With rue my heart is laden
For golden friends I had,
For many a roselipt maiden
And many a lightfoot lad.By brooks too broad for leaping
The lightfoot boys.are laid;
The roselipt girls arc sleeping
In fields Where roses fade.
The sun burns on the half-mown hill,
By now the blood has dried;
And Maurice among the hay lies still
And my knife is in his side.
They hand us now in Shrewsbury jail
And whistles blow forlorn,
And trains all night groan on the rail
To men who die at morn.
The diamond drops adorning
The low mound on the lea,
These arc the tears of morning,
That weeps, but not for thee.
The poets of New Signatures(1), unlike Yeats and Eliot, are emotionally partisan. Yeats proposed to turn his back on desire and hatred; Eliot sat back and watched other people's emotions with ennui and an ironical self-pity. ... The whole poetry, on the other hand, of Auden, Spender, and Day Lewis implies that they have desires and hatreds of their own and, further, that they think some things ought to be desired and others hated.
The poets of New Signatures have swung back... to the Greek preference for information or statement. The first requirement is to have something to say, and after that you must say it as well as you can.
We are nothing
We have fallen
Into the dark and shall be destroyed.
Think though, that in this darkness
We hold the secret hub of an idea
Whose living sunlit wheel revolves in future years outside.
(Spender, Trial of a Judge)
To-morrow for the young, the poets exploding like bombs,
The walks by the lake, the weeks of perfect communion;
To-morrow the bicycle races
Through the suburbs on summer evenings. But to-day the struggle.
To-day the deliberate increase in the chances of death,
The conscious acceptance of guilt in the necessary murder;
To-day the expending of powers
On the flat ephemeral pamphlet and the boring meeting.
Were I to deduce anything from my feelings on leaving Eton, it might be called The Theory of Permanent Adolescence. It is the theory that the experiences undergone by boys at the great public schools are so intense as to dominate their lives and to arrest their development.
Literary criticism which aims at being Marxist must... proclaim that no book written at the present time can be ‘good’ unless it is written from a Marxist or near-Marxist viewpoint.
They sang of private disgust and diffidence, and of people who seemed genuine because they were unattractive or weak. ... Here was a protest, and a feeble one, and the more congenial for being o feeble. ... He who could turn aside to complain of ladies and drawing rooms preserved a tiny drop of our self-respect, he carried on the human heritage.
Ten years later less feeble protests were to be made by poets and the human heritage carried on rather differently. ... The contemplation of a world of fragments becomes boring and Eliot's successors are more interested in tidying it up.
George Orwell: ‘Inside the Whale’
First published: Inside the Whale and Other Essays. — GB, London. — March 11, 1940.