« PreviousContinue »
Books As I See Them
By KATE SANBORN
Among the many mysteries and melodies He calls his hero "the most lovable figof life and literature, some refuse to be ure in all English literature" and proves caught and labelled and soar beyond our this claim. We, who love him too and grasp. A host of definitions fail to catch are so familiar with every year of his exand hold the evanescent rainbow of humor, istence, value most the quips and phrases the electric flash of wit, the auroral and that we have not seen. He describes at intermittent display of genius, the real length "one Rickman"; "the finest fellow source and cause of inspiration. What is to drop in a' nights, about nine or ten music? it expresses the unexpressed; it is o'clock, cold bread and cheese time, just a bond between earth and heaven: but has in the wishing time of the night, when it been ever satisfactorily defined, or its you wish for some one to come in, withpower over mortals explained?
out a distinct idea of a probable body. A And among authors, why is it that some fine rattling fellow, has gone through life writers however gifted and widely read in laughing at solemn apes; a species in one; their lifetime, vanish down "the back entry a new class, an exotic, any slip of which of time," or only live in libraries, in extra I am proud to put in my garden pot." good bindings; like the cardinal virtues, Mary Lamb wrote to Mrs. Coleridge of "well spoken of, but seldom used," while a nice little girl "who is so fond of my others with no more ability, possibly not brother that she stops strangers in the so much, stick fast to Fame's wings in the street to tell them when Mr. Lamb is winnowing of the centuries, retaining and coming to see her.” And the biographer increasing the charmed atmosphere that is adds, “I know of no incident in Lamb's immortal? From Dan Chaucer to Steven life, or in any one's life, that is prettier son, you know how few make a place for than this." themselves in your inmost heart.
When dreamy philosophers were disJane Austen had this wondrous power of cussing "man as he is and man as he ought perpetuating her personality and the fas- to be" "Give me,” interjected Lamb, "man cination of her character sketches; and as he ought not to be." When brain weary reverent scholars make pilgrimages every he once took a room away from his home year to her home and her last resting just to avoid his nocturnal, or knockplace to get if possible one little bit more eternal visitors, but he soon longed for of unpublished Ana. Lamb, the one and the old comrades again. only Charles Lamb, with his marvellous How delicious to those of us who find head and angel face; the whimsical, moody, human nature as exemplified in ourselves; slim-legged, splay-footed, stammering dar- how “very human,” this confession of ling, gains each year a stronger hold on frailty: “This very night I am going to the reading world. He was the ideal leave off tobacco! Surely there must be brother, his courage was heroic, his friend some other world in which this unconship a precious gift; he gave delightful querable purpose shall be realized." card parties with "puns at nine" and beer He spoke of asking some rather dubious or wine all the time. But beyond all that persons to supper: "You would not sit his mind and soul are with us more with them?” asked Talfourd. vividly if possible than when he was in. “Yes,” said Lamb. "I would sit with the body, struggling with trials, handicaps anything but a hen or tailor." and literary and romantic disappointments. And who cares what he said of the
Mr. E. V. Lucas, who is recognized as writing “female.” Of L. E. L. Lamb said, the final authority on the Lambs, has “Letitia was only just tinted; she was not already given us seven octavo volumes what the she-dogs now call an intellectual containing all their works and correspond woman.” We remember how proud he ence and now offers two volumes with was of his sister's poems. fifty illustrations including eleven pictures To a man who said something he conof the two whom only the demon of in sidered witty. "Ha! very well; very well sanity could separate.
indeed!” said Lamb. “Ben Jonson has
... postenr here to the
tion of Boys' Clubs to...
ned. He reC. A. could not i
! Mes got to be!" organized a clied,
he Vipassant who compared
were here to that of fies and the presso
mi bottle They fly about trying hundred and are
the inevitable, some get higher
but soon all succumb and it has made a
in heen re-reading Gail Hamilthe “Broch
pier; she was apt to ex
what many others would inated, ha
Cand she rebelled at this life if Brochta
aut cruel tragedy. She says. from his
. * s a real old-fashioned God
ter you and follows you up did not
int! about you. There is no
i fort in thinking of yourself a la
as a protoplasm floating vaguely
per i l'niverse.” wlii.
