Friday, 29 January 2016

Maude Egerton King Obituary Part 2

Following on from my previous post of Greville MacDonald’s Maude Egerton King 1867 – 1927 – A Portrait in Miniature 'Maude Egerton King 1867-1927', MacDonald continues:


Maude Egerton King 1867 - 1927
A Portrait in Miniature
"Maude King’s writings, verse or prose, would have ranked perhaps with the greatest had her ceaseless upholding of those who were sorrowful, foolish or crippled, allowed more freedom to her pen.  Nevertheless she gave us many poems that were perfectly cut gems, as well as a fine array of stories and essays rich with her own poetic wayside flowers –


“The dark sweet violet, still hiding low,
And over the hedge in golden dance and glow
The jocund daffodil, -"
(Young Tree in Spring, My Book of Songs and Sonnets)

wayside imagery and radiance that still must brighten the future for us.

"Though subscribing to no creed or dogma, her faith in an all-pervading, immanent Beauty, whether in men, women and children, or in fertile valleys and snow-clad mountains piercing the eternal blue, or in folk-lore and great literature, tempts us to rank her religion as more convincing, saner in its appeal to and hold upon us, than much that relies upon ecclesiastic interpretation.  In the simplicity of her belief and her almost Calvinistic submission to duty in great and smallest things, we understand the purity and strength of her vision as well as the facility of her art, the spontaneity of her pathos and wit.  For this vision was fearless.  Indeed it was almost ruthless in its penetration, and her satire could be scathing when it had to be, though never bitter, never cynical.  Her eyes, no more astigmatic or myopic than their lovely physical counterparts, need no smoked glasses to protect them from the sun, nor rose-coloured to beautify the commonplace.  They never misled her in anything she did or criticised; and this in spite of environmental exactions which in many less faithful would endangered their art:

“When Fate, blindfold and move we are not whence,
Smites greatest men, oftimes they, disendowed
Of common life’s completeness, wander bowed
Through gates of loss to some large recompense;
As when, with passion and insight thrice intense,
Blake’s holy madness wrapped him from the crowd
To show him heavens in hells, and there allowed
Sight of life’s central firs: or, reft of sense
To outer noise, Beethoven clothed in sound
All love, all loss, all life’s supremest dower:
Or Milton in his house of lasting night
With God and his great heart, there within found
Large liberty and comfort, and the power
Of prophet vision undistraught of sight.”
 (My Book of Songs and Sonnets)

"In the little ballad also, “The Making of the Poet”, she claims that it is not enough to be born a poet : he must suffer also.  Here only the breaking of his lyre – the discovery perhaps that even his artistic facility is of small worth – and then the death of his lady, set him free with his hitherto unfathomed power:

“There he stood, his hair’s young golden
Dragged with thorns and dank with dew,
Wan and wild his face and olden,
Then the God Apollo knew,
Though the music had arisen
That the dart that oped its prison,

Pierced his heart, and lay there letting
Throbbing life-blood fall with song;
And its hidden fiery fretting
Made the music sad, and strong;
Till in tears of rapture glistening
Gods and men alike were listening.
(My Book of Songs and Sonnets)”

2 comments:

  1. As you would expect I much enjoyed these unearthed gems!!

    ReplyDelete

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