The November Official Organ deserves praise of the highest sort; and will remain as a lasting monument to the editorial ability of Miss McGeoch and the mechanical good taste of Mr. Cook. It has set a standard beneath which it should not fall, but to maintain which a well-supplied Official Organ Fund is absolutely necessary. If each member of the Association would send a dollar, or even less, to Custodian McGeoch, this Fund might be certain of continuance at a level which would ensure a large and regularly published UNITED AMATEUR.
The publication of lists of new and prospective members should arouse every amateur to recruiting activity, and cause each newcomer to receive a goodly number of letters, papers, and postcards. It would be well if the line of demarcation between Recruiting Committees and the general amateur public were not so sharply drawn; for whilst it is the duty of the official recruiter to approach these new names, any other members confer no less a favour on the United by doing so unofficially. We must remedy the condition which permits able writers to join and pass out of the Association almost without a realization of the fact of their membership. How few of these gifted amateurs who entered in 1915-1916 are now with us!
Publishing activity is strikingly exemplified by the appearance of Spindrift, a regularly issued monthly from the able pen of Sub-Lieut. Ernest Lionel McKeag of the Royal Navy. When a busy naval officer in active service can edit so excellent a magazine as this, no civilian should complain that the present war has made amateur journalism an impossibility! The number of papers expected in the near future has been increased by a plan of the Second Vice-President to unite the members of the Recruiting Committee in a co-operative editorial venture. It is to be hoped that this enterprise may succeed as well as similar papers conducted during former administrations. Of great interest to the literary element will be Mr. Cook's contemplated volume of laureate poetry, containing the winning pieces of all our competitions from the establishment of Laureateships to the present time.
The Association extends its heartiest congratulations, individually and collectively, to ex-Pres. Campbell and Treasurer Barnhart, who were most auspiciously joined in wedlock on Thanksgiving Day. Its heartfelt sympathy is transmitted to relatives of the late Rev. W. S. Harrison, whose death on December 3d left a vacancy in the ranks of stately and spiritual poets which cannot be filled.
A final word of commendation should be given to those more than generous teachers, professors, and scholars who are making "The Reading Table" so pleasing and successful a feature of the United's literary life. The idea, originated by Miss McGeoch, has been ably developed by Messrs. Moe and Lowrey, and is likely to redeem many of the promises of real progress which have pervaded the Association during the past few years.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, President. January 2, 1918.
THE UNITED AMATEUR MARCH 1918
REPORTS OF OFFICERS
As the second half of the official year progresses, we behold the United in excellent condition, though not marked by as great a degree of activity as might be desired. The official organ faithfully maintains its phenomenally high standard, the January issue indeed eclipsing all precedents; but a larger number of other papers must be published, if we are to make the present term as memorable quantitatively as it is qualitatively. An excellent example is set by Mrs. Jordan, whose newly established Eurus comes so opportunely. May this publication prove permanent, and of frequent appearance! Besides this, we are indebted to Miss Trafford, Lieut. McKeag, and Mr. Martin for a Little Budget, Spindrift, and Sprite, respectively. Several other papers are reported in press, including what promises to be a very remarkable Vagrant.
In order to increase the publishing activity of the Association, the administration will endeavour to arrange for the publication of one or more co-operative papers. Any United member able to contribute $1.50 or more to such an enterprise should communicate with the undersigned, who will attend to the details of issuance if a sufficient number of contributing editors can be obtained. $1.50 will pay for one page, 7x10, and each contributor is at liberty to take as many pages as he desires at that rate. Contributors may utilise their space according to their own wishes, and all will be equally credited with editorship. This plan, successfully practiced four years ago, should enable many hitherto silent members to appear in the editorial field to great advantage, in a journal whose contents and appearance will alike be creditable.
The comparative scarcity of entries makes imperative a second warning regarding the new conditions in the Laureateship department. Ten persons must compete in any class before an award in that particular division can be granted, and at present no class contains an adequate variety of entries. Again it is urged that the members lose no time in submitting their printed literary productions to Mr. Hoag for entry.
A careful study of the four proposed constitutional amendments is necessary to ensure intelligent voting next July. The undersigned, as their author, naturally favours their passage; but the one providing for an abolition of the officers' activity requirements should not be adopted without ample opportunity for debate and interchange of views.
The congratulations of the Association are extended to Mr. and Mrs. Edward H. Cole upon the advent of a son, Edward Sherman Cole, on February 14. With equal sincerity the United felicitates Ex-President Leo Fritter, on his marriage to Miss Frances P. Hepner, March 6.
The United's 22nd annual convention will be held on July 22nd, 23d and 24th, at the Dells of the Wisconsin River. Under the direction of Mr. Daas this event cannot fail to be of interest and pleasure to all delegates, and every member who finds attendance possible is urged to be present.
To commend the official board for its generous, harmonious, and industrious co-operation this year, seems but a reiteration of needless panegyric; yet it would not be just to conclude this message without some such expression of grateful appreciation. The enthusiastic and unswerving loyalty of all our leaders has been a constant shield against the adversity of these gloomy times, and has been wonderfully successful in maintaining the United at a high cultural level.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, President. March 8, 1918.
THE UNITED AMATEUR MAY 1918
Howard Phillips Lovecraft
The cloudless day is richer at its close; A golden glory settles on the lea; Soft stealing shadows hint of cool repose To mellowing landscape, and to calming sea.
And in that nobler, gentler, lovelier light, The soul to sweeter, loftier bliss inclines; Freed from the noonday glare, the favour'd sight Increasing grace in earth and sky divines.
But ere the purest radiance crowns the green, Or fairest lustre fills th' expectant grove, The twilight thickens, and the fleeting scene Leaves but a hallow'd memory of love!
DEPARTMENT of PUBLIC CRITICISM
Eurus for February serves a double purpose; to introduce to the United in an editorial capacity the gifted poetess, Mrs. W. V. Jordan, and to commemorate the 87th natal anniversary of amateurdom's best beloved bard, Jonathan E. Hoag. The dedication to Mr. Hoag is both worthy and well merited. There are few whose qualities could evoke so sincere an encomium, and few encomiasts who could render so felicitous an expression of esteem. The entire production sustains the best traditions of Mrs. Jordan's work, and forms the most creditable individual paper to appear in the United since the dawn of the new year.
The issue opens with Mr. Hoag's stately and beautiful poem, "To the Falls of Dionondawa," which describes in an exquisite way the supposed history of a delightful cascade in Greenwich, New York. The lines, which are cast in the heroic couplet, have all the pleasing pomp and fire of the Augustan age of English verse; and form a refreshing contrast to the harsh or languid measures characteristic of the present day. Mr. Hoag brings down to our time the urbane arts of a better literary period.
"An Appreciation," by Verna McGeoch, is a prose-poetical tribute to Mr. Hoag, whose literary merit is of such a quality that we must needs lament the infrequency with which the author contributes to the amateur press. Of this piece a reader of broad culture lately said: "I have never read a production of this kind, more finely phrased, more comprehensive, more effective, and withal, so terse, and throughout, in such excellent taste." Eurus has good reason for self-congratulation on carrying this remarkable bit of composition.
"Chores," by Winifred Virginia Jordan, displays this versatile writer in a very singular vein; that of sombre, repellent, rustic tragedy. It has all the compelling power which marks Mrs. Jordan's darker productions, and is conveyed in an arresting, staccato measure which emphasizes the homely horror of the theme. The phraseology, with its large proportion of rural and archaic words and constructions, adds vastly to the general effect and atmosphere. We believe that Mrs. Jordan analyses the New-England rustic mind more keenly and accurately than any other amateur writer; interpreting rural moods and sentiments, be they bright or dark, with unvarnished simplicity and absolute verisimilitude, notwithstanding the fact that most of her verse is of a much more polished and classical character. In "Chores" we are brought vividly face to face with the bleakest aspect of rusticity; the dull, commonplace couple, dwelling so far from the rest of mankind that they have become almost primitive in thought and feelings, losing all the complex refinements and humanities of social existence. The poem intensifies that feeling of hidden terror and tragedy which sometimes strikes us on beholding a lonely farmer, enigmatical of face and sparing of words, or on spying, through the twilight, some grey, unpainted, ramshackle, cottage, perched upon a wind-swept hill or propped up against the jutting boulders of some deserted slope, miles from the town and remote from the nearest neighbour.
"Young Clare," by Edith Miniter, is a narrative poem of that power and polish which might be expected of its celebrated author. The only considerable objection which could possibly be brought against it is a technical one, applying to the fourth line of the opening stanza:
"To work a cabaret show."
Here we must needs wonder at the use of work as a transitive verb when the intransitive sense is so clearly demanded, and at the evident accentuation of cabaret. We believe that the correct pronunciation of cabaret is trisyllabic, with the accent on the final syllable, thus: "cab-a-ray." We will not be quite so dogmatic about artiste in line 2 of the last stanza, though we think the best usage would demand the accent on the final syllable.
"Gentle Gusts," the quaintly named editorial section, contains much matter of merit, clothed in a pleasantly smooth style. The classical name of the publication is here ingeniously explained, and its dedication formally made. The tribute to Mr. Hoag is as well rendered as it is merited. The editorial note on amateur criticism is sound and kindly; the author voicing her protests in a manner which disarms them of malice, and putting us in a receptive attitude. Personally, the present critic is in complete agreement with the remarks on poetical elision and inversions; but we are confident that those of our board who hold different views, will accept the dicta in the friendly spirit intended.
"Someone—Somewhere," by Jennie E. T. Dowe, is a delightful lyric by an authoress too well known in amateurdom to need an introduction. Mrs. Dowe writes with the polish of long experience and genuine culture, displaying an enviable poetic genius.
