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was particularly interested. Most of these arguments will be found, in a much shorter form, in the American volume, and particularly in an able chapter by Prof. Haskins on the new boundaries of Germany. We will only remark that, on the financial and economic clauses relating to Alsace-Lorraine-clauses which, so far as we can discover, the Americans do not discuss-M. Tardieu remains impenitent. Indeed, it appears to be one of his most cherished memories of the Conference that, in this matter, the commission agreed with him, 'après une dizaine de séances de quatre heures chacune,' in which he was pitted against an English expert. M. Tardieu is a good fighter, like his chief. But we should be sorry to convey the impression that his book and his action at the Conference justify all the hard things that have been said about the French negotiators. We think that his policy, the policy of M. Clemenceau, is very fairly appraised in some remarks by an American economic specialist, Prof. Young, relating to the three types of French delegate that he encountered. There was, he says, the type which laboured, happily without effect, to humiliate the vanquished by incessant pin-pricks. There was another type to which French security meant French supremacy in Europe, bolstered up by military alliances, by the partitioning of enemy states, and by the deliberate destruction of their economic life. But the type represented by Clemenceau and his ablest lieutenants was not open to these reproaches. These, the best French statesmen, really and truly subordinated all other considerations to that of making France secure against another unprovoked attack ('What Happened,' pp. 298–9).

Oddly enough, Prof. Young does not credit M. Clemenceau with an overwhelming desire for the 'integral reparation' which played so large a part in all French statements of French aims at the Conference. Perhaps this is an accidental omission. M. Tardieu, at all events, is very specially concerned to prove that M. Clemenceau was both sound and successful on this important issue. He is even prepared to prove that, if M. Clemenceau had remained in power, Germany would have been obliged to pay. For M. Tardieu, writing early in 1921, it is certain that Germany can pay, and that the Allies ought to exercise without scruple the powers

which the Treaty gives them for dealing with a voluntary default. For him the negotiations of San Remo, Hythe, Boulogne, and Spa, are compendiously summarised as 'mutilations of the Treaty.' The causes? There are several: the indifference of the Allies, the malign influence of Mr Keynes, but above all, in France, a want of resolution which creates the idea that France is afraid of Germany: 'propos de soviets et propos de salons; snobismes révolutionnaires et snobismes réactionnaires, sur quoi, hélas! a fini par se modeler la politique du pays ('La Paix,' p. 511).

We trust that these illusions are no longer held, if they were ever held, by M. Clemenceau, whom we in this country have been accustomed to regard as a realist of massive common-sense. That impression is confirmed by many pages in the narrative of M. Tardieu. Here, for instance, we have the assurance that Clemenceau never shared the illusion of M. Gabriel Hanotaux, and others of his countrymen, that French diplomacy might bring about a disintegration of Germany into loosely federated and particularist small States. Illusions he had, but of another kind. He long supposed that Bolshevism might be isolated by a sanitary cordon of Allied armies, or even cured by Allied intervention in the civil wars of Russia. He appears to have been deeply enamoured of the Syrian adventure, and over-confident of the advantages to be expected by France from the gratitude of the new States in Eastern Europe. In these mistakes he erred in good company, and has probably realised his error. We should like to believe that by this time he has come to regard the reparations compromise arranged by Mr George and M. Briand (Feb. 1921), as corresponding more closely to the actual situation of Germany than the estimates which were current in French political circles at the time of the Conference.



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Songs of Childhood. By Walter Ramal' (Longmans, 1902); Henry Brocken (Murray, 1904); Poems (Murray, 1906); The Return (Arnold, 1910); The Listeners and Other Poems (Constable, 1912); Peacock Pie (Constable, 1913); Motley and Other Poems (Constable, 1918); Poems, 1901 to 1918, 2 vols. (Constable, 1920); Memoirs of a Midget (Collins, 1921).

And other works by the same.

