The Spyglass, Views and Reviews, 1924-1930: Selected and Edited by John Tyree Fain

By Donald Davidson | Go to book overview

Conrad, and in both cases it is only a very small and incidental part of the truth.

" Sea Fever," "Roadways," "Biography," "Ships," and "Dauber" carry out the tradition of the sea that has come down from the Anglo-Saxon "Seafarer" through all of English poetry. But, much as I like and admire those poems (and I do), I find in them the lesser Masefield, the yearning, slightly tearful, much too romantic Masefield, who is a weaker person than the hot-blooded half-daredevil Masefield of "The Everlasting Mercy." Nor could I rank as his best work the sort of strain that begins "Beauty, be with me for the fire is dying." For I prefer to take ray beauty straight; I don't like to bear a poet mouthing over beauty and mooning over his devotion to it; let him go ahead and put beauty in his poetry and the rest will follow. I would even prefer an honest ugliness to a sentimental apostrophe to beauty.

I like stronger meat--the great sonnet series, for instance, where at last Masefield becomes philosophic to some degree and faces without flinching the problems of life in the rough, although even here he keeps invoking beauty in a too-insistent fashion

Thomas Hardy


Spyglass March 7, 1926

The publishers were too quick about issuing a volume of Collected Poems, as they did for Thomas Hardy a few years ago. The old master isn't ready to stop yet, not until they put him in those "six boards" that be discusses with

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