"Once upon a time, there was a little boy, And, if you please, he went to school; That little boy, he always would annoy, And found at school a very nasty rule."
Without undue flattery to Master Trafford, we may conclusively state that we deem his poem a great deal better than most of the vers libre effusions which so many of his elders are perpetrating nowadays!
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The Scot for July is devoted completely to the work of the feminine amateurs of the United States, and is announced by its editor as an "American 'Petticoat' Number"; a title which might possibly bear replacement by something rather less colloquial. "Over the Edge of the World," a poem by Olive G. Owen, is correct in construction and appropriate in sentiment, deriving much force from the continued repetition of the first line. "In Morven's Mead," by Winifred V. Jordan, is one of a series of fanciful poems all bearing the same title. The present verses show all the charm and delicacy which characterise the whole. "Patience—A Woman's Virtue," is one of Mrs. Eloise N. Griffith's thoughtful moral essays, and is as commendable for its precepts as for its pure style. "His Flapper," by Edna von der Heide, is a clever piece of trochaic verse in Cockney dialect, which seems, so far as an American critic can judge, to possess a very vivid touch of local colour. "An Eye for an Eye," by the same authoress, seems vaguely familiar, having possibly been published in the amateur press before. If so, it is well worthy of republication. "Women and Snakes," a sketch by Eleanor J. Barnhart, is not a misogynistical attempt at comparison, but a theory regarding the particular fear with which the former are popularly supposed to regard the latter. Whilst Miss Barnhart writes with the bravery of the true scientist, we are constrained to remark that a certain dislike of snakes, mice, and insects is a very real thing; not only amongst the fair, but equally amongst those sterner masculine souls who would stoutly deny it if questioned. It is an atavistical fear, surviving from primitive ages when the venomous qualities of reptiles, insects, and the like, made their quick avoidance necessary to uninstructed man. "Be Tolerant," by Winifred V. Jordan, is a didactic poem of the sort formerly published in The Symphony. While it does not possess in fullest measure the grace and facility observed in Mrs. Jordan's more characteristic work; it is nevertheless correct and melodious, easily equalling most poetry of its kind. Mr. McColl's editorial column, the only masculine feature of the issue, contains a very noble tribute to the two soldier cousins of Miss von der Heide, who have laid down their lives for the cause of England and the right. From such men springs the glory of Britannia.
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The Scot for August opens with Winifred V. Jordan's tuneful lines, "If You but Smile," whose inspiration and construction are alike of no mean order. "Hoary Kent," by Benjamin Winskill, is an exquisite sketch of a region where the past still lives. In an age of turmoil and unrest, it is a comfort to think that in one spot, at least, the destroying claws of Time have left no scars. There lie the scenes dear to every son and grandson of Britain; there are bodied forth the eternal and unchanging traditions that place above the rest of the world
"This precious stone set in the silver sea— This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England."
"Meditation of a Scottish Queen on Imprisonment," a poem by Margaret Trafford, contains noble passages, but is marred by defective technique. Passing over the use of the expletives do and doth as legitimate archaisms in this case, we must call attention to some awkward phraseology, and to the roughness of certain lines, which have either too few or too many syllables. The very first line of the poem requires contraction, which might be accomplished by substituting hapless for unhappy. Line 8 would read better if thus amended:
"I would that death might come and me release."
The final line of the first stanza lacks a syllable, which might be supplied by replacing vile with hateful. The second stanza will pass as it is, but the entire remainder of the poem requires alteration, since but two of the lines are of normal decasyllabic length. The following is rough revision, though we have not attempted to build the poetry anew:
Oh! could I breathe again dear Scotland's air; Behold once more her stately mountains high, Thence view the wide expanse of azure sky, Instead of these perpetual walls so bare!
Could I but see the grouse upon the moor, Or pluck again the beauteous heather bell! Freedom I know not in this dismal cell, As I my anguish from my heart outpour.
My Scotland! know'st thou thy poor Queen's distress, And canst thou hear my wailing and my woe? May the soft wind that o'er thy hills doth blow Waft thee these thoughts, that I cannot suppress!
"Six Cylinder Happiness," a brief essay by William J. Dowdell, presents in ingeniously pleasing style a precept not entirely new amongst philosophers. Mr. Dowdell's skill with the pen is very considerable, particularly when he ventures outside the domain of slang. We should like to suggest a slightly less colloquial title for this piece, such as "Real Happiness." "For Right and Liberty," a poem by Matthew Hilson, is commendable in sentiment and clever in construction, but lacks perfection in several details of phraseology. In the third line of the third stanza the word ruinous must be replaced by a true dissyllable, preferably ruin'd. "For Their Country," a short story by Margaret Trafford, is vivid in plot and truly heroic in moral, but somewhat deficient in technique, particularly at the beginning. Miss Trafford should use care in moulding long sentences, and should avoid the employment of abbreviations like etc. in the midst of narrative text. "That Sunny Smile," by John Russell, is a cleverly optimistic bit of verse whose rhythm is very facile, but which would be improved by the addition of two syllables to the third and sixth lines of each stanza. The rhyme of round you and found true is incorrect, since the second syllables of double rhymes must be identical. "The Evil One," by Narcissus Blanchfield, is announced as "A Prose-poem, after Oscar Wilde—a long way after." As an allegory it is true to the facts of the case; though one cannot but feel that there is room for a freer play of the poetic imagination in so great a subject.
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Toledo Amateur for October is a literary publication which reflects much credit upon its young editor, Mr. Wesley Hilon Porter, and upon the several contributors. "Twilight," a correct and graceful poem by Miss von der Heide opens the issue. "A Sabbath," by Mary Margaret Sisson, is a sketch of great merit, though not wholly novel in subject. The hypocrisy of many self-satisfied "pillars of the church" is only too well known both in life and in literature. At the very close of the piece, the word epithet is used in a slightly incorrect sense, meaning "motto." Epithet, as its Greek derivation shows, signifies an adjective or descriptive expression. "The Workers of the World," by Dora M. Hepner, is another sociological sketch of no small merit, pleasantly distinguished by the absence of slang. "Not All," by Olive G. Owen, is a poem of much fervour, albeit having a somewhat too free use of italics. The words and rhythm of a poet should be able to convey his images without the more artificial devices of typographical variation. Another questionable point is the manner of using archaic pronouns and verb forms. Miss Owen seems to use both ancient and modern conjugations of the verb indifferently with such subjects as thou. "A Day at Our Summer Home," by Emma Marie Voigt, is a descriptive sketch of considerable promise, and "My First Amateur Convention," by Mrs. Addie L. Porter, is a well written chronicle of events. "The Wild Rose," by Marguerite Allen, is a poem of no little grace, though beset with many of the usual crudities of youthful work. In the first place, the quatrains should have their rhymes regularly recurring; either in both first and third, and second and fourth lines; or only in second and fourth. A rhyme occurring only in first and third lines gives an unmusical cast, since it causes the stanza to end unrhymed. Secondly, the words fence and scent do not form a legitimate rhyme. The easy correctness of the metre is an encouraging sign, and indicates a poetic talent which Miss Allen would do well to cultivate. Mr. Porter's article on amateur journalism is interesting and quite just, though we hope that the United has not quite so "little to offer" the devotee of "so-called high-class literature" as the author believes. If we are to retain our cultivated members, or our younger members after they acquire cultivation, we must necessarily cater to the better grade of taste; though of course without neglecting the succeeding generation of novices. The editorial column of this issue is bright and fluent, concluding one of the best amateur journals of the season.
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THE UNITED AMATEUR for September contains something only too seldom found in the amateur press; a really meritorious short story. "The Shadow on the Trail," by Eleanor J. Barnhart, possesses every element of good fiction; a substantial and really interesting plot, a logical development from beginning to conclusion, an adequate amount of suspense, a climax which does not disappoint, and a praiseworthy degree of local colour. Besides all of which it is fluent in language and correct in syntax. The rest of the literary department in this issue is devoted to verse. "To a Friend," by Alice M. Hamlet, is particularly pleasing through the hint of old-school technique which its well ordered phrases convey. The one weak point is the employment of thy, a singular expression, in connexion with several objects; namely, "paper, pen, and ready hand." Your should have been used. The metre is excellent throughout, and the whole piece displays a gratifying skill on its author's part. "The Path Along the Sea," by Rev. Eugene B. Kuntz, is a flawless and beautiful bit of sentimental poetry, cast in fluent and felicitous heptameter. "Dad," by Horace Fowler Goodwin, is decidedly the best of this writer's pieces yet to appear in the amateur press. The defects are mostly technical, including the bad rhyme of engaged and dismayed, and the overweighted seventh line of the final stanza. The latter might be rectified by substituting blest, or some other monosyllable, for lucky. "Li'l Baby Mine," by W. Frank Booker, is a quaint and captivating darky lullaby, whose accuracy of dialect and atmosphere comes from that first-hand knowledge of the negroes which only a Southern writer can possess. Mr. Booker is one of our most promising bards, and will be doubly notable when his style shall have received its final polish. "When I Gaze on Thee," by Kathleen Foster Smith, is an amatory poem of much grace and fluency.
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THE UNITED AMATEUR for October furnishes us with a species of composition not frequently encountered in amateurdom; an official report which is also a literary classic. Pres. Campbell's message is really an essay on contemporary amateur journalism, and contains a multitude of well stated truths which every member of the fraternity would do well to peruse. "The Wanderer's Return," by Andrew Francis Lockhart, is a beautiful piece of anapaestic verse whose flow is as pleasing as its sentiment.
