Edited by Louis Untermeyer
eriod of renaissance. The decadence was to be seen in a perverse and finicking glorification of the fine arts and mere artistic virtuosity on the one hand, and a militant commercial movement on the other.... The eroticism which became so prevalent in the verse of many of the younger poets was minor because it was little more than a pose--not because it was erotic.... It was a passing mood which gave the poetry of the hour a hothouse fragrance; a perfume faint yet unmistakable and strange."
But most of the elegant and disillusioned young men overshot their mark. Mere health reasserted itself; an inherent repressed vitality sought new channels. Arthur Symons deserted his hectic Muse, Richard Le Gallienne abandoned his preciosity, and the group began to disintegrate. The æsthetic philosophy was wearing thin; it had already begun to fray and reveal its essential shabbiness. Wilde himself possessed the three things which he said the English would never forgive--youth, power and enthusiasm. But in tryi
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