HARDY, THOMAS (1840-1928, poet and novelist, O.M.)
Lot 112
HARDY, THOMAS (1840-1928, poet and novelist, O.M.)
Sold for £3,360 (US$ 5,247) inc. premium

Lot Details
HARDY, THOMAS (1840-1928, poet and novelist, O.M.)
ANNOTATED PROOF OF HIS POEM 'THE GOING OF THE BATTERY', with an additional autograph stanza and autograph revisions, additions and corrections, partly on the printed text and partly on the sheet to which it was attached, printed numeration 8, black-letter sectional heading 'War and Battle', with substantive revisions to the head note explaining the circumstances that evoked the poem ('November 2, 1899. Late at night, in rain and in darkness, the 73rd Battery R.F.A. left Dorchester Barracks for the war in South Africa, marching on foot to the railway station, where their guns and horses were already entrained'), 1 page, octavo, printed proof-page mounted on a small quarto sheet, minor blank section at foot missing, a few small tears in margins, minor foxing, staining and dust-staining, revisions made after 28 November, printed date 2 November 1899

Footnotes

  • A rare example of Hardy correcting a proof and continuing the process of composition, employing both his normal and 'proof-correcting' handwritings. The combination of printed text and manuscript additions, revisions and corrections gives the piece a special appeal for collectors and scholars.

    'The Going of the Battery', a poem 'unromantically and even pathetically insistent upon the bleakness of the particular scene and the deprivation and anxiety of those left behind' (Michael Millgate), was first published in the Graphic on 11 November 1899. The present proof was for the publication of the poem in War Songs, and Songs and Ballads of Martial Life. Selected and with an introductory note by John Macleay in the series The Cambridge Poets edited by William Sharp, the book, which does not bear a publication date, contains the note about Hardy's poem: 'the fourth stanza appears for the first time'. All the other changes on the present proof appear in that text and the section in which it appears has the black-letter sectional title 'War and Battle'.

    Hardy himself explained that it 'was almost an exact report of the scene & expressions I overheard. There are two more verses in the original: but I omitted them in sending the lines off, not to burden the Graphic too heavily. With other revisions the poem was reprinted in War Songs, and Songs and Ballads of Martial Life and Poems of the Past and Present.

    The stanza (the fourth) added to this proof reads:

    'Sharp were those sighs of ours, blinded these eyes of ours,
    When at last moved away under the arch
    All we loved. Aid for them each woman prayed for them
    Treading back slowly the track of their march.'
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