AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF HIS POEM ['ON BEING HUMAN'] on the subject of angels, 32 lines in five eight-line stanzas, beginning incorporated in an autograph letter signed ('C.S. Lewis') in which he states that the poem appeared in Punch about a year earlier and ends 'I hope the fact of its being in Punch didn't lead you to keep on looking for the joke: there isn't one', with one autograph revision, 2 pages, folio, 22 November 1948
Angelic minds, they say, by simple intelligence
Behold the Forms of being; they discern
Unerringly the archetypes, all the verities
Which mortals lack or indirectly learn;
Transparent with primordial truth, unvarying,
Pure stonehood and right Earthness from their clear,
Bright eminences are seen. Unveiled, the seminal
Huge principles appear...
Lewis began his publishing career as a poet with Spirits in Bondage, 1919, a volume of youthful poems, and followed this with Dymer, 1926, a long narrative poem in rhyme royal. He continued to write poetry throughout his life.
POETICAL MANUSCRIPTS BY C.S. LEWIS ARE RARE: only one has been sold at auction since the 1970s; only one is listed in Location Register. The poem was republished in Poems, edited by Walter Hooper, 1964. Manuscripts by Lewis are mainly in the Bodleian and Wheaton College, Illinois.
PROVENANCE: Waterfields, Oxford.
REFERENCE: Location Register of Twentieth-Century Literary Manuscripts and Letters, 2 volumes, 1988.