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Title: Modern British Poetry
Author: Untermeyer, Louis, 1885-1977 [Editor]
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Author of "_Challenge_," "_Including Horace_,"
"_Modern American Poetry_," etc.






For permission to reprint the material in this volume, the editor
wishes, first of all, to acknowledge his debt to those poets whose
co-operation has been of such assistance not only in finally
determining upon the choice of their poems, but in collecting dates,
biographical data, etc. Secondly, he wishes to thank the publishers,
most of whom are holders of the copyrights. The latter indebtedness is
specifically acknowledged to:


     For "The Return" from _The Five Nations_ and for "An
     Astrologer's Song" from _Rewards and Fairies_ by Rudyard
     Kipling. Thanks also are due to Mr. Kipling himself for
     personal permission to reprint these poems.


     For the poem from _Collected Poems_ by James Elroy Flecker.


     For the poems from _The Old Huntsman_, _Counter-Attack_ and
     _Picture Show_ by Siegfried Sassoon.


     For poems from _War and Love_ by Richard Aldington and _The
     Mountainy Singer_ by Seosamh MacCathmhaoil (Joseph


     For poems from _Peacock Pie_ and _The Listeners_ by Walter
     de la Mare and _Poems_ by Edward Thomas.


     For two poems from _Poems, 1908-1919_, by John Drinkwater,
     both of which are used by permission of, and by special
     arrangement with, Houghton Mifflin Company, the authorized


     For the selections from _Chamber Music_ by James Joyce,
     _Songs to Save a Soul_ and _Before Dawn_ by Irene
     Rutherford McLeod, _Amores, Look! We Have Come Through!_,
     and _New Poems_ by D. H. Lawrence.


     For poems from _The Collected Poems of William H. Davies_,
     _Fairies and Fusiliers_ by Robert Graves, _The Queen of
     China and Other Poems_ by Edward Shanks, and _Poems: First
     Series_ by J. C. Squire.


     For the selections from _Poems_ by G. K. Chesterton,
     _Ballads and Songs_ by John Davidson, _The Collected Poems
     of Rupert Brooke_, _Admirals All_ by Henry Newbolt, _Herod_
     and _Lyrics and Dramas_ by Stephen Phillips, _The Hope of
     the World and Other Poems_ by William Watson, and _In Cap
     and Bells_ by Owen Seaman.


     For "Going and Staying" by Thomas Hardy and "The House That
     Was" by Laurence Binyon.


     For the selections from _Fires_ and _Borderlands and
     Thoroughfares_ by Wilfrid Wilson Gibson, _Poems_ by Ralph
     Hodgson, the sonnet from _Good Friday and Other Poems_ by
     John Masefield, and the passage (entitled in this volume
     "Rounding the Horn") from "Dauber" in _The Story of a
     Round-House_ by John Masefield.


     For the title poem from _In Flanders Fields_ by John McCrae.


     For two excerpts from _Strange Meetings_ by Harold Monro and
     for the poems from the biennial anthologies, _Georgian


     For the quotations from _Poems_ by William Ernest Henley.


     For the poem from _Ardours and Endurances_ by Robert

  LONGMANS, GREEN & CO., as the representatives of B. H.
     BLACKWELL, of Oxford--

     For a poem by Edith Sitwell from _The Mother_.



INTRODUCTORY                                         xi

THOMAS HARDY (1840-    )
    In Time of "The Breaking of Nations"              3
    Going and Staying                                 4
    The Man He Killed                                 4

ROBERT BRIDGES (1844-    )
    Winter Nightfall                                  5
    Nightingales                                      7

    Ode                                               8

    Invictus                                         10
    The Blackbird                                    10
    A Bowl of Roses                                  11
    Before                                           11
    Margaritæ Sorori                                 12

    Summer Sun                                       13
    Winter-Time                                      14
    Romance                                          15
    Requiem                                          16

ALICE MEYNELL (1850-    )
    A Thrush Before Dawn                             16

FIONA MACLEOD (_William Sharp_) (1855-1905)
    The Valley of Silence                            18
    The Vision                                       19

OSCAR WILDE (1856-1900)
    Requiescat                                       20
    Impression du Matin                              21

JOHN DAVIDSON (1857-1909)
    A Ballad of Hell                                 22
    Imagination                                      26

WILLIAM WATSON (1858-    )
    Ode in May                                       28
    Estrangement                                     30
    Song                                             31

    Daisy                                            32
    To Olivia                                        34
    An Arab Love-Song                                35

A. E. HOUSMAN (1859-    )
    Reveillé                                         36
    When I Was One-and-Twenty                        37
    With Rue My Heart is Laden                       38
    To An Athlete Dying Young                        38
    "Loveliest of Trees"                             39

DOUGLAS HYDE (1860-    )
    I Shall Not Die for Thee                         40

AMY LEVY (1861-1889)
    Epitaph                                          42
    In the Mile End Road                             42

    Sheep and Lambs                                  43
    All-Souls                                        44

OWEN SEAMAN (1861-    )
    To An Old Fogey                                  45
    Thomas of the Light Heart                        47

HENRY NEWBOLT (1862-    )
    Drake's Drum                                     49

ARTHUR SYMONS (1865-    )
    In the Wood of Finvara                           50
    Modern Beauty                                    51

    The Lake Isle of Innisfree                       53
    The Song of the Old Mother                       53
    The Cap and Bells                                54
    An Old Song Resung                               55

    Gunga Din                                        57
    The Return                                       61
    The Conundrum of the Workshops                   63
    An Astrologer's Song                             66

    A Ballad of London                               69
    Regret                                           70

LIONEL JOHNSON (1867-1902)
    Mystic and Cavalier                              71
    To a Traveller                                   73

ERNEST DOWSON (1867-1900)
    To One in Bedlam                                 74
    You Would Have Understood Me                     75

"A. E." (_George William Russell_) (1867-    )
    The Great Breath                                 76
    The Unknown God                                  77

    Fragment from "Herod"                            78
    Beautiful Lie the Dead                           78
    A Dream                                          79

    A Song                                           79
    The House That Was                               80

ALFRED DOUGLAS (1870-    )
    The Green River                                  81

T. STURGE MOORE (1870-    )
    The Dying Swan                                   82
    Silence Sings                                    82

WILLIAM H. DAVIES (1870-    )
    Days Too Short                                   84
    The Moon                                         85
    The Villain                                      85
    The Example                                      86

HILAIRE BELLOC (1870-    )
    The South Country                                87

ANTHONY C. DEANE (1870-    )
    The Ballad of the _Billycock_                    90
    A Rustic Song                                    92

J. M. SYNGE (1871-1909)
    Beg-Innish                                       95
    A Translation from Petrarch                      96
    To the Oaks of Glencree                          96

    A Connaught Lament                               97

EVA GORE-BOOTH (1872-    )
    The Waves of Breffny                             98
    Walls                                            99

    A Broken Song                                    99
    Beauty's a Flower                               100

JOHN MCCRAE (1872-1918)
    In Flanders Fields                              101

    Clair de Lune                                   102
    There Shall Be More Joy                         104

WALTER DE LA MARE (1873-    )
    The Listeners                                   106
    An Epitaph                                      107
    Tired Tim                                       108
    Old Susan                                       108
    Nod                                             109

G. K. CHESTERTON (1874-    )
    Lepanto                                         111
    A Prayer in Darkness                            118
    The Donkey                                      119

    Prelude                                         120
    The Stone                                       121
    Sight                                           124

JOHN MASEFIELD (1878-    )
    A Consecration                                  126
    Sea-Fever                                       127
    Rounding the Horn                               128
    The Choice                                      131
    Sonnet                                          132

LORD DUNSANY (1878-    )
    Songs from an Evil Wood                         133

EDWARD THOMAS (1878-1917)
    If I Should Ever By Chance                      136
    Tall Nettles                                    137
    Fifty Faggots                                   137
    Cock-Crow                                       138

    Praise                                          139

    Eve                                             140
    Time, You Old Gipsy Man                         142
    The Birdcatcher                                 144
    The Mystery                                     144

HAROLD MONRO (1879-    )
    The Nightingale Near the House                  145
    Every Thing                                     146
    Strange Meetings                                149

T. M. KETTLE (1880-1916)
    To My Daughter Betty, The Gift of God           150

ALFRED NOYES (1880-    )
    Sherwood                                        151
    The Barrel-Organ                                154
    Epilogue                                        161

PADRAIC COLUM (1881-    )
    The Plougher                                    162
    An Old Woman of the Roads                       164

JOSEPH CAMPBELL (_Seosamh MacCathmhaoil_) (1881-    )
    I Am the Mountainy Singer                       165
    The Old Woman                                   166

JAMES STEPHENS (1882-    )
    The Shell                                       167
    What Tomas An Buile Said In a Pub               168
    To the Four Courts, Please                      169

    Reciprocity                                     170
    A Town Window                                   170

JAMES JOYCE (1882-    )
    I Hear an Army                                  171

J. C. SQUIRE (1884-    )
    A House                                         172

    From "Vashti"                                   175
    Song                                            176

    The Old Ships                                   178

D. H. LAWRENCE (1885-    )
    People                                          180
    Piano                                           180

JOHN FREEMAN (1885-    )
    Stone Trees                                     181

SHANE LESLIE (1886-    )
    Fleet Street                                    183
    The Pater of the Cannon                         183

    Preëxistence                                    184

    The Singer                                      186
    Reality                                         186
    Song                                            187

    To Victory                                      189
    Dreamers                                        190
    The Rear-Guard                                  190
    Thrushes                                        191
    Aftermath                                       192

RUPERT BROOKE (1887-1915)
    The Great Lover                                 195
    Dust                                            198
    The Soldier                                     200

W. M. LETTS (1887-    )
    Grandeur                                        201
    The Spires of Oxford                            203

    Lochanilaun                                     204

    London                                          205

    The Web of Eros                                 206
    Interlude                                       207

F. W. HARVEY (1888-    )
    The Bugler                                      208

T. P. CAMERON WILSON (1889-1918)
    Sportsmen in Paradise                           209

W. J. TURNER (1889-    )
    Romance                                         210

    By-the-Way                                      211
    Death and the Fairies                           212

    An Evening in England                           213
    Evening Clouds                                  214

    "Is Love, then, so Simple"                      215
    Lone Dog                                        215

    Prelude                                         216
    Images                                          217
    At the British Museum                           218

EDWARD SHANKS (1892-    )
    Complaint                                       219

OSBERT SITWELL (1892-    )
    The Blind Pedlar                                220
    Progress                                        221

ROBERT NICHOLS (1893-    )
    Nearer                                          222

CHARLES H. SORLEY (1895-1915)
    Two Sonnets                                     223
    To Germany                                      225

ROBERT GRAVES (1895-    )
    It's a Queer Time                               226
    A Pinch of Salt                                 227
    I Wonder What It Feels Like to be Drowned?      228
    The Last Post                                   229

INDEX OF AUTHORS AND POEMS                          231


_The New Influences and Tendencies_

Mere statistics are untrustworthy; dates are even less dependable.
But, to avoid hairsplitting, what we call "modern" English literature
may be said to date from about 1885. A few writers who are decidedly
"of the period" are, as a matter of strict chronology, somewhat
earlier. But the chief tendencies may be divided into seven periods.
They are (1) The decay of Victorianism and the growth of a purely
decorative art, (2) The rise and decline of the Æsthetic Philosophy,
(3) The muscular influence of Henley, (4) The Celtic revival in
Ireland, (5) Rudyard Kipling and the ascendency of mechanism in art,
(6) John Masefield and the return of the rhymed narrative, (7) The war
and the appearance of "The Georgians." It may be interesting to trace
these developments in somewhat greater detail.


The age commonly called Victorian came to an end about 1885. It was an
age distinguished by many true idealists and many false ideals. It
was, in spite of its notable artists, on an entirely different level
from the epoch which had preceded it. Its poetry was, in the main, not
universal but parochial; its romanticism was gilt and tinsel; its
realism was as cheap as its showy glass pendants, red plush, parlor
chromos and antimacassars. The period was full of a pessimistic
resignation (the note popularized by Fitzgerald's Omar Khayyám) and a
kind of cowardice or at least a negation which, refusing to see any
glamour in the actual world, turned to the Middle Ages, King Arthur,
the legend of Troy--to the suave surroundings of a dream-world instead
of the hard contours of actual experience.

At its worst, it was a period of smugness, of placid and pious
sentimentality--epitomized by the rhymed sermons of Martin Farquhar
Tupper, whose _Proverbial Philosophy_ was devoured with all its
cloying and indigestible sweetmeats by thousands. The same tendency is
apparent, though far less objectionably, in the moralizing lays of
Lord Thomas Macaulay, in the theatrically emotionalized verses of
Robert Buchanan, Edwin Arnold and Sir Lewis Morris--even in the lesser
later work of Alfred Tennyson.

And, without Tupper's emptiness or absurdities, the outworn platitudes
again find their constant lover in Alfred Austin, Tennyson's successor
as poet laureate. Austin brought the laureateship, which had been held
by poets like Ben Jonson, Dryden, Southey and Wordsworth, to an
incredibly low level; he took the thinning stream of garrulous poetic
conventionality, reduced it to the merest trickle--and diluted it.

The poets of a generation before this time were fired with such ideas
as freedom, a deep and burning awe of nature, an insatiable hunger for
truth in all its forms and manifestations. The characteristic poets of
the Victorian Era, says Max Plowman, "wrote under the dominance of
churchliness, of 'sweetness and light,' and a thousand lesser theories
that have not truth but comfort for their end."

The revolt against this and the tawdriness of the period had already
begun; the best of Victorianism can be found not in men who were
typically Victorian, but in pioneers like Browning and writers like
Swinburne, Rossetti, William Morris, who were completely out of
sympathy with their time.

But it was Oscar Wilde who led the men of the now famous 'nineties
toward an æsthetic freedom, to champion a beauty whose existence was
its "own excuse for being." Wilde's was, in the most outspoken manner,
the first use of æstheticism as a slogan; the battle-cry of the group
was actually the now outworn but then revolutionary "Art for Art's
sake"! And, so sick were people of the shoddy ornaments and drab
ugliness of the immediate past, that the slogan won. At least,


_The Yellow Book_, the organ of a group of young writers and artists,
appeared (1894-97), representing a reasoned and intellectual reaction,
mainly suggested and influenced by the French. The group of
contributors was a peculiarly mixed one with only one thing in common.
And that was a conscious effort to repudiate the sugary airs and prim
romantics of the Victorian Era.

Almost the first act of the "new" men was to rouse and outrage their
immediate predecessors. This end-of-the-century desire to shock,
which was so strong and natural an impulse, still has a place of its
own--especially as an antidote, a harsh corrective. Mid-Victorian
propriety and self-satisfaction crumbled under the swift and energetic
audacities of the sensational younger authors and artists; the old
walls fell; the public, once so apathetic to _belles lettres_, was
more than attentive to every phase of literary experimentation. The
last decade of the nineteenth century was so tolerant of novelty in
art and ideas, that it would seem, says Holbrook Jackson in his
penetrative summary, _The Eighteen-Nineties_, "as though the declining
century wished to make amends for several decades of artistic
monotony. It may indeed be something more than a coincidence that
placed this decade at the close of a century, and _fin de siècle_ may
have been at once a swan song and a death-bed repentance."

But later on, the movement (if such it may be called), surfeited with
its own excesses, fell into the mere poses of revolt; it degenerated
into a half-hearted defense of artificialities.

It scarcely needed W. S. Gilbert (in _Patience_) or Robert Hichens (in
_The Green Carnation_) to satirize its distorted attitudinizing. It
strained itself to death; it became its own burlesque of the bizarre,
an extravaganza of extravagance. "The period" (I am again quoting
Holbrook Jackson) "was as certainly a period of decadence as it was a
period of renaissance. The decadence was to be seen in a perverse and
finicking glorification of the fine arts and mere artistic virtuosity
on the one hand, and a militant commercial movement on the other....
The eroticism which became so prevalent in the verse of many of the
younger poets was minor because it was little more than a pose--not
because it was erotic.... It was a passing mood which gave the poetry
of the hour a hothouse fragrance; a perfume faint yet unmistakable and

But most of the elegant and disillusioned young men overshot their
mark. Mere health reasserted itself; an inherent repressed vitality
sought new channels. Arthur Symons deserted his hectic Muse, Richard
Le Gallienne abandoned his preciosity, and the group began to
disintegrate. The æsthetic philosophy was wearing thin; it had already
begun to fray and reveal its essential shabbiness. Wilde himself
possessed the three things which he said the English would never
forgive--youth, power and enthusiasm. But in trying to make an
exclusive cult of beauty, Wilde had also tried to make it evade
actuality; he urged that art should not, in any sense, be a part of
life but an escape from it. "The proper school to learn art in is not
Life--but Art." And in the same essay ("The Decay of Lying") he wrote,
"All bad Art comes from returning to Life and Nature, and elevating
them into ideals." Elsewhere he said, "The first duty in life is to be
as artificial as possible. What the second duty is no one has

Such a cynical and decadent philosophy could not go unchallenged. Its
aristocratic blue-bloodedness was bound to arouse the red blood of
common reality. This negative attitude received its answer in the work
of that yea-sayer, W. E. Henley.


Henley repudiated this languid æstheticism; he scorned a negative art
which was out of touch with the world. His was a large and sweeping
affirmation. He felt that mere existence was glorious; life was
coarse, difficult, often dangerous and dirty, but splendid at the
heart. Art, he knew, could not be separated from the dreams and
hungers of man; it could not flourish only on its own essences or
technical accomplishments. To live, poetry would have to share the
fears, angers, hopes and struggles of the prosaic world. And so Henley
came like a swift salt breeze blowing through a perfumed and
heavily-screened studio. He sang loudly (sometimes even too loudly) of
the joy of living and the courage of the "unconquerable soul." He was
a powerful influence not only as a poet but as a critic and editor. In
the latter capacity he gathered about him such men as Robert Louis
Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Hardy, H. G. Wells, W. B. Yeats, T.
E. Brown, J. M. Barrie. None of these men were his disciples, but none
of them came into contact with him without being influenced in some
way by his sharp and positive personality. A pioneer and something of
a prophet, he was one of the first to champion the paintings of
Whistler and to proclaim the genius of the sculptor Rodin.

If at times Henley's verse is imperialistic, over-muscular and
strident, his noisy moments are redeemed not only by his delicate
lyrics but by his passionate enthusiasm for nobility in whatever cause
it was joined. He never disdained the actual world in any of its
moods--bus-drivers, hospital interiors, scrubwomen, a panting train,
the squalor of London's alleys, all found a voice in his lines--and
his later work contains more than a hint of the delight in science and
machinery which was later to be sounded more fully in the work of
Rudyard Kipling.


In 1889, William Butler Yeats published his _Wanderings of Oisin_; in
the same year Douglas Hyde, the scholar and folk-lorist, brought out
his _Book of Gaelic Stories_.

The revival of Gaelic and the renascence of Irish literature may be
said to date from the publication of those two books. The fundamental
idea of both men and their followers was the same. It was to create a
literature which would express the national consciousness of Ireland
through a purely national art. They began to reflect the strange
background of dreams, politics, suffering and heroism that is
immortally Irish. This community of fellowship and aims is to be found
in the varied but allied work of William Butler Yeats, "A. E." (George
W. Russell), Moira O'Neill, Lionel Johnson, Katharine Tynan, Padraic
Colum and others. The first fervor gone, a short period of dullness
set in. After reanimating the old myths, surcharging the legendary
heroes with a new significance, it seemed for a while that the
movement would lose itself in a literary mysticism. But an increasing
concern with the peasant, the migratory laborer, the tramp, followed;
an interest that was something of a reaction against the influence of
Yeats and his mystic otherworldliness. And, in 1904, the Celtic
Revival reached its height with John Millington Synge, who was not
only the greatest dramatist of the Irish Theatre, but (to quote such
contrary critics as George Moore and Harold Williams) "one of the
greatest dramatists who has written in English." Synge's poetry,
brusque and all too small in quantity, was a minor occupation with him
and yet the quality and power of it is unmistakable. Its content is
never great but the raw vigor in it was to serve as a bold banner--a
sort of a brilliant Jolly Roger--for the younger men of the following
period. It was not only this dramatist's brief verses and his
intensely musical prose but his sharp prefaces that were to exercise
such an influence.

In the notable introduction to the _Playboy of the Western World_,
Synge declared, "When I was writing _The Shadow of the Glen_ some
years ago, I got more aid than any learning could have given me from a
chink in the floor of the old Wicklow house where I was staying, that
let me hear what was being said by the servant girls in the kitchen.
This matter is, I think, of some importance; for in countries where
the imagination of the people, and the language they use, is rich and
living, it is possible for a writer to be rich and copious in his
words--and at the same time to give the reality which is at the root
of all poetry, in a natural and comprehensive form." This quotation
explains his idiom, possibly the sharpest-flavored and most vivid in
modern literature.

As to Synge's poetic power, it is unquestionably greatest in his
plays. In _The Well of the Saints_, _The Playboy of the Western World_
and _Riders to the Sea_ there are more poignance, beauty of form and
richness of language than in any piece of dramatic writing since
Elizabethan times. Yeats, when he first heard Synge's early one-act
play, _The Shadow of the Glen_, is said to have exclaimed "Euripides."
A half year later when Synge read him _Riders to the Sea_, Yeats again
confined his enthusiasm to a single word:--"Æschylus!" Years have
shown that Yeats's appreciation was not as exaggerated as many might

But although Synge's poetry was not his major concern, numbering only
twenty-four original pieces and eighteen translations, it had a
surprising effect upon his followers. It marked a point of departure,
a reaction against both the too-polished and over-rhetorical verse of
his immediate predecessors and the dehumanized mysticism of many of
his associates. In that memorable preface to his _Poems_ he wrote what
was a slogan, a manifesto and at the same time a classic _credo_ for
all that we call the "new" poetry. "I have often thought," it begins,
"that at the side of poetic diction, which everyone condemns, modern
verse contains a great deal of poetic material, using 'poetic' in the
same special sense. The poetry of exaltation will be always the
highest; but when men lose their poetic feeling for ordinary life and
cannot write poetry of ordinary things, their exalted poetry is likely
to lose its strength of exaltation in the way that men cease to build
beautiful churches when they have lost happiness in building shops....
Even if we grant that exalted poetry can be kept successfully by
itself, the strong things of life are needed in poetry also, to show
that what is exalted or tender is not made by feeble blood."


New tendencies are contagious. But they also disclose themselves
simultaneously in places and people where there has been no point of
contact. Even before Synge published his proofs of the keen poetry in
everyday life, Kipling was illuminating, in a totally different
manner, the wealth of poetic material in things hitherto regarded as
too commonplace for poetry. Before literary England had quite
recovered from its surfeit of Victorian priggishness and
pre-Raphaelite delicacy, Kipling came along with high spirits and a
great tide of life, sweeping all before him. An obscure Anglo-Indian
journalist, the publication of his _Barrack-room Ballads_ in 1892
brought him sudden notice. By 1895 he was internationally famous.
Brushing over the pallid attempts to revive a pallid past, he rode
triumphantly on a wave of buoyant and sometimes brutal joy in the
present. Kipling gloried in the material world; he did more--he
glorified it. He pierced the coarse exteriors of seemingly prosaic
things--things like machinery, bridge-building, cockney soldiers,
slang, steam, the dirty by-products of science (witness "M'Andrews
Hymn" and "The Bell Buoy")--and uncovered their hidden glamour.
"Romance is gone," sighed most of his contemporaries,

                "... and all unseen
    Romance brought up the nine-fifteen."

That sentence (from his poem "The King") contains the key to the
manner in which the author of _The Five Nations_ helped to rejuvenate
English verse.

Kipling, with his perception of ordinary people in terms of ordinary
life, was one of the strongest links between the Wordsworth-Browning
era and the latest apostles of vigor, beginning with Masefield. There
are occasional and serious defects in Kipling's work--particularly in
his more facile poetry; he falls into a journalistic ease that tends
to turn into jingle; he is fond of a militaristic drum-banging that is
as blatant as the insularity he condemns. But a burning, if sometimes
too simple faith, shines through his achievements. His best work
reveals an intensity that crystallizes into beauty what was originally
tawdry, that lifts the vulgar and incidental to the place of the


All art is a twofold revivifying--a recreation of subject and a
reanimating of form. And poetry becomes perennially "new" by returning
to the old--with a different consciousness, a greater awareness. In
1911, when art was again searching for novelty, John Masefield created
something startling and new by going back to 1385 and _The Canterbury
Pilgrims_. Employing both the Chaucerian model and a form similar to
the practically forgotten Byronic stanza, Masefield wrote in rapid
succession, _The Everlasting Mercy_ (1911), _The Widow in the Bye
Street_ (1912), _Dauber_ (1912), _The Daffodil Fields_ (1913)--four
astonishing rhymed narratives and four of the most remarkable poems
of our generation. Expressive of every rugged phase of life, these
poems, uniting old and new manners, responded to Synge's proclamation
that "the strong things of life are needed in poetry also ... and it
may almost be said that before verse can be human again it must be

Masefield brought back to poetry that mixture of beauty and brutality
which is its most human and enduring quality. He brought back that
rich and almost vulgar vividness which is the very life-blood of
Chaucer, of Shakespeare, of Burns, of Villon, of Heine--and of all
those who were not only great artists but great humanists. As a purely
descriptive poet, he can take his place with the masters of sea and
landscape. As an imaginative realist, he showed those who were
stumbling from one wild eccentricity to another to thrill them, that
they themselves were wilder, stranger, far more thrilling than
anything in the world--or out of it. Few things in contemporary poetry
are as powerful as the regeneration of Saul Kane (in _The Everlasting
Mercy_) or the story of _Dauber_, the tale of a tragic sea-voyage and
a dreaming youth who wanted to be a painter. The vigorous description
of rounding Cape Horn in the latter poem is superbly done, a
masterpiece in itself. Masefield's later volumes are quieter in tone,
more measured in technique; there is an almost religious ring to many
of his Shakespearian sonnets. But the swinging surge is there, a
passionate strength that leaps through all his work from _Salt Water
Ballads_ (1902) to _Reynard the Fox_ (1919).


There is no sharp statistical line of demarcation between Masefield
and the younger men. Although several of them owe much to him, most of
the younger poets speak in accents of their own. W. W. Gibson had
already reinforced the "return to actuality" by turning from his first
preoccupation with shining knights, faultless queens, ladies in
distress and all the paraphernalia of hackneyed mediæval romances, to
write about ferrymen, berry-pickers, stone-cutters, farmers, printers,
circus-men, carpenters--dramatizing (though sometimes theatricalizing)
the primitive emotions of uncultured and ordinary people in
_Livelihood_, _Daily Bread_ and _Fires_. This intensity had been
asking new questions. It found its answers in the war; repressed
emotionalism discovered a new outlet. One hears its echoes in the
younger poets like Siegfried Sassoon, with his poignant and unsparing
poems of conflict; in Robert Graves, who reflects it in a lighter and
more fantastic vein; in James Stephens, whose wild ingenuities are
redolent of the soil. And it finds its corresponding opposite in the
limpid and unperturbed loveliness of Ralph Hodgson; in the ghostly
magic and the nursery-rhyme whimsicality of Walter de la Mare; in the
quiet and delicate lyrics of W. H. Davies. Among the others, the
brilliant G. K. Chesterton, the facile Alfred Noyes, the romantic
Rupert Brooke (who owes less to Masefield and his immediate
predecessors than he does to the passionately intellectual Donne), the
introspective D. H. Lawrence and the versatile J. C. Squire, are
perhaps best known to American readers.

All of the poets mentioned in the foregoing paragraph (with the
exception of Noyes) have formed themselves in a loose group called
"The Georgians," and an anthology of their best work has appeared
every two years since 1913. Masefield, Lascelles Abercrombie and John
Drinkwater are also listed among the Georgian poets. When their first
collection appeared in March, 1913, Henry Newbolt, a critic as well as
poet, wrote: "These younger poets have no temptation to be false. They
are not for making something 'pretty,' something up to the standard of
professional patterns.... They write as grown men walk, each with his
own unconscious stride and gesture.... In short, they express
themselves and seem to steer without an effort between the dangers of
innovation and reminiscence." The secret of this success, and for that
matter, the success of the greater portion of English poetry, is not
an exclusive discovery of the Georgian poets. It is their inheritance,
derived from those predecessors who, "from Wordsworth and Coleridge
onward, have worked for the assimilation of verse to the manner and
accent of natural speech." In its adaptability no less than in its
vigor, modern English poetry is true to its period--and its past.

       *       *       *       *       *

This collection is obviously a companion volume to _Modern American
Poetry_, which, in its restricted compass, attempted to act as an
introduction to recent native verse. _Modern British Poetry_ covers
the same period (from about 1870 to 1920), follows the same
chronological scheme, but it is more amplified and goes into far
greater detail than its predecessor.

The two volumes, considered together, furnish interesting contrasts;
they reveal certain similarities and certain strange differences.
Broadly speaking, modern American verse is sharp, vigorously
experimental; full of youth and its occasional--and natural--crudities.
English verse is smoother, more matured and, molded by centuries of
literature, richer in associations and surer in artistry. Where the
American output is often rude, extremely varied and uncoördinated (being
the expression of partly indigenous, partly naturalized and largely
unassimilated ideas, emotions, and races), the English product is
formulated, precise and, in spite of its fluctuations, true to its past.
It goes back to traditions as old as Chaucer (witness the narratives of
Masefield and Gibson) or tendencies as classic as Drayton, Herrick and
Blake--as in the frank lyrics of A. E. Housman, the artless lyricism of
Ralph Hodgson, the naïf wonder of W. H. Davies. And if English poetry
may be compared to a broad and luxuriating river (while American poetry
might be described as a sudden rush of unconnected mountain torrents,
valley streams and city sluices), it will be inspiring to observe how
its course has been temporarily deflected in the last forty years; how
it has swung away from one tendency toward another; and how, for all its
bends and twists, it has lost neither its strength nor its nobility.

L. U.

New York City.
January, 1920.


_Thomas Hardy_

Thomas Hardy was born in 1840, and has for years been famous on both
sides of the Atlantic as a writer of intense and sombre novels. His
_Tess of the D'Urbervilles_ and _Jude the Obscure_ are possibly his
best known, although his _Wessex Tales_ and _Life's Little Ironies_
are no less imposing.

It was not until he was almost sixty, in 1898 to be precise, that
Hardy abandoned prose and challenged attention as a poet. _The
Dynasts_, a drama of the Napoleonic Wars, is in three parts, nineteen
acts and one hundred and thirty scenes, a massive and most amazing
contribution to contemporary art. It is the apotheosis of Hardy the
novelist. Lascelles Abercrombie calls this work, which is partly a
historical play, partly a visionary drama, "the biggest and most
consistent exhibition of fatalism in literature." While its powerful
simplicity and tragic impressiveness overshadow his shorter poems,
many of his terse lyrics reveal the same vigor and impact of a strong
personality. His collected poems were published by The Macmillan
Company in 1919 and reveal another phase of one of the greatest living
writers of English.


    Only a man harrowing clods
      In a slow silent walk,
    With an old horse that stumbles and nods
      Half asleep as they stalk.

    Only thin smoke without flame
      From the heaps of couch grass:
    Yet this will go onward the same
      Though Dynasties pass.

    Yonder a maid and her wight
      Come whispering by;
    War's annals will fade into night
      Ere their story die.


    The moving sun-shapes on the spray,
    The sparkles where the brook was flowing,
    Pink faces, plightings, moonlit May,--
    These were the things we wished would stay;
          But they were going.

    Seasons of blankness as of snow,
    The silent bleed of a world decaying,
    The moan of multitudes in woe,--
    These were the things we wished would go;
          But they were staying.


