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Song: 'Nine of the Clock'. Ivor Gurney/Doyle (Robert Graves)

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Joined: 25 May 2002
Posts: 63
Location: Bristol, England

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2003 5:19 pm    Post subject: Song: 'Nine of the Clock'. Ivor Gurney/Doyle (Robert Graves) Reply with quote

The following enquiry has been received by the Robert Graves Society by post and I'm transcribing it here, after finding little on the web so far, in the hope that readers of these boards may be able to answer it before the enquirer's deadline of 13 December:

"[Dear Robert Graves Society]

I am due to give a private song recital at the Guildhall School of Music on 13 December as part of a Diploma examination, and included in the programme is Ivor Gurney's song 'Nine of the Clock' dated July 1920 to words by John Doyle/Robert Graves. I wish to introduce the song with a little background information about [it] and the poem; for example which work of Doyle's [Graves's] the text was taken from and the date of the poem, if it was written as part of a group or collection, etc.. As I have not managed to find out any information, I wondered if the Society might hold any details regarding that poem..."

The poem is of course from 'Country Sentiment' published in the UK in 1920 and now available online at (for example) http://authorsdirectory.com/b/csent10.htm. But any further information about the poem would be most welcome. For example, did Graves write it and Gurney discover it and simply decide to set it to music, or was it written to be set to music and a more deliberate collaboration between the two veterans of the Great War? What is the poem about, exactly, and what is the background to Graves writing it? (He must have been living with his first wife, Nancy Nicholson at Boar's Hill at the time). Why did Graves write this and a number of other poems that became 'songs' as John Doyle?

Please direct any replies to this discussion list or direct to me at pjvilla@aol.com and I will pass them on to the enquirer, Judi Powell. To give her sufficient time to prepare her recital, please reply by 6 December.

Best wishes,

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