This little volume deals largely with the death of the old gods
and the dawn of a new era when men shall stand alone, and
the author has been inspired by some of the greatest among
modern names, by Spencer, Nietsche and Walt Whitman. Here
is a fine stanza in the style of James Thomson on Herbert
The vast colossus of the latter days—
Huge silver statue in the realm of Thought—
With arms firm-folded, and calm upward gaze,
Stands on the massive pile his hands have wrought.
And something of the glamour hath he caught
That to the gods pertains; the sky dark-blue
Sheds over him the calm undying line
Of intellect; the brow's most noble rise
Endomes the depths of the deep-seated eyes.
imitative at present to a considerable degree, the writer
undoubtedly possesses the temperament of a poet.
is the blossom of many minds, the fruit of few. Whether the
fruit of Mr. Victor B. Neuburg’s matured intelligence will take
the shape of verse or not, it would be rash to prophesy. Whether
the author of this little book will become a great poet like
Byron, a writer of philosophy, or a provider of lyrics for
musical comedy, such as Mr. Adrian Ross (who in his salad days
at the University published a volume of serious poems full of
promise), it is impossible to tell. Of one thing, however, one
is certain: the existence of promise in this book. There is
something in it; something which makes one feel certain that
there is more to come, whatever form it may take. As far as the
verse is concerned there is in this volume something than mere
promise; the performance is at times remarkable: there is beauty
not only of thought and invention—but also of expression and
rhythm, especially rhythm. There is a lilt in Mr. Neuburg’s
poems; he has the impulse to sing, and makes his readers feel
that impulse. He has, perhaps, not yet found the right things to
sing about. A poem called “Young Summer” has a taking,
captivating beauty, makes the heart sing, and suggests the
sights and sounds of youth, of spring, of first love, and the
joy and the brightness of the springtime of love—lines like
the bloom is on the clover, and the speedwell in the shade.
and love have drawn us onward; on the open road we fare,
the mighty hills grow taller, and we linger here and there
catch the breath of panting day, hot breathed beneath the sun.
the world spreads wide around us, and the battle’s almost won!
sunlight brings the thrushes’ song; the hidden cuckoos call:
Spring’s white veil is cast aside, life enters love’s own hall,
qualities indicated above. In the poem called “Between the
Spheres” there is imagination of a striking kind. In nearly all
Mr. Neuburg’s verses the rhythm and the lilt are strong enough
to seize the reader’s pleased attention. The sonnets are less
satisfactory. One notices throughout the influence of Shelley,
and in some degree that of Walt Whitman: this inclines one to
believe in the promise of Mr. Neuburg’s poetic gifts, since
there is no poet who did not begin by singing like someone else.
The faults of the book are the faults of youth, and those are
good faults. For instance, in Mr. Neuburg’s poem on Rome, in
honour of the Free Thought Congress held there in 1904, the
thought, which is manifestly sincere, makes one feel inclined to
smile. “Yesterday Rome, tomorrow truth,” sings the poet. Rome
has outlived many things, and one must be very young if one
seriously believes that it will not outlive the Free Thought
Congress held there in September, 1904!
Morning Post, 21 May 1908
a certain grim power in some of the imaginings concerning death,
as “The Dream” and “The Recall,” and any reader with a liking
for verse of an unconventional character will find several
pieces after his taste.
Telegraph, 29 May 1908.
a poet of promise.
Chronicle, 13 May 1908.
not often that energy and poetic feeling are united so happily
as in this little book.
Leader, July 10, 1908.
promise and some fine lines in these verses.
11 July 1908
the first page or so of “A Green Garland,” Verlaine’s lines come
into one’s mind:—
De la musique avant toute chose
Et pour cela préfère l’impair.
Neuburg’s gods are Youth, Truth, Progress, Love, and “Mighty
Reason”; but he says that all the gods are dead.
l’éloquence et tords-lui le cou.
have here the diverting spectacle of a disciple of Nietzsche
eloquently celebrating a Freethought Congress, glorifying Truth
and Progress, and burning with
indignation at the suggestion that a memorial tablet to Herbert
The vast colossus of the later days
And silver statue in the realm of thought!
placed in Westminster Abbey, the fane of the hated and
pallid-spirited Galileans. It is not to be inferred from this
that “A Green Garland ” is without merit, despite the fact that
a quotation from the “Daily Chronicle ” at the head of a page
might deter one from reading any more in that book. Mr. Neuburg
has more intellect than imagination, and the beauty of young
summer, the heat of the sun, and the scent of blossoms stir him
to sing rapturously, sometimes obscurely, of the Dawn and the
Day, when life will not be sicklied o‘er with the pale cast of
other worldliness. For the new humanity he builds the lofty
rhyme ; but it is to be feared, alas ! that the new humanity
will prefer more subtle rhythms and broken cadences, the song
that will come and go like the wind on the leaf or the bourdon f
a blond bee hovering over a bank of swaying mignonette.
11 July 1908