July 29, 2010

This is the End, Stella Benson

WWI looks like a thunderstorm at the end of a perfect summer day (well, if you were English); but a thunderstorm mistaken, until the blast, for a cooling rain. So many people were unsatisfied in the summer twilight.

This isn't the best example; Benson's The House of Living Alone is better. This one argues that the urge to fantasy or fiction doesn't save us from much, and tries to make the argument in the same genre; the current The Magicians, Lev Grossman, is better at the same suicide.


You promised War and Thunder and Romance.

You promised true, but we were very blind

And very young, and in our ignorance

We never called to mind

That truth is seldom kind.

You promised love, immortal as a star.

You promised true, yet how the truth can lie!

For now we grope for hands where no hands are,

And, deathless, still we cry,

Nor hope for a reply.

You promised harvest and a perfect yield.

You promised true, for on the harvest morn,

Behold a reaper strode across the field,

And man of woman born

Was gathered in as corn.

You promised honour and ordeal by flame.

You promised true. In joy we trembled lest

We should be found unworthy when it came;

But—oh—we never guessed

The fury of the test!

You promised friends and songs and festivals.

You promised true. Our friends, who still are young,

Assemble for their feasting in those halls

Where speaks no human tongue.

And thus our songs are sung.

Project Gutenberg file , This is the End

So wrote clew in Fiction (20th c.).
And thus wrote others:
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