The Works of Sydney Fowler Wright 1874 - 1965

Voices On The Wind - First Series (Second Impression)
An Anthology Of Today

Preface by S. Fowler-Wright

Published by: Merton Press


        Thanks are due to 'Chambers Journal' for permission to reprint Evening (Lorna Keeling Collard); to 'The Poetry Review' for Betrayal (Lorna Keeling Collard); to Messrs. Erskine Macdonald, Ltd., for A Song of the Sea (B.J. Pendlebury); to the proprietors of 'Punch' for All in a Garden Fair (P. Habberton Lulham); to the Editor of 'To-day' for Unfed and Beauty (Stephen Southwold); to Messrs. Hughes and Harber, Ltd., The Royal Press, Longton, for Staffordshire (E.M. Rudland), and to M. Paul Fort and the 'Mercure de France' for Gai, gai, marions-nous (Anita Moor).


        As a companion to this Anthology, a similar volume will be issued before the close of the present year, containing selections from the best work of contemporary Dominion and Colonial writers.

        Those who are not already acquainted with Dominion literature, (which we are afraid must include the great majority of the book-loving public in Great Britain), will probably be surprised at the range and quality of the poetry which is being produced in other parts of the Empire, and which receives too little recognition in this country.


On Anthologies In General.

        A comprehensive and impartial anthology of the poetry of to-day would be an event of lasting literary importance, but there is certainly no such volume in existence, nor can it be said that it has been seriously attempted.

        There are some that represent mainly, if not entirely, certain cliques or coteries; and there are others which contain little more than specimens of the work of such writers as have already obtained the notice of reviewers, without any apparent reference to their intrinsic merit; and there are still others confined entirely and deliberately to the eccentricities of the moment, a species of writing which always takes itself very seriously, unware that it is 'conceived in the spirit of the passing time, and partakes of its transitoriness.' (Matthew Arnold)

        The present volume, though there are numerous writers of distinction who, for various reasons, are not included, can claim to be something more than any of these, being more varied in its contents, and more catholic in its sympathies.

        As Editor of Poetry during recent years I have endeavoured to give publicity to good work of every variety which comes under my notice, with entire disregard to established reputations and without preference for or hostility towards the poetic vagaries of the moment. I have endeavoured to compile the present volume in the same spirit of tolerance, and recognition of every manner of composition either in form or subject.

Romantic Narrative Poetry.

        Even that highest and most difficult form of poetry, - romantic narrative, - which is produced to-day under an extremity of discouragement, has found a place where it may consort on equal terms with lyric and didactic verse.

        And this, at least, is an innovation, for though romantic narrative poetry derives through Homer, Vigil, Dante, Chaucer, Spenser, and Scott, and need have no shame for its ancestry, yet I suppose that if Homer produced the Odessy to-day, he would not easily overcome the silence of the reviewers, or the reluctance of the trade to stock a rambling narrative by an ignored author, which a public educated up to the Imagist standard would know at once to be 'not poetry', and avoid accordingly.

Tendencies Of Modern Verse.

        I suppose it would be generally agreed that poetry is the one art in which for centuries past we have been supreme among the Aryan races. Certainly, the raw material of poetry, and the capacity to appreciate it, exist among us abundantly.

        But while it was noticeable that during the stress of the war the demand of the public for poetry increased very greatly, it is said that it has since diminished. May it not be the explanation that they asked for bread and we gave them stone?

        The craftsmen who consider their technique to be an end in itself, and who expend it upon the obscure or the trivial, must not complain if they have only themselves for an audience.

        The craftsman of any art will always strive for the shaping of beauty in new and unexpected ways, and it is well that it is so; but the wayfarer on the journey of life will lift to his lips the pitcher which is full of living water, however homely, and pass that which is empty, however beautiful.

It's Lack Of Courage.

        And putting aside all questions of construction, it appears to me that the quality in which modern poetry is most deficient is that of courage, and it is that loss by which it is sterilised.

        I do not allude merely to the decadent verse which attracts undue attention owing to the stench of corruption which arises from it, - every decade produces, and the next forgets it, - though it is the sign of its kind that it fawns on fate or shivers before it; not understanding that it is only the fine spiritual quality of courage in Villon which gave us an immortal voice from the thieves' dens where he consorted, through centuries of intervening and forgotten ribaldry.

        But this pusillanimous attitude is too often apparent in contemporary poetry to which the word 'decadent' is not otherwise applicable.

