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Four Americans Roosevelt, Hawthorne, Emerson, Whitman   By: (1847-1926)

Book cover

First Page:

FOUR AMERICANS

REPRINTS FROM THE YALE REVIEW

[Illustration: Separator]

A Book of Yale Review Verse

1917

War Poems from The Yale Review

1918

War Poems from The Yale Review

( Second Edition )

1919

Four Americans: Roosevelt, Hawthorne, Emerson, Whitman

1919

FOUR AMERICANS

ROOSEVELT HAWTHORNE EMERSON WHITMAN

BY

HENRY A. BEERS

AUTHOR OF

STUDIES IN AMERICAN LITERATURE A HISTORY OF ENGLISH ROMANTICISM

[Illustration: Shield, scroll: LUX ET VERITAS]

NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT PUBLISHED FOR THE YALE REVIEW

BY THE

YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS MDCCCCXX

COPYRIGHT, 1919, BY YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS

First published, 1919 Second printing, 1920

CONTENTS

PAGE

I. Roosevelt as Man of Letters 7

II. Fifty Years of Hawthorne 33

III. A Pilgrim in Concord 59

IV. A Wordlet about Whitman 85

ROOSEVELT AS MAN OF LETTERS

In a club corner, just after Roosevelt's death, the question was asked whether his memory would not fade away, when the living man, with his vivid personality, had gone. But no: that personality had stamped itself too deeply on the mind of his generation to be forgotten. Too many observers have recorded their impressions; and already a dozen biographies and memoirs have appeared. Besides, he is his own recorder. He published twenty six books, a catalogue of which any professional author might be proud; and a really wonderful feat when it is remembered that he wrote them in the intervals of an active public career as Civil Service Commissioner, Police Commissioner, member of his state legislature, Governor of New York, delegate to the National Republican Convention, Colonel of Rough Riders, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Vice President and President of the United States.

Perhaps in some distant future he may become a myth or symbol, like other mighty hunters of the beast, Nimrod and Orion and Tristram of Lyonesse. Yet not so long as "African Game Trails" and the "Hunting Trips of a Ranchman" endure, to lift the imagination to those noble sports denied to the run of mortals by poverty, feebleness, timidity, the engrossments of the humdrum, everyday life, or lack of enterprise and opportunity. Old scraps of hunting song thrill us with the great adventure: "In the wild chamois' track at break of day"; "We'll chase the antelope over the plain"; "Afar in the desert I love to ride"; and then we go out and shoot at a woodchuck, with an old double barrelled shotgun and miss! If Roosevelt ever becomes a poet, it is while he is among the wild creatures and wild landscapes that he loved: in the gigantic forests of Brazil, or the almost unnatural nature of the Rockies and the huge cattle ranches of the plains, or on the limitless South African veldt, which is said to give a greater feeling of infinity than the ocean even.

Roosevelt was so active a person not to say so noisy and conspicuous; he so occupied the centre of every stage, that, when he died, it was as though a wind had fallen, a light had gone out, a military band had stopped playing. It was not so much the death of an individual as a general lowering in the vitality of the nation. America was less America, because he was no longer here. He should have lived twenty years more had he been willing to go slow, to loaf and invite his soul, to feed that mind of his in a wise passiveness. But there was no repose about him, and his pleasures were as strenuous as his toils. John Burroughs tells us that he did not care for fishing, the contemplative man's recreation. No contemplation for him, but action; no angling in a clear stream for a trout or grayling; but the glorious, dangerous excitement of killing big game grizzlies, lions, African buffaloes, mountain sheep, rhinoceroses, elephants. He never spared himself: he wore himself out. But doubtless he would have chosen the crowded hour of glorious life or strife, for life and strife were with him the same... Continue reading book >>




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