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Papers of Robert Calverley Trevelyan and Elizabeth Trevelyan Tennyson, Alfred (1809-1892) 1st Baron Tennyson, poet
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Notebook

Lines copied out by Trevelyan from the 1833 publication of Tennyson’s “The Lotos Eaters” and “The Lady of Shalott” [perhaps comparing the differences with the 1842 edition?]. Draft verse addressed to Thanatos; prose about Meliance of Lys.
Notebook also used from opposite end in: draft prose narrative; notes on Wilson’s “Hindu Theatre” [Horace Hayman Wilson’s “Specimens of the Theatre of the Hindus” and [Charles Henry] Tawney’s translation of “Mālavikāgnimitra”; draft verse [or translation] on the Grail myth.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Flora Russell

Has already sent Flora Santayana's "Last of the Puritans" [sic; "The Last Puritan]; she need not rush to return it, and he will be interested to hear what she thinks; wonders if she will also read the life of Tennyson, which he and Bessie have read 'with great interest'. as well as a life of Sara Bernhardt by her grand-daughter [Lysiane Bernhardt], which they found 'great fun'. Used to 'delight in' Henry Sidgwick's life; Sidgwick was 'very kind' to him when he was an undergraduate. Must get Joan Allen to drive him over to see Flora soon. Will send a translation of a Homeric hymn as a Christmas card to her in a few days. Bessie is well, and sends her love. Saw Bertie [Russell] last week; he was 'very cheerful and full of talk, but looking rather older'.

Letter from Oliver Lodge to R. C. Trevelyan

Cud Hill House, Upton-St-Leonards, Glos. - Has been unable and so was not able to write earlier to thank Bob for his translations ["Translations from Latin Poetry"]. Particularly enjoyed the Leopardi.: does not know the originals, but Bob has made very good poems of them; few people seem to be able to write such 'bell-like musical verse now' as he does, and Lodge misses it. Has been interested to read the new life of Tennyson by his grandson [Sir Charles Tennyson], which 'will do good to his legitimate fame'. Hopes Bob and 'dear Bessy' and their family are well, the 'dear Shiffolds flourishing, & all its woods'.

Copy letter from Algernon Charles Swinburne to Pauline, Lady Trevelyan, 15 Mar 1865

36 Wilton Crescent, S.W. (on Wallington headed paper). - Is pleased that Lady Trevelyan likes his book ["Atalanta in Calydon"]; it was finished just after Landor's death which he much regrets. Much enjoyed the composition of the poem, which 'was very rapid and pleasant'; thinks it is 'pure Greek, and the first poem of the sort in modern times': feels that Shelley's "Prometheus [Unbound]", though 'magnificent', is 'un-Hellenic', and gathers from Lewes's life of Goethe that his "Iphigenia in Tauris" is also 'impregnated with modern morals and feeling"; also dismisses [Matthew] Arnold's "Merope". Is 'raging in silence' about the delayed publication of [Thomas] Carlyle's volumes: the subject [Frederick the Great] 'was always a hero' of Swinburne's who is impressed by his 'clear cold purity of pluck', which is not inspired by faith. Frederick seems free of 'perverse Puritan Christianity' on the one hand, and 'the knaveries and cutpurse rascalities' of the Buonapartes on the other; Swinburne can almost forgive him his bad poetry. Is very glad to hear good news of Sir Walter and the building projects; wishes she were in London for [Ford] Madox Brown's exhibition, which is 'superb'. Is currently staying at the house his father has taken in London for the winter, and is looking for rooms for himself; his father has completed the purchase of Holm Wood [Holmwood] in Oxfordshire. Feels that Tennyson should have made a better choice of his "Selections": feels that "Boadicea" should have 'served as prelude to the book'; thought Tennyson's 'volume of last summer' ["Enoch Arden"] a 'new triumph'.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to William Everett

