Bermuda’s Coral Strand

Found- a handwritten poem. Not sure where it came from but it looks about 90+ years old. The anonymous author calls it ‘doggerel’ in his closing lines. William Plomer might have called it ‘Tough Verse.’ The style is of the stand-up ‘dramatic monologue’ as exemplified by Milton Hayes’s ‘There’s a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Kathmandu…’ or possibly the Grenadier’s marching song (“Some talk of Alexander…’) The reference to fox-hunting in England may indicate the writer was a British expat.

"Bermuda's Coral Strand".

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I've heard of men tell of Clusium
And of the Chinese war,
Of troubles in the East and West,
Of Delhi and Cawnpore,
Of brave Horatius Cocles
Who battled hand to hand,
But never yet in all my days
Have I heard a single word of praise
Of Bermuda's Coral Strand.

2.

Now it does seem very strange to me
That such should be the case
For though there's not much of it
It's a very pretty place,
So, off my coat and up my sleeves
And with my pen in hand
I'll call the Muse to my aid and write
Doggerel verses with all my might
Of Bermuda's Coral Strand.

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Joan Abbay – Art & The Holy Grail

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Found —  a slim volume of poetry from 1927 Lodequest: A Ballad of the Grail (Ancient House, Ipswich 1927) by Herbert Hudson. His wife produced the illustrated cover and also contributed one of the poems. She was Joan Abbay an East Anglian artist, and this is the only example of her work currently online, although it is possible some of her paintings are occasionally sold at auction.

The introduction to the book places the Grail legend in context, quoting from Jessie L Weston’s The Quest of the Holy Grail (1913)- (also an influence on a somewhat better known poem*):

“Every student of mediaeval literature will bear witness that there were strange current stirring in those days, that more was believed,that more was known than the official guardians of faith and morals cared to admit; that much, very much of this undercurrent of yearning and investigation was concerned with the search for the source of life; life physical, and life immortal. I contend that the Grail romances were a survival that period of unrest….The secret of the Grail I hold to be above all a human problem. When seekers after Truth will consent to work together in harmony, doing full justice to each other’s views, then,and not till then, the secret of the Grail will cease to be a secret.” Continue reading

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An ‘innocent hoax’ played on Frank Kermode

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The late Frank Kermode is best known today as the most prominent Romantic critic in twentieth century English letters—a more intelligent version of Herbert Read. Among rare book traders he is also notorious as the man who, in 1996, lost most of his collection, which included some valuable first editions, to the refuse collectors of Cambridge City Council, who, mistaking them for rubbish, disposed of them in the city tip. It seems that Mr Kermode was prone to absent mindedness where books were concerned. In an article of October 1973 from the Haining archive that appeared in The Daily Telegraph he recounts how he somehow lost his ‘whole collection, including The Darkening Ecliptic ‘on his trip home from Australia in 1945.

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I once met….John Heath-Stubbs

John Heath-Stubbs by Patrick Swift

Coming across a copy of a relatively recent booklet entitled The Guide to Bayswater (Sunrise Press) I turned to the page on Artesian wells which  accounted for much of the water supply to Bayswater in the early nineteenth century. The next entry was on Artesian Road, which reminded me of a visit to the poet and critic John Heath-Stubbs circa 1994. I think I must have got his address and phone number from Who’s Who.

I knew little about him as a person, apart from the fact that he was blind and had a very large head. I didn’t much enjoy his poetry, but was interested in hearing his views on Geoffrey Grigson, on whom I was writing a biography-- not because either of them had seriously clashed in print or in person, but because Heath-Stubbs was part of the neo-Romantic reaction to Auden and his generation, of which Grigson was a member, and also perhaps because the latter had violently attacked two neo-romantic poets—George Barker and Dylan Thomas, and inter alia their literary mentor, Edith Sitwell.

Looking back over twenty years, all I can recall of our conversation was the fact that Heath-Stubbs defended the poetic aesthetic of Sitwell, which I had decried, and that he showed a degree of irritation with the more extreme manifestations of neo-romanticism.
He also urged me to read his recently published autobiography, Hindsights, which alas, I had failed to do.