(_From "The Dynasts"_)

       "Had he and I but met
        By some old ancient inn,
    We should have sat us down to wet
        Right many a nipperkin!

       "But ranged as infantry,
        And staring face to face,
    I shot at him as he at me,
        And killed him in his place.

       "I shot him dead because--
        Because he was my foe,
    Just so: my foe of course he was;
        That's clear enough; although

       "He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,
        Off-hand like--just as I--
    Was out of work--had sold his traps--
        No other reason why.

       "Yes; quaint and curious war is!
        You shoot a fellow down
    You'd treat, if met where any bar is,
        Or help to half-a-crown."

_Robert Bridges_

Robert Bridges was born in 1844 and educated at Eton and Corpus
Christi College, Oxford. After traveling extensively, he studied
medicine in London and practiced until 1882. Most of his poems, like
his occasional plays, are classical in tone as well as treatment. He
was appointed poet laureate in 1913, following Alfred Austin. His
command of the secrets of rhythm and a subtle versification give his
lines a firm delicacy and beauty of pattern.


    The day begins to droop,--
        Its course is done:
    But nothing tells the place
        Of the setting sun.

    The hazy darkness deepens,
        And up the lane
    You may hear, but cannot see,
        The homing wain.

    An engine pants and hums
        In the farm hard by:
    Its lowering smoke is lost
        In the lowering sky.

    The soaking branches drip,
        And all night through
    The dropping will not cease
        In the avenue.

    A tall man there in the house
        Must keep his chair:
    He knows he will never again
        Breathe the spring air:

    His heart is worn with work;
        He is giddy and sick
    If he rise to go as far
        As the nearest rick:

    He thinks of his morn of life,
        His hale, strong years;
    And braves as he may the night
        Of darkness and tears.


    Beautiful must be the mountains whence ye come,
    And bright in the fruitful valleys the streams, wherefrom
              Ye learn your song:
    Where are those starry woods? O might I wander there,
      Among the flowers, which in that heavenly air
              Bloom the year long!

    Nay, barren are those mountains and spent the streams:
    Our song is the voice of desire, that haunts our dreams,
              A throe of the heart,
    Whose pining visions dim, forbidden hopes profound,
      No dying cadence nor long sigh can sound,
              For all our art.

    Alone, aloud in the raptured ear of men
    We pour our dark nocturnal secret; and then,
              As night is withdrawn
    From these sweet-springing meads and bursting boughs of May,
      Dream, while the innumerable choir of day
              Welcome the dawn.

_Arthur O'Shaughnessy_

The Irish-English singer, Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy, was born
in London in 1844. He was connected, for a while, with the British
Museum, and was transferred later to the Department of Natural
History. His first literary success, _Epic of Women_ (1870), promised
a brilliant future for the young poet, a promise strengthened by his
_Music and Moonlight_ (1874). Always delicate in health, his hopes
were dashed by periods of illness and an early death in London in

The poem here reprinted is not only O'Shaughnessy's best, but is,
because of its perfect blending of music and message, one of the
immortal classics of our verse.


    We are the music-makers,
      And we are the dreamers of dreams,
    Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
      And sitting by desolate streams;
    World-losers and world-forsakers,
      On whom the pale moon gleams:
    Yet we are the movers and shakers
      Of the world for ever, it seems.

    With wonderful deathless ditties
    We build up the world's great cities,
      And out of a fabulous story
      We fashion an empire's glory:
    One man with a dream, at pleasure,
      Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
    And three with a new song's measure
      Can trample an empire down.

    We, in the ages lying
      In the buried past of the earth,
    Built Nineveh with our sighing,
      And Babel itself with our mirth;
    And o'erthrew them with prophesying
      To the old of the new world's worth;
    For each age is a dream that is dying,
      Or one that is coming to birth.

_William Ernest Henley_

William Ernest Henley was born in 1849 and was educated at the Grammar
School of Gloucester. From childhood he was afflicted with a
tuberculous disease which finally necessitated the amputation of a
foot. His _Hospital Verses_, those vivid precursors of current free
verse, were a record of the time when he was at the infirmary at
Edinburgh; they are sharp with the sights, sensations, even the actual
smells of the sickroom. In spite (or, more probably, because) of his
continued poor health, Henley never ceased to worship strength and
energy; courage and a triumphant belief in a harsh world shine out of
the athletic _London Voluntaries_ (1892) and the lightest and most
musical lyrics in _Hawthorn and Lavender_ (1898).

The bulk of Henley's poetry is not great in volume. He has himself
explained the small quantity of his work in a Preface to his _Poems_,
first published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1898. "A principal
reason," he says, "is that, after spending the better part of my life
in the pursuit of poetry, I found myself (about 1877) so utterly
unmarketable that I had to own myself beaten in art, and to indict
myself to journalism for the next ten years." Later on, he began to
write again--"old dusty sheaves were dragged to light; the work of
selection and correction was begun; I burned much; I found that,
after all, the lyrical instinct had slept--not died."

After a brilliant and varied career (see Preface), devoted mostly to
journalism, Henley died in 1903.


    Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
      Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate:
      I am the captain of my soul.


    The nightingale has a lyre of gold,
        The lark's is a clarion call,
    And the blackbird plays but a boxwood flute,
        But I love him best of all.

    For his song is all of the joy of life,
      And we in the mad, spring weather,
    We two have listened till he sang
      Our hearts and lips together.


    It was a bowl of roses:
        There in the light they lay,
    Languishing, glorying, glowing
        Their life away.

    And the soul of them rose like a presence,
        Into me crept and grew,
    And filled me with something--some one--
        O, was it you?


    Behold me waiting--waiting for the knife.
    A little while, and at a leap I storm
    The thick sweet mystery of chloroform,
    The drunken dark, the little death-in-life.
    The gods are good to me: I have no wife,
    No innocent child, to think of as I near
    The fateful minute; nothing all-too dear
    Unmans me for my bout of passive strife.

    Yet I am tremulous and a trifle sick,
    And, face to face with chance, I shrink a little:
    My hopes are strong, my will is something weak.
    Here comes the basket? Thank you. I am ready
    But, gentlemen my porters, life is brittle:
    You carry Cæsar and his fortunes--Steady!


    A late lark twitters from the quiet skies;
    And from the west,
    Where the sun, his day's work ended,
    Lingers as in content,
    There falls on the old, grey city
    An influence luminous and serene,
    A shining peace.

    The smoke ascends
    In a rosy-and-golden haze. The spires
    Shine, and are changed. In the valley
    Shadows rise. The lark sings on. The sun,
    Closing his benediction,
    Sinks, and the darkening air
    Thrills with a sense of the triumphing night--
    Night with her train of stars
    And her great gift of sleep.

    So be my passing!
    My task accomplished and the long day done,
    My wages taken, and in my heart
    Some late lark singing,
    Let me be gathered to the quiet west,
    The sundown splendid and serene,

_Robert Louis Stevenson_

Robert Louis Stevenson was born at Edinburgh in 1850. He was at first
trained to be a lighthouse engineer, following the profession of his
family. However, he studied law instead; was admitted to the bar in
1875; and abandoned law for literature a few years later.

Though primarily a novelist, Stevenson has left one immortal book of
poetry which is equally at home in the nursery and the library: _A
Child's Garden of Verses_ (first published in 1885) is second only to
Mother Goose's own collection in its lyrical simplicity and universal
appeal. _Underwoods_ (1887) and _Ballads_ (1890) comprise his entire
poetic output. As a genial essayist, he is not unworthy to be ranked
with Charles Lamb. As a romancer, his fame rests securely on
_Kidnapped_, the unfinished masterpiece, _Weir of Hermiston_, and that
eternal classic of youth, _Treasure Island_.

Stevenson died after a long and dogged fight with his illness, in the
Samoan Islands in 1894.


    Great is the sun, and wide he goes
    Through empty heaven without repose;
    And in the blue and glowing days
    More thick than rain he showers his rays.

    Though closer still the blinds we pull
    To keep the shady parlour cool,
    Yet he will find a chink or two
    To slip his golden fingers through.

    The dusty attic, spider-clad,
    He, through the keyhole, maketh glad;
    And through the broken edge of tiles
    Into the laddered hay-loft smiles.

    Meantime his golden face around
    He bares to all the garden ground,
    And sheds a warm and glittering look
    Among the ivy's inmost nook.

    Above the hills, along the blue,
    Round the bright air with footing true,
    To please the child, to paint the rose,
    The gardener of the World, he goes.


    Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
    A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
    Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
    A blood-red orange, sets again.

    Before the stars have left the skies,
    At morning in the dark I rise;
    And shivering in my nakedness,
    By the cold candle, bathe and dress.

    Close by the jolly fire I sit
    To warm my frozen bones a bit;
    Or with a reindeer-sled, explore
    The colder countries round the door.

    When to go out, my nurse doth wrap
    Me in my comforter and cap;
    The cold wind burns my face, and blows
    Its frosty pepper up my nose.

    Black are my steps on silver sod;
    Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
    And tree and house, and hill and lake,
    Are frosted like a wedding-cake.


    I will make you brooches and toys for your delight
    Of bird-song at morning and star-shine at night.
    I will make a palace fit for you and me,
    Of green days in forests and blue days at sea.

    I will make my kitchen, and you shall keep your room,
    Where white flows the river and bright blows the broom,
    And you shall wash your linen and keep your body white
    In rainfall at morning and dewfall at night.

    And this shall be for music when no one else is near,
    The fine song for singing, the rare song to hear!
    That only I remember, that only you admire,
    Of the broad road that stretches and the roadside fire.


    Under the wide and starry sky
      Dig the grave and let me lie:
    Glad did I live and gladly die,
      And I laid me down with a will.

    This be the verse you 'grave for me:
      _Here he lies where he long'd to be;
    Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
      And the hunter home from the hill._

_Alice Meynell_

Alice Meynell was born in London in 1850. She was educated at home and
spent a great part of her childhood in Italy. She has written little,
but that little is on an extremely high plane; her verses are simple,
pensive and always distinguished. The best of her work is in _Poems_


    A voice peals in this end of night
      A phrase of notes resembling stars,
    Single and spiritual notes of light.
      What call they at my window-bars?
        The South, the past, the day to be,
        An ancient infelicity.

    Darkling, deliberate, what sings
      This wonderful one, alone, at peace?
    What wilder things than song, what things
      Sweeter than youth, clearer than Greece,
        Dearer than Italy, untold
        Delight, and freshness centuries old?

    And first first-loves, a multitude,
      The exaltation of their pain;
    Ancestral childhood long renewed;
      And midnights of invisible rain;
        And gardens, gardens, night and day,
        Gardens and childhood all the way.

    What Middle Ages passionate,
      O passionless voice! What distant bells
    Lodged in the hills, what palace state
      Illyrian! For it speaks, it tells,
        Without desire, without dismay,
        Some morrow and some yesterday.

    All-natural things! But more--Whence came
      This yet remoter mystery?
    How do these starry notes proclaim
      A graver still divinity?
        This hope, this sanctity of fear?
        _O innocent throat! O human ear!_

_Fiona Macleod_

(_William Sharp_)

William Sharp was born at Garthland Place, Scotland, in 1855. He wrote
several volumes of biography and criticism, published a book of plays
greatly influenced by Maeterlinck (_Vistas_) and was editor of "The
Canterbury Poets" series.

His feminine _alter ego_, Fiona Macleod, was a far different
personality. Sharp actually believed himself possessed of another
spirit; under the spell of this other self, he wrote several volumes
of Celtic tales, beautiful tragic romances and no little unusual
poetry. Of the prose stories written by Fiona Macleod, the most
barbaric and vivid are those collected in _The Sin-Eater and Other
Tales_; the longer _Pharais, A Romance of the Isles_, is scarcely less

In the ten years, 1882-1891, William Sharp published four volumes of
rather undistinguished verse. In 1896 _From the Hills of Dream_
appeared over the signature of Fiona Macleod; _The Hour of Beauty_, an
even more distinctive collection, followed shortly. Both poetry and
prose were always the result of two sharply differentiated moods
constantly fluctuating; the emotional mood was that of Fiona Macleod,
the intellectual and, it must be admitted the more arresting, was that
of William Sharp.

He died in 1905.


    In the secret Valley of Silence
          No breath doth fall;
    No wind stirs in the branches;
          No bird doth call:
          As on a white wall
            A breathless lizard is still,
          So silence lies on the valley
            Breathlessly still.

    In the dusk-grown heart of the valley
          An altar rises white:
    No rapt priest bends in awe
          Before its silent light:
          But sometimes a flight
            Of breathless words of prayer
          White-wing'd enclose the altar,
            Eddies of prayer.


    In a fair place
      Of whin and grass,
      I heard feet pass
      Where no one was.

    I saw a face
      Bloom like a flower--
      Nay, as the rainbow-shower
      Of a tempestuous hour.

    It was not man, or woman:
    It was not human:
      But, beautiful and wild,
      Terribly undefiled,
      I knew an unborn child.

_Oscar Wilde_

Oscar Wilde was born at Dublin, Ireland, in 1856, and even as an
undergraduate at Oxford he was marked for a brilliant career. When he
was a trifle over 21 years of age, he won the Newdigate Prize with his
poem _Ravenna_.

Giving himself almost entirely to prose, he speedily became known as a
writer of brilliant epigrammatic essays and even more brilliant
paradoxical plays such as _An Ideal Husband_ and _The Importance of
Being Earnest_. His aphorisms and flippancies were quoted everywhere;
his fame as a wit was only surpassed by his notoriety as an æsthete.
(See Preface.)

Most of his poems in prose (such as _The Happy Prince_, _The Birthday
of the Infanta_ and _The Fisherman and His Soul_) are more imaginative
and richly colored than his verse; but in one long poem, _The Ballad
of Reading Gaol_ (1898), he sounded his deepest, simplest and most
enduring note. Prison was, in many ways, a regeneration for Wilde. It
not only produced _The Ballad of Reading Gaol_ but made possible his
most poignant piece of writing, _De Profundis_, only a small part of
which has been published. _Salomé_, which has made the author's name a
household word, was originally written in French in 1892 and later
translated into English by Lord Alfred Douglas, accompanied by the
famous illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley. More recently this heated
drama, based on the story of Herod and Herodias, was made into an
opera by Richard Strauss.

Wilde's society plays, flashing and cynical, were the forerunners of
Bernard Shaw's audacious and far more searching ironies. One sees the
origin of a whole school of drama in such epigrams as "The history of
woman is the history of the worst form of tyranny the world has ever
known: the tyranny of the weak over the strong. It is the only tyranny
that lasts." Or "There is only one thing in the world worse than being
talked about, and that is not being talked about."

Wilde died at Paris, November 30, 1900.


    Tread lightly, she is near
        Under the snow,
    Speak gently, she can hear
        The daisies grow.

    All her bright golden hair
        Tarnished with rust,
    She that was young and fair
        Fallen to dust.

    Lily-like, white as snow,
        She hardly knew
    She was a woman, so
        Sweetly she grew.

    Coffin-board, heavy stone,
        Lie on her breast;
    I vex my heart alone,
        She is at rest.

    Peace, peace; she cannot hear
        Lyre or sonnet;
    All my life's buried here,
        Heap earth upon it.


    The Thames nocturne of blue and gold
      Changed to a harmony in grey;
      A barge with ochre-coloured hay
    Dropt from the wharf: and chill and cold

    The yellow fog came creeping down
      The bridges, till the houses' walls
      Seemed changed to shadows, and St. Paul's
    Loomed like a bubble o'er the town.

    Then suddenly arose the clang
      Of waking life; the streets were stirred
      With country waggons; and a bird
    Flew to the glistening roofs and sang.

    But one pale woman all alone,
      The daylight kissing her wan hair,
      Loitered beneath the gas lamps' flare,
    With lips of flame and heart of stone.

_John Davidson_

John Davidson was born at Barrhead, Renfrewshire, in 1857. His
_Ballads and Songs_ (1895) and _New Ballads_ (1897) attained a sudden
but too short-lived popularity, and his great promise was quenched by
an apathetic public and by his own growing disillusion and despair.
His sombre yet direct poetry never tired of repeating his favorite
theme: "Man is but the Universe grown conscious."

Davidson died by his own hand in 1909.


    'A letter from my love to-day!
      Oh, unexpected, dear appeal!'
    She struck a happy tear away,
      And broke the crimson seal.

    'My love, there is no help on earth,
      No help in heaven; the dead-man's bell
    Must toll our wedding; our first hearth
      Must be the well-paved floor of hell.'

    The colour died from out her face,
      Her eyes like ghostly candles shone;
    She cast dread looks about the place,
      Then clenched her teeth and read right on.

    'I may not pass the prison door;
      Here must I rot from day to day,
    Unless I wed whom I abhor,
      My cousin, Blanche of Valencay.

    'At midnight with my dagger keen,
      I'll take my life; it must be so.
    Meet me in hell to-night, my queen,
      For weal and woe.'

    She laughed although her face was wan,
      She girded on her golden belt,
    She took her jewelled ivory fan,
      And at her glowing missal knelt.

    Then rose, 'And am I mad?' she said:
      She broke her fan, her belt untied;
    With leather girt herself instead,
      And stuck a dagger at her side.

    She waited, shuddering in her room,
      Till sleep had fallen on all the house.
    She never flinched; she faced her doom:
      They two must sin to keep their vows.

    Then out into the night she went,
      And, stooping, crept by hedge and tree;
    Her rose-bush flung a snare of scent,
      And caught a happy memory.

    She fell, and lay a minute's space;
      She tore the sward in her distress;
    The dewy grass refreshed her face;
      She rose and ran with lifted dress.

    She started like a morn-caught ghost
      Once when the moon came out and stood
    To watch; the naked road she crossed,
      And dived into the murmuring wood.

    The branches snatched her streaming cloak;
      A live thing shrieked; she made no stay!
    She hurried to the trysting-oak--
      Right well she knew the way.

    Without a pause she bared her breast,
      And drove her dagger home and fell,
    And lay like one that takes her rest,
      And died and wakened up in hell.

    She bathed her spirit in the flame,
      And near the centre took her post;
    From all sides to her ears there came
      The dreary anguish of the lost.

    The devil started at her side,
      Comely, and tall, and black as jet.
    'I am young Malespina's bride;
      Has he come hither yet?'

    'My poppet, welcome to your bed.'
      'Is Malespina here?'
    'Not he! To-morrow he must wed
      His cousin Blanche, my dear!'

    'You lie, he died with me to-night.'
      'Not he! it was a plot' ... 'You lie.'
    'My dear, I never lie outright.'
      'We died at midnight, he and I.'

    The devil went. Without a groan
      She, gathered up in one fierce prayer,
    Took root in hell's midst all alone,
      And waited for him there.

    She dared to make herself at home
      Amidst the wail, the uneasy stir.
    The blood-stained flame that filled the dome,
      Scentless and silent, shrouded her.

    How long she stayed I cannot tell;
      But when she felt his perfidy,
    She marched across the floor of hell;
      And all the damned stood up to see.

    The devil stopped her at the brink:
      She shook him off; she cried, 'Away!'
    'My dear, you have gone mad, I think.'
      'I was betrayed: I will not stay.'

    Across the weltering deep she ran;
      A stranger thing was never seen:
    The damned stood silent to a man;
      They saw the great gulf set between.

    To her it seemed a meadow fair;
      And flowers sprang up about her feet
    She entered heaven; she climbed the stair
      And knelt down at the mercy-seat.

    Seraphs and saints with one great voice
      Welcomed that soul that knew not fear.
    Amazed to find it could rejoice,
      Hell raised a hoarse, half-human cheer.


(_From "New Year's Eve"_)

    There is a dish to hold the sea,
      A brazier to contain the sun,
    A compass for the galaxy,
      A voice to wake the dead and done!

    That minister of ministers,
      Imagination, gathers up
    The undiscovered Universe,
      Like jewels in a jasper cup.

    Its flame can mingle north and south;
      Its accent with the thunder strive;
    The ruddy sentence of its mouth
      Can make the ancient dead alive.

    The mart of power, the fount of will,
      The form and mould of every star,
    The source and bound of good and ill,
      The key of all the things that are,

    Imagination, new and strange
      In every age, can turn the year;
    Can shift the poles and lightly change
      The mood of men, the world's career.

_William Watson_

William Watson was born at Burley-in-Wharfedale, Yorkshire, August 2,
1858. He achieved his first wide success through his long and eloquent
poems on Wordsworth, Shelley, and Tennyson--poems that attempted, and
sometimes successfully, to combine the manners of these masters. _The
Hope of the World_ (1897) contains some of his most characteristic

It was understood that he would be appointed poet laureate upon the
death of Alfred Austin. But some of his radical and semi-political
poems are supposed to have displeased the powers at Court, and the
honor went to Robert Bridges. His best work, which is notable for its
dignity and moulded imagination, may be found in _Selected Poems_,
published in 1903 by John Lane Co.


    Let me go forth, and share
    The overflowing Sun
    With one wise friend, or one
    Better than wise, being fair,
    Where the pewit wheels and dips
    On heights of bracken and ling,
    And Earth, unto her leaflet tips,
    Tingles with the Spring.

    What is so sweet and dear
    As a prosperous morn in May,
    The confident prime of the day,
    And the dauntless youth of the year,
    When nothing that asks for bliss,
    Asking aright, is denied,
    And half of the world a bridegroom is,
    And half of the world a bride?

    The Song of Mingling flows,
    Grave, ceremonial, pure,
    As once, from lips that endure,
    The cosmic descant rose,
    When the temporal lord of life,
    Going his golden way,
    Had taken a wondrous maid to wife
    That long had said him nay.

    For of old the Sun, our sire,
    Came wooing the mother of men,
    Earth, that was virginal then,
    Vestal fire to his fire.
    Silent her bosom and coy,
    But the strong god sued and pressed;
    And born of their starry nuptial joy
    Are all that drink of her breast.

    And the triumph of him that begot,
    And the travail of her that bore,
    Behold, they are evermore
    As warp and weft in our lot.
    We are children of splendour and flame,
    Of shuddering, also, and tears.
    Magnificent out of the dust we came,
    And abject from the Spheres.

    O bright irresistible lord,
    We are fruit of Earth's womb, each one,
    And fruit of thy loins, O Sun,
    Whence first was the seed outpoured.
    To thee as our Father we bow,
    Forbidden thy Father to see,
    Who is older and greater than thou, as thou
    Art greater and older than we.

    Thou art but as a word of his speech,
    Thou art but as a wave of his hand;
    Thou art brief as a glitter of sand
    'Twixt tide and tide on his beach;
    Thou art less than a spark of his fire,
    Or a moment's mood of his soul:
    Thou art lost in the notes on the lips of his choir
    That chant the chant of the Whole.


    So, without overt breach, we fall apart,
    Tacitly sunder--neither you nor I
    Conscious of one intelligible Why,
    And both, from severance, winning equal smart.
    So, with resigned and acquiescent heart,
    Whene'er your name on some chance lip may lie,
    I seem to see an alien shade pass by,
    A spirit wherein I have no lot or part.

    Thus may a captive, in some fortress grim,
    From casual speech betwixt his warders, learn
    That June on her triumphal progress goes
    Through arched and bannered woodlands; while for him
    She is a legend emptied of concern,
    And idle is the rumour of the rose.


    April, April,
    Laugh thy girlish laughter;
    Then, the moment after,
    Weep thy girlish tears,
    April, that mine ears
    Like a lover greetest,
    If I tell thee, sweetest,
    All my hopes and fears.
    April, April,
    Laugh thy golden laughter,
    But, the moment after,
    Weep thy golden tears!


[1] From _The Hope of the World_ by William Watson. Copyright, 1897,
by John Lane Company. Reprinted by permission of the publishers.

[2] From _The Hope of the World_ by William Watson. Copyright, 1897,
by John Lane Company. Reprinted by permission of the publishers.

_Francis Thompson_

Born in 1859 at Preston, Francis Thompson was educated at Owen's
College, Manchester. Later he tried all manner of strange ways of
earning a living. He was, at various times, assistant in a boot-shop,
medical student, collector for a book seller and homeless vagabond;
there was a period in his life when he sold matches on the streets of
London. He was discovered in terrible poverty (having given up
everything except poetry and opium) by the editor of a magazine to
which he had sent some verses the year before. Almost immediately
thereafter he became famous. His exalted mysticism is seen at its
purest in "A Fallen Yew" and "The Hound of Heaven." Coventry Patmore,
the distinguished poet of an earlier period, says of the latter poem,
which is unfortunately too long to quote, "It is one of the very few
_great_ odes of which our language can boast."

Thompson died, after a fragile and spasmodic life, in St. John's Wood
in November, 1907.


    Where the thistle lifts a purple crown
        Six foot out of the turf,
    And the harebell shakes on the windy hill--
        O breath of the distant surf!--

    The hills look over on the South,
        And southward dreams the sea;
    And with the sea-breeze hand in hand
        Came innocence and she.

    Where 'mid the gorse the raspberry
        Red for the gatherer springs;
    Two children did we stray and talk
        Wise, idle, childish things.

    She listened with big-lipped surprise,
        Breast-deep 'mid flower and spine:
    Her skin was like a grape whose veins
        Run snow instead of wine.

    She knew not those sweet words she spake,
        Nor knew her own sweet way;
    But there's never a bird, so sweet a song
        Thronged in whose throat all day.

    Oh, there were flowers in Storrington
        On the turf and on the spray;
    But the sweetest flower on Sussex hills
        Was the Daisy-flower that day!

    Her beauty smoothed earth's furrowed face.
        She gave me tokens three:--
    A look, a word of her winsome mouth,
        And a wild raspberry.

    A berry red, a guileless look,
        A still word,--strings of sand!
    And yet they made my wild, wild heart
        Fly down to her little hand.

    For standing artless as the air,
        And candid as the skies,
    She took the berries with her hand,
        And the love with her sweet eyes.

    The fairest things have fleetest end,
        Their scent survives their close:
    But the rose's scent is bitterness
        To him that loved the rose.

    She looked a little wistfully,
        Then went her sunshine way:--
    The sea's eye had a mist on it,
        And the leaves fell from the day.

    She went her unremembering way,
        She went and left in me
    The pang of all the partings gone,
        And partings yet to be.

    She left me marvelling why my soul
        Was sad that she was glad;
    At all the sadness in the sweet,
        The sweetness in the sad.

    Still, still I seemed to see her, still
        Look up with soft replies,
    And take the berries with her hand,
        And the love with her lovely eyes.

    Nothing begins, and nothing ends,
        That is not paid with moan,
    For we are born in other's pain,
        And perish in our own.


    I fear to love thee, Sweet, because
    Love's the ambassador of loss;
    White flake of childhood, clinging so
    To my soiled raiment, thy shy snow
    At tenderest touch will shrink and go.
    Love me not, delightful child.
    My heart, by many snares beguiled,
    Has grown timorous and wild.
    It would fear thee not at all,
    Wert thou not so harmless-small.
    Because thy arrows, not yet dire,
    Are still unbarbed with destined fire,
    I fear thee more than hadst thou stood
    Full-panoplied in womanhood.


    The hunchèd camels of the night[3]
    Trouble the bright
    And silver waters of the moon.
    The Maiden of the Morn will soon
    Through Heaven stray and sing,
    Star gathering.

    Now while the dark about our loves is strewn,
    Light of my dark, blood of my heart, O come!
    And night will catch her breath up, and be dumb.

    Leave thy father, leave thy mother
    And thy brother;
    Leave the black tents of thy tribe apart!
    Am I not thy father and thy brother,
    And thy mother?
    And thou--what needest with thy tribe's black
    Who hast the red pavilion of my heart?


[3] (Cloud-shapes observed by travellers in the East.)

_A. E. Housman_

A. E. Housman was born March 26, 1859, and, after a classical
education, he was, for ten years, a Higher Division Clerk in H. M.
Patent Office. Later in life, he became a teacher.

Housman has published only one volume of original verse, but that
volume (_A Shropshire Lad_) is known wherever modern English poetry is
read. Originally published in 1896, when Housman was almost 37, it is
evident that many of these lyrics were written when the poet was much
younger. Echoing the frank pessimism of Hardy and the harder cynicism
of Heine, Housman struck a lighter and more buoyant note. Underneath
his dark ironies, there is a rustic humor that has many subtle
variations. From a melodic standpoint, _A Shropshire Lad_ is a
collection of exquisite, haunting and almost perfect songs.

Housman has been a professor of Latin since 1892 and, besides his
immortal set of lyrics, has edited Juvenal and the books of Manilius.


    Wake: the silver dusk returning
      Up the beach of darkness brims,
    And the ship of sunrise burning
      Strands upon the eastern rims.

    Wake: the vaulted shadow shatters,
      Trampled to the floor it spanned,
    And the tent of night in tatters
      Straws the sky-pavilioned land.

    Up, lad, up, 'tis late for lying:
      Hear the drums of morning play;
    Hark, the empty highways crying
      "Who'll beyond the hills away?"

    Towns and countries woo together,
      Forelands beacon, belfries call;
    Never lad that trod on leather
      Lived to feast his heart with all.

    Up, lad: thews that lie and cumber
      Sunlit pallets never thrive;
    Morns abed and daylight slumber
      Were not meant for man alive.

    Clay lies still, but blood's a rover;
      Breath's a ware that will not keep.
    Up, lad: when the journey's over
      There'll be time enough to sleep.


    When I was one-and-twenty
      I heard a wise man say,
    "Give crowns and pounds and guineas
      But not your heart away;
    Give pearls away and rubies
      But keep your fancy free."
    But I was one-and-twenty,
      No use to talk to me.

    When I was one-and-twenty
      I heard him say again,
    "The heart out of the bosom
      Was never given in vain;
    'Tis paid with sighs a-plenty
      And sold for endless rue."
    And I am two-and-twenty,
      And oh, 'tis true, 'tis true.


    With rue my heart is laden
      For golden friends I had,
    For many a rose-lipt maiden
      And many a lightfoot lad.

    By brooks too broad for leaping
      The lightfoot boys are laid;
    The rose-lipt girls are sleeping
      In fields where roses fade.


    The time you won your town the race
    We chaired you through the market-place;
    Man and boy stood cheering by,
    And home we brought you shoulder-high.

    To-day, the road all runners come,
    Shoulder-high we bring you home,
    And set you at your threshold down,
    Townsman of a stiller town.

    Smart lad, to slip betimes away
    From fields where glory does not stay,
    And early though the laurel grows
    It withers quicker than the rose.

    Eyes the shady night has shut
    Cannot see the record cut,
    And silence sounds no worse than cheers
    After earth has stopped the ears:

    Now you will not swell the rout
    Of lads that wore their honours out,
    Runners whom renown outran
    And the name died before the man.

    So set, before its echoes fade,
    The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
    And hold to the low lintel up
    The still-defended challenge-cup.

    And round that early-laurelled head
    Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
    And find unwithered on its curls
    The garland briefer than a girl's.


    Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
    Is hung with bloom along the bough,
    And stands about the woodland ride
    Wearing white for Eastertide.

    Now, of my threescore years and ten,
    Twenty will not come again,
    And take from seventy springs a score,
    It only leaves me fifty more.

    And since to look at things in bloom
    Fifty springs are little room,
    About the woodlands I will go
    To see the cherry hung with snow.

_Douglas Hyde_

Doctor Douglas Hyde was born in Roscommon County, Ireland in, as
nearly as can be ascertained, 1860. One of the most brilliant Irish
scholars of his day, he has worked indefatigably for the cause of his
native letters. He has written a comprehensive history of Irish
literature; has compiled, edited and translated into English the _Love
Songs of Connaught_; is President of The Irish National Literary
Society; and is the author of innumerable poems in Gaelic--far more
than he ever wrote in English. His collections of Irish folk-lore and
poetry were among the most notable contributions to the Celtic
revival; they were (see Preface), to a large extent, responsible for
it. Since 1909 he has been Professor of Modern Irish in University
College, Dublin.

