Voices On The Wind - Second Series 1924
Edited and Arranged by S. Fowler Wright.
Published by: The Merton Press Ltd., Abbey House Westminster, London. SW1
It is somewhat over twelve months since the first volume of this series was issued.
A second impression was required within six months of publication, and it is still in steady demand.
Its success has justified an arrangement by which a similar volume will be issued annually in future.
The aim of the series is not to be either exclusive or comprehensive in character, but to form an annual of contemporary verse, either by known or unknown authors, much of which might be otherwise forgotten, and which is the aggregate indicates the poetic tendencies of the time, both on their creative and perceptive sides.
It is inevitable, in a book of this kind, that the whole of the contents will not appeal equally to any one reader. If it were otherwise I should be condemned as incompetent for the work I have undertaken.
There has been a tendency during recent years for preference to be shown both by the critic and the anthologist for certain morbid elements in contemporary poetry, to which they have given prominence, until it has been made to appear that they have been made to appear that they have been its dominant characteristics, and as though portraits of women 'about to be hanged', are not merely origins of poetic inspiration, but are the only ones deserving of serious consideration.
I believe the theory of art to be entirely false, and the assumption of fact to be mainly fiction.
To the extent to which the latter has been substantial, - and the critics did not invent the morbidity which they advertised, - I am content to know that such slight influence as I have had has opposed it consistently, and I am glad to realise that its day is already darkening.
Even in the short interval since I wrote the preface to the previous volume, there has been a perceptible change of tone and outlook, and writers of the order of Messrs. Lawrence, Flint, Eliot, and the like, can no longer issue their abortions in the comfortable certainty that criticism will approach them on respectful knees.
Even the fiction of D.H. Lawrence is no longer a revelation unquestioned, and a writer in the English Review rudely suggests that there may be some people of decent instincts in the world which his genius has disregarded.
It is true that the poetry of Thomas Hardy is still on its central pedestal, but there is a noise of approaching crow-bars, which may shortly cast it to a contempt which may not be entirely merited.
I suppose that the poetic tendencies of any period may be appraised more justly by a consideration of its 'minor' poetry, than by the work of its occasional genius, but I do not know that anyone has yet defined a 'minor' poet successfully.
When I endeavour to resolve the question I find that quantity is the essential requisite of the major poet, even though the most part of his production be of an unreadable quality.
A minor poet should be one who produces only minor poetry. Yet Fitzgerald is classified among the 'minor' poets by the historians of the last century's literature. I suppose that he would have been a major poet beyond challenge had he published his admitted masterpiece amidst a bulky volume of inferior verse.
Would Coleridge have been a major poet had he published nothing but 'Christabel', 'The Ancient Mariner', and 'Kubla Khan?'
Would the remainder of his published verse have separately sufficed to win him any continuing fame whatever?
These are curious questions, which could be applied to most of the 'major' poets with equal relevance.
We approach the a formula. The work of a major poet is equal to that of two minor poets, one of whom would be remembered, and one forgotten!
I am not contending that this is a volume of 'major' poetry. Even were it true, it would be useless to say so, for the first credential of a major poet is a death certificate. But here, at least, is much of freshness and variety of beauty for those of open and responsive minds; and some poems at least which may win to a permanent recognition, which they might otherwise have failed to reach.
What prospect of immortality would there have been for Alice Meynell's 'A Shepherdess of Sheep' had her literary work begun and ended with that one poem, and had it appeared only - its most probable fate - on the magazine page of a local newspaper?
If Miss A.D. Johnson were a voluminous writer I believe she would rank among the very first of our women poets. As it is, her work is almost unknown except to those who seek the best for themselves, and is only accessible through the media of magazine and anthology.
To-day there is a revived interest in poetry, which is the more hopeful because it is a movement from below not from above. I believe it to be gathering force, and that it will sweep into deserved oblivion the preferences of poetry which have masqueraded successfully during recent years.
One of the conspicuous results of this movement has been a keen demand for anthologies, in preference to the work of any individual author. In this I think the public instinct is sound. In average quality and in variety of form and content an anthology, even moderately well-chosen, must be superior to the work of almost any single mind.
There is another reason. The professional poet, even of the first rank, - and none would admit it more readily, or more generously - cannot control his inspiration, and, just because he is a professional poet, he will produce much which is rather of the nature of exercises in verse than authentic poetry, and the fact that it may be very skilfully written does not remove it from that category.
