– Poetry’s chief purpose is “to reinterpret and vindicate the norms of human existence” – that is not to say it can’t have radical upstarts, but even that returns to order and permanence
– Another conservative poet with some popularity was John Betjeman with Collected Poems (1959)
– Poets didn’t have to announce they’re “conservative” for the reader to gather their perspectives
– Homer, Sophocles, Vergil, Dante, all appealed to higher orders and powers to return their cultures to the truths their cultures once embodied – Milton, Dryden, Swift, Jogue, Coleridge, Yeats, Samuel Johnson (Irene) were others throughout the years
– Robert Frost didn’t prefer “conservative” but his writings were no doubt in this fashion
“For the neoterist and doctrinaire reformer, Frost had no fellow feeling. Harrison in ‘A Case for Jefferson,’ is a Freudian and Marxist, though of pure Yankee stock:
He dotes on Saturday pork and beans.
But his mind is scarcely out of his teens.
With him the love of country means
Blowing it all to smithereens
And having it all made over new.
One reason for Frosts’s popular successes, aside from his high talent, is his affinity with the old America, and with views of humanity and art older still. From tradition came his strength. A Tory poet, Kipling, prophesied that the gods of the copybook headings with fire and slaughter would return; and so have they come among us again, and they smite with increasing fury.” (499)
“In the present decade, liberalism and socialism lie prostrate, and for the most part fallen from public favor. A New Order, nevertheless, struggles to arise: an order of the lords of misrule, described in Troilus and Cressida –
Strength should be lord of imbecility,
And the rude son should strike the father dead:
Force should be right; or rather, right and wrong
Between whose endless jar justice resides,
Should lose their names, and so should justice too.
Then everything includes itself in power,
Power into will, will into appetite.” (500)
– “Men of affairs” must rise to meet the poet’s call for conservation of “the permanent things” of culture and politics
– Remember an individual is foolish, but as a whole species, we’re wise.