Imagens das páginas

bloom are still upon

that unique flower, grown in the troubled solitudes of spiritual desire. Nor, to vary the metaphor, have the echoes yet died away, in any country, of that clanging tocsin, that war-song of the pagan spirit. If, nowadays, no one even in Italy anathematizes Carducci as a worshipper of evil because of his "Inno a Satana," there are few probably, in Italy or elsewhere, who would not now regard the Satanic epithets and allusions as somewhat pantomimic and grotesque. For, of course, Carducci does not mean, never did mean, to invoke the Prince of Evil! All that the celebrated (and technically marvellous) "Hymn" means is, Let us be done with what is outworn; let us worship only what makes for divinity; let us rejoice in our mortal destiny, and in our world, and not cry shame upon our humanity; let us be done with shams; let us be up and rejoice; let us be up and doing. It is but the principle of new birth, of revolt, the law of material, as of spiritual, resurrection which the poet invokes in his "Satan":

Salute, O Satana,
O ribellione,

O forza vindice
Della ragione!


And it is not to the "Prince of this World," but to no other than Alastor, the Spirit of Beauty, whom every poet has worshipped since poetry became the dream of the human soul, that he cries, "For thee Adonis lived; for thee Astarte; for thee came into being the marbles, the pictures, and golden verse, when, from the Ionian wave, Aphrodite arose with her great joy; for thee roared the forests of Lebanon . . . for thee sang the chorus . . . for thee raved the dances."

The rhetorical fires this expended their

have long ere inflammatory

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If the "Inno a Satana" be so characteristic of Carducci, not less characteristic of his mental attitude, of the ethical aspect of his splendid achievement, are those other words of his"Send forth upon the wind the cry of the watchman: "The age renews itself, the day of fulfilment is nigh.'"

In this sense the "Hymn" is typical of all Carducci's poetry; the rhetorical part served its purpose; what is of sheer beauty remains. We doubt if the achievement of any living poet could stand comparison with that of Giosuè Carducci in the qualities of distinction, strength, and classic beauty.

Within a limited range, Hérédia is the sole name to suggest; but Hérédia is a sculptor in ivory, Carducci is of the kindred of Michel Angelo; or, again, Hérédia is as one of the exquisite minor poets of the Anthology, Carducci a latter-day Catullus, with a far greater intellectual and national inspiration and range. Neither Hérédia nor Arturo Graf, not even Leconte de Lisle, has more truly cherished and given us anew "the antique beauty." For Carducci, the beauty that was of old is the one immortal thing in this world of mortal change and chance. For him, as he says in the "Primavere Elleniche," "though all other gods may die," the divinities made immortal by the Greek genius "live still among ancient woods and in the eternal seas."

To Carducci, also, belongs the honor of having restored to Italian poetry

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as he writes in the famous "Prelude," in rhymeless Catullian verse, in the first series of the "Odi Barbare."

But Carducci is much more than "the high-priest of impeccable form." He is a poet inspired by a lofty patriotism, a poet troubled by the deep problems of modern life, a prophet of high destinies, national and mundane. Even "the pagan note" throughout his work, sane and wise as no small part of it indubitably is, must not be overemphasized. We find this pagan note, it is true, in every personal utterance even of the graver poet of mature age; but now it is the utterance of one who realizes that in the pagan spirit alone lies no likelihood of escape from the Slough of Despond. In contemporary Italian literature Carducci stands preeminent as the poet who has given his whole life to the service of his art, to the persistent ideal to re-create in beauty and distinction, to make his own art ("far l' arte") in his own way: the poet who writes

Or destruggiam. Dei secoli
Lo strato è sul pensiero:
O pochi e forti, all' opera,
Chè nel profundi 6 il vero.15

For fifty years Carducci has led the van of the literary Risorgimento. Today he stands higher than ever, as immeasurably the greatest modern Italian poet. He has lived to see the seed both of his wise and unwise "paganism" flourish, and philosophically

15 Now perforce we destroy. the ages is built upon thought.

The highway of To the work,

to accept both harvests; but above all he has lived to rejoice that the nation at large is not only the richer but the stronger for what he has given of his best.

In one respect, at least, Gabriele D'Annunzio is to be mentioned with his great compatriot, for whatever be the shortcomings of this brilliant and fascinating personality-we speak of him solely as author and artist-he has the unique poetic temperament. For him, too, the "word" is sacred, a secret minister, an ally to be won, at once slave and tyrant. For him, too, the one dominant ideal is "far l'arte," "to make art." D'Annunzio does not fall short of Carducci because of any lack of those shaping and coloring qualities which make for the rarest and highest art, but because, in the main, he has failed to see that it is not mere imagination that triumphs, but controlled imagination; that song must be the outcome of long spiritual meditation, so that from the greater depth it may soar to greater height; that spiritual understanding is as much the poet's concern as the swift flame of lyrical emotion. In a word, though D'Annunzio has all the artistic qualities, he has them to excess, so that there is no equipoise as with Carducci. Nor, with all his culture, his wide range, his cosmopolitan sympathies, has he the like instinctive scholarship-a scholarship that is something more than erudition, for we are thinking of a mental quality rather than of intellectual accomplishment. On the other hand, while more derivative than Carducci, he is not less lacking in originality. He is an instance, simply, of the literary temperament in alliance with that order of creative genius which must gather from many gardens, and in the gathering is both heedless as to what honey is stolen,

then, O few and strong, for truth is of the depths.

