Churchill, Winston (1874 – 1965)
A rare autograph poem by Churchill, circa 1896-8
An early autograph manuscript by Winston Churchill, circa 1896-8, (India), two pages, in bold blue pencil, being a four-stanza poem by Churchill entitled ‘Our Modern Watchwords’. It opens with a patriotic outburst evoking a fleet on the eve of a battle,”The shadow falls along the shore The seach lights twinkle on the sea, The silence of the mighty fleet Portends the tumult yet to be. The tables of the evening meal Are spread amid the great machines, And thus with pride the question runs Among the sailors and marines. Breathes there the man who fears to die For England, Home and War”. The poem goes on with reference to the empire, “Let loose the squadrons; give command To dominate the Eastern Seas” and then focuses on a man who “wandered through the streets, A rugged hungy, homeless weight, His livelihood, his home were gone As contribution to the fight”.
Boldly signed to the conclusion in fountain pen ink, “Winston S. Churchill”. Slight age-toning and a few age spots, otherwise in fine condition. Together with a cover-sheet of ‘4th Hussars, India’ paper, on which Churchill has written the poem’s name in pencil. An astonishing and apparently unpublished manuscript from the young Churchill, whose military service with the Queens 4th Hussars lasted between 1895 and 1900, during which time he was stationed in Cuba, India, Sudan and South Africa.