‘Chivalry’, The Bulletin, 15 September 1904
chivalry, Creeve Roe, death of chivalry, debate, Petrarch, romance, â€˜Romanceâ€™, sonnet, tradition, Victor Daley (1858-1905).
At the time Victor Daley composed this poem, a debate had erupted over whether chivalry and romance, at least within the Australian context, were dead. That was certainly the argument put forward in an earlier poem, ‘Romance’ by L. D., which was published in The Bulletin in 1885. In December 1902 Victor Daley wrote his own explanation (See Louise D’Arcens, Old Songs in the Timeless Land: Medievalism in Australian Literature 1840-1910, Turnhout, Brepols, 2011, p.139), beginning: “They say that fair Romance is dead, and in her cold grave lying low.” Nearly two years later, in September 1904 and writing under the pseudonym Creeve Roe, Daley penned this more credible hypothesis for the continued survival of chivalry and romance. Although in this later poem the medieval content is limited to a fleeting reference to the elaborate sonnets of Petrarch (d. 1374) and the veneer of archaic-sounding expressions, it is prefaced with an explanation that ties it to the debate over the death of chivalry and romance. In Daley’s previous poem ‘Romance’ (1902), we find more explicit Arthurian references to “Gold Gudrun, and Guinevere,” and “Merlin wise,” and “Castle Perilous, beyond the dark Enchanted Wood.” While Daley’s poem ‘Romance’ underlines the continued existence of romantic sensibilities despite the fact that, as a rapidly developing country, Australia was dominated by Mammon and Machinery (See D’Arcens, p.139), the light-hearted Creeve Roe poem offers a more practical and mischievous solution. The surest way, says the poet, for the continuance of chivalrous behaviour in an Australian setting, is for women to live up to the impossible standards imposed on them by tradition and the whimsy of men.
Creeve Roe (Victor Daley)
15 September 1904, p.15