Excerpt from American Meditative Lyrics
Modern critics speak of a school of English poetry as the Oriental or scriptural, in the light of this spiritual feature, from which source arises, says Devey, that earnestness of purpose, that profound re¿ection and purity of feeling, ... which make the higher order of English poets stand out in advantageous contrast to the heathen bards of antiquity. To the same effect, a living American critic, Mabie, suggestively writes: The spiritual world is the background of almost all modern poetry, from those early songs of Longfellow, which have become the familiar psalms of universal experience, to such noble interpretations of human life from the spiritual Side as Tennyson's 'in Memoriam,' and, by way of spec1al reference to' our own verse, he adds that this particular characteristic has been illustrated, with one or two exceptions, in the entire company of American poets. One of the marked exceptions to this principle, the poet Whitman, confirms the correctness of the statement by the severe character of the criticism to which, by way of contrast, he has voluntarily subjected himself.
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