reflecting pools which occasionally appear in the course of a restless mountain river.
This review was reprinted in Johnson’s Post Liminium (ed. Thomas Whittemore), 1911, 296.
Lionel Johnson (1867-1902), minor poet and critic, was one of Yeats’s ‘Tragic Generation’, a member, with Yeats himself, Dowson and others of the Rhymers’ Club of the ’nineties. Like all of his fellow Rhymers, Johnson was strongly in reaction against most of the great Victorians, blaming them for importing into poetry ‘impurities’ such as politics, religion, philosophy etc.
Johnson praises the lofty humanism and universal appeal of Arnold’s meditative poems which, he goes on, ‘are more than records of a transitory emotion, the phase and habit of an age. Such a description would apply to Clough: his mournful, homesick, desultory poems are indeed touched with decay, because they are composed without care, in no wide spirit of contemplation; reading them we do not think of ‘Sophocles by the Aegean, ’1 nor of the laminae rerum….2
1 From Arnold’s ‘Dover Beach’.
2Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt: ‘There are tears for all things and human sufferings touch the heart’ (Virgil, Aeneid I, 462).