7 SEPTEMBER 1951, Page 28

Shorter Notices

The Poems of Sir Walter Ralegh. Edited by Agnes M. C. Latham. (Routledge. The Muses' Library. 'as. 6d.)

IN reprinting the poems of Raleigh—or Ralegh as she prefers to call him—Miss Latham brings the number of authentic • pieces up to 41, to which number she adds a dozen from " The Phoenix Nest," which .re very possibly his. Raleigh's reputation, however, rests on two or three poems written in his late life—" The Lie " and " The Passionate Man's Pilgrimage " in particular —which possess a quality, ably defiried by Miss Latham in her introduction, more metaphysical than Elizabethan. It is sad that. like other Court poets of the time, Raleigh was too proud to print, and that such poems of his as have survived owe their preserva- tion to a chance, and perhaps inaccurate, transcription in a commonplace-book or to an anthologist's choice. Perhaps if we had the whole of " The Ocean to Scinthia," of which we have only the eleventh book, he might seem a poet of another stature. But who can say whether the rest was ever written? " For dittie and amorous Ode," wrote George Puttenham in 1589, " I finde Sir Walter Rawleyghs vayne most loftie, insolent and passionate." Miss Latham's edition is all that can be desired, but the average reader of poetry will be content with the amount of Raleigh's work that he finds in an anthology of Elizabethan verse, J. M. C.