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Pennsylvania Farmer,' together with such happily conceived poems as “The Sunshine of the Gods,' Notus Ignoto,' 'Iris,’‘Implora Pace,' and 'Canopus,' with its richly colored lines.
Taylor wrote three dramatic poems, none of which his critics are willing to admit is a success. The Masque of the Gods, a lofty conception, fails (if indeed it is a failure), not through feebleness of touch, but through brevity. So vast a design needs room to expand. As it stands, the Masque is a preliminary sketch of what might have become in the hands of its creator a great canvas. It is something that the poet has succeeded in awakening pity for the worn-out deities terrified because of their loss of power, terrified even more by the possibility that they have no principle of life and are only the creatures of men's brains.
The Prophet was a courageous dramatic experiment, and will always be read with curiosity if not with pleasure. But to assume that Mormonism is wholly unfitted for poetic drama is perhaps to assume too much.
Prince Deukalion, written under the inspiration of Faust, is another of those gigantic conceptions with which Taylor's imagination loved in later life to busy itself, as if eager to try its powers to the uttermost. A theme like this, wholly removed from human interest, dealing with titanic and mythical figures, is the most dangerous in the whole range of possible subjects. Taylor rises so easily to a high level of poetic achievement that it seems as if he must presently touch some mountain peak. Yet he always leaves the impression of really having the strength to do that in which he fails. He disappoints through the very display of power.
His poetic work lacks idiosyncrasy, and to credit him with having given rise to a 'school’ is to be generous rather than just. His talent fell just short of his ambition. A busy life with its multitude of cares and interests left him too little time for brooding upon the great themes he affected, and there was wanting the gift for relentless selfcriticism which operates almost like the creative power. None the less his countrymen have not begun to discharge the debt of gratitude they owe him. Taylor had great virtues. It should be imputed to him for literary righteousness that he was willing to undertake the long poem. He never,
, so far as is known, made the excuse our poets continually offer, and which is almost infantile, that the general public does not care for long poems, - as if a poet were under any obligation to the general public.
George William Curtis
ENRY Curtis, who sailed for New Eng
land from the port of London on May 6; 1635, was the founder of the Curtis family in America. His grandson, John Curtis of Worcester, was 'a sturdy and open loyalist' of Revolutionary times whose personal character was as heartily esteemed as his political principles were detested.
George Curtis, a great-grandson of John, married Mary Elizabeth Burrill, daughter of James Burrill, Jr., Chief-justice of Rhode Island. Of their two sons George William Curtis was the younger. He was born in Providence, Rhode
. Island, on February 24, 1824.
With his brother James Burrill, his closest friend and almost inseparable companion, he was
Parke Godwin: George William Curtis, A Commemorative Address, 1892.
J. W. Chadwick : George William Curtis, an Address, 1893.
Edward Cary : George William Curtis, American Men of Letters,' 1894.