The poem which is here quoted is one of his many brilliant and
reanimating translations. In its music and its peculiar rhyme-scheme,
it reproduces the peculiar flavor as well as the meter of the West
Irish original.


    For thee, I shall not die,
      Woman of high fame and name;
    Foolish men thou mayest slay
      I and they are not the same.

    Why should I expire
      For the fire of an eye,
    Slender waist or swan-like limb,
      Is't for them that I should die?

    The round breasts, the fresh skin,
      Cheeks crimson, hair so long and rich;
    Indeed, indeed, I shall not die,
      Please God, not I, for any such.

    The golden hair, the forehead thin,
      The chaste mien, the gracious ease,
    The rounded heel, the languid tone,--
      Fools alone find death from these.

    Thy sharp wit, thy perfect calm,
      Thy thin palm like foam o' the sea;
    Thy white neck, thy blue eye,
      I shall not die for thee.

    Woman, graceful as the swan,
      A wise man did nurture me.
    Little palm, white neck, bright eye,
      I shall not die for ye.

_Amy Levy_

Amy Levy, a singularly gifted Jewess, was born at Clapham, in 1861. A
fiery young poet, she burdened her own intensity with the sorrows of
her race. She wrote one novel, _Reuben Sachs_, and two volumes of
poetry--the more distinctive of the two being half-pathetically and
half-ironically entitled _A Minor Poet_ (1884). After several years of
brooding introspection, she committed suicide in 1889 at the age of


(_On a commonplace person who died in bed_)

    This is the end of him, here he lies:
    The dust in his throat, the worm in his eyes,
    The mould in his mouth, the turf on his breast;
    This is the end of him, this is best.
    He will never lie on his couch awake,
    Wide-eyed, tearless, till dim daybreak.
    Never again will he smile and smile
    When his heart is breaking all the while.
    He will never stretch out his hands in vain
    Groping and groping--never again.
    Never ask for bread, get a stone instead,
    Never pretend that the stone is bread;
    Nor sway and sway 'twixt the false and true,
    Weighing and noting the long hours through.
    Never ache and ache with the choked-up sighs;
    This is the end of him, here he lies.


    How like her! But 'tis she herself,
        Comes up the crowded street,
    How little did I think, the morn,
        My only love to meet!

    Who else that motion and that mien?
        Whose else that airy tread?
    For one strange moment I forgot
        My only love was dead.

_Katharine Tynan Hinkson_

Katharine Tynan was born at Dublin in 1861, and educated at the
Convent of St. Catherine at Drogheda. She married Henry Hinkson, a
lawyer and author, in 1893. Her poetry is largely actuated by
religious themes, and much of her verse is devotional and yet
distinctive. In _New Poems_ (1911) she is at her best; graceful,
meditative and with occasional notes of deep pathos.


    All in the April morning,
      April airs were abroad;
    The sheep with their little lambs
      Pass'd me by on the road.

    The sheep with their little lambs
      Pass'd me by on the road;
    All in an April evening
      I thought on the Lamb of God.

    The lambs were weary, and crying
      With a weak human cry;
    I thought on the Lamb of God
      Going meekly to die.

    Up in the blue, blue mountains
      Dewy pastures are sweet:
    Rest for the little bodies,
      Rest for the little feet.

    Rest for the Lamb of God
      Up on the hill-top green;
    Only a cross of shame
      Two stark crosses between.

    All in the April evening,
      April airs were abroad;
    I saw the sheep with their lambs,
      And thought on the Lamb of God.


    The door of Heaven is on the latch
      To-night, and many a one is fain
    To go home for one's night's watch
      With his love again.

    Oh, where the father and mother sit
      There's a drift of dead leaves at the door
    Like pitter-patter of little feet
      That come no more.

    Their thoughts are in the night and cold,
      Their tears are heavier than the clay,
    But who is this at the threshold
      So young and gay?

    They are come from the land o' the young,
      They have forgotten how to weep;
    Words of comfort on the tongue,
      And a kiss to keep.

    They sit down and they stay awhile,
      Kisses and comfort none shall lack;
    At morn they steal forth with a smile
      And a long look back.

_Owen Seaman_

One of the most delightful of English versifiers, Owen Seaman, was
born in 1861. After receiving a classical education, he became
Professor of Literature and began to write for Punch in 1894. In 1906
he was made editor of that internationally famous weekly, remaining in
that capacity ever since. He was knighted in 1914. As a writer of
light verse and as a parodist, his agile work has delighted a
generation of admirers. Some of his most adroit lines may be found in
his _In Cap and Bells_ (1902) and _The Battle of the Bays_ (1892).


(_Who Contends that Christmas is Played Out_)

    O frankly bald and obviously stout!
      And so you find that Christmas as a fête
    Dispassionately viewed, is getting out
                  Of date.

    The studied festal air is overdone;
      The humour of it grows a little thin;
    You fail, in fact, to gather where the fun
                  Comes in.

    Visions of very heavy meals arise
      That tend to make your organism shiver;
    Roast beef that irks, and pies that agonise
                  The liver;

    Those pies at which you annually wince,
      Hearing the tale how happy months will follow
    Proportioned to the total mass of mince
                  You swallow.

    Visions of youth whose reverence is scant,
      Who with the brutal _verve_ of boyhood's prime
    Insist on being taken to the pant-

    Of infants, sitting up extremely late,
      Who run you on toboggans down the stair;
    Or make you fetch a rug and simulate
                  A bear.

    This takes your faultless trousers at the knees,
      The other hurts them rather more behind;
    And both effect a fracture in your ease
                  Of mind.

    My good dyspeptic, this will never do;
      Your weary withers must be sadly wrung!
    Yet once I well believe that even you
                  Were young.

    Time was when you devoured, like other boys,
      Plum-pudding sequent on a turkey-hen;
    With cracker-mottos hinting of the joys
                  Of men.

    Time was when 'mid the maidens you would pull
      The fiery raisin with profound delight;
    When sprigs of mistletoe seemed beautiful
                  And right.

    Old Christmas changes not! Long, long ago
      He won the treasure of eternal youth;
    _Yours_ is the dotage--if you want to know
                  The truth.

    Come, now, I'll cure your case, and ask no fee:--
      Make others' happiness this once your own;
    All else may pass: that joy can never be


    Facing the guns, he jokes as well
      As any Judge upon the Bench;
    Between the crash of shell and shell
      His laughter rings along the trench;
    He seems immensely tickled by a
    Projectile while he calls a "Black Maria."

    He whistles down the day-long road,
      And, when the chilly shadows fall
    And heavier hangs the weary load,
      Is he down-hearted? Not at all.
    'Tis then he takes a light and airy
    View of the tedious route to Tipperary.[4]

    His songs are not exactly hymns;
      He never learned them in the choir;
    And yet they brace his dragging limbs
      Although they miss the sacred fire;
    Although his choice and cherished gems
    Do not include "The Watch upon the Thames."

    He takes to fighting as a game;
      He does no talking, through his hat,
    Of holy missions; all the same
      He has his faith--be sure of that;
    He'll not disgrace his sporting breed,
    Nor play what isn't cricket. There's his creed.


[4] "_It's a long way to Tipperary_," the most popular song of the
Allied armies during the World's War.

_Henry Newbolt_

Henry Newbolt was born at Bilston in 1862. His early work was frankly
imitative of Tennyson; he even attempted to add to the Arthurian
legends with a drama in blank verse entitled _Mordred_ (1895). It was
not until he wrote his sea-ballads that he struck his own note. With
the publication of _Admirals All_ (1897) his fame was widespread. The
popularity of his lines was due not so much to the subject-matter of
Newbolt's verse as to the breeziness of his music, the solid beat of
rhythm, the vigorous swing of his stanzas.

In 1898 Newbolt published _The Island Race_, which contains about
thirty more of his buoyant songs of the sea. Besides being a poet,
Newbolt has written many essays and his critical volume, _A New Study
of English Poetry_ (1917), is a collection of articles that are both
analytical and alive.


    Drake he's in his hammock an' a thousand mile away,
        (Capten, art tha sleepin' there below?)
    Slung atween the round shot in Nombre Dios Bay,
        An' dreamin' arl the time o' Plymouth Hoe.
    Yarnder lumes the island, yarnder lie the ships,
        Wi' sailor lads a-dancin' heel-an'-toe,
    An' the shore-lights flashin', an' the night-tide dashin'
        He sees et arl so plainly as he saw et long ago.

    Drake he was a Devon man, an' ruled the Devon seas,
        (Capten, art tha sleepin' there below?),
    Rovin' tho' his death fell, he went wi' heart at ease,
        An' dreamin' arl the time o' Plymouth Hoe,
    "Take my drum to England, hang et by the shore,
        Strike et when your powder's runnin' low;
    If the Dons sight Devon, I'll quit the port o' Heaven,
        An' drum them up the Channel as we drummed them long ago."

    Drake he's in his hammock till the great Armadas come,
        (Capten, art tha sleepin' there below?),
    Slung atween the round shot, listenin' for the drum,
        An' dreamin' arl the time o' Plymouth Hoe.
    Call him on the deep sea, call him up the Sound,
        Call him when ye sail to meet the foe;
    Where the old trade's plyin' an' the old flag flyin',
        They shall find him, ware an' wakin', as they found him long ago.

_Arthur Symons_

Born in 1865, Arthur Symons' first few publications revealed an
intellectual rather than an emotional passion. Those volumes were full
of the artifice of the period, but Symons's technical skill and
frequent analysis often saved the poems from complete decadence. His
later books are less imitative; the influence of Verlaine and
Baudelaire is not so apparent; the sophistication is less cynical, the
sensuousness more restrained. His various collections of essays and
stories reflect the same peculiar blend of rich intellectuality and
perfumed romanticism that one finds in his most characteristic poems.

Of his many volumes in prose, _Spiritual Adventures_ (1905), while
obviously influenced by Walter Pater, is by far the most original; a
truly unique volume of psychological short stories. The best of his
poetry up to 1902 was collected in two volumes, _Poems_, published by
John Lane Co. _The Fool of the World_ appeared in 1907.


    I have grown tired of sorrow and human tears;
    Life is a dream in the night, a fear among fears,
    A naked runner lost in a storm of spears.

    I have grown tired of rapture and love's desire;
    Love is a flaming heart, and its flames aspire
    Till they cloud the soul in the smoke of a windy fire.

    I would wash the dust of the world in a soft green flood;
    Here between sea and sea, in the fairy wood,
    I have found a delicate, wave-green solitude.

    Here, in the fairy wood, between sea and sea,
    I have heard the song of a fairy bird in a tree,
    And the peace that is not in the world has flown to me.


    I am the torch, she saith, and what to me
    If the moth die of me? I am the flame
    Of Beauty, and I burn that all may see
    Beauty, and I have neither joy nor shame,
    But live with that clear light of perfect fire
    Which is to men the death of their desire.

    I am Yseult and Helen, I have seen
    Troy burn, and the most loving knight lie dead.
    The world has been my mirror, time has been
    My breath upon the glass; and men have said,
    Age after age, in rapture and despair,
    Love's poor few words, before my image there.

    I live, and am immortal; in my eyes
    The sorrow of the world, and on my lips
    The joy of life, mingle to make me wise;
    Yet now the day is darkened with eclipse:
    Who is there still lives for beauty? Still am I
    The torch, but where's the moth that still dares die?

_William Butler Yeats_

Born at Sandymount, Dublin, in 1865, the son of John B. Yeats, the
Irish artist, the greater part of William Butler Yeats' childhood was
spent in Sligo. Here he became imbued with the power and richness of
native folk-lore; he drank in the racy quality through the quaint
fairy stories and old wives' tales of the Irish peasantry. (Later he
published a collection of these same stories.)

It was in the activities of a "Young Ireland" society that Yeats
became identified with the new spirit; he dreamed of a national poetry
that would be written in English and yet would be definitely Irish. In
a few years he became one of the leaders in the Celtic revival. He
worked incessantly for the cause, both as propagandist and playwright;
and, though his mysticism at times seemed the product of a cult rather
than a Celt, his symbolic dramas were acknowledged to be full of a
haunting, other-world spirituality. (See Preface.) _The Hour Glass_
(1904), his second volume of "Plays for an Irish Theatre," includes
his best one-act dramas with the exception of his unforgettable _The
Land of Heart's Desire_ (1894). _The Wind Among the Reeds_ (1899)
contains several of his most beautiful and characteristic poems.

Others who followed Yeats have intensified the Irish drama; they have
established a closer contact between the peasant and poet. No one,
however, has had so great a part in the shaping of modern drama in
Ireland as Yeats. His _Deirdre_ (1907), a beautiful retelling of the
great Gaelic legend, is far more dramatic than the earlier plays; it
is particularly interesting to read with Synge's more idiomatic play
on the same theme, _Deirdre of the Sorrows_.

The poems of Yeats which are quoted here reveal him in his most lyric
and musical vein.


    I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
    And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
    Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
          And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

    And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
    Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
    There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
          And evening full of the linnet's wings.

    I will arise and go now, for always night and day
    I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
    While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
          I hear it in the deep heart's core.


    I rise in the dawn, and I kneel and blow
    Till the seed of the fire flicker and glow.
    And then I must scrub, and bake, and sweep,
    Till stars are beginning to blink and peep;
    But the young lie long and dream in their bed
    Of the matching of ribbons, the blue and the red,
    And their day goes over in idleness,
    And they sigh if the wind but lift up a tress.
    While I must work, because I am old
    And the seed of the fire gets feeble and cold.


    A Queen was beloved by a jester,
      And once when the owls grew still
    He made his soul go upward
      And stand on her window sill.

    In a long and straight blue garment,
      It talked before morn was white,
    And it had grown wise by thinking
      Of a footfall hushed and light.

    But the young queen would not listen;
      She rose in her pale nightgown,
    She drew in the brightening casement
      And pushed the brass bolt down.

    He bade his heart go to her,
      When the bats cried out no more,
    In a red and quivering garment
      It sang to her through the door.

    The tongue of it sweet with dreaming
      Of a flutter of flower-like hair,
    But she took up her fan from the table
      And waved it off on the air.

    'I've cap and bells,' he pondered,
      'I will send them to her and die.'
    And as soon as the morn had whitened
      He left them where she went by.

    She laid them upon her bosom,
      Under a cloud of her hair,
    And her red lips sang them a love song.
      The stars grew out of the air.

    She opened her door and her window,
      And the heart and the soul came through,
    To her right hand came the red one,
      To her left hand came the blue.

    They set up a noise like crickets,
      A chattering wise and sweet,
    And her hair was a folded flower,
      And the quiet of love her feet.


    Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
    She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
    She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
    But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.

    In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
    And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
    She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
    But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.

_Rudyard Kipling_

Born at Bombay, India, December 30, 1865, Rudyard Kipling, the author
of a dozen contemporary classics, was educated in England. He
returned, however, to India and took a position on the staff of "The
Lahore Civil and Military Gazette," writing for the Indian press until
about 1890, when he went to England, where he has lived ever since,
with the exception of a short sojourn in America.

Even while he was still in India he achieved a popular as well as a
literary success with his dramatic and skilful tales, sketches and
ballads of Anglo-Indian life.

_Soldiers Three_ (1888) was the first of six collections of short
stories brought out in "Wheeler's Railway Library." They were followed
by the far more sensitive and searching _Plain Tales from the Hills_,
_Under the Deodars_ and _The Phantom 'Rikshaw_, which contains two of
the best and most convincing ghost-stories in recent literature.

These tales, however, display only one side of Kipling's extraordinary
talents. As a writer of children's stories, he has few living equals.
_Wee Willie Winkie_, which contains that stirring and heroic fragment
"Drums of the Fore and Aft," is only a trifle less notable than his
more obviously juvenile collections. _Just-So Stories_ and the two
_Jungle Books_ (prose interspersed with lively rhymes) are classics
for young people of all ages. _Kim_, the novel of a super-Mowgli grown
up, is a more mature masterpiece.

Considered solely as a poet (see Preface) he is one of the most
vigorous and unique figures of his time. The spirit of romance surges
under his realities. His brisk lines conjure up the tang of a
countryside in autumn, the tingle of salt spray, the rude sentiment of
ruder natures, the snapping of a banner, the lurch and rumble of the
sea. His poetry is woven of the stuff of myths; but it never loses its
hold on actualities. Kipling himself in his poem "The Benefactors"
(from _The Years Between_ [1919]) writes:

    Ah! What avails the classic bent
      And what the cultured word,
    Against the undoctored incident
      That actually occurred?

Kipling won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907. His varied poems
have finally been collected in a remarkable one-volume _Inclusive
Edition_ (1885-1918), an indispensable part of any student's library.
This gifted and prolific creator, whose work was affected by the war,
has frequently lapsed into bombast and a journalistic imperialism. At
his best he is unforgettable, standing mountain-high above his host of
imitators. His home is at Burwash, Sussex.


    You may talk o' gin an' beer
    When you're quartered safe out 'ere,
    An' you're sent to penny-fights an' Aldershot it;
    But if it comes to slaughter
    You will do your work on water,
    An' you'll lick the bloomin' boots of 'im that's got it
    Now in Injia's sunny clime,
    Where I used to spend my time
    A-servin' of 'Er Majesty the Queen,
    Of all them black-faced crew
    The finest man I knew
    Was our regimental _bhisti_,[5] Gunga Din.

        It was "Din! Din! Din!
        You limping lump o' brick-dust, Gunga Din!
        Hi! _slippy hitherao!_
        Water, get it! _Panee lao!_[6]
        You squidgy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din!"

    The uniform 'e wore
    Was nothin' much before,
    An' rather less than 'arf o' that be'ind,
    For a twisty piece o' rag
    An' a goatskin water-bag
    Was all the field-equipment 'e could find.
    When the sweatin' troop-train lay
    In a sidin' through the day,
    Where the 'eat would make your bloomin' eyebrows crawl,
    We shouted "_Harry By!_"[7]
    Till our throats were bricky-dry,
    Then we wopped 'im 'cause 'e couldn't serve us all.

        It was "Din! Din! Din!
        You 'eathen, where the mischief 'ave you been?
        You put some _juldees_[8] in it,
        Or I'll _marrow_[9] you this minute,
        If you don't fill up my helmet, Gunga Din!"

    'E would dot an' carry one
    Till the longest day was done,
    An' 'e didn't seem to know the use o' fear.
    If we charged or broke or cut,
    You could bet your bloomin' nut,
    'E'd be waitin' fifty paces right flank rear.
    With 'is _mussick_[10] on 'is back,
    'E would skip with our attack,
    An' watch us till the bugles made "Retire."
    An' for all 'is dirty 'ide,
    'E was white, clear white, inside
    When 'e went to tend the wounded under fire!

        It was "Din! Din! Din!"
        With the bullets kickin' dust-spots on the green.
        When the cartridges ran out,
        You could 'ear the front-files shout:
        "Hi! ammunition-mules an' Gunga Din!"

    I sha'n't forgit the night
    When I dropped be'ind the fight
    With a bullet where my belt-plate should 'a' been.
    I was chokin' mad with thirst,
    An' the man that spied me first
    Was our good old grinnin', gruntin' Gunga Din.
    'E lifted up my 'ead,
    An' 'e plugged me where I bled,
    An' 'e guv me 'arf-a-pint o' water--green;
    It was crawlin' an' it stunk,
    But of all the drinks I've drunk,
    I'm gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.

        It was "Din! Din! Din!
        'Ere's a beggar with a bullet through 'is spleen;
        'E's chawin' up the ground an' 'e's kickin' all around:
        For Gawd's sake, git the water, Gunga Din!"

    'E carried me away
    To where a _dooli_ lay,
    An' a bullet come an' drilled the beggar clean.
    'E put me safe inside,
    An' just before 'e died:
    "I 'ope you liked your drink," sez Gunga Din.
    So I'll meet 'im later on
    In the place where 'e is gone--
    Where it's always double drill and no canteen;
    'E'll be squattin' on the coals
    Givin' drink to pore damned souls,
    An' I'll get a swig in Hell from Gunga Din!

        Din! Din! Din!
        You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!
        Tho' I've belted you an' flayed you,
        By the livin' Gawd that made you,
        You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!


    Peace is declared, and I return
      To 'Ackneystadt, but not the same;
    Things 'ave transpired which made me learn
      The size and meanin' of the game.
    I did no more than others did,
      I don't know where the change began;
    I started as a average kid,
      I finished as a thinkin' man.

    _If England was what England seems
      An not the England of our dreams,
    But only putty, brass, an' paint,
      'Ow quick we'd drop 'er!_ But she ain't!

    Before my gappin' mouth could speak
      I 'eard it in my comrade's tone;
    I saw it on my neighbour's cheek
      Before I felt it flush my own.
    An' last it come to me--not pride,
      Nor yet conceit, but on the 'ole
    (If such a term may be applied),
      The makin's of a bloomin' soul.

    Rivers at night that cluck an' jeer,
      Plains which the moonshine turns to sea,
    Mountains that never let you near,
      An' stars to all eternity;
    An' the quick-breathin' dark that fills
      The 'ollows of the wilderness,
    When the wind worries through the 'ills--
      These may 'ave taught me more or less.

    Towns without people, ten times took,
      An' ten times left an' burned at last;
    An' starvin' dogs that come to look
      For owners when a column passed;
    An' quiet, 'omesick talks between
      Men, met by night, you never knew
    Until--'is face--by shellfire seen--
      Once--an' struck off. They taught me, too.

    The day's lay-out--the mornin' sun
      Beneath your 'at-brim as you sight;
    The dinner-'ush from noon till one,
      An' the full roar that lasts till night;
    An' the pore dead that look so old
      An' was so young an hour ago,
    An' legs tied down before they're cold--
      These are the things which make you know.

    Also Time runnin' into years--
      A thousand Places left be'ind--
    An' Men from both two 'emispheres
      Discussin' things of every kind;
    So much more near than I 'ad known,
      So much more great than I 'ad guessed--
    An' me, like all the rest, alone--
      But reachin' out to all the rest!

    So 'ath it come to me--not pride,
      Nor yet conceit, but on the 'ole
    (If such a term may be applied),
      The makin's of a bloomin' soul.
    But now, discharged, I fall away
      To do with little things again....
    Gawd, 'oo knows all I cannot say,
      Look after me in Thamesfontein!

    _If England was what England seems
      An' not the England of our dreams,
    But only putty, brass, an' paint,
      'Ow quick we'd chuck 'er!_ But she ain't!


    When the flush of a newborn sun fell first on Eden's
        green and gold,
    Our father Adam sat under the Tree and scratched with
        a stick in the mold;
    And the first rude sketch that the world had seen was
        joy to his mighty heart,
    Till the Devil whispered behind the leaves: "It's pretty,
        but is it Art?"

    Wherefore he called to his wife and fled to fashion
        his work anew--
    The first of his race who cared a fig for the first, most
        dread review;
    And he left his lore to the use of his sons--and that was
        a glorious gain
    When the Devil chuckled: "Is it Art?" in the ear of
        the branded Cain.

    They builded a tower to shiver the sky and wrench the
        stars apart,
    Till the Devil grunted behind the bricks: "It's striking,
        but is it Art?"
    The stone was dropped by the quarry-side, and the idle
        derrick swung,
    While each man talked of the aims of art, and each in
        an alien tongue.

    They fought and they talked in the north and the south,
        they talked and they fought in the west,
    Till the waters rose on the jabbering land, and the poor
        Red Clay had rest--
    Had rest till the dank blank-canvas dawn when the dove
        was preened to start,
    And the Devil bubbled below the keel: "It's human, but
        is it Art?"

    The tale is old as the Eden Tree--as new as the new-cut
    For each man knows ere his lip-thatch grows he is
        master of Art and Truth;
    And each man hears as the twilight nears, to the beat of
        his dying heart,
    The Devil drum on the darkened pane: "You did it,
        but was it Art?"

    We have learned to whittle the Eden Tree to the shape
        of a surplice-peg,
    We have learned to bottle our parents twain in the yolk
        of an addled egg,
    We know that the tail must wag the dog, as the horse
        is drawn by the cart;
    But the Devil whoops, as he whooped of old: "It's clever,
        but is it Art?"

    When the flicker of London's sun falls faint on the club-
        room's green and gold,
    The sons of Adam sit them down and scratch with their
        pens in the mold--
    They scratch with their pens in the mold of their graves,
        and the ink and the anguish start
    When the Devil mutters behind the leaves: "It's pretty,
        but is it art?"

    Now, if we could win to the Eden Tree where the four
        great rivers flow,
    And the wreath of Eve is red on the turf as she left it
        long ago,
    And if we could come when the sentry slept, and softly
        scurry through,
    By the favor of God we might know as much--as our
        father Adam knew.


    To the Heavens above us
      O look and behold
    The Planets that love us
      All harnessed in gold!
    What chariots, what horses
      Against us shall bide
    While the Stars in their courses
      Do fight on our side?

    All thought, all desires,
      That are under the sun,
    Are one with their fires,
      As we also are one:
    All matter, all spirit,
      All fashion, all frame,
    Receive and inherit
      Their strength from the same.

    (Oh, man that deniest
      All power save thine own,
    Their power in the highest
      Is mightily shown.
    Not less in the lowest
      That power is made clear.
    Oh, man, if thou knowest,
      What treasure is here!)

    Earth quakes in her throes
      And we wonder for why!
    But the blind planet knows
      When her ruler is nigh;
    And, attuned since Creation
      To perfect accord,
    She thrills in her station
      And yearns to her Lord.

    The waters have risen,
      The springs are unbound--
    The floods break their prison,
      And ravin around.
    No rampart withstands 'em,
      Their fury will last,
    Till the Sign that commands 'em
      Sinks low or swings past.

    Through abysses unproven
      And gulfs beyond thought,
    Our portion is woven,
      Our burden is brought.
    Yet They that prepare it,
      Whose Nature we share,
    Make us who must bear is
      Well able to bear.

    Though terrors o'ertake us
      We'll not be afraid.
    No power can unmake us
      Save that which has made.
    Nor yet beyond reason
      Or hope shall we fall--
    All things have their season,
      And Mercy crowns all!

    Then, doubt not, ye fearful--
      The Eternal is King--
    Up, heart, and be cheerful,
      And lustily sing:--
    _What chariots, what horses
      Against us shall bide
    While the Stars in their courses
      Do fight on our side?_


[5] The _bhisti_, or water-carrier, attached to regiments in India, is
often one of the most devoted of the Queen's servants. He is also
appreciated by the men.

[6] Bring water swiftly.

[7] Tommy Atkins' equivalent for "O Brother!"

[8] Speed.

[9] Hit you.

[10] Water-skin.

[11] From _The Five Nations_ by Rudyard Kipling. Copyright by
Doubleday, Page & Co. and A. P. Watt & Son.

[12] From _Rewards and Fairies_ by Rudyard Kipling. Copyright by
Doubleday, Page and Co. and A. P. Watt & Son.

_Richard Le Gallienne_

Richard Le Gallienne, who, in spite of his long residence in the
United States, must be considered an English poet, was born at
Liverpool in 1866. He entered on a business career soon after leaving
Liverpool College, but gave up commercial life to become a man of
letters after five or six years.

His early work was strongly influenced by the artificialities of the
æsthetic movement (see Preface); the indebtedness to Oscar Wilde is
especially evident. A little later Keats was the dominant influence,
and _English Poems_ (1892) betray how deep were Le Gallienne's
admirations. His more recent poems in _The Lonely Dancer_ (1913) show
a keener individuality and a finer lyrical passion. His prose fancies
are well known--particularly _The Book Bills of Narcissus_ and the
charming and high-spirited fantasia, _The Quest of the Golden Girl_.

Le Gallienne came to America about 1905 and has lived ever since in
Rowayton, Conn., and New York City.


    Ah, London! London! our delight,
    Great flower that opens but at night,
    Great City of the midnight sun,
    Whose day begins when day is done.

    Lamp after lamp against the sky
    Opens a sudden beaming eye,
    Leaping alight on either hand,
    The iron lilies of the Strand.

    Like dragonflies, the hansoms hover,
    With jeweled eyes, to catch the lover;
    The streets are full of lights and loves,
    Soft gowns, and flutter of soiled doves.

    The human moths about the light
    Dash and cling close in dazed delight,
    And burn and laugh, the world and wife,
    For this is London, this is life!

    Upon thy petals butterflies,
    But at thy root, some say, there lies,
    A world of weeping trodden things,
    Poor worms that have not eyes or wings.

    From out corruption of their woe
    Springs this bright flower that charms us so,
    Men die and rot deep out of sight
    To keep this jungle-flower bright.

    Paris and London, World-Flowers twain
    Wherewith the World-Tree blooms again,
    Since Time hath gathered Babylon,
    And withered Rome still withers on.

    Sidon and Tyre were such as ye,
    How bright they shone upon the tree!
    But Time hath gathered, both are gone,
    And no man sails to Babylon.


    One asked of regret,
      And I made reply:
    To have held the bird,
      And let it fly;
    To have seen the star
      For a moment nigh,
    And lost it
      Through a slothful eye;
    To have plucked the flower
      And cast it by;
    To have one only hope--
      To die.

_Lionel Johnson_

Born in 1867, Lionel Johnson received a classical education at Oxford,
and his poetry is a faithful reflection of his studies in Greek and
Latin literatures. Though he allied himself with the modern Irish
poets, his Celtic origin is a literary myth; Johnson, having been
converted to Catholicism in 1891, became imbued with Catholic and,
later, with Irish traditions. His verse, while sometimes strained and
over-decorated, is chastely designed, rich and, like that of the
Cavalier poets of the seventeenth century, mystically devotional.
_Poems_ (1895) contains his best work. Johnson died in 1902.


    Go from me: I am one of those who fall.
    What! hath no cold wind swept your heart at all,
    In my sad company? Before the end,
              Go from me, dear my friend!

    Yours are the victories of light: your feet
    Rest from good toil, where rest is brave and sweet:
    But after warfare in a mourning gloom,
              I rest in clouds of doom.

    Have you not read so, looking in these eyes?
    Is it the common light of the pure skies,
    Lights up their shadowy depths? The end is set:
              Though the end be not yet.

    When gracious music stirs, and all is bright,
    And beauty triumphs through a courtly night;
    When I too joy, a man like other men:
              Yet, am I like them, then?

    And in the battle, when the horsemen sweep
    Against a thousand deaths, and fall on sleep:
    Who ever sought that sudden calm, if I
              Sought not? yet could not die!

    Seek with thine eyes to pierce this crystal sphere:
    Canst read a fate there, prosperous and clear?
    Only the mists, only the weeping clouds,
              Dimness and airy shrouds.

    Beneath, what angels are at work? What powers
    Prepare the secret of the fatal hours?
    See! the mists tremble, and the clouds are stirred:
              When comes the calling word?

    The clouds are breaking from the crystal ball,
    Breaking and clearing: and I look to fall.
    When the cold winds and airs of portent sweep,
              My spirit may have sleep.

    O rich and sounding voices of the air!
    Interpreters and prophets of despair:
    Priests of a fearful sacrament! I come,
              To make with you mine home.


    The mountains, and the lonely death at last
    Upon the lonely mountains: O strong friend!
    The wandering over, and the labour passed,
        Thou art indeed at rest:
        Earth gave thee of her best,
        That labour and this end.

    Earth was thy mother, and her true son thou:
    Earth called thee to a knowledge of her ways,
    Upon the great hills, up the great streams: now
        Upon earth's kindly breast
        Thou art indeed at rest:
        Thou, and thine arduous days.

