Henry Newbolt

Henry Newbolt



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Henry Newbolt was born in Bilston, Staffordshire, in 1862. After studying at Clifton School and Oxford University, became a barrister. He published his first novel, Taken from the Enemy, in 1892. This was followed by Mordred: A Tragedy, in 1895. He also published two volumes of poetry, Admirals All (1897) and The Island Race (1898).

Soon after the outbreak of the First World War, Newbolt was recruited by Charles Masterman, the head of Britain's War Propaganda Bureau (WPB), to help shape public opinion. Newbolt, who was controller of telecommunications during the war, also published The Naval History of the Great War (1920). He was knighted in 1915 and awarded the Companion of Honour in 1922.

Sir Henry Newbolt died in 1938.

Our game was his but yesteryear;

We wished him back; we could not know

The self-same hour we missed him here

He led the line that broke the foe.

Blood-red behind our guarded posts

Sank as of old and dying day;

The battle ceased; the mingled hosts

Weary and cheery went their way:

"To-morrow well may bring," we said,

"As fair a fight, as clear a sun."

Dear Lad, before the world was sped,

For evermore thy goal was won.


Sir Henry Newbolt

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Sir Henry Newbolt, (born June 6, 1862, Bilston, Staffordshire, Eng.—died April 19, 1938, London), English poet, best-known for his patriotic and nautical verse.

Newbolt was educated at Clifton Theological College and at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He was admitted to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 1887 and practiced law until 1899. The appearance of his ballads, Admirals All (1897), which included the stirring “Drake’s Drum,” created his literary reputation. These were followed by other volumes collected in Poems: New and Old (1912 rev. ed. 1919). During World War I he was comptroller of wireless and cables and was later commissioned to complete Great Britain’s official naval history of the war. He also edited various anthologies of verse, which reveal his catholic and progressive taste in poetry. He was knighted in 1915 and appointed a Companion of Honour in 1922.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Amy Tikkanen, Corrections Manager.


Biography

Born in Bilston, Staffordshire in 1862, Newbolt was educated at Clifton School and Oxford University. After his studies Newbolt became a barrister.

Higly respected, Newbolt was a lawyer, novelist, playwright and magazine editor. Above all, he was a poet who championed the virtues of chivalry and sportsmanship combined in the service of the British Empire.

Although his first novel, Taken from the Enemy, was published in time for his thirtieth birthday in 1892, Newbolt’s reputation was established in 1897 in a poem written about a schoolboy cricketer who grows up to fight in Africa, Vitai Lampada. The poem was well received both critically and publicly at the time.

Shortly after war was declared Newbolt was recruited by the head of Britain’s War Propaganda Bureau (WPB), Charles Masterman, to help shape and maintain public opinion in favour of the war effort. Newbolt, who was appointed controller of telecommunications during the war, was knighted in 1915. The Companion of Honour followed in 1922.

Newbolt authored two official volumes of the naval history of the war in the 1920s. His autobiography, My World as in My Time was published in 1932.


Writing [ edit | edit source ]

His earliest book was a novel, Taken from the Enemy (1892), and in 1895 he published a tragedy, Mordred but it was the publication of his ballads, Admirals All (1897), that created his literary reputation. By far the best-known of these is "Vitai Lampada". They were followed by other volumes of stirring verse, including The Island Race (1898), The Sailing of the Long-ships (1902), Songs of the Sea (1904) and Songs of the Fleet (1910). Ώ]

In 1914, Newbolt published Aladore, a fantasy novel about a bored but dutiful knight who abruptly abandons his estate and wealth to discover his heart's desire and woo a half-fae enchantress. It is a tale filled with allegories about the nature of youth, service, individuality and tradition. It was reissued in a new edition by Newcastle Publishing Company in 1975.

Drake's Drum [ edit | edit source ]

According to legend a drum owned by Sir Francis Drake will beat in times of national crisis and the spirit of Drake will return to aid his country. Sir Henry reinforced the myth, with his 1897 poem 'Drake's Drum', which has been put to both classical and folk tunes.


Henry Newbolt - History

In sexuality, Peter Gay began to argue some years ago, the Victorians were not at all as they represented themselves. In 1984, on the first page of his five-volume work, The Bourgeois Experience , Gay explained that the reserve and moral earnestness of the Victorians had "seduced" (a carefully chosen verb) us into believing their erotic lives were extremely limited and almost comically proper. By bringing a Freudian curiosity to everything from public sculpture to private diaries, Gay demonstrated otherwise.

