The County Series of Contemporary Poetry No. I
Warwickshire And Staffordshire. (cloth)
Chosen and edited by S. Fowler Wright
Author of 'The Song of Songs', 'The Riding of Lancelot', 'Deluge',
Published by: Fowler Wright Ltd., 240, High Holborn, W.C.I.
Printed by: Fowler Wright Ltd., at their works145, Drummond St., Hampstead Rd., London.
TO THE MEMORY OF WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR (Born at Warwick on January 30, 1775)
- In youth how often at thy side I wander'd;
What golden hours, hours numberless, were squander'd
- Among thy sedges, while sometimes
I meditated native rhymes,
- There, where soft mole-built seat
Invited me, I noted down
What must full surely win the crown;
On broken pencil with a broken blade.
W. S. L.
THIS volume is one of a series of County Anthologies of Contemporary Poetry, issued in connection with the work of The Poetry League, but the contributions included are not in any way confined to members of that organisation, though it may naturally be the case that the majority of the authors concerned are among its supporters.
They are not all equally expert or experienced in craftsmanship. One - and not the least worthy - of the contributors to the first volume of the series, Warwickshire Poetry, is a girl of fourteen. Many others are of established reputation in contemporary literature. All are united in a common artistic purpose, and in the pursuit of ideality in an age which is tragic in some aspects of its materialism.
So compiled, this series is not intended to be comprehensive, though it is representative, and especially of the younger writers, from among whom must come the makers of English poetry for the next half century. But this claim of 'representative' will almost certainly be challenged by the 'modernist' fraternity, and their supporters. The very impartiality with which I have edited these, and earlier, anthologies has caused me to be accused of hostility to vers libre, and more broadly to experimental as opposed to traditional forms of poetic expression. But the fact is, as anyone may discover who will make sufficient enquiry, that the bulk of such work is negligible, outside the very narrow circle of the clique which cultivates it in a form which it would be outside the purpose of this introduction to consider in detail.
Where it exists, and wherever its content is any thing more than despicable, I have never failed to recognise it, as in the highly experimental work of Mr. Olaf Stapledon, in Poets of Merseyside, or the very 'modern' art of Mrs. Dawson Scott, which found its first recognition in the pages of Poetry, and afterwards in the first series of Voices on the Wind, - to the preface of which volume I recommend any who are sufficiently interested, where these aspects of modern poetry are discussed more fully.
So compiled, and with an impartial purpose of showing what the poetry of to-day actually is, rather than that which any of us would wish it to be, this series can hardly fail to be of some permanent interest and importance. It may be said that the poems vary greatly in quality. That is true. I have endeavoured to judge broadly and tolerantly, choosing different poems for different and sometimes opposite excellencies. Only, and always, requiring that they shall be sincere in expression, and in the worship, however humble, of that beauty which all art is born to serve.
Those of us who are neither deaf to the music of words, nor ignorant of the technique of poetic construction, may yet realise that as 'the life is more than meat, and the body than raiment,' so poetry is degraded from its highest function if it be first regarded as an esoteric art, producing curiously patterned words as subjects for the admiration of the scholar, or the dissecting knife of the critic, rather than a vitalising force, which should be welcomed in any garb, however lowly.
It has been suggested that each volume of this series should contain some biographical or other data of the authors concerned, but that would be outside the purpose of the work in which we are interested, which is to extend the love and cultivation of English poetry, rather than the knowledge of those who write it. Besides, the revelation of individuality is contained more certainly in the work of any artist than in the records of his ancestry or occupation. Soldiers and mechanics, peers and butchers, bankers and labourers, men and women of wealth and poverty, of toil and leisure, literate and illiterate, united in the love and practice of poetry, have contributed to make these pages representative of the interests and aspirations of their time and race.
Poetry is the one art in which the British race is supreme, and by which it will be remembered when its material power may be no more than a legend of history. It is so widely read, and so readily appreciated, because we are a nation of poets. For among poets must be the only audience that poetry can ever win.
