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THE HOAD TO GLORY.
PATRIOTIC POEMS, by LILIAN WOOS-
TER, GREAVES. -
The reputation ot "LGian," or Mrs. Li- lian Wooster . Greaves, es && Australian poetess of marked original talent, was es- tablished by her second volume of verse, "Tte Two Doves," and confirmed by her third volume, "Ros» in Rain," published only a year ago. The ball mark «f ré- cognition was set on ber work when "The
Bookman" awarded the poetess of' Wongan Hills the first prize in its latest world- wide annual competition for humorous verso- The var has given fresh direction io the stream of poetic expression «nat springs from this willer's gifted mind. Her latest volume of poems, "The Koád ** Glory" <S. T. Üpham -City Printing Worfas), is a collection of verses inspired by ttie present wer. -The riew-point ia mainly that of woman «ia affected by the event« and ?conditions arising out of that mam moth struggle, though in some of the poems the effort is not unsuccessfully made also to illustrate man's attitude lo tne var. Bat it is not woman merely lament- ing the calamitous results of this world
catastrophe that is presented,-^t is woman first and foremost earnestly and eloquently exhorting thc other sex as well as her own io the unflinching fulfilment of thc duties imposed by the nation's aa well a« he " world'« danger. Yet the path of duty, or of glory, is nowhere depicted as one strewn "with roses. On ' thc contrary, this »s- its forceful realistic description, in the' nrst poem of the book:- \
"is ibis the Koad io Glory- ^
This "dug-out: fall of mud? 1 This shivering cold «nd hunger?
This smell of smoke and blood?"
And in another poem a terribly powerful picture is given of the perturbed worid,:
"Earth, like a drunkard, reels «nd rocks, :
Besotted with her cup of blood; ?! Insane with battles' crashing shocks.
She wallons in the rod-dyed mud.
The conscience of that world is nobly ap- pealed -to in the lines -,
~ "With garments trailing red the Advent
Comes with a glory terrible to see;
Each faithless shepherd trembles at thc
question- j "Where is the tender flock once given io
These, however, are the impersonal as- pects of tho' subject. The personal ones
may bo divided into three groups : The sol- ; dier's view; woman's view; the Individual view, probably of the authoress herself. Of the first group, although it would appear
that the Quaint picture of "Australia*? i old i
tty "wireless" to "hang-on" has already lent ] itself to musical interpretation, by far mu , most striking as regards poetic mer.t is J "Leaving for the Front." And the poems . xif greatest originality are undoubted j tc j bc found in the ' second group. "Never :
¿lind Me" is a perfectly delightful piece of j iwriöng, beginning thus: j
? Til not be ^roublin' God to-night !
' About my bit o' prayer- ! .With all them battles in His eight, j
He's got «lough 4» bear. I There's thousands dyin' every day . I
An' flyin' thro' the «ir;
The angels must bc in a way
Their mansions to prepare.''
lAnd in the quaintest possible manner *he woman speaking tells us of her suffering
* 'Twill take smart angela to control Their several, sorts of need." And again that
*Tfc must "be worse in foreign parts,
Translatin' foreign prayers;" ~ Also that
" 'Twill JiAke a heayenful of wings To see the worst jobs thro'-"
The most affecting note, however, is stuck in tte' reflection that
"The youngsters suffer everywhere When çrown-ups all go wild."
There is another touch of humorous
philosophy in "Mollie's Chum," when the lady confesses as follows:- .
Tm sure I love my neighbours aïs I never
I know why Marion goes to church since
And I know why heaven seems nearer than
it did before the ivar,
Because I pray more* faithfully since ,
Jack went" I "In "As of Old," 4 pathetic picture ts j conjured up of "Tho pam «nd the parting, j the grief and the tears-Our human in- i heritance down ' the long years." "The ! ¡Mother'« Gift" calls up the noble old ideal , j of tiie Spartan mothers, glad to sacrifice , the "life of their life at honour's sacred
call." ' I
But doubtless the deepest sorrow of wo- |
man during* the war is probed in the line? ¡ headed "Woman's War': j
"Our men go smiling forth to fights-.
Our women, smiling bid them go. ] And only to their pillows white
Throughout the long and lonely night
J8ob out their agony and. woe." j
Asel the beautiful lad lises;
Then, aafel^iroa&ded, angel-taught,
And angel Weeted, tte face tile light."
In the third group we an pleased to -meet an old friend in the little gent 'Mare Mater,3* whilst "hi Absence" gives us Uva poetess in a panoply of poetic power' not yet know to us, a lyrical expression -hieb most strongly recalls to us the deep pa- thos of Shakespeare's sonnets.
Jt goes without saying that "Lilian's'' art ' is not flawless. What man's or woman's
is? This singer occasionally indulges in a misguided habit of suddenly chang'ig, as in The Advent Angel," from stately oig nlty to an airy sing-song which, eeems en- tirely out of place, or, as in 'The Bead to Glory," from. trenchant poetic realism to preaching platitude in flVbalenfed metre. But fortunately these lapses are rare, and the main message of the volume is dêlivei ed ju eminently poetic expression. We should wish to see the little book ia the
hands «i all lovers of good verse, in dud- : ing (hose in camp.