AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF HIS POEM 'LOVE' signed with initials ('P.L.'), 18 lines in three stanzas, 1 page, octavo, written in pencil, evidently removed from a note book and somewhat jagged down the left-hand edge, no date [7 December 1962]
The difficult part of love
Is being selfish enough,
Is having the blind persistence
To upset an existence
Just for your own sake...
My life is for me:
As well ignore gravity...
Still vicious or virtuous,
Love suits most of us...
In a letter to C.B. Cox of 3 October 1969 Larkin wrote: 'A publisher wrote recently to ask if he could reprint a poem Love from Critical Quarterly: I had forgotten writing such a poem, much less publishing it. I thought it rather good...' Andrew Motion noted that both 'Love' and 'Sunny Prestatyn', written close together, both concluded with the idea of love letting one down 'all images of perfection are unreal, all compromises are disappointing. Torn between his requirements for himself, his need for Monica, and his attraction to Maeve's romantic innocence, Larkin ensured that he possessed nothing entirely.' The poem was published in Critical Quarterly, Summer 1966.
RARE. Autograph poetical manuscripts by Larkin are very rare: none are recorded as having been sold at auction. Also see lots 11 and 331.
PROVENANCE: Charles Montieth, Chairman of Faber and Faber, Larkin's publisher; Gekoski.
REFERENCES: Selected Letters, edited by Anthony Thwaite, 1992; Andrew Motion, Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life, 1993; Collected Poems, edited by Anthony Thwaite, 1988; Philip Larkin, The Complete Poems, edited by Archie Burnett, 2012.