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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, June 1909


page 62


The name of Hubert Church has long been well known to readers of The Spike, and an opportunity is granted us in this little book of examining some collected products of his muse. The poem on Mount Egmont, which gives the title to the small volume, is by no means the best in the book, but it contains two very beautiful lines, typical of Mr. Church at his best :—

"And there is never heart that does not climb,
With the meek evening, to thine altar peak."

Mr. Church is essentially the poet of the thinker— the philosopher; his lack of lyrical abandonment is compensated for by the richness of his similes, and the power of communicating a curious intensity of thought in most of his more serious poems. Vera Figner, addressed to the beautiful Russian, is full of an imaginative sincerity worthy of its subject. The existence of numerous really admirable phrases and expressions such as that in the poem on Sandhills— "the ragged end of the universe" — and the clever use of place names in Tua Marina and various other poems, make more regrettable the relapses into such expression as "a littoral bird," of "Love's surd," which, however intelligible they may be to the highly educated, cannot fail to strike the average, and even the very cultured, reader as pedantic, or as the result of too eager a search after effect. Simplicity, even if it is a studied simplicity, is more effective than the eccentric expressions which a high degree of imaginative fervour is liable to produce. It is on account of this very simplicity that one poem in the volume shines out a bright particular star. It is entitled Paraclete, and only lack of space prevents us from quoting it in full. The verse—

"The Gull that frets the foam,
That cannot wet its wing,
Has made a rock a home,
Where love alone could cling."

by its very directness appeals at once to the imagination. But the poem must be read in its entirety to be fully appreciated, and we advise Spike readers to do so without delay.