Books for review [22 December 1900]

[Editor: A review of Popular Verses and Humorous Verses by Henry Lawson, and of Australian Bushranging by Charles White. Published in The Western Champion and General Advertiser for the Central-Western Districts, 22 December 1900.]

Books for review.

We have received from the publishers, Messrs. Angus & Robertson, Sydney, the following books for review:—

“Popular Verses,” by Henry Lawson. This volume of poetic verse contains a collection of short poems on many subjects. It deals largely with the many phases of bush life. In style it is Lawsonesque — no other description is possible; nor can we say anything that will commend it better to the good graces of our readers, to whom the name of Henry Lawson conjures up memories of many of his masterpieces. The contents of the volume under notice are quite up to his average standard of merit, and that average is well-known to be a high one. In fact most of the poems contained in the volume have already found fame in the pages of the leading Australian weekly journals. The side-lights it throws on the characteristic surroundings of life “out west” shows to the full the writer’s keen power of perception and his ready grasp and portrayal of the traits, feelings, and vernacular of those whose lot it is to wander about in that part of the wordly sphere presumed to be forgotten by God. Perhaps this accounts for the tinge of sadness which characterises the general run of Australian poets:— deserts, naked trees, blanching bones, waterless plains, scorching sun, sandstorms, and so on, and so on. It makes one turn with quite a sense of gratified relief to the next volume under review:—

“Humorous Verses” by the same writer (Henry Lawson). This book is redolent of humor, the variety of humor which pervades the shearing shed, the selector’s hut, the timber getters’ camp, and “push” society. The verse has a splendid vim about it which helps to make the poems eminently suitable for recitation. The sayings, the slang, the pathos, the humor not unmixed with sadness — showing both the bright and the dark sides of life — go to make the book a worthy addition to the ever-increasing library of Australian literature. The picturesque flow of language contained in one or two of the poems is truly characteristic of the Australian bushman, whose native-born bluntness would perforce incline him to demonstrate his love of freedom of speech by calling a spade a spade, but who more frequently gives vent to his forcible expressiveness by calling it “a blanky shovel.” The poems have a regular bush twang running right through them, and the volume should command a splendid sale in Western Queensland.

The third volume sent is entitled “Australian Bushranging” (1850 to 1862) and is written by Charles White. It forms the second part of a work which is to be published in four parts, the first part of which was issued some time ago, and its pages are mostly devoted to a history of the career of the famous bushranger, Frank Gardiner, “the king of the road,” whom, as many of our readers are doubtless aware, was arrested on the Peak Downs in 1864, and charged at the Rockhampton Police Court with “having committed various robberies in New South Wales,” and from there remanded to Sydney. Gardiner was subsequently sentenced to thirty-six years’ imprisonment, but his good conduct in gaol, and the supplication of his friends, procured his release, and he was exiled. The book reads like a romance. Indeed, one review of the previous portion of the work says that it contains enough romance to make twenty such novels as “Robbery under Arms.” And this assertion is equally applicable to the second part of the work now under review.

All three volumes are published at a shilling each, and may be obtained from any booksellers throughout the district.

The Western Champion and General Advertiser for the Central-Western Districts (Barcaldine, Qld.), 22 December 1900, p. 5

Editor’s notes:
pathos = compassion or pity; or an experience, or a work of art, that evokes feelings of compassion or pity

vim = strong energy and enthusiasm

[Editor: Corrected “waterles splains” to “waterless plains”.]

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