The Victorian bedroom has since become a favourite research site for students of sexual history, but in all the material they've uncovered there's probably no story odder than the one Susan Chitty tells in Playing the Game: A Biography of Sir Henry Newbolt (Quartet).

What makes Henry Newbolt (1862-1938) especially notable in this context is that he was famously, gloriously, even flagrantly Victorian--more Victorian, certainly, than the queen. A totally respectable figure, Newbolt was a lawyer, a novelist, a playwright, and a magazine editor. Above all, he was a poet who sang the virtues of chivalry and sportsmanship combined in the service of the British Empire.

In 1897 his reputation took form around a poem about a schoolboy cricketer who grows up to fight in Africa. There, in the panic of battle ("The Gatling's jammed and the Colonel dead"), he's stirred to heroic action by a school days memory: "his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote - / Play up! play up! and play the game!" Those last eight words became famous as the expression of Newbolt's belief that war should be fought in the spirit taught by games masters in good English schools. One critic said Newbolt could lift hearts like Tennyson. Another called his work "eminently virile" (which, at the time, was praise).

Susan Chitty, the biographer of Edward Lear and Charles Kingsley, is married to Sir Henry Newbolt's great nephew. She pays homage to Newbolt's verse, and notes that poets such as John Betjeman and Kingsley Amis admired it. But clearly she's more interested in his life, for reasons that soon become obvious.

As a 25-year-old lawyer, Henry fell in love with Margaret Duckworth, a woman of great charm who had many qualities associated with young men. She rode to hounds at a furious clip (much faster than Henry) and she was as interested in science as in music she defied her hyper-religious mother by studying Darwinian biology. Henry liked her mannish side (and would begin letters to her with "Dear Lad") but when he started to court her an impediment emerged. Margaret was already in love with someone else, her cousin, a beautiful young woman named Ella Coltman. They were both members of the Grecians, a club of women who studied Greek poetry, disdained the company of men, and privately gave each other male names drawn from the classics. Margaret announced she would marry Henry only if Ella became part of their intimate life together, and Henry agreed.

For years, Henry went to the law courts every day while Margaret went over to visit Ella at her family's mansion. All three spent evenings together, and Newbolt's friends understood that when they invited Henry and Margaret for the weekend, they invited Ella as well. Even so, Ella began complaining to Henry that she felt left out, an unwanted third party.

Chitty explains that Newbolt solved that problem by making Ella his mistress. Margaret understood. The women were not precisely equal (Margaret had the children, Ella played aunt), but they appear not to have been jealous of each other. Newbolt scrupulously divided his sexual attention. He left among his papers a ledger page showing columns of figures which, Chitty tells us, "represent the number of times he slept with each of his women each month between 1904 and 1917, averaging as much as 12 per head per month."

In middle age they reached a new arrangement, with Ella in a London house (now marked with a plaque in Newbolt's honour) and Margaret in the country. But there were complications. Henry fell in love with a third woman whom neither Margaret nor Ella liked since she complained a lot, they named her Lydia Languish. And Margaret found another man, the sculptor Henry Furse, in whose house Margaret and Newbolt lived for a time. So Newbolt at that point had two wives and a girlfriend, Margaret two husbands. Nevertheless, the original triangle was still in place at Newbolt's death.

His literary reputation, on the other hand, withered. In England the moral squalor of the First World War made his boyish verses feel grotesquely obsolete, as he acknowledged. Elsewhere in the empire, his sensibility had a longer life. In 1923 he made a cross-country lecture tour of Canada and discovered to his dismay that wherever he went, audiences loudly demanded he recite "Play up," apparently the only Newbolt poem they knew. "It's a kind of Frankenstein's Monster that I created thirty years ago," he complained. And its status in Canada lasted for at least another generation. When I went to public school in the early 1940s it was still in our poetry anthology, a perfect example of imperial tradition surviving at the extremities of empire long after becoming unfashionable at the centre.


