Five Reasons Everyone Should Know Ernest Dowson

An interesting post on one of my favourite poets. “They Are Not Long” is beautiful in it’s simplicity. Besides being a poet Dowson also wrote a number of short stories and one play. The latter concerns a moon goddess and her trist with a mortal at Versailles. Dowson should be far better known than he is.

Interesting Literature

What’s the connection between wine, poetry, Gone with the Wind, and soccer? In a couple of previous posts, on George Meredith and Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton, we’ve endeavoured to find five interesting things about two of Victorian literature’s neglected figures. Now it’s the turn of Ernest Dowson – decadent poet. Some of these are particularly surprising.

1. Ernest Dowson coined the phrase ‘the days of wine and roses’. This was in a poem whose long Latin title was borrowed from the Roman poet Horace, ‘Vita Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetat Incohare Longam’ (which can be translated as ‘The brief sum of life forbids us the hope of enduring long’). The second of the two stanzas of this short poem runs: ‘They are not long, the days of wine and roses: / Out of a misty dream / Our path emerges for a while, then closes / Within a dream.’

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