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tirely to love as his theme. Love in itself may be all pervading; but, when used as a theme on all hands, at all times, and by all the poets, even by the greatest, it becomes, to say the least, monotonous. We smile now at the ridiculous poems written to a lady's eyebrows, a sweetheart's curls, and a lover's silk dress, but the poets were finding it quite difficult to keep writing on the same theme. We might expect, then, to find lyrics which are high and lofty in their expression of love, as well as those which are low and disgusting.
One of the chief forms of the lyric poetry was the sonnet. The sonnet first came from Italy as a refined love song, and naturally enough its chief theme was love during the age of Shakespeare. But, in the later development of lyric poetry, the sonnet was not confined entirely to the theme of love. During the Puritan Age, an age of intellect rather than emotion, Milton employs the sonnet for more dignified emotions than love; and he is later followed by Wordsworth, who expresses highly intellectualized emotions in such sonnets as Composed upon Westminster Bridge and The World is too Much with Us.
But the lyric would soon have been moribund had it held to its cloying theme of love. It was destined, however, to become the chief poetic form in the English language. It might be well to mention some of the poems that illustrate the gradual transformation from the weak and even vulgar sentimental strain of the early lyric poems to the high and intellectual melody of the present day. Lyric poetry, which was the first type of individual expression, was in the form of drinking songs. Then in the love lyrics we have the flippant, playful love of man for woman as expressed in Suckling's Why So Pale and Wan? and Wither's The Lover's Resolution. Why, if she does not love me, may the devil take her! In Herrick's To the Virgins to Make Much of Time, we have advice to young ladies to marry while they may, since "Old Time is still a-flying." This is a very pretty poem in itself, telling of the transcience of youth, but it lacks depth. In Waller's Go Lovely Rose! we have a thoughtful comparison of the rose with the expanse of time, and in this theme there is more
intellect displayed. In all of these we feel the influence of the Italian and French. But in Bonnie Doon we have a poem whose expression is just as natural as it can be, and whose appeal is universal on account of its dignity of naturalness and sincerity. This strain is perfected, however, later in such poems as Crossing the Bar. Here is a poem of quiet dignity, seriousness, thought. Here we have the inquiry into death being transformed into spiritualized emotion. Such poems as the last mentioned will live because of their intellect and emotion, containing not an overabundance of either, but just so much as to make them appealing.
Our modern lyric poetry is of two kinds-that which can be set to music and that which can not be set to music. Those poems which can be sung contain a maximum amount of emotion and a maximum amount of intellect. The rhyme in these song poems is quite unnoticeable even to the most attentive; for rhyme is a skilful device used for linking unsung lyrics, particularly those poems containing so much thought that they can not well be set to music. Not much of the poetry of Tennyson, Browning, Arnold, and, to mention some of the more recent representative poets, Whitman, Kipling, and Seegar, can be set to music; for, although their poetry is lyric, the thought contained therein is too heavy, too serious, for singing. As the lyric becomes more and more intellectual, it tends to become less rhythmic, because some of the strong emotion which was formerly expressed in rhythm becomes spiritualized, but even with the change toward intellectual thought, which the lyric has undergone, the themes which sometimes contain the paramount thought of a nation have become personal and universal because of this spiritualized emotion expressed in them.
Irving H. White.
ALL A MATTER OF FATE
OR the first time in his life, Jimmy Creigan could look a blue-coated officer in the face without feeling cold chills run up and down his spine. Ever since his early childhood he had despised the strong right arm of the law; for he had been taught that the "bull" was his enemy; and in his prime, he could tell a plain clothes man, otherwise known as "fly cop," by his broad expanse of leather, commonly called shoes.
When Jimmy met Mazie Donohue (she tried out music at the music counter in Goldburg's Five, Ten, and Twenty-five Cent Store), he decided that it was time to hit "the straight and narrow." She came into his life "sudden-like," as Jimmy says, and as this story is largely connected with Jimmy, suppose we let him tell it.
"Y'know when you're ridin' on the subway, an' you sudden make a dive out of a tunnel into the daylight-well, dat's de way she hit me. It was a complete knock out. I forgot all about second-story windows as entrance an' began to use doors for a change. She hit me hard, I'm not kiddin' ye a bit. I knew when I first met her, she could put her shoes in my trunk any old time she wanted to. I dropped de ol' gang, and began to wear neckties that she picked out for me at Goldburg's. I got me a job jerkin' sodas at a Greek joint about a block from de place she worked. Gee! she was a swell dame. I'll never forget de first night I called on her at her home. I carried her a box of candy dat I got at de Greek's where I worked. I didn't crook it, neither-bought it on de level, when I could have lifted de cash register if I'd wanted to without de old bird gettin' wise.
