Wednesday, June 14, 2006
From Robert Lynd, of the "News Chronicle"
The truth is, he never ceased to be a poet even when he was writing prose. How fine a poet he was at his best everyone who has read the "Ballad of the White Horse" knows. Some of his vese might be described as a riot of rhetoric, but the rhetoric is the genuine expression of a riotous and exuberant imagination. The novels, too, were riots - some of them glorious riots, with little imps of nonsense tumbling head-over-heels among apocalyptic visions. There are writers who hold that Chesterton squandered his genius and endangered his literary immortality by his indifference to form. He was certainly of a squandering temperment, but in his case it was not a common spendthrift but a millionaire who did the squandering. He once said that if he were a millionaire he would like just to "chuck his money about" - not to deserving people, but to "just chuck it about." In literature and journalism he may be said to have chucked his genius about. It seems to me likely that we shall still for many generations to come be collecting the gold pieces that he has strewn with such magnificent recklessness.