1 year ago

Poems by Isaac Rosenberg


; POEMS BY ISAAC ROSENBERG get it, please don't read it, because it's the merest sketch and the best is yet to come. If I am able to carry on with it, 1*11 send you it in a more presentable fashion. I believe I have a good idea at bottom. It's a kind of ' Rape of the Sabine Women ' idea : some strange race of wanderers have settled in some wild place and are perishing out for lack of women. The prince of these explores some country near where the women are most fair. But the natives will not hear of foreign marriages ; and he plots another Rape of the Sabines, but is trapped in the act." To Edward Marsh (1917). " I am now fearfully rushed, but find energy enough to scribble this in the minute I plunder from my work. I believe I can see the obscurities in the 'Daughters, 1 but hardly hope to clear them up in France. The first part, the picture of the Daughters dancing and calling to the spirits of the slain before their last ones have ceased among the boughs of the tree of life, I must still work on. In that part obscure the description of the voice of the Daughter I have not made clear, I see I have tried to suggest the wonderful sound of her voice, spiritual and voluptuous at the same time- 42

INTRODUCTORY MEMOIR The end is an attempt to imagine the severance of all human relationship and the fading away of human love. Later on I will try and work on it, because I think it a pity if the ideas are to be lost for want of work. My ' Unicorn , play is stopped because of my increased toil, and I forget how much or little I told you of it. I want to do it in one Act, although I think I have a subject here that could make a gigantic play. I have not the time to write out the sketch of it as far as it's gone, though I'd like to know your criticism of it very much. The most difficult part I shrink from ; I think even Shakespeare might :—the first time Tel, the chief of the decaying race, sees a woman (who is Lilith, Saul's wife), and he is called upon to talk. Saul and Lilith are ordinary folk into whose ordinary lives the Unicorn bursts. It is to be a play of terror—terror of hidden things and the fear of the supernatural. But I see no hope of doing the play while out here. I have a way, when I write, to try and put myself in the situation, and I make gestures and grimaces.' 11 To Gordon Bottomley (Postmark, July 20, 1917). " My sister wrote me of your note, and it made me very glad to feel you thought in that way about my 43