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and science. I think it can be shown is that society expands by developing that the German code of interna- certain customs, manners or folk tional behaviour constitutes a direct ways which ultimately become a code. and grave challenge to the essentials There has been growing up of recent of civilisation; that it is a reversion years an international code, which toward an earlier and cruder phase has determined the progress of civilof societal development—and that it isation. The Germans have marked must be extirpated if civilisation is a variation from this code, and have to go forward on its normal course.” been building up one of their own,
This extract indicates Professor sharply opposed to that of the other Keller's point of view. He looks at nations. This makes the present the war from the sociological stand- war the inevitable conflict between point, developing what he terms the the code of civilisation and the Gersocietal theory. This theory, briefly, man variant.
BY CHARLES E. GIBSON
You might have made, upon the fabric of his life,
So dull and grey,
A pattern appliqué.
And only shows,
A fleeting radiance glows.
LATEST BOOKS OF ENGLISH POETS*
BY JESSIE B. RITTENHOUSE
IF ONE had never heard that Wil used it chiefly as a point of departliam H. Davies had been a "Super ure. He was always sailing to Engtramp” he would know from the land and Scotland, working his way reading of his poems that he was a on ships, and who can forget the recman who had in some way burst the ord of those voyages, particularly gyves and come a little nearer to the the time he shipped from Baltimore native simplicities of life than most to Glasgow with eighteen hundred of us come. The innocence of Blake sheep: and the brooding of Wordsworth
The first night we were out at sea meet in his songs, the child and the Those sheep were quiet in their mind; seer become one. But though The second night they cried with fearconstantly sees Blake looking over
They smelt no pastures in the wind. his shoulder, there is a fundamental, They sniffed, poor things, for their green if subtle, difference in the work of fields, the two. Blake's eyes were much They cried so loud I could not sleep: oftener fixed upon angels than upon
For fifty thousand shillings down
I would not sail again with sheep. human beings, and the exceeding clarity of his vision has always about it The tenderness of Davies for all something of the mystic and mirac the dumb creatures is unsurpassed ulous, whereas Davies has won to in modern poetry. It is Blake's atclear seeing and to the utmost trans titude, religious at heart, but made parency of words by deep knowledge more tender and familiar by years of of life and of nature. To be sure, intimacy with the life of the fields he fled life; but he knew it, knew it and hedges. and suffered it to the full and nature
The wren knows well became to him an almost imperative
I rob no nest; refuge from the misery about him.
When I look in, His sympathy was too keen, he was
She still will rest. not sufficiently insulated by self-in
The hedge stops cows, terest to ignore the pain of the
Or they would come world, pain which was quick in him
After my voice from experience as well as contact..
Right to my home. While Davies spent a part of his
The horse can tell, youth in America, one never asso
Straight from my lip, ciates him with this country. He
My hand could not
Hold any whip. *Collected Poems of W. H. Davies. New York: Alfred Knopf.
Say what you like, Poems 1908-1914. By John Drinkwater.
All things love me! New York: Dodd, Mead and Company.
Horse, cow, and mouse,
Bird, moth and bee.
Mr. Davies almost as constantly
invites comparison with Wordsworth
as with Blake, but here, too, the essential difference is no less marked. He has Wordsworth's purity and simplicity but not the august quality which was quite as native to the older singer. He is wholly the lyrist and two-thirds the child, never getting over the wonder of all that he sees. This is the secret of his charm, for charm he has to a degree not often matched in contemporary poetry. Something more than charm, too, is in these songs that hold the first freshness of joy, the almost mystic transport of nature. The Rain will serve as well as another to illustrate this:
Could this song, for example, have been written since August, 1914? Sweet chance, that led my steps abroad, Beyond the town, where wild flowers
growA rainbow and a cuckoo, Lord How rich and great the times are now!
Know, all ye sheep
And cows, that keep
In grass that's wet from heavy rain-
May never come
I hear leaves drinking rain;
I hear rich leaves on top Giving the poor beneath
Drop after drop; 'Tis a sweet noise to hear These green leaves drinking near. And when the sun comes out,
After this rain shall stop, A wondrous light will fill
Each dark, round drop; I hope the sun shines bright; "Twill be a lovely sight.
Ecstasy of the sort that one feels in all of the nature poems of Davies is not essentially different from that which a mystic must feel in his moments of illumination, and is, indeed, a healthier thing. One arrives at God through withdrawal, through intense, self-centred contemplation, the other through beauty, through wonder, through finding God's handiwork good. No one can read the work of W. H. Davies without having his sense of beauty quickened and his reverence enhanced, and what priest or devotee could do more for him than this? When one reads these songs in the midst of war and world upheaval, they seem to belong to some innocent, forgotten period.
While these are the characteristic moods of W. H. Davies, one would know him but imperfectly who had not read certain of his London poems, such as The Heap of Rags, The Lodging House Fire, or The Sleepers. Here the hopeless misery of life among the very poor is so poignantly expressed that it haunts one. Where, in the work of Wilfrid Gibson, who has devoted himself until recently almost exclusively to depicting the same phase of life, does one find a picture that stays in the mind like that in the last stanzas of The Sleepers? As I walked down the waterside
This morning, in the cold, damp air, I saw a hundred men and women
Huddled in rags and sleeping there: These people have no work, thought I, And long before their time they die. That moment, on the waterside,
A lighted car came at a bound; I looked inside and saw a score
Of pale and weary men that frowned; Each man sat in a huddled heap, Carried to work while fast asleep. Ten cars rushed down the waterside,
Like lighted coffins in the dark; With twenty dead men in each car
That must be brought alive by work: These people work too hard, thought I, And long before their time they die.
