AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF A DITTY [FOR SIEGFRIED SASSOON], about his own gout, comprising 12 lines, 1 page, octavo, on King's College, Cambridge headed paper, 14 July 1958
Limping around with grimmish gout
How do I know what you're about
Unless you write again to me
In prose if not in poetry.
The gout, you will be glad to hear,
Only began when I got here,
And while I motored over It
-aly did not obtrude one bit:
Only began indeed this morning:
- An inspiration, not a warning.
It sends no message to you.
That's not its business. But I do.
Autograph verse manuscripts by Forster are, to say the least, rare. This one was sold at Sotheby's as part of the papers of Siegfried Sassoon. There is an autograph notebook at King's College, Cambridge, containing fragmentary drafts of seven unpublished poems (not seen). King's has the most important collection of Forster's manuscripts.
ALMOST CERTAINLY UNPUBLISHED: not in the Bibliography of E.M. Forster, edited by B.J. Kirkpatrick, 1985.
PROVENANCE: Siegfried Sassoon; George Sassoon; Sotheby's, 18 July 1991, lot 46.
REFERENCE: Location Register of Twentieth-Century Literary Manuscripts and Letters, 2 volumes, 1988.