[Editor: This extract from the “Books up to date” column includes a favourable mention of While the Billy Boils (1896), by Henry Lawson, and reports on a review of his book In the Days When the World was Wide (1896). Published in The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), 19 September 1896.]
Books up to date
Mr. Lawson’s new book of short stories, “While the Billy Boils,” has beaten the record among Australian publications of the kind, being already well into its third thousand. Messrs. Angus and Robertson, the publishers, expect a great success with the English edition, to be ready next month; and, judging by Mr. Le Gallienne’s lengthy and flattering criticism of this author’s poems in the August “Idler,” they are justified in so doing.
“Australia is another new country,” Mr. Le Gallienne writes, “with a mighty imagination and a great heart. There is something in the ferment of conditions in a new country which makes for both, but, like America, and much more so, she keeps them as yet for her business and her social intercourse. However, now and again they escape into literature. They did so in Lindsay Gordon, in Henry Clarence Kendall, in Francis Adams, and they have once more escaped in a striking volume of ballad-poetry, entitled “In the Days when the World was Wide.” … It is merely accidental that Mr. Lawson employs the methods of Kipling and Bret Harte; he would have been a poet had they never been born. The cruel muses chose him at their birth to hear the fatal music, to see the fatal beauty of the world. I don’t mean to imply that he is a poet of anything approaching the highest order of poetry. Ballad poetry has seldom been written by such poets. It is essentially music for the people, appealing to the great human emotions.”
Perhaps the highest compliment Mr. Le Gallienne pays to Mr. Lawson are the extremely lengthy quotations from the book under review.
The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), 19 September 1896, p. 3
Le Gallienne = Richard Le Gallienne (1866-1947), an English author and poet
[Editor: Changed the single quotation mark after “World was Wide.” to a double quotation mark.]
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]