TWO AUTOGRAPH POEMS BY HESTER SASSOON ADDRESSED TO HER HUSBAND SIEGFRIED SASSOON, with an autograph envelope addressed to 'Captain Siegfried Sassoon M.C.', dated 27 February , one poem headed New Hall by her, the other on headed notepaper of New Hall, Bodenham, Salisbury, one dated 27 February 1940
(i) 'To Siegfried', 8 lines in two four-line stanzas, 1 page, small quarto
Oh sweet my sweet may my life prove
That I indeed most truly love:
Ask what you will, & ask yet more,
My heart's an ever-open door.
Forgive me all my past mistakes,
Forgive my failures & my tongue...
(ii) Untitled, beginning 'My love, a comfortable rain...', 42 lines, telling [her husband] about her surroundings, that she is feeling better ('shall soon be able / To join the richly loaded table; / But I'm enjoying (is it wrong?) / My little nest upstairs alone...') and has been inspired by reading Leonardo da Vinci's life; she also acknowledges her verse as 'awful', mentions her son George ('Binks', 'who's resting on his bed, / Pipes up next door: he'd sense the dead...') and suggests that Siegfried should do some drawing, calling him 'you old Tease'.
Hester Sassoon, the granddaughter of Alfred Morrison of Fonthill, had written verse before meeting Sassoon. A literary group, of which she was a member, The Scratch Society, published in 1924 an anthology entitled Ventures in Verse, Hester Sassoon's copy of which is included in the lot (inscribed 'H G[atty]'); the Morning Post praised her two pieces as being 'full of the Celtic world-sorrow.' She also painted and was an accomplished pianist. She spent time at New Hall, Bodenham, with her newly born son George. New Hall was requisitioned by the Army in 1939, but was and still is a hospital. Difficulties with her marriage to Sassoon worsened after the birth of their son and she may well have gone to New Hall to temporarily get away from him. She finally left Heytesbury House in April 1944.
PROVENANCE: Manuscripts George Sassoon; book Bertram Rota Ltd.
REFERENCE: Max Egremont, Siegfried Sassoon, A Biography, 2005; Jean Moorcroft Wilson, Siegfried Sassoon, 2 volumes, 1998 and 2004.