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The Woodbee for October is edited by Mrs. Ida C. Haughton, and though not of large size, does credit both to her and to the Columbus Club. "To the Woodbees," a witty parody of Poe's "Annabel Lee," exhibits Miss Irene Metzger as the possessor of no little skill in numbers; and incidentally suggests that other young bards might well improve their styles by judicious exercises of this sort. Much of the spirit of metre may be absorbed through copying the works of the standard poets. "Louise's Letter," a short story by Norma Sanger, contains some of the defects of early composition, notably an undue hastening of the action immediately after the letter quoted in the text. The plot involves a rather unusual coincidence, yet is probably no more overstrained than that of the average piece of light fiction. "The Ruling Passion," by Edna M. Haughton, is a story of phenomenal power and interest, forming a psychological study worthy of more than one perusal. All the requirements of good fiction, both inspirational and technical, are complied with to the satisfaction of even the most exacting critic. Miss Haughton's work is of a very high grade, and would be welcomed in larger quantities by the amateur world. Miss Harwood's interesting News Notes and Mrs. Haughton's thoughtful editorial conclude an issue whose every feature deserves commendation.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, Chairman.
THE UNITED AMATEUR MAY 1917
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC CRITICISM
The Conservative for January deserved distinction for its opening poem, "The Vagrant," which proceeds from the thrice-gifted pen of Mrs. W. V. Jordan. The piece is one well worthy of close attention, since it contains to a marked degree those elements of charm which render its author so prominent among amateur bards. Bold and discriminating choice of words and phrases, apt and unique images and personifications, and a carefully sustained atmosphere of delicate unreality, all unite to impart a characteristic beauty to the lines. This beauty, searchingly analysed, reveals itself as something more sylvan and spontaneous than studied and bookish; indeed, all of Mrs. Jordan's verse is born rather than built.
"The Unbreakable Link," a prose sketch by Arthur W. Ashby, is smooth and graphic in its delineation of a dream or vision of the past. The ancient heritage of Old England and its hoary edifices is here vividly set forth. Mr. Ashby's work, always notable for its command and intelligent interpretation of detail, is welcome wherever encountered.
"When New-Year Comes," a poem by Rev. Eugene B. Kuntz, exhibits its brilliant author in a most felicitous though decidedly novel vein. Turning from his usual Alexandrines and heptameters, and laying aside his characteristically stately and sonorous vocabulary, Dr. Kuntz has produced a gem of brevity and simplicity in octosyllabic couplets. The ease and naturalness of the language are so great that the reader feels no other words or constructions could have been used with equal effect. The remainder of The Conservative, being the work of the present critic, deserves no particular mention.
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The Coyote for January bears an attractive cover design illustrating the gentle beast after which the publication is named. The opening piece, an alleged poem by the present critic, contains an humiliating error for which none but the author is responsible. The impossible word supremest in line 16, should read sublimest. The author is likewise responsible for the omission of the following couplet after line 26:
"Around his greatness pour disheart'ning woes, But still he tow'rs above his conquering foes."
The rest of the magazine is devoted to prose of practical nature, containing suggestions by Editor Harrington and Rev. Graeme Davis for the resuscitation of one of the dormant press associations.
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The Coyote for April, home-printed and reduced to the conventional 5x7 page, opens with Mrs. Jordan's pleasant lines on "The Duty." While the general sentiment of this piece is by no means novel, the powerful and distinctive touch of the authoress is revealed by such highly original passages as the following:
"And black-wing'd, clucking shadows Brought out their broods of fears."
A poet of rather different type is displayed in "The Five-Minute School," by Lovell Leland Massie. Mr. Massie is said to have "an unlimited supply of poems on hand which he desires to publish," but it is evident that some preliminary alterations would not be undesirable. In the first place, the metre requires correction; though it is remarkably good for beginner's work. Particularly weak lines are the second in stanza four, and the second in stanza six. The phraseology is stiff but by no means hopeless, and proclaims nothing more serious than the need of greater poetic familiarity on the author's part. The rhymes are good with two exceptions; past and class, and jewel and school. Mr. Massie, however, is not the first bard to reduce jew-el to "jool!" "The Coyote," by Obert O. Bakken, is a worthy and interesting composition upon a well known animal. "A Soul," by Olive G. Owen, is reprinted from the professional press, and amply merits the honour. The poem is of unexceptionable technique and adequate sentiment. Miss Owen's brilliant, fruitful, and long-continued poetical career has few parallels in the amateur world. "The Amateur Christian," a brief prose essay by Benjamin Winskill, presents more than one valuable truth; though we wish the word "par," near the close, might be expanded to proper fulness. We presume that it is intended to stand for paragraph.
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The Crazyquilt for December is a highly entertaining illustrated publication whose exact classification is a matter of some difficulty. We might perhaps best describe it as a bubbling over of youthful spirits, with here and there a touch of unobtrusive seriousness. The editor, Mr. Melvin Ryder, is to be commended upon his enterprise; which consists in approximately equal parts of prose, verse, and whimsical vers libre. It is the last named product which most absorbs our attention, since the given specimens afford a very brilliant satire on the absurd medium in which they are set. The choicest selections are due to the fertile pen of Mr. William S. Wabnitz, assisted by that not unknown classic called "Mother Goose," whose ideas accord well with the thought of the new "poetry." "A Futuresk Romance," by Mr. Wabnitz alone, is of exceeding cleverness. Among the genuine poems, we may give particular commendation to "Bluebirds are Flying Over," by Mrs. Dora Hepner Moitoret; "Longin' and Yearnin'," "Spring," "Verses," and "Dreaming," by J. H. Gavin; and "Stars After Rain," by William S. Wabnitz. Mr. Gavin's "Dreaming" is a hauntingly pretty piece, though marred by an imperfect line (the twelfth) and by an incorrect accentuation of the word romance. This word should be accented on the final syllable.
"Odd Patches and Even" is the title of the editorial column, which contains many words of wisdom (though not too grave) by Mr. Ryder. We hope to behold future issues of The Crazyquilt.
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Dowdell's Bearcat for October, partly compiled and financed by the United's official board in lieu of the missing Official Quarterly, comes to us unbound and without a cover; yet contains, aside from the inexcusable editorials, a rich array of meritorious material. Mr. Dowdell's comment on radical eccentrics and malcontents is apt and clever, showing how bright this young writer can be when he avoids bad taste and personalities.
"A Little Lovely Lyric," by Mrs. Dora H. Moitoret, is one of the choicest of this author's poems, having a spirit and cadence of rare quality. In "The Real Amateur Spirit," Pres. Campbell presents in vigorous prose many important truths and principles of amateur journalism. The concluding sentence forms a definition of our animating impulse which deserves repeated publication as a motto and inspiration. "An American To Mother England," by the present critic, is an expression of cultural and ancestral ties which have now, through the fortunes of war, grown doubly strong. The word Saxon, in the last line, should begin with a capital. "Dream Life" is a vivid piece of prose mysticism by our versatile and gifted Vice-President, Mr. Ira A. Cole. Defying precise grouping either as a sketch or a story, this enigmatical bit of fancy deserves highest praise for its fluent diction, rich imagination, potent atmosphere, and graphic colouring. Mr. Cole has a bright future in prose as well as in verse for in both of these media he is a genuine and spontaneous poet. "United Impressions," by Mrs. E. L. Whitehead, is clear, interesting, and well-written, as is also the sketch by Mary M. Sisson entitled "Passion versus Calm." "The Elm Tree," by James Tobey Pyke, is a poem of remarkable sweetness and nobility, through whose lofty sentiment shines the true splendour of the inspired bard. There is a master touch in the passage referring to
"——a sweet heaven Of singing birds and whispering leaves."
Mrs. Winifred Virginia Jordan, without one of whose delightful verses no amateur publication can really compete, contributes a sparkling succession of amatory anapaests entitled "Dear." The middle stanza rises to great lyric heights, and should prove especially captivating to such discriminating critics of lyricism as our colleague Mr. Kleiner.
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The Enthusiast for February is a hectographed publication issued by our latest young recruit, Mr. James Mather Mosely of Westfield, Mass. Mr. Mosely is a youth of sterling ability and great promise, whose work is already worthy of notice and encouragement. The editor's leading article, "The Secret Inspiration of a Man Who Made Good," shows unusual fluency and literary assurance, though we might wish for a more dignified title. The expression to make good is pure slang, and should be supplanted by one of the many legitimate English words and phrases which convey the same meaning. Mr. Mosely's editorials are likewise open to criticism on the ground of colloquialism, though the natural exuberance of youth excuses much. "The Birds," by Harold Gordon Hawkins, is a truly excellent specimen of juvenile verse, which contains much promise for the author's efforts. Increased familiarity with standard literary models will remove all evidences of stiffness now perceptible. "How Men Go Wrong," a conventional moral homily by Edgar Holmes Plummer, shows a slight want of original ideas and a tendency to commonplaces; though having much merit in construction. Another subject might display Mr. Plummer's talent to better advantage. The use of the word habitat for inhabitant or denizen is incorrect, for its true meaning is a natural locality or place of habitation. "Blueberry Time," by Ruth Foster, is obviously a schoolgirl composition, albeit a pleasing one.
F. R. Starr's cartoon scarcely comes within the province of a literary critic, but is doubtless an excellent example of elementary art. We question, however, the place of popular cartoons in serious papers; the "funny picture" habit is essentially a plebeian one, and alien to journalism of the highest grade. All things considered, The Enthusiast is a creditable exponent of junior letters, which deserves the encouragement and support of the United.
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Excelsior for March is in many respects the most notable of the season's amateur magazines edited by our brilliant Laureate Recorder, Miss Verna McGeoch, it contains a surprisingly ample and impressive collection of prose and verse by our best writers; including the delectable lyricist Perrin Holmes Lowrey, whose work has hitherto been unrepresented in the press of the United. The issue opens with Mr. Jonathan E. Hoag's stately "Ode to Old Ocean," whose appropriate imagery and smooth couplets are exceedingly pleasant to the mind and ear alike. Mr. Hoag's unique charm is no less apparent in the longer reminiscent piece entitled "The Old Farm Home," which describes the author's boyhood scenes at Valley Falls, New York, where he was born more than eighty-six years ago. This piece has attracted much favorable notice in the professional world, having been reprinted in The Troy Times. Perrin Holmes Lowrey contributes a cycle of three poems touching on the beauties of the month of April; one of which, "April in Killarney," will this summer be set to music by Leopold Godowsky. The style of Mr. Lowrey possesses an attractive individuality and delicacy which is already bringing him celebrity in the larger literary sphere. What could be more thoroughly enchanting than such a stanza as the following?
