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child of the arts. He plays an instrument. His music is the music of a lute of which some of the strings have been broken. It is so extraordinarily sweet, indeed, that one has to explain him to oneself as the perfect master of an imperfect instrument. He is at times like Watts's figure of Hope listening to the faint music of the single string that remains unbroken. There is always some element of hope, or of some kindred excuse for joy, even in his deepest melancholy. But it is the joy of a spirit, not of a “supertramp." Prospero might have summoned just such a spirit through the air to make music for him. And Mr. de la Mare's is a spirit perceptible to the ear rather than to the eye. One need not count him the equal of Campion in order to feel that he has something of Campion's beautiful genius for making airs out of words. He has little enough of the Keatsian genius for choosing the word that has the most meaning for the seeing imagination. But there is a secret melody in his words that, when once one has recognized it, one can never forget.

How different the Georgian poets are from each other may be seen if we compare three of the best poems in this book, all of them on similar subjects-Mr. Davies's Birds, Mr. de la Mare's Linnet, and Mr. Squire's Birds. Mr. Squire would feel as out of place in a hedge as would Mr. de la Mare. He has an aquiline love of soaring and surveying immense tracts with keen eyes. He loves to explore both time and the map, but he does this without losing his eyehold on the details of the Noah's Ark of life on the earth beneath him. He does not lose himself in vaporous abstractions; his eye, as well as his mind, is extraordinarily interesting. This poem of his, Birds, is peopled with birds. We see them in flight and in their nests. At the same time, the philosophic wonder of Mr. Squire's poem separates him from Mr. Davies and Mr. de la Mare. Mr. Davies, I fancy, loves most to look at birds; Mr. de la Mare to listen to birds; Mr. Squire to brood over them with the philosophic imagination. It would, of course, be absurd to offer this as a final statement of the poetic

attitude of the three writers. It is merely an attempt to differentiate among them in terms of a prominent characteristic of each.

The other poets in the collection include Mr. Robert Graves (with his pleasant bias towards nursery rhymes), Mr. Sassoon (with his sensitive, passionate satire), and Mr. Edward Shanks (with his trembling responsiveness to beauty). It is the first time that Mr. Shanks appears among the Georgians, and his Night Piece and Glow-worm both show how exquisite is his sensibility. He differs from the other poets by his quasi-analytic method. He seems to be analyzing the beauty of the evening itself in his poems. Mrs. Shove's A Man Dreams that He is the Creator is a charming example of fancy toying with a great theme.

(3) The Young Satirists.

Satire, it has been said, is an ignoble art; and it is probable that there are no satirists in Heaven. Probably there are no doctors either. Satire and medicine are our responses to a diseased world-to our diseased selves. They are responses, however, that make for health. Satire holds the medicine-glass up to human nature. It also holds the mirror up in a limited way. It does not show a man what he looks like when he is both well and good. It does show a man what he looks like, however, when he breaks out into spots or goes yellow, pale, or mottled as a result of making a beast of himself. It reflects only sick men; but it reflects them with a purpose. It would be a crime to permit it, if the world were a hospital for incurables. To write satire is an act of faith, not a luxurious exercise. The despairing Swift was a fighter, as the despairing Anatole France is a fighter. They may have uttered the very Z of melancholy about the animal called man; but at least they were sufficiently optimistic to write satires and to throw themselves into defeated causes.

It would be too much to expect of satire that it alone will cure mankind of the disease of war. It is a good sign,

however, that satires on war have begun to be written. War has affected with horror or disgust a number of great imaginative writers in the last two or three thousand years. The tragic indictment of war in The Trojan Women and the satiric indictment in The Voyage to the Houyhnhnms are evidence that some men at least saw through the romance of war before the twentieth century. In the war that has just ended, however-or that would have ended if the Peace Conference would let it-we have seen an imaginative revolt against war, not on the part of mere men of letters, but on the part of soldiers. Ballads have survived from other wars, depicting the plight of the mutilated soldier left to beg :

You haven't an arm and you haven't a leg,

You're an eyeless, noseless, chickenless egg,
You ought to be put in a bowl to beg—

Och, Johnnie, I hardly knew you!

