LODGE, GEORGE CABOT (1873–1909). Son of Senator Henry Cabot
Lodge and acquaintance of Edith Wharton, Henry James,* and his own
biographer, Henry Adams, the poet and verse dramatist George Cabot
Lodge was well acquainted with the sea. Growing up in the coastal Massachusetts town of Nahant and, as an adult, summering off Nantucket* on
Tuckernuck Island, Lodge also served as a gunnery officer aboard the Dixie
during the Spanish-American War.
Sea-based subjects, symbolism, and imagery resonate throughout Lodge’s
poetry, notably in his first two published volumes, The Song of the Wave and
Other Poems (1898) and Poems, 1899–1902 (1902). Characteristically, Lodge
stresses the sea’s abstract, metaphysical qualities. In poems such as “Song of
the Wave,” “Fog at Sea,” “The Ocean Sings,” and “Ode to the Sea” and
in the four-poem sequence “Tuckanuck,” the sea is a transcendent, selfexploratory symbol for death, love, and poetic inspiration. Personification
and apostrophe frequent Lodge’s sea poems; in “A First Word,” “the
Ocean” beseeches the poet to give voice to her “songs.” Because he rejected
realism and modernism, Lodge has been criticized for overuse of abstraction and emotional language. Yet some of his poems include more concrete imagery, as in a line describing waves: “the face of the waters was barred with
white” (“Song of the Wave”). Although less prominent, the sea in Lodge’s
later volumes of verse (The Great Adventure [1905] and The Soul’s Inheritance and Other Poems [1909]) remains an underlying, unifying presence in
sea-inspired allusions and figurative language.
Retreating to the seashore in failing health, Lodge died on his beloved
“Tuckanuck” Island at the age of thirty-six.