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As to the story, I don’t the least object to it on the Spectator’s ground. I think it would not have done in prose. Verse was wanted to give it dignity. But if we find it trivial, the fault is in our own varnished selves. We have been polished up so bright that we forget the stuff we are made of. Yet I have objections again here, for I don’t believe in your Elspie. If any girl in her position was ever so highly cultivated, she is an exception, and so the moral would be false. I like all orders to keep among themselves, only I would take Nature’s divisions, not ours.
Eminent Victorians (1918), 216–17. Joseph Wood Krutch, ‘Log of a Spiritual Voyage’, The Bookman, li, August 1920, 687–9. Victorian Poets (1876), 244. Descr. , whose listing of 87 major and minor entries in biography and criticism for the years 1921–50 and 134 for 1951–66 indicates the growth of interest in recent years; and the selective annotated bibliography in Innocent Victorian: the Satiric Poetry of Arthur Hugh Clough (1966), by Michael Timko. ‘Clough’, Portraits (1931), 65. ‘Mr. MacNeice’s Poems’, TLS, 18 November 1949, 751.
In the institution which ought to be leading the age, not dragged grumbling in its rear; and thus has arisen a second and, we hope, last ‘poetry of despair,’ on strictly Church principles. To extract tears from sunshine; to hear the wailings of remorse in the song of a skylark; and prove the eternal perdition of Dissenters from the down on a dandelion—is, with these gentlemen, to see into the deepest spiritual symbolism of nature. But the thing is past a jest. As for style, the prevailing problem with the Oxford poets has seemed to be, how best to hide the farthing rushlight of bigotry under the bushel of mystification; how an author, having no definite meaning, or, if he have one, being frightened at it, may so jumble his words as to mean nothing, or anything except what is cheerful, or manly, or expressive of real faith that God has anything to do with the world, or, indeed, has had since Astraea and the Stuarts vanished together in 1688.