1 year ago

Poems by Isaac Rosenberg


POEMS BY ISAAC ROSENBERG passages rather than the placing of individual words very fine and very true." To Miss Seaton {written in Hospital, 1916). " I was very glad to have your letter and know there is no longer a mix-up ahout letters and suchlike. Always the best thing to do is to answer at once, that is the likeliest way of catching one, for we shift about so quickly ; how long I will stay here I cannot say: it may be a while or just a bit. I have some Shakespeare : ' the Comedies and also Macbeth.'* Now I see your argument and cannot deny my treatment of your criticisms, but have you ever asked yourself why I always am rude to your criticisms? Now, I intended to show you 's letters and why I value his criticisms. I think anybody can pick holes and find unsound parts in any work of art ; anyone can say Christ's creed is a slave's creed, the Mosaic is a vindictive, savage creed, and so on. It is the unique and superior, the illuminating qualities one wants to find— discover the direction of the impulse- Whatever anybody thinks of a poet he will always know himself: he knows that the most marvellously expressed idea is still nothing ; and it is stupid to think that praise can do him harm. I 34

. I ; INTRODUCTORY MEMOIR know sometimes one cannot exactly define one's feelings nor explain reasons for liking and disliking but there is then the right of a suspicion that the thing has not been properly understood or one is prejudiced. It is much my fault if I am not understood, I know ; but I also feel a kind of injustice if my idea is not grasped and is ignored, and only petty cavilling at form, which I had known all along was so, is continually knocked into me. I feel quite sure that form is only a question of time. I am afraid I am more rude than ever, but I have exaggerated here the difference between your criticisms and 's. Ideas of poetry can be very different too. Tennyson thought 4 1 Burns' love-songs important, but the Cottar's S. N. 1 poor. Wordsworth thought the opposite." To Miss Seaton {November 15, 1916 ; 'written in Hospital) "London may not be the place for poetry to keep healthy in, but Shakespeare did most of his work there, and Donne, Keats, Milton, Blake— think nearly all our big poets. But, after all, that is a matter of personal likings or otherwise. Most of the French country I have seen has been 35