Dear Old Man:—

I'm glad you have written the Ode & that it has more of Socialism than of Exposition in it. You needn't fear. Socialism set forth in such tropes as you command will make an agreeable impression; for what you wrote in sincerity will be taken for "fine sentiment" by most people. It's the bold statement of Socialism as an inevitable economic system that roughs their backs. People love to mouth what they don't believe, when by doing so they may impress their neighbors as being very advanced, very humanitarian. Therein lies the apparent success & actual failure of Christianity.

I'm sorry to hear that your divorce still hurts, tho' I can understand. I don't know this particular case, but as a general proposition I would say you are to be congratulated. Women are the natural enemies of art, however one may wish it otherwise. They are the incorrigible materialists. Note that I do not attempt to underrate them within their own province. God knows what men owe to them beyond the mere fact of being born of them!

I have been reading Sophocles in the original. It goes slowly, but is worth the time & effort a thousandfold. I've just struck a line that seems to me to be a wonderful example of onomatopeia. It's where the messenger is telling of Jocasta's death by hanging & of the actions of Oedipus upon seeing her.

Jocasta, having learned that her husband is her son, has rushed to her old bridal chamber, shrieking & tearing her hair (like a true woman!) And then these lines:

Υoᾶτo δ'έuvἀς , evθa δύςτηvoς διπλoῦς ἒξ ἀvδὸς ἀvδϱα και τέκv' εκ τέκvwv τέκoι.

"She wailed over her marriage bed, whereon, doubly [?]. She bored a husband from a husband and a child from a child."

Now that second line carries a pitiless, hideous, loathsome meaning — and here is the sound, like the insistent croaking of a frog:

Ex andros audra [by tek nek telenon tekoi?].

Don't the k's do it admirably? What could be better than the crooking sound for the blatant, loathsome sense?

A little farther on, one finds such an expression as this, applied to Jocasta: διπλῆv ἄρouραv "a field twice ploughed". Riffing — eh?

Say, old man, do you neglect your latin? If you have been doing so, read those lines again in the Aeneid where Dido appears to Aeneas in [Avenuo?]! And that poem of Horace about the worn-out whore — it's number XXV in the Carmina. But I didn't mean to get off the track like this. Hugh goes on finely — lots of interesting letter problems to solve by the way.

Be good to George Sterling.



Sold a full page poem to Century. Have you seen Feb. Forum "800 Rubles" is being considered for production in Boston.