Wings for the Dark Horse

  • George Mills Harper


For whatever set of reasons, some of them perhaps beyond explanation so far removed as we are in time from events and circumstances, the friendship cooled after Yeats’s sternly critical letter. Although Horton continued to write sporadically, his letters of the next seven years (from 22 July 1899 to 20 January 1907) are misplaced or lost. As a result, we must, I think, conclude that Yeats had found Horton’s problems burdensome or that one or both of them were too busy to continue their friendship on the same intimate basis. A sensitive, restless, and brooding man who wanted more than anything else at this stage of his life to achieve distinction in art, Horton may have avoided Yeats to escape his frankness. But the six surviving letters from Yeats during these years make clear that they were never wholly estranged. Horton continued to draw, and he continued to seek Yeats’s critical advice. On 2 July 1900 Yeats wrote from Coole Park to apologize for having missed an appointment Horton had requested. Yeats concluded his brief note with a reference to Allan Bennett, a mutual acquaintance who had left England and the Order of the Golden Dawn to become a Buddhist monk; 1 ‘I should have liked to shew you a charming letter from one of our G.D. people who is a buddhist monk in Ceylon.’ Unfortunately, Yeats did not preserve Bennett’s charming letter.


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  1. 1.
    For further details see Howe, passim, and The Confessions of Aleister Crowley (London: Jonathan Cape, 1969), passim.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    See Morton Cohen, Rider Haggard: His Life and Work (London: Macmillan, 1968), pp. 239–40.Google Scholar
  3. 11.
    For further information about Yeats’s relationship to Quinn, see Alan B. Himber’s unpublished dissertation: ‘The Letters of John Quinn to William Butler Yeats, 1902– 1923’ (Florida State University, 1977).Google Scholar
  4. 16.
    CVA, p. xix. Yeats appears to have combined Horton’s title with that of Cecil French’s Between Sun and Moon, which he received as a gift in June 1922 (LWBY, p. 424).Google Scholar
  5. 19.
    Christopher Hassall, Rupert ‘Brooke’ (New York: Harcourt Brace & World, 1964), P. 373.Google Scholar
  6. 21.
    Christopher Hassall, Edward Marsh: Patron of the Arts (London: Longman, 1959), p. 211. See also Rupert Brooke, p. 380.Google Scholar
  7. 25.
    Joseph Hone, W. B. Yeats, 2nd ed. (London: Macmillan, 1962), suggests 1912 as the date (p. 259)Google Scholar
  8. but Virginia Moore, The Unicorn (New York: Macmillan, 1954), reports that George Yeats told her the year was 1910 (p. 229).Google Scholar
  9. 32.
    Donald B. Torchiana and Glen O’Malley, ‘Some New Letters from W. B. Yeats to Lady Gregory’, A Review of English Literature, 4, No. 3 (July 1963), 33.Google Scholar
  10. 36.
    See Richard Ellmann, Yeats: The Man and the Masks (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1948), p. 195.Google Scholar
  11. 40.
    Yeats had been assisting Lady Gregory accumulate the ‘evidence’ which was published in Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland, 2 vols (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1920), to which he contributed two essays based upon this spiritualistic evidence: ‘Witches and Wizards and Irish Folk-Lore’ and ‘Swedenborg, Mediums, and the Desolate Places’ (dated 14 October 1914).Google Scholar
  12. 46.
    Yeats’s At the Hawk’s Well was performed at the Social Institute Union on 4 April 1916.Google Scholar
  13. 50.
    Yeats made one major and several minor changes in the Introduction when he revised it and reprinted it in Ideas of Good and Evil (1903).Google Scholar
  14. 51.
    Horton’s arithmetic was bad: A Book of Images was published in March 1898.Google Scholar
  15. 61.
    According to Jeffares, who relied upon a conversation with Maud, Yeats ‘delivered an ultimatum to Iseult’ on the boat from France to England: ‘she must make up her mind one way or the other’ (W. B. Yeats: Man and Poet, 2nd ed. [London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1962], p. 190).Google Scholar
  16. 70.
    Yeats had apparently become interested in Péguy in 1916 while he was visiting Maud. Writing from Colville, France, in August, Yeats informed Sturge Moore that he was ‘starting Iseult on what I hope will grow to be a book about the new French Catholic poets…. Péguy I find impressive but monotonous.’ Some days later Yeats added that Péguy’s ‘Christianity is of course for us impossible’ (W. B. Yeats and T. Sturge Moore: Their Correspondence, ed. Ursula Bridge [London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1953], pp. 25 – 6).Google Scholar
  17. Nothing came of the proposal (see Letters to Macmillan, ed. Simon Nowell-Smith [London: Macmillan, 1967], pp. 292–3).Google Scholar
  18. 79.
    Letters from the Teacher (of the Order of 15) transmitted by Rahmea, priestess of the flame (1909) was edited by F. Homer CurtissGoogle Scholar
  19. The Voice of Isis, by the Teacher of the Order of 15 (1912) was transcribed by Harriette A. and F. Homer Curtiss. I have been unable to find these books.Google Scholar

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© George Mills Harper 1980

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  • George Mills Harper

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