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RNATIONAL CONCILIATION SPECIAL BULLETIN CONTEMPORARY WAR POEMS WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY JOHN ERSKINE DECEMBER. 1914 AmericanAssociation(or InternationalConciliation Sub-Starion84(407West 117th Street) NewYorkCity.
Jls-i^ e 1 HE poems of this collection have been chosen to illustrate the emotional attitudes of the United States toward the war, as those attitudes find expression in newspaper and magazine verse. At another time the literary merits of these pieces would invite judgment or comment; now, however, thesuitabilityofwarpoemsforthepurposeofananthologyisavery minor question, and it is therefore not as a literary museum that these verses are offered, but as social documents, as evidence of the state of our civilization at this moment. Of course the emo- tional attitudes of a nation may unfortunately change from day to day, and it is quite possible that before these selections are in print they may have ceased to represent the national feeling, but at this moment at least we may read in them certain well-defined and comtaon attitudes which are all the more significant since the individual poems were written in various circumstances, and come together here almost by accident.
men are "noble" who discard reason and execute what they know is a blunder; and even yesterday, as it seems, William Vaughan Moody could imply in his beautiful and otherwise enlightened *'Ode in Time of Hesitation" that a war is just, even morally alluring, if it rises from generous impulses and is made to serve some high end. Doubtless there are many to agree with the great poets in all these instances, but clearly the verse-writers who have been expressing the emotional judgments of the United States in the last few weeks do not agree with them. The battle passagesinWordsworth'spoem,Tennyson'sfinesong,andMoody's eloquent peroration have suddenly become antiquated, and Chris- tianity is invoked, not in the images of discipline and strategy, but in the figure of the widowed and the orphaned and the slain.
dication of the new position that woman holds in society? War hasalwaysfallenheavilyonthechildrenandthemothers, andsuch poems as Ella Wheeler Wilcox's "The Messenger" have always been part of man's comment on the tragedy of battle. But in some of these poems the injustice that war does to womanhood is defined in a new way, with the implication that the tragedy might be avoided, and that women will no longer accept it as inevitable.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN WALKS AT MIDNIGHT By Vachel Lindsay It is portentous, and a thingof state That here at midnight, in our little town A mourning fiigure walks, and will not rest Near the old court-house pacing up and down.