CHAPTER XIII
URANIA: THE POETRY OF MISS RUTH PITTER

A REVIEW in The Observer by Lord David Cecil introduced me to Urania, the volume in which Miss Ruth Pitter has selected from earlier collections of her verse the poems in her judgment the best. The expectations raised by the reviewer were more than fulfilled. Here is a poetess who, when the indis­pensable condition of poetry is so widely believed to be originality at all costs, even of intelligibility, writes in the traditional idiom and in common with the poets of the past is content with the originality of an individual vision and an individual employment of the accepted vocabulary.

Consequently there are no obscurities of language wilfully mis­used. What obscurities there are are but the veil drawn by a modesty of spirit about the poet's most intimate beliefs. Language and rhythm are limpid, lucid like the pure water Miss Pitter loves so well. Her poetry is simple but with the simplicity not of artlessness but of art. For she is a fastidious artist who has weighed carefully every word chosen.

As an artist should be, she is enamoured of perfection: "Dear Perfection" she calls it in the poem so named. Here's where (she) "perfection" is wholly mine:

Up from the line
Of lovely verse she leaps, and takes
In her strong hand my soul that shakes,
That faints and dies,
Yet lives by looking in her eyes.

Call not to me when summer shines,
Death, for in summer I will not go;
When the tall grass falls in whispering lines,
Call not loud from the shades below;

-301-

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