But what impressed me the most about this very remarkable man, whose head was indeed enormous, was the way he coped with his blindness. I had never before interviewed a blind man—indeed I had never been inside the home of one. Something I did find bizarre was the fact that as someone who had been totally blind for nearly forty years, he had pictures on his wall.Unless these had been hung when he had had some residual vision, their presence seemed pointless. I was also appalled by the large and obviously dangerous holes in his carpets. Why had no-one urged him to install brand new ones? These might have incurred some expense, but tripping up on a threadbare carpet could have killed or seriously injured the poet. It then occurred to me that as a blind man it was in his interest to know where all the potential dangers in his home were located, and these included holes in carpets. I was also impressed by the ease with he made me a cup of coffee, although the mug was left balancing precariously on the edge of a table. I later learnt that he often cooked for his guests—and did it well—so for him making a coffee must have been a simple task. I also noticed, as so many others had done, before and since, the evidence of spilt food and drink on his clothes.

Just before I left, a much younger man let himself into the house. He was clutching some books, I seem to recall, and I assumed that this was his friend and housekeeper, the legendary Eddie Linden, who was in the habit of reading to him.
[R.M.Healey.]

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Live poetry 1967 (Pete Roche)

Found - a 1967 Corgi paperback Love, love, love: the new love poetry. It was edited by Pete Roche the subject of a recent jot where he wrote disparagingly of the Cavern Club (1964). Three years later in the height of the Hippie era we find him editing this attractive book with psychedelic covers by Haphash and the Coloured Coat. His introduction celebrates the revival of 'live' poetry - which is still going strong. There follows a poem by him, other contributors included Adrian Henri, Adrian Mitchell, Roger McGough, Carlyle Reedy, Libby Houston, Spike Hawkins, Brian Patten...

… the recent increase in the popularity of poetry readings, particularly among younger people. The success in this respect of the Liverpool poets (all of whom are included here) and of what has been called The Great Liverpool Experiment have already been well documented. But this new interest in oral poetry is by no means confined to Merseyside: the readings organised by Tom Pickard in Newcastle, by Alan Jackson in Edinburgh, by Mike Horovitz and Pete Brown in London and the growing number of readings in other towns and cities throughout the country - all bear witness to the increasing demand for living poetry, poetry that talks to people in the direct and comprehensible way. It is no coincidence that virtually all of the poets in this book, when discussing their work, are quick to stress the value of these live performances. 

And it is this quite novel situation - young poets reading their work to predominantly young audiences - that is giving the poetry of the mid-sixties its distinctive character, is investing it (whatever faults in technique one may find in  individual poems) with a vigour and a feeling for the realities of life that have been absent from English poetry for too long. 

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Stella Gibbons parodies modernist poetry (1921)

Found in a  University of London College magazine from December 1921 this poem/ parody by the novelist Stella Gibbons. She was 19 at the time and had just begun a two-year Diploma in Journalism at UCL. The course had been established for ex-servicemen returning from the First World War, but attracted several women, including another future novelist - Elizabeth Bowen. After a spell as a caustic book reviewer at The Lady her first book (poetry) was published in 1930, and in 1932 her masterpiece Cold Comfort Farm appeared. This, too, was a parody (of the current 'loam and lovechild' school of rural novelists.) The writers parodied are mostly somewhat forgotten: Mary Webb, Sheila Kaye-Smith, Eden Philpotts - although D.H. Lawrence and Thomas Hardy did not escape her mirth. In this piece modernist poets (T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound?) are mocked..

The Marshes of My Soul
(With  apologies to the latest School of Decoratively- Melancholy Introspectives.)

I.
Brackish …brackish,
The Pools of Weariness, flung in a glimmering chain
Reach the horizon.
And my thoughts, like purple parrots
Brood
In the sick, light trees 
Blowing above those shallow pools
In whorls and whorls
Noiselessly 
Printing a monotonous pattern upon the heavy air
Like watery curves upon the silken robe of a dying Mandarin.

II.
I am a peg, pinning up
Nebulous shadows of half guessed moods
Along the clothesline of "Let's-be-Clever."
Sometimes (ah - rape of the Muse by the cold fingered--) 
Doubt takes me.
I wonder
If all these mists and moods and parrots mean 
Much?
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Donald Davie & the poetry scene (1963)

Found in a copy of New & Selected Poems by Donald Davie (Wesleyan University Press, 1961) a handwritten letter from the author. A good newsy letter that gives a snapshot of the  Oxford and transatlantic poetry scene of the early 1960s. It is to Fred Hunter founder of Independent Radio News, teacher of journalism and something of a poetaster and friend of many of the Sixties and Liverpool poets. He also had a poetry record label (Stream Records) which in 1967 put out an L.P. of the American poet Dorn reading from his North Atlantic Turbine. The letter reads:

[Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge]. June 18th 1963.