The Shiffolds, Holmbury St. Mary, Dorking. - Thanks Everett for the 'kind and affectionate letter' about his book ["The Birth of Parsival"]; is very pleased with his praise, and interested in his criticisms; feels 'the prehistoric taste in poetry' is the best kind. Glad that Frimutel's character interested Everett; was worried he had made him 'too abstract'. Now sees 'many other faults in the play'. The story is 'not really in the Parsival myth at all', though Herzeloide as Parsival's mother is taken from Wolfram von Eschenbach, and there is 'a Frimutel who was a king of the Grail, and great-uncle of Parsival', so Trevelyan had to invent the story. Took the idea of 'the mother arguing that her child was not a prodigy' from the fragmentary "Melanippe" of Euripides; will have to stay closer to the myth if he ever continues the story and deals with Parsival himself. Has always disliked Tennyson's blank verse, but may possibly 'sometimes commit the same faults', though he argues that his 'irregularities come chiefly in parts that are lyrical, or semi-lyrical'. Defence of a line objected to by Everett. Admits the 'lyrical parts are certainly experimental'; though they please his own ear, cannot be sure they will please others, though he has 'tried to get the rhythm clear'. Expects the music which accompanied Greek irregular lyrical verse did this. Very kind of Everett to say he will buy "Cecilia Gonzaga", though fears he will be disappointed. Will send another early book of his ["Polyphemus and Other Poems"], illustrated by their 'brother' [Cambridge Apostle], Roger Fry; the illustrations 'were very badly reproduced', due to the publisher and printer, not Fry. Has just returned from 'a pleasant fortnight at Wallington'; his parents were both very well; his father 'hard at work at his "[History of the American] Revolution" and has just finished off Burgoyne'.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to William Everett

The Shiffolds, Holmbury St. Mary, Dorking. - Apologises for not replying sooner to Everett's letter; is very pleased that Everett is generally pleased with "Cecilia [Gonzaga]", and tends to agree with most of his criticisms: he too thinks Antonio's character could have been more effective and that Everett's suggested treatment would have made this possible, also that 'the transitions from verse to prose are not really successful'. Will not admit that what he has tried to do is 'artistically wrong', and could cite the scene between Iago and Cassio in Othello Act II - but that would prove only that 'a very great artist can solve... an apparently impossible problem', not that Trevelyan was right to try. 'A little more of [Count Vittorio] Alfieri's "fierceness" would indeed have done' the play good, but it was Trevelyan's first, rather timid, experiment in drama. May have weakened his verse too much by using tribrachs; they are 'quite legitimate' according to his theory of verse, but tend to 'reduce the dignity and solidity of blank verse' as in Ternnyson and in Euripides' iambics. Uses them less in his 'Parsival play' ["The Birth of Parsival"]; when his verse becomes irregular it is 'usually to produce some lyrical or quasi-lyrical effect' and even there is increasingly inclined 'to leave out unaccented syllables'. 'Doubtless' Polyphemus, in Trevelyan's poem, 'is very much sophisticated and sentimentalized' as is 'his friend the fawn', but he feels 'sophistication and modernization is legitimate, if it is done frankly'; 'the lost lines of Horace' which Everett 'quoted no doubt from a recently discovered papyrus' were however to the point and 'excellent for their own sakes'. His father has sent him Everett's translation of "Phaselus" [Catullus 4]; liked it very much, though still prefers his own as his 'unrhymed iambics' allowed him to 'preserve the movement of the original' more closely than Everett's couplets. Will try "Sabinus ille" ["Appendix Vergiliana", "Catalepton" 10] but does not think he will make much of it; will be very interested to see how Everett tackles. Encloses 'another very doubtful experiment made long ago from Catullus'; found the rhymes 'very hampering' [now not present].

Letter from Arthur Phosphor Mallam to R. C. Trevelyan

Wanford House, Rudgwick. - Very kind of Trevelyan to send such a 'delightful Christmas present' ["From the Shiffolds"]. His 'Muse is constant': the "Epistle" to his grandson is 'charming' and one day should give him 'great pleasure to read'. Particularly enjoyed meeting his favourite Catullus, Tennyson's 'tenderest of Roman poets', 'in an English dress that becomes him well'. "Ten Years Ago" is 'sad but beautiful'; the price that must be paid for growing old is losing friends and loved ones, but Trevelyan 'strike[s] a manly cheerful note that does one good to read'. Jokingly presents Trevelyan with his own poem 'In 1944 / It did nothing but pour'. 'Ursula [perhaps Ursula Wood?] seems to be flourishing', and is happy to have received royalties and to learn that her poems have sold out, which 'does credit to the public taste'.

Letter from Sir George Trevelyan to R. C. Trevelyan

5 Selwyn Gardens, Cambridge. - Thanks Trevelyan for "Sisyphus": thinks 'the revival of the 'Satyric' drama... seems to be a highly promising experiment; the passages where 'the verse (under stress of hyper-tragic emotion...) is forced beyond content [?]' gave him 'great joy' when he 'caught the trick of them'. Will read the play again as soon as he can; meanwhile he has passed it on to his wife and [daughter] Helen. He and his family hope that next term Trevelyan and his wife will visit them; asks him to let them know when might suit. Has sent Desmond MacCarthy a 'most important application of Aristophanic criticism of Tennyson's "Idylls"' for the "[New] Quarterly" [published in "New Quarterly" 2 (1909), pp 81-89]; aimed not against Tennyson by Aristophanes; thinks it migh interest Trevelyan when it comes out.

