OF PAN. By VICTOR B. NEUBURG. The Equinox 5’s
Shame, Mr Neuburg! Also fie! and tut!
No dog-nosed and blue-faced baboon in rut
Feels as you feel; or if he does, God's mercies
Deny him power to tell his thoughts in verses.
This is a most regrettable collection
Of songs; they deal with unrestrained affection
Unlicensed by the Church and State; what's worse
There's no denying they are first-rate verse.
It surely cannot be that Pan's in clover
And England's days of Sunday-school are over!
in The Equinox, March 1911
Victor Neuburg has written some poems. He has something of
the poet’s vision, delighting in simplicity and sensuality which
is born of passionate admiration. The best poems in this book,
“The Triumph of Pan,” are three—“Sleep
in the Hills,” “The Little Prince,” “Gipsy Tom” —and of these
three, the first is undeniably the most successful.
There is peace on the hills to gather,
There a sad, proud soul may sleep;
Gold gorse and green purple heather
Hold the tears that the salt winds weep,
we will lie down together.
Prince” is a poem of imagination and charm.
Under the trees I love to lie,
Watching the cloudlets over the sky,
the green sward down to the river;
little green leaves prate of the spring,
the wild geese are all on the wing,
the shy little branches quiver.
And in “Gipsy
Tom” the metre has something of the terror of slow-dropping
Star by star
Gleams down there by the hill;
They follow, follow on to the bar
That lies by the foaming mill.
lies dead in the water chill,
With a wreath of bubbles about him still.
there is another side to the poetry of Victor Neuburg. He
appears to take strange delight in mysticism, which is never
anything but second-hand. Mysticism is perverted sunsuality; it
is “passionate admiration” for that which has no reality at
all. It leads to the annihilation of any true artistic effort.
It is a paraphernalia of clichés. It is a mask through which
the true expression of the poet can never be discerned. If he
rejects this mask Mr Neuburg may become a poet.
I pass from Mr. Siebenhaar to Mr. Neuberg; which suggests a
title for a new volume of literary criticism—“From
Neuberg to Siebenhaar: an Epoch of English Verse.” Mr. Neuberg
is a follower of Mr. Aleister Crowley, and has all his master’s
really notable fluidity and fecundity of expression. In his
choice of topics he is somewhat more circumspect than Mr.
Crowley. He gives us little of that boring stuff that is
usually termed “strong meat,” but in the matter of wind, spray,
Pan mouths, hair, throats, Osiris, stars, hermaphrodites, fauns,
and obscene gods he is a faithful disciple. His dedicatory poem
(printed in red ink) is the one that fascinates me most. It is
a tender little lyric, delicate, iridescent, fragrant as a
summer dawn. I take the liberty of quoting it in full:—
radara piliu son’;
Mari narya barbiton
I am not quite sure that the apostrophe in “son’ “ can be
regarded as legitimite, and I have an uneasy suspicion the
“hriliu” has been dragged in owing to the difficulty (which we
have all experienced) of finding a rhyme to “piliu.” But,
looked at as a whole, this little poem could scarcely have been
Collings Squire, The New Age, 6 July 1911.
Not everyone will care for Mr. Neuburg's tone in all the
pieces, but he is undoubtedly a poet to be reckoned with, and a
volume so original as this is should create no small stir. It
is superbly produced by the publishers.
When one comes to the poems . . . it is evident that they are
written in English. . . . In a certain oblique and sub-sensible
sense, eloquent and musical. . . . Distinctly Wagnerian in their
effects. . . .
It is full of “the murmurous monotones of whispering lust,”
“the song of young desire,” and that kind of poppycock.
A competent master of words and rhythms. . . . His esoteric
style is unreasonably obscure from an intelligent plain
A charming volume of poems. . . Pagan glamour . . . passion
and vigour. . . . “Sigurd's Songs” are commendable for dealing
with the all too largely neglected Scandinavian theology. . . .
A scholarly disciple. . . . The entire volume is eminently
A gorgeous rhapsody. . . . Fortunately, there are the police.
. . . On the whole, we cannot help regretting that such splendid
powers of imagination and expression are flung away in such
Sometimes of much beauty of rhythm and phrase. . . .
Poets who have any originality deserve to be judged by their
own standard. . . . A Neo-mystic or semi-astrological pantheist.
. . .
Victor B. Neuburg is a very lavish versifier, who seems, with a
select company of associated (most of them, one imagines, still
very young; different poems are dedicated to different members
of the clique), to have made a kind of cult of primeval
violence. Love-making appears to have an added halo in his eyes
if it is associated with delirium or bloodshed. Here is a
characteristic stanza from THE TRIUMPH OF PAN, a piece which
gives its name to his volume (“The Equinox,” pp. xvii. 181, 5s.
. . . We are sick of dreaming
Of a dim past unknown;
Oh! for the sight once more of red blood streaming
Of rotting warrior-bone,
Of eagles hovering far
Around the field of war,
Of lust and love and longing breaking through
The chill gray garb of life to flame anew.
As will be seen, Mr. Neuburg has a “careless rapture” all
his own; the carelessness, indeed, is just the trouble. His
versification is remarkable, and there is something impressive
in its mere fluency. Occasionally, when his subject gives him no
loophole for bravado, he becomes a poet; but his work is only
readable in small fragments; so luxurious, so rampant, a
decadence quickly palls. On the whole, his book must be
pronounced a quite grievous exhibition of recklessness and
Guardian, 4 January 1911.
