We are a member of the Alliance of Literary Societies, and recently, a fellow member society - the Richard Jefferies Society came across the above. They want to know if it's by J.M.B. Here's all I know about it at present:
This is all I know at present:
The poem was found in a scrapbook that belonged to Thomas Mosher. He was notorious for pirating publishing works in the USA in the early 1900s.
Jefferies lived from Nov 1848 until 1887, spent most of his short life in Coate, near Swindon, in Wiltshire and suffered from poor health during most of it. He was a wonderful observer of and writer about the countryside, producing hundreds of articles and essays for farming and other journals and he also produced a quantity of fiction, the best of which, eg 'Bevis, the story of a boy', makes wonderful reading . Henry Williamson was a great admirer and edited one of his collections, and Edward Thomas wrote a biography. Five compilations of his essays, collected by Samuel Looker (in whose eyes he could do no wrong) have illustrations by the uncomparable Agnes Miller Parker.
He had a wonderful knowledge of English country life, its scenes, people and ways, and a skill in portraying them not surpassed by many authors at any time during this century—such a knowledge as has made many of our best-known writers of fiction.’
He was mentioned by J. M. Barrie in a survey written in 1889 of Hardy’s novels. Barrie concluded that Hardy ‘knows the common as well as Mr Jefferies knew it; but he knows the inhabitants, as well as the common’. *
*: J. M. Barrie, ‘Thomas Hardy: the Historian of Wessex’, Contemporary Review (1889), in R. G. Cox (ed.), Thomas Hardy, The Critical Heritage (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1970), p. 158. This contrasts with the view of Gissing, who after a visit to Dorset told his brother that Hardy did not ‘know the flowers of the field’.
So - over to you... what can we tell the Richard Jefferies Society?