7 FEBRUARY 1936, Page 21


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] SIR,—Although Mr. Sassoon's Aunt . Eudora began her reading at Chaucer, it seems that she must have overlooked the metaphysical verse of the seventeenth century, and this gap in her reading might partly account for her difficulties with the poetry of 1935. But I take it she was a lady of culture, that she did not demand only the tuneful, emotional lyric (in spite of her predilection for the Pre-Raphaelites, she did begin with Chaucer), and I feel that she and Mr. Sassoon spent an unnecessarily dreary afternoon in " cerebral colla- boration." It was contrary of Mr. Sassoon to. withhold Yeats's passionate lyric The Singing Head and the Lady ; and although In the Square and the choruses from The Dog would have been a bit stiff, the old lady. might have enjoyed Auden's poem beginning :

-" May 'with its light behaving Stirs vessel, eye, and limb ; The singular and sad Are willmg to recover, And to the swan-delighting river The careless picnics come, The living white and red."

Or even Spender's What the Eye Delights In with the lines :

" Good-bye' now, good-bye ; to the early and sad hills, Dazed with their houses, like a faint migraine. Orchards bear memory in cloudy branches. The entire world roared in a child's brain."

And had Mr.- Sassoon rendered with gusto Higgins' Boyne Walk, or Day Lewis' Chorus for a Noah Play, I believe the old lady would have been awake at the end of them. There was Madge's fine At Watch (not really so very " difficult "), a pleasant little piece by Dyment, A Switch Cut in April— in fact (allowing for the exclusion of sterner metaphysics) there were quite a number of things that might have pleased Aunt Eudora. It seems a pity that she was left with the taste of the undistinguished Mr. Warner in her mouth.—

Yours truly, A. C. BOvp. 28 Bina Gardens, London, S.W.5.