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1 [274] been throughout implied. His qualities of thought, feeling, imagination, were communicated, were indeed only communicable, because so wrought into his diction, his rhymes, cadences, and stanzas. Indeed, there is no separating a poet's feeling, say, for a beautiful flower from his manner of expressing it — for all we know about his feeling for the flower is what he succeeds in communicating by speech. It is tautology to say that a poet treats a sublime idea sublimely — for it is the sublimity in the treatment that makes us realize the sublimity of the idea. We can at most conceive a poet's “style” as a whole; as, along with his individual world of meditation and vision, another phase of his creative power — as his creation of music. Possibly it is the deepest and most wonderful of the poet's creations, transcending its manifestation in connection with any single poem. Perhaps, for instance, Milton's greatest creative act was not Lycidas, or the Sonnets, or Paradise lost, but that music we call Miltonic. Certainly this is the more true the more organic the style is; and, as said before, Bryant's style was highly organic.

An astute and sympathetic mind who might never have seen a verse of Bryant's could deduce that style from what has been said in this chapter — if what has been said has been correctly said. Such a mind would not need to be told that Bryant's diction was severe, simple, chaste, narrower in range than that of his political prose; that his rhymes were dignified, sonorous, exact and emphatic rather than subtle or allusive, and narrow in range — not from artistic poverty but because the rhyme vocabulary of the simple and serious moods is in English itself narrow, and much novelty and variety of rhyme is in our speech possible only when, like Browning, one portrays the grotesque and the eccentric, or like Shelley the fantastic, or like Butler the comic, or like Chaucer the familiar. Such a mind would deduce Bryant's most fundamental rhythm, the iambic; his most fundamental metre, the pentameter; together with his preference for stanzaic, or periodic, treatment, whether in blank verse or in rhyme, rather than for couplets; yes, together with the most characteristic cadences,--like the curves of a distant mountain range, few and clear but not monotonous; like the waves of a broad river, slow and long but not hesitant or ponderous, never delighting by subtle surprises, nor jarring

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