The occasional writer, - the amateur, if you will, - when at his best may write bad poetry, or (more probably) good poetry badly expressed, but 'verse' as distinct from what is poetry at all he is less likely to perpetrate.
It is a difference which criticism does not always sufficiently recognise; but which the general reader - the lover of poetry, who is not necessarily a technicist - instinctively appreciates.
These volumes - 'Voices On The Wind' - are confined to the work of writers in Great Britain. A companion series - 'From Overseas' - represents the work of Dominion and Colonial authors.
Abbey House, Westminster. Feb. 1924
CONSTANCE W. ANDERSON
One Quiet Hour
'When the Heart is Young'
Silver Birch in Winter
Christmas Day in Lincolnshire
HERBERT E. BRITTON
To a Chrysalis
M.K. MacKILLOP BROWN
DOROTHY M. BUNN
DUDLEY C. CAREW
The Migrant's Return
The Cobbler of Rouen
ALICE E. COLLINGE
Even Song of a Thrush
The Children's Room
MIRIAM A. COPPINGER
'When the Moon is Blue'
Return to Rye
E. ISOBEL CUMMING
The King's Lover
MARGARET S. DANGERFIELD
The Song of the Road
The Joy of Life
The World Approves
FLORENCE M. DAW
The Spirit of the Garden
MAY I.E. DOLPHIN
R. FORTESCUE DORIA
BRENDA MURRAY DRAPER
So Greatly Daring
ELIZABETH S. FLEMING
Gone is the Gleam
Night on the Moor
They come not Home
THE HON. LADY GORDON
The day of the Fair
'Time may not tarry in his awful stride'
'There are some fools who ever crave for cheer'
D.A. RUSSELL GREGG
W. ROBERT HALL
The Homeward Climb
REV. DOUGLAS L. HEATH
Ballad of Aber
On the Death of Robert Browning
FLORENCE L. HENDERSON
A Wayside Garden
The Valley of Christ
The Little Things
D. GRAHAM HUTTON
M. M. W.
Pentonville Prison, June, 1922
BLANCHE H.A. JONES
From My Window
The Devil amongst the Nuns
HONOR F. LEEKE
A Love Lilt
Ye Saucie Wench
W. BERNARD LIVERMORE
Dr. P. HABBERTON LULHAM
The Fireside Shelf
La Belle au Bois Dormant
On the safe Side
MARY C. MAIR
Thoughts from a Backwater
GERTRUDE M. MARRAIGE
E. ADELA MARSHALL
La Danseuse Mourante
The Widdy's Shilling
OLIVER H. MYERS
The Lady Chapel
The Eternal Secret
Spring on the Border
Before an Operation
In Memoriam (Guess, A Spaniel)
'Wild with all regret'
DORIS M. RHODES
Sweet Nell of Ullesmere
EVELINE B. SAXTON
Ballad of Kent Square
AGNES D. SCOTT
ELEANOR B. SIMEON
The Awkward Prisoner
Swallows at Maffrécourt
A Prophet's Tragedy
God the Artist
LADY LOUISE M. STEEVENS
CLARE F.F. THOMSON
The Spinner among the Stars
The Sunset Children
D. CLEGHORN THOMSON
E. TEMPLE THURSTON
The Song of the Plough
JOHN H. WARREN
The Lost Traveller's Dream
JOAN WOOLLCOMBE (Jabz).
S. FOWLER WRIGHT
The Temptation of Percival (from Scenes From the Morte d'Arthur)
PAULINE I. YOUNG
Heine on Ibn Gabirol
Only Poems by S.FW in this file.
- S. Fowler-Wright.
THE TEMPTATION OF PERCIVAL.
- Fastworn, Sir Percival, in that wild land,
And faint with toil, had seven days sought, and found
Naught of the Grail, nor any sight nor sound
Of life; but in the empty night he heard
Sighing of great winds in spaces waste and bare;
Cries, as of men, that sank where no men were,
Nor any life, nor call of nighted bird
Rose ever, but desolation, drear of day,
With wailings in lone night for life's delay,
Had brooded from the birth of time, and bore
Sad winds, that wailed along a broken shore
Of hungered, frustrate, and insatiate sea.
