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passages in which Mr de la Mare writes as he has never written before:

'But think! There may never come another hour like this. Know, know now, that you have made me happy. I can never be so alone again. I share my secretest thoughts-my imagination, with you; isn't that a kind of love? I assure you that it is. Once I heard my mother talking, and sometimes I have wondered myself, if I am quite like-oh, you know what they say: a freak of Nature. Tell me: if by some enchantment I were really and indeed come from those snow mountains of yours, and that sea, would you recognise me? Would you? No, no; it's only a story-why, even all this green and loveliness is only skin deep. If the Old World were just to shrug its shoulders, Mr Anon, we should all, big and little, be clean gone.'

In the verse, again, the evidence of technical change following the spiritual change is clear. It is already perceptible in the poems written for the drawings of Miss Pamela Bianco. In those lovely illustrative verses there are the signs of perfection over-perfected, the main delight being that of style rather than conception, a technical more than an imaginative astonishment:

'As I did rove in blinded night,

Raying the sward, in slender ring,
A cirque I saw whose crystal light
Tranced my despair with glittering.
'Slender its gold. In hues of dream

Its jewels burned, smiting my eyes,
Like wings that flit about the stream
That waters Paradise.

'Sorrow broke in my heart to see
A thing so lovely; and I heard
Cry from its dark security

A 'wildered bird.'

In many poems in 'The Veil' this technical innovation has become a little wilful, a little perverse even. The beauty achieved is beauty self-conscious, wrought with hands and not breathed up from the sod. Mr de la Mare's early uncertainty of style slowly passed away in the growth of a rare sureness and originality; he made his own idiom, by which all his verse may be instantly Vol. 238.-No. 472.


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recognised even by those who know but a little of it. His ear is exquisite, his fingering of syllables full of assurance. But in The Veil' originality, or the consciousness of mastery, sometimes edges out beauty, makes rhythm curt, and contracts imagination to fantasy.

'Wings diaphanous, beating bee-like,

Wand within fingers, locks enspangled,

Icicle foot, lip sharp as scarlet,

She lifted her eyes in her pitch-black hollow-
Green as stalks of weeds in water-

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'And the wanderer

Back to flesh house must return.

Lone soul-in horror to see,

Than dream more meagre and awful,

The chief technical influence seen in Mr de la Mare's verse before The Veil' was that of Coleridge, whose wave-like music and translucent brightness are echoed and reflected even in certain of the latest poems, such as 'Sunk Lyonesse':

'And the ocean water stirs

In salt-worn casemate and porch.
Plies the blunt-snouted fish
With fire in his skull for torch.
And the ringing wires resound;
And the unearthly lovely weep,
In lament of the music they make
In the sullen courts of sleep.'

But the influence of Coleridge is chief no longer, and now (if any be chief where none is very strong) it is Mr Bridges who affects his verse most plainly, with that manner of strange rhythm and odd phrasing which the Poet Laureate has used to test the affection of those that love his earlier work. With the conception, let us say in short, the style has become intellectualised; both are less instinctive, more deliberate; there is less to charm, more to stimulate, though it be only curiosity or

perplexity that is stimulated. 'Sweet and amusing,' in Gilbert White's phrase, are the earlier verses, but the later are dark in spirit and harsher in style. It may be that they are transitional and that the next volume will extend the movement at which it is possible to look too doubtfully now, forgetting that the present has grown out of the past and will itself soon be a station of the past. For criticism limps and stumbles at best, and can seldom anticipate the motion of an original mind. Sometimes it may luckily forecast the flight of the creative instinct, sometimes predict the course of the rational mind; but an impossible felicity is wanted to discover the future of such an alternation or fusion of the two as Mr de la Mare's latest work suggests.

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Nor is it possible to attempt conclusions upon his present position in English poetry. His task as a lyrical writer is far different from that of Mr Hardy and Mr Doughty. The largeness of conception upon which the vast events of The Dynasts' are so easily borne, and which informs scarcely less amply the shorter poems of Mr Hardy, is no more within Mr de la Mare's range than is the elemental, mythopoeic movement of 'The Dawn in Britain.' But it is his work, before that of any other contemporary, that springs to the memory if it be asked what lyrical, what purely subjective poems may best endure the neighbourhood of these epical nobilities. And there is satisfaction in noting how general has been its acceptance, how warm its welcome. Recognition has not needed the waspish provocation of attack; criticism has been but praise, never a whisper of dissent has broken the concord; and we may point to his poetry for current evidence that the best that is given to readers is the most honoured of all giving.



