The Works of Sydney Fowler Wright 1874 - 1965

Poets of Merseyside.

Sussex Song
An Anthology of To-day
Chosen and edited by S. Fowler Wright

Merton Press

Acknowledgments for permission to reprint are due to

        It is sometimes said, very foolishly, that poetry is antipathetic to the atmosphere of a great city, or the activities of commercial life. It is supposed to have its natural home in quieter and more bucolic surroundings.

        The poetic colour is green. The poetic afflatus arises from a leisurely contemplation of birds and flowers - and perhaps beetles.

        It is more poetic to consider a cream cow than a steam crane. Milk that foams in the pail has an inspiration denied to beer that foams in the pewter, - and even pewter has become rare from the hands of the city barmaid; or, at least, so I am told, being a drinker of water, and having little personal knowledge of these high matters.

        But love and war, in their widest meanings, not lambs and buttercups, have been the inspiration of song since the dawn of history, and will still be so when the grass is green in Lime Street.

        What is a city?

        It is a space of ground from which all contending growths have been ruthlessly stamped out, so that the maximum quantity of human life may be contained in that area.

        Generation by generation, moth to flame, the population of the country-side crowds in, and weakens, and dies, and is replaced by others who, in the second or third generation, must perish also. And always round it, sleeplessly, night and day, knowing it must gain at last, the back-driven wilderness fights to regain its own.

        Poetry is everywhere that 'heart-blood beats or hearth-smoke curls', but a city is the cradle where romance is bred.

        And what is commerce but war, and of all wars the most adventurous, - and the most ruthless? Owning the wolf-pack law that he who shows a wound shall be destroyed without mercy.

        Yet a war with many chivalries and probities, with many fortitudes and valours, that shall be nameless till the books are closed, and the last count taken.

        Poetry is everywhere: but commerce is the incarnation of romance itself.

        There may have been an occasion when the editor of an anthology was content with the result of his work, though I think it unlikely. It is less probable that it found a reader to share his satisfaction.

        The finished result indicates little of the labour of preparation. The selection made is only certainly successful in revealing the preferences, - and prejudices, - of the compiler.

        I do not suppose myself to be exempt from these failings, but I have at least endeavoured to discover every kind of genuine poetry which is now being written on the Merseyside, and to represent it, not as I think it ought, or as I should like it to be, but as it actually is to-day; and this work has, at least, been unprejudiced in that I am not a native of Liverpool, nor is any of the contributors personally known to me, or I to him.

        It is not probable that all the contents of such an anthology will appeal equally to any one reader. Those who find delight in the new and very beautiful art of Mr. Olaf Stapledon may be blind to the solid merits of the more conventional poetry of Mr. Hugh McColl. Those who are attracted by 'Between the Valleys and the Hills' may be repelled by 'God the Artist.' Either of them may have difficulty in doing justice to the artistic merits of their antipathy, and both of them may be cold to the magic of 'Sea Change,' the romanticism of 'Fountain Square,' or the delicate charm of Miss Saxton's poems on the Liverpool streets.

        But this is Liverpool poetry not as any of us would choose it to be, but as it actually is to-day; and, to my thinking, the range is wide, and the standard high.

        The contributors are natives of the Merseyside. They are all living, with the exception of G.S. Swindells, whose work it seemed unfair to exclude on the ground of his recent and untimely death.

Abbey House, Westminster, S.W.1. July 26, 1923.


Rachael Bates
        Sea Change
Catherine Bridson
        Peel Fishing Fleet
        A Sleep Charm
Catherine M. Jackson
James Laver
        Go not to Sleep on the Cliffs of Desire
        Domine Quo Vadis
Allan Leslie
Godfrey W. Mathews
        Astarte Syriaca
        The Seas of Death
        The Sussex Downland
        The Lady and The Jester
Hugh R. McColl
        Between the Valleys and the Hills
        A Song of Life
        My Wife, My Queen
        Dorothy, Bella, and Bess
        That's Mine
Rev. Stanley A. Mellor
        The Tree
        Violets and White Hawthorn
John Pride (From 'Ballads of Windytree.)
        Fountain Square
        The Dustman
        Wild Cherries
        The Bright Horse Shoe
        Din dan don ding
        The Bear Dance
        Charity Clare
E.B Saxton
        Church Street
        Hanover Street
        Castle Street
        Bold Street
        Water Street
        Lord Street
J.E. Simpson
        The Slum Wash
        When I am Old
        A Medley
        Smokeborough Nocturne
        Oedipus Rex
Stanley Simpson
        The Refuge
        Time the Mischievous
        Old Counsel
        The Choice
Olaf Stapledon
        God the Artist
        Creator Creatus
        A Prophet's Tragedy
        The Good
        Revolt against Death
        The Unknown
        The Relativity of Beauty
G.S. Swindells
        The Butterfly's Cradle-Song
        The Clown Protests
        A Jester
        Love's Tribute
John H. Warren
        The Lost Traveller's Dream
        A History
        Sun and Cloud
        The Ceaseless Lash
        An Epitaph
        Values Transvalued
J. Reginal Wilmot
        Bird Song
        Apple Blossom

Crown 8vo.                                        3s. 6d.

An Anthology Of Contemporary Verse

F'cap 8vo.        S. Fowler Wright                        4s. net.



'Some Songs of Bilitis' have the airy grace of all true lyrical poetry. Mr. Fowler Wright has all the poet's love of glowing colour, and of strange sensuous music. He is essentially a poet of classical ideals, and there are instances where he creates a sense of glimmering - and never quite luminous - beauty in the vague richness of one magical phrase.' - Birmingham Post.

Publisher's Announcements.

Published 1917                                        1/- monthly

POETRY. - A Magazine of Verse, Comment, and Criticism.

        Poetry Magazine (which is the only monthly periodical published in Britain devoted entirely to poetry) has won a recognised place as the leading authority on contemporary poetry. In addition to verse of high quality and variety, it has many reviews and articles of great interest, both to the writer and student of literature.

        Anyone who wishes to remain in touch with modern literary developments can afford to disregard it.

The Merton Press, Ltd., Abbey House, Westminster, S.W.1.

The Poetry League.

This league has been established with the objects of extending the knowledge and love of poetry by social meetings and lectures; encouraging and guiding young and inexperienced writers; stimulating interest in poetry competitions in the districts in which members reside; and, not least, of bringing the various parts of the Empire into closer touch with one another by these means, and by developing a critical appreciation of their contemporary literatures.

        It has a membership extending wherever the English language is spoken, and the Secretary, and the address below mentioned, will always be pleased to enrol members, and to give them introductions to others in their districts, so that social intercourse may be developed. Lecturers will be supplied by arrangement, where desired. Organising Secretaries are required in many centres where they have not yet been appointed, both at home and abroad.

        There is no entrance fee. The subscription is nominal, £1 1s. per annum, which can be paid quarterly, if preferred, and which includes a free issue of 'Poetry'; and it is hoped that all lovers of imaginative literature will avail themselves of the stimulating influence of an association of this kind.

        Fuller information will be supplied on application to the Hon. Secretary, at Abbey House, Westminster, London. SW1.

End of this file.