[Barry Pain, Punch humorist and author of novels, poems and ghost stories.] Autograph Manuscript of long poem titled 'The Dream of Fine Editors | (after the dinner to J. N. Dunn. April 23rd. 1897)'.

Author: 
Barry Pain [Barry Eric Odell Pain] (1864-1928), author, journalist, Punch humorist, author of ghost stories [Fleet Street; James Nicol Dunn; Charles Norris Williamson; Oswald Crawfurd]
Publication details: 
[London. 1897.]
£580.00
SKU: 22173

4pp, 12mo. On four loose leaves. In fair condition, lightly aged and worn, with minor traces of grey paper mount along edges on blank reverses. The poem is titled 'The Dream of Fine Editors | (after the dinner to J. N. Dunn. April 23rd. 1897)'. (At the time of the dinner the Scottish journalist James Nicol Dunn (1856-1919) was on the verge of being appointed editor of the Morning Post, a position he would hold from May 1897 to January 1905.) There is no record of the poem having been published, and it is likely to have been written for after-dinner recitation only. It is 72 lines long, arranged in 18 quatrains. It begins: 'I dreamed I walked the Street of Bouverie | Where are pale lamps that mock the sable night, | “The Halfpenny John”, Bradbury et cie | And also “Black & White”' | Walking, I heard a voice behind me say: | “Not vainly are my Hours and minutes spent. | I have a scheme – a cert. - can't fail – to pay | Three hundred pounds per cent.”' The voice is that of the first of the five editors to appear to Pain in the poem, Charles Norris Williamson (1859-1920), editor of 'Black and White': 'fair, frock-coated, tall, | Sanguine, erratic, with enquiring eye | […] | 'Twas he the earliest figure of our past | Who sowed the seed whereof we reap the flow'r'. Williamson departs ('With pince-nez gleaming like an angel's smile | Went C. N. Williamson'), to be replaced by the editor of 'Chapman's Magazine of Fiction': 'O Oswald Crawfurd [(1834-1909)], courtly, consular, | With Fleet Street's maidens circling raind abait'. The third editor is an unnamed 'snappy man […] | And short and sharp barked out his little day; | In all the converse of the C. M. G. | Save that he didn't stay.' The fourth editor – 'who stammered, stared with a lack-lustre eye' – is also unnamed. He is a disreputable editor: 'Took his own stories, took his sister's too, | Likewise his cousin's, and his aunt's as well. | Sometimes we print them still – we're forced to do - | But “Hell!” we murmur, “Hell!”' The final editor is Dunn himself: 'The one that bragged the least and did the most, | Yet left a weekly illustrated place | To take a morning post. | And as I spoke with him, the dream went by, | Through garden windows came the dawning sun | And I was Barry Pain, and knew that I | Had dined with J. N. Dunn'. The poem ends with Pain asking pardon for drinking from 'a strictly “private” bottle': 'Contrition's tear-drop on my eye-lid starts - | Partially drunk, but like the curate's egg, | “Quite excellent – in parts”'. See Pain's entry in the Oxford DNB.