i Howard Griggs, the eloquent bui
A and setter forth of Dante, tir
Vincare, Browning, has thought much Be Lie enigmas of life and in his recently min ved "Book of Meditations” he writes explx, at times in the strain Miss Whitna dwells on, as "Why can we not realize ustantly that to-day is the opportunity er sublime living? Consecrate some fragment of time every day to the quiet etfort to see things in relation: do not depend upon the mere accident of distance
to give truth. How different modern
. thought will look five hundred years Lu lu from now! But keep open to truth in len in the certainty that there is a deep below
our last sounding, and a height from the which our petty lill of vision will be lost
thers in the level plain." But he adds, "If there id en for is no eternity of the subject for whom
change exists, as well as of the process Suivi the same of change, it seems to me to be hopeless
llant Taketh to attempt any understanding of the farce in het t ill may
of life: unless there is this eternity, there i "so that can be no raiional basis of morals, no Tere! loss normotive for living."
is of its in- I cannot agree to that. I am glad to dit this radiance have lived, and if this be all I still desire
ind she asks, to do my best. ortadant atmos- By the way, here is his definition of s t , entirely ir
genius: “To affirm always, the best and inn o r sorrow?" renounce the lower, that is genius." low that I cannot
Satisfactory? Temposure but this Publisher, B. W. Huebsch, New York. di tex
1 be attained. . ition And Whh I am sure will
m hujuf obile poise. “The
The “Kasidah" by Sir Richard F. BurHelp us by ement of the great
that of the con- ton Jungi pel Aube Info
ton is a most depressing, unforgetable
poem; a grand effort from an undoubted Her publishes of Little, Brown and
genius, but O, so hopeless, so helpless!
“So hard, blunt, crude and purposely inelegant are these couplets, that under the spell and bewilderment of their power
ful influence, the Rubaiyat seems, in comI feel like the old
who was asked parison, almost sophomoric, In Memoriam
attainted with sentimentality, while Omar or Fitzgerald gently numbs the being into despair; Burton forces us to face the vacant, affrighting death's head of fact, though yet bidding us to be manful to the end. Verily the Kasidah is writ in blood and tears with a pen of iron."
that has real live men and women and an engrossing plot give me Ellen Glasgow's "The Wheel of Life"; Arnold Kemper, an athletic, fascinating, selfish, love-compelling man with splendid virtues to balance his grave faults, is a character creation that is strong clear through.
Doubleday, Page and Company.
Here is a reme 'y for egotism.
yet forever twixt the womb,
the grave, Thou pratest of the Coming Life; of
Heaven and Hell thou fain must
rave; The world is old and thou art young;
the world is large and thou art
small; Cease, atom of a moment's span to
hold thyself an All-in-All.
How Thought is impotent to divine
the secret which the Gods defend, The Why of birth and life and death,
that Isis-veil no hand may rend.
Dost not, O Maker, blush to hear, amid
the storm of tears and blood, Man say, Thy mercy made what is,
and saw the made and said, “ 'Twas good.”
The Marvel is that man can smile
dreaming his ghostly, ghastly
dream: Better the heedless atom that buzzes
in the morning beam!
Books of Places :
text by Dorothy Menpes. A. and C.
Black, London. London Films. Howells. Harpers. More Queer Things About Japan. Sel
den and Lorrimer. Two in Italy. Maud Howe. Illustrations by her artist husband, John
Elliot. Little, Brown and Company. A Levantine Log Book. Jerome Hart of
the Argonaut. Longmans, Green and Company, New York, London, Bom
bay. (This is super-excellent !) Biography: With Walt Whitman" in Camden, by
Horace Traubel. Small, Maynard and
Company, Boston. A Life of Whitman, by Henry Bryan
Binns. E. P. Dutton and Company, New York. Sidney Lanier, by Edwin Mims. Hough
ton, Mifflin and Company. (The first complete and adequate life of this
poet.) Lincoln: Master of Men, by Alonzo
Rothschild. Houghton Mifflin and Company. (If anything new can be said or told of that great man, one
more life will be welcome.) Poems : Songs of America, by Edna Dean Proc
tor. Houghton, Mifflin and Company.
