Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.

Siegfried Sassoon's " Blasphemous Libel"

On October 8 last in the Book (Column of the Wellington "Evening Post there appeared a paragraph referring, to an action taken b y Mr.! Siegfried Sassoon, to induce the wealthy members of his family to purchase Millais' painting, "The Carpenter's Shop," and present it to the station. At the end of the paragraph $'as a note on Mr. Sassoon's war Career (he ' had enlisted at the beginning of the war, had fought for three years in France and Palestine, and by an act of conspicuous gallantry had won the Military Cross) and a mention of his collected War Poems.

Reading this reminded the editor Of The Haoriland Worker of a. review of these Poems in Pearson's Magazine (New York) for March. 1920. n copy of which he had bought ia a Wellington bookshop eighteen months before. This review was written by Mi*. Fjrank Harris, the well-known Shakespearean authority and a literary critic of outstanding ability, and contained about a dozen of the poems.

Thinking -to follow on che interest ia Sassoon created by the "Post," the editor selected two of the poems iv Mr. Harris's review as a fair indication of. the quality of the poei's work, and reprinted them in the issue Of The ._la.ri.land Worker on October 12. Both poems revealed the grim and- terrible in war, and on that account conveyed ideas which accorded with the altitw.de The Worker has always taken towards armed strife 7between ifce nations.

THE FUKFOSE OF THE POEM

The second poem of the two, "Stand-to: Good Friday Morning." was a pure piece of realism which expressed artistically the truth of a soldier's, emotions as sexperienced When, after a night's sentry duty, he *_r ( as Ordered, without rest, to inarch ijuee deep in mud "to repel an attack on the front lines. And the prayer, for such it was, wrung from him in a frenzy of agony and weariless ; as it flasned on him that it was Good Friday, |although in the language of the trenches, was nevertheless a purification of reality, intended to shock, yet aiming at creating an ethical disgust at the misery wfar thrusts upon the soldlei.

If there is one thing certain about th. poem to people of intelligence and understanding it is that it never remotely intended to bring religion into contempt or disrepute, and therefore could not be described as blasphemous except fc v the wildest Stretch of imagination. If blasphemy may be associated with" the poem at all it is the blasphemy of war which inflicts such monstrous suffering on the innocent and shatters the fraternal bonds that might otherwise bind all men in a common human family.

THE ATTOfi-iET-GEXERAIi HITS o_f BLASPHEMY

However, Mr. Siegfried Sassoon reckoned without the benighted knight, Sir Francis Bell, whom the fates ltave destined to rule over us in the office of Attorney-General. What the finest literary critics in England and America failed to see Sir Francis discerned in the stark light of -his queer intelligence, iand, as we frankly admit, the results were unpleasant- and inconvenient. In the last three lines, which Sir Francis, With his nice sense of discrimination, detached from the rest of the poem ■in the charge-sheet, he perceived a "blasphemous libel," and rummaging among the Crimes Act he unearthed Clause 150 in which there wa s power ■to imprison for a yejar Mr. J. Glover, the manager and publisher of The -_*iorilaiid Worker, for publishing it. Pence his action. Fortunately, he has only succeeded in making himself ridiculous.

SIEGFRIED SASSOON A NOTABLE POET

To thoroughly appreciate the profundity of the ignorance that dictated these legal proceedings—we shall deal with the aspect of political persecution later—it is important to realise that Siegfried Sassoon is in ■the front rank of living English poets, that his; poetic work has been the _übject of unstinted praise in publications like the Literary Supplement of Lord Northcliffe's London-

"Times," the London "Spectator," ' aad "Pearson's Magazine" (U.S.A.),

[that many of his War Poems, including "Stand-to: Good Friday Morn-. ing" were published in English, magazines during the course of the war, and that these poems for several years have been on sale throughout the British Empire, not excluding New Zealand.

