Adventures in Criticism eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 306 pages of information about Adventures in Criticism.

    “Just mark that schooner westward far at sea—­
       ’Tis but an hour ago
     When she was lying hoggish at the quay,
       And men ran to and fro
     And tugged, and stamped, and shoved, and pushed, and swore. 
     And ever an anon, with crapulous glee,
       Grinned homage to viragoes on the shore.

    “So to the jetty gradual she was hauled: 
       Then one the tiller took,
     And chewed, and spat upon his hand, and bawled;
       And one the canvas shook
     Forth like a mouldy bat; and one, with nods
     And smiles, lay on the bowsprit end, and called
     And cursed the Harbour-master by his gods.

    “And rotten from the gunwale to the keel,
       Rat riddled, bilge bestank,
     Slime-slobbered, horrible, I saw her reel
       And drag her oozy flank,
     And sprawl among the deft young waves, that laughed
       And leapt, and turned in many a sportive wheel
     As she thumped onward with her lumbering draught.

    “And now, behold! a shadow of repose
       Upon a line of gray
     She sleeps, that transverse cuts the evening rose,
       She sleeps and dreams away,
     Soft blended in a unity of rest
     All jars, and strifes obscene, and turbulent throes
     ’Neath the broad benediction of the West—­

    “Sleeps; and methinks she changes as she sleeps,
       And dies, and is a spirit pure;
     Lo! on her deck, an angel pilot keeps
       His lonely watch secure;
     And at the entrance of Heaven’s dockyard waits
       Till from night’s leash the fine-breathed morning leaps
     And that strong hand within unbars the gates.”

It is very far from being the finest poem in the volume.  It has not the noble humanity of Catherine Kinrade—­and if this be not a great poem I know nothing about poetry—­nor the rapture of Jessie, nor the awful pathos of Mater Dolorosa, nor the gentle pathos of Aber Stations, nor the fine religious feeling of Planting and Disguises.  But it came so pat to the occasion, and used the occasion so deftly to take hold of one’s sympathy, that these other poems were read in the very mood that, I am sure, their author would have asked for them.  One has not often such luck in reading—­“Never the time and the place and the author all together,” if I may do this violence to Browning’s line.  Yet I trust that in any mood I should have had the sense to pay its meed of admiration to this volume.

Now, having carefully read the opinions of some half-a-dozen reviewers upon it, I can only wonder and leave the question to my reader, warning him by no means to miss Mater Dalorosa and Catherine Kinrade.  If he remain cold to these two poems, then I shall still preserve my own opinion.


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Adventures in Criticism from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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