I TRIED to read a beautifully printed and scholarly volume on the Theory of Poetry, received by mail this morning from Englandbut gave it up at last for a bad job. Here are some capricious pencillings that followd, as I find them in my notes:
In youth and maturity Poems are charged with sunshine and varied pomp of day; but as the soul more and more takes precedence, (the sensuous still included,) the Dusk becomes the poets atmosphere. I too have sought, and ever seek, the brilliant sun, and make my songs according. But as I grow old, the half-lights of evening are far more to me.
Common teachers or critics are always asking What does it mean? Symphony of fine musician, or sunset, or sea-waves rolling up the beachwhat do they mean? Undoubtedly in the most subtle-elusive sense they mean somethingas love does, and religion does, and the best poem;but who shall fathom and define those meanings? (I do not intend this as a warrant for wildness and frantic escapadesbut to justify the souls frequent joy in what cannot be defined to the intellectual part, or to calculation.)
At its best, poetic lore is like what may be heard of conversation in the dusk, from speakers far or hid, of which we get only a few broken murmurs. What is not gatherd is far moreperhaps the main thing.