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and an exhaustive index will prove useful to the reader desirous of looking up any particular point. The author, throughout his Conferences, relies on St. Thomas Aquinas as his sure and beloved guide. All his friends, and all former students of Clonliffe College, will gladly welcome this learned and devout work of the gifted Abbot of Maredsous, who received his early training in the Dublin Diocesan College. We shall look forward with pleasure to his next work that is in preparation, Le Christ dans ses mystères.

M. R.

ESSAYS ON POETRY. By George O'Neill, S.J., M.A., Dublin: The Talbot Press; London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1919.

THESE essays on Poetry are written by one who has given to the subject he undertakes to interpret a long and considerable study. It was a happy thought of the author to make available for the public his opinions on poetry which hitherto were in a special manner reserved for those who foregathered around his chair in University College, Dublin. These latter will recognize in the work much that has hitherto characterized the author's thought in this department, and more particularly as regards the first part of the book, which deals explicitly with poetry, and has been written with a more definitely didactic aim than the rest-for the instruction of students rather than for that general reader whom the courteous author supposes at the outset to know nearly everything.' The attempt herein made to seek a criterion for poetry ends, as most such efforts end, in attaining to a definition of poetry which may satisfy some, but is not likely to satisfy all who seek for pleasure in 'linked words.' Taste, as regards poetry, differs with most men in some slight degree, and the choice of what one likes is perhaps the greatest indication of taste. With what Father O'Neill has written I am inclined not to disagree, for the simple reason that what he writes expresses his point of view, and that ' where doctors differ. . . we do well to show ourselves receptive rather than original, eclectic rather than partisan.' One passage, however, can hardly be allowed to pass without breaking a lance. 'Shelley,' writes Father O'Neill, 'we may be certain, would not have shared that enthusiasm of our prosodic specialists which bursts into eloquence over sonorous emptinesses. Keenly susceptible to the sensuous charm of such a piece as Coleridge's Kubla Khan, he would nevertheless have considered utterly topsy-turvy Professor Saintsbury's judgment on that little-meaning rhapsody that "it is not easy to think of a greater piece of poetry than Kubla Khan." Obviously Father O'Neill is not at one with the prosodic specialists who burst into eloquence over 'sonorous emptinesses and no one will disagree with him; but does he believe that Kubla Khan is' sonorous emptiness' and a 'little-meaning rhapsody.' If so he denies, perhaps, to the imagination one of its highest functions-the power to create the atmosphere in which it works for effects. He would seem to limit poetry to an elaboration of the real and actual or ordinarily possible

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events, or to what, from such a point of view, amounts to the same thing, the imaginative treatment of generally accepted modes of thought and belief. The merit of Kubla Khan is that it tends to oppose such a critical attitude, for it is an example of how the imagination can create the material in which it works for effects-a veritable giving to airy nothing a local habitation and a name.' The imaginative process which produces a work such as Kubla Khan is so rare that one critic has called it a psychological curiosity.' I can recall the effect of this process even in the case of prose-writers, as, for example, Edmund Burke. The latter, although he once wrote with an almost too intimate knowledge of the anodyne draught of oblivion,' took (so I believe) no opium. In the case of Kubla Khan it is easy to divine a faculty of the imagination that is often set into artificial operation by the drug to which Francis Thompson fell a victim.

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What is said in the present work concerning the poetaster, the versifier, the mediocre poet and the minor poet is interesting, but one turns with great pleasure to read the delightful essays on Aubrey de Vere, William Allingham, Thomas Boyd and Gerard Hopkins. Alienated somewhat from England by the religion he embraced, and from Ireland by the circumstances of family tradition and environment, Aubrey de Vere has fallen between the attentions of two critical schools. Our critic finds, and justly so, a cause for his want of popularity in the fact that his genius haunts cold heights of speculation, or seeks warmth only at spiritual fires.' De Vere was, however, an early exponent of a type of poetry which, in Ireland at least, has become a cult, namely, the interpretation in English verse of the spirit of old Irish heroic tale and saga. Those who have read the latter in the original will, I think, agree with the remark that: 'De Vere's resettings of old Irish legends, both Pagan and Christian, have often a noble and virile, though not exuberant life. It is, indeed, hardly the life of the old sagas.' Father O'Neill hopes for a revanche as regards De Vere's work, but perhaps what the most sanguine can hope for is not that he will secure a great and sustained popularity, but that he will continue to attract the attention of a choice and select circle of readers. In the cause of William Allingham's popularity Father O'Neill is also a knight-errant, but his way is made smooth for him by the existence of an excellent anthology of the poet's work in the Golden Treasury Series. A poet, Allingham found himself in the uncongenial atmosphere of officialdom-an Irishman, he sought an English literary environment where he was not wholly at his ease. To these circumstances was added the fact that, as his diary indicates, he had the companionship of men among whom the maladie du siècle was not unknown. Thomas Boyd is studied in a very brief essay and mainly by means of extracts from his work. More true to his Celtic sense than Allingham, Boyd strikes deep down into poetic veins of inspiration and his work is, as a conseqence, on the whole authentic and genuine.

