The Beginnings Of A National Literary Tradition — страница 4

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perverting hand on men”(Connor 148). Lampman’s sense of identity as a poet developed in the “tradition of prophetic humanism”(Early 142). However, while Lampman was devoted to this art there were qualities that separate him from completely imitating the English Romantics. His desire for sharp accuracy in his poetic descriptions of nature separated him from the sometimes faulty poetry of the Romanticist movement. Furthermore, Lampman had a nervous sensibility in his poetry that detached him from the intense passion felt in many of the Romanticists poetry. Lampman lacked the “drive [of the Romanticists] toward ultimate synthesis”(Early 142). Ultimately, Lampman’s variety of influence and attitudes in his poetry indicate an uncertain and eclectic disposition that

differentiates him from the poets of the English Romanticist movement. Lampman remained exceptionally open to influences throughout his career yet he managed to retain his own brand of “Canadian” poetry. In Lampman’s poetry he finds companionship in Nature. We can see through many of his poems that he was “solitary so far as human beings are concerned, but we know from the poem ["Solitude"] that he is anything but lonely”(Keith 19). The poem “Solitude” found in The Poems of Archibald Lampman depicts the whole feeling that the poet gets when he is on one of his treks in the woods: How still it is here in the woods. The trees Stand motionless, as if they did not dare To stir, lest it should break the spell. The air hangs quiet as spaces in a marble frieze.

Even this little brook, that runs at ease, Whispering and gurgling in its knotted bed, Seems but to deepen, with its curling thread Of sound, the shadowy sun-pierced silences. Sometimes a hawk screams or a woodpecker Startles the stillness from its foxed mood With his loud careless tap. Sometimes I hear The dreamy white-throat from some far off tree. This poem gives Nature an almost human face. Lampman’s ability to create an image in the mind of the reader is perhaps his greatest gift. Even today the imagery of his poems can be seen in the minds of those with imagination. Lampman’s poetry creates “a mood, usually of reverie and usually approaching melancholy”(Rashley 77). All Canadians, past and present, can relate to Lampman’s poetry because we are all connected to the

land in some manner. We all identify with the seasonal extremes, the changing terrains, and just the sheer vastness of the country. Lampman’s poetry “reminds us of what we might otherwise be in danger of forgetting; that we are part of a larger world, that we share the environment with other living things, and that natural beauty is a necessary background for what makes us human”(Keith 22). Lampman responds to a relationship he sees man as having with nature. He is meticulous with details and takes delicate care in his descriptions and landscaping as if it were of the utmost importance in connecting the reader and himself to the land. The poetry of Lampman is an introspective study of the individual in relation to nature. Nature is a “release of energy, discovery which

for a time, [gives] a fresh, eager enthusiasm and a boundlessly idealistic concept of life”(Rashley 90-91). Likewise, if Lampman observes natural objects with accuracy and love then what must opinion of the man-made be? Nature drew Lampman into its folds not only because it was great and beautiful in itself but because it was a refuge from the society he had found to have neither. Nature is a refuge for man from the angst and frustration of day to day urban life. While his published verse was for the most part naturistic, living in Ottawa had given him a sense of disgust for urban civilization. This is perhaps most evident in the poem “The City of the End of Things” written in 1895. The poem sees urban settings as “valleys huge of Tartarus/ Lurid and lofty and vast it

seems”(Brown, Bennet & Cooke 156). The most evident part of the poem in which he sees urban life and mankind as being in an apocalyptical situation is in the final passage: And into rust and dust shall fall From century to century; Nor ever living thing shall grow, Nor trunk of tree, nor blade of grass; No drop shall fall, no wind shall blow, Nor sound of any foot shall pass; Alone of its accursed state, One thing the hand of time shall spare, For the grim Idiot at the gate Is deathless and eternal there. The idea that urbanization and industrialization will somehow destroy mankind is a visionary and prophetic view of the globalization and environmental damage we are currently facing. Lampman felt that man can resist corruption by maintaining close and passionate contact