The Lecherous and Griefless Sea
As soon as T. H. Jones’s holiday was over, he returned to the realities of farm-work to help pay for Aberystwyth. His scholarship covered fees and allowed £40 a year for keep, but, even with a loaf of bread at 4d. and postage still 1d., he doubted whether that would be sufficient.1 His father had made it clear that he could not help. Having failed to prevent his son from attending the County School in the first place, he was trying to talk him into a ‘safe’ job in a bank. He told his Red Lion drinking companions that things were going to be ‘damned hard’ for Harri and that he would rather have extra money coming into the household than a ‘layabout student son’.2 He was probably speaking with affectionate, if rough, irony: he had not forgotten his own dreams of better things and, with his dapper ways, was regarded by Llanafan people as quite the gentleman.
At about this time T. H. Jones submitted another Petrarchan sonnet to a local eisteddfod.3 The last of his ‘schoolboy’ pieces, it is a conventional response to a relationship broken off by the girl who used to ‘bend / Her fair head over me, and “To the end / My love,” would say’. The disconsolate poet who ‘would gladly go /To Hell for her if I could be her friend’ must content himself with ‘her sacred mem’ry’:
her golden hair and eyes
Of candid blue still from the mists above
Bend over me when I’m asleep at dawn,
Her shadow rises with me when I rise.
The complex form is handled effectively, the conclusion is neat and there is an attempt to balance poetic diction with more