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HRY 1kkCLAUDE E BENSON
A, BAKUR AND F. E. Ross
VOICES OF NATURE, E. A. BAKER
PRAVERS FROM THE POETS. C. HEADLAM
AND LAURIE MAGNUS
THE GARDEN ANTHOLOGY. ROSE GARDNER
TITE POCKET CARLYLE Rose GARDNER
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A SEQUEL TO
ERNEST A BAKER
Come and make thy calm retreat
NEW YORK: E. P. DUTTON & Co.
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Aracct & abfyt. A 11-3-1931 C
AS explained in the preface to Praise of a
Simple Life, the contents of this little book were to have formed, not a sequel, but the latter portion of an anthology of passages from the earliest to the latest times, extolling that eternal dream of mankind, a life according to the simple laws of Nature. But the great divergency that obtruded itself between the earlier and the later ways of regarding Nature and Man detracted so much from the unity of the collection, that it seemed more satisfactory to put the ancients and the moderns in separate volumes.
There were Nature-worshippers before Wordsworth, as the former volume shows well enough. Men have always felt the call, though they have felt it differently. And they have expressed their emotions very differently. Only at times in the other volume is there a direct lyrical utterance, a spontaneous cry from the heart, without reflection and without analysis. Most often the tone is consciously didactic, or at any rate philosophical : many of the pieces are simply moral lessons in
rhyme. The general difference between the old gospel and the new is the difference between theology and faith, between dogma and worship. Before the Return to Nature, men were not content to submit their souls to this inscrutable impulsion without trying to rationalise their instincts. Wishing to conduct themselves like philosophers, they must formulate rules and combine rules into systems. Inarticulate whisperings had no meaning for them. But more meaningless still are the dogmas given in exchange for faith, the abstract formulas proffered in lieu of a religion of the heart. Rasselas turns away in disgust from the sage who pompously informs him that “to live according to nature, is to act always with due regard to the fitness arising from the relations and qualities of causes and effects; to concur with the great and unchangeable scheme of universal felicity ; to co-operate with the general disposition and tendency of the present system of things'.
Wordsworth, Barnes, and Borrow are not concerned to teach improving lessons, to reduce their faith within the compass of thirty-nine articles. But they have revealed a temper, a passion, an attitude of soul, that affect us infinitely more profoundly than the generalities devoid of ponderable meaning which Johnson resented. And it follows that the task of the anthologist is a difficult oneto find rounded, concise, detachable utterances of