Notebook with translations of Virgil's "Aeneid" book 4 and Montaigne I.28, with other works by R. C. Trevelyan

List of fragments from Greek tragedy and comedy on inside front cover and following page. Verse, 'Mad as the wind are the thoughts of lovers...'. Translation of Virgil's "Aeneid" Book 4 line 465ff; lists under headings 'Greek translations' and 'Latin translations' interpolated. Heading, 'Autobiographical notes', followed by poem, 'All best things fade, dear Gordon [Bottomley]'; translation of Catullus 11 upside-down at the bottom of this. Part translation of Catullus 65; essay or notes for speech citing Tennyson and Catullus. Essay, 'Greek and Roman Poets'. Translation of Montaigne I.28.

Notebook used from other end in: poem, 'What do you then believe?...'. Another version of 'All best things fade...'. Draft of "Dandelions" [published in the "From the Shiffolds" of Christmas 1947. Essay on Trevelyan's translations of Montaigne. List of contents for "Windfalls" [the second, extended, edition of 1948]. Essay on nature and happiness [two versions]. Verse, 'Mountains and rocks seem motionless and lifeless...'. Heading, 'Confession Haeretici', followed by notes and verse, 'Though now your body is growing old...'. Heading, 'Religio Poetae', followed by notes listing autobiographical topics and verse, which may carry on from the page before; list of topics relating to poetry on the next page. Verse, 'In the days of Omar, Commander of the Faithful...'. Translation of Catullus 7. Autobiographical piece about his father showing him Macaulay's annotations to the text of Catullus. Translation from Horace, "Satires" II.7. Notes on Robert Bridge's "Testament of Beauty". Page count [for the new edition of "Windfalls"].

Letter from Francis Warre Cornish to R. C. Trevelyan

The Cloisters, Eton College, Windsor. - Very good of Trevelyan to send his poems ["The Bride of Dionysus"; will write again when he has read them; is particularly interested in the poem he has 'come to know as "Ariadne" & want to hear as well as read' [in Donald Tovey's operatic version]. Has been correcting a proof of his Catullus translation yesterday, and 'took the opportunity of helping myself to a word here and there'. Trevelyan's version is 'faultless in diction'; Warre Cornish only misses more of the 'scatter of short syllables at the end', as Tennyson used to say; Tennyson also damaged Warre Cornish's 'grateful dignity' by saying 'I daresay you [emphasised] think galliambics are a trochaic metre'.

Letter from George Macaulay Trevelyan to R. C. Trevelyan

Stocks Cottage, Tring. - Has sent on a cheque from Robert with one of his own; hopes they will 'buy a nice acre, lots of bracken and birches and part of a beck'. Agrees that the landlords may 'blackmail' them, but every policy has dangers. So far the Society [National Trust?] is only buying land threatened by building. The proposed Academic Committee of the Royal Society of Literature seems 'likely to be a harmless, if useless and unimportant, body', whose object is to 'prevent the fatuous dons who compose the so called 'British Academy' from posing as the official representation of Literature', as for the Tennyson centenary and the death of [George] Meredith.

Letter from Lady Evelyn Lister to R. C. Trevelyan

98 Grenfell Road, Maidenhead, Berks. - Thanks Trevelyan for the 'kind letter' and poems ["From the Shiffolds"]; mentions the 'fortunate little dear boy' [Trevelyan's grandson Philip, addressee of a poem']. Wonders whether he knows Lord de Tabley's poetry; thinks de Tabley would have liked some of the poems. Her father's first wife was Meriel Leicester Warren, de Tabley's sister. De Tabley's poetry has not sufficiently appreciated, either in his lifetime or afterwards; quotes descriptions of him by Tennyson and Sir Edmund Gosse. Describes the 'very drab & dusty grey little interior' of the house with no heating, electric, gas or hot water where she lives; a 'real little cottage of despair' where she and her companion Mrs Hill needed to 'take refuge, from far worse'. The small back yard holds a 'dread ful little party of evil looking, grinning deformed, gnomes' who resemble the 'little jailors' of [George du Maurier's] "Peter Ibbotson"