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Dominic Winter Auctioneers

Modern Literature & First Editions

13 December 2018

*Brooke (Rupert, 1887-1915).

  • *Brooke (Rupert, 1887-1915).
  • *Brooke (Rupert, 1887-1915). - 1
  • *Brooke (Rupert, 1887-1915). - 2
  • *Brooke (Rupert, 1887-1915). - 3
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Lot 903

Estimate: £3,000 - £5,000
Sold For: £4,900

Autograph letter signed, 'Rupert Brooke', School Field, Rugby, Monday 25 March [1907],
to his friend and fellow Cambridge student [Ernst] Goldschmidt, in full, 'I fear your letter has gone unanswered even longer than my languid wont. Will it solace you to know that two even more remote letters have not achieved reply, - and one from a lady! My few waking intervals at Cambridge were occupied in writing a paper I had promised for a society of youths of this school. That labour ended yesterday. But when, after a few days in London, I arrived here I found my father very ill. He is getting better now - He is (you may know) a housemaster at this delectable school. I have had to do all his term's marks (now falling due) and some of his work: all of which has left me little leisure. The weather is light blue and white: like London milk. Are you interested in the weather? I was once: now no longer. It is what one would have called Spring in other years, crocuses birds, sunshine, and little winds. But of course there is no Spring this year. There is not that wild laughter of lips immortally young in the air. It only tastes like flat wine, and passion dwelt upon too long. In Rugby everybody pleases and only the prospect is vile. The architecture recalls infamous London suburbs. But among it all pass glorious laughing people careless in the high divinity of youth. They have had a very bad term for illness. In a fortnight two poor lads have died from pneumonia. To die at 15 with all the best of their life unlived! Is there a greater tragedy than for a boy to die, except for him to grow old, to live? I am sorry you have "built an altar in my heart", and placed me on a pedestal. It is a mistake I made myself, once. Life is one of those ridiculous jest of which one never sees the point, - until it is too late, & one does not appreciate the humour', 4 pages on black-edged printed letterhead, neat ink manuscript initialled addition in Goldschmidt's holograph below day and month, 'prob. 1907 E.Ph.G.', a little dust-soiled along horizontal fold of final page, 8vo, together with two (presumably unsent) drafts of autograph letters of affection from Goldschmidt, intended for Brooke, in which he tries to summon the courage to write to him and find the right words to say, the more finished letter written at Hotel Gallia, Cannes, France, 24 February, 1907, 'For such a long time I have been endeavouring not to write to you but I can no longer keep myself back and so I suppose you will have to read a tiresome letter from me I am so constituted that I put all the beauty and goodness and all desirable things I can imagine into some unfortunate person's body and mind and then proceed to worry that person so long till I find out that all those treasure never belonged to him. Just now it is you who are so unlucky', continuing in similar vein, 4 pages, unsigned, 8vo, the second rough draft containing similarly lovelorn phrases, written in two columns vertically on a torn sheet of paper, split along folds without loss of manuscript, oblong folio
An apparently unpublished letter, though one line is quoted in Keith Hale (editor): Friends and Apostles: The Correspondence of Rupert Brooke and James Strachey, 1905-1914 (Yale University Press, 1998) p. 25: 'Brooke's desire never to grow up is well chronicled. He once wrote to his friend Ernest Goldschmidt, "Is there a greater tragedy than for a boy to die, except for him to grow old, to live!"'. Two postcards from Brooke to Goldschmidt are transcribed in Geoffrey Keynes (editor), The Letters of Rupert Brooke (Faber, 1968), both sent from Munich to Goldschmidt in Vienna concerning Brooke's upcoming visit to him there in April 1911. In another letter, to E.J. Dent, sent while staying with Goldschmidt in Vienna, 13 April 1911, Brooke refers to Goldschmidt as having 'decayed dreadfully in mind, through living in Vienna' and 'is very sad because he thinks he offended you very much a year ago', while making additional anti-semitic remarks.

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