        From the times of David and Isiah to that of Fitzgerald and Henley the world's poets have faced the problems 'of human death and fate,' not unawed, but at least with eyes level and unafraid.

        If there were those also who could only cringe or whine before the mystery which surrounds us, humanity has not cared to remember them.

A Lesson From The Victorians.

        It is a point on which we might well take a lesson from the now-despised Victorians. There is nothing 'resolute in worst extremes' about the bulk of the verse which issues from the press to-day. Swinburne may have been 'without God in the world,' but he could still conceive the attitude of the Athenians, when threatened with the extremity of human disaster, in that heroic chorus, -

      'Let us lift up the strength of our hearts in song,
      'And our eyes to the close of the dark'ning day.'

        How many poets of to-day, handling the same theme, would have realised it in an equal spirit? Imagine it in the hands of Thomas Hardy, or Ezra Pound.

        It is part of the greatness of Swineburn that though he had no faith in any divine overruling Power, or that there is constancy in love, or permanence in life, yet in a world of 'change, a darkness deeper far than death,' nobility and sacrifice, in a word Christianity, still seemed to him the natural standard of human conduct, and it is through this recognition, which is implicit in all his poetry, that it does not teach inconstancy or infidelity, though if often states them.

        There is more real poetry in these two high-hearted lines, -

      'Knowing life a venture is
      Down through all the centuries,'
            (Yorkshire Ways, C.A. Renshaw - see p. 51)

        - written in an age so mean that it finds no use for the words 'adventurer' or 'adventuress', unless in disparagement or accusation - than in all the vers libre on pots and packing cases, and similarly inspiring topics, that has been produced during the present century.

Meanness Of Subject.

        Great poetry could never grow in so craven an atmosphere and its exponents bring in their own verdict of condemnation when they choose such themes as lice or barrel organs as fitting subjects for their compositions. (A current periodical, devoted to poetry, amid some better verse, and some which is not so, contains printed matter under this heading, in which appears this gem of poetic profundity:

      'In the night
      The piano-organ suddenly ceases.
      Doubtless it has been wheeled away.'
              (I hope it has.)

Vers Libre.

        I do not intend to imply that all modern vers libre is of such quality. Some of it is almost as good as that which was produced in the time of Edward IV. But there is an amazing incapacity to discriminate among its enthusiasts, and work which reaches the borderline of genius may be found in certain periodicals of to-day side by side with the dullest rubbish ever written in intolerably bad English, or 'poems' in which a certain lewdness (Using the word both in its original and modern meanings) of outlook is the sole distinguishing characteristic.

        With the spirit of adventure in art, as in every relation of life, I have the fullest sympathy, and to vers libre, or any experimental form of verse, I have never shown or felt any hostility.

        Our literature for five centuries has been full of the music of irregular rhythms for those ho can hear them, and it is the defect of most modern verse of this character, not that it is irregular, but that it is halting and prosaic.

        I do not think the poems of Mrs Dawson Scott could possibly be produced in a more artistic or appropriate medium, but their originality is that of an authentic tradition, and their ground-work is the accepted metres in which our language must always find its fullest range of emotional expression.

        'Modernity' is a word which could have been applied to the bulk of the poetry of any era, but always it would have implied the fashion, the convention, of the moment, - not the inspiration, but the dead weight against which the living forces of passion and beauty and truth had to struggle to find expression which should be timeless.

        Great poetry is neither temporary nor local.

        'Modernity' is as serious a charge against it as provincialism, - the one being a restriction in time as the other in space, and the greatest poetry has always been that which is least conscious of either influence.

        After I had settled in mind the substance of this introduction, but before I had commenced to write it, I chanced upon a book by Miss Mary C. Sturgeon, entitled ' Studies of Contemporary Poets'. Her selection appeared somewhat surprising, both in its admissions and exclusions, until I read in her preface that she used the word 'contemporary' 'in its full sense', and that a good deal of contemporary poetry was therefore excluded; and as I turned over the book I realised that to her 'the full sense' of 'contemporary' in poetry, is that which is experimental or in some manner deformed or abnormal.

What This Anthology Claims To Be.

