AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT POEM BEGINNING 'THE FROLICK BOY...', 19 lines, incorporated in an autograph letter signed twice ('Hor'; ''H. Walpole'), to Charles [Lyttelton], 2 pages, quarto, small section of paper torn away presumably where opened, endorsed 'H. Walpole' in another early hand and in another in pencil, professional repair, King's College, Cambridge, 22 May 1736
The frolick Boy, unfortunately gay,
Too near the current urg'd his little play;
The yielding Bank beneath his feet retir'd,
And his soft soul absorb'd by Waves expir'd.
The Pious Youth (ah! Tyrant of the flood,
Why vainly pious, why untimely good?)
Plung'd after him precipitate; & try'd
To save his Brother; but in trying, dyed...
In the letter Walpole sings the praises of Oxford ('...how cou'd you possibly leave it? after seeing that charming place, I can hardly ask you to come to Cambridge...Maudlin Walks please me most...'), mentions meeting Sir Edward Noel ('...I wanted to shake Him into a fat goodnatur'd laugh...') and sends the nineteen lines of verse 'occasion'd by thinking two Lyttelton's had been drowned in the adjoyning stream; & another had so often walked there...'
Charles Lyttelton, later Dean of Exeter and Bishop of Carlisle, was at Eton with Walpole. They formed, with George Montagu, what Walpole called 'The Triumvirate.'
RARE: no other poetical manuscript by Walpole has been sold at auction in the last forty years at least. The main collection of manuscripts by Walpole is the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale. See also lot 509.
PROVENANCE: Lyttelton Family Papers, Hagley Hall; Sotheby's, 12 December 1978, lot 87; British Rail Pension Fund.