The poet describes a herd of zebra which he sees on the grasslands at dawn. He is enraptured by their
stark beauty as they roam the land freely, and then as a stallion romps with a filly.
NOTE ON THE POET
Roy Campbell was born in Durban in 1901 and was at one stage considered to be one of South Africa's
best poets. His popularity, however, has waned in recent years so that today his poetry is hardly ever
Educated at Durban High School, he spent much of his youth in the great outdoors -- something that is
reflected in many of his poems like "The Zebras". As soon as the Great War was over, however,
he moved to England where he attended Oxford University.
He married Mary Garman, a marriage which did not carry his parents' consent and therefore meant that,
for a time at least, Campbell was struck off from his inheritance. He had two daughters by this marriage.
In 1925, he returned to South Africa and founded a literary magazine called Voorslag which was
meant to promote cultural development amongst the Afrikaners whom the poet regarded as backward and
Very soon disillusionment set in, however, and he returned to England. His disillusionment continued even
there as he fell foul of his own fellow poets -- and even of his wife whom he found was not averse to
During the early 1930s he settled in the Provence region of France -- the scene for one of his greatest
poems, "Horses on the Camargue". During this time he was slowly drawn to Catholicism and
In the mid-1930s, due to a loss in a civil lawsuit, the Campbell family fled to Spain where the poet became
an avid supporter of the fascist dictator, General Franco. It was this support which saw the poet's
reputation slump amongst his literary colleagues.
When World War II broke out, the poet moved back to England and enlisted for military duty. It was
during those years that he became close friends with the Welsh poet and fellow drunkard, Dylan Thomas.
After the war, the poet returned to the Iberian Peninsula but this time settled in Portugal. He died in a car
accident over the Easter weekend of 1957.
Have you looked at the questions
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