    Fare thee well, O strong heart! The tranquil night
    Looks calmly on thee: and the sun pours down
    His glory over thee, O heart of might!
        Earth gives thee perfect rest:
        Earth, whom thy swift feet pressed:
        Earth, whom the vast stars crown.

_Ernest Dowson_

Ernest Dowson was born at Belmont Hill in Kent in 1867. His
great-uncle was Alfred Domett (Browning's "Waring"), who was at one
time Prime Minister of New Zealand. Dowson, practically an invalid all
his life, was reckless with himself and, as disease weakened him more
and more, hid himself in miserable surroundings; for almost two years
he lived in sordid supper-houses known as "cabmen's shelters." He
literally drank himself to death.

His delicate and fantastic poetry was an attempt to escape from a
reality too big and brutal for him. His passionate lyric, "I have been
faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion," a triumph of despair and
disillusion, is an outburst in which Dowson epitomized himself--"One
of the greatest lyrical poems of our time," writes Arthur Symons, "in
it he has for once said everything, and he has said it to an
intoxicating and perhaps immortal music."

Dowson died obscure in 1900, one of the finest of modern minor poets.
His life was the tragedy of a weak nature buffeted by a strong and
merciless environment.


    With delicate, mad hands, behind his sordid bars,
    Surely he hath his posies, which they tear and twine;
    Those scentless wisps of straw that, miserable, line
    His strait, caged universe, whereat the dull world stares.

    Pedant and pitiful. O, how his rapt gaze wars
    With their stupidity! Know they what dreams divine
    Lift his long, laughing reveries like enchanted wine,
    And make his melancholy germane to the stars'?

    O lamentable brother! if those pity thee,
    Am I not fain of all thy lone eyes promise me;
    Half a fool's kingdom, far from men who sow and reap,
    All their days, vanity? Better than mortal flowers,
    Thy moon-kissed roses seem: better than love or sleep,
    The star-crowned solitude of thine oblivious hours!


    You would have understood me, had you waited;
      I could have loved you, dear! as well as he:
    Had we not been impatient, dear! and fated
            Always to disagree.

    What is the use of speech? Silence were fitter:
      Lest we should still be wishing things unsaid.
    Though all the words we ever spake were bitter,
            Shall I reproach you, dead?

    Nay, let this earth, your portion, likewise cover
      All the old anger, setting us apart:
    Always, in all, in truth was I your lover;
            Always, I held your heart.

    I have met other women who were tender,
      As you were cold, dear! with a grace as rare.
    Think you, I turned to them, or made surrender,
            I who had found you fair?

    Had we been patient, dear! ah, had you waited,
      I had fought death for you, better than he:
    But from the very first, dear! we were fated
            Always to disagree.

    Late, late, I come to you, now death discloses
      Love that in life was not to be our part:
    On your low lying mound between the roses,
            Sadly I cast my heart.

    I would not waken you: nay! this is fitter;
      Death and the darkness give you unto me;
    Here we who loved so, were so cold and bitter,
            Hardly can disagree.

"_A. E._"

(_George William Russell_)

At Durgan, a tiny town in the north of Ireland, George William Russell
was born in 1867. He moved to Dublin when he was 10 years old and, as
a young man, helped to form the group that gave rise to the Irish
Renascence--the group of which William Butler Yeats, Doctor Douglas
Hyde, Katharine Tynan and Lady Gregory were brilliant members. Besides
being a splendid mystical poet, "A. E." is a painter of note, a fiery
patriot, a distinguished sociologist, a public speaker, a student of
economics and one of the heads of the Irish Agricultural Association.

The best of his poetry is in _Homeward Songs by the Way_ (1894) and
_The Earth Breath and Other Poems_. Yeats has spoken of these poems as
"revealing in all things a kind of scented flame consuming them from


    Its edges foamed with amethyst and rose,
    Withers once more the old blue flower of day:
    There where the ether like a diamond glows,
            Its petals fade away.

    A shadowy tumult stirs the dusky air;
    Sparkle the delicate dews, the distant snows;
    The great deep thrills--for through it everywhere
            The breath of Beauty blows.

    I saw how all the trembling ages past,
    Moulded to her by deep and deeper breath,
    Near'd to the hour when Beauty breathes her last
            And knows herself in death.


    Far up the dim twilight fluttered
      Moth-wings of vapour and flame:
    The lights danced over the mountains,
      Star after star they came.

    The lights grew thicker unheeded,
      For silent and still were we;
    Our hearts were drunk with a beauty
      Our eyes could never see.

_Stephen Phillips_

Born in 1868, Stephen Phillips is best known as the author of _Herod_
(1900), _Paola and Francesca_ (1899), and _Ulysses_ (1902); a poetic
playwright who succeeded in reviving, for a brief interval, the blank
verse drama on the modern stage. Hailed at first with extravagant and
almost incredible praise, Phillips lived to see his most popular
dramas discarded and his new ones, such as _Pietro of Siena_ (1910),
unproduced and unnoticed.

Phillips failed to "restore" poetic drama because he was, first of
all, a lyric rather than a dramatic poet. In spite of certain moments
of rhetorical splendor, his scenes are spectacular instead of
emotional; his inspiration is too often derived from other models. He
died in 1915.


    _Herod speaks_:
    I dreamed last night of a dome of beaten gold
    To be a counter-glory to the Sun.
    There shall the eagle blindly dash himself,
    There the first beam shall strike, and there the moon
    Shall aim all night her argent archery;
    And it shall be the tryst of sundered stars,
    The haunt of dead and dreaming Solomon;
    Shall send a light upon the lost in Hell,
    And flashings upon faces without hope.--
    And I will think in gold and dream in silver,
    Imagine in marble and conceive in bronze,
    Till it shall dazzle pilgrim nations
    And stammering tribes from undiscovered lands,
    Allure the living God out of the bliss,
    And all the streaming seraphim from heaven.


    Beautiful lie the dead;
      Clear comes each feature;
    Satisfied not to be,
      Strangely contented.

    Like ships, the anchor dropped,
      Furled every sail is;
    Mirrored with all their masts
      In a deep water.


    My dead love came to me, and said:
      'God gives me one hour's rest,
    To spend with thee on earth again:
      How shall we spend it best?'

    'Why, as of old,' I said; and so
      We quarrelled, as of old:
    But, when I turned to make my peace,
      That one short hour was told.

_Laurence Binyon_

Laurence Binyon was born at Lancaster, August 10, 1869, a cousin of
Stephen Phillips; in _Primavera_ (1890) their early poems appeared
together. Binyon's subsequent volumes showed little distinction until
he published _London Visions_, which, in an enlarged edition in 1908,
revealed a gift of characterization and a turn of speech in surprising
contrast to his previous academic _Lyrical Poems_ (1894). His _Odes_
(1901) contains his ripest work; two poems in particular, "The
Threshold" and "The Bacchanal of Alexander," are glowing and unusually

Binyon's power has continued to grow; age has given his verse a new
sharpness. "The House That Was," one of his most recent poems,
appeared in _The London Mercury_, November, 1919.


    For Mercy, Courage, Kindness, Mirth,
    There is no measure upon earth.
    Nay, they wither, root and stem,
    If an end be set to them.

    Overbrim and overflow,
    If your own heart you would know;
    For the spirit born to bless
    Lives but in its own excess.


    Of the old house, only a few crumbled
      Courses of brick, smothered in nettle and dock,
    Or a squared stone, lying mossy where it tumbled!
      Sprawling bramble and saucy thistle mock
    What once was firelit floor and private charm
      Where, seen in a windowed picture, hills were fading
    At dusk, and all was memory-coloured and warm,
      And voices talked, secure from the wind's invading.

    Of the old garden, only a stray shining
      Of daffodil flames amid April's cuckoo-flowers,
    Or a cluster of aconite mixt with weeds entwining!
      But, dark and lofty, a royal cedar towers
    By homely thorns: whether the white rain drifts
      Or sun scorches, he holds the downs in ken,
    The western vale; his branchy tiers he lifts,
      Older than many a generation of men.

_Alfred Douglas_

Lord Alfred Douglas was born in 1870 and educated at Magdalen College,
Oxford. He was the editor of _The Academy_ from 1907 to 1910 and was
at one time the intimate friend of Oscar Wilde. One of the minor
poets of "the eighteen-nineties," several of his poems rise above his
own affectations and the end-of-the-century decadence. _The City of
the Soul_ (1899) and _Sonnets_ (1900) contain his most graceful


    I know a green grass path that leaves the field
        And, like a running river, winds along
        Into a leafy wood, where is no throng
    Of birds at noon-day; and no soft throats yield
    Their music to the moon. The place is sealed,
        An unclaimed sovereignty of voiceless song,
        And all the unravished silences belong
    To some sweet singer lost, or unrevealed.

    So is my soul become a silent place....
        Oh, may I wake from this uneasy night
            To find some voice of music manifold.
    Let it be shape of sorrow with wan face,
        Or love that swoons on sleep, or else delight
            That is as wide-eyed as a marigold.

_T. Sturge Moore_

Thomas Sturge Moore was born March 4, 1870. He is well known not only
as an author, but as a critic and wood-engraver. As an artist, he has
achieved no little distinction and has designed the covers for the
poetry of W. B. Yeats and others. As a poet, the greater portion of
his verse is severely classical in tone, academic in expression but,
of its kind, distinctive and intimate. Among his many volumes, the
most outstanding are _The Vinedresser and Other Poems_ (1899), _A
Sicilian Idyll_ (1911) and _The Sea Is Kind_ (1914).


    O silver-throated Swan
    Struck, struck! A golden dart
    Clean through thy breast has gone
    Home to thy heart.
    Thrill, thrill, O silver throat!
    O silver trumpet, pour
    Love for defiance back
    On him who smote!
    And brim, brim o'er
    With love; and ruby-dye thy track
    Down thy last living reach
    Of river, sail the golden light--
    Enter the sun's heart--even teach
    O wondrous-gifted Pain, teach Thou
    The God of love, let him learn how!


    So faint, no ear is sure it hears,
    So faint and far;
    So vast that very near appears
    My voice, both here and in each star
    Unmeasured leagues do bridge between;
    Like that which on a face is seen
    Where secrets are;
    Sweeping, like veils of lofty balm,
    Tresses unbound
    O'er desert sand, o'er ocean calm,
    I am wherever is not sound;
    And, goddess of the truthful face,
    My beauty doth instil its grace
    That joy abound.

_William H. Davies_

According to his own biography, William H. Davies was born in a
public-house called Church House at Newport, in the County of
Monmouthshire, April 20, 1870, of Welsh parents. He was, until Bernard
Shaw "discovered" him, a cattleman, a berry-picker, a panhandler--in
short, a vagabond. In a preface to Davies' second book, _The
Autobiography of a Super-Tramp_ (1906), Shaw describes how the
manuscript came into his hands:

"In the year 1905 I received by post a volume of poems by one William
H. Davies, whose address was The Farm House, Kensington, S. E. I was
surprised to learn that there was still a farmhouse left in
Kensington; for I did not then suspect that the Farm House, like the
Shepherdess Walks and Nightingale Lane and Whetstone Parks of Bethnal
Green and Holborn, is so called nowadays in irony, and is, in fact, a
doss-house, or hostelry, where single men can have a night's lodging,
for, at most, sixpence.... The author, as far as I could guess, had
walked into a printer's or stationer's shop; handed in his manuscript;
and ordered his book as he might have ordered a pair of boots. It was
marked 'price, half a crown.' An accompanying letter asked me very
civilly if I required a half-crown book of verses; and if so, would I
please send the author the half crown: if not, would I return the
book. This was attractively simple and sensible. I opened the book,
and was more puzzled than ever; for before I had read three lines I
perceived that the author was a real poet. His work was not in the
least strenuous or modern; there was indeed no sign of his ever having
read anything otherwise than as a child reads.... Here, I saw, was a
genuine innocent, writing odds and ends of verse about odds and ends
of things; living quite out of the world in which such things are
usually done, and knowing no better (or rather no worse) than to get
his book made by the appropriate craftsman and hawk it round like any
other ware."

It is more than likely that Davies' first notoriety as a tramp-poet
who had ridden the rails in the United States and had had his right
foot cut off by a train in Canada, obscured his merits as a genuine
singer. Even his early _The Soul's Destroyer_ (1907) revealed that
simplicity which is as _naïf_ as it is strange. The volumes that
followed are more clearly melodious, more like the visionary wonder of
Blake, more artistically artless.

With the exception of "The Villain," which has not yet appeared in
book form, the following poems are taken from _The Collected Poems of
W. H. Davies_ (1916) with the permission of the publisher, Alfred A.


    When primroses are out in Spring,
      And small, blue violets come between;
      When merry birds sing on boughs green,
    And rills, as soon as born, must sing;

    When butterflies will make side-leaps,
      As though escaped from Nature's hand
      Ere perfect quite; and bees will stand
    Upon their heads in fragrant deeps;

    When small clouds are so silvery white
      Each seems a broken rimmèd moon--
      When such things are, this world too soon,
    For me, doth wear the veil of Night.


    Thy beauty haunts me heart and soul,
      Oh, thou fair Moon, so close and bright;
    Thy beauty makes me like the child
      That cries aloud to own thy light:
    The little child that lifts each arm
    To press thee to her bosom warm.

    Though there are birds that sing this night
      With thy white beams across their throats,
    Let my deep silence speak for me
      More than for them their sweetest notes:
    Who worships thee till music fails,
    Is greater than thy nightingales.


    While joy gave clouds the light of stars,
      That beamed where'er they looked;
    And calves and lambs had tottering knees,
      Excited, while they sucked;
    While every bird enjoyed his song,
    Without one thought of harm or wrong--
    I turned my head and saw the wind,
      Not far from where I stood,
    Dragging the corn by her golden hair,
      Into a dark and lonely wood.


    Here's an example from
      A Butterfly;
    That on a rough, hard rock
      Happy can lie;
    Friendless and all alone
    On this unsweetened stone.

    Now let my bed be hard,
      No care take I;
    I'll make my joy like this
      Small Butterfly;
    Whose happy heart has power
    To make a stone a flower.

_Hilaire Belloc_

Hilaire Belloc, who has been described as "a Frenchman, an Englishman,
an Oxford man, a country gentleman, a soldier, a satirist, a democrat,
a novelist, and a practical journalist," was born July 27, 1870. After
leaving school he served as a driver in the 8th Regiment of French
Artillery at Toul Meurthe-et-Moselle, being at that time a French
citizen. He was naturalized as a British subject somewhat later, and
in 1906 he entered the House of Commons as Liberal Member for South

As an author, he has engaged in multiple activities. He has written
three satirical novels, one of which, _Mr. Clutterbuck's Election_,
sharply exposes British newspapers and underground politics. His _Path
to Rome_ (1902) is a high-spirited and ever-delightful travel book
which has passed through many editions. His historical studies and
biographies of _Robespierre_ and _Marie Antoinette_ (1909) are
classics of their kind. As a poet he is only somewhat less engaging.
His _Verses_ (1910) is a rather brief collection of poems on a wide
variety of themes. Although his humorous and burlesque stanzas are
refreshing, Belloc is most himself when he writes either of malt
liquor or his beloved Sussex. Though his religious poems are full of a
fine romanticism, "The South Country" is the most pictorial and
persuasive of his serious poems. His poetic as well as his spiritual
kinship with G. K. Chesterton is obvious.


    When I am living in the Midlands
      That are sodden and unkind,
    I light my lamp in the evening:
      My work is left behind;
    And the great hills of the South Country
      Come back into my mind.

    The great hills of the South Country
      They stand along the sea;
    And it's there walking in the high woods
      That I could wish to be,
    And the men that were boys when I was a boy
      Walking along with me.

    The men that live in North England
      I saw them for a day:
    Their hearts are set upon the waste fells,
      Their skies are fast and grey;
    From their castle-walls a man may see
      The mountains far away.

    The men that live in West England
      They see the Severn strong,
    A-rolling on rough water brown
      Light aspen leaves along.
    They have the secret of the Rocks,
      And the oldest kind of song.

    But the men that live in the South Country
      Are the kindest and most wise,
    They get their laughter from the loud surf,
      And the faith in their happy eyes
    Comes surely from our Sister the Spring
      When over the sea she flies;
    The violets suddenly bloom at her feet,
      She blesses us with surprise.

    I never get between the pines
      But I smell the Sussex air;
    Nor I never come on a belt of sand
      But my home is there.
    And along the sky the line of the Downs
      So noble and so bare.

    A lost thing could I never find,
      Nor a broken thing mend:
    And I fear I shall be all alone
      When I get towards the end.
    Who will there be to comfort me
      Or who will be my friend?

    I will gather and carefully make my friends
      Of the men of the Sussex Weald;
    They watch the stars from silent folds,
      They stiffly plough the field.
    By them and the God of the South Country
      My poor soul shall be healed.

    If I ever become a rich man,
      Or if ever I grow to be old,
    I will build a house with deep thatch
      To shelter me from the cold,
    And there shall the Sussex songs be sung
      And the story of Sussex told.

    I will hold my house in the high wood
      Within a walk of the sea,
    And the men that were boys when I was a boy
      Shall sit and drink with me.

_Anthony C. Deane_

Anthony C. Deane was born in 1870 and was the Seatonian prizeman in
1905 at Clare College, Cambridge. He has been Vicar of All Saints,
Ennismore Gardens, since 1916. His long list of light verse and
essays includes several excellent parodies, the most delightful being
found in his _New Rhymes for Old_ (1901).


    It was the good ship _Billycock_, with thirteen men aboard,
      Athirst to grapple with their country's foes,--
    A crew, 'twill be admitted, not numerically fitted
      To navigate a battleship in prose.

    It was the good ship _Billycock_ put out from Plymouth Sound,
      While lustily the gallant heroes cheered,
    And all the air was ringing with the merry bo'sun's singing,
      Till in the gloom of night she disappeared.

    But when the morning broke on her, behold, a dozen ships,
      A dozen ships of France around her lay,
    (Or, if that isn't plenty, I will gladly make it twenty),
      And hemmed her close in Salamander Bay.

    Then to the Lord High Admiral there spake a cabin-boy:
      "Methinks," he said, "the odds are somewhat great,
    And, in the present crisis, a cabin-boy's advice is
      That you and France had better arbitrate!"

    "Pooh!" said the Lord High Admiral, and slapped his manly chest,
      "Pooh! That would be both cowardly and wrong;
    Shall I, a gallant fighter, give the needy ballad-writer
      No suitable material for song?"

    "Nay--is the shorthand-writer here?--I tell you, one and all,
      I mean to do my duty, as I ought;
    With eager satisfaction let us clear the decks for action
      And fight the craven Frenchmen!" So they fought.

    And (after several stanzas which as yet are incomplete,
      Describing all the fight in epic style)
    When the _Billycock_ was going, she'd a dozen prizes towing
      (Or twenty, as above) in single file!

    Ah, long in glowing English hearts the story will remain,
      The memory of that historic day,
    And, while we rule the ocean, we will picture with emotion
      The _Billycock_ in Salamander Bay!

    _P.S._--I've lately noticed that the critics--who, I think,
      In praising _my_ productions are remiss--
    Quite easily are captured, and profess themselves enraptured,
      By patriotic ditties such as this,

    For making which you merely take some dauntless Englishmen,
      Guns, heroism, slaughter, and a fleet--
    Ingredients you mingle in a metre with a jingle,
      And there you have your masterpiece complete!

    Why, then, with labour infinite, produce a book of verse
      To languish on the "All for Twopence" shelf?
    The ballad bold and breezy comes particularly easy--
      I mean to take to writing it myself!


    Oh, I be vun of the useful troibe
      O' rustic volk, I be;
    And writin' gennelmen dü descroibe
      The doin's o' such as we;
    I don't knaw mooch o' corliflower plants,
      I can't tell 'oes from trowels,
    But 'ear me mix ma consonants,
      An' moodle oop all ma vowels!

    I talks in a wunnerful dialect
      That vew can hunderstand,
    'Tis Yorkshire-Zummerzet, I expect,
      With a dash o' the Oirish brand;
    Sometimes a bloomin' flower of speech
      I picks from Cockney spots,
    And when releegious truths I teach,
      Obsairve ma richt gude Scots!

    In most of the bukes, 'twas once the case
      I 'adn't got much to do,
    I blessed the 'eroine's purty face,
      An' I seëd the 'ero through;
    But now, I'm juist a pairsonage!
      A power o' bukes there be
    Which from the start to the very last page
      Entoirely deal with me!

    The wit or the point o' what I spakes
      Ye've got to find if ye can;
    A wunnerful difference spellin' makes
      In the 'ands of a competent man!
    I mayn't knaw mooch o' corliflower plants,
      I mayn't knaw 'oes from trowels,
    But I does ma wark, if ma consonants
      Be properly mixed with ma vowels!

_J. M. Synge_

The most brilliant star of the Celtic revival was born at Rathfarnham,
near Dublin, in 1871. As a child in Wicklow, he was already fascinated
by the strange idioms and the rhythmic speech he heard there, a native
utterance which was his greatest delight and which was to be rich
material for his greatest work. He did not use this folk-language
merely as he heard it. He was an artist first and last, and as an
artist he bent and shaped the rough material, selecting with great
fastidiousness, so that in his plays every speech is, as he himself
declared all good speech should be, "as fully flavored as a nut or
apple." Even in _The Tinker's Wedding_ (1907), possibly the least
important of his plays, one is arrested by snatches like:

     "That's a sweet tongue you have, Sarah Casey; but if sleep's
     a grand thing, it's a grand thing to be waking up a day the
     like of this, when there's a warm sun in it, and a kind air,
     and you'll hear the cuckoos singing and crying out on the
     top of the hill."

For some time, Synge's career was uncertain. He went to Germany half
intending to become a professional musician. There he studied the
theory of music, perfecting himself meanwhile in Gaelic and Hebrew,
winning prizes in both of these languages. Yeats found him in France
in 1898 and advised him to go to the Aran Islands, to live there as if
he were one of the people. "Express a life," said Yeats, "that has
never found expression." Synge went. He became part of the life of
Aran, living upon salt fish and eggs, talking Irish for the most part
but listening also to that beautiful English which, to quote Yeats
again, "has grown up in Irish-speaking districts and takes its
vocabulary from the time of Malory and of the translators of the
Bible, but its idiom and vivid metaphor from Irish." The result of
this close contact was five of the greatest poetic prose dramas not
only of his own generation, but of several generations preceding it.
(See Preface.)

In _Riders to the Sea_ (1903), _The Well of the Saints_ (1905), and
_The Playboy of the Western World_ (1907) we have a richness of
imagery, a new language startling in its vigor, a wildness and passion
that contrast strangely with the suave mysticism and delicate
spirituality of his associates in the Irish Theatre.

Synge's _Poems and Translations_ (1910), a volume which was not issued
until after his death, contains not only his few hard and earthy
verses, but also Synge's theory of poetry. The translations, which
have been rendered in a highly intensified prose, are as racy as
anything in his plays; his versions of Villon and Petrarch are
remarkable for their adherence to the original and still radiate the
poet's own personality.

Synge died, just as he was beginning to attain fame, at a private
hospital in Dublin March 24, 1909.


    Bring Kateen-beug and Maurya Jude
    To dance in Beg-Innish,[13]
    And when the lads (they're in Dunquin)
    Have sold their crabs and fish,
    Wave fawny shawls and call them in,
    And call the little girls who spin,
    And seven weavers from Dunquin,
    To dance in Beg-Innish.

    I'll play you jigs, and Maurice Kean,
    Where nets are laid to dry,
    I've silken strings would draw a dance
    From girls are lame or shy;
    Four strings I've brought from Spain and France
    To make your long men skip and prance,
    Till stars look out to see the dance
    Where nets are laid to dry.

    We'll have no priest or peeler in
    To dance in Beg-Innish;
    But we'll have drink from M'riarty Jim
    Rowed round while gannets fish,
    A keg with porter to the brim,
    That every lad may have his whim,
    Till we up sails with M'riarty Jim
    And sail from Beg-Innish.


(_He is Jealous of the Heavens and the Earth_)

What a grudge I am bearing the earth that has its arms about her, and
is holding that face away from me, where I was finding peace from
great sadness.

What a grudge I am bearing the Heavens that are after taking her, and
shutting her in with greediness, the Heavens that do push their bolt
against so many.

What a grudge I am bearing the blessed saints that have got her sweet
company, that I am always seeking; and what a grudge I am bearing
against Death, that is standing in her two eyes, and will not call me
with a word.


    My arms are round you, and I lean
    Against you, while the lark
    Sings over us, and golden lights, and green
    Shadows are on your bark.

    There'll come a season when you'll stretch
    Black boards to cover me;
    Then in Mount Jerome I will lie, poor wretch,
    With worms eternally.


[13] (The accent is on the last syllable.)

_Nora Hopper Chesson_

Nora Hopper was born in Exeter on January 2, 1871, and married W. H.
Chesson, a well-known writer, in 1901. Although the Irish element in
her work is acquired and incidental, there is a distinct if somewhat
fitful race consciousness in _Ballads in Prose_ (1894) and _Under
Quickened Boughs_ (1896). She died suddenly April 14, 1906.


    I will arise and go hence to the west,
    And dig me a grave where the hill-winds call;
    But O were I dead, were I dust, the fall
    Of my own love's footstep would break my rest!

    My heart in my bosom is black as a sloe!
    I heed not cuckoo, nor wren, nor swallow:
    Like a flying leaf in the sky's blue hollow
    The heart in my breast is, that beats so low.

    Because of the words your lips have spoken,
    (O dear black head that I must not follow)
    My heart is a grave that is stripped and hollow,
    As ice on the water my heart is broken.

    O lips forgetful and kindness fickle,
    The swallow goes south with you: I go west
    Where fields are empty and scythes at rest.
    I am the poppy and you the sickle;
    My heart is broken within my breast.

_Eva Gore-Booth_

Eva Gore-Booth, the second daughter of Sir Henry Gore-Booth and the
sister of Countess Marcievicz, was born in Sligo, Ireland, in 1872.
She first appeared in "A. E."'s anthology, _New Songs_, in which so
many of the modern Irish poets first came forward.

Her initial volume, _Poems_ (1898), showed practically no
distinction--not even the customary "promise." But _The One and the
Many_ (1904) and _The Sorrowful Princess_ (1907) revealed the gift of
the Celtic singer who is half mystic, half minstrel. Primarily
philosophic, her verse often turns to lyrics as haunting as the two
examples here reprinted.


    The grand road from the mountain goes shining to the sea,
      And there is traffic on it and many a horse and cart,
    But the little roads of Cloonagh are dearer far to me
      And the little roads of Cloonagh go rambling through my heart.

    A great storm from the ocean goes shouting o'er the hill,
      And there is glory in it; and terror on the wind:
    But the haunted air of twilight is very strange and still,
      And the little winds of twilight are dearer to my mind.

    The great waves of the Atlantic sweep storming on their way,
      Shining green and silver with the hidden herring shoal;
    But the little waves of Breffny have drenched my heart in spray,
      And the little waves of Breffny go stumbling through my soul.


    Free to all souls the hidden beauty calls,
    The sea thrift dwelling on her spray-swept height,
    The lofty rose, the low-grown aconite,
    The gliding river and the stream that brawls
    Down the sharp cliffs with constant breaks and falls--
    All these are equal in the equal light--
    All waters mirror the one Infinite.

    God made a garden, it was men built walls;
    But the wide sea from men is wholly freed;
    Freely the great waves rise and storm and break,
    Nor softlier go for any landlord's need,
    Where rhythmic tides flow for no miser's sake
    And none hath profit of the brown sea-weed,
    But all things give themselves, yet none may take.

_Moira O'Neill_

Moira O'Neill is known chiefly by a remarkable little collection of
only twenty-five lyrics, _Songs from the Glens of Antrim_ (1900),
simple tunes as unaffected as the peasants of whom she sings. The best
of her poetry is dramatic without being theatrical; melodious without
falling into the tinkle of most "popular" sentimental verse.


    '_Where am I from?_' From the green hills of Erin.
    '_Have I no song then?_' My songs are all sung.
    '_What o' my love?_' 'Tis alone I am farin'.
    Old grows my heart, an' my voice yet is young.

    '_If she was tall?_' Like a king's own daughter.
    '_If she was fair?_' Like a mornin' o' May.
    When she'd come laughin' 'twas the runnin' wather,
    When she'd come blushin' 'twas the break o' day.

    '_Where did she dwell?_' Where one'st I had my dwellin'.
    '_Who loved her best?_' There's no one now will know.
    '_Where is she gone?_' Och, why would I be tellin'!
    Where she is gone there I can never go.


           _Youth's for an hour,
            Beauty's a flower,
            But love is the jewel that wins the world._

    Youth's for an hour, an' the taste o' life is sweet,
    Ailes was a girl that stepped on two bare feet;
    In all my days I never seen the one as fair as she,
    I'd have lost my life for Ailes, an' she never cared for me.

    Beauty's a flower, an' the days o' life are long,
    There's little knowin' who may live to sing another song;
    For Ailes was the fairest, but another is my wife,
    An' Mary--God be good to her!--is all I love in life.

           _Youth's for an hour,
            Beauty's a flower,
            But love is the jewel that wins the world._

_John McCrae_

John McCrae was born in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, in 1872. He was
graduated in arts in 1894 and in medicine in 1898. He finished his
studies at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and returned to Canada, joining
the staff of the Medical School of McGill University. He was a
lieutenant of artillery in South Africa (1899-1900) and was in charge
of the Medical Division of the McGill Canadian General Hospital during
the World War. After serving two years, he died of pneumonia, January,
1918, his volume _In Flanders Fields_ (1919) appearing posthumously.

Few who read the title poem of his book, possibly the most widely-read
poem produced by the war, realize that it is a perfect rondeau, one of
the loveliest (and strictest) of the French forms.


    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
      That mark our place; and in the sky
      The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
      Loved and were loved, and now we lie
            In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
      The torch; be yours to hold it high.
      If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
            In Flanders fields.

_Ford Madox Hueffer_

Ford Madox Hueffer was born in 1873 and is best known as the author of
many novels, two of which, _Romance_ and _The Inheritors_, were
written in collaboration with Joseph Conrad. He has written also
several critical studies, those on Rossetti and Henry James being the
most notable. His _On Heaven and Other Poems_ appeared in 1916.



    I should like to imagine
    A moonlight in which there would be no machine-guns!

    For, it is possible
    To come out of a trench or a hut or a tent or a church all in ruins:
    To see the black perspective of long avenues
    All silent.
    The white strips of sky
    At the sides, cut by the poplar trunks:
    The white strips of sky
    Above, diminishing--
    The silence and blackness of the avenue
    Enclosed by immensities of space
    Spreading away
    Over No Man's Land....

    For a minute ...
    For ten ...
    There will be no star shells
    But the untroubled stars,
    There will be no _Very_ light
    But the light of the quiet moon
    Like a swan.
    And silence....

    Then, far away to the right thro' the moonbeams
    "_Wukka Wukka_" will go the machine-guns,
    And, far away to the left
    _Wukka Wukka_.
    And sharply,
    _Wuk_ ... _Wuk_ ... and then silence
    For a space in the clear of the moon.


    I should like to imagine
    A moonlight in which the machine-guns of trouble
    Will be silent....

    Do you remember, my dear,
    Long ago, on the cliffs, in the moonlight,
    Looking over to Flatholme
    We sat ... Long ago!...
    And the things that you told me ...
    Little things in the clear of the moon,
    The little, sad things of a life....

    We shall do it again
    Full surely,
    Sitting still, looking over at Flatholme.
    Then, far away to the right
    Shall sound the Machine Guns of trouble
    And, far away to the left, under Flatholme,

    I wonder, my dear, can you stick it?
    As we should say: "Stick it, the Welch!"
    In the dark of the moon,
    Going over....