WHAT THE LOSDON "TIMES* SAYS

As proof of how highly he is regarded artistically we quote here from reviews appearing in the Litea°ary Supplement. On jviay 31, 1917, the "Times" reviews Sassoon at a column length, and after expressing the opinion that Mr. Sassoon is an "undoubtedly sincere" artist says:

"He is a poet, we believe, meaning by that that we cannot fancy him putting down these thoughts in any form save the one he has chosen. His vision comes to him directly; he seems almost always, before he began to get his words into order, to have hjad one of those puzzling shocks of emotion, which, the world deals by such incongruous method?,, to the poet often, to the rest of us too seldom for our souls' good.

"There are the poems - about the war to begin with. It you <sj_.ance to read one of them by itself you may be inclined to think it is a very clever poem, chiefly designed with, its realism and its surface cynicism to shock the prosperous and sentimental. Naturally the critical senses rise in alarm to protect their owner from such insinuations. But read them continuously, read in particular "The Hero" and "The Tombstone-Maker" and you will drop the idea of being shocked in that sense altogether.

"What.Air. Sassoon has felt to be the most sordid and horrible experiences in the world he makes us feel to be so in a measure WHICH NO OTHER POET OF THB WAR HAS ACHIEVED. As these jaunty sentiments succeed each other such loathing, such hatred accumulates behind them that we say "to ourselves 'Yes, thig Is going on, and we are sitting here watching it' with a new shock bf surprise, with an uneasy desire to leave our place in the audience, which is a tribute to Air. Sassoon's power as a realist. IT IS REALISM 6f THE RIGHT, THE POETIC KIND. The real things tare put in not merely because they are real, but because at a certain moment of emotion the poet happened to be struck by them AND IS NOT AFRAID OF SPOILING HIS EFFECT BY CALLING THEM BY -THEIR RIGHT NAMES." MORE PJRAISE BY THE "TIMES" On July 11„ 1918, the again reviewed Sassoon's War "Poems, and. said among other things: " "It is natural to feel an impuhie of charity towards the poems written by young men who have fought or who are still fighting; but in the case of Air. Sassoon there is no temptation to indulge in this form of leniency, because he is so evidently .able-bodied in his poetic capacity and requires no excuses to be made for him. At the same time it is difficult to judge him passionatel y as a poet, because it is impossible to overlook the fact

THAT HE WRITES AS A SOLDIER. It is a fact indeed thtat he forces upon you as it were a matter of indifference to 'him whether you called him a poet or not. WE KNOW NO OTHER WRITER WHO HAS SHOWN AS EFFECTUALLY AS MR. SASSOON THE TERRIBLE PICTURES WHICH LIE BEHIND THE COLOURLESS PHRASES OF THE NEWSPAPERS. From the thousand horrors which in their sum compose one day of warfare he selects, as if by chance, now this of the counter attack, now that of mending the front-line trenches. "The vision of that 'hell where youth and laughter go* has been branded upon him top deeply to allow him to tolerate consolation

or explanation. He can only state a little of what he has seen, a very little one guesses, and turn away with a stoic shrug as if a _uper-

flcial cynicism were the best mask to wear in the face of such incredible experiences.

"Titer, is a stags of suffering, j as these poems seem to show us, where any expression save the barest is intolerable; * where beauty and art have something too universal about them to meet our particular case. Mr. Sassoon sums up that point of view in Ms 'Dead Musicians." Not Bach or Beethoven or Mozart bring back the __e_aor v of his friends, but the gHamaphone does it bawling _ut 'Another little drink won't do us any harm." Mr. Sassoon's poems are too much in the key of the gramaphone at present, too fiercely auspicious of any comfort or compromise, to be read as poetry, but his contempt for palliative or subtertuge,7give_ us the r ; aw stun 4 of poetry."

In the work of such a poet our Attorney-General can only see "blasphemy." By his med.-val prejudice he lias made • New Zealand a laugh-ing-stock.