It is easier to speak candidly of the dead than of the living; it is easier to praise the dead, it is easier to be just to the dead than to the living. The art of criticism, which may appear to some a purely intellectual exercise, is primarily a moral exercise, for it is not to be practised except with equal honesty and sensitiveness, equal kindness and confidence; but the natural difficulty of applying critical principles to a dead artist is slight in comparison with that which arises when the subject is a contemporary. Those principles themselves are so variable and variously cherished, and the aestheticism which every artist and every critic broods darkly upon is so purely personal, that the task of finding a common ground and using a common language is perplexing as well as exciting. Criticism is not a science, else young men might learn it; nor an attitude, else old men might grow perfect in it; rather is it an adventure calling for a touch of gallantry, a touch of forbearance, a gentle use of logic, a free recourse to imagination, and no more than the faintest hint of dogmatism. If something of this delicate adjustment may be spared when the subject is in the past, certainly nothing must be forgotten in following a living creative mind in its mental travels. The subject is no longer an island to be painfully surveyed, but a ship to be followed, a light to be pursued upon the changing currents of the mind.

Mr Walter de la Mare is a poet to whom it is possible to be unjust, equally in praise and in depreciation. His genius eludes classification. There are many plain things to be remarked as you look at his work, whether in verse or prose, but beyond these you are aware of more subtle and uncertain things to which a reader cannot

fully respond unless his temperament is richly accordant with the author's. The discovery of what may be called a common ground, and a common tongue, is not sufficient for a full apprehension of this poet's uncommon power; and he must be considered as unique, even after he has been considered as traditional.

Twenty years have passed since the publication of 'Songs of Childhood.' Several of these songs have disappeared from the collected edition of the poems, and others have almost disappeared in the amendment to which they have been somewhat cruelly subjected; the habit of revision having developed in our author from anxious virtue into morbid vice. Such a misgiving as this meticulous habit reveals tends to sophisticate the first simplicities; and to compare the versions of 1902 and 1920 is to become aware that, in trying to make the verses better, the poet has merely made them different. At times the rhythm is faintly altered, at times an earlier awkwardness is removed, an epithet sharpened, an archaic touch annulled; something mature has stepped in, something youthful has passed out; and even the nicest skill does not always conceal the critical mind at work upon a lost imagination. Readers of the earlier versions have lamented these changes, without presuming to question the author's right to make them; and indeed it is not claimed for the 1902 volume that its attractiveness was complete and irresistible. 'Songs of Childhood' contained the prophecy, but a reader wanted heavenly inspiration before he could clearly perceive the buried Motley' in Mr de la Mare's earliest book. We need not pursue the point, only noting now the early fondness for names and for Poe, for children and fairies, and the almost deliberate attempt to produce a hypnotic state by the repetition of phrases and sounds. The field of the poet, though a small field (even in later years but little enlarged and nowhere unhedged), as yet was new and strange, thus meeting quite easily one of the primary conditions of romantic art. You may find Dr Watts in it, and nursery rhymes and fairy tales, hints of Keats and Coleridge; but, in spite of echoes and imperfections, the book has clearly a character of its own, and for some lovers a peculiar and lasting beauty. Readers, nevertheless, for a long time were few and silent; and, but for


its successors, 'Songs of Childhood' might have expired, where for so long it languished, in a single edition bearing the forgotten name of Walter Ramal' for author.

Nor did the 'Poems' of 1906 go very far beyond repeating the first promise. The book contained more perfect things-few of the first songs were perfect—and quasi-dramatic Shakespearean reveries which bore little interest save that of autobiography. These reveries proved how well Mr de la Mare could use the trick of Shakespeare's voice, how well he loved Mercutio, how his heart warmed to Juliet's nurse, and how fond was his apprehension of Hamlet-matters on which later testimony is abundant, but which in no way speeded his self-discovery in poetry. The process has been a slow one, and as natural as the growth of a hawthorn; but that it was not thwarted in the years between the first and second books is proved by the beauty of 'The Children of Stare' and other preludes to the finer achievement of later lyrics; witness these stanzas :

'Green Mistletoe!

Oh I remember now

A dell of snow,
Frost on the bough,

None there but I;

Snow, snow, and a wintry sky..

'And the dusk gathered low,

And the silver moon and stars
On the frozen snow

Drew taper bars,

Kindled winking fires

In the hooded briers.'

And lines of other poems show a yet rarer gift of phrase, as amid the violets, tears of an antique bitterness . There is a charming, old didacticism in the 1906 volume which has dwindled but by no means vanished in the later work, and a gravely religious impulse, nowhere explicit but frequently felt-felt, indeed, more strongly with successive volumes of prose and verse alike.

The delayed perfection was found abundantly in 'The Listeners' of 1912, and developed so consistently in 'Peacock Pie' and 'Motley' that it is proper to treat the poetry of these three books as a whole.

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