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Oppressive . rule—
On to the north
Where a blue-white light faintly glimmers
Over the black pine-forests,
Over the frozen seas.
Two cities have long ago fallen,
But there is one city to found yet—
A city of dreary phantoms,
A city of death.
At the edges of the north,
At the borders of the locked sea,
The pale horse rears
Darkness, total darkness!
And in the darkness
Furiously from east to west
The winds go forth to battle.
But the souls of them that were slain
And buried beneath the granite
Rise up again at midnight
And cry their final cry: *
“How long, how long the darkness,
How long wilt not avenge us? -
For here our blood is written
On every inch of soil;
“For here our cause is crushed
Under the hoofs of proud horsemen;
For here our cause is forgotten,
Dead in the utter darkness.”
So they cry all together,
And only the silence answers.
But the power of that silence
Has given them power to live.
And they go out to the streets of the city,
To speak to all hearts at midnight,
How the last seal will be loosened,
The final trumpet blown.
Dawn comes out of the east,
Dawn with a tumult of flying horses;
White clouds of springtime,
Stallion on stallion charging
Westward, to the horizon;
But in the midst of them e
Rides Liberty unbound.
Her tossing, golden hair
Is mingled with the sea of manes;
Her voice cries, “On, you wild ones,
Stop not nor falter!”
Out of ten thousand trenches
A million weary eyes
Shall see her pass across the plains,
And cry, “Come faster!”
A million starving ones
Shall smile at her,
Shall stretch out their cold hands to her
Before they die. ,
A million broken ones
Shall make their bodies
The pathway for her feet;
A million eager ones
Shall leap forth from their trenches
To follow her command.
Like a white flame that gathers force -
She shall fill all the land
With song of victory.
Like the great flame of noon,
She shall spread out her wings;
And grant us all we longed for, could not find,
The peace surpassing human understanding.
March 16, 1917, 1.15 p.m.
HYTHMI–the universality of the principle, its scientific basis, its application in the arts, especially in the speech arts—has always fascinated me. Of course it is an element of unalterable law: from the electron to the most enormous sun in space, every object moves rhythmically, in vibrations or pulsations or orbits, hastened or retarded between incredible extremes of slow or swift. All life is governed by heart-beats, and the arts are man's effort to respond to the universal impulse, his effort to create movement in time, or to mark off color-rhythms and space rhythms in patterns which suggest that movement. From childhood I have groped among rhythms strongly felt but difficult to analyze. Many of them are beyond the scope of this inquiry—they would lead us far afield; but among them I have speculated long and often on the rhythmic laws that govern verse, prose, and speech—laws which these phenomena of human utterance can not escape. It has seemed to me obvious that not verse alone is rhythmical, but that prose also, whether on the page or the tongue, is bound to follow the universal law, is set to a pattern of time-intervals which it must unconsciously fulfil. And it has seemed to me strange that whereas musical notation is, in effect, a scientific analysis—a kind of picturing—of the rhythms of music, neither verse nor prose has been scientifically presented in any exact system of notation. Science, which has
been speculating during the past century in almost o
other direction, had apparently neglected to investigate lan-
guage-rhythms—for of course the puerile systems of ver
scansion inherited from our ancestors are as unscientific and
out of date as pre-Galileo astronomy.
So it is like going home after a long journey to read Th
Rhythm of Prose, by Dr. William Morrison Patterson of
the English department pf Columbia University, published
by the university press—a book which I would have read a
year ago if some incorrigible borrower had not snatched it
out of reach and mind. So science has been invading at last
my favorite field; indeed, she has been building up, during
the last twenty years, quite a bibliography on the subject,
while I, ignorant of the German language and of journals
of psychology and philology, have been groping along with
only Lanier's Science of English Verse for a basis—a book
which began the discussion in 1880. Dr. Patterson, fully
informed in all this literature, possesses also a scientific mind,
and scientific instruments for making photographic and
phonographic records of the human voice in its utterance of
both verse and prose.
I am quite out of sympathy with those sensitive poetic
souls who resent this intrusion of science. The truth can
do no harm, and in this case it must do incalculable good in
the enrichment of our sense of rhythmic values. The poet
of the future, discarding the wilful empiricism of the past
and proceeding upon exact knowledge, will greatly develop
and enrich our language-rhythms just as music-rhythms are