This afternoon I have chosen COVENTRY PATMORE – 1823-1896.
Born July 23, 1823, in Epping Forest, Coventry Kersey Dighton Patmore was almost crippled by his name. His Father was an ambitious if commonplace author, and the Patmores expected great things of their offspring. It was planned that Coventry should become a painter; he joined the Pre-Raphaelite group and contributed to its organ The Germ. His gift as an artist being negligible, he turned to Literature, and Thackeray hailed him as a coming genius. Unfortunately, Poems published in Patmore’s twenty-first year, was thin and mawkish, and, although Dante Gabriel Rossetti befriended the book, the critics condemned it. At twenty-four, Patmore became an assistant librarian in The British Museum, married happily, and devoted most of his life to a celebration of domesticity.
The Angel In The House, a collection of some one hundred and fifty poems in praise of married love, is characterized by its sentimental title. Yet Ruskin spoke of the verses as “sparkling humilities,” and if they are not passionate, they are gently persuasive.
With all my will, but much against my heart,
We two now part.
My Very Dear,
Our solace is, the sad road lies so clear.
It needs no art,
With faint, averted feet
And many a tear,
In our opposed paths to persevere.
Go thou to East, I West.
We will not say
There’s any hope, it is so far away.
But, O my Best,
When the one darling of our widowhood,
The nursing Grief,
And no dews blur our eyes
To see the peach-blossom come in evening skies,
Perchance we may,
Where now this night is day,
And even through faith of still averted feet,
Making full circle of our banishment,
The bitter journey to the bourne so sweet
Seasoning the termless feast of our content
With tears of recognition never dry.
After fifteen years of uneventful felicity, Mrs Patmore died. Three years later Patmore married a recent convert to Catholicism and became a Catholic himself. His second Wife was a woman of means, and Patmore was able to give up his post in the British Museum and purchase a large place in Ashdown Forest. He was so proud of his status as country squire that he wrote and published How I Managed My Estate. His second wife died in 1880, and, within a year, Patmore married again. He died in his seventy-fourth year. November 26, 1896.
After his death Alice Meynell wrote, “Essentially he had but one subject: human love as a mystery; and but one character: an impassioned spirituality, “Today Patmore’s verse seems more intimate than impassioned. There is no doubt about its warmth, its true simplicity. As Patmore himself wrote in one of the shortest but one of his most profound poems:
For want of me the world’s course will not fail;
When all its work is done the lie shall rot.
The truth is great, and shall prevail,
When none cares whether it prevail or not.
I do hope that you enjoyed the above, I certainly enjoyed typing it all and seeing the words as they are meant. Critics, such fools they make and they destroy the person. The only true Critic is that who sits and reads words written from someone’s heart, we are the judges. Far too many critics are jealous and thats the truth.
Johann Sebastian Bach, Concertos for Oboe