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THE “ARTISAN POET” OF WALES SIR:
You may remember my article in your journal, An Artisan Poet, in February last. I have just heard from Mr. Menai Williams to the effect that a new edition of his book of poetry, Through the Upward Shaft, is being published by Messrs. Hodder and Stoughton, London, England; also, that another volume by the same author will probably be published in the autumn.
I write this to you because I have received so many inquiries, both directly and through you, as to the publishers and sellers of Through the Upward Shaft. I think it would benefit lovers of literature generally if you could insert a note or even this letter—to this effect in your valuable and influential REVIEW.
DEWI J. WILLIAMS. Bulawayo, South Africa.
IN DEFENSE OF THE GARBAGE CAN SIR:
I do not wish the title to be taken in too literal a sense, since it is written in the form of a rebuttal to the argument put forth in THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW by Elizabeth Robins Pennell. While her article started as a contemnation upon the lowly yet altogether too highly visible garbage can she later metamorphized this into the symbol of a national artistic inertia and slovenliness. I am not one of those individuals she refers to "who wears his patriotism upon his sleeve", nor do I consider it a crime to criticize one's own country; providing the criticism is just in its relation to the country as a whole. But her criticism and the examples she sets forth only apply in a sense to a remote part of a heterogeneous mass.
She takes New York as a model for her picture to represent the national shortcomings and with a broad, full brush, sweeps on the pigments in heavy masses obscuring the higher lights and subtiles. She regrets that Americans are so slovenly and that Art is lacking in the mad effort to obtain monetary independence and power, and then goes on to say that "American (art) students are almost as countless as the sands on the shore, and scholarships almost many enough to go the rounds”. Surely this would seem an incongruity. While thousands may aspire to painting, sculpture, literature and music, it is only a very small minority who will ever be recognized. For the fruits of genius are not given to every man, and it is only the works of genius which withstand the erosion of the ages.
The “stately old towns of France or Spain or Italy" are doubtless more quaint and picturesque than towns in America—but it is mostly due to their backgrounds and traditions that they appeal to our romantic spirit. In point of cleanliness and sanitation they do not compare with New World methods.
The final and transcendent contradiction is her statement that we should
check the flood of European immigration which threatens our Democracy,should stop these French, Spanish and Italians whose national habits she so faithfully upholds.
Garbage cans will no doubt continue to be of use in this country and will not materially affect cultural opportunities, all criticism to the contrary notwithstanding.
ALLEN WEST SHAW. Riverside, Conn.
JOSEPH ANDREW GALAHAD
(Died April 13, 1922) SIR:
THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW will, I believe, have increasing pride in having published poems by Joseph Andrew Galahad, especially The Knife in the issue for May, 1920, which brought the author a cordial letter from John Masefield. Joe Galahad won many devoted friends in his short literary career; indeed it was impossible for anyone to come into his radius without feeling the peculiar elevation and fervor of his spirit. I have noted how the mere mention of his name changed the entire atmosphere of a group of people. All who have come into more intimate touch with him are proud to have been called his friends, as an Elizabethan might have been proud of his acquaintance with Sidney.
I have been of those who thought that poetry should be judged solely in itself, apart from the circumstances of its creation or the character of the poet. Now I am not so sure. Certainly the knowledge of Joe's life has given his work a far deeper meaning to me than it could have had otherwise. To know that a young man on his death-bed in almost continuous pain for three years could affirm his love of life, his belief in friendship, and his trust in the divine dispensation, with such glowing imagination, has been a different experience from reading a poem in the Oxford Book. And yet even before I knew anything of his suffering I inferred the intensity and nobility of Joe Galahad's nature in a poem, not of his best, which came to me in the ordinary routine of editing Contemporary Verse. For the man wrote as he lived, out of the special conviction of his soul.
Let us finally turn to the concluding lines of Argosy, where the spirit escapes from its fleshly prison of pain:
So I leaned and opened the window-
I have built me a sturdy galleon-
Do not we, too, sail with him in this triumphant voyage of the spirit? Can we who knew him, even those who only read his story and his poetry sympathetically, ever relapse again into quite the lethargic “What's the use?” attitude of old, when we think of his buoyant courage, his virile acceptance of the worst that fate could do to him?