Eurus closes with some commendatory lines to Mr. Hoag from the pen of H. P. Lovecraft. They are in heroics, and redolent of the spirit of two centuries ago. We discern no striking violations of good taste or metre, nor do we find any remarkable poetic power or elevation of thought.
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The Little Budget for February and March is a double number, whose size and quality are alike encouraging. The issue opens with an ornate and felicitous Nature-poem by Rev. Eugene B. Kuntz, entitled "Above the Clouds," in which the author for once breaks away from his favourite Alexandrines and heptameters, presenting us with an ideally beautiful specimen of the heroic quatrain. Despite the strong reasons which impel Dr. Kuntz to adhere to long measures, we believe he should compose more in pentameter. That his chosen metres have peculiar advantages, none will deny; but it seems plain that the standard shorter line has other advantages which amply outweigh them. It was not by chance that the line of five iambuses became the dominant metre of our language. In the present poem we discern a grace and flow far greater than any which could pervade an Alexandrine piece; a condition well shown by parallel perusal of this and one of the same author's more characteristic efforts. As a creator of graphic, lofty, and majestic images, Dr. Kuntz has no peer in amateurdom. His sense of colour and of music weaves a rich and gorgeous element into the fabric of his work, and his sensitive literary faculty gives birth to happy combinations of words and phrases which not only please the imagination with their aptness, but delight the ear with their intrinsic euphony.
"The Drama as a Medium of Education," by Lieut. Ernest L. McKeag, is a short but terse essay on a neglected factor in liberal culture. It is true that our ordinary curricula lay all too little stress on dramatic art; and that as a result, this branch of aesthetic expression is grossly and consistently undervalued. The low estimate of the dramatic profession entertained by Dr. Johnson is a sad illustration of the one-sided state of mind prevailing even amongst scholars, concerning an art which is certainly not inferior to painting and sculpture, and probably much superior to music, in the aesthetic and intellectual scale.
"The Wizard of the North," an essay on Sir Walter Scott, is the current instalment of Miss Mappin's Modern Literature Series. It is marred by a seeming hiatus, discernible not so much in the flow of words as in the flow of the narrative, which leads us to believe that a considerable portion has been left out, either through accident, or through an attempt at abridgment.
"My Books," by Alfred H. Pearce is a sonnet of apt idea and perfect construction.
"On Self-Sacrifice," by W. Townsend Ericson, is one of the "Essays of a Dreamer" which are regularly appearing in the Budget. The effort is marked by much sincerity and idealism, though in grammar and practicability it is less distinguished. We might mention the erroneous use of whom for who (a not uncommon defect amongst amateur writers), the faulty use of the word usurping where depriving is meant, and the split infinitive "to at least make;" all three of which mistakes occur on page 138. Mr. Ericson should drill himself more thoroughly in the principles of syntax. Other essays of this series are included in the present issue. "On Contentment" gives an illustration which we fear will injure Mr. Ericson's contention more than it will aid it. It is the reductio ad absurdum of the typical "Pollyanna" school of philosophy.
"Down an' Out," by Ernest L. McKeag, is a very clever ballad of the "rough and ready" school; picturesque in atmosphere, but somewhat defective in technique. Lieut. McKeag should pay a trifle more attention to his rhymes; which are not, however, worse than many of the rhymes in "Hudibras" and other comic pieces.
"Why Roses are White," a children's story, by Margaret Mahon, is marked by much grace and ingenuity; the central idea being quite original so far as we know. Further contributions to the children's department are made by Miss Birkmyre, whose woodland sketches will be appreciated by older readers as well.
"Selfish Ambition," a poem, by Nell Hilliard, is as correct and fluent in metre as we might expect from the author, though the expletive does in the final line of the first stanza is not to be commended. The sentiment is not precisely novel, but is well presented.
"The Flying Dutchman," a Romance of the Sea, by Joseph Parks, is more replete with nautical verisimilitude than with literary force. As compared with many of Mr. Parks' other tales, its plot is distinctly weak and lacking in symmetry. We must, however, praise the generally salty atmosphere. The picture of seafaring life is vivid and realistic.
The current Budget concludes with a summary of the year just closed, displaying a record of achievement of which the editress may well be proud.
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The Silver Clarion for March is the publication of John Milton Samples, of Macon, Ga., a new member of the United. In tone the paper is quite serious and strongly inclined toward the religious; but so able are the majority of the contributions, that it lacks nothing in interest.
"Singing on the Way," a poem by James Larkin Pearson, opens the issue in attractive fashion. The lines are tuneful and felicitous, the triple rhymes giving an especially pleasing effect; though we must criticise the line
"Will certainly provide for us"
as being a trifle prosaic. We should recommend "plenteously provide," or something of that nature, as more poetic. Mr. Pearson is a poet of ability and experience, with a volume of published verse to his credit, whose work never falls below a high standard of merit.
"Just Icicles," by Sarah Story Duffee, is a sort of fairy tale with a juvenile exterior; which contains, however, more than a slight hint of the vanity of human wishes and fruitlessness of human endeavour. Whilst it exhibits no little cleverness in construction, we must own that it possesses certain looseness, insipidity, and almost rambling quality, which detract from its merit as a piece of literature. Mrs. Duffee would profit from a closer study of classical models, and a slighter attention to the more ordinary folk tales.
"The Blessings of Thorns," by Sallie M. Adams, is a religious poem of considerable excellence, containing a pious and worthy sentiment well expressed. The chief defects are technical. In the first stanza, line 3 lacks a syllable, whilst line 4 has one too many. Also, the day-way rhyme is repeated too closely. To have but one rhyming sound through two rhymes is a fault hard to excuse. All the defects above enumerated might be removed with ease, as the following revised version of the opening lines illustrates:
When we thank our Heav'nly Father For the boons each day bestow'd; For the flowers that are scatter'd O'er the roughness of the road.
In the third stanza we find the day-way rhyme again repeated, also a superfluity of syllables in the sixth line. The latter might be cut down by the omission of the second the.
"Springtime in Dixieland," by John Milton Samples, is a tuneful pastoral which justifies the author's right to his first two names. But one or two defects mar the general delightful effect. The phrase "zephyr breeze," in the opening stanza, strikes us as a trifle pleonastic; since a zephyr is itself a breeze; not a quality of a breeze. The syntax of the latter part of this stanza is somewhat obscure, but might be cleared up if the seventh line were thus amended:
"And save when cloud-ships cross their track."
The sixth and seventh lines of the last stanza each have a syllable too many, and in line 6 the word raise is used incorrectly; rise being the word needed. This, of course, would necessitate a change of rhyme.
"One Face is Passing," by Mamie Knight Samples, is a timely and excellent sketch concerning soldiers.
"Co-ee," a poem by Harry E. Rieseberg, contains much genuine pathos, and is generally smooth and commendable in technique.
"The Likeness of the Deity," by Arthur H. Goodenough, is one of the characteristically excellent products of its author, who holds the proud rank of "Literatus" in the United. The amount and quality of Mr. Goodenough's work is very unusual; few other amateurs producing so much verse of the first order. As a religious poet, he stands alone; resembling the celebrated Dr. Watts. He invests every theme he touches with an atmosphere truly and richly poetic.
"Astral Nights," by John Milton Samples, is a genuinely poetic piece of prose arranged in lines resembling those of verse. We believe that the loftiness and excellence of this composition would justify its metamorphosis into real verse.
Also by Editor Samples is the prose sketch entitled "The Present War: A Blessing in Disguise." From the title, one would expect Mr. Samples' point of view to be akin to that of the esteemed Gen. von Bernhardi; but such is not the case, since Mr. Samples means to say that he considers the conflict a just Divine Punishment for a sinful world—a punishment which will bring about a sinless and exemplary future. We wish it were so.
"Lord, Keep My Spirit Sweet," by Mr. Samples, is a religious lyric of substantial charm and grace.
The Editorials in this issue consist mainly of critical notes on previous numbers, and in general show a gratifying soundness of opinion.
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Spindrift for January opens with "Mater Dolorosa," a poem, by Vere M. Murphy, whose sentiment and technique are alike deserving of praise.
"The Spirit of January," a sketch by Jean Birkmyre, runs into the February issue, and is quite acceptable from every point of view, though not distinguished by that highly imaginative colouring which we find in many of Miss Birkmyre's similar pieces.
"The Mystery of Murdor Grange" this month falls into the hands of Editor McKeag, who furnishes one of the best chapters we have so far perused; possibly the very best. It is exasperating to be cut off abruptly in the midst of the exciting narrative, with the admonition to wait for page 47!
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Spindrift for February has as its leading feature an essay on "Heredity or Environment," by the Editor. In this brief article many truths are stated, though we fear Lieut. McKeag slightly underestimates the force of heredity. We might remind him of the Darwin family, beginning with the poet and physician, Erasmus Darwin. The grandson of this celebrated man was the immortal Charles Darwin, whilst the sons of Charles have all occupied places of eminence in the world of intellect.
"To the Enlisted men of the United States," by Edna Hyde, is an ode of admirable spirit and faultless construction.
"A Fragment," by S. L. (whose identity is now known to us!) shows much poetical ability, though the metre would move much more smoothly if judiciously touched up here and there. The description of the crescent moon sinking in the morning, is astronomically erroneous.
"The Estates of Authors," by Albert E. Bramwell, is a brief but informative article. As the late Dr. Johnson said of the Ordinary of Newgate's account, "it contains strong facts."