"Oh, it's April in Killarney, Early April in Killarney, Where the Irish lanes are merry And the lyric breezes blow; And the scented snows of cherry Drift across the fields of Kerry— Oh, it's April in Killarney And she loves the April so."
"Treasure Trove," by Henry Cleveland Wood, is a pleasant and urbane bit of light verse; while "Percival Lowell," by Howard Phillips Lovecraft, is an abominably dull elegiac piece of heavy verse. Edwin Gibson's "Sonnet to Acyion" deserves keen attention as the work of a capable and rapidly developing young bard. "Real versus Ideal" is a bright metrical divertissement by John Russell, which suffers through the omission of the opening line by the printer. This line is:
"For sale—a cottage by the sea."
We recommend the final line to the attention of those careless bards who pronounce real as reel, and ideal as ideel. The correct quantities, as there given, will serve as examples. Verse of deeper quality is furnished by amateurdom's foremost expressionist, Anne Tillery Renshaw, two of whose poems appear. "The Singing Sea" contains an error of technique, hope and note being placed in attempted rhyme; but the structure is in general very regular, considering the author's radical theories. Of the merit of the sentiment it is unnecessary to speak. "A Wish" is cast in less fluent metre, but is so replete with aptness, grandeur and refinement of ideas, that the sternest critic must needs view its form with lenient glance. The prose contents of Excelsior are worthy company for the verse. Paul J. Campbell is represented by a very brief though characteristic essay entitled "The Price of Freedom," wherein appears the sound reasoning and courageous philosophy for which Mr. Campbell has always been distinguished. Another notable essay or review is "English History," by Henry Clapham McGavack. Mr. McGavack here ably employs his keen analysis and lucid style in dissecting Prof. Meyer's absurdly biased but diabolically clever pro-German History of England.
"The Association," by David H. Whittier, teems with good advice concerning the proper management of the United. Mr. Whittier's style is smooth and dignified, exhibiting a sober maturity unusual for a young author. "Tonio's Salvation," a short story by Edna von der Heide, is the only bit of fiction in the magazine. This brief glimpse of the cosmopolitan child life of a modern city is marked equally by naturalness of plot and facility of technic, forming a piece quite professional in quality and atmosphere. Excelsior has done much to sustain the best traditions of the United, and we hope its future appearance will be frequent and regular. The editorial column reveals the genius and exquisite taste of its gifted publisher.
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Merry Minutes for December-January is an interesting number of an interesting publication, opening with some extremely clever cartoons by the United's soldier-member, George William Stokes. "Merry Minutes," a poem in trochaic measure by Olive G. Owen, is distinguished by the touch of beauty characteristic of all its author's work; but has a singular sort of rhyming in the first and third lines of the stanzas. The cadence seems to call for double rhymes, yet only the final syllables agree. The last word of the first stanza is unfortunately shorn by the printer of its final s. "The Dancing Tiger" is an excellent short story by Raymond Blathwayt, which might, however, be improved in style by a slightly closer attention to punctuation and structure of sentences. "Home," by Margaret Mahon, is a poem in that rather popular modern measure which seems to waver betwixt the iambus and anapaest. The imagery is pleasing, and the sentiment, though not novel, is acceptable. "The Choice," a serial story by Beryl Mappin, exhibits the same immaturities of style which mark the didactic articles of this author; yet so active is the imagination shown in some of the passages, that we believe Miss Mappin requires only time and harder study in order to become a very meritorious writer. The syntactical structure of this story is, on the average, smoother than that of Miss Mappin's essays; indeed, there is reason to believe that fiction is the better suited to her pen. "Absence," by Winifred Virginia Jordan, is a brief poem of faultless harmony whose quaintly sparkling imagery gives to an old theme a new lustre. "Education in Trinidad" is another of F. E. Hercules' terse and informing descriptive sketches. "Alley," by Mrs. Jordan, is a light pulsing lyric of almost Elizabethan quality, one of whose rhymes is of a type which has caused much discussion in the United's critical circles. The native pronunciation of New England makes of scarf and laugh an absolutely perfect rhyme; this perfection depending upon the curtailed phonetic value of the letter r; which in a place such as this is silent, save as it modifies the quality of the preceding vowel. In the London of Walker's day the same condition existed. But the tongue and ear of the American West have become accustomed to a certain roll which causes scarf to be enunciated as scarrf, thus throwing it out of rhyme with words of similar sound which lack the r. The Westerner would have to write scahf, in order to express to his own mind the New-England sound of scarf. Hitherto, the present critic has called no notice to rhymes of this type; and has, indeed, frequently employed them himself; but recognition of etymological principles involved will hereafter impel him to abandon and discourage the practice, which was not followed by the older classicists. To the New-England author this renunciation means relinquishment of many rhymes which are to his ear perfect, yet in the interests of tradition and universality it seems desirable that the sacrifice be made. "Why Mourn Thy Soldier Dead," is a poem of brave sorrow by Olive G. Owen. The fervour of the lines is deep, and the sentiments are of great nobility. Structurally the piece is flawless. "Chaucer, the Father of English Poetry," is the third of Miss Mappin's series of articles on literary history. An unfortunate misprint relegates to the bottom of the footnote a line which should immediately follow the specimen verse. The style is decidedly clearer and better than that of the preceding instalment of the series. "When You Went," by Mrs. Jordan, is an engagingly pathetic poem; with just that touch of the unseen which lends so particular a charm to Jordanian verse. Miss Trafford's appealing lines on "A Girl to Her Dead Lover" form a vividly pathetic glimpse into low life. The poetic form is quite satisfactory. As a whole, Merry Minutes constitutes a rather remarkable enterprise, sustaining through troubled times the spark of activity which will kindle anew the fires of British amateur journalism after the victorious close of the war. May America, in her new crisis, do as well!
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Merry Minutes for February opens with Margaret Mahon's poem "God's Solace," a smooth and restful bit of versification. "Spencer and the Beginning of the Elizabethan Era" is the current article of Beryl Mappin's series on English Literature, and contains some very promising passages, especially the almost poetic introduction. Miss Mappin has an unusual fund of knowledge, and a pleasing gift of expression; but these advantages are as yet not fully systematised or marshalled to best effect. Miss Trafford's serial, "The Pursuit of the Innocent," concludes in this number. This story bears many of the signs of juvenile workmanship, the present instalment being so hurried in action that it almost attains the brevity of a synopsis. Careful and analytical perusal of standard fiction would assist greatly in maturing and perfecting the author's style. "Religion and Superstition" is the current article in F. E. M. Hercules' interesting series on Trinidad; and exhibits all the polish, lucidity and conciseness of its predecessors. "His Photo," by Master Randolph Trafford, is a very promising poem by a youthful bard. Every rhyme is correct, which is more than can be claimed for a great deal of the poesy perpetrated by older and more pretentious versifiers on this side of the Atlantic. The present instalment of "The Choice," by Beryl Mappin, is marked by considerable fluency and animation, though possessed of certain limitations previously mentioned.
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Merry Minutes for March commences with the present critic's dull lines "On Receiving a Picture of the Marshes at Ipswich." Passing to more meritorious matter, we encounter Miss Mappin's latest literary article, "Shakespeare," which interests even whilst it reveals deficiencies of prose technique. "Jimmy's Little Girl," by Joseph Parks, is a vivid transcript of military life by a military author. While the tale is not one of vast originality, it nevertheless recommends itself through simplicity and verisimilitude. Miss Mappin's serial "The Choice," concludes in this issue. It is very praiseworthy for its many colourful passages, but mildly censurable for its melodramatic atmosphere and rhetorical lapses. The opening sentence of this instalment contains instances of both of these faults: "A terrible foreboding gripped Christabel's heart in bands of steel, as if for a moment to cleave her tongue to the roof of her mouth." This is the last number of the publication to appear under the present name. Beginning with the April issue it will be known as The Little Budget; and will contain, on the average, a rather higher grade of reading matter than heretofore. But in forming a judgment of any kind, it is well to recognize that the magazine's appeal is frankly popular.
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Pep for February is the first number of a somewhat extraordinary enterprise conducted by George W. Macauley with the laudable object of waking up a sleeping amateurdom. The editor very justly takes the press associations to task for their manifold sins, particularly the dubious circumstances surrounding a recent convention, in which it is needless to say the United had no part. Mr. Macauley's literary attainments are very considerable, but as yet unperfected. Possessed of rare charm in descriptive prose, he needs to exercise a greater nicety of construction in order to develop fully the riches which are his. Gifted with a large, facile, and ingenious vocabulary, he is not sufficiently precise and discriminating in his employment of words according to their finer shades of meaning. This carelessness makes faults of his very virtues; for his vigour of expression tends to take the form of outre and inadmissible rhetoric, whilst his talent for word-painting tends to degenerate into word-coining. It would be quite possible for an acute critic to compile a dictionary of peculiarly Macaulian words and phrases, to which the current Pep might contribute such terms as probverb (proverb?). Spelling and punctuation also should claim more of Mr. Macauley's time and attention; for he might easily avoid such slips as believeing, it's (for its), thots, and the like. In short, Mr. Macauley is at present a gifted writer and brilliant editor labouring under the disadvantages of haste, carelessness, and perhaps a dash of radicalism.