Dear Mr. Hunter,

I was touched and pleased to have your request from yourself and Mr. S. Raut Roy. I have today dispatched the books to you - don't send them on to India before taking out your own two copies!

I know Jonathan William, by name of course and I believe he was lately entertained by my young colleague Jeremy Prynne, to whom I am chiefly indebted for my knowledge of the Projective Verse poets, who seem to me to represent the only plausible growing-point for Anglo-American poetry. Olson I esteem chiefly as a theorist, Duncan's work I hardly know, but Creeley's I admire very much. We would link with him Edward Dorn whose very distinguished collection in typescript we are at present (Prynne and I) trying to place with a London publisher - but with predictably little success. 

I am having great difficulty about completing a new collection of poems which will represent in some degree the sympathy I feel for some of the Projective Verse methods. But this business of doubling up as poet and don is quite hopeless! 

Again, I'm grateful.

Yours sincerely, 
Donald Davie
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Famous people from Swindon Number 3: Alfred Williams

Two other contenders could be Diana Dors (nee Fluck ) and Desmond 'Human Zoo' Morris. This letter, from a perhaps less famous Swindonian (though he actually came from South Marston) was rescued from a junk stall on the Portobello Road a few years ago. It was written by Alfred Williams (1877 – 1930), sometimes known as the ‘Hammerman Poet ‘, because for 23 years he worked for the GWR, latterly  operating  a steam hammer—a task that severely damaged his health.

Williams, who published several volumes of decent verse and topographical writing as well as the much admired Life in a Railway Factory, belongs to that small category of writers (most of them poets) who held boring and/or physically taxing jobs while creating reputations for themselves in the literary world. The best known was probably John Clare, but a more recent example is the celebrated poet Peter Reading, who had the thankless task of operating a weighbridge. After many years of doing this he famously refused point blank to wear a uniform when it was imposed on him and instead resigned, whereupon his admirers in the literary world came to his rescue with offers of more congenial literary work.

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Nabokov’s first book

Found in - Vladimir Nabokov: a Descriptive Bibliography by Michael Juliar (Garland, N.Y. & London 1986) this description of Nabokov's first book.

A1 [UNTITLED]

A1.1 First edition, in Russian: 1914

Title-page: Untitled. Privately printed. 1914./
binding: Brochure or folded sheet, possibly in violet paper cover.
Contents: One poem.
Note: Non-extant. There is speculation that this item never existed and that Nabokovian memory is in error.
We may never know for sure.

Online, an article Vladimir Nabokov and William Shakespeare by Philip F. Howerton is quoted where he writes '...in 1914 he published his first work, a small book of poems in a lilac folder. It carried an epigraph from Romeo and Juliet.' Whether Howerton had seen the book or this is some other work is not quite clear but the colours (violet / lilac) would indicate it is VN's first work - A1 in the canon.

The whole thing is reminiscent of the enigma around Joyce's first book Et Tu Healy (possibly Parnell) which we dealt with in some depth at the late Bookride. There are no copies known of this book said to have been written by Joyce when he was 9 and published by his proud father in 1891. With some authors their first book is known in only a few copies - Machen's Eleusinia (1881) in only one copy (according to Ahearn*) and Byron's Fugitive Pieces (1806) in just 3 copies and William Carlos Williams Poems (1909) (according to Ahearn again) exists only in 2 copies in the first state**. It goes without saying that these are all of extremely high value…

* Allen and Patricia Ahearn. Book Collecting. (Putnam's NY 2000)

** You need a comma in line 5...
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Read and Spender—unlikely double act

Whatever—or whoever—could have brought publicly together ‘pylon’ poet Stephen Spender (1909 – 95) and Herbert Read (1893–1968), art critic,  professional writer of introductionsto other people’s books and self-styled anarchist? This press photograph gives few clues, although the most evident seems to be the large posters advertising The Sunday Times, in front of which the two men are standing. The photo was one of many in a small archive of similar material that turned up in an auction a few years ago.