The essay in the present volume on Gerard Hopkins is one of real intrinsic value, because the author can speak from first-hand sources of information concerning the connexion with Ireland of the poet whose

work has so recently been edited by the Poet Laureate. It may therefore be of interest to quote what is written in this regard :

In 1884 came the most notable event of Father Hopkins' years in the Society. He was invited to Dublin to be a Fellow in Classics of the newlyestablished Royal University of Ireland. It became his business to examine twice yearly a couple of hundred candidates drawn from every part of Ireland and to profess Greek in University College, Dublin. Although the establishment conducted by his Irish religious brethren in St. Stephen's Green was unofficial, unendowed, and in various ways sadly restricted, yet the prospects for the new Fellow might well have seemed propitious. Of his professional competence there was no doubt: Jowett had pronounced him one of the finest Greek scholars that had passed in his time through. Balliol. His duties might have pleasantly recalled the old Balliol days, Pater and the redoubtable 'Master'; the perfume of Newman reminiscences still hung about the house in Stephen's Green; on the College Staff were Thomas Arnold and Ormsby and Stewart and Fathers Darlington and Browne,-Englishmen, Oxonians and Newmanites like himself; the society in which he moved had even more than its due share of intellectual gifts. By labours which could in no sense be called hard or uncongenial he was called to further Newman's noble enterprise on behalf of higher Catholic education-an enterprise none the less glorious in itself or attractive to a fine spirit because tangled with hindrances and mortifications. Large freedom of movement was conceded by his superiors, and he formed many congenial acquaintances. Music was a frequent and much prized recreation. Perhaps some of his happiest moments were spent with children when he met these in friendly houses. Though sometimes silent and abstracted, his usual demeanour with his house-companionsincluding the sixteen or twenty resident students-was cheerful and unconstrained. . . . Thus, during those years, Father Hopkins' situation might seem to have been a favourable one. Yet from the beginning his health, his spirits, his capacity for work or enjoyment seemed to sink. The causes are not obvious, though we believe they were simple enough. Some facts that might be, or have been, cited as such, turn out, when properly regarded, to be symptoms rather than causes. Ireland, that has captivated so long a succession of incomers, failed to win from him a single. line of poetry; it remained his land of exile. Yet, in the sole poem which Ireland is mentioned, there is no complaint of his Irish associates.

To seem the stranger lies my lot, my life
Among strangers. Father and mother dear,
Brothers and sisters are in Christ not near

And he my peace my parting, sword and strife. ...


'In the life I lead now,' he wrote at the same time to Mr. Bridges, 'which is one of a continually jaded and harassed mind, if in any leisure I try to do anything I make no way-nor with my work, alas! but so it must be.' Here, too, there is no suggestion of any source of trouble outside himself. And the strongest expressions he uses in sonnets, which the Poet-Laureate not unjustly calls 'terrible,' are such as these: 'self-yeast of spirit a dull dough sours," a curse' which seems to reign within him. These internal troubles, together with a minute conscientiousness and his slight frail physique, rendered an intolerable burden to him the task of marking the few scores of candidates' answer-books, which each summer or

autumn came into his hands. . . . What the intelligent eye may read in all the author's utterances is this: a temperament, a bodily constitution, exceedingly high-strung, delicate and sensitive, and a prolonged trial of spiritual desolation, an 'obscure night' of the soul.

Few will disagree with what Father O'Neill writes concerning the style of Gerard Hopkins, his 'far-fetched phrases . . . and sometimes insoluble syntax.' His love of compound words and his involved syntax may, perhaps, be due to his classical learning, particularly Greek. He casts his words about, forgetting that when using an uninflected language this cannot be done unduly without involving the sense in obscurity.

