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PAGE 2

A Note On Seumas O’Sullivan
by [?]

Round you light tresses, delicate,
Wind blown, wander and climb
Immortal, transitory.

Earth has no steady beauty as the calm-eyed immortals have, but their image glimmers on the waves of time, and out of what instantly vanishes we can build up something within us which may yet grow into a calm-eyed immortality of loveliness, we becoming gradually what we dream of. I have heard people complain of the frailty of these verses of Seumas O’Sullivan. They want war songs, plough songs, to nerve the soul to fight or the hand to do its work. I will never make that complaint. I will only complain if the strife or the work ever blunt my senses so that I will pass by with an impatient disdain these delicate snatchings at a beauty which is ever fleeting. But I would ask him to remember that life never allures us twice with exactly the same enchantment. Never again will that tress drift like a woven wind made visible out of Paradise; never again will that lifted hand, foam-pale, seem like the springing up of beauty in the world; never a second time will that white brow remind him of the wonderful white towers of the city of the gods. To seek a second inspiration is to receive only a second-rate inspiration, and our poet is a little too fond of lingering in his verse round a few things, a face, the swaying poplars, or sighing reeds which had once piped an alluring music in his ears, and which he longs to hear again. He lives not in too frail a world, but in too narrow a world, and he should adventure out into new worlds in the old quest. He, has become a master of delicate and musical rhythms. I remember reading Seumas O’Sulivan’s first manuscripts with mingled pleasure and horror, for his lines often ran anyhow, and scansion seemed to him an unknown art, but I feel humbly now that he can get a subtle quality into his music which I could not hope to acquire. I would like him to catch some new and rare birds with that subtle net of his, and to begin to invent more beauty of his own and to seek for it less. I believe he has got it in him to do well, to do better than he has done if he will now try to use his invention more. The poems with a slight narrative in them, like “The Portent” or the “Saint Anthony,” seem to me the most perfect, and it is in this direction, I think, he will succeed best. He wants a story to keep him from beating musical and ineffective wings in the void. I have not said half what I want to say about Seumas O’Sullivan’s verses, but I know the world will not listen long to the musings of one verse-writer on another. I only hope this note may send some readers to their bookseller for Seumas O’Sullivan’s poems, and that it may help them to study with more understanding a mind that I love.

1909