Will ages to come see Betjeman and Larkin as a Gray and Collins duo, as quite good but neither with quite sufficient quality to merit a whole volume each? Perhaps, if there are in the necessary sense ages to come. And if there aren't, whose fault is that? Not Betjeman's at any rate; he offered a stubborn, awkward, though ultimately defeated resistance. Larkin, on the other hand, needs a lawyer. A weak and self-pitying pacifist, a highly trained soldier who refused to fight, standing to one side and regretting the passing of what he had been designed to protect. The fact that he is the better poet makes it all the worse, and in fact the personal failures that he discusses with striking candour aren't the ones the matter; indeed the over-indicated sexual failures are camouflage over something else. If he cared so much for all this, here, England, cared enough to claim our pity on its behalf for his own unction, why didn't he do something about it? Why didn't he get down and dirty? Betjeman did, and the poems suffer as a consequence from terrible vulnerabilities, visible not only as snobbery, but the sense that he was so heavily committed that if beaten he would lose everything. Larkin is just not that concerned, and has prepared a place of safe exile; the tombs, the shadows, the meadows can all be gone, but his poised expressions of indestructible resignation will survive. Very subtle, very good, and the volume will be called Larkin and Betjeman, but what a price to pay.