––– OF –––
WHO DIED 23RD. FEBRUARY AGED 32.'
'Ernest Christopher Dowson
~ Poet ~
They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us
After we pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of the misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.*
Restored by public subscription 2nd August 2010'
This is where I lacerated my legs on brambles: many parts of this cemetery are overgrown, and it's often difficult to find what you're looking for. The grave of the Cuban anarchist Fernando Tarrida del Mármol is apparently only a few yards from Dowson's grave, but in spite of having a photo of the grave with a number of other graves nearby, no amount of searching did any good. It was the same story with Welsh poet David Jones's grave, and after two weeks my legs still bear the scars.
In the end I decided to take a few shots of the most frequently mentioned grave here, which doesn't have a literary connection but is interesting: the story of Jane Maria Clouson's fate is given below.
'To the Memory of
JANE MARIA CLOUSON,
A MOTHERLESS GIRL
WHO WAS MURDERED IN
KIDBROOKE LANE, ELTHAM,
ON THE NIGHT OF TUESDAY
THE 25TH OF APRIL 1871.
SHE WAS TAKEN TO GUY'S HOSPITAL
WHERE SHE DIED ON SUNDAY
APRIL 30TH 1871,
AGED 17 YEARS.
SHE WAS AGREEABLE IN MANNER,
AMIABLE AND AFFECTIONATE IN
HER LAST WORDS WERE: "OH! LET ME DIE."
MAY GOD'S GREAT PITY TOUCH HIS HEART AND LEAD
MY MURDERER TO CONFESS HIS DREADFUL DEED,
THAT WHEN THE SECRETS OF ALL HEARTS ARE KNOWN,
GUILT AND REPENTANCE ALIKE MAY BE SHOWN.
THIS MONUMENT WAS ERECTED
BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION.'
This was generally known as 'the Greenwich murder'. Clouson was beaten to death by hammer blows, and Edmund Pook, the son of her employer and with whom she was said to have been having a relationship, was tried for her murder but acquitted.
*'Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam', published in The Poems and Prose of Ernest Dowson (1900), and the title taken from Horace.