Saturday 6 September 2008

Eros and Psyche

Edward Thompson's enjoyable critical biography of the poet Robert Bridges - Robert Bridges 1844-1930 (OUP, 1944) - at one point throws down the gauntlet to enthusiasts for Morris's poetry. For Thompson writes: 'Of Eros and Psyche, which Bridges published in 1885, Mr de Selincourt says, "There is no more delightful long narrative poem in our language". William Morris's rendering of the same story, in The Earthly Paradise, he remarks justly, "seems heavy and mannered beside the swift movement and exquisite grace" of Bridges's version. Mr Brett Young, too, considers the latter "if not the best, the most beautiful narrative poem in English". I think it may be' (p.34).

Has any close reader of Morris's verse taken up this comparative challenge?

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