The photo appears to date from around the mid thirties, which may suggest that both men were snapped at the London International Surrealist Exhibition of 1936, which was covered by al the major London papers, including the Sunday Times. However, there is no real reason why the two very different writers should have been grouped together. Spender admitted that Read had become a friend ever since the older man’s sympathetic review of his Poems (1933), but Read’s name is missing entirely from the published Journals, 1939 – 82, of Spender, who never showed much interest in Surrealism. It does not follow, of course, that there should be any connection between the two figures, who may have been snapped by a Sunday Times photographer while they visited the Exhibition.

An alternative circumstance for this pairing may have been the Spanish Civil War, which was dividing intellectuals in the mid thirties. Both Read and Spender would have supported the Communists, and indeed Spender reported to Read at this time that he had become a communist.

While Spender’s reputation has been enhanced since his death. John Sutherland’s biography and the Stephen Spender Trust has seen to that, Read’s profile, despite a biography  (The Last Romantic) has faded somewhat. The view of his contemporary and fellow critic, Geoffrey Grigson is fair, I think, and echoes my own views of Read, who was once such a ubiquitous presence in the literary world.

‘He was no genius, he had no very acute perception… of the arts of painting, sculpture or writing. I would even say there was something to Wyndham Lewis’s charge that he had never looked a picture in the face, although he knew the kind of picture to look in the face…Not much of a poet, to tell the truth not much of a writer, he was an art apostle who stuck to his preaching…’ [R.M.Healey]

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Gordon Bottomley – 1890’s poet

Found in a copy Poems at White Nights (published in 1899 in Cecil Court, London) a contemporary review of the book. The review is unsigned but was obviously from a national daily paper as there are financial reports on the back. Gordon Bottomley is a mildly collected fin de siecle poet, of considerable talent but slight neglected -possibly because of his name which could be used as the the butt of jokes, so to speak. His first book The Mickle Drede and Other Verses was privately printed in Kendal in 1896  and is a great rarity and of some value. He attempted to destroy all of the 150 copies as he considered the work immature..The reviewer below senses dark currents in his work.

Mr. Gordon Bottomley's second volume, Poems at White Nights (At the Sign of the Unicorn), shows him still frequenting the darker woods of Faerie. One fragment in it is a dedication for some book of verses in which the receiver is bidden to read:

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Coventry Patmore rejects his uninspiring ‘vegetables’

The poet who composed the long love poem, The Angel of the House, which appeared in four volumes from 1854, became, like many of his generation, a convert to Catholicism, and so his remarks, voiced in a letter to the editor of the Spectator  regarding a bust of Cardinal Newman by the pre-Raphaelite sculptor Thomas Woolner, come as no real surprise.

The original letter, written from Hastings, was discovered in a pile of similar autographed material.

‘It may interest some of the readers of a Paper which has shewn so special an interest in and affection of Cardinal Newman, that by very much the finest likeness of him in existence is the bust which was made of him some ten or fifteen years ago by Thomas Woolner…I was once in a room containing first-rate busts of all the most famous men of the past generation. That of Newman made all the others look like vegetables, so wonderfully was it loaded with the great Cardinal’s weight of thought and character.’

We don’t know who the sitters for other busts were, or the identity of the sculptors, but we do know that as a friend of Woolner, as indeed he was of Dante Rossetti, W. Holman Hunt, and other Pre-Raphaelites, Patmore was bound to defend the merits of the Newman bust over perhaps some more conventional works of art. As a child, Patmore himself wanted to be an artist and at the age of fifteen won the Silver Palette of the Society of Arts. The poverty of his father made such an ambition impossible and Patmore ended up in the British Museum library. In later life, spurred on by his association with the Pre-Raphaelites, he wrote on Art, but he is best known today as the author of The Angel of the House, although it is generally recognised that his best poems, which have strong spiritual qualities, were written towards the end of his life. [R R]
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1930s Diatribe against wage slavery

The recent Jot reproducing manifestos from The Idler that celebrate freedom from the corporatist world remind me of a wonderfully invocatory collection of poems from Kenneth Muir called The Nettle and the Flower, which came out in 1933. Muir, then just 26, had, just a few years before, graduated from St Edmund Hall, Oxford, where Geoffrey Grigson was his senior by two years. I seem to recall that Muir, being a rather serious-minded student, took against Grigson ostensibly because he performed a prank in which he dressed up as a ghost. But it is more likely that the freshman of solid Labour convictions felt contempt for anyone of a privileged background (though Grigson, who attended a very minor public school, was hardly in this category) who had broken the General Strike of 1926. Grigson was one of many at the University who helped unload ships at Hull docks.