But that seventh night upon the sterile sand
He sank, too weak for longer toil, and lay
Despairing life, nor left with hope to pray
For that High Vision he sought.
- "Behold," he said,
That manna found at morn, or ravens fed,
But seems that in this demoned land and dead
My bones shall whiten till the final day."
But when the moon at her first dawn betrayed
Half heaven, and laid a path of silver flame
On the dim heaving of the waters dark,
A shadow down that path of light there came,
With sails full-breasted to the land, a barque
That grounded nearly where he slept, and made
Fast anchor from the falling tide, and soon
Came damsels thence, and by the rising moon
Pavilions there they raised, and banquet spread.
More late, their lady from the barque aland
Came with no haste, and passing near she knew
Where slept he yet, and closer stooped to view
A toil-worn knight and young, and softly spake,
His fast-born dreams of losing life to break:
"O gentle knight, what dost thou here, to press
A couch so cold in this stark wilderness,
Where naught but death goes with ye where ye go."
He answered, doubtful yet with dreams: "Not so,
But God's Grail seek I where it bides, and not
Turn we, so vowed, nor know what desolate spot
May hold it, hindered from the sight of man.
Nor were there land in this wide earth, God wot
Too deathly, so that there good hope might be
That sight in life beyond our worth to see.
But doubt I sore that not God's grace to me
Intends, but in this utter waste I die."
She answered: "Own ye not more hope that I,
Here driven in flight from bitter loss, may so
Thy spent life save, and then such quest supply
As shall advance thee in God's sight, and lead
To that High Vision that ye seek indeed,
Ere all be done? But rise ye first, and share
The feast my damsels for our ease prepare,
And I will tell such loss as leaves me bare
Of my world's wealth, except that here ye see.
Save I thy life, and will ye then my will,
Against the aggress of my most deadly foe
To attempt, and even to thy life's loss fulfil,
My most desire?"
- He answered: "Yea, to me
To all my knighthood false, and more to thee,
Except in thy devoir I serve or die."
Then softly to that moon-lit feast she led,
Of various meats and more delectable,
Him seemed, than erst in Arthur's halls were spread
At Yule, or Whitsun, or high banquet made
For bridal of great lord, his chiefest there.
And then, refreshed, his wearied limbs he laid
On no cold ground, to wind and tempest bare,
But silken-soft in that pavilion fair
His couch was dight. That damsel watched beside
While long he slept, and all his strength anew
Asserted in him, and noon to even grew,
And moon-rise came again, and falling tide,
Ere waked he, and again rich feast was spread
And wines perchance no earthly vintage knew
She poured, the while her woeful tale was said
From height once held of fate's reverse - "For I,
To this wild coast, and with no force, who fly,
Who own no train but these that here I bring,
Was child and heiress to a mighty king,
Whom served I fair, till more in pride I said
It may be than was meet, and he thereon
Renounced me wholly from his gates, and so,
In this denude of wealth, and open woe,
His servants, envious erst, and hateful now,
Pursue me, ruthless in their wrath; but thou
Shalt more requite for any loss foregone.
Art thou not found in these waste ways for me
To own my rescue and my lord in thee,
Noblest of all that search this quest, and fit
In might and valour to all my loss remit,
And seat me stablished where I first belong?"
And Percival gazed, and impulse swift and strong
Consumed him. Fair as any flower was she,
And in first youth, and in such garb that there
Man's work with Nature's mocked and lost compare.
For o'er one breast and shoulder mantling fair
Shot samite gleamed with gold, and one was bare,
That leaned towards him while she spake, and all
Her hair fell round him as a flame might fall,
Maddening his heart with most desire thereat.
Therewith he reached, but she some backward way
Leaned from him again, and spake, low-voiced: "Were that
Thine that ye would, and fain that grant would I,
Then wilt thou swear, to thy soul's doom, thy will
As I do now, so later mine shalt thou,
Nor aught of earth nor aught of heaven shall stay?"
He answered: "Till my latest pulse be still,
Without reluct of life, to right thy wrong
Thy knight am I, to thy most need, whom now
Beyond all gains of earth or heaven I long."
And she: "Without repent or change, ye swear
To serve and love me in that guise I wear
When walking in my land my purposed way?"
He answered, kindled to more fierce desire
By her consenting words, and act's delay:
"What might I further for thy surance say?