THE LONDON "SPECTATOR'S" 'VIEW

Like the "Times" Literai-y Supplement the London "Spectator" ranks high -in the worjd of literary criticism, and like the "Times" also—it is necessar y to note this —its views on tbe war .were much the same as those of Sir Francis Bell, yet during the period of the war the "Spectator" published Sassoon's poems, , even when their, whole effect was to nullify the editorial policy of the paper. Its broadmmdedness we commend to Sir Francis —but without hope,

Among the Sassoon poems published in the "Spectator" during 1917 was one, "A Mystic as a Soldier," which, as it was read by Sir John Findlay in defending Mr. J. Glover iv the Supreme Court to show that Sassoon's was not a mind given to blasphemy, we reprint here: A MYSTIC AS A SOLDIER I lived my days apart, Dreaming fair songs of God, By the glory in my heart Covered and crowned and shod. Now God is in the strife, Aiid I must seek him there. Where death outnumbers life And fury smites the air. . 7>Hf ■ I walk the secret wa v . -aS With anger in my brain O music through my clay, When will you sound again? In a review of the works of several war poets on Alay 10, 1919, the "Spectator" said: "A like sincerity is the keynote of the very remarkable work of Air. Sassoon. He is bitter, ironical, almost savage, he. will not tolerate any amiable sentimentalities about w\a.r; he loathes the pictur-. esque effects of the 'Special Correspondent': but NO ONE HAS. DEPICTED WITH SUCH POIGNANCY THE HEARTBREAKING INEVITABILITIES OF BATTLE OR THE NOSTALGIA OF THE {SOLDIER REMEMBERING FRIENDLI.ER SCENES." From this it. will be seen why, when "it comes to artistic appreciation and commonsense interpretation, The 3la or iland Worker prefers the "Spectator" to Sir Francis Bell.

ANOTHEB CMTIC'S OPINION

The applausive criticisms of the "Times" . Literary Supplement and the "Spectator" were followed by a. eulog y . in "Pearson's Magazine" (U.S.A.), one of the finest publications that enter New Zealand. Its editor, Mr. Frank Harris, said: . "The first great book about the war was "Le Feu," By the French Socialist writer, Henri Biarbusse; here i s the second authentic message, written like the first in blood and tears. Characteristic, too, that the French lament should be in prose and the English in poetry,, for these two are respectively the highest arts in the two countries. Usually the lyric would go I think: reach nearer the unutterable soul of things; but this -war was so dreadful, the carnage so unlike anything before seen that the horror is as w*-ll given in the detailed descriptions of Barbusse as in* the soul-cries of Sassoon. "Both books atand above patriotism. In 'to Feu* th. Fr_»ck non-

commissioned officer declares in |a frenzy of disgust at the abominations of self-caused human suffering that Liebnecht, the German, was the one hero of the war be-1 cause he denounced the horror! from the beginning and refused totake any part in it. In even deeper distress of soul Sassoon writes of the German mother knitting socks * for her dead son:— 'Whoste face is trodden deeper ""■ * in the mire.-' National selfishness and individual selfishness caused the horror; these two men at least, see that clearly and are resolved to labor-to diminish it.'' - In this Mr. Harris anticipated our feelings when we read thos. of Sassoon's poems he embodied in his review. Mr. Sassoon went down into the pit of war, he saw the ghastly evil for what it was, and determined to make other people see it and resolve never again to engage in its horror aud infamy. We think it is the hatred of war generated by sassoon's poems that our professing anti-blasphemers are really worried about, not his use bf a sanguinary adjective which many times is painfully present in their own conversation.

It amounts to this then:. - That Sassoon may go to the imperialist war, slay Germans without, limit or scruple, and generally participate in activities wh-'ch grossly violate every ethical principle in Christianity, and no one will be shocked. But he must not reveal the true life of the soldier and make us shudder at the eriiuo and hideousness 'of war for that is profanation and blasphemy!