        Certainly, I have not approached the subject from that standpoint. But I have made a selection which, however incomplete, is wide enough (I hope) for the most diverse lovers of poetry to find many things in which they can take pleasure, and some with which they might not otherwise have met; and (I fear) for them all to find something also which is 'not poetry' to the intolerance of their conflicting definitions. But there is, at least, nothing which has been taken at random, or for the inclusion of which I could not give a clear reason if occasion required it; and I have endeavoured, in the range of selections, to cover the whole variety of contemporary poetry, from that quiet backwater of pleasant and cultured verse, the writers of which will assure you with serene confidence that Wordsworth was the greatest of English poets, even to those who will state with equal conviction that rhyme and metre are diseases of immaturity, which our literature (and who should know better than they?) has now cast off for ever.

S. Fowler-Wright


        AcharaMurdoch Maclean
        Adoration Of Soldiers, TheC.J. Arnell
        Al Koran, FromW.V. Tothill
        'All in a Garden Fair'P. Habberton Lulham
        Almond Tree, TheAgnes E.M. Baker
        AmoC. A. Dawson Scott
        AnguishE. Richardson
        Apple Orchard, TheC. A. Macartney
        AuroraNoelle French
        Balcony, TheThomas Day
        Ballad, AMary F. Guillemard
        Ballad of the Sorrowful Woman, TheE. Reyner
        BalladeJoyce J. Collard
        Ballade of December, AB. H. A. Jones
        Ballade of the Eternal QuestionF.C. Oakley
        BeautyStephen Southwold
        'Beloved Wife of. . .'C.A. Dawson Scott
        BenedictionIrene L. Watts
        BetrayalLorna Keeling Collard
        Bog at Ballybree, TheHylda M. Wearn
        Building of the Argo, TheMargaret Ormiston
        Bullet's Bit, TheL.M. Stewart
        Camp, TheGerard Clay
        Carousel, LeAnita Moor
        Charlatan, TheGerda Lindstrom
        Chesil BeachE.A. Marshall
        Child's SongDavid Bolt
        Chorus from 'The Death of Eli'A.J. Young
        Critical Soliloquy of a War WorkerG.R. Malloch
        Crucible, TheBeatrice Skilton
        Danse Dea GuerriersE.A. Marshall
        DawnEva Fitzmaurice
        Dawnlit Heights, TheC.A. Renshaw
        Dial, TheL.M. Priest
        Dreamer, TheRosalie Grylls
        Dream Piper, TheKatherine C. Ford
        Dream, Tryst, TheLorna Keeling Collard
        Dryad, TheG.R. Malloch
        Ean MohrPercy G. Stone
        Earth-boundHylda M. Wean
        EveningLorna Keeling Collard
        EvidenceRupert Haywra
        Faerie Well, TheBernard Sleigh
        FancyGerard Clay
        Finite and InfiniteNorman H. Johnson
        FlightingIsmay Trimble
        Flower of Sleep, TheA.D. Johnson
        ForsakenKathleen Walton
        FriendshipB.M. Skeat
        From an Old DiaryS. Matthewman
        From the Sanskrit (A translation)S. Fowler-Wright
        Gai, Gai, Maricns-nousAnita Moor
        Garden, AF.W. Bateson
        Garment, TheClarice M. Covell
        Golden Chain, TheP. Habberton Lulham
        Heart TidesP. Habberton Lulham
        HelenC.J. Arnell
        Helford RiverEdwin Stanley James
        Heritage, TheRupert Haywra
        House-builder, TheFlorence L. Henderson
        How Poesy Came to AntissaMary J. James
        Hymn in Commemoration of
                those who Fell in the Great WarF.C. Oakley
        'I Judge No Man'Gerald Clay
        IllusionGertrude M. Marriage
        In ChurchLorna Keeling Collard
        In San LorenzoCharles L. Payton
        In SpringJohn Meddop
        I Saw the Dawn Arise'Irene L. Watts
        Isolt of BrittanyA.M. Cristie
        Journey's EndV.D. Goodwin
        Kelly Of The ConnaughtsAnita Moor
        King's Seven Daughters, TheThomas Day
        LeavesP. Habberton Lulham
        Legend of Fenland, AE.A. Marshall
        LifeVera I. Arlett
        Lilac LureP.Habberton Lulham
        Little Plaid Shawl, TheAnita Moor
        Lotos, TheIrene L. Watts
        Maid BeautyElsie Paterson Cranmer
