IN AN ARTICLE on Whitman in the June Atlantic, the writer says, among other things, that his poetry is not noble, because it celebrates pride and does not inculcate the virtues of humility, selfdenial, etc., -- thus reading the poet by the letter, rather than by the spirit. The charge that Whitman's poetry celebrates pride is fully met by the fact, that it also celebrates and bears along in equal measure the antidote of pride; namely, sympathy. Its sympathy, its love, is as broad and all-inclusive as its pride is erect and positive. Whitman was aware, from the outset of his career, how important this fact is; for he said in the preface to the first edition of his poems, in 1855, that the soul of the great poet "has sympathy as measureless as its pride, and the one balances the other, and neither can stretch too far while it stretches in company with the other. The inmost secrets of art sleep with the twain. The greatest poet has lain close betwixt both, and they are vital in his style and thoughts."
'Leaves of Grass' is of course designedly positive and aggressive, and is meant to arouse and dilate rather than to soothe and lull. If it is nearly all in the major key, it is because it has to do with the major elements of life, of character, of nationality. Are many of the minor keys touched in Homer or Aeschylus or Dante? We look