What more may knighthood grant, or faith require?"
And lifting eyes that shone with tears unshed,
She answered: "Nay, I doubt thee naught, and though
Ye more regard my present love to know
Than think to aid the harder need I said,
Am I not weaker in the like delight,
And spoiled of love, who know thee, O my knight,
For all thou art? But thou shalt pledge me true
Hence on to work my will, and that thing do
I treat thee ever. That in this faith content,
That thou shalt naught renounce, and naught repent,
Myself for guerdon in thine arms be laid."
Thereat, by chance, or grace of Heaven, he eyed
The cross-hilt sword her hands had laid aside,
And all his vows recalled his heart, and though
No strength he held to then that goal forgo,
"Lord, help me!" In his heart he breathed, and made
The sign of Christ with hand half-ware - and knew
That round him were bare wastes, and open blue,
And clean blown airs of heaven.
POETRY OF TO-DAY
RECOMMENDED BOOKS OF NEW VERSE.
SCENES FROM THE MORTE D'ARTHUR
SOME SONGS OF BILITIS.
Poets of Merseyside 2/6 and 3/6
Birmingham Poetry 1923-4 2/6 and 3/6
NOW IN PREPARATION.
A Manchester Anthology 2/6 and 3/6
Some Yorkshire Poets 3/6
FROM OVERSEAS 3/6 and 5/- net.
An Anthology Of Dominion And Colonial Verse.
This is the first of a companion series to Voices on the Wind.
Its intention is to introduce the contemporary poetry of the various centres of literary culture scattered throughout the English-speaking world, both to each other, and to English readers.
First Published 1922. VOICES ON THE WIND. (First Series)
An Anthology Of Contemporary Verse By Nearly A Hundred Of The Best Of Our -Living Poets-
With a Preface by S. Fowler-Wright.
A companion Volume representing the best work of Dominion Authors is now in preparation.
THE EMPIRE POETRY LEAGUE.
Headquarters: Abbey House, London, S.W.1
President: Sir Arthur Quiller Couch, M.A., D. Litt.
Chairman: L.H.B. Knox, Esq.
|Miss Lillian Baylis.||The Rt. Hon.|
|Sir Frederick Black, K.C.B.||Sir Gilbert Parker Bt., P.C.|
|Dr. F.S. Boas, LL.D.||Mrs. Dorothy Una Ratcliffe|
|Clive Carey, Esq.||Sir Landon Ronald.|
|The Countess Of Carrick.||Mrs. Jopling Rowe, R.A.|
|Mrs Paterson Cranmer.||E. Marston Rudland, Esq.,|
|W.H. Davies, Esq.||Sir Owen Seaman.|
|Oliver C. de C. Ellis, Esq.||Henry Simpson, Esq.,|
|Capt. Gilbert Frankau.||Miss Muriel Stuart.|
|Miss Rose Fyleman.||Miss Sybil Thorndike.|
|The Hon. Lady Gordon.||E. Temple Thurston Esq.,|
|Sir Sydney Lee.||Hugh Walpole, Esq.,|
|Dr. Habberton Lulham.||Israel Zangwill, Esq.|
|Thomas Moult, Esq.|
Vice-Presidents and Representatives of Colonial Branches:
Dr. L.H. Allen (Duntroon, Australia).
Mrs. Ida M. Cooke (Wellington. N.Z.)
Dr. P.S.G. Dubash (Karachi)
Dr. Ernest Fewster (Vancouver)
D.O.H. Holland, Esq., (South Africa)
Fredoon Kabraji, Esq., (Bombay)
Dr. J.D. Logan (Toronto)
J.E. Clare MacFarlane, Esq. (Jamaica)
Mrs. D.H. Wilcox (Syndney, N.S.W).
Hon. Sec.: Miss Fowler Wright, Abbey House, Westminster, S.W.1.
Hon. Treasurer: Mrs. Hamilton Scott, 9, Queen's Gate Gardens, S.W.7.
Auditors: Messrs. Trevor Davies & Co., Basinghall Street, E.C.
This league is a fellowship of those who are interested in poetry, and are banded together with a view to extending the love and knowledge of all imaginative literature.
Full particular's, programmes, &c., can be obtained on application to the Hon. Sec. as above.
Loren H.B. Knox, Chairman.
End of this file.