Highlanders killed at Ticonderoga, or Jennie McCrea murderedrnby the Iroquois during the French and Indian War, willrndo the turn and make the past present for those who seek it out.rnNeedless to say, those who are thus “prepared” will be able tornhear the “Rebel Yell”—and to imagine such outcries and shoutingrnand the feelings they reflect—that “rage of belief, therntears, the mystery,” better than “all that’s so much magnifiedrnand near.”rnIn “Late Answer: A Civil War Seminar,” memory is treatedrnnot as a distinctively Southern faculty but as precisely the opposite:rnwhat a Southern poet believes that all Americans requirernif their civilization is to retain anything like continuity, arnsense of its own origins in the colonial experience and of all thernunfolding that has brought it into its deracinated present. Nationsrnof men that neglect to cultivate the faculty turn into whatrnAllen Tate describes as “provincials in time” and are thus renderedrnso individual and separate as to be forced into recapitulatingrnthe human experience from its start when they arise eachrnmorning and greet the day. For the only alternative, says thisrnformula, is mere nostalgia. And it will not suit modernity orrnpostmodernity to begin politics there. In this context, mourningrnis expected to foster memory, which in a practical sense isrnquite plausible. Mourning results in “historic empathy,” as wernrecall what we have lost. The love between parents, children,rnand grandchildren is the basis of all tradition. That and the affectionrnfor tested principles and familiar, friendly places andrnEurocentric Ragrnbv Robert MezevrnI make a lot of money and I have a perfect tan;rnI wear Armani clothing, I’m a very fancy Dan;rnI’ve dominated women ever since the world began—rnYes, I’m phallocentric, logocentric, Eurocentric Man!rnOppit^sion is my favorite sport, I play it with elan.rnAnd I scorn the weak and womanish, the sloth, thernalso-ran;rnLet them forage for their dinner from my silver garbagerncanrnAnd thank their generous benefactor, Eurocentric Vlan.rnI’ve conquered everybody from Peru to HindustanrnAnd I make ’em speak my language, though they veryrnrarely can;rnI’m the king, the pope, the CEO, the chieftain of thernclan—rnYes, I’m phallologo, logophallo, Eurocentric Man!rnThe beauty with the hothouse grapes, the young boyrnwith the fanrnAre only minor luxuries, like my Silver Cloud sedan;rnI bet you’re very curious about my Master Plan,rnFor I’m your nightmare, haunting, taunting, EurocentricrnMan!rnways connected with our nurture—a political philosophy recommendedrnin Davidson’s The Attack on Leviathan: Essays onrnRegionalism and Nationalism in the United States. By this matrixrnis fostered a reconstitutive memory that is not “shut inrnmany books.” Davidson recommends it to all as a basis for thernpious life—not just to Southerners or Americans. For hernknows from his careful study of the history of poetry thatrnnothing can replace the work of memoria when there is a longrncontinuity of life led according to a particular style—anotherrnaspect of the “freehold” cherished by the old man, the memory-rnkeeper, whose recommendation concludes Davidson’srn”Hermitage.”rnI n his essay “Yeats and the Centaur,” Donald Davidson discussesrnthe Irish poet’s image of modern art as a centaur,rn”finding in the popular lore its back and strong legs.” But thernrest of the centaur, Davidson insists, is another matter. It is anrnunnatural beast, a hybrid given to unattractive or monstrous behavior.rnAnd if one part of it is strong in back and legs, the otherrncomponent has no business being attached to that strength.rnYeats knew old Ireland, its lore and literature. But he alsornknew and took seriously William Blake, Neoplatonism, Gnosticism,rnall sorts of occultism, mythography, the theory of automaticrnwriting, and the Society of the Golden Dawn. The differencernbetween the man of tradition (the voice of Irishrnmemory who asked “Who goes with Fergus?”) and the fellowrnwho wanted to “sail to Byzantium”—along with the way thoserntwo sometimes appeared together in a single Yeats poem—rnDavidson emphasized in teaching the great Irish poet in hisrnclass on modern poetry. This difference is also mentioned inrnhis poem “Meditation on Literary Fame”:rnYeats, consorting with moon-demons, heardrnImages only, clutched at the abstract BirdrnOf charred philosophy until he lostrnUsheen, whom once he knew, and his dear land.rnAnd all the Celtic host.rnWhich of course says the same thing that Davidson maintainedrnin his Yeats essay.rnOnce the poet’s relation to his tradition is broken by the privaternenthusiasms that have so much interested modern artistsrn(who wish to think of themselves as high priests or aristocratsrnnot as memory-keepers), it becomes difficult to address anythingrnbut the coterie that fosters these isolating enthusiasmsrnand encourages his alienation. Because of what he thoughtrnabout memory, Davidson stood at as great a distance as possiblernfrom the modern stereotype of the alienated artist. Yeatsrn(whose achievement Davidson honored) both did and did notrnassume that posture. The calculus of memory pulls the artistrnback and reconciles him to an essentially inherited role, to arnworid where some things are merely given (but not what we dornwith them), a world of mystery and manners. But the old patternsrnin the great quilt of life tell a true story—of our limits andrnof what is predictable:rnHappy the land where men hold dearrnMyth that is truest memory.rnProphecy that is poetry.rnThat knowledge, too, is part of the “freehold” to which werneither hold fast or lose our way. – crn20/CHRONICLESrnrnrn