Item 9 - Letter from T. S. Omond to R. C. Trevelyan

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Letter from T. S. Omond to R. C. Trevelyan


  • 30 Apr 1912 (Creation)

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14 Calverley Park, Tunbridge Wells. -Thanks Trevelyan for sending him his book ["The Bride of Dionysus"]; he makes 'the old legends live again'. Wonders if the opera has been performed yet, as Trevelyan says the music [by Donald Tovey] is completed; will look out for notices. Trevelyan's vers libre does not appeal to him, but 'poets have every right to try experiments', and he is right to use it if it seems most suitable to him. Is perhaps most interested by Trevelyan's 'handling of hex. metre [hexameter]' in his version of Lucretius, which seems to use six accents rather than regular feet; has doubts, which also apply to [Robert] Bridges, [Henry] Newbolt, [Lascelles] Abercrombie and others, whether speech-accent gives 'sufficient certainty'; discusses with examples. Otherwise he admires the lines as a 'scholarly exercise'. Has never understood the metre of "Attys" [Catullus 63], in the original or in other translations; amuses him to 'what different views' people seem to have. Has written a great deal about metre: this is not the sole criterion for judging poetry, but he does take it seriously, for 'is it not that alone which differentiates it from prose?'; perhaps that is why he thinks the lines from [Sophocles's] "Ajax" most successful. Remembers Trevelyan quoting the chorus [from the "Bride of Dionysus" itself] on page 13 to him. Hopes that the Trevelyans are well; he and his wife much enjoyed last summer and hope for more of the same this year. Have been at home all winter 'as usual', but now thinking of travelling, though after the Browning centenary celebration in Westminster which they hope to go to; wonders if they will see Trevelyan there. Has written little this winter apart from correspondence and a few reviews and 'letters to weeklies etc'; encloses something about hexameters from the "Modern Literary Review", which gives copies of articles instead of cash payments ["Homer's Odyssey: A Line-for-Line Translation in the Metre of the Original by H. B. Cotterill", The Modern Language Review", Vol. 7, No. 2 (Apr., 1912), pp. 257-262; no longer present]. Was glad to get [Henry Bernard] Cotterill's book for review as it is published only in an expensive edition, but was disappointed by his verse; had hoped for better from things he had written about prosody. Trevelyan's brother [George] has had a 'grand success' with his books about Garibaldi, which he himself has read with 'delight' and 'reviving of old enthusiasms', while Trevelyan's father is still writing new books and having old books republished.

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