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Spindrift for March very appropriately commences with a poem on that blustering month, from the pen of Annie Pearce. Apparently the piece is a juvenile effort, since despite a commendably poetic atmosphere there are some striking errors of construction. In the third line of the first stanza there is a very awkward use of the impersonal pronoun one. This pronoun has no place in good poetry, and should always be avoided by means of some equivalent arrangement. In the second stanza it appears that the authoress, through the exigencies of versification, has fallen into the paradox of calling the "fair green shoots" "roots!" Perhaps we are mistaken, but our confusion is evidence of the lack of perspicuity in this passage. A rather more obvious error is the evidently transitive use of the verb abound in the last line of this stanza. Be it known, that abound is strictly an intransitive verb!
"The Soul of Newcastle," an historical article by John M'Quillen, begins in this number; and describes the Roman period. We regret the misprint whereby the name Aelii becomes Aelu. The presence of a Hunnish umlaut over the u adds insult to injury! Mr. M'Quillen writes in an attractive style, and we shall look forward to the remainder of the present article.
"Heart Thirst," by Vere M. Murphy, is a very meritorious lyric, containing an ingenious conceit worthy of a more classical age.
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As the literary contributions to the UNITED AMATEUR for January are mainly in the form of verse, I shall devote most of my attention to them. Poetry, like the poor, we have always with us; but the critic is moved to remark, as he casts back in his mind over the last twenty years of amateur publishing activity, that on the whole the tone of amateur poetry is distinctly higher than it used to be. Banal verse we still have in larger amounts than we should; but the amateur journals of a decade or two ago had reams of it. On the other hand, they contained not a few poems with more than a passing spark of the divine fire. The promising fact is that in the poetry of today's journals we get much more frequent glimpses of this true inspiration. In passing, the critic cannot forbear calling attention to Mr. Kleiner's "Ruth" in the February Brooklynite, which attains the highest levels of lyric expression, although only the simplest of figure and diction are employed. It is not often that one runs across a poem so simple and yet so pregnant with sincere emotion.
The first poem in the UNITED AMATEUR arouses mixed feelings. "Give Aid," by Julia R. Johnson, presents a thought that cannot be too often or too strongly stressed in this gloomy old world. Mrs. Johnson, furthermore, has carved out her own poetic medium, alternating two tetrameter lines with a single heptameter, a most unusual combination. It is always a promising sign to find a new poet experimenting with unhackneyed verse forms, although the experiments may not always be happy ones. But a word about the thought of this poem. It is one of those "recipe" poems, so-called because it can be produced in almost unlimited quantities by any writer clever enough to follow the formula. Some day the critic is going to take enough time off to write a book of poetic recipes, and already he has his subject so well blocked out that he is sure his book will contain the fundamental ingredients of a great majority of the amateur poems now appearing. The poem under consideration belongs to the "glad" recipe, an off-shoot of the Pollyanna school of fiction, and true to type it contains its quota of "glad" ingredients such as "cheer," "merry song," "troubles," and "sorrows," the last two, of course, for the sake of contrast.
"Astrophobos," by Ward Phillips, is another recipe poem; although his recipe is so much more intricate that it is not to be recommended for the Freshman. The critic would denominate a poem composed according to this recipe, a ulalumish poem, as it has so many earmarks of Poe. True to type, it is ulaluminated with gorgeous reds and crimsons, vistas of stupendous distances, coined phrases, unusual words, and general touches of either mysticism or purposeless obscurity. Such a poem is a feast for epicures who delight in intellectual caviar, but is not half so satisfying to the average poetic taste as Mr. Kleiner's "Ruth."
Theodore Gottlieb's "Contentment" is a clever and readable working out in verse of Mr. Ruskin's theme in his "King's Treasures"; namely, the satisfying companionship of great books. Mr. Gottlieb shows commendable control of the felicitous phrase, while the literary allusions with which his lines bristle mark a catholicity of taste entirely beyond the ordinary.
Metrical versions of the Psalms are not at all new; they are used, in fact, in Scotch Presbyterian churches in place of regular hymns. The poetic paraphrase of the first Psalm by Wilson Tylor is well done, and only in a few such phrases as "winds that blow" and "perish and shall not be blest," does he get dangerously near redundancy for the sake of rhyme and metre.
"A Thought," by Dorothy Downs, is a pretty little thought indeed, and prettily expressed, although the term "holiness divine" is strained when applied to a rose, and "we will be surprised" is frankly ungrammatical as a simple future in the first person. The sine qua non of all poetry is absolutely correct grammar and freedom from redundancy.
The bit of verse heading the War Items written by F. G. Morris, is quite adequate except for the lack of a rhyme in the last line, where the form of the stanza leads the reader to expect a rhyme for "part."
Matthew Hilson's rhymed greeting to the United from across the water, is on the whole, graceful and well done, and the United acknowledges its receipt with thanks.
One other piece of work in this number deserves especial mention. Alfred Galpin's "Mystery" introduces to the association a thinker more gifted for his years than probably any other recruit within recent years. This judgment is not based alone on the short article under consideration, but even this little piece of thought, if carefully analysed, is enough to stamp him as one who thinks with extreme facility in the deepest of abstractions, and who for expression of that thought commands a vocabulary of remarkable range. Mr. Galpin is going far in this world, and we hope that he will sojourn long enough with us so that we can feel that whatever glory he may attain will cast some of its rays upon the Association.
The editorial remarks in this issue of the UNITED AMATEUR are worthy of close perusal on account of their graceful literary quality. Seldom has the critic seen the subject of the New Year so felicitously treated as in this brief study by Miss McGeoch. The author's mastery of appropriate words, phrases, and images, and her intuitive perception of the most delicate elements of literary harmony, combine to make the reader wish she were more frequently before the Association as a writer, as well as in an editorial capacity.
REPORTS OF OFFICERS
According to indications, the last few weeks of the United's administrative year will exceed their predecessors in general activity and work accomplished. The college recruiting campaign, delayed through an unavoidable combination of circumstances, is now taking definite form; and may be expected to show some actual results even before the close of the present term, though its greatest fruits must necessarily be reaped by the next administration. General recruiting is on the increase, and a more satisfactory number of renewals and reinstatements is noted.
One of the greatest obstacles to be combated during this unsettled era, is the mistaken notion that amateur journalism is a non-essential and a luxury, unworthy of attention or support amidst the national stress. The prevalence of this opinion is difficult to account for, since its logic is so feeble. It is universally recognised that in times like these, some form of relaxation is absolutely indispensable if the poise and sanity of the people are to be preserved. Amusements of a lighter sort are patronised with increased frequency, and have risen to the dignity of essentials in the maintenance of the national morale. If, then, the flimsiest of pleasures be accorded the respect and favour of the public, what may we not say for amateur journalism, whose function is not only to entertain and relieve the mind, but to uplift and instruct as well? Mr. Edward H. Cole has ably treated this matter in his recent Bema, and no one who thoughtfully reviews the situation can dispute the force and verity of his conclusions. As Mr. Cole points out in a later communication, war-time amateur effort must of course be less elaborate than in pre-war days; but amateurdom itself is now worthy of double encouragement, rather than discouragement, since by its soothing and steadying influence it becomes a source of calm and strength, and therefore an active factor in the winning of the war. Let us on this side of the Atlantic view the rejuvenescence of British amateurdom after four years of warfare, as exhibited in the formation of the prosperous Amateur Press Club by Messrs. Winskill and Parks. The moral is not hard to deduce.
Of the new publications of the season it is hard to speak without using superlatives, since Mr. Cook's epoch-making June Vagrant is among their number. This veritable book of 148 pages and cover constitutes the greatest achievement of contemporary amateurdom, and may legitimately be considered as one of the outstanding features in the recent history of the institution. It is the one product of our day which will bear actual comparison with the publications of the departed "Halcyon" period. A July Vagrant, of equal quality though lesser size, may be expected in the near future. A newcomer to our list of journals is The Silver Clarion, issued by Mr. John Milton Samples of Macon, Ga., a promising poet, essayist, and editor, who has just entered the Association. The Clarion, whose contents are distinguished for their wholesome tone and pleasing literary quality, is a regularly issued monthly, and forms a substantial addition to the literature of the United. Another welcome paper is The Roamer, published by Mr. Louis H. Kerber, Jr., of Chicago. This journal, devoted exclusively to travel articles, will occupy a unique place in the United. Among the papers to be expected before the close of the official year are a Dabbler from Mr. Lindquist and a Yerma from Mr. J. H. D. Smith, now a soldier in the service of his country at Camp Laurel, Md.
Responses to the proposal for a co-operative paper have been slow in coming in. Let the members once more reflect upon the advantages of the plan, and unite in an effort to increase the literary output of the Association.
The annual convention, to be held on the 22nd, 23d and 24th of next July at the Dells of the Wisconsin River, may well be expected to stimulate interest to an unusually high pitch. A large attendance is urged, and since Mr. Daas is in charge of arrangements, the gathering will undoubtedly prove a bright spot in the year's programme.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, President. May 6, 1918.
THE UNITED AMATEUR JUNE 1918
In the midnight heavens burning Through ethereal deeps afar, Once I watch'd with restless yearning An alluring, aureate star; Ev'ry eve aloft returning, Gleaming nigh the Arctic car.
Mystic waves of beauty blended With the gorgeous golden rays; Phantasies of bliss descended In a myrrh'd Elysian haze; And in lyre-born chords extended Harmonies of Lydian lays.
There (thought I) lie scenes of pleasure, Where the free and blessed dwell, And each moment bears a treasure, Freighted with the lotus-spell, And there floats a liquid measure From the lute of Israfel.
There (I told myself) were shining Worlds of happiness unknown, Peace and Innocence entwining By the Crowned Virtue's throne; Men of light, their thoughts refining Purer, fairer, than our own.
Thus I mus'd, when o'er the vision Crept a red delirious change; Hope dissolving to derision, Beauty to distortion strange; Hymnic chords in weird collision, Spectral sights in endless range.
