17 NOVEMBER 1928, Page 22

Mr. E. V. Lucas's " County Songs " have been

appearing in Punch for so many weeks that some readers may suspect him of having eulogized certain counties twice or thrice over. Now that they really do appear for a second time, complete with Mr. Ernest Shepard's. delicate illustrations, under the title of Mr. Punch's County Songs (Methuen, 10s. 6d.), even those who prefer Mr. Lucas an an essayist will admit that his verses have a sprightliness and a gaiety that is as fresh as a bird-shaken spray on a May morning. But, all the same, we feel that most of the credit should go to Mr. Shepard, who, in a few strokes, can show us counties that are almost " too English to be true." The publishers claim that " not a little topographical and historical lore " can be learned from the book.. We agree with them, though Mr. Lucas admits an occasional slip, and quotes, in his explanatory notes, a savage little poem sent to him by a reader who objects to his reckless dumping of Ilchester in the county of Dorset :— " Oh, E.V.L. E.V.L. !

Your songs are quite delightful. But why not tell of Melb'ry Bubb And give old Behester the rub. Your Jography's too frightful 1' "

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