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Winston Churchill’s Poem Appeared After 110 Years

Our Modern Watchwords - a 40-line poem written by Winston Churchill

Our Modern Watchwords – a 40-line poem describing the eve of a naval battle – was penned over two pages in blue crayon by Winston Churchill while he was in the Army

Winston Churchill was a prolific writer. Churchill received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for his numerous published works, especially his six-volume work The Second World War. At the ceremony he was awarded the prize “for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values”. Now, Winston Churchill’s only poem which he wrote as an adult appeared 110 years after it was created. Signed by Churchill and written on the headed notepaper of his regiment, the 4th Hussars, in about 1898, a 40-line poem will be sold at Bonhams’ sale of The Roy Davids Collection. Part III. Poetry: Poetical Manuscripts and Portraits of Poets in London, on April 10. It has been given a conservative estimate of £15,000 ($23,500).

The poem, describing the eve of a naval battle – penned over two pages in blue crayon by Churchill while he was in the Army, is a rousing celebration of the British Empire and of going to war to defend her. It is said to have been influenced by Kipling and Tennyson.

The first ten lines of the work, entitled Our Modern Watchwords, read:

The shadow falls along the shore

The search lights twinkle on the sea

The silence of a 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, & Wai-hai-wai.

The poem makes reference to obscure cities under the rule of the British Empire like Wai-hai-wai – Weihai in China – Sokoto in Nigeria and Karochaw in Japan.

The poem was acquired several years ago by Roy Davids, a retired rare manuscript dealer from Oxfordshire.

“This is the only poem in Churchill’s handwriting as an adult. There is one at Harrow School but that was one he wrote as a boy and it was for a competition,” Davids said.

The only known poem by an adult Winston Churchill, written as a young cavalry officer and describing marines on the eve of a naval battle, has come to light

Winston Churchill in the uniform of the Fourth Queen’s Own Hussars

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Winston Churchill’s Poem Appeared After 110 Years was last modified: February 8th, 2013 by Slamchica
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Aleksandra Arsenovic graduated with a degree in economics and has a master degree in tourism. Since she worked as a travel agent, she has traveled around the world and developed an interest in luxurious hotels and exotic destinations. As a big fashion fan, Aleksandra loves expensive and luxury fashion items. As an editor of Extravaganzi she shares her knowledge about travels, fashion and accessories.

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