RECENT - VERSE.* MR. GEOFFREY YOUNG is, to our thinking, one
of the truest poets who have dawned of late on the horizon. This does not mean that he is a great poet,—not yet, at any rate; but he • (1) Wind and Hill. By Geoffrey Winthrop Young. London Smith, Elder, and Co. 3e. Bd. met.]—(2) The Enchanted Island, and other Poems. By Alfred Noyes. London : W. Blackwood and Sons. ffs. net.)—(3) An Amp/er Sky. By Lance Fallaw. London • Macmillan and Co. [3e. net.]—(4) A Dinka Story, and other Sudan Poems. By S. Lyle. London : (3. Allen. Pe. net.] (5) Rhodesian Rhymes. By Cullen Gcruldebury. Buluwayo : Fhilpott and Collins.—(6) Exultation., of Erns Pound. London Elkin Mathews. [2s. 65. net.)— V) In the Net of the Stars. By F. S. Flint. &me publishers. Du 45. net.]—(S) wheel, o' the Bads. By Wilt Ogilvie.
has new and fine things to say, and at his best he says them. unforgettably. He is singularly free from the bondage of literary conventions; he is rarely imitative; and the only laws he obeys are the universal rules of style and melody. In addition, he is the first great mountaineer who has sung. of the high peaks. The best Alpine poets have usually beeia sedentary gentlemen who watched the snows from a pleasant corner in the valley. He has his faults, to be sure. He is too much perturbed by "spirits "of various kinds, abstractions, which are apt to impede the path of the young poet. His reflective powers are not quite on the same level as his descriptive. He is inclined to forget that a long chronicle of.
impressions has less significance than a selected few. These, however, are small blemishes; the great thing is that he has
the gift of music, and fire and imagination in his soul. We do not care for the first poem, "Wind," so much as for some of the others. It is a genuine tour de force ; but the inspira- tion flags at times, and as a whole it lacks spontaneity. A- better example of his gift of close observation and carefully realised impression is "A Morning Bathe," which we should rate high. Very beautiful, too, is "A Sisterhood," somewhat in the manner of a fine poem of Stevenson's; and the delight- ful little ballad "Jock's Journey." But, as one would expect, Mr. Young is at his best among his beloved hills He weaves elaborate symphonies on the theme, such as "Mountain-Play- mates " or "A Glacier Pool" (for ourselves we should not
imitate Mr. Young's habits of bathing), and, best of all perhaps, "Shadows." Or with haunting simplicity he will sing the old song of joys and regrets, as in "Looking Forward "; or in ballad style tell of the new "Knight-
Errantry." His philosophy of life is both wholesome and profound, whether he singe with honest gusto of "Real Pleasures," or in "The Tramp" touches on the melancholy of all wayfaring. There 'is much to quote, if we had space, but we must content ourselves with singling out for especial praise the noble mountain hymn "The Treasure of Heights," and the exquisite rendering of a passage in Deuteronomy which he calls "The Blessing of the Separate." We quote the last verses of the last poem in the collection, not as an example of Mr. Young's powers, for he has written better things, but as a key to the spirit of the book :—
" And when our last gold sun shall turn to wake Late amber shadows in the sleeping grass. And the grey lashes of the evening lake Shall close for ever on our last dim pass, The best of us, the soul we never lost, Shall join that host upon the cloud-girt stair, Selfless, a part of all we loved the most, niends of the moonbeams, you will find us these."
We confess to being disappointed with Mr. Noyes's latest volume, The Enchanted _Island. It is a long descent from the splendid cadences of his Drake to the obvious prettinesses and trite philosophies of these verses. Mr. Noyes is always, in Emerson's words, "Musical, Tremulous, impressional" ;
that his art does not mature as we had hoped. There is a
lack of charm about the facile music and the sugar-candy imagery of many of the pieces ; and even -when he has a fine conception he is apt to be terribly diffuse in presenting it.