    The little angels of Heaven
    Each wear a long white dress,
    And in the tall arcadings
    Play ball and play at chess;

    With never a soil on their garments,
    Not a sigh the whole day long,
    Not a bitter note in their pleasure,
    Not a bitter note in their song.

    But they shall know keener pleasure,
    And they shall know joy more rare--
    Keener, keener pleasure
    When you, my dear, come there.

           *       *       *       *       *

    The little angels of Heaven
    Each wear a long white gown,
    And they lean over the ramparts
    Waiting and looking down.

_Walter De la Mare_

The author of some of the most haunting lyrics in contemporary poetry,
Walter De la Mare, was born in 1873. Although he did not begin to
bring out his work in book form until he was over 30, he is, as Harold
Williams has written, "the singer of a young and romantic world, a
singer even for children, understanding and perceiving as a child." De
la Mare paints simple scenes of miniature loveliness; he uses
thin-spun fragments of fairy-like delicacy and achieves a grace that
is remarkable in its universality. "In a few words, seemingly artless
and unsought" (to quote Williams again), "he can express a pathos or a
hope as wide as man's life."

De la Mare is an astonishing joiner of words; in _Peacock Pie_ (1913)
he surprises us again and again by transforming what began as a
child's nonsense-rhyme into a suddenly thrilling snatch of music. A
score of times he takes things as casual as the feeding of chickens or
the swallowing of physic, berry-picking, eating, hair-cutting--and
turns them into magic. These poems read like lyrics of William
Shakespeare rendered by Mother Goose. The trick of revealing the
ordinary in whimsical colors, of catching the commonplace off its
guard, is the first of De la Mare's two magics.

This poet's second gift is his sense of the supernatural, of the
fantastic other-world that lies on the edges of our consciousness.
_The Listeners_ (1912) is a book that, like all the best of De la
Mare, is full of half-heard whispers; moonlight and mystery seem
soaked in the lines, and a cool wind from Nowhere blows over them.
That most magical of modern verses, "The Listeners," and the brief
music of "An Epitaph" are two fine examples among many. In the first
of these poems there is an uncanny splendor. What we have here is the
effect, the thrill, the overtones of a ghost story rather than the
narrative itself--the less than half-told adventure of some new Childe
Roland heroically challenging a heedless universe. Never have silence
and black night been reproduced more creepily, nor has the symbolism
of man's courage facing the cryptic riddle of life been more memorably

De la Mare's chief distinction, however, lies not so much in what he
says as in how he says it; he can even take outworn words like
"thridding," "athwart," "amaranthine" and make them live again in a
poetry that is of no time and of all time. He writes, it has been
said, as much for antiquity as for posterity; he is a poet who is
distinctively in the world and yet not wholly of it.


    'Is there anybody there?' said the Traveller,
      Knocking on the moonlit door;
    And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
      Of the forest's ferny floor.
    And a bird flew up out of the turret,
      Above the Traveller's head:
    And he smote upon the door again a second time;
      'Is there anybody there?' he said.
    But no one descended to the Traveller;
      No head from the leaf-fringed sill
    Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
      Where he stood perplexed and still.
    But only a host of phantom listeners
      That dwelt in the lone house then
    Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
      To that voice from the world of men:
    Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
      That goes down to the empty hall,
    Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
      By the lonely Traveller's call.
    And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
      Their stillness answering his cry,
    While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
      'Neath the starred and leafy sky;
    For he suddenly smote on the door, even
      Louder, and lifted his head:--
    'Tell them I came, and no one answered,
      That I kept my word,' he said.
    Never the least stir made the listeners,
      Though every word he spake
    Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
      From the one man left awake:
    Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
      And the sound of iron on stone,
    And how the silence surged softly backward,
      When the plunging hoofs were gone.


    Here lies a most beautiful lady,
    Light of step and heart was she;
    I think she was the most beautiful lady
    That ever was in the West Country.

    But beauty vanishes; beauty passes;
    However rare--rare it be;
    And when I crumble, who will remember
    This lady of the West Country?


    Poor tired Tim! It's sad for him.
    He lags the long bright morning through,
    Ever so tired of nothing to do;
    He moons and mopes the livelong day,
    Nothing to think about, nothing to say;
    Up to bed with his candle to creep,
    Too tired to yawn; too tired to sleep:
    Poor tired Tim! It's sad for him.


    When Susan's work was done, she'd sit
    With one fat guttering candle lit,
    And window opened wide to win
    The sweet night air to enter in;
    There, with a thumb to keep her place
    She'd read, with stern and wrinkled face.
    Her mild eyes gliding very slow
    Across the letters to and fro,
    While wagged the guttering candle flame
    In the wind that through the window came.
    And sometimes in the silence she
    Would mumble a sentence audibly,
    Or shake her head as if to say,
    'You silly souls, to act this way!'
    And never a sound from night I'd hear,
    Unless some far-off cock crowed clear;
    Or her old shuffling thumb should turn
    Another page; and rapt and stern,
    Through her great glasses bent on me
    She'd glance into reality;
    And shake her round old silvery head,
    With--'You!--I thought you was in bed!'--
    Only to tilt her book again,
    And rooted in Romance remain.


    Softly along the road of evening,
        In a twilight dim with rose,
    Wrinkled with age, and drenched with dew
        Old Nod, the shepherd, goes.

    His drowsy flock streams on before him,
        Their fleeces charged with gold,
    To where the sun's last beam leans low
        On Nod the shepherd's fold.

    The hedge is quick and green with briar,
        From their sand the conies creep;
    And all the birds that fly in heaven
        Flock singing home to sleep.

    His lambs outnumber a noon's roses,
        Yet, when night's shadows fall,
    His blind old sheep-dog, Slumber-soon,
        Misses not one of all.

    His are the quiet steeps of dreamland,
        The waters of no-more-pain;
    His ram's bell rings 'neath an arch of stars,
        "Rest, rest, and rest again."

_G. K. Chesterton_

This brilliant journalist, novelist, essayist, publicist and lyricist,
Gilbert Keith Chesterton, was born at Campden Hill, Kensington, in
1874, and began his literary life by reviewing books on art for
various magazines. He is best known as a writer of flashing,
paradoxical essays on anything and everything, like _Tremendous
Trifles_ (1909), _Varied Types_ (1905), and _All Things Considered_
(1910). But he is also a stimulating critic; a keen appraiser, as in
his volume _Heretics_ (1905) and his analytical studies of Robert
Browning, Charles Dickens, and George Bernard Shaw; a writer of
strange and grotesque romances like _The Napoleon of Notting Hill_
(1906), _The Man Who Was Thursday_ (1908), which Chesterton himself
has subtitled "A Nightmare," and _The Flying Inn_ (1914); the author
of several books of fantastic short stories, ranging from the wildly
whimsical narratives in _The Club of Queer Trades_ (1905) to that
amazing sequence _The Innocence of Father Brown_ (1911)--which is a
series of religious detective stories!

Besides being the creator of all of these, Chesterton finds time to be
a prolific if sometimes too acrobatic newspaperman, a lay preacher in
disguise (witness _Orthodoxy_ [1908], _What's Wrong with the World?_
[1910], _The Ball and the Cross_ [1909]), a pamphleteer, and a poet.
His first volume of verse, _The Wild Knight and Other Poems_ (1900), a
collection of quaintly-flavored and affirmative verses, was followed
by _The Ballad of the White Horse_ (1911), one long poem which, in
spite of Chesterton's ever-present didactic sermonizing, is possibly
the most stirring creation he has achieved. This poem has the swing,
the vigor, the spontaneity, and, above all, the ageless simplicity of
the true narrative ballad.

Scarcely less notable is the ringing "Lepanto" from his later _Poems_
(1915) which, anticipating the banging, clanging verses of Vachel
Lindsay's "The Congo," is one of the finest of modern chants. It is
interesting to see how the syllables beat, as though on brass; it is
thrilling to feel how, in one's pulses, the armies sing, the feet
tramp, the drums snarl, and all the tides of marching crusaders roll
out of lines like:

    "Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
    Don John of Austria is going to the war;
    Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
    In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold;
    Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
    Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes...."

Chesterton, the prose-paradoxer, is a delightful product of a
skeptical age. But it is Chesterton the poet who is more likely to
outlive it.


    White founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
    And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
    There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
    It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard;
    It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips;
    For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
    They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
    They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
    And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
    And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.
    The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
    The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
    From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
    And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

    Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
    Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
    Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
    The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
    The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
    That once went singing southward when all the world was young.
    In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
    Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
    Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
    Don John of Austria is going to the war,
    Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
    In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
    Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
    Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
    Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
    Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
    Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
    Love-light of Spain--hurrah!
    Death-light of Africa!
    Don John of Austria
    Is riding to the sea.

    Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
    (_Don John of Austria is going to the war._)
    He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees,
    His turban that is woven of the sunsets and the seas.
    He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
    And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees;
    And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
    Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
    Giants and the Genii,
    Multiplex of wing and eye,
    Whose strong obedience broke the sky
    When Solomon was king.

    They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn,
    From the temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn;
    They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea
    Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be,
    On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl,
    Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl;
    They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,--
    They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
    And he saith, "Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
    And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
    And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest,
    For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
    We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
    Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done.
    But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
    The voice that shook our palaces--four hundred years ago:
    It is he that saith not 'Kismet'; it is he that knows not Fate;
    It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey at the gate!
    It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
    Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth."
    For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
    (_Don John of Austria is going to the war._)
    Sudden and still--hurrah!
    Bolt from Iberia!
    Don John of Austria
    Is gone by Alcalar.

    St. Michael's on his Mountain in the sea-roads of the north
    (_Don John of Austria is girt and going forth._)
    Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift
    And the sea-folk labour and the red sails lift.
    He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone;
    The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone;
    The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes,
    And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
    And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
    And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
    And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,--
    But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
    Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse
    Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
    Trumpet that sayeth _ha_!
        _Domino gloria!_
    Don John of Austria
    Is shouting to the ships.

    King Philip's in his closet with the Fleece about his neck
    (_Don John of Austria is armed upon the deck._)
    The walls are hung with velvet that is black and soft as sin,
    And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in.
    He holds a crystal phial that has colours like the moon,
    He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon,
    And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey
    Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day,
    And death is in the phial and the end of noble work,
    But Don John of Austria has fired upon the Turk.
    Don John's hunting, and his hounds have bayed--
    Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid.
    Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
    Gun upon gun, hurrah!
    Don John of Austria
    Has loosed the cannonade.

    The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
    (_Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke._)
    The hidden room in man's house where God sits all the year,
    The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
    He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
    The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
    They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
    They veil the plumed lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
    And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
    And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
    Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
    Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
    They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung
    The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
    They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
    Before the high Kings' horses in the granite of Babylon.
    And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
    Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
    And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign--
    (_But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!_)
    Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
    Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate's sloop,
    Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
    Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
    Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
    White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.
    _Vivat Hispania!_
    _Domino Gloria!_
    Don John of Austria
    Has set his people free!

    Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
    (_Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath._)
    And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
    Up which a lean and foolish knight for ever rides in vain,
    And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade....
    (_But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade._)


    This much, O heaven--if I should brood or rave,
      Pity me not; but let the world be fed,
      Yea, in my madness if I strike me dead,
    Heed you the grass that grows upon my grave.

    If I dare snarl between this sun and sod,
      Whimper and clamour, give me grace to own,
      In sun and rain and fruit in season shown,
    The shining silence of the scorn of God.

    Thank God the stars are set beyond my power,
      If I must travail in a night of wrath,
      Thank God my tears will never vex a moth,
    Nor any curse of mine cut down a flower.

    Men say the sun was darkened: yet I had
      Thought it beat brightly, even on--Calvary:
      And He that hung upon the Torturing Tree
    Heard all the crickets singing, and was glad.


    "The tattered outlaw of the earth,
      Of ancient crooked will;
     Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
      I keep my secret still.

    "Fools! For I also had my hour;
      One far fierce hour and sweet:
     There was a shout about my ears,
      And palms before my feet."


[14] From _Poems_ by G. K. Chesterton. Copyright by the John Lane Co.
and reprinted by permission of the publishers.

_Wilfrid Wilson Gibson_

Born at Hexam in 1878, Wilfrid Wilson Gibson has published almost a
dozen books of verse--the first four or five (see Preface) being
imitative in manner and sentimentally romantic in tone. With _The
Stonefolds_ (1907) and _Daily Bread_ (1910), Gibson executed a
complete right-about-face and, with dramatic brevity, wrote a series
of poems mirroring the dreams, pursuits and fears of common humanity.
_Fires_ (1912) marks an advance in technique and power. And though in
_Livelihood_ (1917) Gibson seems to be theatricalizing and merely
exploiting his working-people, his later lyrics recapture the veracity
of such memorable poems as "The Old Man," "The Blind Rower," and "The
Machine." _Hill-Tracks_ (1918) attempts to capture the beauty of
village-names and the glamour of the English countryside.


    As one, at midnight, wakened by the call
    Of golden-plovers in their seaward flight,
    Who lies and listens, as the clear notes fall
    Through tingling silence of the frosty night--
    Who lies and listens, till the last note fails,
    And then, in fancy, faring with the flock
    Far over slumbering hills and dreaming dales,
    Soon hears the surges break on reef and rock;
    And, hearkening, till all sense of self is drowned
    Within the mightier music of the deep,
    No more remembers the sweet piping sound
    That startled him from dull, undreaming sleep;
    So I, first waking from oblivion, heard,
    With heart that kindled to the call of song,
    The voice of young life, fluting like a bird,
    And echoed that light lilting; till, ere long,
    Lured onward by that happy, singing-flight,
    I caught the stormy summons of the sea,
    And dared the restless deeps that, day and night,
    Surge with the life-song of humanity.


    "And will you cut a stone for him,
    To set above his head?
    And will you cut a stone for him--
    A stone for him?" she said.

    Three days before, a splintered rock
    Had struck her lover dead--
    Had struck him in the quarry dead,
    Where, careless of the warning call,
    He loitered, while the shot was fired--
    A lively stripling, brave and tall,
    And sure of all his heart desired ...
    A flash, a shock,
    A rumbling fall ...
    And, broken 'neath the broken rock,
    A lifeless heap, with face of clay;
    And still as any stone he lay,
    With eyes that saw the end of all.

    I went to break the news to her;
    And I could hear my own heart beat
    With dread of what my lips might say
    But, some poor fool had sped before;
    And flinging wide her father's door,
    Had blurted out the news to her,
    Had struck her lover dead for her,
    Had struck the girl's heart dead in her,
    Had struck life, lifeless, at a word,
    And dropped it at her feet:
    Then hurried on his witless way,
    Scarce knowing she had heard.

    And when I came, she stood, alone
    A woman, turned to stone:
    And, though no word at all she said,
    I knew that all was known.

    Because her heart was dead,
    She did not sigh nor moan,
    His mother wept:
    She could not weep.
    Her lover slept:
    She could not sleep.
    Three days, three nights,
    She did not stir:
    Three days, three nights,
    Were one to her,
    Who never closed her eyes
    From sunset to sunrise,
    From dawn to evenfall:
    Her tearless, staring eyes,
    That seeing naught, saw all.

    The fourth night when I came from work,
    I found her at my door.
    "And will you cut a stone for him?"
    She said: and spoke no more:
    But followed me, as I went in,
    And sank upon a chair;
    And fixed her grey eyes on my face,
    With still, unseeing stare.
    And, as she waited patiently,
    I could not bear to feel
    Those still, grey eyes that followed me,
    Those eyes that plucked the heart from me,
    Those eyes that sucked the breath from me
    And curdled the warm blood in me,
    Those eyes that cut me to the bone,
    And pierced my marrow like cold steel.

    And so I rose, and sought a stone;
    And cut it, smooth and square:
    And, as I worked, she sat and watched,
    Beside me, in her chair.
    Night after night, by candlelight,
    I cut her lover's name:
    Night after night, so still and white,
    And like a ghost she came;
    And sat beside me in her chair;
    And watched with eyes aflame.

    She eyed each stroke;
    And hardly stirred:
    She never spoke
    A single word:
    And not a sound or murmur broke
    The quiet, save the mallet-stroke.

    With still eyes ever on my hands,
    With eyes that seemed to burn my hands,
    My wincing, overwearied hands,
    She watched, with bloodless lips apart,
    And silent, indrawn breath:
    And every stroke my chisel cut,
    Death cut still deeper in her heart:
    The two of us were chiselling,
    Together, I and death.

    And when at length the job was done,
    And I had laid the mallet by,
    As if, at last, her peace were won,
    She breathed his name; and, with a sigh,
    Passed slowly through the open door:
    And never crossed my threshold more.

    Next night I laboured late, alone,
    To cut her name upon the stone.


    By the lamplit stall I loitered, feasting my eyes
    On colours ripe and rich for the heart's desire--
    Tomatoes, redder than Krakatoa's fire,
    Oranges like old sunsets over Tyre,
    And apples golden-green as the glades of Paradise.

    And as I lingered, lost in divine delight,
    My heart thanked God for the goodly gift of sight
    And all youth's lively senses keen and quick ...
    When suddenly, behind me in the night,
    I heard the tapping of a blind man's stick.


[15] From _Fires_ by Wilfrid Wilson Gibson. Copyright, 1912, by The
Macmillan Co. Reprinted by permission of the publishers.

[16] From _Borderlands and Thoroughfares_ by Wilfrid Wilson Gibson.
Copyright, 1915, by The Macmillan Company. Reprinted by permission of
the publishers.

_John Masefield_

John Masefield was born June 1, 1878, in Ledbury, Hertfordshire. He
was the son of a lawyer but, being of a restless disposition, he took
to the sea at an early age and became a wanderer for several years. At
one time, in 1895, to be exact, he worked for a few months as a sort
of third assistant barkeeper and dish-washer in Luke O'Connor's
saloon, the Columbia Hotel, in New York City. The place is still there
on the corner of Sixth and Greenwich Avenues.

The results of his wanderings showed in his early works, _Salt-Water
Ballads_ (1902), _Ballads_ (1903), frank and often crude poems of
sailors written in their own dialect, and _A Mainsail Haul_ (1905), a
collection of short nautical stories. In these books Masefield
possibly overemphasized passion and brutality but, underneath the
violence, he captured that highly-colored realism which is the poetry
of life.

It was not until he published _The Everlasting Mercy_ (1911) that he
became famous. Followed quickly by those remarkable long narrative
poems, _The Widow in the Bye Street_ (1912), _Dauber_ (1912), and _The
Daffodil Fields_ (1913), there is in all of these that peculiar blend
of physical exulting and spiritual exaltation that is so striking, and
so typical of Masefield. Their very rudeness is lifted to a plane of
religious intensity. (See Preface.) Pictorially, Masefield is even
more forceful. The finest moment in _The Widow in the Bye Street_ is
the portrayal of the mother alone in her cottage; the public-house
scene and the passage describing the birds following the plough are
the most intense touches in _The Everlasting Mercy_. Nothing more
vigorous and thrilling than the description of the storm at sea in
_Dauber_ has appeared in current literature.

The war, in which Masefield served with the Red Cross in France and on
the Gallipoli peninsula (of which campaign he wrote a study for the
government), softened his style; _Good Friday and Other Poems_ (1916)
is as restrained and dignified a collection as that of any of his
contemporaries. _Reynard the Fox_ (1919) is the best of his new manner
with a return of the old vivacity.

Masefield has also written several novels of which _Multitude and
Solitude_ (1909) is the most outstanding; half a dozen plays, ranging
from the classical solemnity of _Pompey the Great_ to the hot and racy
_Tragedy of Nan_; and one of the freshest, most creative critiques of
_Shakespeare_ (1911) in the last generation.


    Not of the princes and prelates with periwigged charioteers
    Riding triumphantly laurelled to lap the fat of the years,--
    Rather the scorned--the rejected--the men hemmed in with the spears;

    The men of the tattered battalion which fights till it dies,
    Dazed with the dust of the battle, the din and the cries.
    The men with the broken heads and the blood running into their eyes.

    Not the be-medalled Commander, beloved of the throne,
    Riding cock-horse to parade when the bugles are blown,
    But the lads who carried the koppie and cannot be known.

    Not the ruler for me, but the ranker, the tramp of the road,
    The slave with the sack on his shoulders pricked on with the goad,
    The man with too weighty a burden, too weary a load.

    The sailor, the stoker of steamers, the man with the clout,
    The chantyman bent at the halliards putting a tune to the shout,
    The drowsy man at the wheel and the tired look-out.

    Others may sing of the wine and the wealth and the mirth,
    The portly presence of potentates goodly in girth;--
    Mine be the dirt and the dross, the dust and scum of the earth!

    Theirs be the music, the colour, the glory, the gold;
    Mine be a handful of ashes, a mouthful of mould.
    Of the maimed, of the halt and the blind in the rain and the cold--
    Of these shall my songs be fashioned, my tales be told.



    I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
    And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
    And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
    And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.

    I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
    Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
    And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
    And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the seagulls crying.

    I must down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life.
    To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's
        like a whetted knife;
    And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
    And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.


(_From "Dauber"_)[17]

    Then came the cry of "Call all hands on deck!"
    The Dauber knew its meaning; it was come:
    Cape Horn, that tramples beauty into wreck,
    And crumples steel and smites the strong man dumb.
    Down clattered flying kites and staysails; some
    Sang out in quick, high calls: the fair-leads skirled,
    And from the south-west came the end of the world....

    "Lay out!" the Bosun yelled. The Dauber laid
    Out on the yard, gripping the yard, and feeling
    Sick at the mighty space of air displayed
    Below his feet, where mewing birds were wheeling.
    A giddy fear was on him; he was reeling.
    He bit his lip half through, clutching the jack.
    A cold sweat glued the shirt upon his back.

    The yard was shaking, for a brace was loose.
    He felt that he would fall; he clutched, he bent,
    Clammy with natural terror to the shoes
    While idiotic promptings came and went.
    Snow fluttered on a wind-flaw and was spent;
    He saw the water darken. Someone yelled,
    "Frap it; don't stay to furl! Hold on!" He held.

    Darkness came down--half darkness--in a whirl;
    The sky went out, the waters disappeared.
    He felt a shocking pressure of blowing hurl
    The ship upon her side. The darkness speared
    At her with wind; she staggered, she careered;
    Then down she lay. The Dauber felt her go,
    He saw her yard tilt downwards. Then the snow

    Whirled all about--dense, multitudinous, cold--
    Mixed with the wind's one devilish thrust and shriek,
    Which whiffled out men's tears, defeated, took hold,
    Flattening the flying drift against the cheek.
    The yards buckled and bent, man could not speak.
    The ship lay on her broadside; the wind's sound
    Had devilish malice at having got her downed.

           *       *       *       *       *

    How long the gale had blown he could not tell,
    Only the world had changed, his life had died.
    A moment now was everlasting hell.
    Nature an onslaught from the weather side,
    A withering rush of death, a frost that cried,
    Shrieked, till he withered at the heart; a hail
    Plastered his oilskins with an icy mail....

    "Up!" yelled the Bosun; "up and clear the wreck!"
    The Dauber followed where he led; below
    He caught one giddy glimpsing of the deck
    Filled with white water, as though heaped with snow.
    He saw the streamers of the rigging blow
    Straight out like pennons from the splintered mast,
    Then, all sense dimmed, all was an icy blast.

    Roaring from nether hell and filled with ice,
    Roaring and crashing on the jerking stage,
    An utter bridle given to utter vice,
    Limitless power mad with endless rage
    Withering the soul; a minute seemed an age.
    He clutched and hacked at ropes, at rags of sail,
    Thinking that comfort was a fairy tale,

    Told long ago--long, long ago--long since
    Heard of in other lives--imagined, dreamed--
    There where the basest beggar was a prince.
    To him in torment where the tempest screamed,
    Comfort and warmth and ease no longer seemed
    Things that a man could know; soul, body, brain,
    Knew nothing but the wind, the cold, the pain.


    The Kings go by with jewelled crowns;
    Their horses gleam, their banners shake, their spears are many.
    The sack of many-peopled towns
    Is all their dream:
    The way they take
    Leaves but a ruin in the brake,
    And, in the furrow that the ploughmen make,
    A stampless penny; a tale, a dream.

    The Merchants reckon up their gold,
    Their letters come, their ships arrive, their freights are glories:
    The profits of their treasures sold
    They tell and sum;
    Their foremen drive
    Their servants, starved to half-alive,
    Whose labours do but make the earth a hive
    Of stinking glories; a tale, a dream.

    The Priests are singing in their stalls,
    Their singing lifts, their incense burns, their praying clamours;
    Yet God is as the sparrow falls,
    The ivy drifts;
    The votive urns
    Are all left void when Fortune turns,
    The god is but a marble for the kerns
    To break with hammers; a tale, a dream.

    O Beauty, let me know again
    The green earth cold, the April rain, the quiet waters figuring sky,
    The one star risen.
    So shall I pass into the feast
    Not touched by King, Merchant, or Priest;
    Know the red spirit of the beast,
    Be the green grain;
    Escape from prison.


    Is there a great green commonwealth of Thought
    Which ranks the yearly pageant, and decides
    How Summer's royal progress shall be wrought,
    By secret stir which in each plant abides?
    Does rocking daffodil consent that she,
    The snowdrop of wet winters, shall be first?
    Does spotted cowslip with the grass agree
    To hold her pride before the rattle burst?
    And in the hedge what quick agreement goes,
    When hawthorn blossoms redden to decay,
    That Summer's pride shall come, the Summer's rose,
    Before the flower be on the bramble spray?
    Or is it, as with us, unresting strife,
    And each consent a lucky gasp for life?


[17] From _The Story of a Round-House_ by John Masefield. Copyright,
1913, by The Macmillan Company. Reprinted by permission of the

[18] From _Good Friday and Other Poems_ by John Masefield. Copyright,
1916, by The Macmillan Company. Reprinted by permission of the

_Lord Dunsany_

Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, Lord Dunsany, was born July 24,
1878, and was educated at Eton and Sandhurst. He is best known as an
author of fantastic fairy tales and even more fantastic plays. _The
Gods of the Mountain_ (1911) and _The Golden Doom_ (1912) are highly
dramatic and intensely poetic. _A Night at an Inn_ (1916) is that
peculiar novelty, an eerie and poetical melodrama.

Dunsany's prime quality is a romantic and highly colored imagination
which is rich in symbolism. After the World War, in which the
playwright served as captain in the Royal Innis-killing Fusiliers,
Dunsany visited America and revised the reissue of his early tales and
prose poems collected in his _The Book of Wonder_.



    There is no wrath in the stars,
      They do not rage in the sky;
    I look from the evil wood
      And find myself wondering why.

    Why do they not scream out
      And grapple star against star,
    Seeking for blood in the wood
      As all things round me are?

    They do not glare like the sky
      Or flash like the deeps of the wood;
    But they shine softly on
      In their sacred solitude.

    To their high, happy haunts
      Silence from us has flown,
    She whom we loved of old
      And know it now she is gone.

    When will she come again,
      Though for one second only?
    She whom we loved is gone
      And the whole world is lonely.

    And the elder giants come
      Sometimes, tramping from far
    Through the weird and flickering light
      Made by an earthly star.

    And the giant with his club,
      And the dwarf with rage in his breath,
    And the elder giants from far,
      They are all the children of Death.

    They are all abroad to-night
      And are breaking the hills with their brood,--
    And the birds are all asleep
      Even in Plug Street Wood!


    Somewhere lost in the haze
      The sun goes down in the cold,
    And birds in this evil wood
      Chirrup home as of old;

    Chirrup, stir and are still,
      On the high twigs frozen and thin.
    There is no more noise of them now,
      And the long night sets in.

    Of all the wonderful things
      That I have seen in the wood
    I marvel most at the birds
      And their wonderful quietude.

    For a giant smites with his club
      All day the tops of the hill,
    Sometimes he rests at night,
      Oftener he beats them still.

    And a dwarf with a grim black mane
      Raps with repeated rage
    All night in the valley below
      On the wooden walls of his cage.


    I met with Death in his country,
      With his scythe and his hollow eye,
    Walking the roads of Belgium.
      I looked and he passed me by.

    Since he passed me by in Plug Street,
      In the wood of the evil name,
    I shall not now lie with the heroes,
      I shall not share their fame;

    I shall never be as they are,
      A name in the lands of the Free,
    Since I looked on Death in Flanders
      And he did not look at me.

_Edward Thomas_

Edward Thomas, one of the little-known but most individual of modern
English poets, was born in 1878. For many years before he turned to
verse, Thomas had a large following as a critic and author of travel
books, biographies, pot-boilers. Hating his hack-work, yet unable to
get free of it, he had so repressed his creative ability that he had
grown doubtful concerning his own power. It needed something foreign
to stir and animate what was native in him. So when Robert Frost, the
New England poet, went abroad in 1912 for two years and became an
intimate of Thomas's, the English critic began to write poetry.
Loving, like Frost, the _minutiæ_ of existence, the quaint and casual
turn of ordinary life, he caught the magic of the English countryside
in its unpoeticized quietude. Many of his poems are full of a slow,
sad contemplation of life and a reflection of its brave futility. It
is not disillusion exactly; it is rather an absence of illusion.
_Poems_ (1917), dedicated to Robert Frost, is full of Thomas's
fidelity to little things, things as unglorified as the unfreezing of
the "rock-like mud," a child's path, a list of quaint-sounding
villages, birds' nests uncovered by the autumn wind, dusty
nettles--the lines glow with a deep and almost abject reverence for
the soil.

Thomas was killed at Arras, at an observatory outpost, on Easter
Monday, 1917.


    If I should ever by chance grow rich
    I'll buy Codham, Cockridden, and Childerditch,
    Roses, Pyrgo, and Lapwater,
    And let them all to my elder daughter.
    The rent I shall ask of her will be only
    Each year's first violets, white and lonely,
    The first primroses and orchises--
    She must find them before I do, that is.
    But if she finds a blossom on furze
    Without rent they shall all for ever be hers,
    Codham, Cockridden, and Childerditch,
    Roses, Pyrgo and Lapwater,--
    I shall give them all to my elder daughter.


    Tall nettles cover up, as they have done
    These many springs, the rusty harrow, the plough
    Long worn out, and the roller made of stone:
    Only the elm butt tops the nettles now.

    This corner of the farmyard I like most:
    As well as any bloom upon a flower
    I like the dust on the nettles, never lost
    Except to prove the sweetness of a shower.


    There they stand, on their ends, the fifty faggots
    That once were underwood of hazel and ash
    In Jenny Pinks's Copse. Now, by the hedge
    Close packed, they make a thicket fancy alone
    Can creep through with the mouse and wren. Next Spring
    A blackbird or a robin will nest there,
    Accustomed to them, thinking they will remain
    Whatever is for ever to a bird.
    This Spring it is too late; the swift has come,
    'Twas a hot day for carrying them up:
    Better they will never warm me, though they must
    Light several Winters' fires. Before they are done
    The war will have ended, many other things
    Have ended, maybe, that I can no more
    Foresee or more control than robin and wren.


    Out of the wood of thoughts that grows by night
    To be cut down by the sharp axe of light,--
    Out of the night, two cocks together crow,
    Cleaving the darkness with a silver blow:
    And bright before my eyes twin trumpeters stand,
    Heralds of splendour, one at either hand,
    Each facing each as in a coat of arms:--
    The milkers lace their boots up at the farms.

_Seumas O'Sullivan_

James Starkey was born in Dublin in 1879. Writing under the pseudonym
of Seumas O'Sullivan, he contributed a great variety of prose and
verse to various Irish papers. His reputation as a poet began with
his appearance in _New Songs_, edited by George Russell ("A. E.").
Later, he published _The Twilight People_ (1905), _The Earth Lover_
(1909), and _Poems_ (1912).


    Dear, they are praising your beauty,
    The grass and the sky:
    The sky in a silence of wonder,
    The grass in a sigh.