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The Phoenician for Spring is the first number of an enthusiastically conducted semi-professional venture of juvenile nature, whose connexion with the United hinges on the associate editorship of our clever recruit, Mr. James Mather Mosely. Like Merry Minutes, this publication is of the popular rather than conservative sort; being obviously designed primarily to please, secondarily to instruct. We deplore the use of commonplace and sensational topics, colloquial expressions, and malformed spelling; but make due concessions to the youth of the editorial staff and the nascent state of the periodical. So promising are the young publishers that time cannot fail to refine and mature their efforts. "An Hour with a Lunatic," by Harry B. Sadik, is a very short and very thrilling tale of the "dime novel" variety. Mr. Sadik has a commendable sense of the dramatic, which would serve him well should he choose a less sensational field of endeavour. "Our Soldiers," a Canadian mother's war song by Mrs. Minnie E. Taylor, exhibits merit, though having many signs of imperfect technic. In line 2 of the first stanza bid should be replaced by bade. The final rhyme of the poem, that of gain and name, is false and inadmissible. Metrically there is much roughness, which careful study and diligent reading of good verse can in time correct. "Candy and Health," and "If You Were Down and Out," by James Mather Mosely, are two typical newspaper interviews with representative men. Mr. Mosely shows much aptitude as a reporter, having an almost professional ease and fluency. This is not literature, but it is good journalism. "The Dinner Never Paid For," by Viola Jameson, is a piece of characteristic light fiction; commendably innocuous, and not at all overburdened with philosophical complexity. "The Secret of Success," by Edith L. Clark, is a promising bit of didactic prose. "The End of the Road," by Pearl K. Merritt, is a brief essay of substantial worth. "The Toll of the Sea," a poem by Harold Gordon Hawkins, shows considerable merit despite irregularities. "Memories," by Arthur Goodenough, well sustains the high poetical reputation of its author, though it is cruelly marred by the illogical and censurable "simplified" spelling which the young editors see fit to employ. One line affords a silent but striking instance of the utter senselessness and confusion of the new orthographical fad. This line reads:
"Of human thot might well be wrought."
Now in the first place, thot does not express the true pronunciation of thought. The word, thus written, tends to acquire the vocal quality of shot or blot, as distinguished from taught or brought. Secondly, in this place it is out of accord with wrought, which is correctly spelled. If Messrs. Plummer and Mosely would be logical, let them write wrought as wrot—or perhaps plain rot would be still more correct and phonetic, besides furnishing a laconic punning commentary on simple spelling in general. The Phoenician's editorial column is conducted with laudable seriousness, the item of "The Power of Books" being well worthy of perusal. What could best be spared from the magazine are the vague jokes and cartoons, purposeless "fillers" of miscellaneous nature, and columns of idle gossip about things in general. Some of the moving picture items are greatly suggestive of what a newspaper man would dub "press agent stuff." The magazine represents a degree of purpose and energy quite rare amongst the anaemic youth of today, and should receive corresponding encouragement from the members of the United. Those who are inclined to censure its professional aspect would do well to remember the much-vaunted beginnings of amateur journalism, when the most highly respected sheets were of this selfsame variety.
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THE UNITED AMATEUR for November is heavily burdened with a sombre and sinister short story from our own pen, entitled "The Alchemist." This is our long unpublished credential to the United, and constitutes the first and only piece of fiction we have ever laid before a critical and discerning public wherefore we must needs beg all the charitable indulgence the Association can extend to an humble though ambitious tyro. A more interesting feature of the magazine is the biography of Mr. Fritter, written by our brilliant Official Editor, Andrew Francis Lockhart. Mr. Lockhart's quaint and friendly prose style is here displayed at its best, giving a vivid and sympathetic portrayal of his prominent subject. "Beyond the Law," by Mary Faye Durr, is a light short story of excellent idea and construction, whose only censurable point is the use of "simplified" spelling. We believe that some procedure of quite drastic nature should be taken against the spread of this empty innovation before our settled orthography shall have become completely disorganized. Even in the United we can "do our bit." Our editors should band together in an effort to exclude the new forms from their publications, and our manuscript managers should see that every piece passing through their hands is duly purged of these radical distortions. At the same time, a series of articles explaining and analysing the spelling problem should be given wide publicity. The poetry in this issue is of encouraging quality. George M. Whiteside, in "Dream of the Ideal," gives indications of real genius; at the same time displaying a little of the technical infelicity which has marked his earlier verse. Mr. Whiteside's greatest weakness is in the domain of rhyme, a noticeable error in the present poem being the attempted rhyming of hours with bars and stars. "I Know a Garden," by Agnes Richmond Arnold, is a tuneful and beautiful lyric of a somewhat Elizabethan type. The metre, as the lines are rendered, appears to be quite unusual; but scansion reveals the fact that it is none other than the octosyllabic couplet, disguised by the printer's art.
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THE UNITED AMATEUR for December begins with "A Girl's Ambition," a poem by Margaret Trafford. The general idea of the piece is both ingenious and appropriate, but the language and technical development leave considerable to be desired. In the first place, the rhyming plan is unfortunate; the opening and concluding couplets of each stanza being unrhymed. In the second place, the metre is irregular; departing very widely in places from the iambic heptameter which appears to be the dominant measure. Miss Trafford should cultivate an ear for rhythm, at the same time counting very carefully the syllables in each line she composes. A third point requiring mention is the occasional awkwardness of expression, a juvenile fault which will doubtless amend itself in time. Just now we will call attention to only one defect—the exceedingly forced abbreviation "dresses'd" for dresses would. "To My Physician," by M. Estella Shufelt, is a smooth, graceful, and serious poem whose only possible fault is the infrequency of rhyme. This is not a technical defect, since the plan of construction is well maintained throughout; but we believe a poem of this type requires more than one rhyme to each stanza of eight lines. "The Old Inn," a stirring short story by Gertrude L. Merkle, is a very promising piece of work, albeit somewhat conventional and melodramatic. The alliterative romance of Harry Henders and Hazel Hansen has a genuinely mid-Victorian flavour. "Dead Men Tell No Tales," a short story by Ida Cochran Haughton, is a ghastly and gruesome anecdote of the untenanted clay; related by a village dressmaker. The author reveals much comprehension of rural psychology in her handling of the theme; an incident which might easily shake the reason of a sensitive and imaginative person, merely "unnerves" the two quaint and prim maiden ladies. Poe would have made of this tale a thing to gasp and tremble at; Mrs. Haughton, with the same material, constructs genuine though grim comedy!
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THE UNITED AMATEUR for January contains Editor Lockhart's captivatingly graceful retrospect of the older amateur journalism, concluding with a just and eloquent appeal for the revival of our ancient enthusiasm. "Who Pays," by Helene H. Cole, is a brief and tragic story of considerable sociological significance. We deplore the use of the false verbal form alright; for while the expression all right may well occur in conversation of the character uttering it, the two words should be written out in full. "To a Babe," by Olive G. Owen, embodies in impeccable verse a highly clever and pleasing array of poetical conceits; and deserves to be ranked amongst the choicest of recent amateur offerings. "Girls are Like Gold," by Paul J. Campbell, is a striking and witty adaptation of Thomas Hood's celebrated lines on
"Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold! Bright and yellow, hard and cold."
Mr. Campbell exhibits both ingenuity and metrical ability in this facile jeu d'esprit.
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THE UNITED AMATEUR for March contains "Love's Scarlet Roses," an exquisite piece of lyric verse by Mary Henrietta Lehr of California. Miss Lehr, a scholar and poetic genius of high order, is a prominent amateur of a few years ago, lately returned to activity after a period of endeavour in other fields. Her verse is uniformly distinguished by depth of inspiration, delicacy of sentiment, and grace of structure; occupying a place amongst the rarest products of amateurdom. Another poem of remarkable merit in this issue is "The Gods' Return," by Olive G. Owen. Inspired by a recent article from the pen of Richard Le Gallienne, these well-wrought lines interpret one of the subtlest yet most potent of the varied moods created in the human breast by the momentous occurrences of the age. Looking over the file of THE UNITED AMATEUR for the present administrative year, one may discover a diverse and meritorious array of poetry and prose, which amply proves the contention of Pres. Campbell that a literary official organ is not only feasible but eminently desirable.
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The Woodbee for January introduces to amateurdom a new bard, Mr. J. Morris Widdows, Hoosier exponent of rural simplicity. Mr. Widdows has enjoyed considerable success in the professional world as a poet, song-writer, and musical composer; hence it is no untried or faltering quill which he brings within our midst. "Stringtown on the Pike," which adorns the first page of the magazine, is a very pleasing bit of dialect verse whose accent and cadences suggest the work of the late James Whitcomb Riley. The metre is gratifyingly correct, and the rusticisms exceedingly colourful; though the average reader might find it somewhat difficult to associate the name Miko with Yankee countryside. Such a praenomen carries with it suggestions of a rich brogue rather than a nasal drawl. "Personal Liberty," a brilliant short essay by Leo Fritter, ably and sensibly explodes one of the characteristically specious arguments of the liquor advocates. Mr. Fritter's legal training aids him in presenting a clear, polished, and logical arraignment of anti-prohibition hypocrisy. "Just a Little Love Tale," by Elizabeth M. Ballou, is a smoothly constructed bit of very light fiction. Mrs. Haughton's editorial, "A Review of Reviews," is concise and sensible; giving a merited rebuke to those who seek to create unrest and dissatisfaction in amateur journalism.
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The Woodbee for April is an ample and attractive number, opening with Dora H. Moitoret's excellent poem in the heroic couplet, "The April Maiden." The metre of this piece follows the fashion of the nineteenth rather than of the eighteenth century, having very few "end-stopt" lines or sense-limiting couplets. The final rhyme of caprice and these is somewhat imperfect, the effect being that of an attempted rhyme of s and z. "Her Fateful Day," a short story by Maude Dolby, is pleasing and ingenious despite certain improbabilities. "Ashes of Roses," by Frieda M. Sanger, belongs to that abnormal and lamentable type of pseudo-literature known as vers libre, and is the first serious specimen of its kind ever inflicted upon the United. We are sincerely sorry that one so gifted as Miss Sanger should descend to this hybrid, makeshift medium, when she could so well express her thoughts either in legitimate prose or legitimate verse. "Free Verse" has neither the flow of real verse nor the dignity of real prose. It tends to develop obnoxious eccentricities of expression, and is closely associated with bizarre and radical vagaries of thought. It is in nine cases out of ten a mere refuge of the obtuse, hurried, indolent, ignorant, or negligent bard who cannot or will not take the time and pains to compose genuine poetry or even passable verse. It has absolutely no justification for existence, and should be shunned by every real aspirant to literary excellence, no matter how many glittering inducements it seems to hold out. True, a person of very little knowledge or ability can make himself appear extremely cultured, aesthetic, and aristocratic by juggling a few empty words in the current fashion; scribbling several lines of unequal length, each beginning with a capital letter. It is an admirably easy way to acquire a literary reputation without much effort. As the late W. S. Gilbert once wrote of a kindred fad:
"The meaning doesn't matter If it's only idle chatter Of a transcendental kind."