Crimson burn'd the star of sadness As behind the beams I peer'd; All was woe that seem'd but gladness Ere my gaze with truth was sear'd; Cacodaemons, mir'd with madness, Through the fever'd flick'ring leer'd.
Now I know the fiendish fable That the golden glitter bore; Now I shun the spangled sable That I watch'd and lov'd before; But the horror, set and stable, Haunts my soul forevermore.
THE UNITED AMATEUR JULY 1918
At the Root
H. P. Lovecraft
To those who look beneath the surface, the present universal war drives home more than one anthropological truth in striking fashion; and of these verities none is more profound than that relating to the essential immutability of mankind and its instincts.
Four years ago a large part of the civilised world laboured under certain biological fallacies which may, in a sense, be held responsible for the extent and duration of the present conflict. These fallacies, which were the foundation of pacifism and other pernicious forms of social and political radicalism, dealt with the capability of man to evolve mentally beyond his former state of subservience to primitive instinct and pugnacity, and to conduct his affairs and international or inter-racial relations on a basis of reason and good-will. That belief in such capability is unscientific and childishly naive, is beside the question. The fact remains, that the most civilised part of the world, including our own Anglo-Saxondom, did entertain enough of these notions to relax military vigilance, lay stress on points of honour, place trust in treaties, and permit a powerful and unscrupulous nation to indulge unchecked and unsuspected in nearly fifty years of preparation for world-wide robbery and slaughter. We are reaping the result of our simplicity.
The past is over. Our former follies we can but regret, and expiate as best we may by a crusade to the death against the Trans-Rhenane monster which we allowed to grow and flourish beneath our very eyes. But the future holds more of responsibility, and we must prepare to guard against any renascence of the benevolent delusions that four years of blood have barely been able to dispel. In a word, we must learn to discard forever the sentimental standpoint, and to view our species through the cold eyes of science alone. We must recognise the essential underlying savagery in the animal called man, and return to older and sounder principles of national life and defence. We must realise that man's nature will remain the same so long as he remains man; that civilisation is but a slight coverlet beneath which the dominant beast sleeps lightly and ever ready to awake. To preserve civilisation, we must deal scientifically with the brute element, using only genuine biological principles. In considering ourselves, we think too much of ethics and sociology—too little of plain natural history. We should perceive that man's period of historical existence, a period so short that his physical constitution has not been altered in the slightest degree, is insufficient to allow of any considerable mental change. The instincts that governed the Egyptians and the Assyrians of old, govern us as well; and as the ancients thought, grasped, struggled, and deceived, so shall we moderns continue to think, grasp, struggle, and deceive in our inmost hearts. Change is only superficial and apparent.
Man's respect for the imponderables varies according to his mental constitution and environment. Through certain modes of thought and training it can be elevated tremendously, yet there is always a limit. The man or nation of high culture may acknowledge to great lengths the restraints imposed by conventions and honour, but beyond a certain point primitive will or desire cannot be curbed. Denied anything ardently desired, the individual or state will argue and parley just so long—then, if the impelling motive be sufficiently great, will cast aside every rule and break down every acquired inhibition, plunging viciously after the object wished; all the more fantastically savage because of previous repression. The sole ultimate factor in human decisions is physical force. This we must learn, however repugnant the idea may seem, if we are to protect ourselves and our institutions. Reliance on anything else is fallacious and ruinous. Dangerous beyond description are the voices sometimes heard today, decrying the continuance of armament after the close of the present hostilities.
The specific application of the scientific truth regarding man's native instincts will be found in the adoption of a post-bellum international programme. Obviously, we must take into account the primordial substructure and arrange for the upholding of culture by methods which will stand the acid test of stress and conflicting ambitions. In disillusioned diplomacy, ample armament, and universal military training alone will be found the solution of the world's difficulties. It will not be a perfect solution, because humanity is not perfect. It will not abolish war, because war is the expression of a natural human tendency. But it will at least produce an approximate stability of social and political conditions, and prevent the menace of the entire world by the greed of any one of its constituent parts.
REPORTS OF OFFICERS
The conclusion of an administrative year is naturally a time for retrospection rather than for announcement and planning, and seldom may we derive more satisfaction from such a backward glance than at the present period.
The United has just completed a twelvemonth which, though not notable for numerousness of publications or expansion of the membership list, will nevertheless be long remembered for the tone and quality of its literature, and the uniformly smooth maintenance of its executive programme. The virtual extirpation of petty politics, and the elimination of all considerations save development of literary taste and encouragement of literary talent, have raised our Association to a new level of poise, harmony, dignity, and usefulness to the serious aspirant.
Prime honours must be awarded to our Official Editor and Official Publisher, who have given us an official organ unequalled and unapproached in the history of amateur journalism. The somewhat altered nature of contents, and radically elevated standard of editorship, mark an era in the progress of the Association; since the UNITED AMATEUR is really the nucleus of our activity and a reflection of the best in our current thought and ideals. We have this year helped to shatter the foolish fetichism which restricts the average official organ to a boresome and needless display of facts and figures, relating to the political mechanism of amateurdom. The organ has been a literary one, as befits a literary association; and has been conducted with a sounder sense of relative values than in times when amateurs seemed to place elections and annual banquets above art, taste, and rhetoric.
The publications of the year have been distinguished for their merit, general polish, and scholarly editorship. The percentage of crude matter appearing in print has been reduced to a minimum through the careful and conscientious critical service rendered both by the official bureau and by private individuals. The artistic standard of the United has evolved to a point where no aims short of excellence can win unqualified approval. The classics have become our sole models, and whilst even the most glaring faults of the sincere beginner receive liberal consideration and sympathetically constructive attention, there is no longer a seat of honour for complacent crudity. Genuine aspiration is our criterion of worth. The spirit of this newer amateur journalism is splendidly shown by such magazines of the year as Eurus, Spindrift, The Vagrant, and the official organ.
Just before the close of the present term, several new publications have appeared, amongst them a Vagrant, a Conservative, and Mr. Moloney's splendid first venture, The Voice From the Mountains. Early in the next fiscal year will appear The United Co-Operative, the fruit of this year's planning, edited by Mrs. Jordan, Miss Lehr, Mr. J. Clinton Pryor, and the undersigned. A revival of manuscript magazines, inaugurated by the appearance of Sub-Lieut. McKeag's Northumbrian, is in a measure solving the problems created by the high price of printing. Next month the undersigned will put into circulation Hesperia, a typewritten magazine designed to foster a closer relationship between British and American amateurdom.
Judges of Award for the Laureateship contests have been appointed as follows: Poetry, Mr. Nixon Waterman, a New-England bard who needs no introduction to the lover of lofty and graceful expression. Verse, Dr. Henry T. Schnittkind of the Stratford Publishing Co. Essay, Prof. Lewis P. Shanks of the University of Pennsylvania. Study, Mr. J. Lee Robinson, Editor of the Cambridge Tribune. Story, Mr. William R. Murphy of the Philadelphia Evening Ledger, a former United man of the highest attainments. Editorial, Hon. Oliver Wayne Stewart, Associate Editor of The National Enquirer.
In doffing the official mantle after a year of executive endeavour, the undersigned must express regret at his inability to serve in as vigorous a manner as would the ideal President. He is acutely conscious of his shortcomings in a position which demands constant care and exertion, and which imposes a strain that only the robust are perfectly qualified to bear. It would be impossible for him fully to express his gratitude to his faithful and capable colleagues, to whose unremitting and faultlessly co-ordinated efforts all the successes of the present year must in justice be attributed. Valete!
H. P. LOVECRAFT, President. June 26, 1918.
THE UNITED AMATEUR
OFFICIAL ORGAN OF THE UNITED AMATEUR PRESS ASSOCIATION
VOLUME XVIII ATHOL, MASS., NOVEMBER, 1918 NUMBER 2
DEPARTMENT of LITERATURE
The Literature of Rome
H. P. Lovecraft
The centre of our studies, the goal of our thoughts, the point to which all paths lead and the point from which all paths start again, is to be found in Rome and her abiding power.—Freeman.
Few students of mankind, if truly impartial, can fail to select as the greatest of human institutions that mighty and enduring civilisation which, first appearing on the banks of the Tiber, spread throughout the known world and became the direct parent of our own. If to Greece is due the existence of all modern thought, so to Rome is due its survival and our possession of it; for it was the majesty of the Eternal City which, reducing all Western Europe to a single government, made possible the wide and uniform diffusion of the high culture borrowed from Greece, and thereby laid the foundation of European enlightenment. To this day the remnants of the Roman world exhibit a superiority over those parts which never came beneath the sway of the Imperial Mother; a superiority strikingly manifest when we contemplate the savage code and ideals of the Germans, aliens to the priceless heritage of Latin justice, humanity, and philosophy. The study of Roman literature, then, needs no plea to recommend it. It is ours by intellectual descent; our bridge to all antiquity and to those Grecian stores of art and thought which are the fountain head of existing culture.
In considering Rome and her artistic history, we are conscious of a subjectivity impossible in the case of Greece or any other ancient nation. Whilst the Hellenes, with their strange beauty-worship and defective moral ideals, are to be admired and pitied at once, as luminous but remote phantoms; the Romans, with their greater practical sense, ancient virtue, and love of law and order, seem like our own people. It is with personal pride that we read of the valour and conquests of this mighty race, who used the alphabet we use, spoke and wrote with but little difference many of the words we speak and write, and with divine creative power evolved virtually all the forms of law which govern us today. To the Greek, art and literature were inextricably involved in daily life and thought; to the Roman, as to us, they were a separate unit in a many-sided civilisation. Undoubtedly this circumstance proves the inferiority of the Roman culture to the Greek; but it is an inferiority shared by our own culture, and therefore a bond of sympathy.
