HUGHES, TED (1930-1998)
AUTOGRAPH DRAFT AND REVISED TYPESCRIPT FOR THE TITLE POEM OF HIS 'LAUREATE POEMS', [RAIN CHARM FOR THE DUCHY A BLESSED, DEVOUT DRENCH FOR THE CHRISTENING OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS PRINCE HARRY], titled herein 'Rain-charm', the autograph draft for the second half of the poem only (about 45 lines), the revised typescript for the whole poem (about 90 lines - the printed version some 95 lines), with autograph revisions and deletions preserving reconsidered readings, the typescript 3 pages, folio, the autograph draft 2 pages, folio (typescript of 'Sing the Rat' on the verso), with inscribed envelope for Christmas 1984 [dated 21 December 1984 in the printed version]
The typescript here begins:
My windscreen was frosted with dust,
My mind itself had grown a harsh membrane
Against glare and particles.
After the five month drought
Now the first blobby tears came painfully...
The printed version begins:
After the five-month drought
My windscreen was frosted with dust.
Sight itself had grown a harsh membrane
Against glare and particles
Now the first tears broke painfully...
This is generally considered to be the best of Ted Hughes's Laureate poems. He had already written it, but then adapted it to go with the occasion. Keith Sagar praises the poem at some length in Poet and Critic, quoting Seamus Heaney who described it as 'deeply bardic and public' and hoped that Ted would establish 'a sacerdotal function for the poet in the realm.'
PROVENANCE: Ted Hughes.