Reading Experience Database

Basic Search

Advanced Search

Record 20732

Reading Experience:

'Herewith you receive the rest of Henley’s hospital work. He was much pleased by what you said of him, and asked me to forward these to you for your opinion; the pencil marks are principally Payne’s. One poem at least, the “Spring Sorrow”, which seems to me the most beautiful, I hope you will communicate to Madame. I thank God for this [italics]petit bout de consolation[end italics], that by Henley’s own account, this one more lovely thing in the world is not altogether without some trace of my influence: let me say that I have been something sympathetic which the mother found and contemplated while she yet carried it in her womb. This, in my profound discouragement, is a great thing for me; if I cannot do good work myself, at least, it seems, I can help others better inspired; I am at least a skilful accoucheur.'
Century: 1850-1899
Date: Between Feb 1875 and 19 Jul 1875
Country: Scotland
Time: n/a
Place: city: Edinburgh
county: Lothian
Type of Experience (Reader):
silent aloud unknown
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown
Type of Experience (Listener):
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown

Reader/Listener/Reading Group:

Reader:Robert Louis Stevenson
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Male
Date of Birth 13 Nov 1850
Socio-economic group: Professional / academic / merchant / farmer
Occupation: Writer (he has now passed his law exams and can devote himself to writing).
Religion: Uncommitted
Country of origin: Scotland
Country of experience: Scotland
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
Additional comments: n/a


Text Being Read:

Author: William Ernest Henley
Title: [second series of] Hospital Poems
Genre: Poetry, Arts / architecture
Form of Text: Manuscript: Unknown
Publication details: See 11, Additional Comments.
Provenance: borrowed (private library)
Entrusted to RLS for his good offices re possible publication.


Source Information:

Record ID: 20732  
Source - Print  
  Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
  Editor: Bradford A. Booth
  Title: The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, April 1874-July 1879
  Place of Publication: New Haven and London
  Date of Publication: 1994
  Vol: 2
  Page: 150, 152
  Additional comments: Letter 406, To Sidney Colvin, [c. 19 July 1875], [Swanston]. Co-editor Ernest Mehew. The material in square brackets has been added by the editors.

Citation: Robert Louis Stevenson, Bradford A. Booth (ed.), The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, April 1874-July 1879 (New Haven and London, 1994), 2, p. 150, 152,, accessed: 06 July 2020

Additional comments:

On p.150, the Editors’ Note 1 reads: “The MS of the second series of Henley’s Hospital Poems was among Colvin’s papers at the time of his death [which took place in 1927]. According to Anderson, 7 May 1928 (214),” [this reference does not seem to tally with the dates of the “Anderson I-III” item in the Short Titles part of the Sources list of the Booth-Mehew edition of the Correspondence] “ it contains eighteen poems, only nine of which have been published. ‘Spring Sorrow’ eventually became ‘pastoral’(No. XXII in the ‘In Hospital’ section of "A Book of Verses", 1888.”



Reading Experience Database version 2.0.  Page updated: 27th Apr 2016  3:15pm (GMT)