Henry Vaughan: A Life and Interpretation

Henry Vaughan: A Life and Interpretation

Henry Vaughan: A Life and Interpretation

Henry Vaughan: A Life and Interpretation

Excerpt

The main source of this book is the material collected by Miss Gwenllian Morgan and Miss Louise Guiney for a life of Vaughan. When Miss Morgan, the survivor of the two, died nine weeks after the beginning of the late war, her friends asked me to review the collection and advise what could be done with it. It consisted of many notebooks, files, genealogies, copies of legal documents, magazine articles, and hundreds of letters that had passed between the two ladies during the twenty-four years of their collaboration. After sorting and analysing this large collection I was obliged to report that there was nothing in it ready for printing and that the only service I could render would be to write a book of my own planning, which should scrupulously preserve all that was of value in the collection and also incorporate the results of my own researches. I trust that the book as it now stands will honour the memory of two women who discovered more about the poet they loved than any previous scholars have done. To measure the extent of their findings we have only to compare the slight account of Vaughan which was all that Henry Francis Lyte could compile a hundred years ago.

There are still important facts in the poet's life which have baffled all inquirers--notably the dates of his two marriages and of his beginning to practise medicine, and the source and date of his medical degree. There is no portrait of Vaughan and no contemporary account of his character and habits. If only his cousin John Aubrey had given us a few of such intimate details about Vaughan as he gave about Milton and Hobbes!

Miss Gwenllian E. F. Morgan came of a family that had been settled for three centuries at Devynock, nine miles from Brecon. When she was twelve years of age her father became rector of Llanhamlach, the nearest parish to Llansantffraed, and after his death in 1868 she lived the rest of her long life at Brecon. From early years she interested herself . . .

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