemishes, the same flaws, will they find, and honestly should come to the same conclusion, namely, that no one poem is the work of any one man. But they will not look this way, nor listen if any bids them look. They shall all die in their sins. Helen hath not blinded them as she blinded of old Stesichorus; but, cursing them in another fashion, has made them see the big as little, and the little as big, and nothing in thee as the natural eye beholds and the natural ear listens. Verily, when thou wert about shaping thy minstrelsy, thou hadst no such men in thy mind, but warriors, hunters, seamen, fair ladies, little children; and these others were unborn and undreamed of.
Oh, Father of the rest, first and prince of poets, how often and how vainly we look through the far-off years seeking thy face! Do we find thee singing in some bronze-decked hall of rich Mycenæ, the golden cup standing at thy side, on the table
of cedar and ivory; the bearded kings, the warriors, the women listening to thy song? May we discover thee practicing a new art and strange, graving Phoenician symbols on tablets of wood, or writing with a reed pen on slips of papyrus?
At least we know the places that have known thee: long sands where the long wave breaks in thunder; woods that are haunted by the nymphs and fresh with spring; black ships with curved prow; rocks where the fisher sits and casts his lure into the sea; hills where the mist comes thick and dark; narrow glens in the mountains where is the meeting of two roaring streams; sea beaches where, in winter, the foam and the snow fly mingled; fields thickset with hyacinth and crocus; rivers that murmur between their steep walls to the deep, — all these things we see, as Homer saw them, and still shows them to us; and, seeing them, we know that we are where he has been, and we remember him and give him thanks. Gratitude, and praise, and love we offer to the mightiest of Makers, unknown and unseen, withdrawn and irresponsive as he is; praise, and love, and gratitude we bring him, as we bring them to the footstool of Zeus, whom we see not with the bodily eye, who speaks not to the fleshly ear. For there is a poet in the poems, as there is a God in the world.
LES ROSES DE SÂDI.
(From "Ban and Arrière Ban.")
THIS morning I vowed I would bring thee my roses;
But the breast-knots were broken, the roses went free.
The breast-knots were broken: the roses together
And the sea was as red as when sunset uncloses;
(PREFIXED TO THE BUTCHER-LANG TRANSLATION.)
Lulled by the song of Circe and her wine
Where that Ææan Isle forgets the Main,
And only shadows of wan lovers pine;
Shrill wind beyond the close of heavy flowers; And through the music of the languid hours, They hear like ocean on a western beach
The surge and thunder of the Odyssey.
LUCY LARCOM, an American poet, was born at Beverly, Mass., in 1824; died at Boston, April 17, 1893. She began to write stories and verses at the age of seven; and while working in a cotton-mill at Lowell, a few years later, she became known as a contributor to the Lowell Offering. She studied and taught school for some time in Illinois, and then became a teacher in the seminary at Norton, Mass. Her name was familiar during the War as a writer of patriotic verses. Our Young Folks was founded in 1864; and Miss Larcom was one of its editors until 1874, after which she resided in her native town. Her works include "Ships in the Mist, and Other Stories" (1859); "Poems" (1868); "An Idyl of Work" (1875); "Childhood Songs" (1875); "Wild Roses of Cape Ann" (1880). In 1884 she issued a complete collection of her "Poetical Works;" and she was the editor of several collections of poetry. Her later publications were "Beckonings for Every Day" (1886); “A New England Girlhood" (1889); “Easter Gleams" (1890); "At the Beautiful Gate" (1891); "The Unseen Friend" (1892).