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Poems and 'Meredith' notes, 1933-1950 (entries date mostly from 1933-1950)

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.9852/6/7

Scope and Contents

Notebook comprising poetical drafts together with notes on George Meredith, diary entries, and some text relating to Wilfred Owen and Charlotte Mew. The notebook was used from both ends; it largely contains poetical drafts until folio 51, after which entries continue from the back page, comprising the notes on Meredith and additional material.

Quotation from Byron's 'Don Juan': /inside front cover.

Drafts of poems: - Two drafts of 'Playmates', 3 Feb. 1950: /1r. - 'Euphrasy', 6 Feb. 1950: /1v. - 'Release', 7 Feb. 1950: /1v. - 'A Plea for Less Information' (excised), preceded by a quotation from Ovid on the advantage of not knowing too much: /2r. - 'Quite myself', four-line poem, 22 Oct. 1950: /2r. - 'Against Artiface', 17 Jan. 1950: /2v. - 'The Consolers', 28 Jan. 1950: /2v. - 'Unguided', 27 Aug. 1933 (with excised titles 'Prophetic Outlook' and 'Clueless'): /3r. - 'Abdication', 22 Apr. 1947 (partly erased): /3r. - 'Wren and Man', 29 Jan. 1950: /3v. - 'An Afterthought', 9 Feb. 1950: /3v. - 'The Soloist', 14 Feb. 1950 and 9 Oct. 1950: /3v. - 'Existent Good' (excised), 10 Dec. 1950: /4r. - 'Non-Intervention', 12 Dec. 1950, followed by an extract of poetry from George Meredith: /4r. - 'A Denial', 4 Jan. 1950: /4v. - 'Property Prophesy', 27 Jan. 1950: /4v. - 'Official Status' (a poem on being appointed a CBE): /4v. - 'Orbit' (four-line poem), 28 Jan. 1950: /4v. - 'A Problem' (four-line poem), 25 Feb. 1950: /4v. - Five-line poem beginning 'If only our dreams were more serious', Oct. 1950: /4v. - 'On Reading my Collected Poems': /5r. - 'An Interruption' (four-line poem): /5r. - 'A Word with a Future', Mar. 1925: /5r. - 'Elsewhere', 2 Feb. 1950: /5v. - 'A Dream', 24 Feb. 1950: /5v. - Excised drafts of a poem with the alternate titles of 'Rudimentary Religion' and 'Simple Sermon', dated Aug. 1947-Nov. 1948 and Feb. 1949: /6r. - 'Valediction', 9 Apr. 1947: /6v. - 'The Forward View', 3 Oct. 1932: /6v. - 'Philosophy to Fail' or 'In Time of Decivilisation', 14 Aug. 1947: /7r. - Drafts of a poem marked 'For de la Mare Tribute Volume' beginning 'News came that he'd been born in 1873', 16 Aug. 1947: /7v-8r. - Poem beginning 'An August midnight; not much stirring': /8v. - Poem which has been erased; now illegible except for corrections in ink; it ends: 'but tomorrow will come': /9r. - 'Innovations', 18 Aug. 1947 (with earlier excised title 'Vicissitudes'), beginning 'One foggy evening, dining quietly at his club': /9v. - 'A Prediction', 1 Apr. 1933: /9v. - 'An Optimist', 20 Aug. 1947: /10r. - 'Essential Humanity', 13 Nov. 1948: /10v. - 'After Talking to a Young Poet' (excised), 10 Nov. 1948: /11r. - 'Spectators', preceded by a poem which has been erased and is illegible: /11v. - 'Solitude at Sixty', 1947: /12r. - 'Shadow & Substance': /12v. - Poem beginning 'I and my Shadow, In sunshine weather, Have walked together': /13r. - 'Whence?' (four-line poem): /13v. - 'Befriending Star', 18 Oct. 1950: /13v. - 'Heavenless': /14r. - 'A Stay-at-Home', 11 Feb. 1950: /14r. - A second poem named 'Innovations', 7 Sep. 1947, beginning 'An easy-going pre-historic man complained': /14v (see also /9v). - 'The Comforter', 19 Oct. 1950: /14v. - 'A Plain Man', 6 Sep. 1947: /15r. - 'A Survivor' (with excised title 'Another Self'), 4 Feb. 1950: /15v. - 'Defiance to Life', 13 Sep. 1947: /16r. - Poem beginning 'Against the background of the times we suffer': /16v. - Poem which has been erased and is now illegible except for corrections in pen, 28 Sep. 1947: /17r. - 'Visual Devisings', 14 Dec. 1947 and reworked on 23 Nov. 1948: /17v. - 'Suggested Solution (for Human Predicament)' with additions made on 14 Jan. 1948: /17v and 18r. - Quotations from two poems by Walter de la Mare: /17v. - 'A Reassurance', 14 Oct. 1950: /18r. - 'The Child Denied', 25 Dec. 1947, preceded by a quotation from Charlotte Mew: /19r. - Lists by Sassoon of his own poetry: they include lists entitled 'War-time Verse', 'Emblems of Experience (Personal Moralisings)', 'Spiritual Poems', 'Unpublished Verse: 1941-48', and 'Thirty-Six Poems', with some titles of poems accompanied by a note on the year and place of publication: /19v-20r. Drafts of poems, continued: - 'A Confederacy with Oblivion', 18 Jan. 1948: /20v. - 'A Leader', 19 