To have found and kept and interwoven these two musics—a language of unflinching veracity and one of equally unflinching hope and faith—is the achievement of our war-poetry. May we not say that the possession together of these two musics, of these two moods, springing as they do from the blended grip and idealism of the English character, warrants hope for the future of English poetry? For it is rooted in the greatest, and the most English, of the ways of poetic experience which have gone to the making of our poetic literature—the way, ultimately, of Shakespeare, and of Wordsworth. But that temper of catholic fraternity which finds the stuff of poetry everywhere does not easily attain the consummate technique in expression of a rarer English tradition, that of Milton, and Gray, and Keats. Beauty abounds in our later poets, but it is a beauty that flashes in broken lights, not the full-orbed radiance of a masterpiece. To enlarge the grasp of poetry over the field of reality, to apprehend it over a larger range, is not at once to find consummate expression for what is apprehended. The flawless perfection of the Parnassians—of Heredia’s sonnets—is nowhere approached in the less aristocratically exclusive poetry of to-day. But the future, in poetry also, is with the spirit which found the aristocracy of noble art not upon exclusions, negations, and routine, but upon imagination, penetration, discovery, and catholic openness of mind.
SOME BOOKS FOR CONSULTATION
Pellissier, Le Mouvement Litteraire au XIXme Siecle.
Brunetiere, La Poesie Lyrique au XIXme Siecle.
Eccles, F.Y., A Century of French Poets.
Vigie-Lecocq, La Poesie Contemporaine.
Phelps, Advance of English Poetry in the Twentieth Century.
Muret, La Litterature Italienne d’aujourd’hui.
Ladenarde, G. Carducci.
Symons, The Symbolist Movement in Literature.
Jackson, The Eighteen Nineties.
Aliotta, The Idealist Reaction against Science.
Soergel, Die deutsche Litteratur unserer Zeit.
Bithell, Contemporary German Poetry (Translated).
Halevy, Charles Peguy.
[Footnote 3: The temper of the two realists was no doubt widely different. ‘C’est en haine du realisme’, wrote Flaubert, ’que j’ai entrepris ce roman. Mais je n’en deteste pas moins la fausse idealite, dont nous sommes berces par le temps qui court’ (Corresp. 3, 67).]
[Footnote 4: Causeries du Lundi, 1850 f.]
[Footnote 5: Histoire de la litterature anglaise, 1863.]
[Footnote 6: But a Wilde who wrote no De Profundis and no Ballad of Reading Gaol.]