Competitions nos. 62A and 62B: results

Martin Armstrong – and ready yourself, this is a red-letter day in one hitherto unhappy household – sets two competitions. 62A  points out that Sir J.C. Bose, the Indian scientist, has shown that vegetables are affected by stimulants, poisons, shocks and other ‘ills and good that man and beast are heir to”. It asks for a lyric (max 18 lines) rebuking the vegetarian for cruelty to vegetables.


Sir J.C.Bose

There are many commendations, mostly the regulars (Chauve-Souris, Seacape, Issachar, Gertrude Pitt, W. Hodgson Burnet, H.C.M. – and also an M.J.Dickson who is probably the literary scholar who contributed to English Studies in 1931). In the end, Armstrong actually draws lots, and the top prize goes to a new name, Nosnikrap (i.e. Parkinson spelled backwards), while L.V.Upward takes the half-guinea:

WR Comp 62

62B quotes Pope: ‘For what I have published, I can only hope to be pardoned; for what I have burned, I deserve to be praised’ – in the preface to his Poetical Works


Alexander Pope – caught out

Armstrong wants this statement rendered into epigrammatic verse. While he is judging it, however, it occurs to him that Pope has trapped himself into something of a solecism – ‘he did not mean that he deserved to be praised for the verses he had burned, but because he had burned them, a very different matter’. Always nice to catch the top dogs out. He says he hasn’t penalised anyone who has committed a similar lapse. Five make the winners’ enclosure, and after discarding Guy Innes, Mariamne and John A. Bellchambers – the latter is John Archer Bellchambers (1866-1945), a lawyer’s clerk in 1911 in Islington – he arrives at two winners. Firstly, Ciel. She is joined by, after over 55 attempts, T.E.Casson, who finally gets more than honorary mentions and nods and even rewardless entries being printed. He gets his half-guinea at last!

Armstrong prints Innes and Bellchambers as well, as the proxime accessits – something being done slightly more frequently now.

WR Comp 62a

T.E. Casson is Thomas Edmund Casson (1883-1960) who was born (and died) in the Ulverston area. He can be found contributing to scholarly literary magazines from 1909 onwards, and in 1914, he had a collection of poems (Masques and Poems) published. He had a further collection of poems published in 1930 (Lord Derwentwater’s fate and other poems), a collection in 1938, simply called Poems, and George Fox, a poem in twelve books in 1947. All four appeared under the name Edmund Casson. Under the name Thomas Edmund Casson, he had published, in 1927, A Century of Roundels, on the centenary of the Oxford-Cambridge cricket match (he seems to have been an Oxford graduate, given the journals in which he is published). However, he does also publish his poems (e.g. in Poetry Review) as T.E.Casson, and he also publishes a book on Thomas of Kendal under this name in 1935. All his books are published in Kendal.


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