12 DECEMBER 1931, Page 34

In these days when the periodical Press offers an ever

shrinking " market " for poetry, the London Mercury shines forth as a generous exception to the rule. From its files of the last twelve years The Mercury Book of Verse (Macmillan, 7s. (3d.) has been compiled. Over a hundred authors are included. Among them are Thomas Hardy, Robert Bridges, Laurence Binyon, G. K. Chesterton, and Hilaire Belloc. But one feels that such elderly guests were invited, by courtesy, to an assembly which they adorn rather than represent. One cannot agree with Sir Henry Newbolt, in his introduction, that the anthology as a whole has been " made with complete indifference to prejudice, either personal or conventional." Such prejudice may be defended ; but it can hardly be denied that most of these poems reveal a common impulse, allied to that of the " Georgian " movement. The prevailing characteristic is a desire to invest with sig- nificance the common scenes and incidents of daily life rather than to touch grandeur or to interpret the great mysteries. Here, essentially, is the poetry of a phase, if not of a group—a phase productive of much interesting experiment as well as of much genuine, if minor, achievement. The volume will not only give present pleasure to sympathetic readers ; it should prove a handy reference book for the future literary historian.

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