Deeply affected by the war and its aftermath, Spender appears in this latest volume as a changed poet. Something has been lost, something gained. The purely lyrical mellifluousness is not what it was; but the poems show a bony structure, a skeleton as it were, and the germs of metaphysical thinking that were almost entirely lacking in the earlier work. Perhaps even more interesting than the deepening and hardening of Spender's gift is the almost miraculous manner in which he has caught the sense of speed and dispersal, the centrifugal force of this period. Not all of these poems are satisfying. Some are trite; there is a derangement in some that is, to say the least, disconcerting. A few of the poems -- as Epithalamion- are original, deeply felt, moving and completely realized. Here at least is a great poetic sensitivity grappling with some of the inner and outer problems of our times. This, if not a volume of perfect poems, is one of delicate and distinguished verse far above the average. While not esoteric, this volume will appeal to a literate and discriminate audience.