But we believe that the members of the United are more earnest and solid in their ambition, hence we advise Miss Sanger to turn her undoubted talent into more substantial channels. That she possesses genuine poetic genius is amply evident, even from the specimen of vers libre before us. The labour of real versification will be more arduous, but the fruits will prove richer in proportion. It is better to glean a little gold than much fools' gold. Miss Sanger's nephew, Mr. Norman Sanger, is more conservative in his tastes, and is creditably represented by his lines on "The Ol' Fishin' Hole." This piece contains many of the rhythmical defects common to juvenile composition, but is pervaded by a naturalness and pastoral simplicity which promise well for its young author. Wider reading and closer rhetorical study will supply all that Mr. Sanger now lacks. At present we should advise him to seek metrical regularity by taking some one well defined line as a model, and moulding all the others to it by counting the syllables and intoning the accents in each. In the case of the present poem, the very first line will serve as a perfect guide; its conformity to the iambic heptameter plan being absolute. The alternating stresses of the fourteen syllables should be noted and copied:
"The days are get-tin' balm-y now, and first-est thing you know."
Two defects of rhyme are to be noted. By and lullaby cannot properly be rhymed, since the rhyming syllables are identical, instead of merely similar. "Rapcher" and laughter do not rhyme at all. Miss Haughton's essay "Is a Lie Ever Justifiable?" forms a prominent feature of the magazine, and presents some very ingenious though dogmatic reasoning. Mrs. Haughton's editorial, "United We Stand," is an exceedingly timely appeal for genuine amateur activity, and should be of much value in stimulating a renaissance of the Association. The passage reading "Who has been the latest victim of Cupid? Whom of Hymen?" arouses a query as to the grammatical status of whom. We fear this is what Franklin P. Adams of the New York Tribune playfully calls a "Cyrilization." It is, as all readers of "The Conning Tower" can testify, a remarkably common error; and one into which many of the leading authors of the age frequently fall. The jingle "A Soldier's Delight," by George William Stokes, concludes the current issue in tuneful manner.
Amidst the present dearth of amateur magazines it is ever a delight to behold The Woodbee; meritorious in contents and regular in issuance. The debt of the United to the Columbus Club is indeed a heavy one.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, Chairman.
THE UNITED AMATEUR
OFFICIAL ORGAN OF THE UNITED AMATEUR PRESS ASSOCIATION
VOLUME XVI GEORGETOWN, ILL., JULY, 1917 NUMBER 9
ODE FOR JULY FOURTH, 1917
As Columbia's brave scions, in anger array'd, Once defy'd a proud monarch and built a new nation; 'Gainst their brothers of Britain unsheath'd the sharp blade That hath ne'er met defeat nor endur'd desecration; So must we in this hour Show our valour and pow'r, And dispel the black perils that over us low'r: Whilst the sons of Britannia, no longer our foes, Will rejoice in our triumphs and strengthen our blows!
See the banners of Liberty float in the breeze That plays light o'er the regions our fathers defended; Hear the voice of the million resound o'er the leas, As the deeds of the past are proclaim'd and commended; And in splendour on high Where our flags proudly fly, See the folds we tore down flung again to the sky: For the Emblem of England, in kinship unfurl'd, Shall divide with Old Glory the praise of the world!
Bury'd now are the hatreds of subject and King, And the strife that once sunder'd an Empire hath vanish'd. With the fame of the Saxon the heavens shall ring As the vultures of darkness are baffled and banish'd: And the broad British sea, Of her enemies free, Shall in tribute bow gladly, Columbia, to thee: For the friends of the Right, in the field side by side, Form a fabric of Freedom no hand can divide!
H. P. LOVECRAFT.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC CRITICISM
The Conservative for July opens with Ira A. Cole's delightful and melodious lines "In Vita Elysium" (Heaven in Life), which present a strong arraignment of those conventional theologians who deem all things beautiful reserved for a vague existence after death. While the orthodox reader may deem the flight of the imagination too free, the rational and appreciative litterateur will delight in the vigour of imagination and delicacy of fancy displayed. The metrical structure is beyond reproach in taste and fluency, the regular and spirited heroic couplets affording a refreshing contrast to the harsh and languid measures of the day. Mr. Cole's poetical future is bright indeed, for he possesses an innate conception of fitness and poetic values which too few of his contemporaries can boast. We wish to emphasize to those readers who are familiar with The Conservative's editorial policy, that the lines appear practically without revision; every bold conception and stroke of genius being Mr. Cole's own. Two couplets in particular delight the ear and the imagination, proving the author's claim to distinction as a poet of the purest classical type:
"Go! Go! vain man, to those unbounded fanes Where God's one proven priest—fair Nature—reigns."
"Uplifted, glad, thy spirit then shall know That life is light, and heaven's here below!"
"The Genesis of the Revolutionary War," by Henry Clapham McGavack, is one of those searchingly keen bits of iconoclastic analysis which have made Mr. McGavack so famous as an essayist since his advent to the United. Our author here explodes conclusively a large body of bombastic legend which false textbooks have inflicted upon successive generations of innocent American youth. We are shown beyond a doubt that the Revolution of 1776 was no such one-sided affair as the petty political "historians" would have us believe, and that our Mother Country indeed had a strong case before the bar of International justice. It is an article which makes us doubly proud of our racial and cultural affiliations.
"Sweet Frailty," a poem by Mary Henrietta Lehr, contains all those elements of charm, delicacy, and ingenuity which mark its author as one of amateurdom's most cultivated and gifted members.
Of the editorial column modesty forbids us to speak, but we hope the amateur public may be duly charitable with our shortcomings as therein displayed.
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The Inspiration for April is a "Tribute Number," dedicated to the amateur journalists of Great Britain and Canada who have devoted their lives and fortunes to the cause of civilisation and the Empire. With so wonderfully inspiring a subject, it is small wonder that the magazine lives gloriously up to its name. Miss von der Heide shows extreme skill and sympathy in the editorship of the publication, and in the verses which she contributes; proving herself worthy indeed of the high place she has occupied in amateurdom for so many years.
"The Lion's Brood," by Henry Clapham McGavack, exhibits the versatility of this brilliant writer; for though he is by preference a concise essayist, he here rises to great heights in the domain of rhetorical panegyric. His stirring encomium is ingeniously continued by Mr. William T. Harrington, who adds many merited words of praise for our kindred across the seas. The present critic's lines are as full of heartfelt love of England as they are wanting in merit; while the lines of Olive G. Owen possess both deep fervour and conspicuous merit. Mrs. Griffith's tribute, "He Conquers who Endures," breathes out the true spirit of the American nation today, anticipating the official action of a cautious and slow-moving government. The "Open Letters" of Messrs. Macauley, Stokes and Martin, speak the brave spirit of the age, and make us the more sharply regretful of our own rejection for military service. "Treasure," by Miss von der Heide, is an appealing bit of sentiment, whose interest is timely indeed.
Viewed as a whole, The Inspiration takes first rank amongst the amateur papers published since March.
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The Little Budget for May opens with Paul J. Campbell's meritorious poem entitled "Signals." Mr. Campbell, always facile in metre, exhibits increasing power in the realm of poetical imagination, and is entitled to a substantial place on the slopes of Parnassus. A misprint in the present version of "Signals" gives look when looked should appear.
"The Adventures of 'Dido' Plum," by Joseph Parks, is a pleasing story of military life by one who is himself a soldier. Mr. Parks' brief sketches form a pleasing feature of the contemporary amateur press, being distinguished by a naturalness which intensifies their interest as literal transcripts of the army atmosphere. "Road Song," a tuneful lyric by Eleanor J. Barnhart, marks the first appearance of that brilliant author as a poet. Her inexperience in this art, however, is not at all to be suspected from this fervent and finished composition; which might well do credit to some of our veteran bards. "Impulse," by Norah Sloane Stanley, is described as "A Parisian Fragment," and exhibits much ingenuity in spirit and atmosphere. "Keep a Cheerful Countenance," by Eugene B. Kuntz, is a poem of great merit despite the doubtful rhyme of way and quality in the last stanza. Miss Mappin, in her article on Milton, displays her ample knowledge of literary history, and even more than her customary fluency. "The Contented Robin," a poem by Margaret Mahon, is apt, pleasing and harmonious; whilst Miss Trafford's brief jingle is quaint and clever. "Spring," by Randolph Trafford (aetat 10) is full of the exuberant vigour of youth, and speaks well for the future of this bright young bard.
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The Little Budget for June gains distinction from Henry Clapham McGavack's brilliant essay on American Anglophobia, entitled "Blood is not Thicker Than Water." This acute analysis of anti-British sentiment among certain classes in the States reveals a lamentable result of bigotry and historical ignorance; which may, we hope, be cured by the new bonds of alliance betwixt the Old and the New Englands. As Mr. McGavack well demonstrates, most of our Anglophobia is manufactured by the alleged "historians" who poison the minds of the young through mendacious textbooks. This species of false teaching, an evil potently fostered by the Fenians and Sinn Feiners who lurk serpent-like in our midst, is one which cannot too soon be eradicated; for the cultural identity and moral unity of the States and the Empire make such sources of unintelligent prejudice increasingly nauseous and detrimental. We may add that the textbook treatment of our War between the States is almost equally unfair, the Northern cause being ridiculously exalted above the brave and incredibly high-minded attitude of the Confederacy.