In regard to Gerard Hopkins I like to think, that if his life was troubled, if its duties pressed unduly upon him and here he found not rest, that now peace, which he once sought, is his :

I have desired to go

Where springs not fail,

To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail
And a few lillies blow.

I have asked to be

Where no storms come,

Where the green swell is in the havens dumb
And out of the swing of the sea.

Not only by his style but by his power to illustrate his themes by apt quotations, Father O'Neill gives, in this work, continued evidence of a high literary taste and of the genuine instincts that prompt him as regards his studies in literature.


A WIFE'S STORY: JOURNAL OF ELIZABETH LESEUR. Translated from the French. London: Burns and Oates.

IN a long and intensely human introduction the husband of Elizabeth Leseur tells the story of the Journal. It was begun in 1899 and finished in 1914, a short time before her death. It is not a journal in the true sense; it was not written day by day, but only when the authoress felt the need to pour out in secret the thoughts and emotions that filled her heart. It is the history of a soul and gives the principal stages of its evolution. As the authoress wrote for herself alone her conscience disclosed itself to God in all simplicity, truth and freedom, without a thought of style. The existence of the Journal was known only to Mme. Leseur's sister, to whom a few passages had been given in confidence. Before her death the authoress wished to burn the MS., but the persistent and affectionate appeal of her sister providentially prevented the destruction.

The book consists of the first part of the Journal from 1899 to 1906, a Book of Resolutions, Rule of Life, from 1906 to 1912; Thoughts for Every Day; and the second part of the Journal, from 1912 to 1914. Voluntary poverty, sacrifice, and forgetfulness of self, utmost charity towards God and neighbour, are the theme of the pages. One might well suppose

them to have been written by a religious. Yet the writer was a woman of the world, living in fashionable Parisian society, and fulfilling unexceptionally the obligations of her state. She was thirty-three when she began to write the Journal, and had read and travelled much. She knew Latin, English, Russian, and Italian, and was well versed in the arts. She was an amiable and accomplished hostess and a rare friend, with a singular wealth of affection which attracted to her numerous people of all sorts and conditions, the atheist, the anti-Catholic, the worldling, and the religious, who sought her counsel and frequently put it into practice. She was a saint and an apostle in her sphere of life.

It must not be supposed that this ascension to wonderful sanctity was easy and uneventful. Unfortunately-perhaps fortunately and providentially-her husband had fallen a victim to materialistic influences, and was carried on to paganism and atheism. He sought out weapons to combat Catholicism. Strauss, Havet, Renan, Reville, Harnack, and Loisy were assiduously studied by him. His wife became the object of his proselytism. He meant to destroy her faith. She read many of the atheistical books put into her hands by him and felt herself approaching the abyss. But, being a woman of sane and steady judgment and uncommon good sense, she gathered together a library of the great masters of Catholic thought-fathers, doctors, mystics, St. Jerome, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis de Sales, St. Teresa, etc. She thus acquired a reasoned and substantial faith, powerfully equipped to meet all opposing arguments. Her surroundings provided nothing but opposition, and her husband, taken up with politicians, journalists, artists, etc., and with contributing to anti-clerical papers with redoubled criticism and raillery, helped to shut her up in her spiritual solitude and wound her spirit.

Up to 1908 she lived more or less like everyone else, and her friends, seeing her so active, alive and spirited, never suspected how heavy a cross she carried in secret. Besides, she was a martyr to sick ness and suffering, which she bore with perfect resignation and sweetness. It was from her invalid's chair that she directed the greatest number of souls and became the source of that spiritual radiance which shone from her in her last years. Her whole life teaches the utility of suffering. It deepened her faith and expanded her charity. She sacrificed herself incessantly for others and established Catholic charitable institutions, which she personally supervised in spite of her indifferent health. Her letters to her friends in widely differing circumstances are counted by hundreds. Most often they are purely letters of direction, for that was the rôle which her faith, her charity, her Christian virtue, her dearlybought experience, her surprising rectitude of judgment, had led her to play almost in spite of herself.

After her death, when everything seemed to collapse around him, M. Leseur threw himself into the reading of the manuscripts, and a revolution took place in his whole moral being. He read in them that his wife had made a pact with God, vowing to exchange her life for his return to the faith. The reading brought him inspiration and grace, and his

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