THE term Transcaucasia denotes the region bounded on the north by the great Caucasian chain, the watershed dividing Europe from Asia, on the south by the old Russo-Turkish and Russo-Persian frontiers. Under the Russian Empire it comprised the Governments of the Black Sea, Kutais, Tiflis, Elisabetpol, Baku, and Erivan, the territories of Batum and Kars, and the districts of Sukhum and Zakatali. It separated from Russia in November 1917, on the assumption of power by the Bolsheviks in Petrograd, when the Georgians, in concert with the Armenians, and with the Tatars of Ganja (Elisabetpol) and Baku, established the joint Transcaucasian Republic. This state, breaking up, after five weeks' existence, owing to fundamental differences in race, religion, civilisation, and national aspirations between its component parts, dissolved into the Republics of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

As the prime movers in the establishment of this short-lived state were the Georgians, and as its seat of Government was the Georgian capital, TIFLIS, we will first consider this, the greatest of Transcaucasian cities. What generally is most surprising to newcomers is the vast extent of the place. Long and narrow, Tiflis stretches for eight miles along both banks of the Kura, the Cyrus of the ancients, which here flows swiftly in a south-easterly course between two ranges of hills before it emerges into the steppe, finally emptying itself, having meanwhile been swelled by the waters of the Araxes, into the Caspian some sixty miles south of Baku. The old city is at the eastern end. Here the hills suddenly come together, and two rocky spurs almost meet, forcing the Kura to fight its way through them with swift eddies and a volume of noise. The northern spur is crowned by the old Georgian citadel, now a prison, and by one of the most ancient of the Georgian churches, the 'Meleki'; east and west of it there clusters the Avlabar quarter, picturesque with its old houses and their deep verandahs (the most typical feature of Georgian domestic architecture) overhanging the river from a steep and rocky bluff. Immediately facing it, on the right bank, are the intricate Tatar, Armenian, and

Persian quarters; and an attractive little Shiah mosque, its squat and lowly minaret encrusted with green tiles, guards the bridge that spans the Kura at its narrowest point. A long, serrated ridge here rises abruptly and runs backwards to the hills in the south. Along the length of its summit are the remains, still fairly extensive, of an old Persian fort; and on its exceedingly steep slopes and among the towers and bastions of the fort is an ingeniously planned botanical garden, the just pride of modern Tiflis. On a clear day in winter or spring the view from the fort is indeed a notable one, all Tiflis, punctuated with the conical domes of churches and the minarets of mosques, and teeming with nearly a million inhabitants, at one's feet, and in the far distance to the north, towering above ridge upon ridge of mountains, the glittering peak of Promethean Kazbek.

In the valley below the ridge rises the hot spring that gives Tiflis its name. Of great repute for its healing properties, its waters are conducted into a handsome hammam in the Tatar quarter, where, pace Dumas père, a luckless Armenian Archbishop, unaccustomed to Turkish baths, once was boiled alive because excessive modesty prevented him from entrusting his person to the bath attendant. The bazaars of Tiflis are in this region, running from the hollow by the river up to the handsome Sololaki, the fashionable quarter of the town. Their main artery is the so-called Armenian bazaar, and is confined almost entirely to the shops of goldsmiths and silversmiths, varied towards the lower end by those of carpet-merchants and furriers. The work produced nowadays by the silversmiths consists principally of ornamental arms, and of the various accessories, generally in silver inlaid with gold, of the Cherkesski, the delightful dress common to the mountaineers of almost all Caucasia. A little niello work is also made; and there are generally to be found some of the delightful old silver flagons and still more characteristic silver wine ladles, without which no self-respectiug Georgian household was formerly held to be complete. The furriers are chiefly occupied in making the black sheepskin papakha, a headdress that varies in shape and size, according to the taste and tribe of the wearer, from a trim little pork-pie cap to a vast and bellying busby of dimensions

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