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[327] poetry and music, yet when the conflict came he soon forsook these nymphs to fly to arms and war. In 1862 he entered the navy as a captain's clerk and after two years of service was captured on a blockade runner and confined to Point Lookout Prison. There Sidney Lanier's flute-playing made the two men firm friends for life. Unlike Lanier, however, Tabb could not forget the prison and the victorious Northern armies which dispersed his wealth. In the blank years following the war he first studied music and then resigned himself to teaching. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1884, but remained in St. Charles College at Ellicott City, Maryland, till his death, for as teacher of literature, especially of his favourite poets, Poe, Keats, and Shelley, he was eminently successful. His total blindness in 1906 he bore with equanimity until his death in 1909.

His career reveals the character of his mind. He was detached from life and sought to pierce below its aspects to the soul beneath. Nature, to be sure, he loved. His memory dwelt fondly on the Virginia scenery of his boyhood, the rolling slopes and ‘smooth-sliding’ streams, the kildee and the wood-robin of that Utopian period. In Maryland he liked to take walks and come back with flowers and leaves. More than thirty birds are celebrated in his poems. Yet even when they stir the deepest emotion these voices of nature speak to him of some facet of human life. The call of the robin in the waning daylight reminds him of the shadowy but inevitable approach of Death:

Come, ere oblivion speed to me, flying
Swifter than thou.

It is his underlying philosophy that God speaks to man through the multiform aspects of nature; that

Love, of sweet Nature the Lord,
Hath fashioned each manifold chord
To utter His visible Word;

that the poet acts merely as interpreter. Indeed, so intent is Tabb on the thought symbolized that he comes to find loveliness in nature only as its aspects may be interpreted. More

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