The truth seems to be that his facility has run away with him, and, as staunch admirers of his best work, we would beseech him to pull himself together. It does not make for sublimity to be for ever using solemn words like "Eternity" and "Paradise," and Mr. Noyes strikes us as being too much at his ease in Zion for real poetic achievement. One or two of the poems, however, show him at his best. We like his "Edinburgh," and "Red of the Dawn" is a grim little picture with no surplusage in the style. "The Newspaper Boy" shows the danger Mr. Noyes is always in of dwelling too hard on a sentiment, but in this case he manages to stop short in time, and the poem in its way is a fine one. We like, too, "The Tramp Transfigured," though it is infinitely drawn out ; and we like greatly the -verses "in Memory of Swinburne." But best we like the few ballads, "Bacchus Dabenttie : Fraser. [3s. net.]—(9) Lancashire Hunting Songs. By Cicely Fox Smith. Manchester Cornish.maaehnet.]—(10) Relicts. By Arthur Maltby. Loudon: B..- DobelL [12. net. (n) Poems at Home and Abroad. By H. D. Bawnsley. Glasgow - J. ose and Sons. Ne. 65. net]- 112) Light among the Leaves. By Hugh Moreton Frewen. London : D. Nutt. Ps. Gd.ost.j.---(13) Love's Empire. By A. M. Chanspotrys, London: G. Bell and Sons. (3e. 6d. net.]—(14) Mimma Berta. By Eugene Lee-Hamiltork London: W. Heinemann. [5e. net.]—(15) Deportnientat Ditties. By Harry • Graham, LOW10131 1Be mai Boon. [3s. ncl. net.j
and the Pirates," and especially "The Admiral's Ghost." there we have something of the ease and strength and fire which made his Drake but little short of a great poem.
The next three books on our list deal with Africa, and are all in their way notable performances We have already had the privilege of Calling attention to the classic grace of Mr. Lance Fallaw's work. In his new book, An Ampler Sky, he does not confine himself to South Africa, for some of the best poems deal with Australia, and his beautiful sonnet-sequence, "The Library," proves that in singing of new worlds he has not forgotten the treasures of the old. It is this pleasing mixture of high culture and the gipsy spirit, this catholic passion for all things honest and lovely, that marks him out from other overseas singers. Like the Rhodesian poet, Mr. A. S. Cripps, he transplants the old classic conventions to a new soil. In technical accomplishment he must rank very high, for there is scarcely a discord or monotony in his work. He has many strings, too, to his lyre. In "World Wanderers" or The Lost Vanguard" he can put an old theme to haunting music; in "From the Cape to Cairo" or "Captains Castaway" he can give us a chant-royal of Empire ; in "Lion of the Zulu" he can tell the grim tale of Chalta's alaughterings ; and in "White Man's Woman" he can write verse with something of Tennysonian grace in it :—
" She came—the wild bush-blossoms flashed With breath and colour all astir ; Sweet waters o'er her pathway dashed, The wilderness was glad for her.
Her horse's step was firm and free, Her glance bespoke the joyous hour, She took the forest for her fee, And brought the lowlands for her dower."
His "Two Homelands" is a good example of a highly accom- plished and yet original and unbookish talent, which must rank among the best which the world has seen of late. We
have only one word of criticism. Is not " eagle-muse " on p. 105 an odd phrase for the prosaic Henry Kirke White P
Possibly the poet means to allude to the well-known passage in"English Bards and Scotch Reviewers "; but if so, we can only say that to repeat an exaggeration is not to get rid of it. Mr. Lyle's A .Dinka Story shows also remarkable technical
skill, and the poem which gives its name to the book is written in blank verse of exceptional flexibility and charm.
