Thus far (it says), O wandering spirit of the night!
Move largely o’er the earth, and whom thou canst
Intimidate! But at my balcony
Renounce…. And then I gaze within the room,
T.P.’s Weekly, priced at one penny, was a middle-market publication whose aim was ‘to bring to many thousands a love of letters’. It featured other writers in Bennett’s metier such as G.K. Chesterton and Bennett’s particular friend H.G. Wells. ‘Night on the Riviera’ appears derivative of Matthew Arnold’s ‘Dover Beach’ (a poem ahead of its time) though Bennett does make some concession to modern poetic form by breaking from the conventional metre and rhyme that he commonly employs and venturing into Free Verse. Bennett’s poetry generally displays neither the technical competence nor the artistic ambition of his better fiction and few survived in print – one exception being ‘A Love Affair’ which was anthologised in Larkin’s Oxford Book of English Verse (1973). ‘Night on the Riviera’ does touch on one of Bennett’s perennial preoccupations – the hotel. The well-travelled Bennett was concerned with convenience and personal comfort while in his fiction the hotel is both apt stage for human drama and emblematic organism of modernity. The missing section of the poem is reproduced from Paul Plant’s study ‘Arnold Bennett: A Poet of the Ordinary’, available in the Archive.