Page:Men of Mark in America vol 2.djvu/22

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xvi
IDEALS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE

imaginations of poets from the days of Freneau to those of Bliss Carmen. Under the tremendous pressure of the work of subduing a continent men have never ceased to lift their eyes to the hills and to the stars and to feed their souls with the vision of the beauty of the world. A large group of recording naturalists, faithful secretaries of Nature, minute reporters of the seasons, has contributed to our literature a varied and deeply interesting account of natural life in America and of man's relation to it. These records have not been colorless; on the contrary, they have been saturated with individuality; and there are no books of American writing more racy and pungent, more deeply rooted in the soil, than the books of Thoreau and Mr. Burroughs. For one of the ideals of the American is free and intimate life with Nature.

Faith in God and in man because there is something divine in him; respect for force, independence, energy, audacity; reverence for women; love of home; the free life, the range and vitality of Nature on a great scale—these are the fundamental ideas at the bottom of American literature because they are the ideals in the hearts of Americans.

Hamilton W. Mabie.