Gathered from such diverse sources, there are yet certain broad deviations observable in the poetry of different counties, which are brought into unusual relief by this method of publication. They are rather variations in subject and outlook, than in any more technical qualities. Where they occur, they throw occasional unexpected lights upon the influences of environment, and the racial characteristics of the localities in which they originate. But it may be largely accidental that some counties appear to be much richer than others in their poetic output. Experience has shown that the response is universal, wherever an intelligent effort be made to organise the lovers of poetry, even in areas which have appeared the most hopeless and apathetic at the first enquiry.
In conclusion, a word of thanks is due to the many lovers of literature, editors, librarians, and members of the P.L., in all parts of the country through whose generous enthusiasm and unselfish help the production of these books has been made possible. They are too numerous for individual mention, and it would be invidious to make a selection among the names of those who have shared in a common enterprise.
S. FOWLER WRIGHT (Editor of Poetry and the Play).
L. KYLE BENNET
TO MARGOT IN ABSENCE
JESSIE ARDEN BRANSON
CHERRY STREET, BIRMINGHAM
IF THERE WERE DREAMS
N. H. BRETTELL
BEAUTY AND THE BRIDGE-BUILDER
THE BLUE DRESS
FLORENCE CLEE, F.S.P.
THE OLD YEAR
A SONNET FOR WARWICKSHIRE: HOME
SIDNEY H. COULSON
CRUSADER OF ARLEY
MARGARET S. DANGERFIELD
IN A NURSING-HOME
LINES WRITTEN ON BOARD THE HOUSE-BOAT �WOLF�
A BRIDAL THOUGHT
DEEP IN NOVEMBER
APRIL AND DORETTE
THE DESERTED MARSH
TO FREDERICK WALSH
�TIME AND TIDE WAIT FOR NO MAN�
SONG TO APOLLO
EVA MARY GREW
THE STRANGE AND BROKEN ROAD
�MUTUAL LOVE, THE CROWN OF ALL OUR BLISS�
A. G. GUEST
THE SONG OF THE MILESTONE
A PAIR OF SIMPLE FOLK
FROM �THE FORTRESS OF FOLLY�
PASSION AND TENDERNESS
FOREST OF CHERRIES
TO A SHEPHERD
C. EDITH IRONMONGER
CHOPIN�S BALLADE IN G MINOR
TO THE HANDS OF A GREAT MUSICIAN
OLIVE J. IRONMONGER
R. EDWARDS JAMES
THE HALL OF MEMORY
E. WOODWARD JEPHCOTT
TO A CLOUDED YELLOW BUTTERFLY
KATHLEEN LEITCH MacCUAIG
TO A GIRL SEEN READING IN A TRAM
E. W. MOORE
TO ROBERT BURNS
E. E. MORLEY
THE DAFFODIL-SPIKES ARE SHOWING IN THE GARDEN
THAT BLACKBIRD�S SONG
HELEN CLAYTON MORRIS
THE HALL OF FORGOTTEN THINGS
I DO NOT ASK
THE PHANTOM LOVER
MY LADY OF THE WOOD
MY CHRISTMAS GIFT
L. N. NORRIS-ROGERS
IN AN OLD GARDEN
JOAN M. GRANT PARTRIDGE
THE DRAGON SHOP
THE GREEN HARPER O� THE GLEN
A STREAM IN ARTOIS
A WORKER�S COMRADES
LIGHT AT EVENTIDE
ELLA N. RENNIE
ETHEL M. RICHARDSON RICE
WHERE ENGLISH SKYLARKS SOAR AND SING
ISABEL CHASE RUDLAND
ENGLAND TO HER DEAD CHILDREN
LINES ON A SUNSET
E. MARSTON RUDLAND
SAINT JOAN OF ARC
W. N. SCOTT
TO A GRAMOPHONE
ON RE-READING WORDSWORTH
J.A. L. SHERCLIFF
SONG OF A CANDLE-FLAME DONE TO DEATH BY A LOVELY LADY
NATIVITY OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST
L�ILE DE CYTHERE
MAN MAY BE MASTER OF HIS MIND
IN MEMORY OF AN OLD FRIEND
THE BELOVED OF THE GODS
LUCY J. TAYLOR
THE WEAVER OF DREAMS
RETURN AND DEPARTURE
ETHEL M. WARD
THE MOP (STRATFORD-ON-AVON)
JUNE IN LONDON
S. FOWLER WRIGHT
A NEW SONG FOR DAFFODILS
S. FOWLER WRIGHT
What mean the blood-red blooms that rose
- The garth in which you dwell?