BLASPHEMOUS LIBEL—A FARCICAL LAW

A few observations here will show the utter absurdity of the law of blasphemous libel in New Zealand. We do not intencUto refer to the fact that "blasphemy" has waned to the point of - disappear-ance with the spread of tolerance and the changed attitude of the mass of the people towards religion, nor to the fact that there is plenty of "blasphemy" in the works of poets likt> Shelley and Swinburne to which the authorities take no objection. We will content ourselves with one or two fac.s related to our own case. To begin with, the difference between blasphemy and blasphemous libel i s that the former is spoken and the latter written. There is no law of blasphemy in New Zealand, only blasphemous libel being retained in our Criminal Code. The reasons tor the retention of "blasphemous libel" appear to be two, as we gather from Mr. Justice Hoskings: (1) This, the written word is durable while that spoken is fleeting, the effect of the former tending to last while that of the latter may be forgotten in a moment. We see here the old medieval fear of the power of print. ,

(2) That a prohibition of printed blasphemy is necessary to prevent party strife, or in the words of Mr. "Justice Hoskiitg in his charge to the grand jury, "The section (of the Crimes Act) i s intended to prevent party strife from arising."

Now the exquisite absurdity of reason number two will appear from the fact that you may "Stand-to: Good Friday Morning" anywhere but in The Maoriland Worker, and party peace will not be endangered and in law the religious susceptibilities of the devout will not be outraged. These things only become possible When you read the poem in The Worker.

ONLY BLASPHEMY IN THE - WOEKEK

For instance, you may read in the Wellington "Post" a reference to Air. Sassoou's liking for Alillais' picture "The Carpenter's Shop (Jesu s working at the bench),, or you may notice in "Liber's" book columns in the the squatters' "Dominion" that in "Georgian Poetry" (price 10/6) Air. Sassoon is classed with the greatest contemporary English poets, and under the stimulus of ■ the interest by these Tory papers you Way "* Visit Messrs. Whitcombe and Tombs, buy a copy of "War Poems," read "Stand-to: Good Friday Morning," and strife will ha oro-

yoked or be in danger of being pro-. voiced, and no one will be prosecuted for alleged blasphemous libel.

Further, you may even read the poem in the Christehurch "Suu" (Tory) before it reaches the Magistrate's Court, and although your solicitor may taunt the Crown Prosecflk* tor to take action against that-papel nothing will be done, presumably b&> cause in a Tory paper that supports the Government the poem does not violate the law.

'.What makes the poem a ''blasphemous libel is its "■ transcription from the book into The Ma.rtfaxul Worker. In the book it neither tenda to lead to "party strife" nor brings odium upon religion or sacred subjects* but in The Maorilaud Worke*. it does both. And accordingly tha Attorney-General casts a baleful ay" upon us.

