Item 1a - Letter from H. Montagu Butler to R. B. McKerrow

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Letter from H. Montagu Butler to R. B. McKerrow


  • 22 May 1895 (Creation)

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2 folded sheets

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Trinity Lodge, Cambridge.—Discusses McKerrow’s poem ‘Joan of Arc’.



Trinity Lodge, Cambridge
May 22. 1895

Dear Mr McKerrow,

Yet once more! Last night I was rather worried, but to-day I took your other proof {1} to London, to look at the stops a little more closely.

Only two passages of importance occur to me—

1. line 99. Is it really grammar to write “glitter to life”? “glitter into life” seems correct, and so “leap to life”, “spring to life” &c. &c.; but “glitter to life” strikes me as un-English. One very simple change, though perhaps not the best of all, would be

“And glitter into daylight, into life.”

2. line 195. The printer blundered here, and I think I must have sent you back my uncorrected proof last night of this page 8. The correction which I now enclose was made last night, but apparently not sent.

Most truly yours
H. Montagu Butler

Would you feel at all disposed to look in tomorrow at 9 punctually to breakfast? You would meet our poet-bishop Alexander, of Derry, a most interesting man. Many years ago he preached the Founder’s Day Sermon for me at Harrow.

May 22/95


{1} A proof of McKerrow’s poem ‘Joan of Arc’, for which he won the Chancellor’s English Medal at Cambridge in 1895. An autograph copy survives (MCKW B2/15), written in January 1895 or earlier. The subject was a set one. For the regulations, etc., relating to the prize, see the Cambridge University Calendar, 1894–5, pp. xxx and 527. The identity of the prize-winner was announced on 9 March (Cambridge University Reporter, 12 Mar. 1895, p. 610) and McKerrow recited the poem at a Congregation in the Senate House on 12 June (Reporter, 7 May 1895, p. 758; 18 June 1895, p. 1036). The poem was printed in Prolusiones academicae praemiis annuis dignatae et in curia Cantabrigiensi recitatae Comitiis Maximis Prid. Id. Iun. A.D. M.DCCC.XCV (1895). McKerrow’s own copy is Pam. c. 90. 62.

{2} See line 100 in the manuscript (MCKW B2/15), which runs ‘And glitter into daylight and to life’.

{3} William Alexander, later Archbishop of Armagh.

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      Probably sent with MCKW A1/1b.

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