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C FOR CURRENT ADVOCATE

Professor Neilson Can Mark it no More, Nor Less on its Merits.--Poetry in Particular Criticised.

By W.a. NEILSON .

The current issue of the Advocate can hardly be called exciting. Both prose and verse are on that level of mediocrity on which, it seems, a large proportion of undergraduate writing is content to rest. When I had read it through, my professional judgment instinctively marked it with an undistinguished C.

The editorial supports the scheme for an essay competition with Yale with a somewhat portentous psychological discussion. There are two stories; the longer, "Edged Tools" by H.L. Rogers, tells with considerable narrative skill the hackneyed tale of a drunkard who recovers his manhood under the influence of a girl and who relapses when she marries another man; the shorter, "Mary Hunters' Chair" by G. P. Davis, cleverly indicates the romance of two middleaged people as perceived by their children. C. G. Hoffman's "Yesterday" is one of those nondescript pieces of prose which seek to describe an atmosphere and a mood, but which, in spite of labored though sometimes felicitous phrasing, leave no mark on the mind.

The verse raises the question which so often occurs to one on reading college papers--how do the men who write it come to choose themes apparently so remote and uncharacteristic? H.R. Carey's "The Gods' Message" is an expression in terms of Greek mythology of the idea that "hope cometh in the morning." "La Vie Sans l'Amour" by C.G.H. is an ambitious attempt to express in terms now metaphysical, now symbolic, the thought in the title; yet, in spite of the impression of largeness and dignity given by many of the lines, it can hardly be called completely articulate. Frank Dazey's "Sonnet" is the best piece of verse in the number. As for the "Song" by Samuel Latham Mitchill Barlow, it is written in what, I fear, the author supposed to be Scots dialect. It is about a little boy who heard a robin sing, and apparently died. In any case, when the robin came back from the south, it came alone. British robins, it is true, do not go south in winter; and in general the natural history of the poem is as little impeccable as the dialect. But what one wants to know is how Mr. Barlow comes to let his imagination brood on such sad, sentimental things.

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