Collected Verse Plays

Collected Verse Plays

Collected Verse Plays

Collected Verse Plays

Excerpt

Verse drama is more complicated than lyric poetry, which it may contain. It seems also more difficult than prose drama. Is it a matter of emotion? How much emotion has one got? We have all thought of the mystery of Shakespeare, who could not possibly have experienced everything he wrote about. Then how did he do it? The mystery is in the management of one's experience. We feel that if a modern man, like Eliot, writes only a few verse plays which are considered successful, he has done his duty, and we accord him commensurate honor. But to write thirty-odd plays, all informed variously with genius? It is still a mystery. We have heard of the firm, delicate balance of mind, the swiftness of comprehension and communication, the ease of the operations owing to a championing sensitivity and empathy in the Elizabethan intellectual air, the lack of deterrents, the newness and freshness of the theatre. The facts are still phenomenal.

There must be some motive. I have to come down to my own small efforts now. The motives are the same as those for lyric poetry; they come from a basic split in the soul and a need to create, to compensate, to make a whole world. There is a desire for expansion, for a larger canvas. I am afraid I have to say that verse drama with me has been a thrust of the whole man. It is only when I am totally engaged that I have been able laboriously but intensely to pursue it. I am sorry to say this. I recognize it as a limitation. With greater mental discipline, more control of emotion, possibly with less emotion but with more management of it, one ought to be able to work at it without total engagement. I am sorry, my limitations are . . .

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