Dear Sterling: —

I read "Rosamund" last night and found it full of those Sterlingesque images & phrases that I have long admired. You are second to no man in such things. Also, the story is vividly told, and often the drama is tense. I do not object to the violence. The times were so; and, anyway, that objection is for the Christianized to make. Life is full of violence. I do not object in the least to the lust, for it is universal in nature, and I have known nearly every phase of it myself.

The objection that I would raise is general. I would say that the drama suffers by reason of the fact that the larger human impulses that have made glorious the story of the race are utterly lacking in your treatment. You forget what the Greeks called the ethos and emphasize the pathos of human life, and when that is done, the resulting picture can not be true and can not have universal significance. Once, toward the end, you seemed about to redeem the whole drama gloriously — where Rosamund expresses her only reason for living, in a monologue. She will live for her daughter and, hating all the wolves, she will choose the biggest because the biggest can slay the rest. I could wish that note had been struck earlier in the drama, for there is the real motive power in Rosamund's character. Had this come earlier & been allowed to run as an undertone throughout the drama, the whole thing would have been lifted to sublimity, and you would have had something with which to contrast mere lechery & blood-letting.

You will note that these larger human motives, of which Rosamund's belated attitude toward her daughter & her male pursuers is an example, are always social in character; while the attitudes that are dominant in the play as it stands are conspicuously anti-social. I am in no way thinking of giving a Puritanic twist to the action. Damn Puritans! But human nature is in the last analysis glorious. Your Rosamund is fundamentally glorious, but not because she had a body that men saw was a "golden lily". Rather, because, by your own belated hint, there was something in her bigger than the love of self. That something, as I see it, should by natural right have been the determining element in the drama, progressively developed.

Of course, our difference of viewpoint arises from a fundamental difference in life philosophy. You are in many ways temperamentally anarchistic, while I am by nature socialistic, believing that the only real values are social values after all and that the individual counts only as he contributes to and furthers social process, or the reverse. You won't take any offense, I know; for surely you are aware that in in many important ways I hold you second to no one now writing poetry.