. . . We began to be suspicious of him. . . . Hardly the sort
of person we should care to meet on a dark night with a knobby
stick in his hand. . . . This clever book.
vivid imagination fostered by a keen and loving insight of
nature, and this allied to a command of richly adorned language,
and no inconsiderable power of versification, have already
assured for the author a prominent place amongst present-day
poets. In his initial poem, and those named “The Lost Shepherd,”
and “The Coming of Apollo,” Mr. Neuburg displays an enthusiastic
devotion to classic song. Many of the smaller lyrics deserve
attention for their sustained metrical charm. From first to last
the poet’s work is an important contribution to the century’s
Circular, 7 January 1911.
This [book] contains the answer to a very well-known riddle
propounded by the late Elizabeth Barrett Browning. You remember
she asked in one of her poems, “What was he doing to Great God
Pan: Down in the reeds by the River?” Well, Mr. Victor Neuburg
has discovered the answer, for he was obviously wandering near
the river if he was not hidden in the reeds. . . .
in The Bystander
There is no question about the poetic quality of much of Mr.
Neuburg's verse. . . . We are given visions of love which open
new amorous possibilities.
Sheer ennui is apt to say “morbid,” and have done with it. . .
. But here is Mr. Neuburg, with real literary and temperamental
gifts . . . but it is not honest to deny that he is actually
straying here and there upon the borders of a definite region of
consciousness; that the evil and power he acclaims and fears
have a phantom existence. . . .
A volume of no ordinary ability . . . real beauty.
Neuburg is apparently a disciple of Mr. Crowley, and his poems
are a mystery beyond the comprehension of the uninitiated. But
we can appreciate the beauty of their sound, and envy those
lovers in distant countries who will apparently enjoy the
meaning. Would not "The Crowning of the Beast" have been an
Review, April 1911.
By a big Pot, no doubt.
“The Triumph of Pan” contains poems alive with music and rich
in thought. Mr. Neubrug writes with distinction, and the book,
from first to last, is one which lovers of poetry will
The Triumph of Pan' is full of sonorous lines, with wonderful
word pictures and poetic imagery which has seldom been excelled.
. . .
. . . Many beautiful passages in the volume . . . strange
allusions to unpleasant gods, and the imagery is occasionally
The tremendous conception of that “world so wide” . . . at his
best in some of the shorter poems . . . stirring rhythm.
. . . we linger with delight over the splendid line—
'The murmurous song of the morning star, aflame o'er the
birth of day.'
. . . Melodious and plaintive with a haunting rhythm . . .
vivid and pictorial . . . a painter's vision as well as a poet's
ear ... a fine simile in “Osiris” is all his own.
. . . a delirious music . . . the majority of them [the poems]
trouble the reader by giving the impression that a deep meaning
lies behind the embroidered veil of words to which he is unable
to penetrate; others again seem to suggest events of too
intimate and personal a nature to have a general application or
interest . . . mixed metaphors—erratic visualisation. .
Passion and pain, “red desire” and “red roses” are frequent
“motifs” in Mr. V. B. Neuburg's “Triumph of Pan” (“The Equinox”
Office), much of which merits the ambiguous distinction of being
unusual. Though by no means deficient in originality, vigour or
imaginative power, his verse is too often cumbered with the
fantastic symbols of a species of erotic mysticism, into which
we feel no desire to probe; while the lack of reticence
consistently displayed constitutes an artistic blemish not
lightly to be excused. The author's serene confidence in the
immortality of his lays would be better justified were he to
make some attempt to discriminate between the gold and the
rubbish, and, incidentally, refraining from penning such
grotesqueness as is contained, for example, in “The Sunflower,”
where we are informed how, among other portents—
“a greater god arose,
And stole the earth by standing on his toes
And blowing through the air.”
It is difficult to believe that the persons to whom certain
poems are inscribed will experience any very lively
gratification at the compliment.
. . . We are dizzied and dazzled by a foaming rainbow-hued
torrent of impassioned words. We are struck by the wealth and
boldness of the imagery, and the facility of mechanical
execution. . . . It is brilliant work . . . one is bound to
admire the cleverness of it all.
. . . In the author of the present collection of poems . . .
we have a veritable twentieth-century mystic and apostle of
ecstasy who, according to his dedication, gives his songs—
“By the sign that is black and forbidden,
By the word that is uttered no more.”
The Triumph of Pan,' from which the book borrows its title, is
a remarkable sequence of some forty 'philosophic and ecstatic'
stanzas ... He would also seem to 'hold opinion with Pythagoras'
although we question if even Nietzsche himself could quite
fathom the undercurrent of the lay. ... Despite occasional
extravagances in thought and in diction his work is that of a
cultured scholar, his verbal artistry undeniably inspired with
the true spirit of poetry. Whether he sings of 'Violet skies
all rimmed in tune,' of red ravens, of purple kisses, of silver
stars “crested with amber melody,” or of the “rhythmic sway of
the idle moon,” he is always musical albeit, like Wagner, whose
effects he now and then distinctly recalls, often utterly
unintelligible. ... In striking contrast to the chaste and
serenely beautiful “Diana Rides;” ... are no less that
twenty-two audaciously passionate love- lyrics inscribed not
only to one Olivia Vane, but also, curiously enough to her
Mr. Neuburg's work is partly mystical and partly of the flesh.
. . . Quite frankly, some of his work we do not at all
understand. This applies notably to his “Music-Pictures,” which
“were obtained under the direct influence of music.” “This,”
the poet naively tells us, “may explain their apparent
inconsequence.” . . . he is much more than a minor poet. He can
and will yet accomplish great work. . . . His ingenious rhyming
capacity sometimes almost startles one. In the choice of some
of this subjects he is daring—greatly daring. . . . His genius
is undoubted; and the world has a lot yet to hear of and from
this gifted singer.