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Somehow Amory's dissatisfaction with his lack of enthusiasm culminated
in an attempt to put the blame for the whole war on the ancestors of his
generation... all the people who cheered for Germany in 1870.... All
the materialists rampant, all the idolizers of German science and
efficiency. So he sat one day in an English lecture and heard "Locksley
Hall" quoted and fell into a brown study with contempt for Tennyson and
all he stood for--for he took him as a representative of the Victorians.
Victorians, Victorians, who never learned to weep
Who sowed the bitter harvest that your children go to reap--
scribbled Amory in his note-book. The lecturer was saying something
about Tennyson's solidity and fifty heads were bent to take notes. Amory
turned over to a fresh page and began scrawling again.
"They shuddered when they found what Mr. Darwin was about,
They shuddered when the waltz came in and Newman hurried out--"
But the waltz came in much earlier; he crossed that out.
"And entitled A Song in the Time of Order," came the professor's voice,
droning far away. "Time of Order"--Good Lord! Everything crammed in
the box and the Victorians sitting on the lid smiling serenely.... With
Browning in his Italian villa crying bravely: "All's for the best."
Amory scribbled again.
"You knelt up in the temple and he bent to hear you pray,
You thanked him for your 'glorious gains'--reproached him for
Why could he never get more than a couplet at a time? Now he needed
something to rhyme with:
"You would keep Him straight with science, tho He had gone wrong
"You met your children in your home--'I've fixed it up!' you cried,
Took your fifty years of Europe, and then virtuously--died."
"That was to a great extent Tennyson's idea," came the lecturer's voice.
"Swinburne's Song in the Time of Order might well have been Tennyson's
title. He idealized order against chaos, against waste."
At last Amory had it. He turned over another page and scrawled
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