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From The National Observer: Review of The Savoy, Vol. 3

    In the Savoy Joseph Pennell has a very clever pen-and-ink
drawing of ‘a fair at Chartres.’ The title is negatively re-
assuring. The illuminations have not actually set the whole
town on fire, as one feared at first. Aubrey Beardsley has con-
fined himself to the cover and title-page. The woman on the
outside is a little more than usually out of drawing. W. B.
Yeats’s ‘Wiliam Blake and his illustrations to the Divine
Comedy,’ and Havelock Ellis’s ‘Friedrich Nietzche’ continue to
be the literary pieces of resistance. Both are solidly meritorious
exercises and woulf adorn any other philosophical magazine. Of
the lighter literature of this number not much can be said
kindly. We have a first taste of O. Shakespear’s ‘Beauty’s
Hour.’ which may be going to be very good. ‘Doctor and
Patient,’ by Rudolph Dircks, is rather negligeably feeble but
nothing worse : the dull purposeslessness of George Morley’s
‘Two Foolish Hearts’—a story of the rustic dialect order—is
relived by a style which it is only just to illustrate by an extract.
Luce, it should be explained, is the red-haired flame’ of
one Clem : otherwise her “Rubens-like beauty had blushed
unseen.’ She is going down a lane. ‘It was a June lane—
a leafy lover’s lane. To night it wore an intensely delightful
aspect. It was moonlit. Few trees grew at the at the west end, and
when the moon reached a certain altitude it shot a ray of efful-
gence down that avenue-like Warwickshire lane like a light in
a railway tunnel. Luce looked like an animated puppy walking
through the light into darkness.’ The editor, Arthur Symons,
that intrepid traveller who discovered Dieppe for the first
number of the Savoy, has now penetrated to Vincennes, and
tells us about its ‘Gingerbread Fair.’ His article is called
‘A Colour-Study’ : but it is actually a Study of Tights. From
this lofty and alluring theme he can never stay long away ;
unless it is perhaps to notice that when the ladies of the ballet
‘turn their backs unconcernedly to the crowd . . . one distin
guishes the higher vertebræ of the spine.’ Mr. Symons has the
true artist’s eye for beautiful essentials. “The Dying of Francis
Donne.’ told by Ernest Dowson with great and particular
deliberation, may have a success with such as are not too
Hellenic in taste. Of his life, which should have been interest-
ing, we learn little : but then an indecent curiosity should always
be discouraged. Lionel Johnson experiments in twelve-syllable
sonnets. One may safely question the succesws of this variation
of the accepted length of the sonnet-line : the rhymes are too
intricate to admit of any extension of the intervals between
them ; but there can be no question about the dignity
of Mr. Johnson’s manner and the high nobility of his feeling.
The sestet of the sonnet on ‘Hawker of Morwenston’ is hurt
by a jarring assonance between the separate rhymes ; but it is
a fault to pardon where conception and execution are alike so
distinguished. F. M. Hueffer’s ‘Song of the Women’ is an
excellent low-comedy carol, and should suit Mr. Dan Leno
down to the pit as soon as the music-halls are opened on a
Sunday. The editor must have discerned a latent poetical
merit in Arthur Symons’s verses, ‘Stella Maligna,’ to condone
what nothing could ever rightly condone—their gratuitous
Lesbianism. but we must not forget that the Savoy was
originally supposed to represent a catholic reaction against
the intolerant morality of the reformed Yellow Book.

MLA citation:

Review of The Savoy, vol.3, July 1896, The National Observer July 1896, p. 394. Yellow Nineties 2.0, edited by Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019.