The race whose genius gave rise to the glories of Rome is, unhappily, not now in existence. Centuries of devastating wars, and foreign immigration into Italy, left but few real Latins after the early Imperial aera. The original Romans were a blend of closely related dolichocephalic Mediterranean tribes, whose racial affinities with the Greeks could not have been very remote, plus a slight Etruscan element of doubtful classification. The latter stock is an object of much mystery to ethnologists, being at present described by most authorities as of the brachycephalic Alpine variety. Many Roman customs and habits of thought are traceable to this problematical people.
It is a singular circumstance, that classic Latin literature is, save in the case of satire, almost wholly unrelated to the crude effusions of the primitive Latins; being borrowed as to form and subject from the Greeks, at a comparatively late date in Rome's political history. That this borrowing assisted greatly in Latin cultural advancement, none may deny; but it is also true that the new Hellenised literature exerted a malign influence on the nation's ancient austerity, introducing lax Grecian notions which contributed to moral and material decadence. The counter-currents, however, were strong; and the virile Roman spirit shone nobly through the Athenian dress in almost every instance, imparting to the literature a distinctively national cast, and displaying the peculiar characteristics of the Italian mind. On the whole, Roman life moulded Roman literature more than the literature moulded the life.
The earliest writings of the Latins are, save for a fragment or two, lost to posterity; though a few of their qualities are known. They were for the most part crude ballads in an odd "Saturnian" metre copied from the Etruscans, primitive religious chants and dirges, rough medleys of comic verse forming the prototype of satire, and awkward "Fescennine" dialogues or dramatic farces enacted by the lively peasantry. All doubtless reflected the simple, happy and virtuous, if stern, life of the home-loving agricultural race which was destined later to conquer the world. In B. C. 364 the medleys or "Saturae" were enacted upon the Roman stage, the words supplemented by the pantomime and dancing of Etruscan performers who spoke no Latin. Another early form of dramatic art was the "fabula Atellana," which was adapted from the neighbouring tribe of Oscans, and which possessed a simple plot and stock characters. While this early literature embodied Oscan and Etruscan as well as Latin elements, it was truly Roman; for the Roman was himself formed of just such a mixture. All Italy contributed to the Latin stream, but at no time did any non-Roman dialect rise to the distinction of a real literature. We have here no parallel for the AEolic, Ionic, and Doric phases of Greek literature.
Classical Latin literature dates from the beginning of Rome's free intercourse with Greece, a thing brought about by the conquest of the Hellenic colonies in Southern Italy. When Tarentum fell to the Romans in B. C. 272, there was brought to Rome as a captive and slave a young man of great attainments, by name Andronicus. His master, M. Livius Salinator, was quick to perceive his genius, and soon gave him his liberty, investing him according to custom with his own nomen of Livius, so that the freedman was afterward known as Livius Andronicus. The erstwhile slave, having established a school, commenced his literary career by translating the Odyssey into Latin Saturnian verse for the use of his pupils. This feat was followed by the translation of a Greek drama, which was enacted in B. C. 240, and formed the first genuinely classic piece beheld by the Roman public. The success of Livius Andronicus was very considerable, and he wrote many more plays, in which he himself acted, besides attempting lyric and religious poetry. His work, of which but 41 lines remain in existence, was pronounced inferior by Cicero; yet must ever be accorded respect as the very commencement of a great literature.
Latin verse continued to depend largely on Greek models, but in prose the Romans were more original, and the first celebrated prose writer was that stern old Greek hater, M. Porcius Cato (234-149 B. C.), who prepared orations and wrote on history, agriculture, and other subjects. His style was clear, though by no means perfect, and it is a source of regret that his historical work, the "Origines," is lost. Other prose writers, all orators, extending from Cato's time down to the polished period, are Laelius, Scipio, the Gracchi, Antonius, Crassus, and the celebrated Q. Hortensius, early opponent of Cicero.
Satire, that one absolutely native product of Italy, first found independent expression in C. Lucilius (180-103 B. C.), though the great Roman inclination toward that form of expression had already found an outlet in satirical passages in other sorts of writing. There is perhaps no better weapon for the scourging of vice and folly than this potent literary embodiment of wit and irony, and certainly no author ever wielded that weapon more nobly than Lucilius. His aera was characterised by great degeneracy, due to Greek influences, and the manner in which he upheld failing Virtue won him the unmeasured regard of his contemporaries and successors. Horace, Persius, and Juvenal all owe much to him, and it is melancholy to reflect that all his work, save a fragment or two, is lost to the world. Lucilius, sometimes called "The Father of Satire," was a man of equestrian rank, and fought with Scipio at Numantia.
With the age of M. Tullius Cicero (106-43 B. C.)—the Golden Age—opens the period of highest perfection in Roman literature. It is hardly necessary to describe Cicero himself—his luminous talents have made him synonymous with the height of Attic elegance in wit, forensic art, and prose composition. Born of equestrian rank, he was educated with care, and embarked on his career at the age of twenty-five. His orations against L. Sergius Catilina during his consulship broke up one of the most dastardly plots in history, and gained for him the title of "Father of His Country." Philosophy claimed much of his time, and his delightful treatises "De Amicitia" and "De Senectute" will be read as long as friendship endures on earth, or men grow old. Near the end of his life Cicero, opposing the usurpations of M. Antonius, delivered his masterpieces of oratory, the "Philippics," modelled after the similar orations of the Greek Demosthenes against Philip of Macedonia. His murder, demanded by the vengeful Antonius in the proscription of the second triumvirate, was the direct result of these Philippics. Contemporary with Cicero was M. Terentius Varro, styled "most learned of the Romans," though ungraceful in style. Of his works, embracing many diverse subjects, only one agricultural treatise survives.
In this survey we need allot but little space to Caius Julius Caesar, probably the greatest human being so far to appear on this globe. His Commentaries on the Gallic and Civil Wars are models of pure and perspicuous prose, and his other work, voluminous but now lost, was doubtless of equal merit. At the present time, passages of Caesar's Gallic War are of especial interest on account of their allusions to battles against those perpetual enemies of civilisation, the Germans. How familiar, for instance, do we find the following passage from Book Six, describing German notions of honour:
"Latrocinia nullam habent infamiam, quae extra fines cujusque civitatis fiunt, atque ea juventutis exercendae ac desidiae minuendae causa fieri praedicant!"
The next generation of authors fall within what has been termed the "Augustan Age," the period during which Octavianus, having become Emperor, encouraged letters to a degree hitherto unknown; not only personally, but through his famous minister Maecenas (73-8 B. C.). The literature of this period is immortal through the genius of Virgil, Horace, and Ovid, and has made the name "Augustan" an universal synonyme for classic elegance and urbanity. Thus in our own literary history, Queen Anne's reign is known as the "Augustan Age" on account of the brilliant wits and poets then at their zenith. Maecenas, whose name must ever typify the ideal of munificent literary patronage, was himself a scholar and poet, as was indeed Augustus. Both, however, are overshadowed by the titanic geniuses who gathered around them.
Succeeding the Golden Age, and extending down to the time of the Antonines, is the so-called "Silver Age" of Latin literature, in which are included several writers of the highest genius, despite a general decadence and artificiality of style. In the reign of Tiberius we note the annalists C. Velleius Paterculus and Valerius Maximus, the medical writer, A. Cornelius Celsus, and the fabulist Phaedrus, the latter a freedman from Thrace who imitated his more celebrated predecessor AEsop.
The satirist, A. Persius Flaccus (34-62 A. D.), is the first eminent poet to appear after the death of Ovid. Born at Volaterrae of an equestrian family, carefully reared by his gifted mother, and educated at Rome by the Stoic philosopher Cornutus, he became famous not only as a moralist of the greatest power and urbanity, but as one whose life accorded perfectly with his precepts; a character of unblemished virtue and delicacy in an age of unprecedented evil. His work, which attacked only the less repulsive follies of the day, contains passages of the highest nobility. His early death terminated a career of infinite promise.
In the person of D. Junius Juvenalis (57-128 A. D.), commonly called Juvenal, we behold the foremost satirist in literary history. Born at Aquinum of humble but comfortably situated parents, he came to Rome as a rhetorician; though upon discovering his natural bent, turned to poetical satire. With a fierceness and moral seriousness unprecedented in literature, Juvenal attacked the darkest vices of his age; writing as a relentless enemy rather than as a man of the world like Horace, or as a detached spectator like Persius. The oft repeated accusation that his minute descriptions of vice shew a morbid interest therein, may fairly be refuted when one considers the almost unthinkable depths to which the republic had fallen. Only a tolerant or a secluded observer could avoid attacking openly and bitterly the evil conditions which obtruded themselves on every hand; and Juvenal, a genuine Roman of the active and virtuous old school, was neither tolerant nor secluded. Juvenal wrote sixteen satires in all, the most famous of which are the third and tenth, both imitated in modern times with great success by Dr. Johnson. Contemporary with Juvenal was the Spaniard, M. Valerius Martialis (43-117 A. D.), commonly called Martial, master of the classic epigram. Unsurpassed in compact, scintillant wit, his works present a subjective and familiar picture of that society which Juvenal so bitterly attacked from without.
We come now upon one of the most distressing spectacles of human history. The mighty empire of Rome; its morals corrupted through Eastern influences, its spirit depressed through despotic government, and its people reduced to mongrel degeneracy through unrestrained immigration and foreign admixture; suddenly ceases to be an abode of creative thought, and sinks into a mental lethargy which dries up the very fountains of art and literature. The Emperor Constantinus, desirous of embellishing his new capital with the most magnificent decorations, can find no artist capable of fashioning them; and is obliged to strip ancient Greece of her choicest sculptures to fulfil his needs. Plainly, the days of Roman glory are over; and only a few and mainly mediocre geniuses are to be expected in the years preceding the actual downfall of Latin civilisation.
