negro problem to which thousands of Southerners in the early despair of Reconstruction turned with hope, until the enthusiasm of Grady and the doctrine of Booker T. Washington brought to light a more adequate economic and sociological basis. Nevertheless, it is in poetry that the man and the period are revealed. Not only did McKinley love the South with his whole heart, but the Lost Cause was dear to him in a passionate degree. Early in Reconstruction his At Timrod's grave voiced the complaint of Southern poets:
For singing, Fate hath given sighs,His undaunted demeanour under the manifold injustices of Reconstruction speaks for his state and his section. Typical is his South Carolina—;1876:
For music, we make moan.
They've wasted all her royal dower;In later years he came to take refuge in poetry from the distresses of life, to find in it an anodyne. Probably the best example of this mood, Sapelo, illustrates not only the finish of his verse, which lifts him above the rhymesters of his section, but at the same time the lack of that inspiration or individual power which would give him a secure place in the poetical annals of our country. It is individuality of style that strikingly distinguishes another Reconstruction poet who could never forget the Lost Cause and who sought solace in the realms of poesy. John Banister Tabb (1845-1909) was born and reared at The Forest, a plantation near Richmond. The only blemish on the bright untroubled period of his boyhood with a loved mother and kind tutors was weakness of the eyes, which at the age of twelve an occulist pronounced incurable. His youthful passions were
They've wrought her wrong with evil power;
And is she faint, or doth she cower?
—She scorns them in her weakest hour!
She bides her time—a patient Fate!
Her sons are gathering in the gate!
She knows to counsel and to wait,
And vengeance knoweth no ‘too late.’