and indifferent to what accusations are bandied. After all, the honey which the poet brings is all that need concern the critic of poetry. A poet's methods may be interesting; it is the results that convince, or do not convince. Moreover, D'Annunzio is less derivative in his poetry than in his prose. At any rate he does not "convey" in the one as he sometimes too audaciously does in the other; though there are notable exceptions to this generalization, as, for example, in the very Maeterlinckian passage in the drama "La Gloria," where the group of physicians and others keep the vigil of death near the dying patrician. Of course as a young man he imitated, now Carducci, now Leopardi, now Baudelaire, now Catullus or the poets of the Greek Anthology, now Shelley, now de Musset. But these imitations were the tentative efforts of a potent personality that had not yet learned the height or direction of its true


Whether as poet or novelist, however, D'Annunzio is not properly understood in this country. This is partly because he is an extreme exemplar of the pagan side of the Latin temper, and of the Latin habit of mind. More and more, as we consider his already notable and variegated achievement, we believe that D'Annunzio's superabundant faults and shortcomings blind northerners, not only to his marvellous art, but to his power and influence as an accepted type, as a signal genius of the Latin race. The gulf between the Latin and the AngloSaxon is greater than is commonly recognized in these days, when it is a commonplace that racial distinctions tend to disappear. It is, on the contrary, possible, perhaps probable, that this gulf grows deeper.

Nor has D'Annunzio yet said all that he has to say. It might indeed be urged that he has now been long

enough before the public for judgment to be passed on his limitations, for an estimate all but certain as to what he can not do. But it must be remembered that the author of "Primavere" was but a boy of fifteen; that the poet, dramatist, novelist of to-day is even now still a young man, being on the sunny side of forty.

It is as a poet of nature that D'Annunzio is at his best. With the exception of Giovanni Pascoli (to compare whom would be, as it were, to compare André Chénier and Baudelaire, or the author of "Endymion" with the author of "Poems and Ballads"), he has in this respect no rival. He has the compelling passion of the sea so characteristic of Swinburne; the love of mountain-solitude and lonely wilds so characteristic of Wordsworth, though a love less simple in sentiment and less natural in expression; something of the charm, too, that we find in Theocritus; something of the 'delicate and intimate touch of Tennyson. To this is added a rapt intensity of vision and emotion sometimes considered characteristically Celtic, though it is in truth too primitive and universal a quality to be adequately expressed by any literary label. We come to think of him at times, not as the D'Annunzio of scandal and criminal passion, but the poet pure and simple, as a faun become a man and a modern singer, who remembers old songs and the antique world, and at heart is a faun indeed, or at least "veritamente un figlio della terra antica," as in the "Song of the Sun" in "Canto Novo":

Sta il gran meriggio su questa di flutti e di piante

Verde azzurrina conca solitaria: Ed io, come il fauno antico in agguato, m' ascondo,

Platano sacro, qui fra le chiome tue.

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16 The high noon stands above this lonely dell, filled with blue-green foliage, as a shell with

But if we are allured at times into this wonder-world of intimate nature, we are more often recalled to the sad world of weariness and disillusion, hearing the supersensuous, decadent, ennuyé poet crying, "O cessate! la musica mi stanca," or "Chi potrà darmi un qualche nuovo senso?" There is one thing inevitable for him who drinks too long and too deep from the cup of experience. If weariness and disillusion may inspire, they must also weaken the art of the poet who has thus drunken and not known when to throw the cup aside.

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It is the salutary part of this poetry of weariness, so characteristic, not only of D'Annunzio, but of all he stands for in that decadent phase of thought and literature and life of which, on one side at least, he is the foremost exemplar, that, when revulsion is at hand, the reader is almost always won back by some beautiful vision of the world we know and love, or by some deep and sincere cry from the poet's heart-"Allor che su 'l vento maestrale mi balzava la strofe... squillando annanzi, O mare, O mare, O mare!" 18

In his so-called decadent verse, too, there is much of great beauty, some of it at least being no more "decadent" than is that poetic melancholy which is the habit of mind of all the poets of

the waves of the sea; and I, like a faun of olden days in ambush, crouch beneath thy tresses, O sacred plane-tree!

17 Despoiled are all my rose-beds: no garlands now! And my cup is empty. I have drunk of it, I have drunk of it, again and again. And, at last, no intoxication is left to me to know....