It is interesting, in a melancholy way, to trace the course of Roman poetry down to its very close, when it is lost amidst the darkness of the Middle Ages. Claudius Rutilius Namatianus, who flourished in the 5th century, was a Gaul, and wrote a very fair piece culled the "Itinerarium," describing a voyage from Rome to his native province. Though inferior to his contemporary, Claudian, in genius, Rutilius excels him in purity of diction and refinement of taste. At this period, pure Latin was probably confined to the highest circles, the masses already using that eloquium vulgare which later on formed the several modern Romance Languages; hence Rutilius must have been in a sense a classical antiquarian.
The end draws near. Compilers, grammarians, critics, commentators, and encyclopaedists; summarising the past and quibbling over technical minutiae; are the last survivors of a dying literature from whence inspiration has already fled. Macrobius, a critic and grammarian of celebrity, flourished in the fourth or fifth century, and interests us as being one through knowledge of whose works Samuel Johnson first attracted notice at Oxford. Priscian, conceded to be one of the principal grammatical authorities of the Roman world, flourished about the year 500. Isidorus Hispalensis, Bishop of Seville, grammarian, historian and theologian, was the most celebrated and influential literary character of the crumbling Roman fabric, save the philosopher Boetius and the historian Cassiodorus, and was highly esteemed during the Middle Ages, of which, indeed, he was as much a part, as he was a part of expiring classicism.
Now falls the curtain. Roma fuit. At the time of Isidorus' death in A. D. 636, the beginnings of mediaevalism were fully under way. Authorship had disappeared in the broader sense; learning, such as it was, had retired into the monasteries; whilst the populace of the erstwhile Empire, living side by side with the invading barbarians, no longer spoke a language justly to be called classical Latin. With the revival of letters we shall see more Latin writings, but they will not be Roman; for their authors will have new and strange idioms for their mother-tongues, and will view life in a somewhat different manner. The link of continuity will have been irreparably broken, and these revivers will be Romans only in an artificial and antiquarian sense. He who calls himself "Pomponius Laetus" will be found to have been baptised Pomponio Leto. Classical antiquity, with its simple magnificence, can never return.
In glancing back over the literature we have examined, we are impressed by its distinctiveness, despite its Greek form. It is truly characteristic of the Roman people, and expresses Rome's majestic mind in a multitude of ways. Law, order, justice, and supremacy; "these things, O Roman, shall to you be arts!" All through the works of Latin authors runs this love of fame, power, order, and permanence. Art is not a prime phase of life or entirely an intrinsic pleasure, but a means of personal or national glorification; the true Roman poet writes his own epitaph for posterity, and exults in the lasting celebrity his memory will receive. Despite his debt to Hellas, he detests the foreign influence, and can find no term of satirical opprobrium more biting than "Graeculus." The sense of rigid virtue, so deficient in the Greek, blossoms forth nobly in the Roman; making moral satire the greatest of native growths. Naturally, the Roman mind is most perfectly expressed in those voluminous works of law, extending all the way down to the Byzantine age of Justinianus, which have given the modern world its entire foundation of jurisprudence; but of these, lack of space forbids us to treat. They are not, strictly speaking, a part of literature proper.
The influence of the Latin classics upon modern literature has been tremendous. They are today, and will ever be, vital sources of inspiration and guidance. Our own most correct age, that of Queen Anne and the first three Georges, was saturated with their spirit; and there is scarce a writer of note who does not visibly reflect their immediate influence. Each classic English author has, after a fashion, his Latin counterpart. Mr. Pope was a Horace; Dr. Johnson a Juvenal. The early Elizabethan tragedy was a reincarnation of Seneca, as comedy was of Plautus. English literature teems with Latin quotations and allusions to such a degree that no reader can extract full benefit if he have not at least a superficial knowledge of Roman letters.
Wherefore it is enjoined upon the reader not to neglect cultivation of this rich field; a field which offers as much of pure interest and enjoyment of necessary cultural training and wholesome intellectual discipline.
To Alan Seeger:
Howard Phillips Lovecraft
(In National Enquirer)
SEEGER, whose soul, with animated lyre Wak'd the dull dreamer to a manlier fire; Whose martial voice, by martial deeds sustain'd, Denounc'd the age when shameful peace remain'd; Let thy brave spirit yet among us dwell, And linger where thy form in valour fell: Proudly before th' invader's fury mass'd, Behold thy country's cohorts, rous'd at last! It was not for thy mortal eye to see Columbia arm'd for right and liberty; Thine was the finer heart, that could not stay To wait for laggards in the vital fray, And ere the millions felt thy sacred heat, Thou hadst thy gift to Freedom made complete. But while thou sleepest in an honour'd grave Beneath the Gallic sod thou bledst to save, May thy soul's vision scan the ravag'd plain, And tell thee that thou didst not fall in vain: Here, as though pray'dst, a million men advance, To prove Columbia one with flaming France, And heeding now the long-forgotten debt, Pay with their blood the gen'rous LAFAYETTE! Thy ringing odes to prophecies are turn'd, Whilst legions feel the blaze that in thee burn'd. Not as a lonely stranger dost thou lie, Thy form forsaken 'neath a foreign sky, On Gallic tongues thy name forever lives, First of the mighty host thy country gives: All that thou dreamt'st in life shall come to be, And proud Columbia find her voice in thee!
(Alan Seeger fell in the Cause of Civilisation at Belloy-en-Santerre, July 4, 1916.)
THE UNITED AMATEUR JANUARY 1919
Last of the giants, in whose soul shone clear The sacred torch of greatness and of right, A stricken world, that cannot boast thy peer, Mourns o'er thy grave amidst the new-born night.
Sage, seer and statesman, wise in ev'ry art; First to behold, and first to preach, the truth; Soldier and patriot, in whose mighty heart Throbb'd the high valour of eternal youth.
Foremost of citizens and best of chiefs, Within thy mind no weak inaction lay; Leal to thy standards, firm in thy beliefs; As quick to do, as others are to say.
Freeman and gentleman, whose spirit glow'd With kindness' and with goodness' warmest fire; To prince and peasant thy broad friendship flow'd, Each proud to take, and eager to admire.
Within thy book of life each spotless page Lies open for a world's respecting view; Thou stand'st the first and purest of our age, To private, as to public virtue true.
In thee did such transcendent greatness gleam, That none might grudge thee an Imperial place; Yet such thy modesty, thou need'st must seem The leader, not the monarch, of thy race.
Courage and pow'r, to wit and learning join'd, With energy that sham'd the envious sun; The ablest, bravest, noblest of mankind— A Caesar and Aurelius mixt in one.
At thy stern gaze Dishonour bow'd its head; Oppression slunk ingloriously away; The virtuous follow'd where thy footsteps led, And Freedom bless'd thy uncorrupted sway.
When from the East invading Vandals pour'd, And selfish ignorance restrain'd our hand, Thy voice was first to bid us draw the sword To guard our liberties and save our land.
Envy deny'd thee what thy spirit sought, And held thee from the battle-seething plain; Yet thy proud blood in filial bodies fought, And poppies blossom o'er thy QUENTIN slain.
'Twas thine to see the triumph of thy cause; Thy grateful eyes beheld a world redeem'd; Would that thy wisdom might have shap'd the laws Of the new age, and led to heights undream'd!
Yet art thou gone? Will not thy presence cling Like that of all the great who liv'd before? Will not new wonders of thy fashioning Rise from thy words, as potent as of yore?
Absent in flesh, thou with a brighter flame Shin'st as the beacon of the brave and free; Thou art our country's soul—our loftiest aim Is but to honour and to follow thee!
H. P. LOVECRAFT. January 13, 1919.
THE UNITED AMATEUR MARCH 1919
A Note on Howard P. Lovecraft's Verse
Comment occasioned by the verse of Mr. Howard P. Lovecraft, who is a more or less frequent contributor to the amateur press, has not consisted of unmixed praise.
Certain critics have regarded his efforts as too obviously imitative of a style that has long been discredited. Others have accepted his work with admiration and have even gone so far as to imitate the couplets which he produces with such apparent ease.
Between these two opinions there is a critical neutral ground, the holders of which realise how large an element of conscious parody enters into many of Mr. Lovecraft's longer and more serious productions, and who are capable of appreciating the cleverness and literary charm of these pastoral echoes without being dominated by them to the extent of indiscriminate praise and second-hand imitation.
Those who would beguile Mr. Lovecraft from his chosen path are probably unaware of the attitude which he consistently maintains toward hostile criticism. Mr. Lovecraft contends that it gives him pleasure to write as the Augustans did, and that those who do not relish his excursions into classic fields need not follow him. He tries to conciliate no one, and is content to be his own sole reader! What critic, with these facts before him, will think it worthwhile to break a lance with the poet?
But even Mr. Lovecraft is willing to be original, at times. He has written verse of a distinctly modern atmosphere, and where his imagery is not too obtrusively artificial—according to the modern idea—many of his quatrains possess genuine poetic value.
Many who cannot read his longer and more ambitious productions find Mr. Lovecraft's light or humorous verse decidedly refreshing. As a satirist along familiar lines, particularly those laid down by Butler, Swift and Pope, he is most himself—paradoxical though it seems. In reading his satires one cannot help but feel the zest with which the author has composed them. They are admirable for the way in which they reveal the depth and intensity of Mr. Lovecraft's convictions, while the wit, irony, sarcasm and humour to be found in them serve as an indication of his powers as a controversialist. The almost relentless ferocity of his satires is constantly relieved by an attendant broad humour which has the merit of causing the reader to chuckle more than once in the perusal of some attack levelled against the particular person or policy which may have incurred Mr. Lovecraft's displeasure.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC CRITICISM
The Coyote for October-January is a "Special War Number," dedicated to Cpl. Raymond Wesley Harrington, the editor's valiant soldier brother, and having a general martial atmosphere throughout. Among the contents are two bits of verse by the gallant overseas warrior to whom the issue is inscribed, both of which speak well for the poetic sentiment of their heroic author.
