- Murray, Gilbert
Andrew Lang, The Poet
Geoffrey Cumberlege, Oxford University Press, London, 1948, Wraps, , , Very Good
27 pp. A sticker shadow, some discoloration and chipping near edge of wraps, a few light pencil marks in text, else fine. Being the Andrew Lang Lecture delivered before the University of St. Andrews, 7 May 1947. ''When Theodore Roosevelt, the first of that name to be a famous President of the United States, was in England after his bold exploration of the Amazon, he was invited to Oxford to give the Romanes Lecture. It was a great occasion. The Vice-Chancellor and Doctors were assembled in the Divinity School, preparatory to wlking in procession acorss to the Sheldonian Theatre, where the lecture was to be delivered. Roosevelt had written to me saying that he had been quite convinced by my book on Homer, and as he had previously expressed his agreement with Lang's books, this put him in a slightly difficult position towards Lang. The President came up to me and said: 'Are you on speaking terms with Andrew Lang?' 'Yes', I said, ' we call each other the most dreadful names.' 'Will you introduce me to him?' I took him to where Lang was leaning absent-mindedly against the wall. 'Mr. Lang', he said, 'I have done you a wrong. I have let Gilbert Murray convert me about Homer.' ' Never mind', siad Lang wearily; 'I converted a man once.' 'But that is not the worst', said Roosevelt. 'I have taken one of your most ardent disciples and destroyed his faith in you. When I was exploring the Amazon we had with us a man, a hard-headed, ultra-scientific Scotchman, who was always quoting Andrew Lang to us: Andrew Lang the historian, Andrew Lang the anthropologist, Andrew Lang who knew the really scientific explanation of all the problems that we came across in our travels. At last I couldn't stand it and said to him: ''Do you mean Andrew Lang the poet?'' ''Poet?'' said he. ''Nonsense; he is a great man of learning, not one of your poets.'' Now when I travel', Roosevelt continued, 'I travel very light, but I take with me five or six really good books, just the few I admire most. ''Not a poet?'' I said, taking your poems out of my pocket. ''What do you call that?'' He took it, and he set to work to read it. The first week he read hard and got to page twenty. The second week he fell back somehow, and only got to page fifteen. Couldn't bear it, I suppose. Sir, I fear I have destroyed you in that man's estimation for ever.' So saying, Roosevelt turned away, leaving Lang quietly purring with pleasure, and joined the procession, which had been waiting for him most of the time that he was telling his story.''
Oh, days of beauty standing veiled apart, With dreamy skies and tender, tremulous air, In this rich Indian summer of the heart Well may the earth her jewelled halo wear. The long brown fields - no longer drear and dull - Burn with the glow of these deep-hearted hours. Until the dry weeds seem more beautiful, More spiritlike than even summer's flowers. But yesterday the world was stricken bare, Left old and dead in gray, enshrouding gloom; To-day what vivid wonder of the air Awakes the soul of vanished light and bloom? Sharp with the clean, fine ecstasy of death, A mightier wind shall strike the shrinking earth, An exhalation of creative breath Wake the white wonder of the winter's birth. In her wide Pantheon - her temple place - Wrapped in strange beauty and new comforting, We shall not miss the Summer's full-blown grace, Nor hunger for the swift, exquisite Spring.Ada Foster Murray [1857-1936]