Sir Henry Newbolt, CH (1862 – 1938)

Henry Newbolt was born in 1862 at Bilston in Staffordshire, the son of the local vicar who died four years later. His mother moved to Bristol and sent him to the recently-founded Clifton College which, under its first headmaster, John Percival, had quickly won an outstanding reputation. Newbolt entered the school as a day boy in 1876, rose to be Deputy Head Boy and won a Scholarship to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he read Classsics.

After this he moved to London and was ‘called to the Bar’ [appointed a Barrister] at Lincoln’s Inn in 1887. Two years later he married Margaret Duckworth and, encouraged by her and her close friend Ella Coltman, began to write stories and poems. His first slim volume, entitled Admirals All, was published in 1897, the year of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, and was an instant success, selling 21,000 copies in a few months. It contained only twelve poems, but six of them, ‘Admirals All’, ‘Drake’s Drum’, ‘San Stefano’, ‘The Fighting Temeraire’, ‘Hawke’, and ‘Vae Victis’ concerned heroic episodes in Britain’s naval past, while ‘Vitaz Lampada’, the story of a schoolboy cricketer (on the Clifton Close at Bristol) who becomes a soldier and exhorts his fellows to ‘Play the Game’ soon became one of the most quoted poems in the English language.

His second book of poems, The Island Race (1898), included seven ballad poems on naval themes and was also very well received. He wrote about warfare over the ages as a fine and chivalrous calling, emphasizing the courage of soldiers and sailors. In the backlash against war that followed the horrors of the Great War of 1914-18, he was denounced by some critics as a warmonger and a blimp, both of which accusations were very wide of the mark: in politics he was a lifelong Liberal while his approach to any issue was measured and scholarly. In all he wrote twelve published collections of poems and a further 28 books which include historical novels, stories for boys, literary criticism and works of military and naval history. Very influential in the political world of his day as well as the literary one, he was knighted in 1915 and made a Companion of Honour in 1922. He died in 1938.

Suggested reading:

Newbolt, Henry, Poems New and Old, John Murray, 1912 (Collected Poems).
Newbolt, Henry, My World as in My Time, Faber and Faber, 1932 (autobiography).
Newbolt, Margaret, (ed) The Later Life and Letters of Sir Henry Newbolt, Faber, 1942.
Dickinson, Patric, (ed.) Selected Poems of Henry Newbolt, Hodder and Stoughton, 1981.
Winterbottom, Derek, Henry Newbolt and the Spirit of Clifton, Redcliffe Press, 1986.
Furse Jackson, Vanessa, The Poetry of Henry Newbolt, ELT Press, University of North Carolina, USA, 1994.
Chitty, Susan, Playing the Game, A Biography of Henry Newbolt, Quartet, 1997.


What Newbolt family records will you find?

There are 3,000 census records available for the last name Newbolt. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Newbolt census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 159 immigration records available for the last name Newbolt. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 201 military records available for the last name Newbolt. For the veterans among your Newbolt ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

There are 3,000 census records available for the last name Newbolt. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Newbolt census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 159 immigration records available for the last name Newbolt. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 201 military records available for the last name Newbolt. For the veterans among your Newbolt ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.


NEWBOLT, John Henry (?1769-1823), of 94 Great Russell Street, Mdx. and Portswood House, Hants.

b. ?1769, 1st s. of Rev. John Monk Newbolt of Winchester, Hants by 1st w. (m. 1 Feb. 1768) Susanna, da. of John Knowler of Canterbury, Kent. educ. Winchester Christ Church, Oxf. 13 Mar. 1787, aged 18, BA 1791, BCL (All Souls) 1794 L. Inn 1790, called 1795. m. (1) 18 Feb. 1794, Elizabeth Juliana (d. 20 Apr. 1809), da. of Very Rev. William Digby, dean of Durham, maid of honour to Queen Charlotte, 3s. 1da. (2) Sept. 1810, at Madras, Henrietta Blenkinsop, 1s. 2da. suc. fa. 1803 kntd. 17 Apr. 1810.

Offices Held

Sec. to commrs. of peace in Chancery 1794-1810 commr. of bankrupts 1796-1811 steward to dean and chapter and recorder, Winchester 1796-1810 south auditor, duchy of Lancaster Apr. 1800-1810 puisne judge, Madras May 1810 recorder, Bombay 1811-12 c.j. Madras Sept. 1815-Aug. 1820 chairman, Hants qtr. sessions 1822-d.

Ensign, Inns of Court vols. 1803.