        MaidenhoodHerbert E. Britton
        MarianaPhyllis Erica Noble
        Minstrel, TheA.D. Johnson
        Moila - FarewellL.M. Stewart
        MournersGerda Lindstrom
        Music Maker, The (E.J.M.)Rose E. Speight
        My Mantle, Anita Moor
        Nature's CompassionAlbert Hounam
        NestedP.Habberton Lulham
        NocturneEdwin Faulkner
        Nymphs, TheConstance W. Anderson
        Old Song Re-Sung, AnC.A. Macartney
        On the Banks of the Choo-kiangK.A. Hooper
        On the CliffA.J. Young
        PainDorothy M. Bunn
        PanicP.Habberton Lulham
        Passport, TheClarice M. Covell
        Per Ardua ad AstraBlanche G. H. Tritton
        Periwinkle and WindflowersLucy Taylor
        Phaon the FerrymanMary J. James
        Poet, TheE. Richardson
        Poetry and VersePercy G. Stone
        PrayerJoan M. Grant Partridge
        Proof, TheD. Gourlay Thomas
        Quest, TheC.J. Arnell
        QuetionJohn D. Ware
        RaidersLeonard Galletley
        Red Bull of Norroway, TheR. Aspinall
        Red DawnP.Habberton Lulham
        Re-incarnate, TheV.D. Goodwin
        ReligionR. Crompton Rhodes
        RemorseM.E. Morris
        Reward, TheD. Gourlay Thomas
        Rondeau RedoubleF.C. Oakley
        Rose Spinel, TheJ.M. Symns
        RoundelAnita Moor
        RoundelMyfanwy Pryce
        Sally LunnPercy G. Stone
        Salon, TheG.R. Malloch
        'Scenes from the Morte D'Arthur,' FromS. Fowler-Wright
        Sea LoverDorothy M. Bunn
        Seed, TheFrank Noble Wood
        ShadowsBeatrice Skilton
        ShatteredConstance W. Anderson
        Sit Lightly in the Saddle, LadsAnita Moor
        Sixth Day, TheC.A. Dawson Scott
        SlaveryKatherine C. Ford
        Sleeping Countryside, TheF.V. Bagott
        'Sleepless, I Linger'Leonard Galletley
        'Some Songs of Bilitis,' FromS. Fowler-Wright
        Song, AAnita Moor
        Song of Songs, TheDoreen Hately
        Song of Spring, AM. Dangerfield
        Song of the Sea, AB.J. Pendlebury
        Song of Silence, TheHylda M. Wearn
        Song of the Winds, AHilda Drabble
        Songs of Three Shires:-E.M. Rudland
                I.   Staffordshire
                II.  Warwickshire
                III.  Worcestershire
        Sonnet ('The fates')Philip Romley
        Sonnet of Summer, AEsther Raworth
        SorrowingJoan M. Grant Partridge
        Spell of Flowers, AEdwin Faulkener
        Spirits of the HillsHylda M. Wearn
        SpringKathleen M. Old
        Spy, TheW.V. Tothill
        St. Dunstan'sHilary Thorpe
        Still-room Maid, TheM. Dangerfield
        Suburb Street, TheG.R. Malloch
        SummerF.V. Bagott
        Summer NightV.D. Goodwin
        Supplication to Our Lady, AD.M. Warren
        Surrey HillsIsmay Trimble
        Teacher, TheMyanwy Pryce
        Te Deum LaudamusHerber E. Britton
        TewkesburyR. Fortescue Doria
        ThalassaS. Matthewman
        Thousand Years Ago, AW.V. Tothill
        Three Triolets (March, April, May)May Florence Brown
        Through the BorderlandsP.Habberton Lulham
        To a ClockIsobel Mackenzie
        To All PoetsC.J. Arnell
        To CanadaAntoine Didier
        To Daphne on BroadwayR. Crompton Rhodes
        To DulcibelleAgnes E. M. Baker
        Token, TheGerard Clay
        To MairiL.M. Stewart
        To N.L.M. Stewart
        To One DeadIrene L. watts
        To the Young Who Perished - 1914 - 1918L.M. Stewart
        To Walter de la MareA. Evelyn Murray
        Tree, AW.A.G. Kemp
        Tree, TheJoan M. Grant Partridge
        Two Roses, TheClarice M. Covell
        Uncharted Coast, TheLorna Keeling Collard
        Unfed, TheStephen Southwold
        Vagabond's Epitaph, ALeonard Galletley
        Venus de Milo, TheB.H.A. Jones
        Vision, TheA.D. Johnson
        Vision of Dawn, TheMyfanwy Pryce
        Void Moon, TheEdwin Faulkner
        Ways of BabylonIrene L. Watts
        When Upland PinesL.M. Priest
        Window, TheThomas Day
        Withered DreamsHilda Hart
        Wood, The (Evening)Joan M. Grant Partridge
        Yorkshire WaysC.A. Renshaw

