Roy Campbell (poet)
Every revolutionary idea seems to evoke three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the phrases: (1) It's completely impossible. (2) It's possible, but it's not worth doing. (3) I said it was a good idea all along.Arthur C. Clarke
- South Africa, renowned both far and wide
For politics and little else beside.
- The Wayzgoose, lines 3-4 (1928)
- Translations (like wives) are seldom strictly faithful if they are in the least attractive.
- Poetry Review (June-July 1949)
Sons of the Mistral (1926)
- I love to see, when leaves depart,
The clear anatomy arrive,
Winter, the paragon of art,
That kills all forms of life and feeling
Save what is pure and will survive.
- "Autumn," lines 1-5
- Our spirits leaped, hosannas of destruction,
Like desert lilies forked with tongues of fire.
- "To a Pet Cobra," lines 23-24
- The frost stings sweetly with a burning kiss
As intimate as love, as cold as death.
- "The Sisters," lines 13-14
- The timeless, surly patience of the serf
That moves the nearest to the naked earth
And ploughs down palaces, and thrones, and towers.
- "The Serf," lines 12-14
- We shall not meet again: over the wave
Our ways divide, and yours is straight and endless –
But mine is short and crooked to the grave:
Yet what of these dark crowds, amid whose flow
I battle like a rock, aloof and friendless –
Are not their generations, vague and endless,
The waves, the strides, the feet on which I go?
- "Tristan da Cunha," lines 97-103
- With white tails smoking free,
Long streaming manes, and arching necks, they show
Their kinship to their sisters of the sea –
And forward hurl their thunderbolts of snow.
Still out of hardships bred,
Spirits of power and beauty and delight
Have ever on such frugal pastures fed
And loved to course with tempests through the night.
- "Horses on the Camargue," lines 41-48
- Of all the clever people round me here
I most delight in Me –
Mine is the only voice I care to hear,
And mine the only face I like to see.
- "Home Thoughts in Bloomsbury," lines 1-4
- You praise the firm restraint with which they write –
I'm with you there, of course:
They use the snaffle and the curb all right,
But where's the bloody horse?
- "On Some South African Novelists," lines 1-4
About Roy Campbell
- Roy Campbell was one of the very few great poets of our time. His poems are of great stature, and have a giant's strength and power of movement. They have, too, an extraordinary sensuous beauty. Everything is transformed to greatness.
- Edith Sitwell, Taken Care Of (New York: Atheneum, 1965), p. 192
- He became a Roman Catholic, but an unpleasantly militant one, sharing the hysterically nihilist mood of some of the fascist rebels in Spain... He himself was no fascist, simply a naïve who lamented – but without ever bothering to take serious thought – modern technology’s erosion of individuality.