SASSOON, SIEGFRIED (1886-1967)
AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF HIS FIRST WORLD WAR POEM 'CONCERT PARTY (EGYPTIAN BASE CAMP)', 21 lines in three stanzas, two of six lines and one of nine lines, 1 page, octavo, dated 'Katara: Egypt. April. 18th. 1918'
They are gathering round....
Out of the twilight; over the grey-blue sand,
Shoals of low-jargoning men drift inward to the sound -
The jangle and throb of a piano...tum-ti-tum...
Drawn by a lamp, they come
Out of the glimmering lines of their tents, over the shuffling sand...
This poem was written out in Sassoon's wartime diary. Moeyes notes that the 'poem describes this concert as a scene from Dante's Inferno, with the musicians in the roles of Dante and Virgil and the soldiers as the ghosts who cannot follow them back to a civilian world or relative normality.' Written in Sassoon's early handwriting contemporaneous with the date of composition.
PROVENANCE: Siegfried Sassoon; George Sassoon.
REFERENCES: Collected Poems, 1908-1956, 197; Siegfried Sassoon: Diaries 1915-1918, edited by Rupert Hart-Davis, 1988; Paul Moeyes, Siegfried Sassoon: Scorched Glory, 1997.