Of course, word-sp. niters like tIM leader-v/riter of tire. "i-vening Post* may be able to invent a _ln.-looking | sophistry to make the imp. essioi that there is i_ difference between. i reading- the poem in the book and | readiug it in The Worker, but piaitt iinen will put that down as humbug. And they will use other words to describe the acton of the AttorneyGeneral, for if the book may be sold freely- in oyery reputable book shoj> in New Zealand while the reprinting of a poem from it in this paper ia followed by prosecution, threatened imprisonment, aijd heavy costs, it ia obvious that that gentleman in animated, as Mr. O'Regan plainly declared in the ._»£agistrate's Court b> the spirit of POLITICAL PERSECUTION. In any case'that i s our opinion. We are glad-the jur. upset hto calculations, because with _. verdiw of guilty to justify his aggressiotW there would have been no end to fh% encroachments he end hi_ Government have been, and are >_t presej& making- on personal lights and tBA people's liberty to read the work gl writers who are bent on ending all tyrannies including that of militarism ajid war. . SUPItSME COUIfcT PJ.OCEEHINGt!. Having said this much in explanation of the re-printing of the poefld in The MaorUand Worker we __$| now turn to the proceedings in t» Supreme Court in- Wellington whe» "the case was tried by Mr. Justi_s Hoskings and 3, Common jury on. Wednesday of last week. A s our readers knov.% the charge was against Mr. J. Glover, the manager and publisher of The Worker the alleged blasphemous libel bQiagt contained, according to the Crown, in the. last three lines of the poenju The poem hag already appeared twl__ jin The Worker. Mr. P. S. K. Mac;as:;ey appeared for the Crown, and Mr. Glover waa represen\d by Sir John G. Find!a/» K.C., with him Mr. W. Perry. Mr. G. M. Julius was tnosen a. .foreman of the jury. The case for the Crown "wa s briefc. Mr; Macassey said there was soma conflict of opinion in England as to J what constituted blasphenyr, but i_t i New Zealand the Crimes Act made the position clear. It provided a penalty of one year's imprisonment for tbe offence and made blasphe'n_j|> a question of fact. The aim of th. law was to prevent malicious attacW upon the objects of. worship whiclt might cause violence and disordel*. IHe read from Webster's dictionary-a i definition of blasphemy as "uttering [or exhibiting anything impious o* irreverent." He said that no doubt the defence would urge that the poem depicted the terrible feelings of a/ soldier in the trenches, but the jarjr would have to decide whether tha thoughts were expressed in good faithr and decent language. He submitted that the poem reviled Christ and the Last Sactfainent. Silt JOHN Fl__D__Al I3V I-EFEWCE In opening the case for the.defence Sir JohnFindlay said that this w«s the first occasion in New Zealand o* which a charge of blasphemous libit} had been laid. He impressed the Ju**# with the fact that the cas. was on of considerable importance, i.r t&* result would not only afr-ect Mf. Glover but every citi-eto in _y. v. Zealand. It dealt with the tests aril standards of individual liberty of written thought iaad words. .aid was therefore of more seriousness UuMfcmight appear at first sight.

/itli the object of. Bho^f'~tius. ; v been the practice of Tkt JffjMWM i Worker to publish poems of ftigh lity in erery issue, and o| demonStting from these that the papetf , far from .being bjasphemou&ljr osed, Sir John (X&iteti. to firffq corttinupuis sieties of Tub [L Honour refused to permit Sir a to do so, holding that it wag »o jAQ/je for the defence to show that live months poemjs of un<j.u«stion- « character had been printad, L lp, the sixth § biasl P°* m to r wva® t§sMon wigfUt flowed to appear. "You mi^ht well eiay that nu aqcused man I foorne an exemplary oharaoter ii charged with a, i}t}tnQ," he said, er further afgumstit his Honour 1 however, thiat the verses liad Wo the paper by "accident," ue uld allow a further reference, 'his decision having been made,

John then proposed to hand to

I jury an article in the Literary ippiement of the London "Times". r the purpose of indicating the real tention of the poem, but Mr. Maqasf objected to some one else's view m_ put.

he Judge upheld Mr. Macassey.

| held that if the discussion la t article dealt with certain que--Ens affecting the. case, the article |uld not be read. "I might a_ well low a witness in the box to giv.

s opinion ias to whether Mr. Glover dor had not committed blasemy!" he added. "I will exclude c evidence and reserve the ques>n. so that you can move about it."

