CLOUGH, ARTHUR HUGH (1819-1861)
THE AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF HIS NEWDIGATE PRIZE POEM FOR 1839, 'SALSETTE AND ELEPHANTA', comprising 264 lines, together with long notes on the background and the setting, the upper wrapper initialled by five examiners, and in the top right-hand corner 'Newdigate 1839/No 35', and, in the hand of Mrs A.H. Clough Jr 'AHC/Prize Poem?', a few revisions, 15 leaves, including wrappers, mostly written on one side only, some professional repairs including infills to make up minor paper losses in the first two leaves (a very few words affected in the prefatory note), quarto, [Oxford, March or April] 1839
Mid these vain scenes of toil & ceaseless strife
The lust of Enterprise, the pride of life,
Where the mind heeds not, though the eye behold,
What means this relic from the times of old,
Full in the midst of traffic's eager game
Among the changed & Changing still the same...
POETICAL MANUSCRIPTS BY CLOUGH ARE EXTREMELY RARE: only one other has appeared at auction in the last forty years at least. THIS IS THE ONLY KNOWN MANUSCRIPT OF THE PRESENT POEM (Rosenbaum and White).
'Salsette and Elephanta', like Clough's 'Judgement of Brutus' for the following year, was an unsuccessful entry for the Newdigate Prize, which was won in 1839 by Ruskin.
The poem was first published from this manuscript, then in the possession of Clough's heir, by E.B. Greenberger in 1969 and again by Mulhauser, The Poems, 2nd edition, in 1974. It was Clough's first attempt at the form in which he was later to do his best and most characteristic work; Greenberger concluded that 'if we would fully understand the achievement of his mature poetic and intellectual journeying, we can perhaps best measure them from the starting-point we find in this poem.' She also noted his debts in it to Wordsworth in subject matter and diction, particularly to his 'Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood.'
In his introductory note Clough explained that 'The Temple of Salsette is dedicated to Buddha, whose doctrines are purely Pantheistic; supposed to have been another corruption from the doctrine of Emanations, in the Vedas'. It demonstrates growing interest in non-deistic religion. Both Greenberger, and then Biswas, showed that Clough used Friedrich von Schlegel's speculative account of the history of religion explicitly in 'Salsette and Elephanta'.
The poem ends with a passage not less worthy than Clough's famous lyric: 'Say Not the Struggle Nought Availeth' and its concluding stanza: 'And not by eastern windows only,/ When daylight comes, comes in the light,/ In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,/ But westward look the land is bright'.
Tho' dark the Path & doubtful, - though alone
Must each one strive unknowing & unknown
Yet shall we see as on the way we go,
Some first faint streaks of dawnings distant glow.
Till Earthly Night far spent already end
And the full orb in cloudless light ascend.
The largest collection of Clough's papers is in the Bodleian Library, given by Clough's daughter, Blanche Athena Clough, and his grand-niece, who retained a few herself.
PROVENANCE: Miss Katherine L. Duff, Clough's heir and grand-niece.
REFERENCES: E.B. Greenberger, 'Salsette and Elephanta; an unpublished Poem by Clough', Review of English Studies, xx, August 1969, pp. 284-305; Mulhauser, The Poems of Arthur Hugh Clough, 2nd edition, 1974; Robindra Biswas, Arthur Hugh Clough: Towards a Reconsideration, 1972; Index of English Literary Manuscripts, Volume IV, 1800-1900, Part I, compiled by Barbara Rosenbaum and Pamela White, ClA 243.