Another delightful prose contribution is "Back to Blighty," by Joseph Parks, a vivid vignette of one phase of military life. "Trinidad and its Forests," by F. E. M. Hercules, is marked by its author's customary ease of expression and felicity of diction; presenting many facts of general interest. The poetry in this issue includes work from the pens of J. E. Hoag, H. P. Lovecraft, Rev. Eugene B. Kuntz, Beryl Mappin, and the Editor. Dr. Kuntz's lines to the memory of Phillips Gamwell are animated with a nobility which well befits their subject, though the rhyme of day and melody is not strictly correct. Few amateur poets are able to achieve the sonorous dignity which Dr. Kuntz imparts to his flowing Alexandrines, or to select with equal appropriateness the vivid and musical words that so irresistibly delight the ear and impress the imagination. Miss Mappin's metrical effort, entitled "Only a Thought," betrays some of the crudities of youth; including the attempted rhyme of alone and home. The metre, phraseology, and plan of rhyming demand extensive revision, the following being a possible amended version of the piece:
As sad and alone in a distant land I sat by the dismal shore, My chin laid pensively in my hand, And my dreams all of home once more; I watch'd and mus'd o'er the sunless sea, And study'd the cruel foam; For the waves bore an exile's woe to me, From my kindred forc'd to roam.
But lo! floating light upon the wind And murm'ing o'er ocean crest, Come the thoughts of those I left behind, Bringing comfort and love and rest. Only a word—aye, only a thought! Each speeds like a heav'n-sent dart; Who can measure the gladness and aid they've brought— These thoughts—to the breaking heart?
The first line of the original, "Far away in a distant land," is lamentably pleonastic; whilst the identity or intended identity of the second and fourth rhymes is undesirable. In a verse of this type, it is not well to repeat a rhyme immediately. In the second stanza the first and third lines and the fifth and seventh are unrhymed, a variation from the original design which is not sanctioned by custom. Once a poet decides on his metre and plan of rhyme, he should maintain them unchanged throughout the poem. In the foregoing revised version, all these defects have been remedied. Miss Trafford's poem, "After a Dream," shows much promise both technically and in the thought. The final line of the first stanza, "And the joy it contains is much," is very weak; and should be changed to read: "And of joy it contains so much." In writing the definite article, Miss Trafford mistakenly uses the contracted form th' when full syllabic value is to be given. This contraction is employed only when the article is metrically placed as a proclitic before another word, and is thereby shorn of its separate pronunciation as follows:
Th' ambitious bard a nobler theme essays.
The illustrated bit of humor by George William Stokes deserves mention as presenting one of the cleverest drawings to appear lately in the amateur press. It is difficult to decide in which domain Mr. Stokes shines the more brightly, literature or pictorial art. His heading for The Little Budget is a masterpiece of its kind.
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The Pippin for May brings once more to our notice amateurdom's foremost high-school club, the Appleton aggregation, whose existence is due to Mr. Maurice W. Moe's untiring efforts. "Doings of the Pippins," by Joseph Harriman, is a terse and informing chronicle of recent activity. "Once Upon a Time," by Florence A. Miller, is a bit of humorous verse whose metre might be improved by the use of greater care. "Some Cloth!," by John Ingold, is an exceedingly clever piece of wit; which, though avowedly Irish, bears the characteristic hall-mark of native American humor. The delightful exaggerations recall some of the brightest spots in American light literature. "Speed," by Matilda Harriman, is an interesting sketch recalling Poe's "Mellonta Tauta," in its imaginative flights. "From Over the Threshold," by Ruth Ryan, shows much promise in the realm of fiction. "Once an Amateur, Always an Amateur" is one of those rare bits of prose with which our distinguished Critical member, Mr. Moe, favours us. We are proud of the unshaken amateur allegiance of so brilliant a personality, and trust that some day he may realise his dream of "an attic or basement printshop." "The Press Club," by Ruth Schumaker, is a pleasing sketch, as is also Miss Kelly's "Our Club and the United." We trust that the Appleton Club may safely weather the hard times of which Miss Kelly complains.
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THE UNITED AMATEUR for May contains a captivating and graceful sketch by W. Edwin Gibson, entitled "Beauty." Mr. Gibson is one of our younger members who bids fair to become prominent in the coming amateur generation. Of the month's poetry, we may mention with particular commendation Miss von der Heide's "Worship," though through some error, possibly typographical, the final line of the second stanza seems to lack two syllables. "When Dreams Come True," by Kathleen Foster Smith, is likewise of more than common merit, though the word hear in the second line of the second stanza is probably a misprint for heard. "Smile," by O. M. Blood, is ingenious though scarcely novel. Its chief defects are inequalities in the lines, which care should be able to correct. The first line contains two superfluous syllables, while the fourth line contains one too many. The ninth line of the final section contains two syllables too many, as do the tenth and eleventh lines as well. The rhyme of appear and disappear is incorrect, since syllables in rhyme should be merely similar—not the same. Mr. Blood requires much practice in poetry, but undoubtedly possesses the germ of success. "To the U. A. P. A.," by Matthew Hilson, is acceptable in construction and delightful in sentiment, laying strata on the new Anglo-American unity—the one redeeming feature of the present international crisis. THE UNITED AMATEUR closes with a quotation from Euripides, which we will not attempt to review here, since the author has been receiving critical attention from far abler men for many centuries!
H. P. LOVECRAFT, Chairman.
Maurice W. Moe, Chief of our Department of Private Criticism, is trying a novel experiment this summer for the sake of his health. He has undertaken a labourer's work on one of the new buildings of Lawrence College, lifting planks, shovelling mud, and wheeling bags of cement like a seasoned workingman. While painful at first, the regimen is proving actually beneficial, and Mr. Moe is proud of the physical prowess he is beginning to exhibit. One of our amateur poetasters recently perpetrated the following four lines on the unusual occurrence of a learned instructor working manually upon a college building:
To M. W. M.
Behold the labourer, who builds the walls That soon shall shine as Learning's sacred halls; A man so apt at ev'ry art and trade, He well might govern what his hands have made!
THE UNITED AMATEUR
OFFICIAL ORGAN OF THE UNITED AMATEUR PRESS ASSOCIATION
VOLUME XVII ATHOL, MASS., NOVEMBER, 1917 NUMBER 2
A Reminiscence of Dr. Samuel Johnson
Humphry Littlewit, Esq.
The Privilege of Reminiscence, however rambling or tiresome, is one generally allow'd to the very aged; indeed, 'tis frequently by means of such Recollections that the obscure occurrences of History, and the lesser Anecdotes of the Great, are transmitted to Posterity.
Tho' many of my readers have at times observ'd and remark'd a Sort of antique Flow in my Stile of Writing, it hath pleased me to pass amongst the Members of this Generation as a young Man, giving out the Fiction that I was born in 1890, in America. I am now, however, resolv'd to unburthen myself of a secret which I have hitherto kept thro' Dread of Incredulity; and to impart to the Publick a true knowledge of my long years, in order to gratifie their taste for authentick Information of an Age with whose famous Personages I was on familiar Terms. Be it then known that I was born on the family Estate in Devonshire, of the 10th day of August, 1690, (or in the new Gregorian Stile of Reckoning, the 20th of August) being therefore now in my 228th year. Coming early to London, I saw as a Child many of the celebrated Men of King William's Reign, including the lamented Mr. Dryden, who sat much at the Tables of Will's Coffee-House. With Mr. Addison and Dr. Swift I later became very well acquainted, and was an even more familiar Friend to Mr. Pope, whom I knew and respected till the Day of his Death. But since it is of my more recent Associate, the late Dr. Johnson, that I am at this time desir'd to write; I will pass over my Youth for the present.
I had first Knowledge of the Doctor in May of the year 1738, tho' I did not at that Time meet him. Mr. Pope had just compleated his Epilogue to his Satires, (the Piece beginning: "Not twice a Twelvemonth you appear in Print.") and had arrang'd for its Publication. On the very Day it appear'd, there was also publish'd a Satire in Imitation of Juvenal, entituled "London," by the then unknown Johnson; and this so struck the Town, that many Gentlemen of Taste declared, it was the Work of a greater Poet than Mr. Pope. Notwithstanding what some Detractors have said of Mr. Pope's petty Jealousy, he gave the Verses of his new Rival no small Praise; and having learnt thro' Mr. Richardson who the Poet was, told me, "that Mr. Johnson wou'd soon be deterre."
I had no personal Acquaintances with the Doctor till 1763, when I was presented to him at the Mitre Tavern by Mr. James Boswell, a young Scotchman of excellent Family and great Learning, but small Wit, whose metrical Effusions I had sometimes revis'd.
Dr. Johnson, as I beheld him, was a full, pursy Man, very ill drest, and of slovenly Aspect. I recall him to have worn a bushy Bob-Wig, untyed and without Powder, and much too small for his Head. His Cloaths were of rusty brown, much wrinkled, and with more than one Button missing. His Face, too full to be handsom, was likewise marred by the Effects of some scrofulous Disorder; and his Head was continually rolling about in a sort of convulsive way. Of this Infirmity, indeed, I had known before; having heard of it from Mr. Pope, who took the Trouble to make particular Inquiries.
Being nearly seventy-three, full nineteen Years older than Dr. Johnson, (I say Doctor, tho' his Degree came not till two Years afterward) I naturally expected him to have some Regard for my Age; and was therefore not in that Fear of him, which others confess'd. On my asking him what he thought of my favourable Notice of his Dictionary in The Londoner, my periodical Paper, he said: "Sir, I possess no Recollection of having perus'd your Paper, and have not a great Interest in the Opinions of the less thoughtful Part of Mankind." Being more than a little piqued at the Incivility of one whose Celebrity made me solicitous of his Approbation, I ventur'd to retaliate in kind, and told him, I was surpris'd that a Man of Sense shou'd judge the Thoughtfulness of one whose Productions he admitted never having read. "Why, Sir," reply'd Johnson, "I do not require to become familiar with a Man's Writings in order to estimate the Superficiality of his Attainments, when he plainly shews it by his Eagerness to mention his own Productions in the first Question he puts to me." Having thus become Friends, we convers'd on many Matters. When, to agree with him, I said I was distrustful of the Authenticity of Ossian's Poems, Mr. Johnson said: "That, Sir, does not do your Understanding particular Credit; for what all the Town is sensible of, is no great Discovery for a Grub-Street Critick to make. You might as well say, you have a strong Suspicion that Milton wrote 'Paradise Lost!'"