18 Then on the tempestuous wind my song turns, crying, with great longing, O sea, O sea, О вел!

love, from Catullus or Omar Khayyám to Leconte de Lisle and Carducci. Read, for instance, "The Triumph of Iseult" (itself a metrical triumph in the difficult manner of Lorenzo di Medici), recalling as it does Villon and Swinburne and William Morris, and yet so unmistakably the poet's own, with its monotonously sweet refrain, "for everything save love is vain":

Torna in fior di giovinezza
Isaotta Blanzesmano,

Dice: Tutto al mondo è vano.
Nè l'amore ogni dolcezza! 19

That, too, is the poet's own-the stanza of Death, as a beautiful woman, closing the procession, however much the Guinevere and other stanzas suggest comparison with familiar lines of the poets named above:

Chiude il gran corteo la Morte;
Non la dea de' cemeteri,
Ma una fresca donna e forte
Cui valletti lusinghieri
Sono i Sogni ed i Piaceri
Da ' gentil volto pagano.
Dice: Tutto al mondo è vano,
Ne l'amore ogni dolcezza! 20

Perhaps one reason why D'Annunzio appeals more strongly than Carducci to the Italians of the North, to the French of the North, to the Germans and ourselves, is that he has more of the love of the mysterious. In one of his most beautiful short poems, the "Vas Mysteri," in the "Poema Paradisiaco" volume of 1893, he makes indeed a direct invocation to that veiled Muse: "Apriti al fine, O tu che l' urna sei del Mistero!" And, again, because

19 Cometh again, in her flower of youth, Iseult of the White Hands. She says: "All the world is vain: in love only doth all sweetness live."

20 At the end of the noble cortege, Death; not the sombre Lady of Graves, but a woman fresh and strong, whose flattering train-bearers are Dreams and Delights, each of a noble pagan beauty. And she too says: "All the world is vain: in love only doth all sweetness live."

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Cantate, O venti! Ne l' ignoto mare
E l'Isola promessa:

La come in sommo d' un immenso altare

E la gioia promessa.

Gabriele D'Annunzio is now before his countrymen as a "national" poet. We do not think that his essentially lyrical and emotional genius is well fitted for a sustained flight; but of this perhaps no foreigner can properly judge. Meanwhile the lyrical epic of Garibaldi is in part given to the world." In judging this lyrical epic, or "epical series of lyrical chants," one must bear in mind the author's own comment that the poems should be recited aloud rather than silently read, "per vivere della sua piena vita musicale, ella ha bisogno di passare nella bocca sonante del dicitore." But it must be admitted that, with many fine lines, and frequent subtle and enchanting effects as in

Ei si ricorda nell' alba di Novembre:
Quando salpò da Quarto era la sera,
Sera di Maggio conridere di stelle,
The Quarterly Review.

there is also much mere rhetoric and at times a bathos sinking to the level of distinctly commonplace prose.

Here, as in matters of deeper import, it is to be wished that D'Annunzio had more of the intellectual pride and artistic control of his greater compatriot, Giosuè Carducci; the more so as his influence is becoming steadily more potent in Italy, despite obstacles of all kinds, and notwithstanding the animadversions, both wise and unwise, of perhaps the majority of the critics and of the reading-public. Carducci's high place is now beyond cavil. He for his part has ever thought of his to-morrow. Gabriele D'Annunzio has owed so much to French writers that it is to be wished he could more consistently have borne in mind, that he may henceforth bear in mind, the memorable words of Sainte-Beuve, "C'est à ce lendemain sévère que tout artiste sérieux doit songer." And what better watchword could he, too, have than that of his master, the veteran Carducci, already adopted by Young Italy, fervent and hopeful: "O pochi e forti, all' opera!" "To the good work, then, O ye few and strong!"


Notwithstanding the incidence of taxation, the growth of the butcher's bill, and the expansion of the coal merchant's account, the market in relics has for some time past been of a distinctly firm character, the "bulls" for the most part having everything so entirely their own way that the "bear" is likely to become as rare as the legendary dodo. All sorts and

"The "Canzone di Garibaldi," published in 1901, is not, as many imagine, a complete work. The present instalment is a poem of twentytwo sections, amounting in all to one thousand and four lines. The actual title of this section is "The Night of Caprera," and it is the third in

conditions of celebrities have been represented in the relic market of late, from Kruger to Charles "le Roi," whose remains have proved in the past, as in the present, veritable gold mines to those who possess them. Relics of Shakespeare and Garrick, Wellington, Napoleon, and Nelson, Gladstone and Beaconsfield, have also occupied the attention of purchasers a series of seven. In time we are to have the other "books" or sections: (1) "The Birth of the Hero"; (2) "The Ocean and the Pampas"; (4) "From Rome to the Pontine Marshes"; (5) "Aspromonte and Mentana"; (6) "The Crown of Peace"; (7) "The Hero's End."

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