The poet had a less sensitive grasp of language than the novelist and a less profound feeling for symbolism, so that his verse narratives are not as poetic as James's greater prose fictions. Nevertheless the two writers exhibit interesting resemblances. Both rely on a gift for creating atmosphere. Both tend to shove the murders and adulteries offstage, and make the action the subject of extended discussion among the characters. Both are preoccupied with the theme, exemplified in the lives of so many New Englanders and at some period in their own, that worldly failure may issue in spiritual triumph.