Winter 1942 • Vol. IV No. 1 NonfictionJanuary 1, 1942 |

Poet on Horseback

I was only English writer who, before the war, predicted JL a victorious popular rising against the Left,” Roy Campbell boasted in a letter dated February 1939 from Toledo, which he had helped General Franco reconquer for the Right. This statement and the attitude it reflects are typical of the poet who long ago divided humanity into two camps, the man on horseback and the pedestrian business man with his regulation derby and fanfooted gait. Since the multitudinous representatives of the latter class are all summed up for him in the familiar screen role of Charlie Chaplin, he calls them “Charlies.” Nor is this new cavalier poet above “tent-pegging any dirty little pedestrian civilian or shoving his ’civilization’ away, wherever we find it refusing to roll away of its own accord like an automatic carpet.” From his earliest childhood, in fact, Roy Campbell has been a man on horseback. An entry in the British Who’s Who for 1939 sums up his life in the following words:

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