Forty-Two Poems by James Elroy Flecker


James Elroy Flecker

Section 0: Introduction           Section 1: Poems 1-18          Section 2: Poems 19-34

Section 3: Poems 35-41         Section 4: Poem 42

 Recording by Denis Daly

With contributions by Carol Box, Alan Weyman, Bob Gonzalez, Winston Tharp, Caprisha Page
and David Lewis Richardson.

Music: From the Wind Quintet Opus 13 by Carl Neilsen
Performed by James Galway (flute) with the Carion quintet
Recording released under Creative Commons Licence by Pandora Music

March 22, 2014

Internet Archive Page

Section 0 – Introduction

Section 1: Poems 1 – 18

1.  To a Poet a thousand years hence
2.  Riouperoux
3.  The Town without a Market
4.  The Ballad of Camden Town
5.  Mignon
6.  Felo de se
7.  Tenebris Interlucentem
8.  Invitation to a young but learned friend . . .
9.  Ballad of the Londoner
10.  The First Sonnet of Bathrolaire
11.  The Second Sonnet of Bathrolaire
12.  The Masque of the Magi
13.  The Balled of Hampstead Heath
14.  Litany to Satan
15.  The Translator and the Children
16.  Opportunity
17.  Destroyer of Ships, Men, Cities
18.  War Song of the Saracens

Section 2: Poems 19 – 34

19.  Joseph and Mary
20.  No Coward’s Song
21.  A Western Voyage
22.  Fountains
23.  The Welsh Sea
24.  Oxford Canal
25.  Hialmar speaks to the Raven
26.  The Ballad of the Student in the South
27.  The Queen’s song
28.  Lord Arnaldos
29.  We that were friends
30.  My Friend
31.  Ideal
32.  Mary Magdalen
33.  I rose from dreamless hours
34.  Prayer

Section 3: Poems 35 – 41

35.  A Miracle of Bethlehem
36.  Gravis Dulcis Immutabilis
37.  Pillage
38.  The Ballad of Zacho
39.  Pavlovna in London
40.  The Sentimentalist
41.  Don Juan in Hell

Section 4: Poem 42 – The Ballad of Iskander

James Elroy Flecker, linguist, critic, poet and diplomat, like his illustrious poetic peers, Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke, did not survive the war. All three died young : Owen and Brooke in the line of battle, Flecker, who never fought due to long standing respiratory illness, in a sanatorium in Switzerland. Although the theme of death dominates the verse of all three poets, Flecker’s perspective of human mortality is very much his own. For him death itself, the abrupt drawing down of the curtain on the brief episode of individual existence was the great and imponderable tragedy, rather than war, suffering or personal disadvantage.

Flecker’s poetic oeuvre is not large, consisting of the following five short collections:

· The Bridge of Fire (1907)
· Thirty-Six Poems (1910)
· Forty-Two Poems (1911)
· The Golden Journey to Samarkand (1913)
· The Old Ships (1915)

His poems are generally short: apparently Flecker had no desire to create poetic epics like Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Endymion or the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. His longest poems are the Bridge of Fire and the Ballad of Iskander, each of which is less than 1200 words. Flecker revised his poems regularly, refining their spare but telling verbiage and achieving a simplicity and directness which is peculiarly his own. Oppressed by the rapid approach of death, he seems to have been driven by an urge to create the most concise and accurate distillations of the impressions of a life shortly to be snatched away from him.

This collection contains three poems which call for multiple voices. For these I have received the kind support of my fellow rhapsodes, Carol Box, Alan Weyman, Bob Gonzalez, Winston Tharp, Caprisha Page and David Lewis Richardson.


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