Another new judge: the art critic Anthony Bertram. He also wants translations, and has asked for a rendition of a four-line Goethe poem:
As before, the translations do not go well. J.W.Pepper gets the only prize, with the spare half-a-guinea being added to the 28B pot.
Why interrupt this quiet season?
Leave me in peace beside my bowl.
Though converse be the feast of reason,
‘Tis solitude inspires the soul.
I wonder if ‘converse’ was really in everyday use.
For the second, and perhaps more demanding competition (it’s usually the other way round) competititors had to imitate Gibbon, and have him look back on the stand made by A.P.Herbert for individual liberty in the 1930s and 1940s. The winners (two of whom are from the original five signatories) are Lester Ralph, A.J. Perman, and Non Omnia. They’re skilful parodies, but they’re not actually very interesting, I don’t think, although Herbert himself was a remarkable man. Born in 1890, he’d made his name as a writer in Punch by inventing legal arguments and cases which were both witty and satirical. (Herbert had contributed an article ‘Why Not Rationalise The Law?’ to the very first edition of The Week-end Review.) As a novelist – his novel The Water Gypsies had just been published at the time of this competition – he was less well-known. Five years after this competition he was elected as an independent MP for the University of Oxford (Oxford and Cambridge had their own university seats, which gave rise to the curious phenomenon of some people having two votes), and he stayed as the MP until the university seats were abolished in 1950, making the timing of this competition (1930s and 1940s) very prophetic. Herbert died in 1971.