Georgian Poetry 1920-22

Produced by Clytie Siddall, Keren Vergon and PG Distributed Proofreaders

Georgian Poetry


edited by

Sir Edward Howard Marsh

The Poetry Bookshop
35 Devonshire St. Theobalds Rd.
London W.C.1


To Alice Meynell

Table of Contents

  • Lascelles Abercrombie
Ryton Firs
  • Martin Armstrong
The Buzzards
Honey Harvest
Miss Thompson Goes Shopping
(from The Buzzards)

(from The Buzzards)

  • Edmund Blunden
The Poor Man’s Pig
The Giant Puffball
The Child’s Grave
April Byeway
(from The Shepherd)
(from The Shepherd)
(from The Waggoner)
(from The Waggoner)
(from The Shepherd)
(from The Shepherd)
  • William H. Davies
The Captive Lion
A Bird’s Anger
The Villain
Love’s Caution
Wasted Hours
The Truth
(from The Song of Life)
(from The Song of Life)
(from The Song of Life)
(from The Song of Life)
(from The Hour of Magic)
(from The Song of Life)
  • Walter de la Mare
The Moth
Sotto Voce
The Corner Stone
(from The Veil)
(from The Veil)
(from Flora)
(from The Veil)
(from Flora)
(from The Veil)
  • John Drinkwater
Persuasion(from Seeds of Time)
  • John Freeman
I Will Ask
The Evening Sky
The Caves
In Those Old Days
(from Poems New and Old)
(from Poems New and Old)
(from Poems New and Old)
(from Music)
(from Poems New and Old)
(from Music)
  • Wilfrid Gibson
Barbara Fell
Philip and Phœbe Ware
By the Weir
(from Neighbours)
(from Neighbours)
(from Neighbours)
(from Neighbours)
(from Neighbours)
  • Robert Graves
Lost Love
Morning Phœnix
A Lover Since Childhood
Sullen Moods
The Pier-Glass
The Troll’s Nosegay
Fox’s Dingle
The General Elliott
The Patchwork Bonnet
(from The Pier-Glass)
(from The Pier-Glass)

(from The Pier-Glass)
(from The Pier-Glass)
(from The Pier-Glass)
(from On English Poetry)
(from The Pier-Glass)

  • Richard Hughes
The Singing Furies
Poets, Painters, Puddings
(from Gipsy-Night)
(from Gipsy-Night)
(from Gipsy-Night)
(from Gipsy-Night)
  • William Kerr
In Memoriam D. O. M.
Past and Present
The Audit
The Apple Tree
Her New-Year Posy
Counting Sheep
The Trees at Night
The Dead
  • D. H. Lawrence
  • Harold Monro
Real Property
Unknown Country
(from Real Property)
(from Real Property)
(from Real Property)
  • Robert Nichols
Night Rhapsody
(from Aurelia)
(from Aurelia)
  • J. D. C. Fellow
After London
On a Friend who died suddenly upon the Seashore
When All is Said
  • Frank Prewett
To my Mother in Canada
Voices of Women
The Somme Valley
Burial Stones
The Kelso Road
Baldon Lane
Come Girl, and Embrace
(from Poems)
(from Poems)
(from Poems)
(from Poems)
(from Poems)
(from Poems)
(from Poems)
  • Peter Quennell
A Man to a Sunflower
  • V. Sackville-West
A Saxon Song
Mariana in the North
Full Moon
Sailing Ships
(from Orchard and Vineyard)
(from Orchard and Vineyard)
(from Orchard and Vineyard)
(from Orchard and Vineyard)
(from Orchard and Vineyard)
(from Orchard and Vineyard)
(from Orchard and Vineyard)
  • Edward Shanks
The Rock Pool
The Glade
Woman’s Song
The Wind
A Lonely Place
(from The Island of Youth)
(from The Island of Youth)
(from The Island of Youth)
  • J. C. Squire
Meditation in Lamplight
Late Snow
(from Poems, 2nd series)
(from Poems, 2nd series)
(from Poems, 2nd series)
  • Francis Brett Young
The Quails
Song at Santa Cruz

Prefatory Note

When the fourth volume of this series was published three years ago, many of the critics who had up till then, as Horace Walpole said of God, been the dearest creatures in the world to me, took another turn. Not only did they very properly disapprove my choice of poems: they went on to write as if the Editor of Georgian Poetry were a kind of public functionary, like the President of the Royal Academy; and they asked — again, on this assumption, very properly — who was E. M. that he should bestow and withhold crowns and sceptres, and decide that this or that poet was or was not to count.

This, in the words of Pirate Smee, was a kind of a compliment, but it was also, to quote the same hero, galling; and I have wished for an opportunity of disowning the pretension which I found attributed to me of setting up as a pundit, or a pontiff, or a Petronius Arbiter; for I have neither the sure taste, nor the exhaustive reading, nor the ample leisure which would be necessary in any such role.

