The following poem was sent to twenty-one year old Avice Fathers by a friend, Frederick Charles William Hiley, in May 1914. Yorkshire born Mr Hiley, fourteen years her senior, was an assistant librarian at the British Museum, as well as an amateur author and poet. He would go on to pen Catulli Carmina, The Poems of Catullus with Complete Translations and Notes in 1929, and translate Thomas Gray’s De principiis cogitandi. On the origin of thought, into the English language.
Transcript to follow after the images. (Please contact me if you can help decipher any of the [illegible] words on this document)
Dear Miss Fathers,
Here it is at last!
Ivory complexioned Avice,
fluty-throated as the mavis
deign to listen, not for long,
to my tribute of a song;
though, unlike you, I cannot sing,
with a clear and certain ring.
What though your weary day is spent
[illegible] a niggard government,
at five o’ clock – or is it four? –
flinging wide the panelled door,
daintily downstairs you trip
with a smile upon your lip
that thrills with an unwanted joy
commissionaire and office boy.
Who, till you came, could ring a nod
from that official demigod,
great R-b-n R-o R-b-n s-n.
But now he stops the work he’s on,
and, banishing from brow the wrinkle,
he even condescends to – twinkle!
Nor do you scorn at home to ply
the arts of domesticity;
but salad, toast and coffee make,
lay plate and dish, sometimes they break! –
mother and brother thus you show
the way in which they ought to go.
And when at last you’re old and grey,
far, far distant be that day! –
and well-deserved leisure seek
on half-a-sovereign a week;
and little Avices and Kens
rampage around like cocks and hens; –
when memories crowd and nights are long,
recall my tribute of a song.
Adieu till Thursday 10.11.
F. C. W. Hiley