Jan. 1948: /21r. - 'Lack of Foresight' (with excised title 'Getting it Wrong'), 20 Jan. 1948: /21v. - Poem beginning 'Sufficient satisfaction man will find, By landing on the Moon ', 16 Oct. 1950: /21v. - 'The Pioneer', poem beginning 'Landing on Mars, man found the climate good', 16 Oct. 1950: /22r. - 'World Revolution', 31 Jan. 1948: /22r. - 'A Hint' (initially entitled 'A Hint to Communistic Thinkers'), five-line poem, 2 Mar. 1948: /22r. - 'Old-Fashioned Weather' (initially entitled 'Traditional Weather'), 20 Feb. 1948: /22v. - 'The Lost Things', 28 Feb. 1948: /23r. - 'The Deceiver' (with excised titles 'The Choice', 'Undeceived' and 'An Undesirable Acquaintance'), 20 Oct. 1950: /22v and 23r. - 'Praise Persistent', with a note that the poem contained phrases borrowed from Thomas Hardy, 8 Mar. 1948: /23v. - 'International Relations': /24v. - Two drafts of 'An Absentee' (initially entitled 'Change of Heart'), one is excised, 14 Mar. 1948: /25r. - 'A Memory of Edward Grey': /26r, with another draft of the poem, now entitled 'A Fallodon Memory', 16-20 Mar. 1948: /27r. The poems are accompanied by prose notes on Lord Edward Grey of Fallodon, 15 Mar. 1948:/25v, notes on a dream about him, 16 Mar. 1948, and recollections of a stay at Fallodon on 16-29 Aug. 1928: /26r. - 'Mind Alchemy', 2 Nov. 1948: /27v. - 'On Hearing Some Sonatas', 2 Apr. 1948: /27v. - 'Simpleton Philosophy', 3 Apr. 1948: /28r. - Drafts of a poem beginning 'After short sleep unwillingly awake', 21 Nov. 1948: /28v. - 'The Dilapidated Vehicle': /30v. - 'Ultimate Values', 15 Dec. 1948: /31r. - Poem beginning 'Suppose this revelation, this release', 3-4 Mar. 1949, with a note by Sassoon on his reasons for writing: /31v. - 'Resurrection', 3-6 Mar. 1949: /32r-32v. - 'Out of Date' (with initial titles of 'Defences' and 'To a Contemporary'): /33v. - 'A Regret', 19 Mar. 1949: /33v. - Poem beginning 'I told my brain forget, and up the woodland walked': /34r. - 'Survivors', 7 Apr. 1949: /34v. - 'Unemployed', 14 Jan. 1950, with an accompanying note by Sassoon on his poetic impulse and personal character: /35r. - 'An Asking' (initially entitled 'Creature to Creator'), drafts dated 27 May and 23 Dec. 1949, with a note relating to the origin of the mind and soul: /36v-37r. - 'The Engine', 27 Oct. 1949: /37v. - 'Not Guilty', 12 Feb. 1950, accompanied by a prose entry beginning 'If only someone would tell me whether these heavy moralisings in verse are any good!': /38r. - Two drafts of 'Past or Present?' with a related note, 31 Oct.-1 Nov. 1949: /38v-39r. - Five lines of excised verse, beginning 'A man with a pen; the man who is me': /39v. - 'A Reunion' (poem about Thomas Hardy), 2 Nov. 1949: /39v. - Poem beginning 'Dear Decade, the fate of mankind, so they say', 1 Jan. 1950: /40r. - Two drafts of 'The Message', 3 Nov. 1949: /40v. - 'Antecedents' (initially entitled 'Oriental Extraction'), 12 Jan. 1950: /41r. - 'To an Intellectualist' (excised), 24 Dec. 1949: /41v. - 'Distant Relations', 25 Dec. 1949: /41v. - 'The Unproven': /27 Dec. 1949: /42v and 'Redemption', 29 Dec. 1949: /43r, with an accompanying note beginning 'I suppose these two poems will be considered childish by contemporary literary fashion. Yet they satisfy me': /42r. - 'An Incident in Literary History', beginning 'Sassoon and Owen - names that found their niche, In literary history', 8 Jan. 1950: /43v. - 'To a Materialist', 4 Jan. 1950, with a related note on spiritualism and materialism: /44r. - 'Modern Hymn', 21 Jan. 1950: /44r. - 'Expectation of Life', 10 Jan. 1950 with a note 'In the Dumps': /44v. - 'Ownership', 15 Jan. 1950: /45v. - 'A Collector', 19 Jan. 1950: /46r. - 'An Admission', 20 Jan. 1950: /46r. - Two drafts of 'Two Worlds', 22 Jan. 1950: /46v. - 'As Far as One Can See', 23 Jan. 1950: /47r. - 'The Unaccepted', 24 Jan. 1950: /47v. - 'Rewardment', 24 Oct. 1950, preceded by a note beginning 'I often ask myself what I think I am doing by putting all these philosophic moralizings into little scraps of verse': /48r. - 'Non-Conductive', 30 Jan. 1950: /48v. - Draft of the poem later named 'The Inventory', beginning 'Possessed by its possessions, can the mind - ': /48v. - 'Prelude to a Sequence' (excised), 1 Feb. 1950: /49r. - 'A Post-Mortem', 16 Feb. 1950: /49r. - 'Silly stuff' (excised): /49r. - 'Affirmation', 2 Feb. 1950: /49v. - 'Ditty of Old Bones', 10 Oct. 1950: /49v. - 'Duality', 26 Oct. 1950: /50v. - 'The Present Writer', 9 Nov. 1950: /51r.