"At a Sudan Water-Pool," "An Arab's Dream," and the two fine concluding pieces, "Nile Obsession" and "Home Sickness," suggest that the art of verse is rapidly fleeing from London streets to lonely dwellers by the outposts. Mr. Lyle's future work will be eagerly looked for by all lovers of poetry. Very good, too, in its way is Mr. Gouldsbnry's Rhodesian Rhymes. He adapts with great skill and humour the manner of the Itujoldsby Legends to Rhodesian subjects, and in his "Native Sketches" shows a curious insight into the savage heart and an acute sense of drama. Truly we have no cause to be ashamed of our overseas poets.
Mr. Ezra Pound is that rare thing among modern poets, a scholar. He is not only cultivated, but learned. Many modern influences are patent in his verse—Whitman, Rossetti, Browning, Mr. Yeats—but the dominant ones are mediaeval, the romances of the troubadours and old monkish legends. We feel that this writer has in him the capacity for remarkable poetic achievement, but we also feel that at present he is somewhat weighted by his learning. His virility and passion are immense, but somehow we seem to know their origins. He strikes us as a little too bookish and literary, even when he is most untrammelled by metrical conventions. It is ungracious to carp at work which in itself is so fine, but we 'think it right to hint at the danger." For the rest, Mr. Pound's merits are singularly clear. The "Ballad of the Goodly Fere," a wonderful presentation of Christ, haunts our memory, as does the savage sestina which contains the reflections of Bertram de Born. Admirable, too, is the strange soliloquy "Pierre Vidal Old." Mr. Pound has flute- notes as well, is can be seen from the " Portrait " on p. 25, and the lovely "Night Litany." If he has defects, he has at any rate the true and brimming inspiration. Mr. Flint's In the Net of the Stars has something of the same manner, but the writer has not Mr. Pound's rithness or strength of thought. He is a poet of one mood, and the reader wearies of the end- less references to constellations. When he is least self- conscious he is finest, as in "The Heart's Hunger" and
"Simplicity." Mr. Will Ogilvie, whose delightful lyrics are. Xethuen and Co. 02.1
known to our readers, has made a most creditable attempt to produce a new Border ballad of the compass of the "Lay of the Last MinstreL" His Whoup o' the Bede goes with a ballad swing, and there are many descriptive passages of great delicacy and beauty. If he suggests Hogg rather than Sir Walter, that is high praise for a modern, and the poem would not have disgraced The Queen's Wake. Miss Cicely Fox Smith's Lancashire Hunting Songs are admirable of their kind, for besides a gallop of verses she has a touch of moorland wizardry, and "After Preston Fight" lingers in the memory. Excellent, too, and most timely are her "Territorial Ballads."
Mr. Arthur Munby's Belida is a slim volume of reflective, leisurely verse. The author is so good a craftsman that it is a pleasure to read whatever he writes, for behind his simplicity and intimacy there is always the hand and mind of a scholar. The same may be said of Canon Rawnaley's latest volume, Poems at Home and Abroad, which is full of that reverent Nature-worship and subtlety of appreciation which make him no unworthy successor of the high line of Lake poets. Mr. Hugh Moreton Frewen's Light among the Leaves is a book of musical and rather boyish verses which show con- siderable promise. He rings the changes at present on too small a circle of themes, but this is a fault which time will cure. Miss A. M. Champneys's Love's Empire shows high metrical accomplishment, but lacks any strong original inspiration. It is the kind of work which most cultivated people who have an ear for music could produce. The late Mr. Eugene Lee-Hamilton's Mimma Bella is a little sequence of sonnets of which the appeal is too intimate for criticism. They deal with the death of an only child, and, apart from the poignant sincerity of the grief which they embody, they are little masterpieces of the art of one who knew few modern rivals in this metrical form. Last on our list is Captain Harry Graham's Deportmental Ditties, a book of light-hearted nonsense verses, showing a skill in preposterous-rhymes which is worthy of the author of the Ingoldsby Legends. There is a shrewd wit behind Captain Graham's fun, and, what is rare in this class of work, perfect good breeding We owe him a grudge, for his wicked jingles continue to haunt our mind to the exclusion of more reputable matters. Captain Graham has fairly established his claim to be one of our few masters of what used to be called vers de societe.