Our latest judge is the son of a marquis (or marquess, I’ve never really sorted that out), which is why he is Lord David Cecil, or, to give him his full list of names, Edward Christian David Gascoyne-Cecil, had just turned 30 (he died on New Year’s Day 1986), and at this stage, the author of a single book, a life of Cowper, but one that had won the James Tait Black award AND the Hawthornden Prize. He wants a four line stanza poem (20 lines max) on ‘London in the Autumn’. Is it me or was I set this kind of thing at school?
The runners up include the trying-very-hard Sylvia Groves and also a Una Monk, who I think is probably the Una Monk who published two books about women and migration, and about the commonwealth, in the 1960s. But the winners are Seacape, and (splitting the half-guinea) Issachar and, yes, T.E. Casson (‘more fancy and finish’).
The B competition is very odd, and not very popular at all. It asks us to imagine D.H.Lawrence (only dead two years) meeting Dr. Johnson in Heaven and giving a description of him. These must be one of the earliest parodies of Lawrence, and, actuallyt, they’re pretty good. The winners are R.C.A. (was his name Victor?) and W.A. Rathkey.