24 APRIL 1920, Page 21


OCTOBER.* THE name October which the Poet Laureate has given to his new book of poems is exceedingly appropriate. Though many of the verses which it contains are most delightful, they bring

with them a breath of autumnal air. There is the perfection and completion of autumn about them, the sense of something rounded and finished, a matured and considered beauty. In the very perfection of form and colour, the success with which each essay is crowned, in the sounding of each harmony till the reader is sure that every change has been rung, every variation played, there is a sense of melancholy.

One of the most charming and artificial of the poems is entitled - Flycatchers," of which the following are the first two stanzas :— " Sweet pretty fledgelings, perched on the rail arow, Expectantly happy, where ye can watch below Your parents a-hunting i' the meadow grasses All the gay morning to feed you with flies: Ye recall me a time sixty summers ago, When, a young chubby chap, I sat just so With others on a school-form rankd in a row, Not less eager and hungry than you, I trow, With intelligence3 agape and eyes aglow, While an authoritative old wise-acre Stood over us and from a desk fed us with flies."

" The Flowering Tree," whose metre was, as the Poet Laureate reminds us, publicly discussed and wrongly analysed, is extraordinarily attractive, and the poem forms a most melodious rounded whole. We are bound to believe him when he tells us that it is " strictly syllabic verse on the model left by Milton in ' Samson Agonistes,' " except that the extra- metrical syllable is eliminated even from the last place in the line. His explanation of the metre is an interesting example of how completely misleading, save to the expert reader, all syllabic analysis of English poetry is apt to be.