chapter  25
7 Pages

Badness in Poetry

As to the success of the communication there can be no question. Both the popularity of the author, Ella Wheeler W il­ cox, o f whose work this is a favourable specimen, and records

of the response made by well-educated persons, who read it without being aware of the authorship, leave this beyond doubt.1 It reproduces the state o f mind o f the writer very exactly. With a very numerous class o f readers pleasure and { 1 5 8 } admiration ensue. T he explanation is, probably, in the sooth­ ing effect of aligning the very active Love-Friendship groups of impulses with so settled yet rich a group as the SummerAutumn simile brings in. T he mind finds for a moment an attitude in which to contemplate a pair o f situations (Love and Friendship) together, situations which are for many minds particularly difficult to see together. The heavy regular rhythm, the dead stamp of the rimes, the obviousness of the descriptions (‘mellow, mild, St Martin’; ‘cool verdant vales’) their alliteration, the triteness of the close, all these accentuate the impression of conclusiveness. The restless spirit is appeased, one of its chief problems is made to seem as if, regarded from a lofty, all-embracing standpoint, it is no prob­ lem but a process o f nature.