Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/16

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control, without which poetry would lack dignity and grace. No writer understood better than he that the face and form of Poesy to be beautiful must be tranquil, that violent movements rob her of her charm—that even in the tempest of her love or wrath her mien must breathe the comeliness and harmony of the Divine.

This lesson of the Muses gave grace and charm to more than his poetry, it gradually pervaded all the movement of his life. Seldom did he lose sight of what he has himself so beautifully expressed:

Nature's gospel never changes,
Every sudden force deranges,
Blind endeavor is not wise.

Many a time was he subjected to trials calling for super-human self-control, and seldom was he found wanting under the test. Instances without number are related of his generous magnanimity toward those who deserved it least, of his patience under insult and injustice, of his quickness to atone for any momentary, unguarded flash. There was a rhythm and a harmony in all his life like to that of his thoughts and of his style.

But in all this there was more than nature. The Divine Faith, implanted in his soul in childhood, flourished there undyingly, pervaded his whole being with its blessed influences, furnished his noblest ideals of thought and conduct. Even when not explicitly adverted to. Faith's sweet and holy inspirations were there to shape his thought and direct his life. They had made, his mind their sanctuary before its work began, and all its imagery during life instinctively bore the impress of their presence.

Thus was he fitted to fulfill worthily the vocation of a poet. For it is not aimlessly that Divine Providence endows a human being with qualities so exceptional and exalted.

The poet is one endowed with ken so piercing as through the veil of sense to gaze upon the world of the ideal, and through all ideals to penetrate to the archetypal ideal of all things;—endowed with heart so sensitive as to thrill with unwonted throbbings at this vision of the true, the beautiful, and the good;— endowed with speech so subtle that it can fit itself to thoughts and emotions like these, so rhythmical and sweet that, falling on ears dulled by the hard din of life, it may charm them, and lift up earthly minds and hearts to thought and love of better things. The true