Dear Mr. Woodberry: —

I have read "Ideal Passion" a number of times, brooding over it; and I want to thank you for that glorious experience. I also worship your Lady — wistfully and at a distance.

The enclosed clipping represents my desire to pass the good news along to other worshippers in the Northwest.


Jno. G. Neihardt Mr. George Edward Woodbury, Beverley, Mass.

The Minneapolis Journal.

The Books

An American Masterpiece

Woodberry, George Edward, Ideal Passion. Printed for the Woodberry Society, New York.

THERE is good reason to suspect that, when our generation shall have passed away, the modest little volume before us will be prized by book collectors; for its author undoubtedly deserves to be called the High Priest of American literature, and the sequence of 52 sonnets here presented is, in our opinion, the finest flower of the man's genius.

Petrarch immortalized his Laura, Dante his Beatrice, and many lesser bards have celebrated the charms of their ladies, thereby greatly enriching literature. But it is no mortal mistress that Woodberry praises.

"I know not who thou art to whom I pray, Or that indeed thou art apart from me.

His mistress is no other than the Ideal of Universal Beauty as revealed in cosmic and human relations.

—in a flying marble fold
Of Helias once I saw eternity
Flutter about her form; all nature she
Inspirits; but round her being there is rolled
The inextinguisable beauty old
Of the far shining mountains and the sea.

He does not envy Plutarch and Dante their loves, for

"Though glorified, their love was human love;
One unto one. A greater love I know."

He can not look anywhere but he sees the face of his lady; "in Art's still dream or where earth's roses burn" and all the grief and joy and aspiration of the race through countless generations have made the beauty of her face.

Those who are familiar with Mr. Woodberry's essays (and they are perhaps the greatest essays in American literature) will note that in this sequence the man has once more delivered his own peculiar message in a sublimated form. For over and over, both in his prose and in his verse, he emphasizes the importance of cherising the Racial Memory-that complex of human experience which constitutes our supreme inheritance, and which, when fully realized, makes of life a shining adventure and of earth a holy place.

The idea is far more than a poet's whimsy; it is the very essence of education itself, although our world, gone mad with the lust of material things, temporarily has forgotten the fact. To this idea Mr. Woodberry's life has been dedicated, and it is therefore with the utmost sincerity that he has written the strangely beautiful closing lines of his sequence:

Oh, unto my frail state may she yet lead
Her strength, stay my faint heart and still console
A little longer; with a poor man's bread
Succor my poverty, and pay my toll
To Charon when to Lethe I am led.
And ever round her shine the aureole
Of my sad verses after I am dead.