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‘ [289] single volume, and thenceforth prone to lead a life of culture rather than of creative activity.’

The result was that the South, in 1860, had found no adequate expression of her life, no interpretation of her ideals, not even a description of her natural scenery. What writing there was, with few exceptions, was not of the soil nor of the people. Poe,1 Edward Coate Pinkney (1802-28), author of the exquisite love-compliment A Health, and Richard Henry Wilde (1789-1847), who wrote the fragrant Stanzas beginning ‘My life is like the summer rose,’ might have written anywhere. One poem of the War of 1812, one or two of the Mexican War, and some half dozen other lyrics constituted, despite the appearance of not a few volumes of well-meant verse,2 the poetic output of the South before the Civil War.

The Civil War aroused intense emotions that found expression in a large body of lyric poetry, written by some men who were professedly poets and by more who were but occasionally such. It is difficult for one of the present generation to realize the unity and the fervour of the Southern people at the beginning of the war. Most intelligent Southerners would now agree with President Wilson that the principles for which the South fought ‘meant stand-still in the midst of change; it was conservative, not creative; it was against drift and destiny; it protected an impossible institution and a belated order of society; it withstood a creative and an imperial idea, the idea of a united people and a single law of freedom.’ But it was given to few men, if any, on either side to understand the issues thus clearly defined. In fact, as soon as Fort Sumter was attacked and Maryland was invaded there was no longer a question of political issues—it was rather, to Southerners, a struggle of human passions, of liberty against despotism, and of the invasion of the sacred rights of home and commonwealth. As Sidney Lanier,3 himself then a young man just graduating at a Georgia college, said:

An afflatus of war was breathed upon us. Like a great wind it drew on, and blew upon men, women, and children. Its sound mingled with the serenity of the church organ, and arose with the earnest words of preachers praying for guidance in the matter. It

1 See Book II, Chap. XIV.

2 See Bibliography

3 See also Book III, Chap. IV.

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