Cecil Day-Lewis CBE, Poet Laureate 1967

From Wikipedia:

“…Day-Lewis was born on 27th April, 1904 in Ballintubbert, Athy/Stradbally border, Queen’s County (now known as County Laois), Ireland. He was the son of Frank Day-Lewis, a Church of Ireland rector of that parish, and Kathleen Blake (née Squires; died 1906). Some of his family were from England (Hertfordshire and Canterbury). His father took the surname “Day-Lewis” as a combination of his own birth father’s (“Day”) and adoptive father’s (“Lewis”) surnames. In his autobiography The Buried Day (1960), Day-Lewis wrote, “As a writer I do not use the hyphen in my surname – a piece of inverted snobbery which has produced rather mixed results”.

After the death of his mother in 1906, when he was two years old, Cecil was brought up in London by his father, with the help of an aunt, spending summer holidays with relatives in County Wexford…”

From the website of the Poetry Foundation:

“…The roots of Day-Lewis’s vocation and inhibitions as a poet lie in his childhood. He was born in Ireland of Anglo-Irish parents; the family name had originally been Day, but his grandfather added the surname of an uncle and called himself Day-Lewis. The poet’s inverted snobbery in dropping the hyphen in his name on his publications (beginning in 1927) has been a source of trouble for librarians and bibliographers ever since. The family moved to Malvern, Worcestershire, in 1905 and to Ealing, West London, in 1908, when the poet was four years old. His mother died soon after the move, leaving Day-Lewis, an only child, to bear the full brunt of his father’s love and need for love, mixed with unpredictable spurts of paternal discipline. The father was a clergyman, and it was assumed that Day-Lewis would follow in his steps. Educated at home until he was eight, he says in his autobiography, The Buried Day (1960), that he began by writing verses, “short stories and sermons with a fine impartiality.” It was an atmosphere of high expectations and high demands, and Day-Lewis’s later memories of it seem dominated by guilt over his failure to meet the expectations and his inability to respond to the emotional demands…”

From the website of Edwinstowe Historical Society:

“Cecil Day-Lewis, born in 1904, was the son of Frank Cecil Day-Lewis, a Church of Ireland curate. His father moved to Ealing where Cecil’s mother died when he was 4 years old. Her sister became his surrogate mother for 12 years “with a devotion few other women could have equalled”. She aroused in Cecil an interest in music and singing arias from Handel’s Messiah and popular songs of the time. Cecil could pick up a melody and had a mellifluous, melodious voice.

Cecil was 14 when his father was appointed Vicar of Edwinstowe. His parish included Budby, Perlethorpe, Carburton and the neighbouring village of Clipstone, whose colliery was operating by 1922 (after the army training camp closed).  “During the holidays, we were together a great deal. I used to drive him everywhere in the car- a practice that taught me patience, if nothing else. My father was king of back-seat drivers, barking out “Horn!” whenever we approached a crossroads and “Change down now!” on the slightest acclivity. Often, I had to wait for half an hour outside some parishioner’s house or for hours in a garage while my father who had a probably justified mistrust of motor mechanics, stood over them at their work of repairing our rickety second-hand vehicles…My father, having no capital, ran into debt furnishing the vicarage and buying a second-hand Humberette, a devilish little two-cylinder car that used to backfire like the kick of a mule when he tried to start it…the Humberette was a bad buy, and only the first of several forays into the second-hand car market. ” C. Day-Lewis The Buried Day…”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s