BLASPHEMY UNDEFINED Turning from this point Sir Jonn lerred io the lack of a definition of isphemy. He said the trouble was find one in New Zealand, because )iie existed. He proceeded to quote c, when the Judge intervened, and id lie could not accept it, as it was

[seel on the common law of Engnd. "Wheu His Honour suggested

!the dictionary definition might ,cc—"To speak contemptuously revilingly of things sacred and jious," Sir John reminded him the dictionaries were i'higlisb. that xhPir definitions were based English legal experience. liter considerable interruption Sir a con tended that the words used Sassoon were not blasphemous *„c.c never intended to injure or ilt any member of the religious _m_itv. Reading to the followeffect from the Judge's charge to grand jury,— . , "It is a war poem, and one view it may be that the author is enavouring to depict the .awful contions of lite in the trenches— sir deadening and depressing iniat they may lead to. He hints ence on body and mind, and ■ the wearing night duty; no >ncr over, than a sudden call to md-to is heard compelling a rent, for which neither body or ntl is prepared, through the .ter and mud of the trenches, to jet an attack already begun. Leu. with the thought that it wa,s ioti F. may, and in a state of me_i--1 frenzy, he ejaculates the words .arge_ in the indictment." nit i _ the jury the poem was ten y to show the conditions .r v. .. a. private soldier, lived to a.._._e in the minds of those •it th. soldier was defending a - ot vht' horrible realities of war. i* John went on to say that blasti\ was not punishable as a sin, _•> a crime, and it was only where '- found that the words were iU to be an insult to the religious edibilities of the community that •'oukl be characterised as biasnous. He emphasised the jury t could not convict unless it d thai there had been a deliberonslaught on religious suscept'es. it would have to find: "(1) the publication- intended to be • i-h'ig? .and (2)' w as it one reviling ■'iiipiuously relig.ous or secred ■cts?" Neither judges, ' advocor juriors were very conversant blasphemous libel:

ATT E MPT AT DEFINITION

this stage His Honour explained blasphemy was first defined by

Church and- then by the State, thought it meant "to speak conptuously so as to show a pleasure he insult it conveys."

!ould Renan be so described?" d Sir John Findlay.

io," said His Honour, who went ■o sa y that because abominable filthy language had been used in trenches, there . wias so reason such language should be pub--d. Certain decencies of expreshad to be enforced.

r John continued that in New and the matter was entirely new, he pointed, out that up till 1911 blasphemy laws in Britain and iri__ had practically been a dead ii. in -New Zealand there was

idant legislation for the punisht of indecent, profane or obscene ■uage. The only case in New

and tlxzl had the remotest re-

a. to this one was one in which an at Carterton, when asked to a Salvation Army meeting, had "Who is Jesus Christ? Jle is

y a '——•"' He was proceeded ■inst on the ground of using pro- . and obscene language, and was tenced to imprisonment.

He couldn't have been p.jeeccKd 'nst for blasphemy," remark-si ihe ge. . "The code says blasphemy si " he publ.mied."

tre Sir John said that the worts r lloo(« v old sins washed white" | c *he axDression-'ot-a "soldier and

- -■■ W f^-'"; ! I were never intended tip offend __.. ?£*': ! jgfJous. Supposing lf__tfad o* thdlf IWctiw Bassoon Md said: "Aad $el my scarlet old sins washed w&iw , J\_r. Pe'T.ry: He was ia the ahd "fed _._>." Sir John: Well, I suppose you experienoed it, .often enough iji th.: trenches yourself. I believe that this; word wj_s -iOt infrequently heard at the front. (Laughter.) After going Into the derivatio-i of th. word "bloody" to show that it was ft.st used to describe the acts of the "bloods," or aristocratic rowdi... fiir John said in conclusion: "You know, gentlemen, what our nation hjt* gone through in blood and suffering to epablish the individual and religious liberty which you and I enjo7 to-ftay* _t is the boast of our nation t_.fi we have more liberty than protiablv any' nation in the world. -That privilege, that crown, can only be retained and can only be properly used, first if we respect and value our own liberty, and secondly if we treat our fellow men in a spirit of toleration. The verdict you bring to-day will test the standard as to what is the individual liberty of men and women in New Zealand to-das:."

During his address Sir John read several of Sassoon's realistic poems to point the moral and adorn the tale.

