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Marlborough and other poems

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

 

MARLBOROUGH

AND OTHER POEMS


CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS

C. F. CLAY, Manager

LONDON : FETTER LANE, E.C. 4

NEW YORK : G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
BOMBAY
CALCUTTA
MADRAS
MACMILLAN AND CO., Ltd.
TORONTO : J. M. DENT AND SONS, Ltd.
TOKYO : MARUZEN-KABUSHIKI-KAISHA

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Marlborough and other poems, Sorley, 1919 frontispiece.jpg
 
Marlborough and other poems, Sorley, 1919 frontispiece signature.jpg


MARLBOROUGH

AND OTHER POEMS


BY

CHARLES HAMILTON SORLEY



Fourth Edition



CAMBRIDGE

AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS

1919


Published, January 1916

Second edition, slightly enlarged, February 1916

Reprinted, February, April, May 1916

Third edition, with illustrations in prose, November 1916

Fourth edition, re-arranged and re-set, May 1919


PREFACE

The call for a new edition of these poems gives an opportunity for issuing them in a form which is intended to be definitive.

They are now arranged in four groups according to subject. It is true that all of them perhaps might be described by the title of one of these groups, as poems of life and thought. But some owe their inspiration directly to nature—to the wind-swept downs which the author loved and which he looked upon as "wise" as well as "wide"; a few reflect the experiences of school life; yet others show how his spirit faced the great adventure of war and death. Within each group the poems are printed, as nearly as may be, in the order of their composition, the title-poem being restored to its proper chronological place. When the date, exact or approximate, is known, it has been given; in those cases in which the date specifies the day of the month, it has been taken from the author's manuscript.

A single piece of imaginative prose is included amongst the poems. Other passages of prose were added to the third edition with the view of illustrating ideas occurring in the poems and prominent in the author's mind. With the exception of a few sentences from an early essay, these prose passages are all taken from familiar letters. To the present edition a few notes have been appended, in which some topical allusions are explained and what is known about the origin of the separate pieces is told.

The frontispiece is from a drawing in chalks by Mr Cecil Jameson.

Of the author personally, and of what he was to his family and his friends, I do not speak. Yet I may quote the phrase used by a German lady in whose house he had been living for three months. "The time with him," she wrote, "was like a holiday and a feast-day." Many have felt what she put into words: though it was the graver moods of his mind that, for the most part, sought expression in his poems. I may also put on record here the main facts concerning his short life.

He was born at Old Aberdeen on 19th May 1895. His father was then a professor in the University of Aberdeen, and he was of Scottish descent on both sides. From 1900 onwards his home was in Cambridge. He was educated at Marlborough College, which he entered in September 1908 and left in December 1913, after obtaining a scholarship at University College, Oxford. Owing to the war he never went into residence at the University. After leaving school he spent a little more than six months in Germany, first at Schwerin in Mecklenburg and afterwards, for the summer session, at the University of Jena. He was on a walking tour on the banks of the Moselle when the European war broke out. He was put in prison at Trier on the 2nd August, but released the same night with orders to leave the country. After some adventures he reached home on the 6th, and at once applied for a commission in the army. He was gazetted Second Lieutenant in the Seventh (Service) Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment before the end of the month, Lieutenant in November, and Captain in the following August. He was sent to France with his battalion on 30th May 1915, and served for some months in the trenches round Ploegsteert. Shortly after he had entered upon his life there, a suggestion was made to him about printing a slim volume of verse. But he put the suggestion aside as premature. "Besides," he added, "this is no time for oliveyards and vineyards, more especially of the small-holdings type. For three years or the duration of the war, let be." Four months later his warfare was accomplished. His battalion was moved south to take part in the battle of Loos, and he fell on 13th October 1915, in an attack in which the "hair-pin" trench near Hulluch was captured by his company. "Being made perfect in a little while, he fulfilled long years."

W. R. S.

Cambridge, March 1919


CONTENTS
 
OF THE DOWNS
PAGE
I BARBURY CAMP 3
II STONES 6
III EAST KENNET CHURCH AT EVENING 8
IV AUTUMN DAWN 10
V RETURN 13
VI RICHARD JEFFERIES 15
VII J. B. 16
VIII THE OTHER WISE MAN 17
IX MARLBOROUGH 23
X LE REVENANT 26
XI LOST 29

OF SCHOOL

XII RAIN 33
XIII A TALE OF TWO CAREERS 36
XIV WHAT YOU WILL 40

OF LIFE AND THOUGHT

XV A CALL TO ACTION 45
XVI PEACE 48
XVII THE RIVER 51
XVIII THE SEEKERS 54
XIX ROOKS 56
XX ROOKS (II) 57
XXI THE SONG OF THE UNGIRT RUNNERS 59
XXII GERMAN RAIN 60
XXIII BRAND 61
XXIV PEER GYNT 62
XXV TO POETS 63
XXVI "IF I HAVE SUFFERED PAIN" 64
XXVII WHOM THEREFORE WE IGNORANTLY WORSHIP 66
XXVIII DEUS LOQUITUR 67
XXIX EXPECTANS EXPECTAVI 68

OF WAR AND DEATH

XXX "ALL THE HILLS AND VALES ALONG" 71
XXXI TO GERMANY 73
XXXII "A HUNDRED THOUSAND MILLION MITES WE GO" 74
XXXIII TWO SONNETS 76
XXXIV A SONNET 78
XXXV "THERE IS SUCH CHANGE IN ALL THOSE FIELDS" 79
XXXVI "I HAVE NOT BROUGHT MY ODYSSEY" 81
XXXVII IN MEMORIAM S. C. W., V.C. 85
XXXVIII BEHIND THE LINES 86
ILLUSTRATIONS IN PROSE 93
NOTES 127