The origin of these books, which is set forth in the memoir of Rupert Brooke, was simple and humble. I found, ten years ago, that there were a number of writers doing work which appeared to me extremely good, but which was narrowly known; and I thought that anyone, however unprofessional and meagrely gifted, who presented a conspectus of it in a challenging and manageable form might be doing a good turn both to the poets and to the reading public. So, I think I may claim, it proved to be. The first volume seemed to supply a want. It was eagerly bought; the continuation of the affair was at once taken so much for granted as to be almost unavoidable; and there has been no break in the demand for the successive books. If they have won for themselves any position, there is no possible reason except the pleasure they have given.

Having entered upon a course of disclamation, I should like to make a mild protest against a further charge that Georgian Poetry has merely encouraged a small clique of mutually indistinguishable poetasters to abound in their own and each other’s sense or nonsense. It is natural that the poets of a generation should have points in common; but to my fond eye those who have graced these collections look as diverse as sheep to their shepherd, or the members of a Chinese family to their uncle; and if there is an allegation which I would deny with both hands, it is this: that an insipid sameness is the chief characteristic of an anthology which offers — to name almost at random seven only out of forty (oh ominous academic number!) — the work of Messrs. Abercrombie, Davies, de la Mare, Graves, Lawrence, Nichols and Squire.

The ideal Georgian Poetry — a book which would err neither by omission nor by inclusion, and would contain the best, and only the best poems of the best, and only the best poets of the day — could only be achieved, if at all, by dint of a Royal Commission. The present volume is nothing of the kind.

I may add one word bearing on my aim in selection. Much admired modern work seems to me, in its lack of inspiration and its disregard of form, like gravy imitating lava. Its upholders may retort that much of the work which I prefer seems to them, in its lack of inspiration and its comparative finish, like tapioca imitating pearls. Either view — possibly both — may be right. I will only say that with an occasional exception for some piece of rebelliousness or even levity which may have taken my fancy, I have tried to choose no verse but such as in Wordsworth’s phrase

The high and tender Muses shall accept
With gracious smile, deliberately pleased.

There are seven new-comers — Messrs. Armstrong, Blunden, Hughes, Kerr, Prewett and Quennell, and Miss Sackville-West. Thanks and acknowledgments are due to Messrs. Jonathan Cape, Chatto and Windus, R. Cobden-Sanderson, Constable, W. Collins, Heinemann, Hodder and Stoughton, John Lane, Macmillan, Martin Secker, Selwyn and Blount, Sidgwick and Jackson, and the Golden Cockerel Press; and to the Editors of The Chapbook, The London Mercury and The Westminster Gazette.

E. M.

July, 1922


Lascelles Abercrombie

Ryton Firs

The Dream

All round the knoll, on days of quietest air,
Secrets are being told; and if the trees
Speak out — let them make uproar loud as drums —
‘Tis secrets still, shouted instead of whisper’d.

There must have been a warning given once:
No tree, on pain of withering and sawfly,
To reach the slimmest of his snaky toes
Into this mounded sward and rumple it;
All trees stand back: taboo is on this soil. —

The trees have always scrupulously obeyed.
The grass, that elsewhere grows as best it may
Under the larches, countable long nesh blades,
Here in clear sky pads the ground thick and close
As wool upon a Southdown wether’s back;
And as in Southdown wool, your hand must sink
Up to the wrist before it find the roots.
A bed for summer afternoons, this grass;
But in the Spring, not too softly entangling
For lively feet to dance on, when the green
Flashes with daffodils. From Marcle way,
From Dymock, Kempley, Newent, Bromesberrow,
Redmarley, all the meadowland daffodils seem
Running in golden tides to Ryton Firs,
To make the knot of steep little wooded hills
Their brightest show: O bella età de l’oro!
Now I breathe you again, my woods of Ryton:
Not only golden with your daffodil-fires
Lying in pools on the loose dusky ground
Beneath the larches, tumbling in broad rivers
Down sloping grass under the cherry trees
And birches: but among your branches clinging
A mist of that Ferrara-gold I first
Loved in the easy hours then green with you;
And as I stroll about you now, I have
Accompanying me — like troops of lads and lasses
Chattering and dancing in a shining fortune —
Those mornings when your alleys of long light
And your brown rosin-scented shadows were
Enchanted with the laughter of my boys.

The Voices in the Dream

Follow my heart, my dancing feet,
Dance as blithe as my heart can beat.
Only can dancing understand
What a heavenly way we pass
Treading the green and golden land,
Daffodillies and grass.

I had a song, too, on my road,
But mine was in my eyes;
For Malvern Hills were with me all the way,
Singing loveliest visible melodies
Blue as a south-sea bay;
And ruddy as wine of France
Breadths of new-turn’d ploughland under them glowed.
‘Twas my heart then must dance
To dwell in my delight;
No need to sing when all in song my sight
Moved over hills so musically made
And with such colour played. —
And only yesterday it was I saw
Veil’d in streamers of grey wavering smoke
My shapely Malvern Hills.
That was the last hail-storm to trouble spring:
He came in gloomy haste,
Pusht in front of the white clouds quietly basking,
In such a hurry he tript against the hills
And stumbling forward spilt over his shoulders
All his black baggage held,
Streaking downpour of hail.
Then fled dismayed, and the sun in golden glee
And the high white clouds laught down his dusky ghost.

For all that’s left of winter

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