The Muse in Council: Being Essays on Poets and Poetry

By John Drinkwater | Go to book overview

FRANCIS LEDWIDGE1

FRANCIS LEDWIDGE, coming from Irish peasant stock, for some time living so that his publisher could advertise him as 'The Scavenger Poet,' joined the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in 1914, and was killed in Flanders in 1917, at the age of twenty- five, leaving two books of poems, and the material for a third which has since been published.

To these volumes Lord Dunsany has contributed intimate little prefatory notes, full of generous delight in a new poet's work. His preference for individual poems is a matter over which we may differ pleasantly enough; it is no small distinction for any man to have known the shy footfall of genius when it came, and Lord Dunsany has proved his critical sense in the best of all ways. It is with nothing but respect and gratitude for his charming and courageous god-parentage that we question his opinion at a crucial point in his very brief analysis of Ledwidge's poetic quality. He says, in introducing the poet's first book:

I have looked for a poet amongst the Irish peasants because it seemed to me that almost only among them was in daily use a diction worthy of poetry, as well as an

____________________
1
Songs of the Fields ( 1916); Songs of Peace ( 1917); Last Songs ( 1918). Three volumes, with Introductions by Lord Dunsany.

-289-

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The Muse in Council: Being Essays on Poets and Poetry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Note vii
  • Contents ix
  • Theories 1
  • The Poet and Communication 3
  • The Poet and Tradition 22
  • 'simple, Sensuous, and Passionate' 44
  • Poetry and Conduct 57
  • Ancient Altars 81
  • Philip Sidney 83
  • John Milton 99
  • Thomas Gray 114
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge 126
  • William Wordsworth 133
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley 143
  • Modern Instances 157
  • William Cory 159
  • Lord De Tabley 195
  • William Ernest Henley 205
  • Alice Meynell 224
  • A. E. Housman's 'Last Poems' 245
  • Edwin Arlington Robinson 248
  • Mr. Masefield's 'Reynard' And 'Right Royal' 263
  • Rupert Brooke 273
  • Francis Ledwidge 289
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