DOWSON, ERNEST (1867-1900)
AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF HIS POEM 'A REQUIEM', unsigned, 24 lines, 1 page, octavo, one central ink spot [no date, but 1893]
Neobule, being tired,
Far too tired to laugh or weep,
From the hours, rosy and gray
Hid her golden face away:
Neobule, fain of sleep,
Slept at last as she desired.
Neobule, is it well,
That you haunt the Hollow Lands,
Where the poor, dead people stray
Ghostly, pitiful and gray,
Plucking with their spectral hands
Scentless leaves of asphodel...
One of Dowson's better-known poems, of which no manuscript was known to Desmond Flower or Mark Longaker. It was first published in The Hobby Horse, no. 3, 1894.
Poetical manuscripts by Dowson are of considerable rarity; only one other is recorded as having been sold at auction. Michael Silverman had a manuscript by Dowson at one time.
Peter Croft stated that: 'Apart from the manuscripts of his latest poems that Dowson often included in his letters to his friends, most of the poetry in his handwriting known to survive is contained in one ordinary octavo notebook [at the Morgan Library, the main repository of Dowson's manuscripts].'
In Verses, 1896, 'A Requiem' is dedicated to his friend the poet John Gray, author of Silverpoints. The dedication of single poems to friends was a feature copied by Dowson from Verlaine (Flower and Maas, The Letters).
See also lot 278.
PROVENANCE: Percy Dobell; Arthur Freeman; Bernard Quaritch.
REFERENCES: Desmond Flower; Mark Longacre, Ernest Dowson, 1944; P. J. Croft, Autograph Poetry, 2 volumes, 1973; The Letters, edited by Flower and Maas, 1967; Jad Adams, Madder Music, Stronger Wine: The Life of Ernest Dowson, Poet and Decadent, 2000.