The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 42, July 1938 - April, 1939 Page: 163
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his election. He was a poet on the side. That's the trouble with
his poetry. There is in it nothing from the deep inside of the
man, nothing of the actual land he was supposed to represent.
Suppose he had put his most notorious political god-child, the
mad, wild, fantastical, tragic, realistic Santa Fe Expedition into
a poem-instead of "the belle of Nindiri," the "sweet daughter of
Mendoza," "beautiful Irene," "the cold, chaste moon," and all
the other saccharine inanities that make up his subject matter.
He could not have done it, and there is no use of speculating.
To have, however, not only a definitive compendium of Lamar's
poems but a definite and scholarly treatment of the circumstances
of their composition, one by one for the eighty-seven poems, is
something that all inquiring readers interested either in Texas
history or Southern Literature should be grateful for. This and
much more we have in The Life and Poems of Mirabeau B. Lamar,
by Philip Graham.
The biographical treatment, which precedes the poems, is more
compact than Herbert Gambrell's life of Lamar, which was issued
four years ago and is already out of print, and is certainly com-
posed of nothing but sifted fact. One feels in reading it that
Graham has examined about all the sources there are to examine.
Two of his succinct deductions, one about Lamar as "President of
a New Republic," and the other about the "Poet Laureate of the
Southwest," are worthy of quotation:
"It was apparently becoming a habit with the Texans to
retire their presidents under a shadow of disapproval, and
Lamar went out of office almost as much abused as Burnet
and Houston had been. None realized better than he, how-
ever, that his administration, though a financial failure, had
laid the secure foundations of a great state in terms of homes,
schools, and clean government."
"In the final analysis Lamar appears to have been, cul-
turally speaking, torn between conflicting forces. He was
reared in an America that had its eyes definitely fixed on
England for literary models. . . . Practiced in the poetry
of compliments as interpreted by the traditions and conven-
tions of the South, Lamar found himself suddenly trans-
planted to the fringe of the frontier in Texas. Here the
conservative culture of the Old South which he had brought
with him met a new environment, wholly foreign to it. In
his own living he made the adjustment, he became a pioneer.
That, perhaps, is the reason he never even dreamed of mixing
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 42, July 1938 - April, 1939, periodical, 1939; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101107/m1/177/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.