Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/183

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HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES.

his trumpet-toned tales of war," said the Chicago Interocean. "The 'Dog Guard,' leaves an impression on the mind like Coleridge's 'Ancient Mariner,' " said the Boston Advertiser. R. H. Stoddart, in Scribner's Monthly, wrote: "William Morris could have spun off the verse more fluently, and Longfellow could have imparted to it his usual grace; still, we are glad it is not from them but from Mr. O'Reilly that we receive it He is as good a balladist as Walter Thornbury, who is the only other living poet who could have written 'The Old Dragoon's story.' "The Atlantic Monthly commended especially the discretion with which inanimate nature is subordinated to human interest in the "King of the Vasse": "The Australian scenery, and air, and natural life are everywhere summoned around the story without being forced upon the reader. Here, for instance, is a picture at once vivid and intelligible—which is not always the case with the vivid pictures of the word painters There are deep springs of familiar feeling (as the mother's grief for the estrangement of her savage-hearted son), also, touched in this poem, in which there is due artistic sense and enjoyment of the weirdness of the motive; and, in short, we could imagine ourselves recurring more than once to the story, and liking it better and better. The 'Dog Guard' is the next best story in the book,—a horrible fact treated with tragic realism, and skillfully kept from being merely horrible."

The "Songs of the Southern Seas" were subsequently incorporated in a volume, published in 1878 and entitled, "Songs, Legends, and Ballads," which reached a seventh edition, and will have attained its eighth in the present compilation.

It was dedicated as follows:

to

My Dear Wife,
whose rare and loving judgment has been a standard
i have tried to reach.
i dedicate this book.