• W. B. Yeats


In the late ’eighties I read in the newspapers that an Oxford undergraduate, Henry Harrison, had been tried, and whether condemned or acquitted I do not remember, for some gallant reckless action at an eviction in Donegal. Years afterwards I came to know him slightly, met him perhaps half a dozen times. Two or three weeks ago he walked into my garden, a man broken by time, and sat by my wheeled chair. He had, I knew, a life-long devotion to Parnell’s memory, had helped his widow and children with legal and financial advice, had been asked to write an official ‘Life’ which was never written. He brought me his book Parnell Vindicated and asked my help to make it known in Dublin; Ensor, in his book England, 1830–1914, had spoken of it as ‘the main, final source of information,’ but Irish newspapers had ignored it, seemed to prefer the story told in the undefended divorce case of a seduced wife and a deceived husband. I asked what I could do, for who listened to a poet until he was dead, but he insisted that words of mine would reach somebody or other he could not. A couple of days ago the verses at the end of this note came into my head, and I thought that they might suggest to somebody that there was nothing discreditable in Parnell’s love for his mistress and his wife.


Financial Advice Final Source Matic Literature Cabinet Minister English Politician 
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© Mrs W. B. Yeats 1961

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  • W. B. Yeats

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