    I too would sing for your praising,
    Dearest, had I
    Speech as the whispering grass,
    Or the silent sky.

    These have an art for the praising
    Beauty so high.
    Sweet, you are praised in a silence,
    Sung in a sigh.

_Ralph Hodgson_

This exquisite poet was born in Northumberland about 1879. One of the
most graceful of the younger word-magicians, Ralph Hodgson will retain
his freshness as long as there are lovers of such rare and timeless
songs as his. It is difficult to think of any anthology of English
poetry compiled after 1917 that could omit "Eve," "The Song of Honor,"
and that memorable snatch of music, "Time, You Old Gypsy Man." One
succumbs to the charm of "Eve" at the first reading; for here is the
oldest of all legends told with a surprising simplicity and still more
surprising freshness. This Eve is neither the conscious sinner nor the
Mother of men; she is, in Hodgson's candid lines, any young, English
country girl--filling her basket, regarding the world and the serpent
itself with a mild and childlike wonder.

Hodgson's verses, full of the love of all natural things, a love that
goes out to

            "an idle rainbow
    No less than laboring seas,"

were originally brought out in small pamphlets, and distributed by
_Flying Fame_.


    Eve, with her basket, was
    Deep in the bells and grass,
    Wading in bells and grass
    Up to her knees.
    Picking a dish of sweet
    Berries and plums to eat,
    Down in the bells and grass
    Under the trees.

    Mute as a mouse in a
    Corner the cobra lay,
    Curled round a bough of the
    Cinnamon tall....
    Now to get even and
    Humble proud heaven and
    Now was the moment or
    Never at all.

    "Eva!" Each syllable
    Light as a flower fell,
    "Eva!" he whispered the
    Wondering maid,
    Soft as a bubble sung
    Out of a linnet's lung,
    Soft and most silverly
    "Eva!" he said.

    Picture that orchard sprite;
    Eve, with her body white,
    Supple and smooth to her
    Slim finger tips;
    Wondering, listening,
    Listening, wondering,
    Eve with a berry
    Half-way to her lips.

    Oh, had our simple Eve
    Seen through the make-believe!
    Had she but known the
    Pretender he was!
    Out of the boughs he came,
    Whispering still her name,
    Tumbling in twenty rings
    Into the grass.

    Here was the strangest pair
    In the world anywhere,
    Eve in the bells and grass
    Kneeling, and he
    Telling his story low....
    Singing birds saw them go
    Down the dark path to
    The Blasphemous Tree.

    Oh, what a clatter when
    Titmouse and Jenny Wren
    Saw him successful and
    Taking his leave!
    How the birds rated him,
    How they all hated him!
    How they all pitied
    Poor motherless Eve!

    Picture her crying
    Outside in the lane,
    Eve, with no dish of sweet
    Berries and plums to eat,
    Haunting the gate of the
    Orchard in vain....
    Picture the lewd delight
    Under the hill to-night--
    "Eva!" the toast goes round,
    "Eva!" again.


    Time, you old gipsy man,
      Will you not stay,
    Put up your caravan
      Just for one day?

    All things I'll give you
    Will you be my guest,
    Bells for your jennet
    Of silver the best,
    Goldsmiths shall beat you
    A great golden ring,
    Peacocks shall bow to you,
    Little boys sing,
    Oh, and sweet girls will
    Festoon you with may.
    Time, you old gipsy,
    Why hasten away?

    Last week in Babylon,
    Last night in Rome,
    Morning, and in the crush
    Under Paul's dome;
    Under Paul's dial
    You tighten your rein--
    Only a moment,
    And off once again;
    Off to some city
    Now blind in the womb,
    Off to another
    Ere that's in the tomb.

    Time, you old gipsy man,
      Will you not stay,
    Put up your caravan
      Just for one day?


    When flighting time is on, I go
    With clap-net and decoy,
    A-fowling after goldfinches
    And other birds of joy;

    I lurk among the thickets of
    The Heart where they are bred,
    And catch the twittering beauties as
    They fly into my Head.


    He came and took me by the hand
      Up to a red rose tree,
    He kept His meaning to Himself
      But gave a rose to me.

    I did not pray Him to lay bare
      The mystery to me,
    Enough the rose was Heaven to smell,
      And His own face to see.

_Harold Monro_

The publisher of the various anthologies of Georgian Poetry, Harold
Monro, was born in Brussels in 1879. He describes himself as "author,
publisher, editor and book-seller." Monro founded The Poetry Bookshop
in London in 1912, a unique establishment having as its object a
practical relation between poetry and the public, and keeping in stock
nothing but poetry, the drama, and books connected with these
subjects. His quarterly _Poetry and Drama_ (discontinued during the
war and revived in 1919 as _The Monthly Chapbook_), was in a sense the
organ of the younger men; and his shop, in which he has lived for the
last seven years except while he was in the army, became a genuine
literary center.

Of Monro's books, the two most important are _Strange Meetings_ (1917)
and _Children of Love_ (1919). "The Nightingale Near the House," one
of the loveliest of his poems, is also one of his latest and has not
yet appeared in any of his volumes.


    Here is the soundless cypress on the lawn:
    It listens, listens. Taller trees beyond
    Listen. The moon at the unruffled pond
        Stares. And you sing, you sing.

    That star-enchanted song falls through the air
    From lawn to lawn down terraces of sound,
    Darts in white arrows on the shadowed ground;
        And all the night you sing.

    My dreams are flowers to which you are a bee
    As all night long I listen, and my brain
    Receives your song; then loses it again
        In moonlight on the lawn.

    Now is your voice a marble high and white,
    Then like a mist on fields of paradise,
    Now is a raging fire, then is like ice,
        Then breaks, and it is dawn.


    Since man has been articulate,
    Mechanical, improvidently wise,
    (Servant of Fate),
    He has not understood the little cries
    And foreign conversations of the small
    Delightful creatures that have followed him
    Not far behind;
    Has failed to hear the sympathetic call
    Of Crockery and Cutlery, those kind
    Reposeful Teraphim
    Of his domestic happiness; the Stool
    He sat on, or the Door he entered through:
    He has not thanked them, overbearing fool!
    What is he coming to?

    But you should listen to the talk of these.
    Honest they are, and patient they have kept;
    Served him without his Thank you or his Please ...
    I often heard
    The gentle Bed, a sigh between each word,
    Murmuring, before I slept.
    The Candle, as I blew it, cried aloud,
    Then bowed,
    And in a smoky argument
    Into the darkness went.

    The Kettle puffed a tentacle of breath:--
    "Pooh! I have boiled his water, I don't know
    Why; and he always says I boil too slow.
    He never calls me 'Sukie, dear,' and oh,
    I wonder why I squander my desire
    Sitting submissive on his kitchen fire."

    Now the old Copper Basin suddenly
    Rattled and tumbled from the shelf,
    Bumping and crying: "I can fall by myself;
    Without a woman's hand
    To patronize and coax and flatter me,
    I understand
    The lean and poise of gravitable land."
    It gave a raucous and tumultuous shout,
    Twisted itself convulsively about,
    Rested upon the floor, and, while I stare,
    It stares and grins at me.

    The old impetuous Gas above my head
    Begins irascibly to flare and fret,
    Wheezing into its epileptic jet,
    Reminding me I ought to go to bed.

    The Rafters creak; an Empty-Cupboard door
    Swings open; now a wild Plank of the floor
    Breaks from its joist, and leaps behind my foot.
    Down from the chimney, half a pound of Soot
    Tumbles and lies, and shakes itself again.
    The Putty cracks against the window-pane.

    A piece of Paper in the basket shoves
    Another piece, and toward the bottom moves.
    My independent Pencil, while I write,
    Breaks at the point: the ruminating Clock
    Stirs all its body and begins to rock,
    Warning the waiting presence of the Night,
    Strikes the dead hour, and tumbles to the plain
    Ticking of ordinary work again.

    You do well to remind me, and I praise
    Your strangely individual foreign ways.
    You call me from myself to recognize
    Companionship in your unselfish eyes.
    I want your dear acquaintances, although
    I pass you arrogantly over, throw
    Your lovely sounds, and squander them along
    My busy days. I'll do you no more wrong.

    Purr for me, Sukie, like a faithful cat.
    You, my well trampled Boots, and you, my Hat,
    Remain my friends: I feel, though I don't speak,
    Your touch grow kindlier from week to week.
    It well becomes our mutual happiness
    To go toward the same end more or less.
    There is not much dissimilarity,
    Not much to choose, I know it well, in fine,
    Between the purposes of you and me,
    And your eventual Rubbish Heap, and mine.


    If suddenly a clod of earth should rise,
    And walk about, and breathe, and speak, and love,
    How one would tremble, and in what surprise
    Gasp: "Can you move?"

    I see men walking, and I always feel:
    "Earth! How have you done this? What can you be?"
    I can't learn how to know men, or conceal
    How strange they are to me.

_T. M. Kettle_

Thomas M. Kettle was born at Artane County, Dublin, in 1880 and was
educated at University College, where he won the Gold Medal for
Oratory. His extraordinary faculty for grasping an intricate problem
and crystallizing it in an epigram, or scoring his adversaries with
one bright flash, was apparent even then. He was admitted to the bar
in 1905 but soon abandoned the law to devote himself to journalism,
which, because of his remarkable style, never remained journalism in
his hands. In 1906 he entered politics; in 1910 he was re-elected for
East Tyrone. Even his bitterest opponents conceded that Tom Kettle (as
he was called by friend and enemy) was the most honorable of fighters;
they acknowledged his honesty, courage and devotion to the cause of a
United Ireland--and respected his penetrating wit. He once spoke of a
Mr. Healy as "a brilliant calamity" and satirized a long-winded
speaker by saying, "Mr. Long knows a sentence should have a beginning,
but he quite forgets it should also have an end."

"An Irish torch-bearer" (so E. B. Osborn calls him), Kettle fell in
action at Ginchy, leading his Fusiliers in September, 1916. The
uplifted poem to his daughter was written shortly before his death.


    In wiser days, my darling rosebud, blown
    To beauty proud as was your mother's prime,
    In that desired, delayed, incredible time,
    You'll ask why I abandoned you, my own,
    And the dear heart that was your baby throne,
    To dice with death. And oh! they'll give you rhyme
    And reason: some will call the thing sublime,
    And some decry it in a knowing tone.
    So here, while the mad guns curse overhead,
    And tired men sigh with mud for couch and floor,
    Know that we fools, now with the foolish dead,
    Died not for flag, nor King, nor Emperor,--
    But for a dream, born in a herdsman's shed,
    And for the secret Scripture of the poor.

_Alfred Noyes_

Alfred Noyes was born at Staffordshire, September 16, 1880. He is one
of the few contemporary poets who have been fortunate enough to write
a kind of poetry that is not only saleable but popular with many
classes of people.

His first book, _The Loom of Years_ (1902), was published when he was
only 22 years old, and _Poems_ (1904) intensified the promise of his
first publication. Swinburne, grown old and living in retirement, was
so struck with Noyes's talent that he had the young poet out to read
to him. Unfortunately, Noyes has not developed his gifts as deeply as
his admirers have hoped. His poetry, extremely straightforward and
rhythmical, has often degenerated into cheap sentimentalities and
cheaper tirades; it has frequently attempted to express programs and
profundities far beyond Noyes's power.

What is most appealing about his best verse is its ease and
heartiness; this singer's gift lies in the almost personal bond
established between the poet and his public. People have such a good
time reading his vivacious lines because Noyes had such a good time
writing them. Rhyme in a thumping rhythm seems to be not merely his
trade but his morning exercise. Noyes's own relish filled and
quickened glees and catches like _Forty Singing Seamen_ (1907), the
lusty choruses in _Tales of the Mermaid Tavern_ (1913), and the
genuinely inspired nonsense of the earlier _Forest of Wild Thyme_

The least popular work of Noyes is, as a unified product, his most
remarkable performance. It is an epic in twelve books of blank verse,
_Drake_ (1908), a glowing pageant of the sea and England's drama upon
it. It is a spirited echo of the maritime Elizabethans; a vivid and
orchestral work interspersed with splendid lyric passages and brisk
songs. The companion volume, an attempted reconstruction of the
literary phase of the same period, is less successful; but these
_Tales of the Mermaid Tavern_ (which introduce Shakespeare, Marlowe,
Drayton, Raleigh, Ben Jonson, and other immortals) are alive and
colorful, if somewhat too insistently rollicking and smoothly lilting.

His eight volumes were assembled in 1913 and published in two books of
_Collected Poems_ (Frederick A. Stokes Company).


    Sherwood in the twilight, is Robin Hood awake?
    Grey and ghostly shadows are gliding through the brake;
    Shadows of the dappled deer, dreaming of the morn,
    Dreaming of a shadowy man that winds a shadowy horn.

    Robin Hood is here again: all his merry thieves
    Hear a ghostly bugle-note shivering through the leaves,
    Calling as he used to call, faint and far away,
    In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.

    Merry, merry England has kissed the lips of June:
    All the wings of fairyland were here beneath the moon;
    Like a flight of rose-leaves fluttering in a mist
    Of opal and ruby and pearl and amethyst.

    Merry, merry England is waking as of old,
    With eyes of blither hazel and hair of brighter gold:
    For Robin Hood is here again beneath the bursting spray
    In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.

    Love is in the greenwood building him a house
    Of wild rose and hawthorn and honeysuckle boughs;
    Love it in the greenwood: dawn is in the skies;
    And Marian is waiting with a glory in her eyes.

    Hark! The dazzled laverock climbs the golden steep:
    Marian is waiting: is Robin Hood asleep?
    Round the fairy grass-rings frolic elf and fay,
    In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.

    Oberon, Oberon, rake away the gold,
    Rake away the red leaves, roll away the mould,
    Rake away the gold leaves, roll away the red,
    And wake Will Scarlett from his leafy forest bed.

    Friar Tuck and Little John are riding down together
    With quarter-staff and drinking-can and grey goose-feather;
    The dead are coming back again; the years are rolled away
    In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.

    Softly over Sherwood the south wind blows;
    All the heart of England hid in every rose
    Hears across the greenwood the sunny whisper leap,
    Sherwood in the red dawn, is Robin Hood asleep?

    Hark, the voice of England wakes him as of old
    And, shattering the silence with a cry of brighter gold,
    Bugles in the greenwood echo from the steep,
    _Sherwood in the red dawn, is Robin Hood asleep?_

    Where the deer are gliding down the shadowy glen
    All across the glades of fern he calls his merry men;
    Doublets of the Lincoln green glancing through the May,
    In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day;

    Calls them and they answer: from aisles of oak and ash
    Rings the _Follow! Follow!_ and the boughs begin to crash;
    The ferns begin to flutter and the flowers begin to fly;
    And through the crimson dawning the robber band goes by.

    _Robin! Robin! Robin!_ All his merry thieves
    Answer as the bugle-note shivers through the leaves:
    Calling as he used to call, faint and far away,
    In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.


    There's a barrel-organ carolling across a golden street
      In the City as the sun sinks low;
    And the music's not immortal; but the world has made it sweet
      And fulfilled it with the sunset glow;
    And it pulses through the pleasures of the City and the pain
      That surround the singing organ like a large eternal light;
    And they've given it a glory and a part to play again
      In the Symphony that rules the day and night.

    And now it's marching onward through the realms of old romance,
      And trolling out a fond familiar tune,
    And now it's roaring cannon down to fight the King of France,
      And now it's prattling softly to the moon.
    And all around the organ there's a sea without a shore
      Of human joys and wonders and regrets;
    To remember and to recompense the music evermore
      For what the cold machinery forgets ...

          Yes; as the music changes,
            Like a prismatic glass,
          It takes the light and ranges
            Through all the moods that pass;
          Dissects the common carnival
            Of passions and regrets,
          And gives the world a glimpse of all
            The colours it forgets.

          And there _La Traviata_ sighs
            Another sadder song;
          And there _Il Trovatore_ cries
            A tale of deeper wrong;
          And bolder knights to battle go
            With sword and shield and lance,
          Than ever here on earth below
            Have whirled into--a dance!--

    Go down to Kew in lilac-time, in lilac-time, in lilac-time;
      Go down to Kew in lilac-time (it isn't far from London!)
    And you shall wander hand in hand with love in summer's wonderland;
      Go down to Kew in lilac-time (it isn't far from London!)

    The cherry-trees are seas of bloom and soft perfume and sweet perfume,
      The cherry-trees are seas of bloom (and oh, so near to London!)
    And there they say, when dawn is high and all the world's
          a blaze of sky
      The cuckoo, though he's very shy, will sing a song for London.

    The nightingale is rather rare and yet they say you'll hear him there
      At Kew, at Kew in lilac-time (and oh, so near to London!)
    The linnet and the throstle, too, and after dark the long halloo
      And golden-eyed _tu-whit, tu-whoo_ of owls that ogle London.

    For Noah hardly knew a bird of any kind that isn't heard
      At Kew, at Kew in lilac-time (and oh, so near to London!)
    And when the rose begins to pout and all the chestnut spires are out
      You'll hear the rest without a doubt, all chorusing for London:--

    _Come down to Kew in lilac-time, in lilac-time, in lilac-time;
      Come down to Kew in lilac-time (it isn't far from London!)
    And you shall wander hand in hand with love in summer's wonderland;
      Come down to Kew in lilac-time (is isn't far from London!)_

    And then the troubadour begins to thrill the golden street,
      In the city as the sun sinks low;
    And in all the gaudy busses there are scores of weary feet
    Marking time, sweet time, with a dull mechanic beat,
    And a thousand hearts are plunging to a love they'll never meet,
    Through the meadows of the sunset, through the poppies and the wheat,
      In the land where the dead dreams go.

    Verdi, Verdi, when you wrote _Il Trovatore_ did you dream
      Of the City when the sun sinks low,
    Of the organ and the monkey and the many-coloured stream
    On the Piccadilly pavement, of the myriad eyes that seem
    To be litten for a moment with a wild Italian gleam
    As _A che la morte_ parodies the world's eternal theme
      And pulses with the sunset-glow?

    There's a thief, perhaps, that listens with a face of frozen stone
      In the City as the sun sinks low;
    There's a portly man of business with a balance of his own,
    There's a clerk and there's a butcher of a soft reposeful tone,
    And they're all of them returning to the heavens they have known:
    They are crammed and jammed in busses and--they're each of them alone
      In the land where the dead dreams go.

    There's a labourer that listens to the voices of the dead
      In the City as the sun sinks low;
    And his hand begins to tremble and his face is rather red
    As he sees a loafer watching him and--there he turns his head
    And stares into the sunset where his April love is fled,
    For he hears her softly singing and his lonely soul is led
      Through the land where the dead dreams go ...

    There's a barrel-organ carolling across a golden street
      In the City as the sun sinks low;
    Though the music's only Verdi there's a world to make it sweet
    Just as yonder yellow sunset where the earth and heaven meet
    Mellows all the sooty City! Hark, a hundred thousand feet
    Are marching on to glory through the poppies and the wheat
      In the land where the dead dreams go.

          So it's Jeremiah, Jeremiah,
            What have you to say
          When you meet the garland girls
            Tripping on their way?
          All around my gala hat
            I wear a wreath of roses
          (A long and lonely year it is
            I've waited for the May!)
          If any one should ask you,
            The reason why I wear it is--
          My own love, my true love is coming home to-day.

    And it's buy a bunch of violets for the lady
      (_It's lilac-time in London; it's lilac-time in London!_)
    Buy a bunch of violets for the lady;
      While the sky burns blue above:

    On the other side the street you'll find it shady
      (_It's lilac-time in London; it's lilac-time in London!_)
    But buy a bunch of violets for the lady,
      And tell her she's your own true love.

    There's a barrel-organ carolling across a golden street
      In the City as the sun sinks glittering and slow;
    And the music's not immortal; but the world has made it sweet
    And enriched it with the harmonies that make a song complete
    In the deeper heavens of music where the night and morning meet,
      As it dies into the sunset glow;

    And it pulses through the pleasures of the City and the pain
      That surround the singing organ like a large eternal light,
    And they've given it a glory and a part to play again
      In the Symphony that rules the day and night.

          And there, as the music changes,
            The song runs round again;
          Once more it turns and ranges
            Through all its joy and pain:
          Dissects the common carnival
            Of passions and regrets;
          And the wheeling world remembers all
            The wheeling song forgets.

          Once more _La Traviata_ sighs
            Another sadder song:
          Once more _Il Trovatore_ cries
            A tale of deeper wrong;
          Once more the knights to battle go
            With sword and shield and lance
          Till once, once more, the shattered foe
            Has whirled into--a dance!

    _Come down to Kew in lilac-time, in lilac-time, in lilac-time;
      Come down to Kew in lilac-time (it isn't far from London!)
    And you shall wander hand in hand with Love in summer's wonderland,
    Come down to Kew in lilac-time (it isn't far from London!)_


(_From "The Flower of Old Japan"_)

    Carol, every violet has
    Heaven for a looking-glass!

    Every little valley lies
    Under many-clouded skies;
    Every little cottage stands
    Girt about with boundless lands.
    Every little glimmering pond
    Claims the mighty shores beyond--
    Shores no seamen ever hailed,
    Seas no ship has ever sailed.

    All the shores when day is done
    Fade into the setting sun,
    So the story tries to teach
    More than can be told in speech.

    Beauty is a fading flower,
    Truth is but a wizard's tower,
    Where a solemn death-bell tolls,
    And a forest round it rolls.

    We have come by curious ways
    To the light that holds the days;
    We have sought in haunts of fear
    For that all-enfolding sphere:
    And lo! it was not far, but near.
    We have found, O foolish-fond,
    The shore that has no shore beyond.

    Deep in every heart it lies
    With its untranscended skies;
    For what heaven should bend above
    Hearts that own the heaven of love?

    Carol, Carol, we have come
    Back to heaven, back to home.

_Padraic Colum_

Padraic Colum was born at Longford, Ireland (in the same county as
Oliver Goldsmith), December 8, 1881, and was educated at the local
schools. At 20 he was a member of a group that created the Irish
National Theatre, afterwards called The Abbey Theatre.

Colum began as a dramatist with _Broken Soil_ (1904), _The Land_
(1905), _Thomas Muskerry_ (1910), and this early dramatic influence
has colored much of his work, his best poetry being in the form of
dramatic lyrics. _Wild Earth_, his most notable collection of verse,
first appeared in 1909, and an amplified edition of it was published
in America in 1916.


    Sunset and silence! A man: around him earth savage,
          earth broken;
    Beside him two horses--a plough!

    Earth savage, earth broken, the brutes, the dawn man
          there in the sunset,
    And the Plough that is twin to the Sword, that is founder
          of cities!

    "Brute-tamer, plough-maker, earth-breaker! Can'st hear?
      There are ages between us.
    "Is it praying you are as you stand there alone in the

    "Surely our sky-born gods can be naught to you, earth
          child and earth master?
    "Surely your thoughts are of Pan, or of Wotan, or Dana?

    "Yet, why give thought to the gods? Has Pan led your
          brutes where they stumble?
    "Has Dana numbed pain of the child-bed, or Wotan put
          hands to your plough?

    "What matter your foolish reply! O, man, standing
          lone and bowed earthward,
    "Your task is a day near its close. Give thanks to the
          night-giving God."

           *       *       *       *       *

    Slowly the darkness falls, the broken lands blend
          with the savage;
    The brute-tamer stands by the brutes, a head's breadth
          only above them.

    A head's breadth? Ay, but therein is hell's depth, and
          the height up to heaven,
    And the thrones of the gods and their halls, their chariots,
          purples, and splendors.


    O, to have a little house!
    To own the hearth and stool and all!
    The heaped up sods upon the fire,
    The pile of turf against the wall!

    To have a clock with weights and chains
    And pendulum swinging up and down!
    A dresser filled with shining delph,
    Speckled and white and blue and brown!

    I could be busy all the day
    Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor,
    And fixing on their shelf again
    My white and blue and speckled store!

    I could be quiet there at night
    Beside the fire and by myself,
    Sure of a bed and loth to leave
    The ticking clock and the shining delph!

    Och! but I'm weary of mist and dark,
    And roads where there's never a house nor bush,
    And tired I am of bog and road,
    And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!

    And I am praying to God on high,
    And I am praying Him night and day,
    For a little house--a house of my own--
    Out of the wind's and the rain's way.

_Joseph Campbell_

(_Seosamh MacCathmhaoil_)

Joseph Campbell was born in Belfast in 1881, and is not only a poet
but an artist; he made all the illustrations for _The Rushlight_
(1906), a volume of his own poems. Writing under the Gaelic form of
his name, he has published half a dozen books of verse, the most
striking of which is _The Mountainy Singer_, first published in Dublin
in 1909.


    I am the mountainy singer--
    The voice of the peasant's dream,
    The cry of the wind on the wooded hill,
    The leap of the fish in the stream.

    Quiet and love I sing--
    The carn on the mountain crest,
    The _cailin_ in her lover's arms,
    The child at its mother's breast.

    Beauty and peace I sing--
    The fire on the open hearth,
    The _cailleach_ spinning at her wheel,
    The plough in the broken earth.

    Travail and pain I sing--
    The bride on the childing bed,
    The dark man laboring at his rhymes,
    The eye in the lambing shed.

    Sorrow and death I sing--
    The canker come on the corn,
    The fisher lost in the mountain loch,
    The cry at the mouth of morn.

    No other life I sing,
    For I am sprung of the stock
    That broke the hilly land for bread,
    And built the nest in the rock!


    As a white candle
      In a holy place,
    So is the beauty
      Of an aged face.

    As the spent radiance
      Of the winter sun,
    So is a woman
      With her travail done,

    Her brood gone from her,
      And her thoughts as still
    As the waters
      Under a ruined mill.

_James Stephens_

This unique personality was born in Dublin in February, 1882. Stephens
was discovered in an office and saved from clerical slavery by George
Russell ("A. E."). Always a poet, Stephens's most poetic moments are
in his highly-colored prose. And yet, although the finest of his
novels, _The Crock of Gold_ (1912), contains more wild phantasy and
quaint imagery than all his volumes of verse, his _Insurrections_
(1909) and _The Hill of Vision_ (1912) reveal a rebellious spirit that
is at once hotly ironic and coolly whimsical.

Stephens's outstanding characteristic is his delightful blend of
incongruities--he combines in his verse the grotesque, the buoyant and
the profound. No fresher or more brightly vigorous imagination has
come out of Ireland since J. M. Synge.


    And then I pressed the shell
    Close to my ear
    And listened well,
    And straightway like a bell
    Came low and clear
    The slow, sad murmur of the distant seas,
    Whipped by an icy breeze
    Upon a shore
    Wind-swept and desolate.
    It was a sunless strand that never bore
    The footprint of a man,
    Nor felt the weight
    Since time began
    Of any human quality or stir
    Save what the dreary winds and waves incur.
    And in the hush of waters was the sound
    Of pebbles rolling round,
    For ever rolling with a hollow sound.
    And bubbling sea-weeds as the waters go
    Swish to and fro
    Their long, cold tentacles of slimy grey.
    There was no day,
    Nor ever came a night
    Setting the stars alight
    To wonder at the moon:
    Was twilight only and the frightened croon,
    Smitten to whimpers, of the dreary wind
    And waves that journeyed blind--
    And then I loosed my ear ... O, it was sweet
    To hear a cart go jolting down the street.


    I saw God. Do you doubt it?
      Do you dare to doubt it?
    I saw the Almighty Man. His hand
    Was resting on a mountain, and
    He looked upon the World and all about it:
    I saw him plainer than you see me now,
      You mustn't doubt it.

    He was not satisfied;
      His look was all dissatisfied.
    His beard swung on a wind far out of sight
    Behind the world's curve, and there was light
    Most fearful from His forehead, and He sighed,
    "That star went always wrong, and from the start
      I was dissatisfied."

    He lifted up His hand--
      I say He heaved a dreadful hand
    Over the spinning Earth. Then I said, "Stay,
    You must not strike it, God; I'm in the way;
    And I will never move from where I stand."
    He said, "Dear child, I feared that you were dead,"
      And stayed His hand.


    The driver rubbed at his nettly chin
    With a huge, loose forefinger, crooked and black,
    And his wobbly, violet lips sucked in,
    And puffed out again and hung down slack:
    One fang shone through his lop-sided smile,
    In his little pouched eye flickered years of guile.

    And the horse, poor beast, it was ribbed and forked,
    And its ears hung down, and its eyes were old,
    And its knees were knuckly, and as we talked
    It swung the stiff neck that could scarcely hold
    Its big, skinny head up--then I stepped in,
    And the driver climbed to his seat with a grin.

    God help the horse and the driver too,
    And the people and beasts who have never a friend,
    For the driver easily might have been you,
    And the horse be me by a different end.
    And nobody knows how their days will cease,
    And the poor, when they're old, have little of peace.

_John Drinkwater_

Primarily a poetic dramatist, John Drinkwater, born in 1882, is best
known as the author of _Abraham Lincoln--A Play_ (1919) founded on
Lord Charnwood's masterly and analytical biography. He has published
several volumes of poems, most of them meditative and elegiac in mood.

The best of his verses have been collected in _Poems, 1908-19_, and
the two here reprinted are used by permission, and by special
arrangement with Houghton Mifflin Company, the authorized publishers.


    I do not think that skies and meadows are
    Moral, or that the fixture of a star
    Comes of a quiet spirit, or that trees
    Have wisdom in their windless silences.
    Yet these are things invested in my mood
    With constancy, and peace, and fortitude;
    That in my troubled season I can cry
    Upon the wide composure of the sky,
    And envy fields, and wish that I might be
    As little daunted as a star or tree.


    Beyond my window in the night
      Is but a drab inglorious street,
    Yet there the frost and clean starlight
      As over Warwick woods are sweet.

    Under the grey drift of the town
      The crocus works among the mould
    As eagerly as those that crown
      The Warwick spring in flame and gold.

    And when the tramway down the hill
      Across the cobbles moans and rings,
    There is about my window-sill
      The tumult of a thousand wings.

_James Joyce_

James Joyce was born at Dublin, February 2, 1882, and educated in
Ireland. He is best known as a highly sensitive and strikingly
original writer of prose, his most celebrated works being _Dubliners_
(1914) and the novel, _A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man_
(1916). His one volume of verse, _Chamber Music_, was published in
this country in 1918.


    I hear an army charging upon the land,
      And the thunder of horses plunging, foam about their knees:
    Arrogant, in black armour, behind them stand,
      Disdaining the reins, with fluttering whips, the charioteers.

    They cry unto the night their battle-name:
      I moan in sleep when I hear afar their whirling laughter.
    They cleave the gloom of dreams, a blinding flame,
      Clanging, clanging upon the heart as upon an anvil.

    They come shaking in triumph their long, green hair:
      They come out of the sea and run shouting by the shore.
    My heart, have you no wisdom thus to despair?
      My love, my love, my love, why have you left me alone?

_J. C. Squire_

Jack Collings Squire was born April 2, 1884, at Plymouth, of Devonian
ancestry. He was educated at Blundell's and Cambridge University, and
became known first as a remarkably adroit parodist. His _Imaginary
Speeches_ (1912) and _Tricks of the Trade_ (1917) are amusing parodies
and, what is more, excellent criticism. He edited _The New Statesman_
for a while and founded _The London Mercury_ (a monthly of which he is
editor) in November, 1919. Under the pseudonym "Solomon Eagle" he
wrote a page of literary criticism every week for six years, many of
these papers being collected in his volume, _Books in General_ (1919).

His original poetry is intellectual but simple, sometimes metaphysical
and always interesting technically in its fluent and variable rhythms.
A collection of his best verse up to 1919 was published under the
title, _Poems: First Series_.


