Natalie Maisie and Pavilastukay

BY John MasefieldMACMILLAN
IF THIS volume had been written by anyone other than the Poet Laureate of England, would it have found a publisher, I wonder? It consists of two tales in verse. The first, founded upon a Russian legend, is the romantic story of a beautiful young girl, who, on the eve of her sailor lover’s departure, is seen and desired by Czar Peter, the husband of Catherin the Great. Fleeing from his lust, she lives for a year in a hut in the forest. As ballet or folk tale the story might have great charm, but transformed into facile but undistinguished modern English verse, dropping into bathos such as,
The couples danced, and suddenly the Car
Was at her elbow, saying “Here we are.”
it is merely silly.
I had hopes at the outset of the next story that of an Englishman embittered by the modern world that it was to be a satire in the Byronic manner, but it turned into an unconvincing parable of Reconstruction. The hero leaves England in disgust for a world cruise, and in the Indian jungle lights upon the ruins of a forgotten city, Pavilastukay. Here a series of paintings show him that the past had experienced everything which debases the present, and had conquered it.
The hero thereupon returns home, with new hope and determination that “England shall live like Pavilastukay.” E. D.