Biography of Roy Campbell
Ignatius Royston Dunnachie Campbell, better known as Roy Campbell, (2 October 1901 – 23 April 1957) was a South African poet and satirist. He was considered by T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas and Edith Sitwell to have been one of the best poets of the period between the First and Second World Wars. Campbell's vocal attacks upon the Marxism and Freudianism popular among the British intelligentsia caused him to be a controversial figure during his own lifetime. It has been suggested by some critics and his daughters in their memoirs that his support for Francisco Franco's Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War has caused him to be blacklisted from modern poetry anthologies.
In 2009, Roger Scruton wrote, "Campbell wrote vigorous rhyming pentameters, into which he instilled the most prodigious array of images and the most intoxicating draft of life of any poet of the 20th century... He was also a swashbuckling adventurer and a dreamer of dreams. And his life and writings contain so many lessons about the British experience in the 20th century that it is worth revisiting them".
Roy Campbell Poems
Horses On The Camargue
In the grey wastes of dread, The haunt of shattered gulls where nothing moves But in a shroud of silence like the dead,
The Zulu Girl
When in the sun the hot red acres smoulder Down where the sweating gang its labour plies A girl flings down her hoe, and from her shoulder Unslings her child tormented by flies.
From the dark woods that breathe of fallen showers, Harnessed with level rays in golden reins, The zebras draw the dawn across the plains Wading knee-keep among the scarlet flowers.
I love to see, when leaves depart, The clear anatomy arrive, Winter, the paragon of art,
Now Spring, sweet laxative of Georgian trains, Quickens the ink in literary veins, The Stately Homes of England ope their doors
Christ in Uniform
Close at my side a girl and boy Fell firing, in the doorway here, Collapsing with a strangled cheer As on the very couch of joy,
Love in a Hut
Maternal Earth stirs redly from beneath Her blue sea-blanket and her quilt of sky, A giant Anadyomene from the sheath
Mass at Dawn
I dropped my sail and dried my dripping seines Where the white quay is chequered by cool planes In whose great branches, always out of sight, The nightingales are singing day and night.
The Flaming Terrapin
How often have I lost this fervent mood, And gone down dingy thoroughfares to brood On evils like my own from day to day:
His naked skin clothed in the torrid mist That puffs in smoke around the patient hooves, The ploughman drives, a slow somnambulist, And through the green his crimson furrow grooves
From the dark woods that breathe of fallen showers,
Harnessed with level rays in golden reins,
The zebras draw the dawn across the plains
Wading knee-keep among the scarlet flowers.
The sunlight, zithering their flanks with fire,
Flashes between the shadows as they pass
Barred with electric tremors through the grass
Like wind along the gold strings of a lyre.
Into the flushed air snorting rosy plumes