Volume VII Poems & Dramas by Fiona Macloed


Into this book are gathered the poems-with a few exceptions--and the two finished dramas written by William Sharp under the pseudonym of "Fiona Macleod." One or two early lyrics in the present volume were not reprinted in the posthumous English Edition of From thc Hills of Dream because that selection was made, but not arranged, by the author for a second and enlarged but not necessarily final edition of the verse of "Fiona Macleod."

I have adhered as much as possible to a chronological sequence. These poems grouped in the sections From the Hills of Dream, and those marked elsewhere with *, were written between 1893-1896 and published under that title in 1896 by Patrick Geddes and Colleagues, Edinburgh. In 1901 a selection from that volume, together with poems written between 1896-1900, was published under the original title, by Mr. Thomas B. Mosher, in America. Those later poems are, in this Collected Edition, grouped together in "Foam of the Past" and "Through the Ivory Gate;" and those written subsequently, 1900-1905, form the sections "The Dirge of the Four Cities" (with the exception of Murias which was previously published as "Requiem") and "The Hour of Beauty;" and also form part of the posthumous English Edition of From the Hills of Dream issued by Mr. Heinemann in 1907. The subsequent poems, 1900-1905, together with those herein marked with an , were published separately under the title of The Hour of Beauty, by Mr. Mosher in 1907.

I wish to express my indebtedness to Mr. Alfred Noyes for permission to reprint at the end of the volume, his Sonnet "To Fiona MacLeod," which appeared first in the Fortnightly Review in 1906, and in 1907 as preface to the American Edition of the tale entitled "The Wayfarer" (from The Winged Destiny) and published by Mr. Mosher.

The two poetic dramas " The House of Usna " and "The Immortal Hour," were intended by the author to form part of a series of plays to be published collectively as The Theatre of the Soul, or The Psychic Drama. The names of these unwritten, though mentally cartooned poetic plays, by " Fiona Macleod," were " Nial the Soulless," "The King of Ys," " Drostan and Yssul," "The Veiled Avenger," "The Book of Dalua."

The two completed poetic plays appeared originally in the Fortnightly Review in 1900. In the original manuscript the former bears the title " The King of Ireland's Son," though preference was given later to "The House of Usna," and under this name the play was produced by The Stage Society and acted at the Globe Theatre on the 29th of April, 1900, under William Sharp's direct supervision--when one or two only of the audience, other than the occupants of our stage box, knew that the author, "Fiona Macleod," witnessed the performance in the person of the President of The Stage Society. "The House of Usna " has not hitherto been published in book form in Great Britain, but an American edition was brought out in America by Mr. Mosher, in 1903.

"The Immortal Hour" was altered and rewritten several times. I cannot recall when it was begun, but my husband read it to me at Ballycastle, Ireland, in the summer of 1899. The original form, as printed in the Fortnightly Review, lacked the present opening, and finished with a short epilogue; this forepart was specially revised and printed separately as "Dalua," and thus described by the author: "A fragment, as 'The Immortal Hour' itself is, of the as yet unwritten Book of Dalua or Book of the Dark Fool, of whose fulfilment the author sometimes dreams."

" The Immortal Hour " was published posthumously in America by Mr. Mosher, in 1907, and in England by Mr. T. N. Foulis in 1908.

A word concerning the illustrations. The suggestive landscapes in volumes II, III, IV, V, Vl---reproduced from drawings by the Highland painter and etcher, Mr. D. Y. Cameron---are glimpses of some of those Isles of the West that form the setting to so many of the " Fiona Macleod " Tales: Arran, with its picturesque hills; Iona, the Isle of Dreams, with its "Sundown Shores"; the Treshnish Isles, that lie further westward in the Atlantic; and Skye, the Isle of Mists, that fronts the stormy northern seas.

The portraits in volumes I and VII are from photographs of William Sharp) that date to the period of the "Fiona Macleod" writings. That in volume I was taken in Dublin, in 1896, two years after the appearance of Pharais; that in volume VII was taken in Sicily, at Il Castello di Maniace, by the Duke of Bronte, in 1903, a few months prior to the publication Of The Winged Destiny.



A spirit listened to the whispering grass,
That shimmered with wet tints of human tears,
And like a wandering wind the lonely years
Dried them; the spirit heard that low wind pass,
And cried
Then beat it down and flew beyond the spheres,
To where the immortal Face of Beauty wears
That smile which earth sees darkly, as in a glass.

And now where'er the dews at nightfall glisten,
Where'er the mountain-windsare breathing low,
Where'er the seas creep glimming to the shore,
Some wanderer shall pause awhile and listen
And see i' the darkling glass a tenderer glow
Whence that bright spirit whispers evermore.



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