Selected Poems, Old and New

Selected Poems, Old and New

Selected Poems, Old and New

Selected Poems, Old and New

Excerpt

It is not, perhaps, necessary to append a date to each of the poems that follow, but I should state that the first nine poems in this volume have not previously appeared in any book of mine. Among them, To Charlotte Corday, Fool's Song, first and second, and Journalist's Song were the last written, being incidental pieces from an unfinished long poem entitled Demos The Emperor. I should add, also, that the poems which these immediately precede are among the earliest. Thus the Three Mexican Pieces were composed in 1919, while the Two Poems from The Phoenix Feasters appeared originally twenty-five years ago.

Poetic portraiture is a difficult art, one not very often essayed, but the poems reprinted from England Reclaimed, published in 1926, were written in an effort to form a gallery of rustic characters, and thus preserve their likeness, and commemorate a tradition and a way of life which were even then fast disappearing and have now vanished. The exigencies of the paper situation have obliged me, however, in this volume, to abbreviate the Grand Finale, conceived as a Teniers group of peasants, wherein all the figures which have been introduced separately, re-emerge in a body. I would have preferred to retain the poem in its full form -- or to have omitted it altogether, but this could not be done, either, because its exclusion would have forfeited the balance of the whole work, and would have entailed, too, a loss of direction.

Of some of the earlier poems in this book, various members of the public have lately written to me, declaring that they find in them a prophetic quality -- but prophecy should always be at poetry's elbow. One reader, for example . . .

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