An Anthology of Contemporary Verse

Only Poems by SFW included

From The Sanskrit. (A translation)

      Withhold, who would'st retain thy wandering way,
        Thy thoughts from tracts of woman's form to stray,
      Adream its hills and pleasant vales amid,
        For in its thicket-growths a thief is hid
      Who only peace will take, and pain will pay.
      Love's god men call who doth this ambush hold,
        To thrall thee till thy latest pulse be cold.
      A god misnamed, of rather hate is he,
        Who seeks to sieze thy feet from wandering free,
      To leave thee bond, to such life-service sold.
              S. Fowler-Wright.


II. My hair was blown across my mouth.

      My hair was blown across my mouth. My feet
        Sank in the mountain snow.
      He said, What think ye in these wilds to meet,
        That in such haste ye go?

      There was a satyr in the vale, I said;
        I traced it where it trod.
      He said, The satyrs with the fauns are dead;
        Nor oread lives, nor god.

      But rest thou by the fire I make, and I
        A naiad's tomb will show.
      With iron-shod staff he smote the stream-bed dry,
        And told the tomb below.

      He said, The winter binds the hills more fast
        Than ten years' space should know.
      He bore me lamb-like o'er his shoulder cast
        Down the long slopes of snow.

IX. "The first had wealth."

      The first had wealth beyond a dream's conceit.
        A rope of pearls he gave:
      A city's worth, with palace, hall, and street,
        Market, and ware, and slave.

      The second sang my hair, a cloud that lay
        Night on the moving mere:
      My eyes that drew him from that night away
        As though blue dawn were here.

      The third had beauty, like a holding net
        To snare a girl's entreat.
      His hands upon my naked knees he set,
        Bending to kiss my feet.

      Thou hast no words to sing me (nay, not me!)
        Thou hast no pearls to pay;
      Thou hast not beauty; yet I long for thee,
        And utter naught are they.

XIII. "O sombre woods, reveal if here she came."

      O sombre woods, reveal if here she came.
        She sought the vale below.
      O vale, I call again my mistress' name.
        The river trail ye know.

      O river, tell me, did she wander here?
        By the great road she goes.
      O road, reveal. Thy barren course is clear.
        The city street she chose.

      O happy street, that felt her naked tread, -
        She took the golden way.
      O way, what closes all the space ahead?
        The palace gates are they.

      O palace, yield her whom I seek so far.
        Beneath her breasts are bound
      Pearls and great gems, for honour's fallen star
        Herself thou hast not found.

VII. "I sing not loves long ceased."

      I sing not loves long ceased, and lost within
        The cold receding sea.
      What are the Paphian's woes, or Byblis' sin,
        Or Helen's arms to me?

      What thirst of life was theirs, what hope, what fear,
        But in me beats today?
      I spoil or lose, I reach or hunger here,
        And sterile shades are they.

      In me, in me, the exultant pulses stir,
        As here supine I lie.
      It is my life I sing. Shall life recur?
        Shall the great darkness die?

      But when no more my veins their strength renew,
        When the last road I go,
      Be then no cup I have not lifted too,
        No draught I did not know.

From 'Scenes From The Morte D'Arthur.'

