[Charles Harold Herford, literary scholar, editor of Ben Jonson, professor in Wales and in Manchester.]

C. H. Herford [Charles Harold Herford] (1853-1931), Manchester-born literary scholar, editor of Ben Jonson with Percy and Evelyn Simpson, professor in Wales and Manchester
Publication details: 
[1922.] No place. (Published in 'Poetry Review' (London) in July 1922.)
SKU: 22887

6pp, 12mo. Paginated [1]-6. Lightly aged and a bit grubby. Folded twice. On six leaves of paper, which Herford has made up by tearing in half the 4to leaves of one of his students' essays. Complete, and signed at the end 'C H Herford'. Written in a close hand, with numerous deletions and emendations. He begins by describing how Shelley met his death, and his final writing, before dismissing the suggestion that he committed suicide: 'we may dismiss the utterly uncalled for suggestion that his own hand lifted the veil'. Citing Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch in support, he also dismisses 'the theory, first broached a generation after his death, on dubious & indirect evidence, that his frail skiff was deliberately run down by native fishers who mistook it for the boat of the wealthy milord Byron'. Having dealt with these matters, he states that: 'The hundred years which have since passed have shown how limited, beyond the desolating catastrophe of the moment, was the power of that storm'. He discusses how the years in which Shelley lived - 'obscure, lonely, maligned, derided' - point 'towards oblivion & decay', in contrast with the poet's 'rich & strange after-fame'. He attacks at length Matthew Arnold's assessment of Shelley, and contrasts the poet's attitude to loneliness ('a symbol of his own frailty & failure') with Wordsworth's ('the source of sublime feeling'). In his view, 'the prevalence in Shelley of this cloudland of sublime abstractions must not blind us to the fine, & even genial, human qualities which were especially his'. He quotes from the poet, stating that everyone 'can enjoy the company of this very companionable Shelley', but concluding with the thought that readers need to be persuaded that 'that dream of a humanity in which not force but hope & faith & love are the determining principles of social order, was not a thin abstraction spun by a metaphysical brain, but the vision of an ardent heart. Cor Cordium, - heart of hearts, that, & not even great poet, was the inscription set with the verses already quoted upon his grave, by the friend [i.e. Trelawney] who had plucked its physical symbol from the flames that consumed his body on the day of that sublime romantic funeral, by the resounding shore between the dazzling marble mountains & the deep blue Mediterranean Sea'. From the J. Cumming Walters papers.