Songs of the Army of the Night

Songs of the Army of the Night - Francis William Lauderdale Adams I read this in the 1910 A.C. Fifield edition (London) which contains some textual differences from the editions published in Adams' lifetime, including the addition of a longer poem called "The Mass of Christ".

Adams may have had an interesting life - he travelled extensively - but I liked his verse no better than I liked his novel, "Child of the Age" - that is, not at all. He is full of socialistic passion, but he has neither the facility of language nor an unusual enough imagination to support that passion. Nor is his verse so bad as to be amusing, as for instance McGonagall is. His editor, Henry S. Salt, gives him a sympathetic introduction, but even he concedes that some of the verse approaches doggerel, though he tries to make that a merit!

As a social document, the poems have a certain interest, spanning as they do labour issues from across the world, predominantly by not by any means exclusively British and Australian. And Adams' own fate has a certain pathos (he died at the age of 31, by his own hand - and apparently with assistance from his wife - when his illness, tuberculosis, became too much to bear)