Anyway, The Nettle and the Flower, though rather unfocussed politically, certainly reflected Muir’s equal hatred of the Stalinist view of conveyor-belt drudgery as something noble that contributed to the power of the worker-state, and exploitative Big Business. This is from a Poem to William MacCance:

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Scarecrow Verse

From the extensive archive of Peter Haining, this doggerel by an unknown writer and a snapshot of scarecrow with brolly... These are from a file of research material for his 1988 book The Scarecrow: Fact and Fable. The book has this sympathetic review at Amazon: 'Haining really did a great job with this under researched topic. He examines the Scarecrow from its beginnings to the modern day counterparts. What I liked the most was the strong attention given to the figure of the Scarecrow in Literature and Films. If Scarecrows interest you, then you will love this book.' It was an insubstantial file bulked out with a few copyright movie and television stills (Worzel Gummidge etc.,)

A farmer sat in his chair
When the day's work was done
Birds are taking my peas - said he
I'll scare them with my gun

His wife said "John your time you'll save
If you a scarecrow make
Your old brown coat with odds and ends
Will cause those birds to quake

Upstairs there is an old top hat
Gloves in the parlour drawer
Bean poles will make its arms and legs
For stuffing we'll use straw

A turnip from the old barn floor
Will make a splendid head
If stones are used for eyes and nose
We'll paint its mouth" she said

They set to work to make it up
It was a fearsome sight
It gave the birds for miles around
A very dreadful fright.

Wilfred Owen – ‘A Cribber’?

Has it ever been acknowledged that the memorable and now iconic line of Wilfred Owen- ‘the pity of war’ is actually the title of a novel from 1906, that happened to be written by his close friend and fellow soldier-combatant Conal O’Riordan?!

The Pity of War. F. Norreys Connell ( i.e. Conal O’Riordan) 1906. Henry J Glaisher, London.

[Sent in by ATSJ - for which thanks]

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The Laying of the Atlantic Cable (1866) in verse

This scrap of doggerel, found among a collection of holograph letters, has no name attached. It is bad enough to be by William McGonagall, the second worst poet who ever lived (the first being Amanda Ros), but is dated at around 1866, which must surely be too early for him.

Hark ? that noise, what meaning that Gun
The Great Eastern has arrived, the Goal is won
All the world must now precedence yield
To the Proprietors Glass, Canning and Field
For the (longest) Rope is made & successfully ran
That ever was made by the Hands of Man
To Capt. Anderson & all his officers too
For their strict perseverance all Credit is due
Likewise, all on board did as far as they were able
Every assistance render to lay our Glorious Atlantic Cable.

The first transatlantic telegraph cable manufactured by Glass and associates was laid in 1858 from Western Ireland to Heart’s Content, Newfoundland, with Cyrus Field as entrepreneur.  Unfortunately, the poor quality of the cable meant that it functioned well for only a few weeks and was irretrievably damaged in September of the same year when too much current was passed through it. Undaunted, Field and associates raised more money and in 1865 Brunel’s huge ‘Great Eastern’ steamship, was commissioned to lay a new improved cable along the same route. Under Captain James Anderson and with Canning as chief engineer, the ship sailed westwards from Ireland, but after 1,062 miles the end of the cable was accidentally dropped into the sea, where it sank to the depth of over two miles. The mission was abandoned and the Great Eastern sailed back to obtain a new cable. This was duly laid in July 1866, to universal acclamation .The poem seems to celebrate this astonishing feat of seamanship and engineering, but it may have been composed a few months after this initial success, when thanks to the 'strict perseverance' of Anderson and his officers the lost first cable was somehow retrieved from the depths of the Atlantic, spliced to a new cable, and the whole laid along the same route to Newfoundland. Thus, by September 1866 two working transatlantic cables were in operation.

