Thomas Humphry Ward, ed. The English Poets. 18801918. Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
Critical Introduction by Charles L. Graves
James Kenneth Stephen (18591892)
[James Kenneth Stephen, the second son of Sir James FitzJames Stephen, the Judge, was born in 1859 and educated at Eton and Kings College, Cambridge, where he was elected a Fellow. His only published works were two small volumes of verse, Lapsus Calami and Quo Musa Tendis? (1891). He died in 1892, the ultimate cause of death being an accidental blow on the head some five years before.]
THE RESEMBLANCES between Calverley and J. K. S. (James Kenneth Stephen) are so marked as to warrant a slight deviation from chronological order. Stephen was also a brilliant public school boy who had a distinguished academic career at Cambridge. He was, moreover, an avowed disciple and devoted admirer of Calverley, as may be gathered from the delightful stanzas To C. S. C. But though related by education and environment, the two men differed widely in temperament. Calverley was more freakish and irresponsible: he had greater charm, elasticity, and geniality. He was never angry, and Stephen often was, though to excellent purpose, in his diatribes against those who desecrated the river, vulgar Cockney or oversea tourists, and pretentious politicians. Stephen was less of the amused onlooker, more of the castigator. But he, too, trod the beaten way: he was neither a mystic nor a metaphysician, but a man of robust intelligence who hated cant, pretence, and sentimentality, but was capable of generous emotion and even tenderness. He called himself a man of prose, but there are lines in the stanzas To A. H. C., when he compares the futility of abstract speculation with the things that really count, which only a poet could have written; while as a parodist he fell little short of his master.