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- Giant Hours With Poet Preachers - 1/18 -


[Illustration: EDWIN MARKHAM ]

GIANT HOURS WITH POET PREACHERS

BY

WILLIAM L. STIDGER

Introduction by Edwin Markham

To WHITE-SOULED EDWIN MARKHAM DEMOCRACY'S VOICE, HUMANITY'S FRIEND I DEDICATE THIS BOOK

CONTENTS:

INTRODUCTION.

FOREWORD.

AMERICAN POETS:

I. EDWIN MARKHAM.

II. VACHEL LINDSAY.

III. JOAQUIN MILLER.

IV. ALAN SEEGER.

ENGLISH POETS

V. JOHN OXENHAM.

VI. ALFRED NOYES.

VII. JOHN MASEFIELD.

VIII. ROBERT SERVICE.

IX. RUPERT BROOKE.

LIST OF PORTRAITS:

EDWIN MARKHAM.

VACHEL LINDSAY.

JOAQUIN MILLER.

ALAN SEEGER.

JOHN OXENHAM.

ALFRED NOYES.

JOHN MASEFIELD.

ROBERT SERVICE.

RUPERT BROOKE.

INTRODUCTION

In writing to the readers of Mr. Stidger's book I feel as though I were writing to old friends, friends who may have an interest in knowing some of the thoughts that I hold regarding questions of the hour and questions of the future.

The Christian as he looks out upon the battling and broken world sees much to sadden his heart. Thinkers are everywhere asking, "Is Christianity a failure?" I hasten to assure you that Christianity has not failed, for Christianity has nowhere been tried yet, nowhere been tried in a large social sense. Christianity has been tried by individuals, and it has been found to be comforting and transforming. But it has never been tried by any large group of people in any one place--never by a whole city--never by a whole kingdom---never by a whole people. It is for this trial that the watching angels are waiting.

Our holy religion is not a saving power merely for individuals; it is also a saving power for society in its industrial order. We have applied it to the individual in the past, but we have never made any wholehearted effort to make religion the working principle of society. Religion is always cooperative and brotherly, but we have not yet made any earnest effort to apply the cooperative and brotherly principle to business. We have tried to persuade the individual to express the ideals of the Sermon on the Mount, but we have made no earnest effort to urge society to express the ideals of the Sermon on the Mount.

Therefore, while it is true that we have individual Christians--men and women who make noble sacrifices in their effort to live the good life--it is also true that we have no Christian society anywhere on earth, no Christian civilization anywhere under the stars. Sometimes a careless talker will refer to our social order as "a Christian civilization." All such references, dear friends, disturb our hearts; for they prove that the speaker has no conception of what a Christian civilization would be, how noble and brotherly it would be. Five minutes' reading of the Sermon on the Mount will convince any alert mind that we are yet thousands of miles from a Christian civilization. To speak of only one thing, it is certain that in a Christian civilization these cruel riches we see standing side by side with these cruel poverties could not exist; they would all crumble and vanish away in the fire of the social passion of the Christ.

If we have not a Christian civilization, what have we? We have a civilization that is half barbaric; we have a social order with a light sprinkling of Christians in it. It is the hope of the future that this body of earnest Christian men and women will awaken to the call of the social Christ, awake determined to infuse his spirit into the industrial order, and thus extend the power of the cross down into the material ground of our existence. Men are not fully saved until tools are saved, till industries are saved. They must all be lit with the brother spirit of Christ the Artisan.

All of this transformation is implied in the Sermon on the Mount. For that sermon may be taken to be the first draft of the constitution of the new social order that the Christ has in his heart for men. It was this new order that he had in mind when he uttered the great invitation, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." All the work-worn toilers of the world were to find rest in the new brotherly order about to be established on the earth. The Master has laid one great duty upon his followers--to embrother men and to emparadise the world.

This is a great labor, for it demands that the spirit of the brother Christ shall sing in all the wheels and sound in all the steps of our industrial life. It means that the Golden Rule shall become the working principle in our social order. This is the salvation that Christ came to bring to the world; this is the glad tidings; this the good news to men!

This is only a glimpse of the great social truth of the Lord that is beginning to break like a new morning upon the world. And what I have said in this letter I have tried a thousand times to say in my poems that have gone out into the world. And this new note I catch in the lines of the poets everywhere in modern poets, especially in the poets discussed in the following pages.

Yours in the Fellowship of the great hopes,

[Signature: Edwin Markham]

West New Brighton, N. Y.

FOREWORD

Vachel Lindsay, one of the modern Christian poets, whose writings are discussed in this book, has expressed the reason for the book itself in these four lines:

"I wish that I had learned by heart Some lyrics read that day; I knew not 'twas a giant hour That soon would pass away."

The author of this book makes no assumption that the "Giant Hours" are in the setting he has given these literary gems, but in the "lyrics" themselves.

AMERICAN POETS

EDWIN MARKHAM

VACHEL LINDSAY

JOAQUIN MILLER

ALAN SEEGER


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