I thereafter saw Johnson very frequently, most often at Meetings of THE LITERARY CLUB, which was founded the next Year by the Doctor, together with Mr. Burke, the parliamentary Orator, Mr. Beauclerk, a Gentleman of Fashion, Mr. Langton, a pious Man and Captain of Militia, Sir J. Reynolds, the widely known Painter, Dr. Goldsmith, the Prose and poetick Writer, Dr. Nugent, father-in-law to Mr. Burke, Sir John Hawkins, Mr. Anthony Chamier, and my self. We assembled generally at seven o'clock of an Evening, once a Week, at the Turk's-Head, in Gerrard-Street, Soho, till that Tavern was sold and made into a private Dwelling; after which Event we mov'd our Gatherings successively to Prince's in Sackville-Street, Le Tellier's in Dover-Street, and Parsloe's and the Thatched House in St. James's-Street. In these Meetings we preserv'd a remarkable Degree of Amity and Tranquillity, which contrasts very favourably with some of the Dissensions and Disruptions I observe in the literary and amateur Press Associations of today. This Tranquillity was the more remarkable, because we had amongst us Gentlemen of very opposed Opinions. Dr. Johnson and I, as well as many others, were high Tories; whilst Mr. Burke was a Whig, and against the American War, many of his Speeches on that Subject having been widely publish'd. The least congenial Member was one of the Founders, Sir John Hawkins, who hath since written many misrepresentations of our Society. Sir John, an eccentrick Fellow, once declin'd to pay his part of the Reckoning for Supper, because 'twas his Custom at Home to eat no Supper. Later he insulted Mr. Burke in so intolerable a Manner, that we all took Pains to shew our Disapproval; after which Incident he came no more to our Meetings. However, he never openly fell out with the Doctor, and was the Executor of his Will; tho' Mr. Boswell and others have Reason to question the genuineness of his Attachment. Other and later Members of the CLUB were Mr. David Garrick, the Actor and early Friend of Dr. Johnson, Messieurs Tho. and Jos. Warton, Dr. Adam Smith, Dr. Percy, Author of the "Reliques," Mr. Edw. Gibbon, the Historian, Dr. Burney, the Musician, Mr. Malone, the Critick, and Mr. Boswell. Mr. Garrick obtain'd Admittance only with Difficulty; for the Doctor, notwithstanding his great Friendship, was for ever affecting to decry the Stage and all Things connected with it. Johnson, indeed, had a most singular Habit of speaking for Davy when others were against him, and of arguing against him, when others were for him. I have no Doubt but that he sincerely lov'd Mr. Garrick, for he never alluded to him as he did to Foote, who was a very coarse Fellow despite his comick Genius. Mr. Gibbon was none too well lik'd, for he had an odious sneering Way which offended even those of us who most admir'd his historical Productions. Mr. Goldsmith, a little Man very vain of his Dress and very deficient in Brilliancy of Conversation, was my particular Favourite; since I was equally unable to shine in the Discourse. He was vastly jealous of Dr. Johnson, tho' none the less liking and respecting him. I remember that once a Foreigner, a German, I think, was in our Company; and that whilst Goldsmith was speaking, he observ'd the Doctor preparing to utter something. Unconsciously looking upon Goldsmith as a meer Encumbrance when compar'd to the greater Man, the Foreigner bluntly interrupted him and incurr'd his lasting Hostility by crying, "Hush, Toctor Shonson iss going to speak!"
In this luminous Company I was tolerated more because of my Years than for my Wit or Learning; being no Match at all for the rest. My Friendship for the celebrated Monsieur Voltaire was ever a Cause of Annoyance to the Doctor; who was deeply orthodox, and who us'd to say of the French Philosopher: "Vir est acerrimi Ingenii et paucarum Literarum."
Mr. Boswell, a little teazing Fellow whom I had known for some Time previously, us'd to make Sport of my aukward Manners and old-fashion'd Wig and Cloaths. Once coming in a little the worse for Wine (to which he was addicted) he endeavour'd to lampoon me by means of an Impromptu in verse, writ on the Surface of the Table; but lacking the Aid he usually had in his Composition, he made a bad grammatical Blunder. I told him, he shou'd not try to pasquinade the Source of his Poesy. At another Time Bozzy (as we us'd to call him) complain'd of my Harshness toward new Writers in the Articles I prepar'd for The Monthly Review. He said, I push'd every Aspirant off the Slopes of Parnassus. "Sir," I reply'd, "you are mistaken. They who lose their Hold do so from their own Want of Strength; but desiring to conceal their Weakness, they attribute the absence of Success to the first Critick that mentions them." I am glad to recall that Dr. Johnson upheld me in this Matter.
Dr. Johnson was second to no Man in the Pains he took to revise the bad Verses of others; indeed, 'tis said that in the book of poor blind old Mrs. Williams, there are scarce two lines which are not the Doctor's. At one Time Johnson recited to me some lines by a Servant to the Duke of Leeds, which had so amus'd him, that he had got them by Heart. They are on the Duke's Wedding, and so much resemble in Quality the Work of other and more recent poetick Dunces, that I cannot forbear copying them:
"When the Duke of Leeds shall marry'd be To a fine young Lady of high Quality How happy will that Gentlewoman be In his Grace of Leeds' good Company."
I ask'd the Doctor, if he had ever try'd making Sense of this Piece; and upon his saying he had not, I amus'd myself with the following Amendment of it:
When Gallant LEEDS auspiciously shall wed The virtuous Fair, of antient Lineage bred, How must the Maid rejoice with conscious Pride To win so great an Husband to her Side!
On shewing this to Dr. Johnson, he said, "Sir, you have straightened out the Feet, but you have put neither Wit nor Poetry into the Lines."
It wou'd afford me Gratification to tell more of my Experiences with Dr. Johnson and his circle of Wits; but I am an old Man, and easily fatigued. I seem to ramble along without much Logick or Continuity when I endeavour to recall the Past; and fear I light upon but few Incidents which others have not before discuss'd. Shou'd my present Recollections meet with Favour, I might later set down some further Anecdotes of old Times of which I am the only Survivor. I recall many Things of Sam Johnson and his Club, having kept up my Membership in the Latter long after the Doctor's Death, at which I sincerely mourn'd. I remember how John Burgoyne, Esq., the General, whose Dramatick and Poetical Works were printed after his Death, was blackballed by three Votes; probably because of his unfortunate Defeat in the American War, at Saratoga. Poor John! His Son fared better, I think, and was made a Baronet. But I am very tired. I am old, very old; it is Time for my Afternoon Nap.
DEPARTMENT of PUBLIC CRITICISM
The Dabbler, for September, in the entire unexpectedness and splendor of its appearance, must be counted as one of the most effective of recent rebukes to the pessimists. There have been several such rebukes, and those who had already prepared themselves for another barren year in amateur journalism are beginning to realize that even history cannot be relied upon to repeat itself indefinitely. The Dabbler is issued by H. L. Lindquist of Chicago, and contains 16 pages, exclusive of the covers. The initial letters and a few incidental adornments are printed in green, and the title-page, with its harmonious arrangement of type and decoration, is a delight to the eye. The typography, throughout, is almost flawless, and the contents, in general, are worthy of the care with which they have been presented to the reader. Paul J. Campbell, in his article, "What Does Amateur Journalism Mean to You?" once again defines the peculiar benefits and pleasures to be derived from our hobby, and warns away all those who come to it because of an idle curiosity, or a vain desire for self-glorification, or any motive other than a true impulse toward mental development and literary culture. "A Critical Review," by Frank C. Reighter, is devoted to the July Brooklynite, and subjects that publication to a well-nigh exhaustive analysis and criticism. The article is both interesting and instructive and reveals Mr. Reighter as an acute and capable critic. The verses with which he concludes his remarks are particularly clever and melodious, and furnish an excellent example of light verse when it is written by one possessing a natural aptitude for that form of expression. Jennie M. Kendall, in her fragment, "The One Thing Needful," makes a modern business woman give her opinion of idle wives, which she does in forceful, although not always accurate, English. "U. A. P. A. Convention Echoes," by Litta Voelchert; "The Old-Timer's Comeback," by L. J. Cohen; and "The Only Hope of A. J.," by W. E. Mellinger, consist of reminiscence, assurance and advice, from three well-known amateur journalists. The articles were obviously written somewhat hastily but are, nevertheless, very interesting and suggestive. H. L. Lindquist, in "At It Again," tells how he severed his connection with amateur journalism six years ago—being occupied with several professional ventures—only to find that the old passion would not die and finally compelled him to return to his early love. Those who have seen the result of Mr. Lindquist's acquiescence in his Fate will gain some idea of what his activity must have meant in other days.
