Ridgeley Torrence born on this date in 1875.
- Wordsworth’s Influence of Natural Objects (in its entirety below)
- Torrence’s Evensong
- Matthew Struthers Burt’s Resurgam
Ridgeley Torrence was an interesting chap. From that Infallible Source:
Poet and playwright
During his early year in New York, he became part of a circle of poets that included E. A. Robinson, William Vaughn Moody, and Robert Frost. In 1900, he published The House of a Hundred Lights, which Edmund Clarence Stedman helped him revise.
The verse plays, showing the influence of John Millington Synge, showed realistic portrayals of African Americans, and a revolt against their station in society. While his verse dramas were published as books, they were not produced as plays.
In 1914, his one-act play Granny Maumee, which was first performed by a white cast, helped create opportunities for black actors in theaters in America when it was produced with black actors in 1917. It was “one of the first opportunities for serious black actors”. Torrence’s collection of plays, Three Plays for a Negro Theater premiered in 1917, as a production of the Negro Players. He work was noteworthy in its blending of compassion and strength.
Influence of Natural Objects in Calling Forth and Strengthening the Imagination in Boyhood and Early Youth
Wisdom and Spirit of the universe! Thou Soul, that art the Eternity of thought! And giv'st to forms and images a breath And everlasting motion! not in vain, By day or star-light, thus from my first dawn Of childhood didst thou intertwine for me The passions that build up our human soul; Not with the mean and vulgar works of Man; But with high objects, with enduring things, With life and nature; purifying thus The elements of feeling and of thought, And sanctifying by such discipline Both pain and fear,—until we recognise A grandeur in the beatings of the heart. Nor was this fellowship vouchsafed to me With stinted kindness. In November days, When vapours rolling down the valleys made A lonely scene more lonesome; among woods At noon; and 'mid the calm of summer nights, When, by the margin of the trembling lake, Beneath the gloomy hills, homeward I went In solitude, such intercourse was mine: Mine was it in the fields both day and night, And by the waters, all the summer long. And in the frosty season, when the sun Was set, and, visible for many a mile, The cottage-windows through the twilight blazed, I heeded not the summons: happy time It was indeed for all of us; for me It was a time of rapture! Clear and loud The village-clock tolled six—I wheeled about, Proud and exulting like an untired horse That cares not for his home.—All shod with steel We hissed along the polished ice, in games Confederate, imitative of the chase And woodland pleasures,—the resounding horn, The pack loud-chiming, and the hunted hare. So through the darkness and the cold we flew, And not a voice was idle; with the din Smitten, the precipices rang aloud; The leafless trees and every icy crag Tinkled like iron; while far-distant hills Into the tumult sent an alien sound Of melancholy, not unnoticed while the stars, Eastward, were sparkling clear, and in the west The orange sky of evening died away. Not seldom from the uproar I retired Into a silent bay, or sportively Glanced sideway, leaving the tumultuous throng, To cut across the reflex of a star; Image, that, flying still before me, gleamed Upon the glassy plain: and oftentimes, When we had given our bodies to the wind, And all the shadowy banks on either side Came sweeping through the darkness, spinning still The rapid line of motion, then at once Have I, reclining back upon my heels, Stopped short; yet still the solitary cliffs Wheeled by me—even as if the earth had rolled With visible motion her diurnal round! Behind me did they stretch in solemn train, Feebler and feebler, and I stood and watched Till all was tranquil as a summer sea.