Poems

Poems

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Poems

Poems

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Excerpt

This book contains the undesigned, but all the more spontaneous and authentic, biography of a very rare spirit. It contains the record of a short life, into which was crowded far more of keen experience and high aspiration -- of the thrill of sense and the rapture of soul -- than it is given to most men, even of high vitality, to extract from a life of twice the length. Alan Seeger had barely passed his twenty-eighth birthday, when, charging up to the German trenches on the field of Belloy-en-Santerre, his "escouade" of the Foreign Legion was caught in a deadly flurry of machine-gun fire, and he fell, with most of his comrades, on the blood-stained but reconquered soil. To his friends the loss was grievous, to literature it was -- we shall never know how great, but assuredly not small. Yet this was a case, if ever there was one, in which we may not only say "Nothing is here for tears," but may add to the well-worn phrase its less familiar sequel:

Nothing to wail Or knock the breast, no weakness, no contempt, Dispraise, or blame, -- nothing but well and fair, And what may quiet us in a death so noble.

Of all the poets who have died young, none has died so happily. Without suggesting any parity of stature, one cannot but think of the group of English poets who, about a hundred years ago, were cut off in the flower of their age. Keats, coughing out his soul by the Spanish . . .

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