26 FEBRUARY 1954, Page 12

The discussion which has almost choked a critical argument puts

one in mind of T. J. Hogg who wrote that his friend Shelley was not only " great as a poet " but " pre-eminently a lady's man." Now although we deride the old lawyer for his warped values we have never ceased to muddle Shelley's poetic repu- tation with arguments about him as a lady's man. And here we are (I include myself in the gallery) confusing creation and behaviour all over again. We tear Cinna the Poet. not for his bad verses, but on account of his bad manners or our own. Can we not begin to separate our poets from their periphery, and set about it while they are still with us ?

To encourage this I hereby challenge any reader, reviewer, stuffed bird or wandering LAURA S. DIANE 72 Notting Hill Gate, W.11