Sober Tone in War Articles of Current Number of Advocate
It is natural that the war should have the foremost place in the current number of the Advocate, and nobody will be surprised to find two editorials, two articles, and a poem on this all-absorbing topic. Perhaps it was not equally to be taken for granted that the subject would be discussed with sobriety, and one notes with satisfaction the calmness, restraint and real disposition to thoughtfulness on the part of the contributors. At least one of the war articles--that of Mr. Fisher, on "Our Military Problem"--shows considerable information and sound reasoning. The style is straight-forward and vigorous, and whether the conclusion is right or wrong, the argument is of a kind that deserves a hearing. "The Verge of War," by Mr. Rogers, is in the main a sober account of the necessities of the present situation. It is marred by occasional exaggerations and the style is a little too elaborate and rhetorical throughout. The editorials, which counsel calmness and independent reflection together with earnest preparation for all eventualities, are sound in substance, but here and there awkward in exposition. The reviewer is not sure whether the cleft infinitive ("to merely talk") is to be regarded as an oversight or as a declaration of independence.
The one war poem, Mr. Norris's "Sacrament," shows a fine earnestness of feeling and a style in keeping with the spirit. But on the imaginative side it is not thoroughly wrought out. The figures at the end of the octave for example do not seem to be quite clearly conceived. And is "control" the right word in the eleventh line, or has the author yielded to the exigency of rime?
The remaining verse in the number is interesting and somewhat varied. Mr. Norris's "Ways of Wisdom" is more adequate in expression than his "Sacrament," perhaps just because the feeling is less intensive. Mr. Putnam's first sonnet is graceful and possesses what undergraduate poems often lack--logical structure. His second does not so clearly deserve this praise. "Crepuscule," by Mr. Hillyer, is a pretty conception prettily worked out. The verse runs well and the reminiscences of older English poetic diction (in a good sense) are not unpleasing. The other verse contributions in the number are of less interest. Mr. Snow's "Episode of Reincarnation" shows some skill in using devices which are almost foredoomed to failure in English metre. With reference to Mr. Auslander's "Maybe in Years to Come," one feels like asking whether the lines about "inarticulate years" and "lovely silences that yearn to music" seem to the author to be an extraordinarily simple greeting.
The single critical contribution, Mr. Bullock's article on "Rupert Brooke," has the special interests of first-hand testimony about the personality of the poet. Apart from a little petulance at the beginning, which for the moment gets the better of his taste, Mr. Bullock writes with force and discrimination.
Mr. Hillyer's reverie on an Elizabethan May-Day is cleverly contrived, with its pleasant descriptions and its snatches of old songs. Some of the reflections in the earlier part have a modern sound, and are not altogether of a piece with the rest. But we are doubtless to understand that the speaker at the outset is Robert Hillyer, who is only gradually merged, in the course of the vision, into William Shakespere.
In the way of fiction, in the stricter sense, this number offers only two slight sketches by Mr. Emerson Low. In both of these the behavior of the characters is a little stagy and unnatural, and the author seems chiefly interested in drawing psychological contrasts. He makes his point more clearly in "The Divine Moment" than in "Walls of Stone."