function of the Universe as an Equinoctial gale, or the Law of

Gravitation; and we insist upon considering it merely a little

scroll-work, of no great importance unless it be studded with nails

from which pretty and uplifting sentiments may be hung!

For the purely technical side I must state my immense debt to the

French, and perhaps above all to the, so-called, Parnassian School,

although some of the writers who have influenced me most do not belong

to it. High-minded and untiring workmen, they have spared no pains to

produce a poetry finer than that of any other country in our time.

Poetry so full of beauty and feeling, that the study of it is at once an

inspiration and a despair to the artist. The Anglo-Saxon of our day has

a tendency to think that a fine idea excuses slovenly workmanship. These

clear-eyed Frenchmen are a reproof to our self-satisfied laziness.

Before the works of Parnassians like Leconte de Lisle, and Jose-Maria de

Heredia, or those of Henri de Regnier, Albert Samain, Francis Jammes,

Remy de Gourmont, and Paul Fort, of the more modern school, we stand

rebuked. Indeed--"They order this matter better in France."

It is because in France, to-day, poetry is so living and vigorous a

thing, that so many metrical experiments come from there. Only a

vigorous tree has the vitality to put forth new branches. The poet with

originality and power is always seeking to give his readers the same

poignant feeling which he has himself. To do this he must constantly

find new and striking images, delightful and unexpected forms. Take the

word "daybreak", for instance. What a remarkable picture it must once

have conjured up! The great, round sun, like the yolk of some mighty

egg, BREAKING through cracked and splintered clouds. But we have said

"daybreak" so often that we do not see the picture any more, it has

become only another word for dawn. The poet must be constantly seeking

new pictures to make his readers feel the vitality of his thought.

Many of the poems in this volume are written in what the French call

"Vers Libre", a nomenclature more suited to French use and to French

versification than to ours. I prefer to call them poems in "unrhymed

cadence", for that conveys their exact meaning to an English ear. They

are built upon "organic rhythm", or the rhythm of the speaking voice

with its necessity for breathing, rather than upon a strict metrical

system. They differ from ordinary prose rhythms by being more curved,

and containing more stress. The stress, and exceedingly marked curve, of

any regular metre is easily perceived. These poems, built upon cadence,

are more subtle, but the laws they follow are not less fixed. Merely

chopping prose lines into lengths does not produce cadence, it is

constructed upon mathematical and absolute laws of balance and time. In

the preface to his "Poems", Henley speaks of "those unrhyming rhythms in

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