goose was a living bird, instinctive, spontaneous,rnself-delighted, not the stuffedrntrophy of academics or politicized gnosticrndreamers living in the future and deadrnin the present. Emerson’s energy, ambientrnand unstoppable, rhythmic as thernkissing platen, was itself a lark to behold.rnHe insisted too often on imposing hisrnwill, but after all, it was a will born to bernimposed; and it brought home the hornsrnof plenty. Break that will, and you wouldrnbreak the whole man. All or nothing.rnFred and I were amply prepared to endurerna bit of silent pique now and thenrnrather than indulge the temptation tornmake more than need be made overrnsome disagreement on a choice of coverrnstock or a point of literary theory.rnIn the modern world, writers are expectedrnto be not only dedicated — tornsomething beyond “mere” writing, thatrnis—but “humanitarian” or “humanist” asrnwell. None of us qualified. We consideredrnthe preaching of humanitarianismrnto be a projection of ego writ large, andrnwe couldn’t see that collective egotismrnwas in any way superior to the individualrnvariety, hi any event, without being visiblyrnreligious, we listened to our insfinctsrnand, if only unconsciously, pvit Godrnwhere we thought He belonged: ahead ofrnman, collective or otherwise. Our instinctrnhad been bolstered by experience:rnConsistently, all three of us had foundrnthe “lovers of humanit)'” to be self-deludedrnpeople with heads full of fuzz andrnhearts full of materialism. Like manyrnother young people in that long-ago time,rnwe were idealistic, but mainly about artrnand aesthetic imagination, not about humanrnnature or “the fiiture.” None of usrncould have been completely comfortablernon top of Parnassus: We were too Americanrn—insufficiently rarefied. But it wasrngood art, and beauty in general, thatrnbeckoned us, and we were aware thatrnwhen it came to a forced choice—honest,rninsubservient art on the one hand orrncomforts and amusements for the massesrnon the other—the Humanitarians, oftenrnpeople of learning and sensibilit)’, usuallyrnwent over to Demos, thus confirmingrntheir suspicion that art was the enemy ofrnthe people.rnNone of us were comfortable in bohemiarnor in proledom, and none of usrnhad ever seen a melting pot that wasn’trnftill of dross. America had come straightrnout of Europe —originally, for the mostrnpart, out of its north—and we consideredrnthat a highly acceptable provenance.rnIn short, though we befriended andrnpublished anarchists (Leslie Hedley),rncommunists (Horace Schwartz), Jewsrn(Stanley Rosen), hippies (ChristopherrnMaclaine), and what not, our own place,rnhome sweet home, was on the right, especiallyrnthat large section of it where onernis far enough away from abstractions, activisms,rnand unreal social or chronologicalrnspeculations to be free to listen only torninstinct and imagination and to focusrnkeenly on little things of insuperable importance,rnlike phrases and metrics. Wernhad leanings and preferences, not espritrnde parti. Emerson would have establishedrna benevolent autocracy—preferablyrnwith himself as autocrat. FVed feltrnthat right-wing Republicanism was probablyrnthe least evil of American politicalrnchoices. I agreed with him but was alreadyrnbecoming the royalist I was to remain.rnI mention this “conservatism” becausernit represented the interior — temperament,rnand lessons learned the hard way,rnrather than extrinsic and isolated “politicalrnaffiliation”—and as such it helped determinernwhat sort of bird the Goosernwould be, and of course whether it wouldrnhatch in the first place. I also mention itrnas a corrective: It is still widely believed,rnjust as it was in 1949, that literature belongsrnto the left, that a little press or littlernmagazine would be, automatically, atrnleast bohemian-anarchic, very pink if notrnoutright red. In part, our outiook representedrnthe conservatism that inheres inrnall classicism, by which we understoodrnthe recognition and even the appreciationrnof limits, and the desire to see thingsrnas they really are: In our own experience,rnthere really was an Other, and it wasn’trnus, and the semiotic double-talk becomingrnfashionable in the classrooms seemedrnno more than the respectable camouflagernby which nihilism covers its desirernto pull everything down while it rises perverselyrnabove the law. We understoodrnthe appeal of Romantic idleness, but wernhad a taste for ordinary physical work,rnfound responsibility toning, and rejectedrnthe psycholog)’ of self-indulgence, a psychologyrnthat promises the infinite but inrnthe end only delivers self-imprisonment.rnDick Emerson sometimes remarked thatrnby “golden goose” he implied, amongrnother things, the desire to “goose” modernrnletters and so cause it to leap unexpectedlyrninto another golden, i.e., classical,rnage. Dick was no enemy of multiplernmeanings and was capable of appreciatingrnthe charm of the farfetched. In anyrnevent, he considered himself an anti-Romanticrnin the tradition of T.E. Hulmernand Mario Praz. Fred and I left thernpreaching to him, but the line was ourrnline too.rnTo me, literary modernism in general,rnfrom Pound onward, has come to seemrnthin: overly verbal, deifying technique,rnand often ignoring the depth, variety, andrnmystery of existence, and I was at leastrnhalf of that mind in the days of the Goose.rnThe modernist element in Emerson wasrnactually modified by the Europeanism,rnthe sense of the past, that had begun torngrow strongly in him when he went overseasrnas a Stars and Stripes correspondent.rnIn Rome, he had met George Santayana,rnlover of tradition, even of throne and altar,rndespite his skepticism. The youngrnsoldier-journalist had been moved,rnchanged, by the old philosopher’s retentionrnof youthful alertness within a serenityrnborn of his gladly acknowledged indebtednessrnto the traditions that hadrnmade his own rich-minded life possible.rnWhen we knew Dick, he was alwaysrnmuch in love with vintage Italy, especiallyrnwitii the Italy of Lorenzo de Medici.rnHe constantiy alluded to Lorenzo, obviouslyrnidentifying himself with that dynamic,rnif showy, patron of the arts. Myrnown responsiveness to “Europe” camernmostly, perhaps, from Bach, Brahms,rnBalzac, Debussy, Nietzsche, Poe, andrnother art which bore un-American implications.rnIt certainly made me more comfortablernwith Emerson than I would havernbeen without it. Of the three of us, onlyrnFred was convinced that it was not onlyrnpossible but important to create a poetr’rnthat was distinctly (I’m tempted to say,rnpristinely) American in both idiom andrnouflook. Dick and I agreed that Americanismrnwas a flavor and could be tinctedrninto poetry as into other things, but werncouldn’t see it as a virtue in itself; therernwere other flavors, and some people preferredrnorange.rnThe situation and operation of thernpress was this. Dick supported it, and himself,rnby working for various small printers.rnHe learned to play a Chandler & Price asrnadroitly as Horowitz played the piano.rnEarly on, one proprietor allowed him tornuse the shop for his own purposes, gratis,rnafter closing time. That way, the press gotrnstarted without the burden of a large initialrnexpenditure. (Dick’s money wasrnmore in the family background than inrnhis own bank account.) We brought outrnmagazine issues, chapbooks, and hardcoverrnvolumes irregularly —wheneverrnDick could, almost, afford to.rn42/CHRONICLESrnrnrn