    Now very quietly, and rather mournfully,
      In clouds of hyacinth the sun retires,
    And all the stubble-fields that were so warm to him
      Keep but in memory their borrowed fires.

    And I, the traveller, break, still unsatisfied,
      From that faint exquisite celestial strand,
    And turn and see again the only dwelling-place
      In this wide wilderness of darkening land.

    The house, that house, O now what change has come to it.
      Its crude red-brick façade, its roof of slate;
    What imperceptible swift hand has given it
      A new, a wonderful, a queenly state?

    No hand has altered it, that parallelogram,
      So inharmonious, so ill-arranged;
    That hard blue roof in shape and colour's what it was;
      No, it is not that any line has changed.

    Only that loneliness is now accentuate
      And, as the dusk unveils the heaven's deep cave,
    This small world's feebleness fills me with awe again,
      And all man's energies seem very brave.

    And this mean edifice, which some dull architect
      Built for an ignorant earth-turning hind,
    Takes on the quality of that magnificent
      Unshakable dauntlessness of human kind.

    Darkness and stars will come, and long the night will be,
      Yet imperturbable that house will rest,
    Avoiding gallantly the stars' chill scrutiny,
      Ignoring secrets in the midnight's breast.

    Thunders may shudder it, and winds demoniac
      May howl their menaces, and hail descend:
    Yet it will bear with them, serenely, steadfastly,
      Not even scornfully, and wait the end.

    And all a universe of nameless messengers
      From unknown distances may whisper fear,
    And it will imitate immortal permanence,
      And stare and stare ahead and scarcely hear.

    It stood there yesterday; it will to-morrow, too,
      When there is none to watch, no alien eyes
    To watch its ugliness assume a majesty
      From this great solitude of evening skies.

    So lone, so very small, with worlds and worlds around,
      While life remains to it prepared to outface
    Whatever awful unconjectured mysteries
      May hide and wait for it in time and space.

_Lascelles Abercrombie_

Lascelles Abercrombie was born in 1884. Like Masefield, he gained his
reputation rapidly; totally unknown until 1909, upon the publication
of _Interludes and Poems_, he was recognized as one of the greatest
metaphysical poets of his period. _Emblems of Love_ (1912), the ripest
collection of his blank verse dialogues, justified the enthusiasm of
his admirers.

Many of Abercrombie's poems, the best of which are too long to quote,
are founded on scriptural themes, but his blank verse is not biblical
either in mood or manner. It is the undercurrent rather than the
surface of his verse which moves with a strong religious conviction.
Abercrombie's images are daring and brilliant; his lines, sometimes
too closely packed, glow with a dazzling intensity that is warmly
spiritual and fervently human.


    What thing shall be held up to woman's beauty?
    Where are the bounds of it? Yea, what is all
    The world, but an awning scaffolded amid
    The waste perilous Eternity, to lodge
    This Heaven-wander'd princess, woman's beauty?
    The East and West kneel down to thee, the North
    And South; and all for thee their shoulders bear
    The load of fourfold space. As yellow morn
    Runs on the slippery waves of the spread sea,
    Thy feet are on the griefs and joys of men
    That sheen to be thy causey. Out of tears
    Indeed, and blitheness, murder and lust and love,
    Whatever has been passionate in clay,
    Thy flesh was tempered. Behold in thy body
    The yearnings of all men measured and told,
    Insatiate endless agonies of desire
    Given thy flesh, the meaning of thy shape!
    What beauty is there, but thou makest it?
    How is earth good to look on, woods and fields,
    The season's garden, and the courageous hills,
    All this green raft of earth moored in the seas?
    The manner of the sun to ride the air,
    The stars God has imagined for the night?
    What's this behind them, that we cannot near,
    Secret still on the point of being blabbed,
    The ghost in the world that flies from being named?
    Where do they get their beauty from, all these?
    They do but glaze a lantern lit for man,
    And woman's beauty is the flame therein.


(_From "Judith"_)

    Balkis was in her marble town,
    And shadow over the world came down.
    Whiteness of walls, towers and piers,
    That all day dazzled eyes to tears,
    Turned from being white-golden flame,
    And like the deep-sea blue became.
    Balkis into her garden went;
    Her spirit was in discontent
    Like a torch in restless air.
    Joylessly she wandered there,
    And saw her city's azure white
    Lying under the great night,
    Beautiful as the memory
    Of a worshipping world would be
    In the mind of a god, in the hour
    When he must kill his outward power;
    And, coming to a pool where trees
    Grew in double greeneries,
    Saw herself, as she went by
    The water, walking beautifully,
    And saw the stars shine in the glance
    Of her eyes, and her own fair countenance
    Passing, pale and wonderful,
    Across the night that filled the pool.
    And cruel was the grief that played
    With the queen's spirit; and she said:
    "What do I here, reigning alone?
    For to be unloved is to be alone.
    There is no man in all my land
    Dare my longing understand;
    The whole folk like a peasant bows
    Lest its look should meet my brows
    And be harmed by this beauty of mine.
    I burn their brains as I were sign
    Of God's beautiful anger sent
    To master them with punishment
    Of beauty that must pour distress
    On hearts grown dark with ugliness.
    But it is I am the punisht one.
    Is there no man, is there none,
    In whom my beauty will but move
    The lust of a delighted love;
    In whom some spirit of God so thrives
    That we may wed our lonely lives.
    Is there no man, is there none?"--
    She said, "I will go to Solomon."

_James Elroy Flecker_

Another remarkable poet whose early death was a blow to English
literature, James Elroy Flecker, was born in London, November 5, 1884.
Possibly due to his low vitality, Flecker found little to interest him
but a classical reaction against realism in verse, a delight in verbal
craftsmanship, and a passion for technical perfection--especially the
deliberate technique of the French Parnassians whom he worshipped.
Flecker was opposed to any art that was emotional or that "taught"
anything. "The poet's business," he declared, "is not to save the soul
of man, but to make it worth saving."

The advent of the war began to make Flecker's verse more personal and
romantic. The tuberculosis that finally killed him at Davos Platz,
Switzerland, January 3, 1915, forced him from an Olympian disinterest
to a deep concern with life and death. He passionately denied that he
was weary of living "as the pallid poets are," and he was attempting
higher flights of song when his singing ceased altogether.

His two colorful volumes are _The Golden Journey to Samarkand_ (1913)
and _The Old Ships_ (1915).


    I have seen old ships sail like swans asleep
    Beyond the village which men still call Tyre,
    With leaden age o'ercargoed, dipping deep
    For Famagusta and the hidden sun
    That rings black Cyprus with a lake of fire;
    And all those ships were certainly so old--
    Who knows how oft with squat and noisy gun,
    Questing brown slaves or Syrian oranges,
    The pirate Genoese
    Hell-raked them till they rolled
    Blood, water, fruit and corpses up the hold.
    But now through friendly seas they softly run,
    Painted the mid-sea blue or shore-sea green,
    Still patterned with the vine and grapes in gold.

    But I have seen,
    Pointing her shapely shadows from the dawn
    And image tumbled on a rose-swept bay,
    A drowsy ship of some yet older day;
    And, wonder's breath indrawn,
    Thought I--who knows--who knows--but in that same
    (Fished up beyond Aeaea, patched up new
    --Stern painted brighter blue--)
    That talkative, bald-headed seaman came
    (Twelve patient comrades sweating at the oar)
    From Troy's doom-crimson shore,
    And with great lies about his wooden horse
    Set the crew laughing, and forgot his course.

    It was so old a ship--who knows, who knows?
    --And yet so beautiful, I watched in vain
    To see the mast burst open with a rose,
    And the whole deck put on its leaves again.

_D. H. Lawrence_

David Herbert Lawrence, born in 1885, is one of the most
psychologically intense of the modern poets. This intensity, ranging
from a febrile morbidity to an exalted and almost frenzied mysticism,
is seen even in his prose works--particularly in his short stories,
_The Prussian Officer_ (1917), his analytical _Sons and Lovers_
(1913), and the rhapsodic novel, _The Rainbow_ (1915).

As a poet he is often caught in the net of his own emotions; his
passion thickens his utterance and distorts his rhythms, which
sometimes seem purposely harsh and bitter-flavored. But within his
range he is as powerful as he is poignant. His most notable volumes of
poetry are _Amores_ (1916), _Look! We Have Come Through!_ (1918), and
_New Poems_ (1920).


    The great gold apples of light
    Hang from the street's long bough
        Dripping their light
    On the faces that drift below,
    On the faces that drift and blow
    Down the night-time, out of sight
        In the wind's sad sough.

    The ripeness of these apples of night
    Distilling over me
        Makes sickening the white
    Ghost-flux of faces that hie
    Them endlessly, endlessly by
    Without meaning or reason why
        They ever should be.


    Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
    Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
    A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the
          tingling strings
    And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who
          smiles as she sings.

    In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
    Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
    To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
    And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.

    So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
    With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
    Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
    Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

_John Freeman_

John Freeman, born in 1885, has published several volumes of
pleasantly descriptive verse. The two most distinctive are _Stone
Trees_ (1916) and _Memories of Childhood_ (1919).


    Last night a sword-light in the sky
    Flashed a swift terror on the dark.
    In that sharp light the fields did lie
    Naked and stone-like; each tree stood
    Like a tranced woman, bound and stark.
          Far off the wood
    With darkness ridged the riven dark.

    And cows astonished stared with fear,
    And sheep crept to the knees of cows,
    And conies to their burrows slid,
    And rooks were still in rigid boughs,
    And all things else were still or hid.
          From all the wood
    Came but the owl's hoot, ghostly, clear.

    In that cold trance the earth was held
    It seemed an age, or time was nought.
    Sure never from that stone-like field
    Sprang golden corn, nor from those chill
    Grey granite trees was music wrought.
          In all the wood
    Even the tall poplar hung stone still.

    It seemed an age, or time was none ...
    Slowly the earth heaved out of sleep
    And shivered, and the trees of stone
    Bent and sighed in the gusty wind,
    And rain swept as birds flocking sweep.
          Far off the wood
    Rolled the slow thunders on the wind.

    From all the wood came no brave bird,
    No song broke through the close-fall'n night,
    Nor any sound from cowering herd:
    Only a dog's long lonely howl
    When from the window poured pale light.
          And from the wood
    The hoot came ghostly of the owl.

_Shane Leslie_

Shane Leslie, the only surviving son of Sir John Leslie, was born at
Swan Park, Monaghan, Ireland, in 1886 and was educated at Eton and the
University of Paris. He worked for a time among the Irish poor and was
deeply interested in the Celtic revival. During the greater part of a
year he lectured in the United States, marrying an American, Marjorie

Leslie has been editor of _The Dublin Review_ since 1916. He is the
author of several volumes on Irish political matters as well as _The
End of a Chapter_ and _Verses in Peace and War_.


    I never see the newsboys run
      Amid the whirling street,
      With swift untiring feet,
    To cry the latest venture done,
    But I expect one day to hear
      Them cry the crack of doom
      And risings from the tomb,
    With great Archangel Michael near;
    And see them running from the Fleet
      As messengers of God,
      With Heaven's tidings shod
    About their brave unwearied feet.


    Father of the thunder,
      Flinger of the flame,
    Searing stars asunder,
      _Hallowed be Thy Name!_

    By the sweet-sung quiring
      Sister bullets hum,
    By our fiercest firing,
      _May Thy Kingdom come!_

    By Thy strong apostle
      Of the Maxim gun,
    By his pentecostal
      Flame, _Thy Will be done!_

    Give us, Lord, good feeding
      To Thy battles sped--
    Flesh, white grained and bleeding,
      _Give for daily bread!_

_Frances Cornford_

The daughter of Francis Darwin, third son of Charles Darwin, Mrs.
Frances Macdonald Cornford, whose husband is a Fellow and Lecturer of
Trinity College, was born in 1886. She has published three volumes of
unaffected lyrical verse, the most recent of which, _Spring Morning_,
was brought out by The Poetry Bookshop in 1915.


    I laid me down upon the shore
      And dreamed a little space;
    I heard the great waves break and roar;
      The sun was on my face.

    My idle hands and fingers brown
      Played with the pebbles grey;
    The waves came up, the waves went down,
      Most thundering and gay.

    The pebbles, they were smooth and round
      And warm upon my hands,
    Like little people I had found
      Sitting among the sands.

    The grains of sand so shining-small
      Soft through my fingers ran;
    The sun shone down upon it all,
      And so my dream began:

    How all of this had been before,
      How ages far away
    I lay on some forgotten shore
      As here I lie to-day.

    The waves came shining up the sands,
      As here to-day they shine;
    And in my pre-pelasgian hands
      The sand was warm and fine.

    I have forgotten whence I came,
      Or what my home might be,
    Or by what strange and savage name
      I called that thundering sea.

    I only know the sun shone down
      As still it shines to-day,
    And in my fingers long and brown
      The little pebbles lay.

_Anna Wickham_

Anna Wickham, one of the most individual of the younger women-poets,
has published two distinctive volumes, _The Contemplative Quarry_
(1915) and _The Man with a Hammer_ (1916).


    If I had peace to sit and sing,
    Then I could make a lovely thing;
    But I am stung with goads and whips,
    So I build songs like iron ships.

    Let it be something for my song,
    If it is sometimes swift and strong.


    Only a starveling singer seeks
    The stuff of songs among the Greeks.
    Juno is old,
    Jove's loves are cold;
    Tales over-told.
    By a new risen Attic stream
    A mortal singer dreamed a dream.
    Fixed he not Fancy's habitation,
    Nor set in bonds Imagination.
    There are new waters, and a new Humanity.
    For all old myths give us the dream to be.
    We are outwearied with Persephone;
    Rather than her, we'll sing Reality.


    I was so chill, and overworn, and sad,
    To be a lady was the only joy I had.
    I walked the street as silent as a mouse,
    Buying fine clothes, and fittings for the house.

    But since I saw my love
    I wear a simple dress,
    And happily I move
    Forgetting weariness.

_Siegfried Sassoon_

Siegfried Loraine Sassoon, the poet whom Masefield hailed as "one of
England's most brilliant rising stars," was born September 8, 1886. He
was educated at Marlborough and Clare College, Cambridge, and was a
captain in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He fought three times in France,
once in Palestine, winning the Military Cross for bringing in wounded
on the battlefield.

His poetry divides itself sharply in two moods--the lyric and the
ironic. His early lilting poems were without significance or
individuality. But with _The Old Huntsman_ (1917) Sassoon found his
own idiom, and became one of the leading younger poets upon the
appearance of this striking volume. The first poem, a long monologue
evidently inspired by Masefield, gave little evidence of what was to
come. Immediately following it, however, came a series of war poems,
undisguised in their tragedy and bitterness. Every line of these
quivering stanzas bore the mark of a sensitive and outraged nature;
there was scarcely a phrase that did not protest against the
"glorification" and false glamour of war.

_Counter-Attack_ appeared in 1918. In this volume Sassoon turned
entirely from an ordered loveliness to the gigantic brutality of war.
At heart a lyric idealist, the bloody years intensified and twisted
his tenderness till what was stubborn and satiric in him forced its
way to the top. In _Counter-Attack_ Sassoon found his angry outlet.
Most of these poems are choked with passion; many of them are torn
out, roots and all, from the very core of an intense conviction; they
rush on, not so much because of the poet's art but almost in spite of
it. A suave utterance, a neatly-joined structure would be out of place
and even inexcusable in poems like "The Rear-Guard," "To Any Dead
Officer," "Does It Matter?"--verses that are composed of love, fever
and indignation.

Can Sassoon see nothing glorious or uplifting in war? His friend,
Robert Nichols, another poet and soldier, speaks for him in a preface.
"Let no one ever," Nichols quotes Sassoon as saying, "from henceforth
say one word in any way countenancing war. It is dangerous even to
speak of how here and there the individual may gain some hardship of
soul by it. For war is hell, and those who institute it are criminals.
Were there even anything to say for it, it should not be said; for its
spiritual disasters far outweigh any of its advantages...." Nichols
adds his approval to these sentences, saying, "For myself, this is the
truth. War does not ennoble, it degrades."

Early in 1920 Sassoon visited America. At the same time he brought out
his _Picture Show_ (1920), a vigorous answer to those who feared that
Sassoon had "written himself out" or had begun to burn away in his own
fire. Had Rupert Brooke lived, he might have written many of these
lacerated but somehow exalted lines. Sassoon's three volumes are the
most vital and unsparing records of the war we have had. They
synthesize in poetry what Barbusse's _Under Fire_ spreads out in
panoramic prose.


    Return to greet me, colours that were my joy,
    Not in the woeful crimson of men slain,
    But shining as a garden; come with the streaming
    Banners of dawn and sundown after rain.

    I want to fill my gaze with blue and silver,
    Radiance through living roses, spires of green,
    Rising in young-limbed copse and lovely wood,
    Where the hueless wind passes and cries unseen.

    I am not sad; only I long for lustre,--
    Tired of the greys and browns and leafless ash.
    I would have hours that move like a glitter of dancers,
    Far from the angry guns that boom and flash.

    Return, musical, gay with blossom and fleetness,
    Days when my sight shall be clear and my heart rejoice;
    Come from the sea with breadth of approaching brightness,
    When the blithe wind laughs on the hills with uplifted voice.


    Soldiers are citizens of death's gray land,
      Drawing no dividend from time's to-morrows.
    In the great hour of destiny they stand,
      Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.
    Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win
      Some flaming, fatal climax with their lives.
    Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin
      They think of firelit homes, clean beds, and wives.

    I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats,
      And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,
    Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats,
      And mocked by hopeless longing to regain
    Bank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats,
      And going to the office in the train.


    Groping along the tunnel, step by step,
    He winked his prying torch with patching glare
    From side to side, and sniffed the unwholesome air.

    Tins, boxes, bottles, shapes too vague to know,
    A mirror smashed, the mattress from a bed;
    And he, exploring fifty feet below
    The rosy gloom of battle overhead.

    Tripping, he grabbed the wall; saw someone lie
    Humped at his feet, half-hidden by a rug,
    And stooped to give the sleeper's arm a tug.
    "I'm looking for headquarters." No reply.
    "God blast your neck!" (For days he'd had no sleep.)
    "Get up and guide me through this stinking place."
    Savage, he kicked a soft, unanswering heap,
    And flashed his beam across the livid face
    Terribly glaring up, whose eyes yet wore
    Agony dying hard ten days before;
    And fists of fingers clutched a blackening wound.
    Alone he staggered on until he found
    Dawn's ghost that filtered down a shafted stair
    To the dazed, muttering creatures underground
    Who hear the boom of shells in muffled sound.
    At last, with sweat of horror in his hair,
    He climbed through darkness to the twilight air,
    Unloading hell behind him step by step.


    Tossed on the glittering air they soar and skim,
    Whose voices make the emptiness of light
    A windy palace. Quavering from the brim
    Of dawn, and bold with song at edge of night,
    They clutch their leafy pinnacles and sing
    Scornful of man, and from his toils aloof
    Whose heart's a haunted woodland whispering;
    Whose thoughts return on tempest-baffled wing;
    Who hears the cry of God in everything,
    And storms the gate of nothingness for proof.


    _Have you forgotten yet?..._
    For the world's events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
    Like traffic checked a while at the crossing of city ways:
    And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow
    Like clouds in the lit heavens of life; and you're a man
          reprieved to go,
    Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare.
    _But the past is just the same,--and War's a bloody game....
    Have you forgotten yet?...
    Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you'll never forget._

    Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz,--
    The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled
          sandbags on parapets?
    Do you remember the rats; and the stench
    Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench,--
    And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?
    Do you ever stop and ask, "Is it all going to happen again?"

    Do you remember that hour of din before the attack,--
    And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then
    As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
    Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back
    With dying eyes and lolling heads, those ashen-grey
    Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?

    _Have you forgotten yet?...
    Look up, and swear by the green of the Spring that you'll
          never forget._

_Rupert Brooke_

Possibly the most famous of the Georgians, Rupert Brooke, was born at
Rugby in August, 1887, his father being assistant master at the
school. As a youth, Brooke was keenly interested in all forms of
athletics; playing cricket, football, tennis, and swimming as well as
most professionals. He was six feet tall, his finely molded head
topped with a crown of loose hair of lively brown; "a golden young
Apollo," said Edward Thomas. Another friend of his wrote, "to look at,
he was part of the youth of the world. He was one of the handsomest
Englishmen of his time." His beauty overstressed somewhat his
naturally romantic disposition; his early poems are a blend of
delight in the splendor of actuality and disillusion in a loveliness
that dies. The shadow of John Donne lies over his pages.

This occasional cynicism was purged, when after several years of
travel (he had been to Germany, Italy and Honolulu) the war came,
turning Brooke away from

      "A world grown old and cold and weary ...
    And half men, and their dirty songs and dreary,
      And all the little emptiness of love."

Brooke enlisted with a relief that was like a rebirth; he sought a new
energy in the struggle "where the worst friend and enemy is but
Death." After seeing service in Belgium, 1914, he spent the following
winter in a training-camp in Dorsetshire and sailed with the British
Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in February, 1915, to take part in
the unfortunate Dardenelles Campaign.

Brooke never reached his destination. He died of blood-poison at
Skyros, April 23, 1915. His early death was one of England's great
literary losses; Lascelles Abercrombie, W. W. Gibson (with both of
whom he had been associated on the quarterly, _New Numbers_), Walter
De la Mare, the Hon. Winston Spencer Churchill, and a host of others
united to pay tribute to the most brilliant and passionate of the
younger poets.

Brooke's sonnet-sequence, _1914_ (from which "The Soldier" is taken),
which, with prophetic irony, appeared a few weeks before his death,
contains the accents of immortality. And "The Old Vicarage,
Grantchester" (unfortunately too long to reprint in this volume), is
fully as characteristic of the lighter and more playful side of
Brooke's temperament. Both these phases are combined in "The Great
Lover," of which Abercrombie has written, "It is life he loves, and
not in any abstract sense, but all the infinite little familiar
details of life, remembered and catalogued with delightful zest."


    I have been so great a lover: filled my days
    So proudly with the splendour of Love's praise,
    The pain, the calm, and the astonishment,
    Desire illimitable, and still content,
    And all dear names men use, to cheat despair,
    For the perplexed and viewless streams that bear
    Our hearts at random down the dark of life.
    Now, ere the unthinking silence on that strife
    Steals down, I would cheat drowsy Death so far,
    My night shall be remembered for a star
    That outshone all the suns of all men's days.
    Shall I not crown them with immortal praise
    Whom I have loved, who have given me, dared with me
    High secrets, and in darkness knelt to see
    The inenarrable godhead of delight?
    Love is a flame;--we have beaconed the world's night.
    A city:--and we have built it, these and I.
    An emperor:--we have taught the world to die.
    So, for their sakes I loved, ere I go hence,
    And the high cause of Love's magnificence,
    And to keep loyalties young, I'll write those names
    Golden for ever, eagles, crying flames,
    And set them as a banner, that men may know,
    To dare the generations, burn, and blow
    Out on; the wind of Time, shining and streaming....
    These I have loved:
          White plates and cups, clean-gleaming,
    Ringed with blue lines; and feathery, faery dust;
    Wet roofs, beneath the lamp-light; the strong crust
    Of friendly bread; and many-tasting food;
    Rainbows; and the blue bitter smoke of wood;
    And radiant raindrops couching in cool flowers;
    And flowers themselves, that sway through sunny hours,
    Dreaming of moths that drink them under the moon;
    Then, the cool kindliness of sheets, that soon
    Smooth away trouble; and the rough male kiss
    Of blankets; grainy wood; live hair that is
    Shining and free; blue-massing clouds; the keen
    Unpassioned beauty of a great machine;
    The benison of hot water; furs to touch;
    The good smell of old clothes; and other such--
    The comfortable smell of friendly fingers,
    Hair's fragrance, and the musty reek that lingers
    About dead leaves and last year's ferns....
                                        Dear names,
    And thousand others throng to me! Royal flames;
    Sweet water's dimpling laugh from tap or spring;
    Holes in the ground; and voices that do sing:
    Voices in laughter, too; and body's pain,
    Soon turned to peace; and the deep-panting train;
    Firm sands; the little dulling edge of foam
    That browns and dwindles as the wave goes home;
    And washen stones, gay for an hour; the cold
    Graveness of iron; moist black earthen mould;
    Sleep; and high places; footprints in the dew;
    And oaks; and brown horse-chestnuts, glossy-new;
    And new-peeled sticks; and shining pools on grass;--
    All these have been my loves. And these shall pass.
    Whatever passes not, in the great hour,
    Nor all my passion, all my prayers, have power
    To hold them with me through the gate of Death.
    They'll play deserter, turn with the traitor breath,
    Break the high bond we made, and sell Love's trust
    And sacramented covenant to the dust.
    --Oh, never a doubt but, somewhere, I shall wake,
    And give what's left of love again, and make
    New friends, now strangers....
                                  But the best I've known,
    Stays here, and changes, breaks, grows old, is blown
    About the winds of the world, and fades from brains
    Of living men, and dies.
                                  Nothing remains.

    O dear my loves, O faithless, once again
    This one last gift I give: that after men
    Shall know, and later lovers, far-removed
    Praise you, "All these were lovely"; say, "He loved."


    When the white flame in us is gone,
      And we that lost the world's delight
    Stiffen in darkness, left alone
      To crumble in our separate night;

    When your swift hair is quiet in death,
      And through the lips corruption thrust
    Has stilled the labour of my breath--
      When we are dust, when we are dust!--

    Not dead, not undesirous yet,
      Still sentient, still unsatisfied,
    We'll ride the air, and shine and flit,
      Around the places where we died,

    And dance as dust before the sun,
      And light of foot, and unconfined,
    Hurry from road to road, and run
      About the errands of the wind.

    And every mote, on earth or air,
      Will speed and gleam, down later days,
    And like a secret pilgrim fare
      By eager and invisible ways,

    Nor ever rest, nor ever lie,
      Till, beyond thinking, out of view,
    One mote of all the dust that's I
      Shall meet one atom that was you.

    Then in some garden hushed from wind,
      Warm in a sunset's afterglow,
    The lovers in the flowers will find
      A sweet and strange unquiet grow

    Upon the peace; and, past desiring,
      So high a beauty in the air,
    And such a light, and such a quiring,
      And such a radiant ecstasy there,

    They'll know not if it's fire, or dew,
      Or out of earth, or in the height,
    Singing, or flame, or scent, or hue,
      Or two that pass, in light, to light,

    Out of the garden higher, higher ...
      But in that instant they shall learn
    The shattering fury of our fire,
      And the weak passionless hearts will burn

    And faint in that amazing glow,
      Until the darkness close above;
    And they will know--poor fools, they'll know!--
      One moment, what it is to love.


    If I should die, think only this of me;
      That there's some corner of a foreign field
    That is for ever England. There shall be
      In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
    A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
      Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
    A body of England's breathing English air,
      Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

    And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
      A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
        Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
    Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
      And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
        In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.


[19] From _The Collected Poems of Rupert Brooke_. Copyright, 1915, by
John Lane Company and reprinted by permission.

[20] From _The Collected Poems of Rupert Brooke_. Copyright, 1915, by
John Lane Company and reprinted by permission.

[21] From _The Collected Poems of Rupert Brooke_. Copyright, 1915, by
John Lane Company and reprinted by permission.

_Winifred M. Letts_

Winifred M. Letts was born in Ireland in 1887, and her early work
concerned itself almost entirely with the humor and pathos found in
her immediate surroundings. Her _Songs from Leinster_ (1913) is her
most characteristic collection; a volume full of the poetry of simple
people and humble souls. Although she has called herself "a back-door
sort of bard," she is particularly effective in the old ballad measure
and in her quaint portrayal of Irish peasants rather than of Gaelic
kings and pagan heroes. She has also written three novels, five books
for children, a later volume of _Poems of the War_ and, during the
conflict, served as a nurse at various base hospitals.


    Poor Mary Byrne is dead,
      An' all the world may see
    Where she lies upon her bed
      Just as fine as quality.

    She lies there still and white,
      With candles either hand
    That'll guard her through the night:
      Sure she never was so grand.

    She holds her rosary,
      Her hands clasped on her breast.
    Just as dacint as can be
      In the habit she's been dressed.

    In life her hands were red
      With every sort of toil,
    But they're white now she is dead,
      An' they've sorra mark of soil.

    The neighbours come and go,
      They kneel to say a prayer,
    I wish herself could know
      Of the way she's lyin' there.

    It was work from morn till night,
      And hard she earned her bread:
    But I'm thinking she's a right
      To be aisy now she's dead.

    When other girls were gay,
      At wedding or at fair,
    She'd be toiling all the day,
      Not a minyit could she spare.

    An' no one missed her face,
      Or sought her in a crowd,
    But to-day they throng the place
      Just to see her in her shroud.

    The creature in her life
      Drew trouble with each breath;
    She was just "poor Jim Byrne's wife"--
      But she's lovely in her death.

    I wish the dead could see
      The splendour of a wake,
    For it's proud herself would be
      Of the keening that they make.

    Och! little Mary Byrne,
      You welcome every guest,
    Is it now you take your turn
      To be merry with the rest?

    I'm thinking you'd be glad,
      Though the angels make your bed,
    Could you see the care we've had
      To respect you--now you're dead.


    I saw the spires of Oxford
      As I was passing by,
    The grey spires of Oxford
      Against the pearl-grey sky.
    My heart was with the Oxford men
      Who went abroad to die.

    The years go fast in Oxford,
      The golden years and gay,
    The hoary Colleges look down
      On careless boys at play.
    But when the bugles sounded war
      They put their games away.

    They left the peaceful river,
      The cricket-field, the quad,
    The shaven lawns of Oxford,
      To seek a bloody sod--
    They gave their merry youth away
      For country and for God.

    God rest you, happy gentlemen,
      Who laid your good lives down,
    Who took the khaki and the gun
      Instead of cap and gown.
    God bring you to a fairer place
      Than even Oxford town.

_Francis Brett Young_

Francis Brett Young, who is a novelist as well as a poet, and who has
been called, by _The Manchester Guardian_, "one of the promising
evangelists of contemporary poetry," has written much that is both
graceful and grave. There is music and a message in his lines that
seem to have as their motto: "Trust in the true and fiery spirit of
Man." Best known as a writer of prose, his most prominent works are
_Marching on Tanga_ and _The Crescent Moon_.

Brett Young's _Five Degrees South_ (1917) and his _Poems 1916-18_
(1919) contain the best of his verse.


    This is the image of my last content:
    My soul shall be a little lonely lake,
    So hidden that no shadow of man may break
    The folding of its mountain battlement;
    Only the beautiful and innocent
    Whiteness of sea-born cloud drooping to shake
    Cool rain upon the reed-beds, or the wake
    Of churned cloud in a howling wind's descent.
    For there shall be no terror in the night
    When stars that I have loved are born in me,
    And cloudy darkness I will hold most fair;
    But this shall be the end of my delight:--
    That you, my lovely one, may stoop and see
    Your image in the mirrored beauty there.

_F. S. Flint_

Known chiefly as an authority on modern French poetry, F. S. Flint has
published several volumes of original imagist poems, besides having
translated works of Verhaeren and Jean de Bosschere.


    London, my beautiful,
    it is not the sunset
    nor the pale green sky
    shimmering through the curtain
    of the silver birch,
    nor the quietness;
    it is not the hopping
    of birds
    upon the lawn,
    nor the darkness
    stealing over all things
    that moves me.

    But as the moon creeps slowly
    over the tree-tops
    among the stars,
    I think of her
    and the glow her passing
    sheds on men.

    London, my beautiful,
    I will climb
    into the branches
    to the moonlit tree-tops,
    that my blood may be cooled
    by the wind.