Biography

Newbolt’s father, brother-in-law of Henry Penton*, was a mainstay of the latter’s electoral interest at Winchester. At Oxford, Newbolt was one of Canning’s Christ Church set and Canning described him in 1794 as ‘a very particular friend of mine’. He married for love on £400 a year, but his prospects improved when he obtained a place under Lord Chancellor Loughborough. He also practised on the western circuit and in Chancery with sufficient success. He entered Parliament on a vacancy at Bramber in 1800, on the 5th Duke of Rutland’s interest. The seat had been placed at Pitt’s disposal and doubtless Canning recommended him. It was understood that he was keeping the seat warm for the patron’s brother, a minor he paid his own election expenses. Leave was sought for him to give up personal attendance on the lord chancellor, as it ‘would not be decorous in a Member of the House of Commons’ to attend ‘in the chancellor’s train in the House of Lords’. Soon afterwards he became an auditor of the duchy of Lancaster, of which the 1st Earl of Liverpool was then chancellor.1

Newbolt’s maiden speech was in support of Mildmay’s motion to regulate émigré monastic institutions, in which his father was strongly interested, 22 May 1800. On Pitt’s resignation, Canning pressed him not to follow him into the political wilderness, emphasizing Pitt’s wish that Addington’s ministry should be supported by his friends. On 16 Feb. 1801 Canning wrote, ‘Newbolt has the offer of a place, which (in spite of my most earnest entreaties) he hesitates about accepting—and I am accused of keeping him back. With him however I hope to succeed.’ Canning’s failure was subsequently regarded by Newbolt as the reason for the lapse of friendship between them. The office was apparently that afterwards filled by Serjeant Praed (chairman of the audit board) and Newbolt was also pressed by Lord Liverpool to accept it. The replacement of Loughborough by Eldon as lord chancellor was a further setback—he did not take silk, as it had been supposed he would, at Loughborough’s instigation.2 On 25 Feb. 1801 he obtained leave to go the western circuit. He reappeared in the House to sponsor the duchy of Lancaster business, including the Needwood Forest enclosure bill, for which he failed to obtain Addington’s support. He made a discreet canvass of individual Members and secured its passage.3 He was chairman of the committee on a divorce bill, 28 May, and on 15 June spoke in favour of the clergy residence bill, for which he was teller.

Newbolt informed Lord Liverpool, 25 June 1801, that he wanted office to support his growing family, whether in his profession or out of it. In August he applied in vain for a judgeship in Canada. He showed his goodwill towards Addington’s ministry in a speech in favour of the Baltic convention, 13 Nov. 1801. On 19 Nov. he attempted to amend the Poor Law by removing the stigma of the wearing of badges by paupers, which had fallen into disuse but had lately been revived. After several debates, in one of which Addington was somewhat patronizing to Newbolt’s bill, it passed on 2 Dec. Soon afterwards he declined the office of advocate general at Madras offered him by the chairman of the East India Company, whose son Charles Mills was a friend of his. Instead he recommended James Mackintosh* to Addington for it. He attended until the close of the session in 1802, ‘to assist in making a House’, at John Hiley Addington’s request.4 His last speech of note was in favour of legislation against bull-baiting, 24 May.

Newbolt had attempted, through Lord Hawkesbury, to obtain another seat in the Parliament of 1802 and on 26 June, having heard nothing, asked Lord Liverpool if Addington might secure for him the ‘continuance’ of his present one. He was ‘perfectly ready to bear any expense which it is in my power, with the assistance of my friends, to defray’. Liverpool, while admitting the advantage of having a duchy officer in the House, feared that it would not be a strong enough reason to sway Addington ‘without some other consideration’ and that the application would probably be too late nor could Pitt help.5 Newbolt was left out of the House. Pitt, on his return to office, intended to provide him with an Indian judgeship and when, on a vacancy in October 1805, (Sir) William Burroughs* was preferred, Canning jogged the premier’s memory, pointing out that another vacancy was expected on the bench in Bengal or, failing that, there was the recordership of Madras, which Sir Thomas Strange was expected to vacate. Nothing was done for him before Pitt’s death, and in the summer of 1806 and on 21 Jan. 1807 Newbolt applied to Lord Grenville. He wanted a promise of the next vacancy ‘either in Madras or Bengal, among the puisne judges’. His wife’s health which required a warmer climate was now a compelling reason. He had had Pitt’s and Eldon’s good wishes and now had Chancellor Erskine’s, the Queen’s and, as it transpired, Lord Grenville’s too.6

