The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVI. Early National Literature, Part II; Later National Literature, Part I.

IV. The New South: Lanier

§ 37. Ideas of Love and Nature

It must be conceded, too, that the profound and abiding interests of his life—love and nature—are peculiarly Southern in their colouring and substance. It is characteristic that love is for him not that fleshly passion which has thrilled and burned in verse since Sappho. It is a kneeling adoration, an ideal emotion, the only love which one of his purity of life would avow. He has been well called the Sir Galahad of American literature. My Springs shows how deep and sincere was the inspiration he received from his dearest partner in misfortune and ill-health. But there was mingled with the personal devotion to one woman a chivalric devotion to women which came partly from the Southern ideals of his day. There is in his poetry no better expression of this than in The Symphony.