Ernest Dowson: The Fortunate Islands

Edward Matthew Hale - The Mermaid's Rock - from fineartamerica.com

Edward Matthew Hale – The Mermaid’s Rock – from fineartamerica.com

Dowson’s collection of poems Decorations (1899) contained verses, which were reproduced in The Poems and Prose of Ernest Dowson, With a Memoir by Arthur Symons (1905), see the Project Gutenberg Ebook, and in modern Internet collections such as The Poems of Ernest Dowson @ ELCore.Net. It is not well-known that the collection ended with five poems in prose. They seem to have been written in June 1899, while Dowson was giving the last touch to the publication; indeed he mentions them in two letters to his publisher Leonard Smithers dated that month (see The Letters of Ernest Dowson, no. 397 and 398, pages 414–415). These five short texts are full of sadness and pessimism. Indeed, Dowson was deeply disappointed with his family because of disputes over the inheritance from his deceased parents, his heart was broken as his beloved Adelaide had married another man, and he was sick with tuberculosis, which would kill him a few months later. CONTINUE READING…