But the recent war has produced a literature of indictment, basing itself neither on the woes of women nor on the wrongs of ex-soldiers, but on the right of common men not to be forced into mutual murder by statesmen who themselves never killed anything more formidable than than a pheasant. Soldiers-or some of them-see that wars go on only because the people who cause them do not realize what war is like. I do not mean to suggest that the kings, statesmen and journalists who bring wars about would not themselves take part in the fighting rather than that there should be no fighting at all. The people who cause wars, however, are ultimately the people who endure kings, statesmen and journalists of the exploiting and bullying kind. The satire of the soldiers is an appeal not to the statesmen and journalists, but to the general imagination of mankind. It is an attempt to drag our imaginations away from the heroics of the senate-house into the filth of the slaughter-house. It does not deny the heroism that exists in the slaughter-house any more than it denies the heroism that exists in the hospital ward. But it protests that, just as the heroism of a man dying of cancer must not be taken to

justify cancer, so the heroism of a million men dying of war must not be taken to justify war. There are some who believe that neither war nor cancer is a curable disease. One thing we can be sure of in this connection: we shall never get rid either of war or of cancer if we do not learn to look at them realistically and see how loathsome they are. So long as war was regarded as inevitable, the poet was justified in romanticizing it, as in that epigram in the Greek Anthology:

Demætia sent eight sons to encounter the phalanx of the foe, and she buried them all beneath one stone. No tear did she shed in her mourning, but said this only: "Ho, Sparta, I bore these children for thee."

As soon as it is realized, however, that wars are not inevitable, men cease to idealize Demætia, unless they are sure she did her best to keep the peace. To a realistic poet of war such as Mr. Sassoon, she is an object of pity rather than praise. His sonnet, Glory of Women, suggests that there is another point of view besides Demætia's :

You love us when we're heroes, home on leave,
Or wounded in a mentionable place.
You worship decorations; you believe
That chivalry redeems the war's disgrace.
You make us shells. You listen with delight,
By tales of dirt and danger fondly thrilled.
You crown our distant ardours while we fight,
And mourn our laurelled memories when we're killed.
You can't believe that British troops "retire "
When hell's last horror breaks them, and they run,
Trampling the terrible corpses-blind with blood.
O German mother dreaming by the fire,

While you are knitting socks to send your son
His face is trodden deeper in the mud.

To Mr. Sassoon and the other war satirists, indeed, those who stay at home and incite others to go out and kill or get killed seem either pitifully stupid or pervertedly criminal. Mr. Sassoon has now collected all his war poems into one volume, and one is struck by the energetic hatred of those who make war in safety that finds expression in them. Most

readers will remember the bitter joy of the dream that one day he might hear "the Yellow Pressmen grunt and squeal," and see the Junkers driven out of Parliament by the returned soldiers. Mr. Sassoon cannot endure the enthusiasm of the stay-at-home-especially the enthusiasm that pretends that soldiers not only behave like music-hall clowns, but are incapable of the more terrible emotional experiences. He would like, I fancy, to forbid civilians to make jokes during war-time. His hatred of the jesting civilian attains passionate expression in the poem called Blighters:

The House is crammed: tier beyond tier they grin
And cackle at the Show, while prancing ranks

Of harlots shrill the chorus, drunk with din;

"We're sure the Kaiser loves the dear old Tanks!"

I'd like to see a Tank come down the stalls,

Lurching to rag-time tunes, or "Home, sweet Home,❞—
And there'd be no more jokes in Music-halls

To mock the riddled corpses round Bapaume.

Mr. Sassoon himself laughs on occasion, but it is the laughter of a man being driven insane by an insane world. The spectacle of lives being thrown away by the hundred thousand by statesmen and generals without the capacity to run a village flower-show, makes him find relief now and then in a hysteria of mirth, as in The General:

"Good-morning; good-morning!" the General said
When we met him last week on our way to the Line,
Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of 'em dead,
And we're cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
"He's a cheery old card," grunted Harry to Jack
As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.

*

But he did for them both by his plan of attack.

Mr. Sassoon's verse is also of importance because it paints life in the trenches with a realism not to be found elsewhere in the English poetry of the war. He spares us nothing of :

The strangled horror

And butchered, frantic gestures of the dead.

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