CHARLES WHARTON STORK, Logan, Philadelphia.
GOOD THINGS APPRECIATED SIR:
The May number of THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW appeals to my mind as educational, instructive and interesting in the varied fields of the world, evidencing that the articles conform to the title of the magazine.
I am not familiar with Lindsay Blayney's pen, but his article on Americanism is worth more to readers who have searching minds than the cost of the magazine itself. The foreign element of labor unions will not benefit, for they will not read it; but all who read the article will say "Amen" to it-Mr. Gompers himself, I believe, would.
Admiral Pratt is one of many strong intellects in the Navy, and his review of the armament limitation is analytical and clear to all readers.
Dr. Sweeney's article on Immigration recalls to me my association with Theodore Roosevelt in the late 'eighties, and the interest which he took in the law which was to exclude the criminal and those without visible means of support. He complained that the law was violated, and urged amendments that would shut out those who would be a burden or a menace to the country.
The article on France in the Dock is not only interesting but illuminating.
It is needless for me to attempt to praise the Affairs of the World by Willis Fletcher Johnson-a master hand.
H. E. RHOADES,
(Lieut.-Com’d'r, U.S.N.) Mirror Lake, New Hampshire.
(This is the third article of the series on World Restoration. The first, “Judaism and World Restoration," by the eminent rabbi, the Rev. Dr. Joseph Silverman, was in the August number; the second, “What Ails the World?” by the Rev. Martin J. Scott, S. J., was in the September number. In November Mr. Frederick Dixon will write from the Christian Science point of view.THE EDITORS.)
PROTESTANTISM is a living branch of the Christian Ecclesia, bearing fruit after its kind, but capable of far more fruitfulness. As a world movement at the front of history for the last four centuries, it is not without the taint of reproach incidental to human admixture. Some of its developments, past and present, have shown that, as a rule, men are farther advanced in political than religious ideas. Fed by the faults as well as the virtues of its progenitors, it boasts no unblemished record, nor asserts for itself a fictitious infallibility. It must be received for its intrinsic values to society, which have been realized in every realm of life, and are not liable to extinction by ecclesiastical fiat. Constructed at infinite sacrifice, cemented with honest blood, productive of eminent spirits and manifold services, and resting upon principles which exercise a legitimate and wide dominion, Protestantism now confronts the world situation which tests the fitness of historic institutions and systems to survive. Shall it perish, or prove itself the master of a grave and well-nigh universal emergency? This is the core of the issue discussed
Copyright, 1922, by North American Review Corporation. All rights reserved.
here, and also an indication of the indefeasible obligation, not only of Protestantism but of the Church Catholic, and not only of the Church Catholic but of all civilized and humane persons and States.
At the moment the outlook is not particularly cheerful. Professor E. A. Wodehouse, a considerate and keen observer, states that the churches at large, and specifically the Protestant churches, have lost touch with the thought movements of the age and no longer mould public opinion. In a period when every department of life and action vibrates with immense possibilities for good or evil, their voice is practically dumb. He further says it is a matter of general comment that while complicated and perplexing problems accumulate on every side, the churches offer no solutions. Moreover, in the vile genesis of war's intentioned outbreak, some churches played the harlot with the State, and supported its betrayal of Christendom. What counsel or direction can such pseudo-guardians give to our insurgent age? Without authority, remote from reality, unreal in attitude, bemused by things that are no more, they move in their diminishing spheres of retrospect and quotation, having no elucidation and little comfort for the ardent souls who fight the hard battles of outer life. The indictment reveals the academic in his less trustworthy and partial views. If the optimist believes too much because he sees too little, the pessimist complements him by seeing so much that he believes too little. One does not have wholly to acquiesce with Professor Wodehouse's severe arraignment in admitting that although the churches have shared in the general progress of the time, they have also paltered with some beggarly elements of reaction, cant, bigotry, and spurious liberalism. In the sequence they are heavily assessed: but they have means of payment and also of recovery.
Comparisons with the mediævalism which Protestantism shattered are often unfavorable to the latter system. The preReformation period was certainly solidified by a common religion which incorporated its faith and politics in the Papacy and the Empire. Yet the supremacy of the spiritual power did not rep