"Lord Love You, Lad," a poem by Winifred V. Jordan, is the opening contribution; and deserves highest commendation both for its spirit and for its construction.
"The Paramount Issue," by William T. Harrington, is a somewhat ambitious attempt to trace the responsibility for the great war to alcoholic liquor and its degenerative effect on mankind. The author even goes so far as to say that "had man been represented in his true and noble form, then war would have been impossible." Now although the present critic is and always has been an ardent prohibitionist, he must protest at this extravagant theory. Vast and far-reaching as are the known evil effects of drink, it is surely transcending fact to accuse it of causing mankind's natural greed, pride, and combative instincts, which lie at the base of all warfare. It may, however, be justly suggested that much of the peculiar bestiality of the Huns is derived from their swinish addiction to beer. Technically, Mr. Harrington's essay is marked by few crudities, and displays an encouraging fluency. Other pieces by Mr. Harrington are "A Bit of My Diary," wherein the author relates his regrettably brief military experience at Camp Dodge, and "Victory," a stirring editorial.
"Black Sheep," by Edna Hyde, is an excellent specimen of blank verse by our gifted laureate. Line 14 seems to lack a syllable, but this deficiency is probably the result of a typographical error.
A word of praise is due the general appearance of the magazine. The cover presents a refreshing bit of home-made pictorial art, whilst the photograph of Corporal Harrington makes a most attractive frontispiece.
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The Pathfinder for January is easily the best issue yet put forth by its enterprising young editor. "Hope," which adorns the cover, is a poem of much merit by Annie Pearce. The apparent lack of a syllable in line 2 of the third stanza is probably due to a printer's error whereby the word us is omitted immediately after the word for.
"How and Why Roses Are White," by Margaret Mahon, is a fairy legend of much charm and decided originality, which argues eloquently for its author's imaginative scope and literary ability.
"Happiness in a Glove" is a very facile and pleasing rendering of a bit of Spanish dialogue. Through a mistake, the authorship is credited to the translator, Miss Ella M. Miller, though her own manuscript fully proclaimed the text as a translation.
"Welcome, 1919," is a brief contemplative essay by Editor Glause; in spirit admirable, but in phraseology showing some of the uncertainty of youthful work. Mr. Glause might well pay more attention to compact precision in his prose, using as few and as forceful words as possible to express his meaning. For instance, his opening words would gain greatly in strength if contracted to the following: "Now that a new year is beginning." Farther down the page we find the word namely in a place which impels us to question its use. Its total omission would strengthen the sentence which contains it. Another point we must mention is the excessive punctuation, especially the needless hyphenation of amateurdom and therefore, and the apostrophe in the possessive pronoun its. The form it's is restricted to the colloquial contraction of "it is"; the similarly spelled pronoun is written solidly without an apostrophe. Additional notes by Mr. Glause are of equal merit, and his reply to a recent article on travel is highly sensible and commendable. He is a writer and thinker of much power, and needs only technical training in order to develop into an essayist of the first rank. As an editor he cannot be praised too highly for his faithfulness in publishing his welcome and attractive quarterly.
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Pine Cones for February well maintains the high standard set by Mr. Pryor in his opening number. "Life, Death and Immortality," by Jonathan E. Hoag, is a brief but appealing piece from the pen of a gifted and venerable bard, and thoroughly deserves its place of honour on the cover. On the next page occurs a metrical tribute to this sweet singer on his 88th birthday, written by H. P. Lovecraft in the latter's typical heroic strain.
"The Helpful Twins," a clever child story by Editor Pryor, is the prose treat of the issue. It would, indeed, be hard to find more than one or two equally interesting, human, and well-developed bits of fiction in any current amateur periodicals. Not only are the characters drawn with delightful naturalness, but there is real humour present; and the plot moves on to its climax without a single instance of awkwardness or a single intrusive or extraneous episode. In short, the story is almost a model of its kind; one which ought to prove a success in a professional as well as an amateur magazine. Mr. Pryor's humour is more broadly shown in the smile-producing pseudo-anecdotes of "The Boy Washington."
The bit of unsigned verse, "A New Year Wish," is excellent, though we question the advisability of having an Alexandrine for the final line.
"Comment Pryoristic" is always interesting, and that in the current Pine Cones forms no exception to the rule. The appearance of this vigorously alive and intelligently edited publication is proving a great and gratifying factor in amateurdom's post-bellum renaissance.
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The Recruiter for January marks the advent to amateurdom of a new paper, which easily takes its place among the very best of recent editorial enterprises. Edited by Misses Mary Faye Durr and L. Evelyn Schump in the interest of the United recruits whom they are securing, its thoroughly meritorious quality speaks well for the new members thus added to our circle.
The issue opens auspiciously with a lyric poem of distinguished excellence by Helen McFarland, entitled "A Casualty." In depth of sentiment, fervour of expression, and correctness of construction, these melodious lines leave little to be desired; and seem to indicate that the United has acquired one more poet of the first rank.
"Billy," a character sketch by L. Evelyn Schump, introduces to the Association a light essayist of unusual power and grace, whose work is vividly natural through keen insight, apt and fluent expression, and mastery of homely and familiar detail. The present sketch is captivatingly lifelike and thoroughly well-written, arousing a response from every lover of children.
"Winter," a brief poem by Hettie Murdock, celebrates in a pleasant way an unpleasant season. The lines are notable for correctness, spontaneity and vitality, though not in the least ambitious in scope.
Martha Charlotte Macatee's "Song of Nature" reveals its 12-year-old creator as a genuine "Galpiness" (if we may coin a word which only amateurs and Appletonians will understand). Mistress Macatee has succeeded in infusing more than a modicum of really poetic atmosphere and imagery into her short lyric, and may be relied upon to produce important work in the coming years of greater maturity. The chief defect of her present piece is the absence of rhyme, which should always occur in a short stanzaic poem. Rhyming is not at all difficult after a little practice, and we trust that the young writer will employ it in later verses.
"Tarrytown," by Florence Fitzgerald, is a reminiscent poem of phenomenal strength, marred only by a pair of false rhymes in the opening stanza. Assonance must never be mistaken for true rhyme, and combinations like boats-float or them-brim should be avoided. The imagery of this piece is especially appealing, and testifies to its author's fertility of fancy.
"Shades of Adam," by Mary Faye Durr, is an interesting and humorously written account of the social side of our 1918 convention. Miss Durr is exceptionally gifted in the field of apt, quiet, and laconic wit, and in this informal chronicle neglects no opportunity for dryly amusing comment on persons and events.
"Spring," by L. Evelyn Schump, is a refreshingly original poem in blank verse, on a somewhat familiar subject. For inspiration and technique alike, the piece merits enthusiastic commendation; though we may vindicate our reputation as a fault-finding critic by asking why alternate lines are indented despite the non-existence of alternate rhymes.
The Recruiter's editorial column is brief and businesslike, introducing the magazine as a whole, and its contributors individually. Amateurdom is deeply indebted to the publishers of this delightful newcomer, and it is to be hoped that they may continue their efforts; both toward seeking recruits as high in quality as those here represented, and toward issuing their admirable journal as frequently as is feasible.
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The Silver Clarion for January comes well up to the usual standard, containing a number of pieces of considerable power. In "The Temple of the Holy Ghost," Mr. Arthur Goodenough achieves his accustomed success as a religious poet, presenting a variety of apt images, and clothing them in facile metre. The only defect is a lack of uniformity in rhyming plan. The poet, in commencing a piece like this, should decide whether or not to rhyme the first and third lines of quatrains; and having decided, should adhere to his decision. Instead, Mr. Goodenough omits these optional rhymes in the first stanza and in the first half of the third and fourth stanzas; elsewhere employing them. The result, while not flagrantly inharmonious, nevertheless gives an impression of imperfection, and tends to alienate the fastidious critic. Mr. Goodenough possesses so great a degree of inspiration, and so wide an array of allusions and imagery; that he owes it to himself to complete the excellence of his vivid work with an unexceptionable technique.
"The Cross," a sonnet by Captain Theodore Draper Gottlieb, is dedicated to the Red Cross, with which the author is serving so valiantly. In thought and form this piece deserves unqualified praise.
"Death," by Andrew Francis Lockhart, exhibits our versatile Western bard in sober mood. The poem contains that unmistakable stamp of genuine emotion which we have come to associate with Mr. Lockhart's work, and is technically faultless.
"Destiny," by W. F. Pelton, is a sonnet of smooth construction and thorough excellence by one whom we know better as "Wilfrid Kemble."
The lines "To My Pal, Fred" present Mr. Harry E. Rieseberg, a new member of the United who has for some time been a regular Clarion contributor. In this piece Mr. Rieseberg falls somewhat below his usual standard; for though the sentiment is appropriate, the metre is sadly irregular. Mr. Rieseberg should count the syllables in his lines, for he is a young poet of much promise, and should allow his technique to keep pace with his genius.
"Faith," by Winifred V. Jordan, enunciates a familiar doctrine in melodious and original metaphor, and well sustains the poetical reputation of its celebrated author.
"The Song Unsung," by W. F. Booker, is a war poem in minor key, which deserves much praise.
"You're Like a Willow," by Eugene B. Kuntz, is marked by that warmth of fancy and wealth of imagery for which its author is noted.
"Thoughts," a courtly offering from the quill of James Laurence Crowley, winds up the poetical part of the magazine; this month a very ample part. In rhyme and metre this sentimental gem is quite satisfactory.