The new communications link to America was an astounding boon to commerce, diplomacy and the military—reducing the time taken to send and receive messages from ten days to a few minutes.  [R R]

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Lament for a Country Vet

Found - amongst a collection of Suffolk ephemera - this one page poem about a late lamented vet who died in the year of the Titanic and, according to records, was born in 1847. Little is known about him, but the poet W. S. Montgomery, the 'Blind Organ Grinder of Westleton' appears to have been an itinerant local poet and some of his poems and a short note* about him can be found in Barrett Jenkins book from the 1990s - A Selection of Ghost Stories, Smuggling Stories & Poems Connected with Southwold.

In loving memory of Edgar Willmott Wright, M.R.C.V.S.
For many years Veterinary Surgeon at Yoxford,
Died Friday, July 26th, 1912.

Interred at Yoxford Cemetery, Monday, July 29th.

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A Sitwell Parody

Edith Sitwell by Roger Fry

Not sure where this came from but it is most likely to be from the voluminous papers of 'Evoe' - i.e. E. V. Knox. The poem parodied Colonel Fantock (from Troy Park, Duckworth 1925) is actually one of Edith Sitwell's finest, but 'Evoe' has picked up on her and her brothers' snobbery, haughtiness and pretentions. The full  original poem can be found here. It contains some beautiful lines and has elements of tragedy, or at least pathos:

I was a member of a family
Whose legend was of hunting -- (all the rare
And unattainable brightness of the air) --

The parody dates from the early 1950s when it seems the Sitwells had become ubiquitous in British cultural life, possibly to a slightly  annoying extent in the way that some British celebrities (with vast tribes of twitter followers) are 60 years later.

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An unpublished Titanic poem (May 1912)

Found among a lot of miscellaneous papers, some religious - this poem by one William Allen about the Titanic disaster. It is dated May 1912, one month after the tragedy. The name William Allen is associated with the Titanic because it was the name of the father of one of the survivors, Ada E. Hall. The family was from Hackney, London and Ada was emigrating to America (along with her brother in law the Reverend Bateman who drowned*). She is in the Encyclopedia Titanica and in a lengthy article on her in the  Baltimore Sun it states: "Nearer My God to Thee" was the last song Ada heard from the band that was playing on the deck of the RMS Titanic after she boarded a lifeboat and was lowered to the waters below." This hymn is mentioned in the poem and there are a few details that may have come from an eyewitness (i.e. his daughter) rather than from press reports. William Allen is a common name so none of this is conclusive. The poem is heartfelt, competent and deeply religious:

T'was the eve of the day of rest
That the mighty Leviathan
Ploughed her way through the ocean's
Sleeping breast.

List  to the throb of her stately tread
Mark her proportions
From anchor to lofty head
Its harmony sublime.

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Matthew Arnold letter – a football injury

Found tipped into the front of Poems of Matthew Arnold (London, 1853) an unpublished  handwritten signed letter from the poet to his French friend the writer and anglophile Edmond Schérer.

PAINS HILL COTTAGE, COBHAM, SURREY*. Oct 13th '76

My dear Mr. Scherer

My boy slipped down and was trodden upon at football last March, and was very ill afterwards from some injury to the back. He got well, however, but when I wrote to you we had been disturbed by a sudden return of his pain.  We have taken him to Prescott Hewitt** a great surgeon, who says that he must lie in bed till the pain has entirely gone,  this upsets the arrangements of a small cottage, as we have to give our invalid the one spare room we have, that he may have more air  and  space than in his own little room.  So we are unable to receive any guests in the house while he is ill, and therefore I was obliged, to my very great regret, to put you off.  I fear it will be still a week before we cease to be a  hospital but – do let me know what you are doing and how long you stay in England.  I cannot easily give up the hope of seeing you here. At any rate I shall meet you at the Athenaeum, I trust;  for next week I begin inspecting*** again and shall be in London every day. I have so much to say to you and to hear from you. Most sincerely yours Matthew Arnold.

* Printed at head of notepaper. This was in the beautiful private landscaped park Painshill Park and Arnold rented the cottage from 1873 to 1888.

** In Dickens's Dictionary of London, by Charles Dickens , Jr., (1879) under 'Doctors' Prescott G. Hewitt is noted as Consulting Surgeon at the  Evelina Hospital for Sick Children (Southwark Bridge Road.)

***Matthew Arnold  was appointed, in April 1851, one of Her Majesty's Inspector of Schools, a job which he worked at until 1886. He once described it as 'drudgery.'