"After dat I called twice a week, an' de old man woul go out on de fire escape an' call off de kids from crabbin' me act, an' so we'd have de parlor alone. I forgot to mention, I guess, dat her old gent was a cop.
"Once I took her to Coney, but she said she liked it home best. I took her to a swell feed palace an' she knew de difference between de eats on de bill of fare and de music dat de band played. She says she wasn't hungry much, but I said, 'Go ahead, shoot de works,' an' make out we didn't have a swell feed.
"Dat night when we was going home on de car we had a seat in de back with no one behind us an' I asked her if she'd hook up wid me. I'd memorized a lot of fancy stuff I'd read in books an' seen in de movies, but I forgot 'em all den. She draws up close-like to me, an' whispers 'Yes' an' den she hides her face, an' if dat conductor hadn't come around for anodder fare just den I'd a kissed her. Gee, she looked swell!
“Well, to make a long story short, we was hooked up, an' I got a job as nickel snatcher on a Brooklyn car. We had a pretty little flat out in de Bushwick section, right near de car line an' every day she'd bring me lunch to de corner an' wait for me to come by.
"Dis was all before de war. Well, de draft didn't get me so I enlisted. I didn't get overseas, but I saw a hell of a lot of dese United States. I did get one leave-came up all de way from Anniston, Alabama, when de kid was born. It took all of a month's pay even at one cent a mile, an' I only had four days wid them, but it was worth it. She was 'round stayin' wid her mother as de little allotment I sent home wasn't enough to keep de flat an' pay de bills too.
"While I was home, I saw me ol' car, but somehow it didn't look de same. A woman was grabbin' nickels-no, it was seven cents den. A woman holdin' down me job! No wonder I didn't go back to it when I got out of de army-it didn't seem to be a man's job any longer. So I tied up wid a shoe factry as shippin' clerk, at twenty per. Well, I'm here to tell ye it wasn't any cinch to make ends meet. I wasn't any Houdini pickin' dollars out a de air an' de sixty bucks de Government did give me didn't go so far dat you needed opery glasses to watch it, when it came to buyin' food an' payin' rent. My old Army overcoat came in
handy, but de wife was just gettin' over the 'flu' an' de kid was kinda sick. I'll tell de world it was pretty much like Old Mrs. Hubbard tryin' to find her pet Pomereinian a bone when there wasn't no bones bein' put out. De big smash came when I sent a case of shoes dat was supposed to go to some bird in Oskosh, or something like dat to a guy out in Kalamazoo. I never was much good at geography, an' besides I was all gone in me nut from worryin' about de wife an' de kid. Anyway, it cost me me job.
"Two weeks of goin' out mornings, an' comin' back in de evenings wid nothin' stirrin' in de way of work, got my angora. One more haul, I taught to meself, but I fought against it. I had cut out de ol' life for good. I tried harder den ever de next day to get work, but it was no use. Dat night I got me a jimmy-I tink I was named after one. I picked out a soft crib. I tink I had watched de place for a week without realizin' it. 'Twould be a loan, I told meself. I'd pay it back when I was on me feet agin. Sometin' was wrong. I knew it when I was crossin' de lawn, an' when I put de jimmy under de sash of de window over de left wing of de big porch, me hand was shakin' an' I knew what it was. Me nerve was gone! Down on de avenoo a bull rapped on de sidewalk wid his nightstick. Me heart was poundin' so loud I t'ought it could be heard for blocks. Annoder night stick struck de pavement, an' I heard the fren'ly greetin' of de rounds man.
"Ah, ha, Casey, 'tis a foine night, so it is.'
"It is dat,' came back de answer. 'An how is it ye are not sleepin' in de park?'
"I slid down de porch an' made me get-away to de rear. I hopped a fence an' a Gates Avenoo car came round the corner. I swung aboard an' seven of me remainin' eighty-seven cents was gone in fare.
"I dropped off at Borough Hall; perhaps it was de lights of a little Greek all-night restaurant dat attracted me. Somewhere a clock struck one, an' a chill November breeze from de river