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MR BRACKEN’S POETRY.

TO TITK KOI TOR. Sir, —Mr Thomas Bracken (ex-member of Parliament for Dunedin) has published in London a small volume of poetry entitled ‘ Lays of the Land of the Maori and Moa.’ It is dedicated to Sir George Grey. The lines of dedication are the worst in the book, The Rev. R. Waddell, minister of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Dunedin, has written a five • paged introduction. According to Mr Waddell, America, like Australasia, has no national literature, “with the doubtful exception of Walt Whitman.” Well, this is strange information ! What about Lowell, Whittier, Longfellow, 0, W. Holmes, Bryant, etc. ? Besides, Whitman is really no poet. He is simply a madman. Bracken’s poetry is far superior to Whitman’s. Wo are told that Bracken’s genius is essentially lyrical. That I entirely dispute. It would be more correct to say that his poetry is more descriptive than lyrical—e.f/., look at ‘ The Golden Jubilee,’ ‘ M'Gillivray’s Dream,’ ‘ Oraukau,’ ‘Melbourne, Dunedin, and Sydney Exhibitions,’ etc. • The March of Te Rauparaha ’ is essentially heroic. Mr Waddell says that “he is always best when he sings of love, loss, and death.” Now this is only partially correct. Ho seldom touches upon the tender passion. In the long poem of ‘ Waipounamutu’—an erotic tale—there is only one passage of an amatory sort, and that is descriptive : Love’s fierce passion, warm and true, Will urge a man to dare and do Deeds which, in calmer times, would seem Imnossible. Ob ! preoioi.s dream Of transient joy and nameless Hiss. The ecstasy o( one sweet kiss From Ups wo prize sots all aglow The god-sparks in our frames, and so The na-tow self within us dies, And nobler inspirations rise. We live in those we love, and they Exist in us-ray blends with ray— Till one rich beam illumes two clods With all tho fire of all the g.<ds. Again, here is another passage of the same description:— All that I have, and all I hold, Shall there bo thine; now lot me fold Thy matchless form into my heart, To kiss away tho pearls that start From those deep, lustrous orbs o 1 thine On the themes of ‘ Loss and Death ’ I freely concede that Bracken’s genius is excellent, in so far as piety is concerned, for the man is essentially, like every true bard, religious, e.f/., read his poem ‘ln the Temple ; A Christmas Reverie.’ The bard

rebukes sternly the cold InliJel and free gabbler ; Ami why ami ivlio am) what, art (hen That durst approach the Ills'll Uni n.uvn : Poor naked soul, he durnli and how lli-fore the (rrcat eternal throne. 1!: diinili and how, for Ood traii.-ccnds The lii Jus - stretch c( tmuuii th ii, r lit; He orders all for i.ohls ends ; HD works are all with wlsd ni francht. Kiioiiltli for thee Hut, thou luiist birth ; Enough for theo lie scut a man To purify anti bless the earth— That speck upon his wondrous plan. Knoti({h for thee, there ived and died. To make men noble, true, and free, A thorn-crowned King in Galilee ; The livin'' Ood personified, The Clnmpiort who conquered Hell. The poems ‘ Roquiescat,’ ‘At Sunset,’ ‘ De Profundis,’ ‘ Pax Vobiscum,’ ‘ Leah,’ ‘ Memoria in Eterna,’ etc, are really religious effusions, ‘ Away with Regret ’is a healthy piece of advice. ‘ The Waterfall ’ is a descriptive poem on the Water of Leith cascade. The tribute to Longfellow is good, and might have taught Mr Waddell a lesson on American literature. The tenderness of the poet is well mirrored in ‘ Good Night lo Baby,’ ‘Mrs George Darrell,’ 1 Kaitangata.’ ills addresses on the respective occasions of opening theatres at Dunedin and Oamaru are tragic narratives. The sympathetic nature of the poet is warmed by the 1 Timaru Wrecks ’ and the ‘Night of the Banquet.’ James Seaton will he remembered in these lines when himself and all noisy politicians shall ho forgotten. Bracken’s sonnets contain nothing very noticeable. ‘Affinity’ is a philosopliico • religious monody. In 1 Passing Through the Gate’ there is one line that is really characteristic of an amatory person— e.f/.; You’ve can Jit my hand and pressed it tight. ‘ Annihilation ’ smites to the dust tho lie of that sceptic. * The Heartless Miser ’ renders that character odious and contemptible.—l am, etc., J. G. S. Grant. Dunedin, June 9.

P.S. —Altogether considered, this book of IGO pages reflects credit upon the author, ilia quondam constituents should clear tho shelves of the booksellers of the remnants of this really elegant edition of their representative’s poems. J. G. S. G,

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890614.2.38.2

Bibliographic details

MR BRACKEN’S POETRY., Issue 7933, 14 June 1889

Word Count
752

MR BRACKEN’S POETRY. Issue 7933, 14 June 1889

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