I. Lancelot At The Cross

      The dusk was round him, and the dark ahead,
      And still the hopeless dole the hermit said,
      With drear reiteration, like a bell,
      Tolled in his thought. No hastened pace he rode,
      Nor cared his end, but ere full darkness fell
      A wayside shrine he reached, the where the road
      Branched in the waste. A cross of mouldering stone
      And near, a ruined chapel rose, as though
      Long fired and plundered by some heathen foe;
      And in the shadow of those charred walls he lit,
      And left his steed, and entrance sought, but all
      Was blank thereof, and round from wall to wall
      He searched in vain. One gated porch alone
      He found, and barred against him.
              Most dismayed
      At this repulse, for seemed that God unfit
      Had judged him, even that in such walls he prayed,
      He turned at last, and in this more despair
      Had ridden again to cease his thought, but where
      He left his steed, the wayside cross he knew,
      And hope thereat, though lowliest, waked anew.
      'For,' thought he, 'though to this life's end I be
      Refused of Heaven, who may not share may see
      The festals given of kings, and I would be,
      Though lastly from the outmost seat withsaid,
      When comes God's bridal, and the feast is spread,
      A lazer at the gates.'
              He loosed his steed
      For pasture where it would, and all unlaced
      His arms, and close beside that cross he lay,
      Couched on cold ground, and colder shield, and there,
      Sunk in that shadow where no sin may dare,
      Found comfort in the peace of wordless prayer.
      And slept at last, and saw with wondering eyes
      The Grail itself in vision, beyond surmise
      Radiant in light. And near a lazer drew,
      Fouled with great sores and filth, and reached a hand
      Toward it, timorous, but did naught withstand;
      And in that dream he saw the sick man rise,
      Whole at the touch; and waked in peace, and knew
      The last stars failing in the darkened blue,
      Till heaven delayed no more its void desire,
      But day, new risen, wing-lifting, fledged with fire,
      Raptured o'er that wide plain its wider skies.

II. Gawain And The Hermit.

      From lift of spring to autumn's long decline
      Rode Gawain on the quest. Through shade and shine,
      Through dark and dawn he rode, for not was he
      Light-turned from any taken path to be,
      Importunate of purpose, wont to win.

      Unswerving course through hostile lands or kind
      He held, but naught of venture met therein,
      Nor vision nor rumour of the Grail might find.

      And wearying of the quest at last, and wroth
      At those eventless days that dawned and died
      Unreal, where seemed a knight might dreaming ride
      Beyond the known earth and the steps of men,
      Vacant at heart, and in the loneliest glen
      His wandering life had known, unthought, he met
      Sir Ector, faltering on that weariest way.

      Well pleased, he hailed him: "Sure some friending fey
      Across this desolate waste thy course hath set,
      To break the silence of the strange still days
      That numbs the blood-beat in our hearts, foredoomed
      To failure, ere we rose this quest to try."

      And Ector answered in like mood: "Not I
      For listless care can ease of heart supply;
      Vext by vain dreams, and lost in wildering ways,
      Or mazed in mists where noon as night hath gloomed,
      Far from the coming of men my course hath been;
      Save that will chance to break the silent days
      That most my comrades on this quest, as thou,
      Ride past. But Percival I have not seen;
      Nor Bors, nor Galahad of our house; nor him,
      Our greatest, save in dreams. For while I ride,
      Oft from my sight, a vaporous veil and dim,
      Firm earth recedes and in its place I see
      Our Lancelot kneeling at a low pool's side
      His thirst to slake, the while the sinking brim
      Avoids his lips. The more he stoops, the more
      The mocking wave retires its arc, and he
      Rises at last, and leaves it.
              Once it seemed
      He entered in a rich man's house, who held
      High feast of bridal, but the rich man said:
      "Is no place here for thee," and he forbore
      A seat beside that feast to take.
              "Or dreamed,
      Or visioned of truth, I know not. Naught dispelled
      These sights unreal until they closed. Unled
      My charger chose his way. Unseen had sped
      My worst foe past me. Even the Grail forgot
      My mind retires; this vision of Lancelot
      So chases all my ways. I little deem
      Of joy to prove, until, to break this dream,
      Himself in better heart I meet."
              "Good friend,"
      Said Gawain, "light I count thy dreams, that rise
      From length of these eventless days. But near
      Where the rough vale the crowding boulders end,
      If rightly by the signs I rede, there lies
      A hermit's hut. Wilt there, thy doubts to cease,
      And mine alike? The holy man may hear
      Some voice of wind to guide us. Fair release
      From this vain chase well would I, where naught appears
      To call contest, the while our idle spears
      Rust in the thong; and in the dead still air
      We breathe with pain, and scarce our drowsing wills
      Control our paths, to no sure ends that lead.
      The streams lack life of lifting wave: the hills
      Seem bare of all that change or seasons show.
      Death is it in life. Shall all our natural need
      Be weighed as naught, or longer here forego
      All worth, except some likelier gain we see?"