- So cold a citadel.
What though thine heart's environs make
- Delight to hear and see,
- That frore virginity?
What though that closed approach may glass
- An opal's changing fire,
- The gardens of desire?
The autumn mists thy garth shall grieve:
- The scentless roses fall,
- An unadventured wall.
Slow fall the night's unchanging snows,
- Where the red roses fell,
- So lost a citadel.
A NEW SONG FOR DAFFODILS
Who wills may sing the violet,
- Her modest, lurking ways,
- That chastest thought betrays;
- Who will may sing the primrose pale;
- The lily�s white allure;
- Shameless, and bold, and pure.
- Not August�s ardent call can wake
- That hidden heart agleam;
- The fortress of her dream;
- But when before Hyperion�s gates,
- With barren fields and wide,
- An unattempted bride,
- Straight upward as Athene�s spear,
- From sodden fields and cold,
- Her tossing grace of gold.
- Straight upward as Athene�s spear
- Her slender strength defies
- Laughing - unbent - she dies.
- Who wills may sing the violet,
- The lily�s white allure,
- Shameless, and bold, and pure.
The hawk�s slow shadow passed an hour ago;
A thin death rustles in the wheat below;
Stark winter lies behind, and waits before.
For these things is the lark�s high song the less?
- Is not his song the more?
From his soared heaven of light, with heart elate,
He cries God�s challenge down the winds of fate,
While from blue heaven, and life�s unconquered song,
Death learns, for all the bitter doom he bears,
- He is not quite so strong.
�He stands alone, and there is no man near Him:
- Of Triune Gods is He:
- There is no place to flee.�
- So cry the Churches, �midst their fierce contending,
- The while with hands perverse
- To form a binding curse.
�The son of man?� ...Suppose, beyond contesting,
- He died, and does not live, -
- He was not God to give, -
Though for a thousand dawns He did not waken
- To any waiting eyes, -
- In Joseph�s tomb He lies -
He lies alone, not any God is near Him,
- Among our human dead?
- Would follow where He led.
Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him. - Job.
We have cast the count of evil: we have felt the
- most of pain:
- watched His servants slain.
- why evil be?
We have seen delight go past us: we have felt our
- strength decay:
- last were day.
- strife ahead,
- our feet the dead.
For the God our hearts have chosen is the God of
- those who fight
- wounded in the night;
- were won.
- work were done?
In the past beyond beginning, for the endless years
- to be,
- not flee.
- changeless change of days,
- skirtless haze.
Should He lose by final triumph, should He fail to
- fail anew.
- nought to think or do.
- were done,
- seeks the sun.
For the times of gift or mercy, for the hero days
- that were,
- most woeful prayer,
- night of all.
He rode where fate or fancy led,
- Though all but stars were alien found;
- The ventures of enchanted ground.
By paths that daylight never knew,
- Or brake that held the haunting fey,
- Or where the covert lances lay.
Sometime at lonely woodland shrine
- The cross of pain his reverence drew,
- Knight-errant that his order knew.
To lead the strife; to share the toil;
- To hurt ignore; to death contemn;
- Careless of heart, to yield it them.
So rode he, lost to cloud or shine,
- Though frost were keen, or fast were long;
- And in his heart the fount of song.
(from the Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri)
Newly Translated into English Verse by
S. Fowler Wright
Royal 8vo, pp. xvi+178. 10s. 6d. net.
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