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[242] examples would be half a dozen at least, with Auf Wiedersehen and Without and within as the first flowers to be picked. Indeed, Lowell is Holmes's only chief rival among American poets in the limited field of familiar verse, but he is less meticulous in finish and polish and more likely to charge his lines with a meaning too large for the lyric which aims above all else at lightness and brightness.

Three other American poets of high ambition, Stedman,1 Aldrich,2 and Bret Harte,3 gave a more abundant share of their attention to the poetry which is blithe and buoyant; and in any selection of the best in this kind, it would be inexcusable to omit Stedman's Pan in wall Street, Aldrich's In an Atelier, or Bret Harte's Her letter. Nor would any competent editor exclude from such a collection Weir Mitchell's Decanter of Madeira, George Arnold's Jolly old pedagogue, or Charles Henry Webb's Dum Vivimus Vivamus. Nor would it be difficult largely to increase this list of examples chosen from the verse of men whose reputation has been won mainly in other fields.

Three of our lighter lyrists demand a little more detailed consideration,—John Godfrey Saxe (1816-87), Eugene Field4 (1850-95), and Henry Cuyler Bunner5 (1855-96), though the last two belong to a period somewhat later than that chiefly considered in this chapter. Of these Saxe is the earliest and the least important. He is not only the earliest, he is also the most old-fashioned in his method and the least individual in his outlook. His verse is modelled upon Praed's, to whose dazzling brilliance he could not attain; and he borrowed also the pattern of Hood in his more broadly comic lyrics. He was clever and facile; but he was a little too easy-going to achieve the delicate fineness which we have a right to demand in familiar verse. He does not understand that the thinner the theme the more care must be exercised to redeem its exeguity by certainty of touch and by infinite solicitude in execution. The immanent difficulty of familiar verse is due to the fact that poetry of this type at its best ought to be humorous without broadening into mere fun, while it ought also to be pathetic without slop ping over into sentimentality. Saxe is quite free from sentimentality,

1 See Book III, Chap. X.

2 Ibid.

3 See Book III, Chaps. V. and VI.

4 See also Book III, Chap. IX.

5 See also Book III, Chap. VI.

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