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Poems by Isaac Rosenberg

INTRODUCTORY MEMOIR

INTRODUCTORY MEMOIR English poet ? Tve found somebody miles and miles above everybody—a young man, Lascelles Abercrombie — a mighty poet and brother to Browning. 11 Other references in letters show how deep at this time Mr. Abercrombie's influence was. Rosenberg calls his " Hymn of Love 11 the finest poem of our time. He has now joined the Army, and writes from Bury St. Edmunds. To Edward Marsh (1915). " I have just joined the Bantams, and am down here amongst a horrible rabble. Falstaff 's scarecrows were nothing to these. Three out of every four have been scavengers, the fourth is a ticketof-leave. But that is nothing ; though while I'm waiting for my kit I'm roughing it a bit, having come down without even a towel. I dry myself with my pocket-handkerchief. I don't know whether I will be shifted as soon as I get my rig-out. 1 '' The next was written in hospital at Bury. To Edward Marsh. " First, not to alarm you by this heading, I must tell you that while running before the Colonel I 25

POEMS BY ISAAC ROSENBERG started rather excitedly and tripped myself, coming down pretty heavily in the wet grit, and am in hospital with both my hands cut. I've been here since last Saturday, and expect to be out by about the beginning of the week. It is a dull kind of life in the hospital, and I'm very anxious to get out and be doing some rough kind of work. Mr. Shift' sent me some water-colours, and I amuse myself with drawing the other invalids. Of course, I must give them what I do, but I can see heaps of material for pictures here. The landscape, too, seems decent, though I haven't seen anything but from the barracks, as this accident happened pretty near at the start. I hope you were not annoyed at that fib of mine, but I never dreamt they would trouble to find out at home. I have managed to persuade my mother that I am for home service only, though, of course, I have signed on for general service. I left without saying anything because I was afraid it would kill my mother or I would be too weak and not go. She seems to have got over it, though, and as soon as I can get leave I'll see her, and I hope it will be well. It is very hard to write here, so you must not expect interesting letters; there is always behind or through my object some pressing sense of foreign matter,