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The Dabbler, for October, follows hard upon its predecessor and, in all essentials, is of equal merit. "Hiking in the Rocky Mountain National Park," by Louis H. Kerber, Jr., is a well-written account of a tour through some of America's most wonderful scenery, and reflects great credit on Mr. Kerber's powers of observation. "Day-Dreams," by Frank C. Reighter, is a didactic poem and so labors under an initial handicap in attempting to hold the attention of the reader. The technique of the poet, however, is deserving of praise, and if a fault must be pointed out, it is in the forced pronunciation of the word "idea" in the last line, which seems too cheap a device to appear in poetry, even when, as in the present case, it is used intentionally. "Dominion Day in Winnipeg," by W. B. Stoddard, is an account of a patriotic celebration in Canada and was evidently witnessed by the writer on his recent—and somewhat protracted—travels. "Ecstasy," a poem, by Eleanor J. Barnhart, begins rather promisingly but we do not proceed very far before detecting various crudities of craftsmanship. Lines like the following:
"The changing fire splendor of sky opals, rare,"
"Like sea gulls swift soaring in tireless sky flight,"
and, once again,
"Till star gleams bright glittering high in mid-sky,"
contain the germ of true poetry, but when we read them we are aware not only of a harsh and difficult combination of consonants but also of an entire absence of metrical swing and grace. In fact, we get an impression from the above lines that an excessive number of important words have been crowded hap-hazard upon a metrical pattern which was not intended to hold so many, and it is not surprising that the fabric should show signs of being subjected to a severe strain. But care and practise may yet awaken that poet's instinct within Miss Barnhart which will enable her to detect and reject, instantly, all such blemishes in what should be the rounded beauty of her song.
Thomas Curtis Clark is indeed a poet of "Ring and Swing," as an editorial note to his poems declares him to be. "The Dawn of Liberty" and "America's Men" must be read in their entirety to be appreciated, but a quotation from the latter poem may not be amiss.
We are America's men, Brave, dauntless and true; We are America's men, Ready to dare and do; Ready to wield the sword with might, Ready the tyrant's brow to smite— And ready to sheath the sword—for Right! We are America's Men.
The unsigned story entitled, "The Man Out of Work," is very brief, but apparently not the effort of a tyro. It would probably hold the attention even if it were much longer and we are almost inclined to regret its extreme abruptness. Nevertheless, it is complete as it stands and an artistic whole. "Still At It," by Mr. Lindquist, gives us interesting information regarding the editor and also some sound advice as to finding congenial employment. Mr. Lindquist seems to be a philosopher whose practise will bear comparison with his theory.
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The Olympian for October, awakens much of the old-time thrill with which amateurs were wont to receive the once frequent issues of that justly known and esteemed publication. The present number is not so ambitious in some respects as many of its predecessors, but it must be said that within a somewhat smaller scope it accomplishes quite as much as a more pretentious issue could hope to do. Nor is the latest Olympian at all in need of any apologies for shortcomings in the way of size, appearance, or general literary quality. Indeed, publications that consist of 12 pages and cover are always certain of a hearty welcome, while the present production of Mr. and Mrs. Cole has qualifications in addition to those just mentioned that recommend it warmly to all readers. The poem, "Motherhood," by Ethelwyn Dithridge is a truly noble and inspired effort. Amateur journalism is fortunate to number a poet of Miss Dithridge's attainments in its ranks. In "Retrospect and Prospect," Edward H. Cole sums up the three years of amateur history which have just passed and comes to the conclusion that "the best hope for amateur journalism in these days of stress and strain ... is in the peaceful co-operation of the surviving associations in a campaign of expansion of a practicable nature." "Here and Now," by Helene Hoffman Cole, consists of suggestions for the practical co-operation proposed by Mr. Cole, and should be a stimulus to increased activity in some positive form among present-day amateurs. "The Reviewers' Club" is quite as authoritative and sound in its criticisms as in the past and must always be considered one of the most delightful and instructive features of The Olympian.
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The National Amateur Press Association could hardly inaugurate a year of promised activity more auspiciously than it has by the sterling issue of its president's Sprite. It is just about everything that one could ask for in amateur journalism. The modest grey of the cover, the excellence of the paper stock, the flawlessness of the typography, the exquisite taste with which the component parts are blended—all these strike the eye at the first glance. When one comes to read the contents, he finds each contribution well worth the setting. For a leading article we have something that is well nigh unique in literature, either amateur or professional, an attempted reconstruction of a scene supposedly excised from "King Lear." This is so unusual, in fact, that it might well be called a "stunt," but certainly it is a successful stunt. In the not overly long scene presented, which pictures the ruthless hanging of Cordelia and the Fool before the eyes of the aged Lear, we can discern no quality that is not strictly Shakespearian. The language has been purged of every trace of modernism and flows with that semi-solemn, archaic, Elizabethan cadence that almost makes it hard to believe that it was written in this century. But all this might be done without achieving the supreme Shakespearian touch. The triumph of the scene is that the character delineation is carried on with such a mastery of its intricacies that this scene might be interpolated in a new edition of the play and fool the higher critics of the future. The author, Samuel Loveman, is an amateur of former days who celebrates his return to the hobby with this feat so characteristic of his peculiar genius. The United has its Lovecraft, a belated Georgian who says he is nowhere so much at home today as he would be in the coffee-houses of Pope or Johnson. The National once more after a lapse of years has its Loveman, a belated Elizabethan who could have walked into the Mermaid Tavern and proved a congenial soul to Kit Marlowe and friend Will. The United welcomes him back.
Harry Martin, the editor, follows with an essay on the elements of the classic Greek tragedy to be found in "King Lear," which in depth, tone, and general literary quality are strongly reminiscent of the best work that appears in the Atlantic Monthly. As an essay it is perfect in form, its thesis is stated clearly and developed with forceful logic, and the wealth of material brought to bear upon the subject displays a knowledge of Shakespeare and the classic drama worthy of Truman Spencer, of beloved amateur memory.
The editorial section is only to be criticized in that Mr. Martin has cut us off with so few of his readable "Views Martinique," but we shall live in hopes of another excellent Sprite with a longer editorial department. George Cribbs' "History" is just a little poem used for a filler, but this must not be taken in derogation, for it is filler chosen with the good taste that characterizes the choice of all the other contributions. In spite of its simplicity and its brevity, it plays with the deft touch of mastery on that chord of pathos that always vibrates to the thought of Time's ceaseless and inevitable surge. From every point of view the whole journal is a symphony of excellence.
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The Yerma, for October, is edited by John H. D. Smith of Orondo, Washington, and, aside from the fact that it is an attractive and well-printed publication, may be considered as being rather in the nature of a promise of future achievement. The dedicatory verses "To the Yerma," by Alice M. Hamlet are fairly good so far as rhyme and metre are concerned. They run smoothly and are really graceful in sentiment. They contain one or two grammatical inversions, however, such as
"I would a little jingle write,"
"I'd love to be a poet great,"
which have no more right to appear in verse than in prose. Then, too, they betray an occasional inelegance of expression like the following:
"I find that I am stuck."
But Miss Hamlet should by all means persist in her versifying, since there can be no doubt that she owns an instinctive grasp of the basic laws of rhyme and rhythm. If she will read and study the lighter efforts to be found in any standard anthology of poetry and then, with such models ever before her, strive sincerely to overcome her present defects by unremitting practise, Miss Hamlet may yet become a truly clever and accomplished versifier. "The Reform Spirit—Its Mission," by P. A. Spain, M. D., is an exceedingly able and thought provoking essay. It is to be hoped that in future issues Mr. Smith will give us an inkling of his own ideas on various subjects. The chief defect in The Yerma is the entire absence of editorial comment.
REPORTS OF OFFICERS
The fourth month of the United's official year opens with the organization still nearer completion; Mrs. Helene Hoffman Cole, former President and thoroughly active and capable amateur, having accepted appointment as Supervisor of Amendments. The Fourth Vice-Presidency has been accepted by Alfred Galpin, Jr., 779 Kimball St., Appleton, Wisconsin.
The Official Editor is to be commended for the excellence of the September United Amateur, as is also the printer, Mr. W. Paul Cook. The Association will be gratified to hear that Mr. Cook has accepted the position of Official Publisher for the year; but the members must remember that only by their liberality in replenishing the Official Organ Fund, can regular issuance be ensured.
The 1916-1917 Year-Book of the Association, having been completed by the Committee, is now undergoing critical inspection and condensation by the expert judgment of Messrs. Paul J. Campbell and Edward F. Daas. Here again we appeal to the generosity of the members, especially the veteran members, to make possible the publication in full of this epitome of amateur history. Unless the Year-Book Fund is materially swelled, the volume cannot possibly be printed in its unabridged form of sixty-three closely typed manuscript pages.
The amateur press is now showing signs of a gradual recovery from the late period of minimum activity. Mr. Martin's remarkable production, The Sprite, Mr. Lindquist's two numbers of The Dabbler, Mr. and Mrs. Cole's welcome Olympian, Mr. Cook's wonderfully ample Vagrant, and Mr. John H. D. Smith's small but enterprising Yerma, all attest the reality of this awakening. Within the next few months many more papers are to be expected; including an excellent one from Miss Lehr, a scholarly Piper from Mr. Kleiner, a brilliant first venture, The Arcadian, from Mrs. Jordan, and both a Vagrant and a Monadnock from Mr. Cook. Mr. Cook makes a truly philanthropic offer to print small papers at reasonable rates, and it is to be hoped that a large number of members will avail themselves of it, communicating with Mr. Cook regarding particulars. His address is 451 Main St., Athol, Mass.
Recruiting proceeds steadily if not with meteoric rapidity, some excellent material having been obtained since the beginning of the year's campaign. The most serious defect in our system is the lack of a general welcome shown the new members, particularly as regards the distribution of papers. One of our most important recruits of last July, now a responsible officer, declares he has seen but a fraction of the papers issued since his entrance; a fact indicating a censurable but easily remediable condition. Let us impress it upon ourselves, that if we would do our full share toward maintaining the Association and its literary life, we must see that all our respective publications reach every member new or old. A considerable part of our yearly losses in membership are undoubtedly due to the indifferent reception which so many gifted newcomers receive.
The general signs of the times are bright and encouraging. A renascent amateur press, a closer co-operation between members, an influx of interested recruits, and an improved state of relations with our contemporaries, are but a few of the good omens which promise to make the coming year a pleasing and profitable one.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, President. October 28, 1917.
THE UNITED AMATEUR JANUARY 1918
REPORTS OF OFFICERS
The dawn of the new year discovers the United in what may, considering the general condition of the times, be called a very enviable position. With a full complement of officers, and with the recruiting machinery fairly under way, our course seems clear and our voyage propitious.