James Thorn, editor of The Maorii»nfl Worker," said verse was published In every issue of the paper. Mr. Glover never saw a word of what went int. the paper until it appeared la print; he was in charge of the commercial side. He (witness) found the poems in Pearson's (American) magazine, and selected two for publication in The Worker as fair samples of the author's work. His definite instruction from his Board of Managers was hot to attack religion. In fact, several ministers of religion had frequently contrituted to the paper during his (witness's) term of editorship. He took full responsibility for putting the poem in the paper.

This concluded Mr. Glover's case

THE SUMMING UP

In summing up for the jury His a verdict of guilty it was not inevitable that Mr. Glover would have to go to prison. Such was not the case. A flue could be imposed. The fact that Mi*. Glover had nothing to do with the editorial side of the paper might be taken in mitigation of the sentence, in the event of a verdict against him. There had been no similar prosecutions, but probably that was on account of the good taste ot publishers of newspapers in New Zealand. There was no question of the poem being "indecent." There was also no question of the truth of _,ny. doctrine, as far as the present case was concerned. If the poem was insulting or reviling, they should find the accused guilty, but, if not, they should find him not guilty. If they could not make up their minds either way. then they must also find a verdict of not guilty.

The jury then retired and in three quarters of an hour brought in a verdict of not guilty with .a rider: "That similar publications of such literature be discouraged." Mr. Glover was then discharged. WHAT SASSOON THOUGHT OF IT The London "Daily News" in December published the following remarks by Siegfried Sassoon on the bigoted action of Sir Francis Bell: I can only affirm that (according to the standards of intellectual and emotional' perplexity at present existing somewhere in.my own cranial .and cardiac consciousness) the poem, which created "a case without precedent" in the legal annals of New Zealand is not "contemptuous, reviling or ludicrous matter relating to God, Jesus Christ, or the Bible" (a definition ~ of blasphemy relied on by the prosecution). Nor it is, as argued by the defence, "an illustration of poetic license." The Poem is a condensed, impassioned, and accurate reconstruction . of an experience which I shared with several million deluded bipeds. * When these trench-dwellers were more than ordinarily uncomfortable they be. came aware of certain compensa- \ lions which attended the crass cas- i ualty of a slight (or "cushy") wound. I am extremely sorry that the Attorney General of New Zealand has, so far, failed to interpret my poem in accordance with my original intention.

CONGRATULATIONS TO MIL GLOVER

Mr. J. Glover has received the fol* lowing telegram from Mr. H. E. Holland, M.P.:' "Congratulations on jury's sane verdict. The fact that booksellers were accorded immunity while you were charged wias proof of one-sided nature of prosecution which "was stupid and ought never to have been initiated."

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/MW19220301.2.2

Bibliographic details

Siegfried Sassoon's "Blasphemous Libel", Maoriland Worker, Volume 12, Issue 262, 1 March 1922

Word Count
4,849

Siegfried Sassoon's "Blasphemous Libel" Maoriland Worker, Volume 12, Issue 262, 1 March 1922

  1. New formats

    Papers Past now contains more than just newspapers. Use these links to navigate to other kinds of materials.

  2. Hierarchy

    These links will always show you how deep you are in the collection. Click them to get a broader view of the items you're currently viewing.

  3. Search

    Enter names, places, or other keywords that you're curious about here. We'll look for them in the fulltext of millions of articles.

  4. Search

    Browsed to an interesting page? Click here to search within the item you're currently viewing, or start a new search.

  5. Search facets

    Use these buttons to limit your searches to particular dates, titles, and more.

  6. View selection

    Switch between images of the original document and text transcriptions and outlines you can cut and paste.

  7. Tools

    Print, save, zoom in and more.

  8. Explore

    If you'd rather just browse through documents, click here to find titles and issues from particular dates and geographic regions.

  9. Need more help?

    The "Help" link will show you different tips for each page on the site, so click here often as you explore the site.

Working