To acknowledge one's debts is not easy, not because one is insensible of them, but for two quite other reasons. When one begins to reflect, one is overwhelmed. What ideas has one, after all, which did not grow out of some conversation or some book? Every seed was planted, a few have borne fruit. But a worse perplexity follows. Is the harvest worthy of the husbandry? Who would care to own this crop?
It is best that no one should be implicated, no names mentioned. Where my creditors are printed books they will often be obvious, but my deepest debt is to a few friends who have been as candid in criticism as they have been generous in encouragement. To one of these,1 had it been good enough, the book would have been dedicated. But for his optimism it would not have been begun; but for his untiring helpfulness it could not have been completed.
For permission to quote copyright poems I am obliged to the Oxford University Press for The Caged Skylark, I wake and feel the fell of dark and Carrion Comfort by G. M. Hopkins ; to Messrs Burns, Oates and Washbourne, Ltd, and Mr Wilfred Meynell for an extract from The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson; to Messrs Faber and Faber, Ltd, and the author for an extract from Ash Wednesday by T. S. Eliot; to Messrs Macmillan and Co., Ltd, and the Trustees of the Hardy Estate for Wives in the Sere and In Tenebris by Thomas Hardy; and to Messrs Macmillan and Co., Ltd, and Mrs Yeats for The Folly of being Comforted, That the Night Come and The Rose of the World, by W. B. Yeats.