Rhymes and Reactions (May 1926)
By George Sterling
It is with great pleasure that I avail myself of the privilege of re-printing the exquisite lyric that follows, surely one of the finest in our language. It is by Aline Michaelis, of Beaumont, Texas, and was originally published in the "Enterprise," the leading newspaper of that city. It has also appeared in one or two anthologies of no great circulation or prestige. I heartily recommend it to Miss Munroe, Miss Rittenhouse, Louis Untermeyer and our other prominent anthologists. It was first brought to my attention by Charmian London, who thought it bore a strange significance to the life and death of her husband.
Who is the owner of "Life?" I am convinced that it must be E. I. Martin, not being able otherwise to account for his position as editorial writer on that otherwise clever periodical. For many years this incredible dullard has had his page in the weekly —a mumble of mildly reactionary flap doodle. "Life" manages to survive under the burden, but its other functionaries must heave the sigh to contrast their editorial page with that of "Judge" or indeed of the "Two Holes of Water" (Ark.) weekly "Scream of Freedom."
Writhing under the handicap, I dare say they have long since laid to heart the comforting assurance of Swinburne that
"Even the weariest river Winds somehow safe to sea."
Death, the dust-maker, will come on nothing dustier than the editorial page of E. I. Martin.
* * *
One poetess, in attempting to praise another who had passed to the great silence, writes of her as a "fervent pesonality." I respectfully ask if there is any one or anything one would flee from more rapidly than a fervent personality ? If you have ever encountered one, further words are weak.
* * *
Poets admire many poets, painters many painters, but when does an actor admire another living actor? And is that the reason why acting is but a half-art?
* * *
My Friend, Ahashuerus Jones, still immersed in his reasearches in Aleutian literature, sent me the followowing epigrams, translated by him from that musical tongue:
Woman never permits a fact to interfere with a conviction.
Advice is free only when worthless.
Good taste exists in inverse ratio to morals.
We know of Truth only her name.
Women love the rebel in man and hate it in women.
Happiness needs neither explanation nor apology.
Virginity: a liability considered by its possessor as an asset.
The wind cannot put out a star.
Notoriety: the black sheep of the Fame family.
We are often misunderstood, but would feel worse if understood.
Life is a readjustment of adjectives.
Strength and sin are half-brothers.
Transparency is the dignified element in most motives.
Love is a sea that never gives up its dead. '