_Edith Sitwell_

Edith Sitwell was born at Scarborough, in Yorkshire, and is the sister
of the poets, Osbert and Sacheverell Sitwell. In 1914 she came to
London and has devoted herself to literature ever since, having edited
the various anthologies of _Wheels_ since 1916. Her first book, _The
Mother and Other Poems_ (1915), contains some of her best work,
although _Clowns' Houses_ (1918) reveals a more piquant idiom and a
sharper turn of mind.


    Within your magic web of hair, lies furled
    The fire and splendour of the ancient world;
    The dire gold of the comet's wind-blown hair;
    The songs that turned to gold the evening air
    When all the stars of heaven sang for joy.
    The flames that burnt the cloud-high city Troy.
    The mænad fire of spring on the cold earth;
    The myrrh-lit flame that gave both death and birth
    To the soul Phoenix; and the star-bright shower
    That came to Danaë in her brazen tower....
    Within your magic web of hair lies furled
    The fire and splendour of the ancient world.


    Amid this hot green glowing gloom
    A word falls with a raindrop's boom....

    Like baskets of ripe fruit in air
    The bird-songs seem, suspended where

    Those goldfinches--the ripe warm lights
    Peck slyly at them--take quick flights.

    My feet are feathered like a bird
    Among the shadows scarcely heard;

    I bring you branches green with dew
    And fruits that you may crown anew

    Your whirring waspish-gilded hair
    Amid this cornucopia--

    Until your warm lips bear the stains
    And bird-blood leap within your veins.

_F. W. Harvey_

Harvey was a lance-corporal in the English army and was in the German
prison camp at Gütersloh when he wrote _The Bugler_, one of the
isolated great poems written during the war. Much of his other verse
is haphazard and journalistic, although _Gloucestershire Friends_
contains several lines that glow with the colors of poetry.


    God dreamed a man;
    Then, having firmly shut
    Life like a precious metal in his fist
    Withdrew, His labour done. Thus did begin
    Our various divinity and sin.
    For some to ploughshares did the metal twist,
    And others--dreaming empires--straightway cut
    Crowns for their aching foreheads. Others beat
    Long nails and heavy hammers for the feet
    Of their forgotten Lord. (Who dares to boast
    That he is guiltless?) Others coined it: most
    Did with it--simply nothing. (Here again
    Who cries his innocence?) Yet doth remain
    Metal unmarred, to each man more or less,
    Whereof to fashion perfect loveliness.

    For me, I do but bear within my hand
    (For sake of Him our Lord, now long forsaken)
    A simple bugle such as may awaken
    With one high morning note a drowsing man:
    That wheresoe'er within my motherland
    That sound may come, 'twill echo far and wide
    Like pipes of battle calling up a clan,
    Trumpeting men through beauty to God's side.

_T. P. Cameron Wilson_

"Tony" P. Cameron Wilson was born in South Devon in 1889 and was
educated at Exeter and Oxford. He wrote one novel besides several
articles under the pseudonym _Tipuca_, a euphonic combination of the
first three initials of his name.

When the war broke out he was a teacher in a school at Hindhead,
Surrey; and, after many months of gruelling conflict, he was given a
captaincy. He was killed in action by a machine-gun bullet March 23,
1918, at the age of 29.


    They left the fury of the fight,
      And they were very tired.
    The gates of Heaven were open quite,
      Unguarded and unwired.
    There was no sound of any gun,
      The land was still and green;
    Wide hills lay silent in the sun,
      Blue valleys slept between.

    They saw far-off a little wood
      Stand up against the sky.
    Knee-deep in grass a great tree stood;
      Some lazy cows went by ...
    There were some rooks sailed overhead,
      And once a church-bell pealed.
    "_God! but it's England_," someone said,
      "_And there's a cricket-field!_"

_W. J. Turner_

W. J. Turner was born in 1889 and, although little known until his
appearance in _Georgian Poetry 1916-17_, has written no few delicate
and fanciful poems. _The Hunter_ (1916) and _The Dark Wind_ (1918)
both contain many verses as moving and musical as his splendid lines
on "Death," a poem which is unfortunately too long to quote.


    When I was but thirteen or so
      I went into a golden land,
    Chimborazo, Cotopaxi
      Took me by the hand.

    My father died, my brother too,
      They passed like fleeting dreams,
    I stood where Popocatapetl
      In the sunlight gleams.

    I dimly heard the master's voice
      And boys far-off at play,--
    Chimborazo, Cotopaxi
      Had stolen me away.

    I walked in a great golden dream
      To and fro from school--
    Shining Popocatapetl
      The dusty streets did rule.

    I walked home with a gold dark boy
      And never a word I'd say,
    Chimborazo, Cotopaxi
      Had taken my speech away.

    I gazed entranced upon his face
      Fairer than any flower--
    O shining Popocatapetl
      It was thy magic hour:

    The houses, people, traffic seemed
      Thin fading dreams by day;
    Chimborazo, Cotopaxi,
      They had stolen my soul away!

_Patrick MacGill_

Patrick MacGill was born in Donegal in 1890. He was the son of
poverty-stricken peasants and, between the ages of 12 and 19, he
worked as farm-servant, drainer, potato-digger, and navvy, becoming
one of the thousands of stray "tramp-laborers" who cross each summer
from Ireland to Scotland to help gather in the crops. Out of his
bitter experiences and the evils of modern industrial life, he wrote
several vivid novels (_The Rat Pit_ is an unforgettable document) and
the tragedy-crammed _Songs of the Dead End_. He joined the editorial
staff of _The Daily Express_ in 1911; was in the British army during
the war; was wounded at Loos in 1915; and wrote his _Soldier Songs_
during the conflict.


    These be the little verses, rough and uncultured, which
    I've written in hut and model, deep in the dirty ditch,
    On the upturned hod by the palace made for the idle rich.

    Out on the happy highway, or lines where the engines go,
    Which fact you may hardly credit, still for your doubts 'tis so,
    For I am the person who wrote them, and surely to God, I know!

    Wrote them beside the hot-plate, or under the chilling skies,
    Some of them true as death is, some of them merely lies,
    Some of them very foolish, some of them otherwise.

    Little sorrows and hopings, little and rugged rhymes,
    Some of them maybe distasteful to the moral men of our times,
    Some of them marked against me in the Book of the Many Crimes.

    These, the Songs of a Navvy, bearing the taint of the brute,
    Unasked, uncouth, unworthy out to the world I put,
    Stamped with the brand of labor, the heel of a navvy's boot.


    Before I joined the Army
      I lived in Donegal,
    Where every night the Fairies
      Would hold their carnival.

    But now I'm out in Flanders,
      Where men like wheat-ears fall,
    And it's Death and not the Fairies
      Who is holding carnival.

_Francis Ledwidge_

Francis Ledwidge was born in Slane, County Meath, Ireland, in 1891.
His brief life was fitful and romantic. He was, at various times, a
miner, a grocer's clerk, a farmer, a scavenger, an experimenter in
hypnotism, and, at the end, a soldier. He served as a lance-corporal
on the Flanders front and was killed in July, 1917, at the age of 26

Ledwidge's poetry is rich in nature imagery; his lines are full of
color, in the manner of Keats, and unaffectedly melodious.


    From its blue vase the rose of evening drops;
    Upon the streams its petals float away.
    The hills all blue with distance hide their tops
    In the dim silence falling on the grey.
    A little wind said "Hush!" and shook a spray
    Heavy with May's white crop of opening bloom;
    A silent bat went dipping in the gloom.

    Night tells her rosary of stars full soon,
    They drop from out her dark hand to her knees.
    Upon a silhouette of woods, the moon
    Leans on one horn as if beseeching ease
    From all her changes which have stirred the seas.
    Across the ears of Toil, Rest throws her veil.
    I and a marsh bird only make a wail.


    A little flock of clouds go down to rest
    In some blue corner off the moon's highway,
    With shepherd-winds that shook them in the West
    To borrowed shapes of earth, in bright array,
    Perhaps to weave a rainbow's gay festoons
    Around the lonesome isle which Brooke has made
    A little England full of lovely noons,
    Or dot it with his country's mountain shade.

    Ah, little wanderers, when you reach that isle[22]
    Tell him, with dripping dew, they have not failed,
    What he loved most; for late I roamed a while
    Thro' English fields and down her rivers sailed;
    And they remember him with beauty caught
    From old desires of Oriental Spring
    Heard in his heart with singing overwrought;
    And still on Purley Common gooseboys sing.


[22] The island of Skyros where Rupert Brooke was buried. (See page

_Irene Rutherford McLeod_

Irene Rutherford McLeod, born August 21, 1891, has written three
volumes of direct and often distinguished verse, the best of which may
be found in _Songs to Save a Soul_ (1915) and _Before Dawn_ (1918).
The latter volume is dedicated to A. de Sélincourt, to whom she was
married in 1919.


    Is love, then, so simple my dear?
      The opening of a door,
    And seeing all things clear?
      I did not know before.

    I had thought it unrest and desire
      Soaring only to fall,
    Annihilation and fire:
      It is not so at all.

    I feel no desperate will,
      But I think I understand
    Many things, as I sit quite still,
      With Eternity in my hand.


    I'm a lean dog, a keen dog, a wild dog, and lone;
    I'm a rough dog, a tough dog, hunting on my own;
    I'm a bad dog, a mad dog, teasing silly sheep;
    I love to sit and bay the moon, to keep fat souls from sleep.

    I'll never be a lap dog, licking dirty feet,
    A sleek dog, a meek dog, cringing for my meat,
    Not for me the fireside, the well-filled plate,
    But shut door, and sharp stone, and cuff and kick, and hate.

    Not for me the other dogs, running by my side,
    Some have run a short while, but none of them would bide.
    O mine is still the lone trail, the hard trail, the best,
    Wide wind, and wild stars, and hunger of the quest!

_Richard Aldington_

Richard Aldington was born in England in 1892, and educated at Dover
College and London University. His first poems were published in
England in 1909; _Images Old and New_ appeared in 1915. Aldington and
"H. D." (Hilda Doolittle, his American wife) are conceded to be two of
the foremost imagist poets; their sensitive, firm and clean-cut lines
put to shame their scores of imitators. Aldington's _War and Love_
(1918), from which "Prelude" is taken, is somewhat more regular in
pattern; the poems in this latter volume are less consciously artistic
but warmer and more humanly searching.


    How could I love you more?
    I would give up
    Even that beauty I have loved too well
    That I might love you better.

    Alas, how poor the gifts that lovers give--
    I can but give you of my flesh and strength,
    I can but give you these few passing days
    And passionate words that, since our speech began,
    All lovers whisper in all ladies' ears.

    I try to think of some one lovely gift
    No lover yet in all the world has found;
    I think: If the cold sombre gods
    Were hot with love as I am
    Could they not endow you with a star
    And fix bright youth for ever in your limbs?
    Could they not give you all things that I lack?

    You should have loved a god; I am but dust.
    Yet no god loves as loves this poor frail dust.



    Like a gondola of green scented fruits
    Drifting along the dank canals of Venice,
    You, O exquisite one,
    Have entered into my desolate city.


    The blue smoke leaps
    Like swirling clouds of birds vanishing.
    So my love leaps forth toward you,
    Vanishes and is renewed.


    A rose-yellow moon in a pale sky
    When the sunset is faint vermilion
    In the mist among the tree-boughs
    Art thou to me, my beloved.


    A young beech tree on the edge of the forest
    Stands still in the evening,
    Yet shudders through all its leaves in the light air
    And seems to fear the stars--
    So are you still and so tremble.


    The red deer are high on the mountain,
    They are beyond the last pine trees.
    And my desires have run with them.


    The flower which the wind has shaken
    Is soon filled again with rain;
    So does my heart fill slowly with tears,
    O Foam-Driver, Wind-of-the-Vineyards,
    Until you return.


    I turn the page and read:
    "I dream of silent verses where the rhyme
    Glides noiseless as an oar."
    The heavy musty air, the black desks,
    The bent heads and the rustling noises
    In the great dome
    Vanish ...
    The sun hangs in the cobalt-blue sky,
    The boat drifts over the lake shallows,
    The fishes skim like umber shades through the undulating weeds,
    The oleanders drop their rosy petals on the lawns,
    And the swallows dive and swirl and whistle
    About the cleft battlements of Can Grande's castle....

_Edward Shanks_

Edward Shanks was born in London in 1892 and educated at Trinity
College, Cambridge. He has reviewed verse and _belles lettres_ for
several years for various English publications, and is at present
assistant editor of _The London Mercury_. His _The Queen of China and
Other Poems_ appeared late in 1919.


    When in the mines of dark and silent thought
    Sometimes I delve and find strange fancies there,
    With heavy labour to the surface brought
    That lie and mock me in the brighter air,
    Poor ores from starvèd lodes of poverty,
    Unfit for working or to be refined,
    That in the darkness cheat the miner's eye,
    I turn away from that base cave, the mind.
    Yet had I but the power to crush the stone
    There are strange metals hid in flakes therein,
    Each flake a spark sole-hidden and alone,
    That only cunning, toilsome chemists win.
    All this I know, and yet my chemistry
    Fails and the pregnant treasures useless lie.

_Osbert Sitwell_

Born in London, December 6th, 1892, Osbert Sitwell (son of Sir George
Sitwell and brother of Edith Sitwell) was educated at Eton and became
an officer in the Grenadier Guards, with whom he served in France for
various periods from 1914 to 1917.

His first contributions appeared in _Wheels_ (an annual anthology of a
few of the younger radical writers, edited by his sister) and
disclosed an ironic and strongly individual touch. That impression is
strengthened by a reading of _Argonaut and Juggernaut_ (1920), where
Sitwell's cleverness and satire are fused. His most remarkable though
his least brilliant poems are his irregular and fiery protests against
smugness and hypocrisy. But even Sitwell's more conventional poetry
has a freshness of movement and definiteness of outline.


    I stand alone through each long day
    Upon these pavers; cannot see
    The wares spread out upon this tray
    --For God has taken sight from me!

    Many a time I've cursed the night
    When I was born. My peering eyes
    Have sought for but one ray of light
    To pierce the darkness. When the skies

    Rain down their first sweet April showers
    On budding branches; when the morn
    Is sweet with breath of spring and flowers,
    I've cursed the night when I was born.

    But now I thank God, and am glad
    For what I cannot see this day
    --The young men cripples, old, and sad,
    With faces burnt and torn away;

    Or those who, growing rich and old,
    Have battened on the slaughter,
    Whose faces, gorged with blood and gold,
    Are creased in purple laughter!


    The city's heat is like a leaden pall--
    Its lowered lamps glow in the midnight air
    Like mammoth orange-moths that flit and flare
    Through the dark tapestry of night. The tall
    Black houses crush the creeping beggars down,
    Who walk beneath and think of breezes cool,
    Of silver bodies bathing in a pool;
    Or trees that whisper in some far, small town
    Whose quiet nursed them, when they thought that gold
    Was merely metal, not a grave of mould
    In which men bury all that's fine and fair.
    When they could chase the jewelled butterfly
    Through the green bracken-scented lanes or sigh
    For all the future held so rich and rare;
    When, though they knew it not, their baby cries
    Were lovely as the jewelled butterflies.

_Robert Nichols_

Robert Nichols was born on the Isle of Wight in 1893. His first
volume, _Invocations_ (1915), was published while he was at the front,
Nichols having joined the army while he was still an undergraduate at
Trinity College, Oxford. After serving one year as second lieutenant
in the Royal Field Artillery, he was incapacitated by shell shock,
visiting America in 1918-19 as a lecturer. His _Ardours and
Endurances_ (1917) is the most representative work of this poet,
although his new volume, _The Flower of Flame_ (1920), shows a steady
advance in power.


    Nearer and ever nearer ...
    My body, tired but tense,
    Hovers 'twixt vague pleasure
    And tremulous confidence.

    Arms to have and to use them
    And a soul to be made
    Worthy, if not worthy;
    If afraid, unafraid.

    To endure for a little,
    To endure and have done:
    Men I love about me,
    Over me the sun!

    And should at last suddenly
    Fly the speeding death,
    The four great quarters of heaven
    Receive this little breath.

_Charles Hamilton Sorley_

Charles Hamilton Sorley, who promised greater things than any of the
younger poets, was born at Old Aberdeen in May, 1895. He studied at
Marlborough College and University College, Oxford. He was finishing
his studies abroad and was on a walking-tour along the banks of the
Moselle when the war came. Sorley returned home to receive an
immediate commission in the 7th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment. In
August, 1915, at the age of 20, he was made a captain. On October 13,
1915, he was killed in action near Hulluch.

Sorley left but one book, _Marlborough and Other Poems_. The verse
contained in it is sometimes rough but never rude. Although he admired
Masefield, loveliness rather than liveliness was his aim. Restraint,
tolerance, and a dignity unusual for a boy of 20, distinguish his



    Saints have adored the lofty soul of you.
    Poets have whitened at your high renown.
    We stand among the many millions who
    Do hourly wait to pass your pathway down.

    You, so familiar, once were strange: we tried
    To live as of your presence unaware.
    But now in every road on every side
    We see your straight and steadfast signpost there.

    I think it like that signpost in my land
    Hoary and tall, which pointed me to go
    Upward, into the hills, on the right hand,
    Where the mists swim and the winds shriek and blow,
    A homeless land and friendless, but a land
    I did not know and that I wished to know.


    Such, such is Death: no triumph: no defeat:
    Only an empty pail, a slate rubbed clean,
    A merciful putting away of what has been.

    And this we know: Death is not Life effete,
    Life crushed, the broken pail. We who have seen
    So marvellous things know well the end not yet.

    Victor and vanquished are a-one in death:
    Coward and brave: friend, foe. Ghosts do not say,
    "Come, what was your record when you drew breath?"
    But a big blot has hid each yesterday
    So poor, so manifestly incomplete.
    And your bright Promise, withered long and sped,
    Is touched; stirs, rises, opens and grows sweet
    And blossoms and is you, when you are dead.


    You are blind like us. Your hurt no man designed,
    And no man claimed the conquest of your land.
    But gropers both, through fields of thought confined,
    We stumble and we do not understand.
    You only saw your future bigly planned,
    And we the tapering paths of our own mind,
    And in each other's dearest ways we stand,
    And hiss and hate. And the blind fight the blind.

    When it is peace, then we may view again
    With new-won eyes each other's truer form
    And wonder. Grown more loving-kind and warm
    We'll grasp firm hands and laugh at the old pain,
    When it is peace. But until peace, the storm,
    The darkness and the thunder and the rain.

_Robert Graves_

Robert Graves was born July 26, 1895. One of "the three rhyming
musketeers" (the other two being the poets Siegfried Sassoon and
Robert Nichols), he was one of several writers who, roused by the war
and giving himself to his country, refused to glorify warfare or chant
new hymns of hate. Like Sassoon, Graves also reacts against the storm
of fury and blood-lust (see his poem "To a Dead Boche"), but,
fortified by a lighter and more whimsical spirit, where Sassoon is
violent, Graves is volatile; where Sassoon is bitter, Graves is almost

An unconquerable gayety rises from his _Fairies and Fusiliers_ (1917),
a surprising and healing humor that is warmly individual. In _Country
Sentiment_ (1919) Graves turns to a fresh and more serious simplicity.
But a buoyant fancy ripples beneath the most archaic of his ballads
and a quaintly original turn of mind saves them from their own echoes.


    It's hard to know if you're alive or dead
    When steel and fire go roaring through your head.

    One moment you'll be crouching at your gun
    Traversing, mowing heaps down half in fun:
    The next, you choke and clutch at your right breast--
    No time to think--leave all--and off you go ...
    To Treasure Island where the Spice winds blow,
    To lovely groves of mango, quince and lime--
    Breathe no good-bye, but ho, for the Red West!
            It's a queer time.

    You're charging madly at them yelling "Fag!"
    When somehow something gives and your feet drag.
    You fall and strike your head; yet feel no pain
    And find ... you're digging tunnels through the hay
    In the Big Barn, 'cause it's a rainy day.
    Oh, springy hay, and lovely beams to climb!
    You're back in the old sailor suit again.
            It's a queer time.

    Or you'll be dozing safe in your dug-out--
    A great roar--the trench shakes and falls about--
    You're struggling, gasping, struggling, then ... _hullo_!
    Elsie comes tripping gaily down the trench,
    Hanky to nose--that lyddite makes a stench--
    Getting her pinafore all over grime.
    Funny! because she died ten years ago!
            It's a queer time.

    The trouble is, things happen much too quick;
    Up jump the Boches, rifles thump and click,
    You stagger, and the whole scene fades away:
    Even good Christians don't like passing straight
    From Tipperary or their Hymn of Hate
    To Alleluiah-chanting, and the chime
    Of golden harps ... and ... I'm not well to-day ...
            It's a queer time.


    When a dream is born in you
      With a sudden clamorous pain,
    When you know the dream is true
      And lovely, with no flaw nor stain,
    O then, be careful, or with sudden clutch
    You'll hurt the delicate thing you prize so much.

    Dreams are like a bird that mocks,
      Flirting the feathers of his tail.
    When you seize at the salt-box,
      Over the hedge you'll see him sail.
    Old birds are neither caught with salt nor chaff:
    They watch you from the apple bough and laugh.

    Poet, never chase the dream.
      Laugh yourself, and turn away.
    Mask your hunger; let it seem
      Small matter if he come or stay;
    But when he nestles in your hand at last,
    Close up your fingers tight and hold him fast.


    Look at my knees,
    That island rising from the steamy seas!
    The candle's a tall lightship; my two hands
    Are boats and barges anchored to the sands,
    With mighty cliffs all round;
    They're full of wine and riches from far lands....
    _I wonder what it feels like to be drowned?_

    I can make caves,
    By lifting up the island and huge waves
    And storms, and then with head and ears well under
    Blow bubbles with a monstrous roar like thunder,
    A bull-of-Bashan sound.
    The seas run high and the boats split asunder....
    _I wonder what it feels like to be drowned?_

    The thin soap slips
    And slithers like a shark under the ships.
    My toes are on the soap-dish--that's the effect
    Of my huge storms; an iron steamer's wrecked.
    The soap slides round and round;
    He's biting the old sailors, I expect....
    _I wonder what it feels like to be drowned?_


    The bugler sent a call of high romance--
    "Lights out! Lights out!" to the deserted square.
    On the thin brazen notes he threw a prayer:
    "God, if it's _this_ for me next time in France,
    O spare the phantom bugle as I lie
    Dead in the gas and smoke and roar of guns,
    Dead in a row with other broken ones,
    Lying so stiff and still under the sky--
    Jolly young Fusiliers, too good to die ..."
    The music ceased, and the red sunset flare
    Was blood about his head as he stood there.


_Names of Authors are in Capitals. Titles of Poems are in Italics._


"A. E.," xvii, 76-77

_Aftermath_, 192


_All-Souls_, 44

_An Athlete Dying Young, To_, 38

_An Old Fogey, To_, 45

_Arab Love-Song, An_, 35

_Astrologer's Song, An_, 66

_At the British Museum_, 218

_A Traveller, To_, 72

AUSTIN, ALFRED, xii, 5, 27

_Ballad of Hell, A_, 22

_Ballad of London, A_, 69

_Ballad of the Billycock, The_, 90

_Barrel-Organ, The_, 154

_Beautiful Lie the Dead_, 78

_Beauty's a Flower_, 100

_Before_, 11

_Beg-Innish_, 95



_Birdcatcher, The_, 144

_Blackbird, The_, 10

_Blind Pedlar, The_, 220

_Bowl of Roses, A_, 11


_Broken Song, A_, 99

BROOKE, RUPERT, xxiii, 193-200

_Bugler, The_, 208

_By-the-Way_, 211


_Cap and Bells, The_, 54

CHESSON, NORA (_see Nora Hopper_)

CHESTERTON, G. K., xxiii, 110-119

_Choice, The_, 131

_Clair de Lune_, 102

_Cock-Crow_, 138

COLUM, PADRAIC, xvii, 162-165

_Complaint_, 219

_Connaught Lament, A_, 97

_Consecration, A_, 126

_Conundrum of the Workshops, The_, 63



_Dauber_, xxii, 128


DAVIES, W. H., xxiii, xxv, 83-86

_Days Too Short_, 84


_Death and the Fairies_, 212

DE LA MARE, WALTER, xxiii, 105-110

_Donkey, The_, 119



_Drake's Drum_, 49

_Dream, A_, 79

_Dreamers_, 190

DRINKWATER, JOHN, xxiv, 170-171



_Dying-Swan, The_, 82

_Epilogue_, 161

_Epitaph_, 42

_Epitaph, An_, 107

_Estrangement_, 30

_Eve_, 140

_Evening Clouds_, 214

_Evening in England, An_, 213

_Everlasting Mercy, The_, xxii

_Every Thing_, 146

_Example, The_, 86

_Fifty Faggots_,137


_Fleet Street_, 183

FLINT, F. S., 205-206

FREEMAN, JOHN, 181-182

GEORGIANS, THE, xi, xxiii-xxiv

_Germany, To_, 225

GIBSON, W. W., xxiii, xxv, 119-125

GILBERT, W. S., xiv

_Going and Staying_, 4


_Grandeur_, 201

GRAVES, ROBERT, xxiii, 225-229

_Great Breath, The_, 76

_Great Lover, The_, 195

_Green River, The_, 81

_Gunga Din_, 57

HARDY, THOMAS, xvi, 3-4

HARVEY, F. W., 208

HENLEY, W. E., xi, xv-xvii, 9-13

_"Herod," Fragment from_, 78


HODGSON, RALPH, xxiii, xxv, 139-144


_House, A_, 172

_House that Was, The_, 80

HOUSMAN, A. E., xxv, 36-40

HUEFFER, F. M., 102-105

HYDE, DOUGLAS, xvii, 40-41

_I am the Mountainy Singer_, 165

_I Hear an Army_, 171

_I Shall not Die for Thee_, 40

_I Wonder What It Feels Like to be Drowned?_, 228

_If I Should Ever Grow Rich_, 136

_Images_, 217

_Imagination_, 26

_Impression du Matin_, 21

_In Flanders Fields_, 101

_Interlude_, 207

_In the Mile End Road_, 42

_In the Wood of Finvara_, 50

_In Time of "The Breaking of Nations_," 3

_Invictus_, 10

"_Is Love, then, so simple_," 215

_It's a Queer Time_, 226


JOHNSON, LIONEL, xvii, 71-73


KETTLE, T. M., 149-150

KIPLING, RUDYARD, xi, xx-xxi, 56-68

_Lake Isle of Innisfree, The_, 53

_Last Post, The_, 229

LAWRENCE, D. H., xxiii, 179-181



_Lepanto_, 111

LESLIE, SHANE, 183-184

LETTS, W. M., 200-204

LEVY, AMY, 41-43

_Listeners, The_, 106

_Lochanilaun_, 204

_London_, 205

_Lone Dog_, 215

"_Loveliest of Trees_," 39

MACCATHMHAOIL, SEOSAMH (_see Joseph Campbell_)



MCLEOD, IRENE R., 215-216


_Man He Killed, The_, 4

_Margaritæ Sorori_, 12

MASEFIELD, JOHN, xi, xxi-xxii, xxv, 125-132


_Modern Beauty_, 51

MONRO, HAROLD, 144-149

_Moon, The_, 85



_My Daughter Betty, To_, 150

_Mystery, The_, 144

_Mystic and Cavalier_, 71

_Nearer_, 222

NEWBOLT, HENRY, xxiv, 49-50

NICHOLS, ROBERT, 222-223, 225

_Nightingale near the House, The_, 145

_Nightingales_, 7

_Nod_, 109

NOYES, ALFRED, xxiii, 150-162

_Oaks of Glencree, To the_, 96

_Ode_, 8

_Ode in May_, 28

_Old Ships, The_, 178

_Old Song Resung, An_, 55

_Old Susan_, 108

_Old Woman, The_, 166

_Old Woman of the Roads, An_, 164

_Olivia, To_, 34

_One in Bedlam, To_, 74

O'NEILL, MOIRA, xvii, 99-100



_Pater of the Cannon, The_, 183

_People_, 180


_Piano_, 180

_Pinch of Salt, A_, 227

_Plougher The_, 162

_Praise_, 139

_Prayer in Darkness, A_, 118

_Preëxistence_, 184

_Prelude_, 120

_Prelude_, 216

_Progress_, 221

_Reality_, 186

_Rear-Guard, The_, 190

_Reciprocity_, 170

_Regret_, 70

_Requiem_, 16

_Requiescat_, 20

_Return, The_, 61

_Reveillé_, 36

_Romance_, 15

_Romance_, 210

_Rounding the Horn_, 128

RUSSELL, GEORGE W. (_see "A. E."_)

_Rustic Song, A_, 92

SASSOON, SIEGFRIED, xxiii, 187-193, 225


_Sea-Fever_, 127


SHARP, WILLIAM (_see Fiona MacLeod_)

SHAW, G. B., 20, 83

_Sheep and Lambs_, 43

_Shell, The_, 167

_Sherwood_, 151

_Sight_, 124

_Silence Sings_, 82

_Singer, The_, 186



_Soldier, The_, 200

_Song_, 31

_Song_, 187

_Song, A_, 79

_Song_ (_from "Judith"_), 176

_Song of the Old Mother, The_, 53

_Songs from an Evil Wood_, 133



_South Country, The_, 87

_Spires of Oxford, The_, 203

_Sportsmen in Paradise_, 209

SQUIRE, J. C., xxiv, 172-174

STEPHENS, JAMES, xxiii, 167-169

STEVENSON, R. L., xvi, 13-16

_Stone, The_, 121

_Stone Trees_, 181

_Strange Meetings_, 149

_Summer Sun_, 13

SYMONS, ARTHUR, xv, 50-51

SYNGE, J. M., xviii-xx, xxii, 93-96

_Tall Nettles_, 137


"_There Shall be more Joy_," 104


_Thomas of the Light Heart_, 47


_Thrush before Dawn, A_, 16

_Thrushes_, 191

_Time, You old Gipsy Man_, 142

_Tired Tim_, 108

_To The Four Courts, Please_, 169

_Town Window, A_, 170

_Translation from Petrarch, A_, 96


TURNER, W. J., 210-211

_Two Sonnets_, 223


_Unknown God, The_, 77

_Valley of Silence, The_, 18

_"Vashti," From_, 175

VICTORIANS, THE, xi-xiii, xx

_Victory, To_, 189

_Villain, The_, 85

_Vision, The_, 19

_Walls_, 99


_Waves of Breffny, The_, 98

_Web of Eros, The_, 206

_What Tomas an Buile Said_, 168

_When I Was One-and-Twenty_, 37

WICKHAM, ANNA, 186-187

WILDE, OSCAR, xiii-xv, 19-22, 68

WILLIAMS, HAROLD, xviii, 105

WILSON, T. P. C., 209

_Winter Nightfall_, 5

_Winter-Time_, 14

_With Rue my Heart is Laden_, 38

YEATS, W. B., xvi, xvii-xix, 52-56, 94


_You Would Have Understood Me_, 75

  | Transcriber's Notes:                                         |
  |                                                              |
  | Page xv: artistocratic amended to aristocratic               |
  | Page 21: _s_ added to St. Paul's                             |
  | Page 40: Collge amended to College                           |
  | Page 71: sevententh amended to seventeenth                   |
  | Page 84: naif amended to naïf                                |
  | Page 184: PREÉXISTENCE amended to PREËXISTENCE (as per poem  |
  | title in the Table of Contents)                              |
  | Page 147: double quotes inside double quotes amended to      |
  | single quotes                                                |
  | Page 209: comma added after "someone said"                   |
  | Page 233: comma added after _Nightingales_                   |
  | Page 234: Comma added after _Winter Nightfall_.              |
  | _State The_ amended to _Stone, The_                          |
  |                                                              |
  | Hyphenation has been retained as is.                         |

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