      So turned they to that lone retreat, and there
      Found a green hollow in bare waste that lay,
      And in the midst a wattled hermitage.
      And near, stone-fashioned, but gapped and mossed with age,
      A shrine that earlier days had built, and where
      A birch tree drooped above the place of prayer,
      Leant lance, and entered.
              Rose that hermit old,
      With toil; and gazed Lord Gawain, hard and cold,
      Down on him: apart as alien worlds were they.

      "Fair lords, what would ye at my hands? My store,
      Though scant, is thine to take or use, or more
      Desire ye counsel from weak age that knew
      Life once as thine?"
              And answered Gawain: "Nay,
      Were deep our need thy meagre herbs to long.
      The Grail we seek, the Sacred Grail, that lay
      On Joseph's altar, till some earlier wrong
      Removed it thence, where no man knoweth; but through
      Long months we have ridden, and searched far lands, and now
      With all our Table's strength that joined this vow,
      Having sought so long in vain, would learn of thee
      If those who seek may somewhere hope to see,
      Or all be loss."
              He answered: "Ask ye me
      For all thy Table, or thyself? But nay,
      Well know I thy heart, that who should else attain
      Were more thy grief than pride, if given in vain
      Thine own devoir. There are shall win it. But thou,
      Thy mind a boast of murders cunningly wrought,
      Thy lance stained with the dried blood of the dead,
      That died offenceless in thy wrath - for naught
      Ye seek. Not violence here thine hope should be;
      Nor guile nor craft nor valour avails thee now.
      But that your faith to seek is faint, because
      You left for narrower ends and lewder laws,
      For baser dreams, the once belief you had,
      Twofold you fail, in truth and chastity.
      God from such eyes the Sacred Grail forbad,
      When first he snatched it from the world away."

      Answered Sir Gawain: "Not our lives deny,
      Nor may we cast the hard rebuke you say.
      The Grail goes by us, too old to change in grain
      The stubborn wood we be. But tell me sooth
      Why on our hearts the woeful hours have lain
      A burden wearying with the chanceless day;
      That if were truth in dream, or dream in truth,
      We knew not, wildered, nor could shake away
      These bonds in any bout of arms; for lay
      A land unreal around us, and a peace
      Long stranger to our earlier wont confined
      The restless wrath we knew?"
              He answered: "Nay,
      Not thus, to those God-chosen, should impulse cease,
      Or fail of ventures in His cause to find.
      Deemed ye the avoiding Sacred Grail to be
      Spoil of strong arm or practised craft, as though
      Should earth with Heaven contend for overthrow?
      Not Galahad, nay nor Bors, nor Lancelot, so
      Seeks on this quest, nor counts his days in vain
      That violence naught he meets, nor foemen slain
      Reveal him victor in fierce strife, but they
      Toil to cast off the earthlier lusts ye say,
      As cloud, that blinds them from the light they would.
      Hadst thou not ever with stubborn heart withstood,
      Were no tree nobler in God's woods than thou.
      Yet how shall He for thy last doom allow
      The boast of mighty girth or goodly bough
      With all thy branches lean as winter now?
      The fruit is naught, the tender green is gone,
      Yet mightst thou of the naked rind thereon
      Make such scant offering of thy late amend
      That God should save thee in the night of fear -"

      "Good sir," said Gawain, "had I space to hear,
      Much were I in thy wisdom held; but see,
      My comrade mounts already, and waiteth me,
      I may not longer on thy words attend."
              S. Fowler-Wright.


Now in preparation.

Shorter Poems

by S. Fowler-Wright.        3/6 net.

Including Some Songs of Bilitis, Elaine and Lancelot, and several poems not published previously.

Just Published.

Some Songs Of Bilitis.

by S.Fowler-Wright.        1/- net.

Scenes From The Morte D'Arthur.

by S.Fowler-Wright.(Alan Seymour)        4/- net.

        Poetry.        A Magazine Of Verse, Comment And Criticism.

        Contains new verse, and literary articles and reviews, in great variety.

        Also Prize Competitions, and many items of interest to all writers, students, and lovers of imaginative literature.

        The only monthly periodical published throughout the Empire, which is devoted solely to poetry and poetic literature.

Established 1917         Price 1/- monthly.

The Merton Press Ltd., 11, Gresham Street, London, EC2, and 1, Newhall Street, Birmingham.


        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 generally, and especially in the schools 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, at 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 to its members, and it is hoped that all lovers of poetry will avail themselves of the stimulating influence of an association of this kind.

107, Guildford Street, London, WC1.

End of this file.