The only prose in this issue is Mr. Samples' well-written editorial on "The Passing Year." Herein we find some really excellent passages, savouring somewhat of the oratorical in style.
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The Silver Clarion for February is of ample size and ample merit. Opening the issue is an excellent poem in heroic couplets by Mrs. Stella L. Tully of Mountmellick, Ireland, a new member of the United. Mrs. Tully, whose best work is in a lyric and religious vein, is one endowed with hereditary or family genius; as the Association no doubt appreciated when reading the poetry of her gifted sister, Mrs. S. Lilian McMullen of Newton Centre, in the preceding issue of THE UNITED AMATEUR. The present piece by Mrs. Tully, "The Greatest of These is Love," is based upon a Biblical text, and sets forth its ideas very effectively, despite a few passages whose stiff construction betrays a slight inexperience in the traditions of heroic verse.
"The Two Crosses," by Capt. Theodore Gottlieb, is also in heroics, and graphically compares the most holy symbols of today and of nineteen hundred years ago.
More of the religious atmosphere is furnished by John Milton Samples' trochaic composition entitled "The Millennium"—from whose title, by the way, one of the necessary n's is missing. In this pleasing picture of an impossible age we note but three things requiring critical attention. (1) The term "super-race" in stanza 5, is too technically philosophical to be really poetic. (2) The rhyme of victory and eternally is not very desirable, because both the rhyming syllables bear only a secondary accent. (3) There is something grotesque and unconsciously comic in the prophecy "Then the lamb shall kiss the lion." Such grotesqueness is not to be found in the original words of Mr. Samples' predecessor and source of inspiration, the well-known prophet Isaiah. (Vide Isaiah, xi: 6-7.)
"Nature Worship," by Arthur Goodenough, is one of the most meritorious poems in the issue, despite some dubious grammar in the first stanza, and an internal rhyme in the final stanza which has no counterpart in the lines preceding. The first named error consists of a disagreement in number betwixt subject and verb: "faith and form and ... mazes which ... perplexes, dazes."
"The New Order," an essay by John Milton Samples, is an eloquent but fantastically idealistic bit of speculation concerning the wonderful future which dreamers picture as arising out of the recent war. To us, there is a sort of pathos in these vain hopes and mirage-like visions of an Utopia which can never be; yet if they can cheer anyone, they are doubtless not altogether futile. Indeed, after the successive menaces of the Huns and the Bolsheviki, we can call almost any future Utopian, if it will but afford the comparative calm of pre-1914 days!
"No Night So Dark, No Day So Drear," by Mamie Knight Samples, is a poem which reveals merit despite many crudities. The outstanding fault is defective metre—Mrs. Samples should carefully count her syllables, and repeat her lines aloud, to make sure of perfect scansion. Since the intended metre appears to be iambic tetrameter, we shall here give a revised rendering of the first stanza; showing how it can be made to conform to that measure:
"No night so dark, no day so drear, But we may sing our songs of cheer." These words, borne from the world without, Cheer'd a heart sick with grief and doubt. O doubting soul, bow'd down so low, If thou couldst feel, and only know The darkness is in thee alone, For grief and tears it would atone. "No night so dark, no day so drear, But we may sing our songs of cheer."
Let the authoress note that each line must have eight syllables—no more, no less. For the trite ideas and hackneyed rhymes, nothing can be recommended save a more observant and discriminating perusal of standard poets. It must be kept in mind that the verse found in current family magazines and popular hymn-books is seldom, if ever, true poetry. The only authors suitable as models, are those whose names are praised in histories of English literature.
W. F. Booker's "Song" is a delightful short lyric whose sentiment and technique deserve naught but praise.
"When I Am Gone," a poem in pentameter quatrains by James Laurence Crowley, contains the customary allotment of sweet sentiment, together with some really commendable imagery. Mr. Crowley's genius will shine brightly before long.
"The Path to Glory," by Andrew Francis Lockhart, is perhaps the poetic gem of the issue. In this virile anapaestic piece Mr. Lockhart sums up all the horrors of the trenches in such a way that the reader may guess at the extent of the sacrifice undergone by those who have given all for their country.
In "Coconino Jim, Lumberjack," Mr. Harry E. Rieseberg shows himself a true and powerful poet of the rugged, virile school of Kipling, Service, Knibbs, and their analogues. The present piece is entirely correct in rhyme and well-developed in thought, wanting only good metre to make it perfect. This latter accomplishment Mr. Rieseberg should strive hard to attain, for his poetry surely deserves as good a form as he can give it.
A word of praise should be given Mr. Samples' editorial, "The Professional in Amateur Journalism," in which he shows the fallacy of the plea for a cruder, more juvenile amateurdom, which often emanates from members of the older and less progressive associations. As the editor contends, intellectual evolution must occur; and the whole recent career of the United demonstrates the value of a purely literary society for genuine literary aspirants of every age and every stage of mental development.
THE UNITED AMATEUR MAY 1919
Helene Hoffman Cole—Litterateur
Howard Phillips Lovecraft
Of the various authors who have contributed to the fame of our Association, few can be compared in sustained ability and breadth of interests to the late Helene Hoffman Cole. Represented in the press as a poet, critic, essayist, and fiction-writer, Mrs. Cole achieved distinction in all of these departments; rising during recent years to an almost unique prominence in the field of book-reviewing. Her compositions display a diversity of attainments and catholicity of taste highly remarkable in one of so relatively slight an age, familiar knowledge of foreign and archaic literature supplying a mature background too seldom possessed by amateur authors.
It is as a poet that Mrs. Cole has been least known, since her verse was not of frequent occurrence in the amateur press. A glance at the few existing specimens, however, demonstrates conclusively that her poetical gifts were by no means inconsiderable; and that had she chosen such a course, she might easily have become one of the leading bards of the United. Verse like the unnamed autumn pieces in Leaflets and The Hellenian possess an aptness and cleverness of fancy which bespeak the true poet despite trivial technical imperfections.
In fiction the extent of Mrs. Cole's genius was still further revealed, nearly all her narratives moving along with impeccable grace and fluency. Her plots were for the most part light and popular in nature, and would have reflected credit on any professional writer of modern magazine tales. Of her stories, "The Picture," appearing in Leaflets for October, 1913, is an excellent example. More dramatic in quality is "Her Wish," in the August, 1914, Olympian. This brief tragedy of a Serbian and his bride is perhaps one of the very first tales written around the World War.
But it is in the domain of the literary essay that this authoress rose to loftiest altitude. Of wide and profound reading, and of keen and discriminating mind, Mrs. Cole presented in a style of admirable grace and lucidity her reactions to the best works of numerous standard authors, ancient and modern, English and foreign. The value of such work in amateurdom, extending the cultural outlook and displaying the outside world as seen through the eyes of a gifted, respected, and representative member, scarce needs the emphasis of the commentator. He who can link the amateur and larger spheres in a pleasing and acceptable fashion, deserves the highest approbation and panegyric that the United can bestow. Notable indeed are Mrs. Cole's sound reviews of Sir Thomas Browne's "Hydriotaphia" in THE UNITED AMATEUR, of "Pelle, the Conqueror" in The Tryout, and of numerous South American works but little known to Northern readers. Of equal merit are such terse and delightful essays as "M. Tullius Cicero, Pater Patriae," where the essayist invests a classical theme with all the living charm of well-restrained subjectivity. The style of these writings is in itself captivating; the vocabulary containing enough words of Latin derivation to rescue it from the Boeotian harshness typical of this age. All that has been said of Mrs. Cole's broader reviews may be said of her amateur criticism, much of which graced the columns of The Olympian and other magazines.
The exclusively journalistic skill of Mrs. Cole now remains to be considered, and this we find as brilliant as her other attainments. As the editor of numerous papers during every stage of her career, she exhibited phenomenal taste and enterprise; never failing to create enthusiasm and evoke encomium with her ventures both individual and co-operative. Her gift for gathering, selecting and writing news was quite unexampled. As the reporter par excellence of both associations, she was the main reliance of other editors for convention reports and general items; all of which were phrased with an ease, urbanity, and personality that lent them distinctiveness. Not the least of her qualities was a gentle and unobtrusive humour which enlivened her lighter productions. Amateurdom will long remember the quaint piquancy of the issues of The Martian which she cleverly published in the name of her infant son.
During these latter days nearly every amateur has expressed a kind of incredulity that Mrs. Cole can indeed be no more, and in this the present writer must needs share. To realise that her gifted pen has ceased to enrich our small literary world requires a painful effort on the part of everyone who has followed her brilliant progress in the field of letters. The United loses more by her sudden and untimely demise than can well be reckoned at this moment.
THE UNITED AMATEUR JULY 1919
Howard Phillips Lovecraft
It is easy to sentimentalise on the subject of "the American spirit"—what it is, may be, or should be. Exponents of various novel political and social theories are particularly given to this practice, nearly always concluding that "true Americanism" is nothing more or less than a national application of their respective individual doctrines.
Slightly less superficial observers hit upon the abstract principle of "Liberty" as the keynote of Americanism, interpreting this justly esteemed principle as anything from Bolshevism to the right to drink 2.75 per cent. beer. "Opportunity" is another favourite byword, and one which is certainly not without real significance. The synonymousness of "America" and "opportunity" has been inculcated into many a young head of the present generation by Emerson via Montgomery's "Leading Facts of American History." But it is worthy of note that nearly all would-be definers of "Americanism" fail through their prejudiced unwillingness to trace the quality to its European source. They cannot bring themselves to see that abiogenesis is as rare in the realm of ideas as it is in the kingdom of organic life; and consequently waste their efforts in trying to treat America as if it were an isolated phenomenon without ancestry.