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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 5, No. 1 March 26, 1942



No, comrade, do not read Hous-man. Yeats said: "It has sometimes seemed of late years as if the poet could at any moment write a poem by recording the fortuitous scene or thought perhaps it might be enough to put into some fashionable rhythm: I am sitting in a chair—there are three dead [unclear: flies] at the corner of the ceiling." It is true; in Dutch there is a poem: "Lonely I listen to Daven-try / on the tabletop watching a fly." It goes deeper: "I am a-weary, a-weary / I would that I were dead." Would this have been the moment for Atropia to intervene and end the promising young poet? Nothing but a more or less fortuitous mood, a whim, a pose. Houseman is the worst example; he had, amazingly many strings on his poetic bow, all easily struck, tremendously beautiful; feelings someone might have, forcefully expressed. He himself experienced them passingly, or rather, as abstract conceptions arbitrarily chosen and applied to his own personality. Satisfied to be hypocrites and not to be hypocrites since they admit so, Housman's readers, "half-baked intellectuals," know he was not fat because he drove fat oxen home, that the feelings he describes are imaginary, and consequently completely useless. They are not worried finding whether these emotions are real and sincere; not able to discern between engineers of their true and their imaginary soul. These are nice things to say; they are pleased with Housman.