Entries then continue from the back of the notebook:

'Meredith Notes': /76r-51v (listed in order starting from the back page). These include: - A list of the qualities of a fine book as defined by Walter de la Mare: /76v. - A note on Meredith sales figures: /76r. - 'Notes on the Novels': /75v. - Extract transcribed from an essay by Orlo Williams on 'The Egoist': /74v. - Note on 'One of our Conquerors': /73v. - 'Rhoda Fleming' notes: /73r-72v. - 'Note on the Early Novels': /72r-71v. - 'Farina' notes: /71r. - 'Shagpat' notes: /70v. - 'Feverel' notes: /69v. - 'Sandra Belloni' notes: /68v. - 'Modern Love' notes: /67v-68r. - Transcript of a letter from Meredith to Miss Katherine Vulliamy on the eve of her wedding, dated 6 June 1864, with a note by Sassoon that the letter was forwarded to him in Nov. 1948: /67r-66v. - Notes on the introduction to Sassoon's book on Meredith: /66r, /65r and /52r-51v.

'Vittoria' notes: /65v.

A list of a selection of poems by Meredith, in chronological order: /64v.

Notes and prose drafts for an article on Meredith for 'Occident'; Sassoon states that it was 'written for a magazine which never printed it or returned my MS!' Parts of the draft are divided into sections 1-3: /64r-56v.

Notes for a talk on Meredith: /55v.

Prose entries on other subjects: - On the poetry of Charlotte Mew, 22 Feb. 1948: /24r. - Notes on Wilfred Owen, which appear to have been intended for a talk on Owen for the BBC: /55r-54v.

Prose notes mentioning H.G. W[ells] and Walter de la Mare: /54r.

Diary entries: - These include entries on a 'curiously clear dream' involving Walter de la Mare, 15 Mar. 1948: /24v; on re-reading the New Years' dance chapter of George Elliot's 'Silas Marner': /29r; meditations on his attitude to life 'at nearly 62', 7 June 1948: /29r; entries for 8-9 June 1948 on his reasons for writing and his hope to write a final volume of autobiography: /29v; a descriptive account entitled 'Getting up Early', 16 May [1949]: /35v; an entry dated 7 June 1949: /36r; an entry on a dream about going on active service again, 23 June 1949: /37r; thoughts on T.H.'s [Thomas Hardy's] conception of the 'Imminent Will or Prime Cause': /42r; and an entry on Wilfred Owen in which Sassoon goes on to discuss which poets had helped him technically, 30 Jan. 1950: /45r. - Entries concerning meetings with de la Mare, dated 24 Nov. 1948 (while at Park Royal Hospital, in which Sassoon describes their discussion on Ralph Hodgson), 26 Nov. 1948, and 3 June 1949 (on a visit following de la Mare's heart attack): /24r-25r.

Three enclosures are to be found in separate envelopes. The foliation is the archivist's.


  • Creation: 1933-1950 (entries date mostly from 1933-1950)


Conditions Governing Access

Fragile, cover is loose - please handle with care.


1 volume(s) (76 ff.)

2 folder(s)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Notebook with marbled boards.

Related Materials

For further 'Meredith' notes, see also MS Add.9852/6/9.

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom