Item of the Week: In honorem J.H.

Published: December 9, 2010

The Clark recently purchased an apparently never-published poem by Selwyn Image, written in honor of John Milton’s tercentenary on December 9, 1908.  Our manuscript of the poem was actually written out a month after Milton’s December 9th birthday, on January 7, 1909, and was dedicated to “E.M.P.”

In honorem J.M. Decr. 9. 1908.

Three centuries! and lo! this golden day
The Eternal spake, and bade a Child arise
Dowered with grave gifts of passionate enterprise,
For England’s glory to make straight the way:

Prophet of the Highest, against whose fire might stay
Nor chaff of tyrants ‘mid established lies,
No, nor of cringing varlets, that would prize
As naught their manhood, so they but clutched their pay.

Milton, around thy cradle here we kneel,
Thy countrymen, on this fair natal morn,
Thanking our God for thee, stern witness born

Of all that could make an England pure and free:
Hail! deathless Champion of our Commonweal,
Whose earth-closed eyes gazed on Eternity.

 

Selwyn Image, “In honorem J.M.,” ba MS.2010.029, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA.

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