The war has temporarily changed
all this in London and other large cial passion, none of the influence of cities, the labourer is king; but the the revolutionary verse. Mr. Drinkwar will sometime end and then So water's poems will not please the ciety has this age-old problem be ultra modern, but they are true to fore it.
the standards which he has set for
himself and they have their own POEMS, BY JOHN DRINKWATER
beauty, though it is often reminisTwo books could scarcely be more cent of yesterday. The Soldier is dissimilar than the poems of W. H. one of the most direct utterances in Davies and those of John Drink the book and pertinent to the preswater. The magnetic personality ent time, though by antithesis: that quickens one's mood the moment he opens the volume of Davies, is
The large report of fame I lack,
And shining clasps and crimson scars, lacking in that of Drinkwater. One's
For I have held my bivouac first feeling about the book is that Alone amid the untroubled stars. it lacks vibration, that it is static. This feeling does not wear away but
My battle-field has known no dawn it is modified somewhat by longer
Beclouded by a thousand spears;
I've been no mounting tyrant's pawn familiarity with the poems. In this To buy his glory with my tears. book, Mr. Drinkwater has brought together the best of his work done It never seemed a noble thing between 1908 and 1914. It is a se
Some little leagues of land to gain
From broken men, nor yet to fling lection from several books published Abroad the thunderbolts of pain. during that interval, a clearing of the decks for further action, for Mr. Yet I have felt the quickening breath Drinkwater's best work is still before As peril heavy peril kissedhim. To this conclusion I am im
My weapon was a little faith,
And fear was my antagonist. pelled by the fact that his most recent lyrics are his best, indeed the Not a brief hour of cannonade, selections from his work included in But many days of bitter strife, the last issue of Georgian Poetry are
Till God of His great pity laid much more fresh and delightful than
Across my brow the leaves of life. the majority of those in his collected
GEORGIAN POETRY 1916-17 volume. If, however, the book lacks some
Mr. Drinkwater is, as I have said, what in magnetic charm, it has the represented with several selections in fine feeling and the ideality without
the new book of Georgian Poetry, which charm were an empty thing. covering the past two years, and the It is set to a high mood throughout very quality that is lacking in the and the best English traditions have
volume which he has gleaned from helped to shape it. One would know
his earlier work, a native, spontanethat Mr. Drinkwater was English, ous charm, is present in the later even if the English landscape did not poems, for example, in this picture appear as the background of the of The Cotswold Farmers, reaping poems. Their feeling is altogether their ghostly fields : English, racial in the deepest sense.
Sometimes the ghosts forgotten go There is little of modernity as it Along the hill-top way, manifests itself here, little of the so And with long scythes of silver mow
Meadows of moonlit hay,
cellent opportunity to follow the Until the cocks of Cotswold crow
general trend of English lyric poThe coming of the day.
etry, to get a collective impression There's Tony Turkletob who died
of it and to note its characteristics When he could drink no more,
as distinguished from our own. The And Uncle Heritage, the pride
entire absence of vers libre, during Of eighteen-twenty-four, And Ebenezer Barleytide,
the period when it was most in eviAnd others half a score.
dence here, the entire absence, in
deed, of any revolutionary tendency They fold in phantom pens, and plough
in form-stands out as the most Furrows without a share, And one will milk a faery cow,
striking contrast with the work of And one will stare and stare,
American poets. Not less striking And whistle ghostly tunes that now is the fact that Mr. Monroe conAre not sung anywhere.
tinues to bring out the volume The moon goes down on Oakridge Lea, without including the work of any The other world's astir,
woman. In America this would not be The Cotswold farmers silently
possible, the book would be so maniGo back to sepulchre, The sleeping watch dogs wake, and see
festly unrepresentative and misrepNo ghostly harvester.
resentative that the public would not
accept it as authoritative. In this Perhaps no poets love their land as country women are doing work in do the English poets, and surely poetry of such a quality that it not none have a more beautiful land to only equals but in many cases surlove. To draw one's heritage from passes the work of men. This is not the Cotswold country is in itself al true, however, at the present time most a patent of poetry, so might it of any other country but America. inspire one to celebrate the intimate There are isolated exceptions in all beauty of those midland hills. With countries, but
countries, but the representative a British poet, love of nature is love work is being done by men. of England, love of the home land, This does not, however, excuse an and no poets are so consistently anthologist from presenting the best true to their country, so deeply, in that women are doing in his country, dissolubly linked with it as are the particularly when giving a biennial English. Every shire has inspired summary that is intended to follow beautiful verse, every locality has the course of English lyric poetry. its association with some singer and Another observation that forces takes on a romantic interest from itself upon one in looking over the his work. One never opens the book successive volumes of Georgian Poof an English poet without feeling etry is the lack of freshness of theme this love of the very soil that bred in the work of the British poets. If him, and Georgian Poetry having the it were not for the war, which introwork of eighteen poets, makes this duces a new element, the present volimpression accumulative.
ume might quite as well have been It is the third of the biennial an written a hundred years ago. True, thologies brought out by Harold all the great themes are eternal, Monroe of the Poetry Bookshop in and when they are presented as London, and taken in connection Masefield presents them in his sonwith the former ones, affords an ex nets to Beauty, of which several of