Newbolt had to wait until 1810 for his appointment. His wife was dead and his bereavement had intensified his wish to be gone. On arrival in Madras he remarried.7 In the next two years he saved over £10,000, and in 1813, renewing his friendship with Canning by correspondence, expressed a hope that he would return in 1817 with a fortune as well as his pension. In 1815 he realized his ambition of succeeding Strange as chief justice of Madras.8 In 1817 when Canning became president of the Board of Control, he expressed his wish to come home in 1820 and retire to the Isle of Wight, a dream of his youth. ‘I mean a bona fide cottage and not a cottage orné such as a real nabob would order. I shall at best be but a naboblet.’9 Newbolt’s dream was almost fulfilled. He died suddenly 22 Jan. 1823, aged 53.


Prose & Poetry - Sir Henry Newbolt

In an era of Victorian propriety and emphasis on the seriousness of the protestant work ethic, Sir Henry Newbolt (1862-1938) exemplified and championed both characteristics in both his writing and in deed.

Eminently respectable, Newbolt was a lawyer, novelist, playwright and magazine editor. Above all, he was a poet who championed the virtues of chivalry and sportsmanship combined in the service of the British Empire.

Born in Bilston, Staffordshire, and following studies at Clifton School and Oxford University, Newbolt became a barrister.

Although his first novel, Taken from the Enemy, was published in time for his thirtieth birthday in 1892, Newbolt's reputation was established in 1897 in a poem written about a schoolboy cricketer who grows up to fight in Africa, Vitai Lampada. There, in the panic of battle the boy is stirred to heroic action by schooldays memories: "his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote - / Play up! Play up! And play the game!"

"Play up! Play up! And play the game!" - words that have become famous through the years - symbolised Newbolt's view that war should be fought in the same spirit as school sports. The poem was well received both critically and publicly at the time, and his work underwent a further revival at the outbreak of the First World War, when optimism was high however as gloom set in, Newbolt's verse consequently suffered in popularity.

Newbolt came to dislike his most famous poem Vitai Lampada during a 1923 speaking tour of Canada he was constantly called upon to recite the poem: "it's a kind of Frankenstein's Monster that I created thirty years ago," he complained. The poem retained its popularity in Canada long after it fell out of favour in Britain.

Shortly after war was declared Newbolt, a friend and contemporary of Sir Douglas Haig, was recruited by the head of Britain's War Propaganda Bureau (WPB), Charles Masterman, to help shape and maintain public opinion in favour of the war effort. Newbolt, who was appointed controller of telecommunications during the war, was knighted in 1915. The Companion of Honour followed in 1922.

Newbolt authored two official volumes of the naval history of the war in the 1920s. His autobiography, My World as in My Time was published in 1932.

Sir Henry Newbolt died in 1938.

Vitai Lampada
THERE'S a breathless hush in the Close to-night -
Ten to make and the match to win -
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
But his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"

The sand of the desert is sodden red, -
Red with the wreck of a square that broke -
The Gatling's jammed and the colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England's far, and Honour a name,
But the voice of schoolboy rallies the ranks,
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"

This is the word that year by year
While in her place the School is set
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind
Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind -
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"

Saturday, 22 August, 2009 Michael Duffy

In slang a "beetle" was a landing craft for 200 men.

- Did you know?


Legacy [ edit | edit source ]

In his home town of Bilston, a public house was named after him, and a blue plaque is displayed on Barclay's bank near the street where he was born.

In June 2013 a Campaign was launched by The Black Country Bugle to erect a statue in Newbolt's memory.

Recordings were made of Newbolt reading some of his own poems. They were on four 78rpm sides in the Columbia Records 'International Educational Society' Lecture series, Lecture 92 (D40181/2). Α]

Death [ edit | edit source ]

Newbolt died at his home in Campden Hill, Kensington, London, on 19 April 1938, aged 75. A blue plaque there commemorates his residency. He is buried in the churchyard of Church of St Mary, Orchardlea|St Mary's church on an island in the lake on the Orchardleigh Estate of the Duckworth family in Somerset.


Watch the video: The War Films by Henry Newbolt