p. 5, Thursday [Dec] 26th: One of the officers of the “Ringarooraa” sent me Swinburne’s “Songs before Sunrise” and two volumes of the Poems and Ballads, but I don’t think there will be much time to read these during the summer; during the long winter far away from the teeming life of the great world one may calmly criticize his rather erotic lines.
p. 5-6, Friday 27th: Bernacchi and I were discussing poetry to-night and the philosophy of old Omar; he seemed to think it very good, and my opinion is that the lines were beautiful, the translation wonderful, but the philosophy maudlin and unmanly. A finer man in every way is my old favourite Browning, though it is—or was—fashionable to pretend not to understand him: why, I do not know. Of course, there are a lot of things in Browning that are difficult which I don’t pretend to understand—which he did not himself after he wrote them…. [Goes on to tell story of Childe Roland and how only Browning and God understood it when written, and now only God…etc]
I read out to Skelton some of my favourite lines from Stephen Phillips “Paolo and Francesca”, though as a rule he thinks poetry of any description rubbish, thinking it, perhaps, not in keeping with the ideas of an up-to-date engineer; he rather liked these.
p. 6, Saturday 18th: I read rather a good poem by Owen Seamans (sp.).