… and if I live till I am forty…

[Dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 4, 1246.]

To W.E. Henley [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 143-144]

[Chalet la Solitude, Hyères, c. 8 April 1884]

Dear Henley,

[…]

You may be surprised to hear that I am now a great writer of verses; that is, however, so.

immagine

The verses alluded to are some of those afterwards collected in ‘Underwoods’, 1887 [https://ia600409.us.archive.org]

immagine

immagine

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I have the mania now like my betters, and faith, if I live till I am forty, I shall have a book of […] rhymes like Pollock, Gosse, or whom you please.

t2ec16nhjhoe9n3kd2q0brtlzvfho60_57

Walter Herries Pollock (1850–1926), writer, poet, translater, editor of the Saturday Review from 1884 to 1894, was also considered one of the best amateur fencers in Great Britain [http://i.ebayimg.com]

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W.H. Pollock, Songs and Rhymes: English and French, 1882 [https://ia802703.us.archive.org]

edmund_gosse_by_john_singer_sargent

Edmund Gosse (1849-1928) [https://upload.wikimedia.org]

immagine

E. Gosse, On Viol and Flute, 1873 [https://ia800503.us.archive.org]

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Poem by E. Gosse, from ‘On Viol and Flute’, 1873 [https://ia800503.us.archive.org]

Really, I have begun to learn some of the rudiments of that trade, and have written three or four pretty enough pieces of octosyllabic nonsense, semi-serious, semi-smiling.

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RLS’s poem ‘To a Gardener’, written in Hyères, and published in ‘Underwoods’, 1887 [https://ia700409.us.archive.org]

immagine

 

A kind of prose Herrick, divested of the gift of verse, and you behold the Bard.

robert_herrick_hesperides

Title page of Robert Herrick’s ‘Hesperides’, 1648 [https://upload.wikimedia.org]

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Hazlitt’s edition of Herrick’s ‘Esperides’, 1869 [https://ia802705.us.archive.org]

 

But I like it.

[…]

R.L.S.

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One Response to … and if I live till I am forty…

  1. rdury says:

    I too shall ‘with superb asparagus, / A book, a taper, and a cup / Of country wine, divinely sup’

    Liked by 1 person

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