O the dread pathos of our lives! How
durst thou, Allah, thus to play With Love, Affection, Friendship, all
that shows the god in mortal
clay! Thomas B. Mosher of Portland, Maine, has shown his perfect taste in the make up of this.
As my allotted space is dwindling let me present a brief list of new books worth reading; a few worth owning. For a novel
said worse things, and-and-and better!" if his dying wife was resigned. He re
How he liked to sport with names. A plied, “Resigned? why she's got to be !" stupid clerk named Wawd, he hit off in It was Guy de Maupassant who compared this couplet:
our brief existence here to that of Aies “What Wawd knows, God knows;
in a corked bottle. They fly about trying But God knows what Wawd knows." to escape the inevitable; some get higher And in a charade on Dodwell:
than others, but soon all succumb and “My first is that which infants call expire. I've been re-reading Gail Hamiltheir Maker,
ton's Letters; she was apt to exMy second is that which is best let press tersely what many others would alone.”
like to say and she rebelled at this life if Pub., G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York. this is all; a cruel tragedy. She says, And after all this, William C. Hazlitt "What I want is a real old-fashioned God contributes to the February Atlantic who looks after you and follows you up “Eliana: The Latest Windfall," announcing and knows all about you. There is no that he had accumulated fifty unpublished sort of comfort in thinking of yourself epistles of Lamb's in an article of nearly just only a protoplasm Aoating vaguely a dozen pages of unfamiliar material! around the Universe."
Edward Howard Griggs, the eloquent exponent and setter forth of Dante,
Shakespeare, Browning, has thought much Three new books I've been looking over on the enigmas of life and in his recently carefully make Pope's couplet come to
published "Book of Meditations" he writes mind:
wisely, at times in the strain Miss Whit'Tis with our judgments as our watches ing dwells on, as “Why can we not realize none
constantly that to-day is the opportunity Go just alike, yet each believes his for sublime living ? Consecrate some own."
fragment of time every day to the quiet And each original thinker becomes a effort to see things in relation: do not leader, attracting a faithful following. depend upon the mere accident of distance
Miss Lilian Whiting is a poet yet a to give truth. How different modern practical optimist; a spiritual and a spirit- thought' will look five hundred years ualistic woman, one who lives according to from now! But keep open to truth in what she urges upon others with the firm the certainty that there is a deep below est sort of faith in a World Beautiful for our last sounding, and a height from all who know how to live rightly. The which our petty hill of vision will be lost immense sale of her volumes on this in the level plain.” But he adds. “If there theme shows what a wide influence for is no eternity of the subject for whom good she has been able to exert.
change exists, as well as of the process In her last little book on the same of change, it seems to me to be hopeless theme, “The Joy That No Man Taketh to attempt any understanding of the farce From You," she argues that we all may of life: unless there is this eternity, there so live as to gain a lasting joy "so that can be no raiional basis of morals, no neither death nor privation nor loss nor motive for living.” disappointment nor trial in any of its in- I cannot agree to that. I am glad to numerable forms shall dim this radiance have lived, and if this be all I still desire or diminish this energy." And she asks, to do my best. "May we not stand in this radiant atmos
By the way, here is his definition of phere always and unvaryingly, entirely ir- genius: “To affirm always, the best and respective of any form of trial or sorrow?"
renounce the lower, that is genius.” SatisI am free to confess that I cannot factory? attain such constant composure but this Publisher, B. W. Huebsch, New York. is no proof that it cannot be attained.
Here is a sentence which I am sure will help one to gain this noble poise. “The one supreme achievement of the great The "Kasidah” by Sir Richard F. BurJourney of human life is that of the con ton is a most depressing, unforgetable secrated will."
poem; a grand effort from an undoubted Her publishers are Little, Brown and genius, but O, so hopeless, so helpless! Company, Boston.
"So hard, blunt, crude and purposely inelegant are these couplets, that under the spell and bewilderment of their power
ful influence, the Rubaiyat seems, in comI feel like the old farmer who was asked parison, almost sophomoric, In Memoriam