AUTOGRAPH POEM BY THE HYMN-WRITER THOMAS GRINFIELD (1788-1870) ADDRESSED TO DE QUINCEY, 38 lines, incorporated in an autograph letter signed ENDORSED BY DE QUINCEY, recalling their schooldays at Winkfield School, Wiltshire, when De Quincey assisted him with his Greek, and mentioning De Quincey's success in beating a rival school with his version of a Horatian Ode (giving four lines from De Quincey's version); Grinfield also mentions De Quincey's writings including Confessions of an Opium Eater which he had read when convalescing, 7 pages in all, quarto, the second sheet illustrated with an engraved image of Winkfield Church, address panel ENDORSED BY DE QUINCEY: 'Received on this day Friday April 30 1847 at 3 P.M.', trace of seal, Clifton [Bath], 4 February 1847
What deep, sad yearnings, in my boson swell'd,
As - thrice ten years elaps'd - I once beheld,
Twas there DE QUINCEY, (not obscure the name
Link'd with bright COLERIDGE, & with Opium's fame,)
You kindly solv'd each question I might ask
In VIRGIL'S, OVID'S lov'd, though painful task.
So fine your genius, & so bland your mood,
Amidst a horde of Savages so rude...
The prize, propos'd to Schools, & well bestow'd
On Your neat Version of Horatian Ode,
For little Winkfield won unlook'd-for fame,
And blazon'd at fearless DE QUINCEY'S name.
In a letter to his daughter, Margaret, of 8 September 1847, De Quincey wrote: 'From Clifton: Mr Grinfield (The Reverend Thomas G, who is I think, rector or vicar or something of that place) wrote three months ago to renew our ancient intimacy, which was rather fallen into arrear, as you will think when I tell you that not one word have we exchanged...in this present nineteenth century. The last time I saw him...was in the city of King Bladud, viz. Bath (Pump-room to wit) in the year of Christ 1800...Yet, if you should meet him, since his letter (besides being complimentary) was really kind, say everything in apology that you know so well...'
PROVENANCE: Sotheby's, 4 December 1973, lot 142, The Property of a Gentleman, (believed to be A.H. Japp, editor of De Quincey); Edward Spencer.