*from Blunt’s “St. Valentine’s Day” (1914).
“Wilfrid Scawen Blunt was a nineteenth-century writer whose life and literary works focused on the themes of geography and travel, politics, and love. He was friends with many well-known figures in the literary and political worlds of his day, and earned later admiration from William Butler Yeats and Ezra Pound.
Blunt’s father died when Blunt was two years old, whereupon his mother leased the family estate of Crabbet Park and traveled through England and Europe with Blunt and his two siblings…
In 1914 The Poetical Works of Wilfrid Scawen Blunt appeared. Reviewers, including poet Edward Thomas, positively received the collection. Stanford commented: “Blunt was at his best in a few poems from the early Proteus collections.” In a Poetry review Maurice Lesemann expressed high praise for Blunt’s sonnets, observing that Blunt is able “to write about real people of this world in actual situations and about places he had actually seen.”
Upon his death in 1922, Blunt was, by his own orders, given a Bedouin-style funeral. His body was wrapped in an Arabic carpet and he was buried in a grave near Crabbet Park.”
“Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, (born Aug. 17, 1840, Petworth House, Sussex, Eng.—died Sept. 10, 1922, Newbuildings, Sussex), English poet best known for his elegant erotic verse and his expression of anti-imperialism.
He entered the diplomatic service in 1858 but retired on his marriage with Lady Anne Noel, Lord Byron’s granddaughter, in 1869. He and his wife traveled frequently in Egypt, Asia Minor, and Arabia, and they established a famous stud for the breeding of Arabian horses.
Blunt became known as an ardent sympathizer with Muslim aspirations, and in The Future of Islam (1882) he directed attention to the forces that produced the movements of Pan-Islamism and Mahdism. He was a violent opponent of British policy in the Sudan and supported the national party in Egypt. Ideas About India (1885) was the result of two visits to that country, which confirmed his distrust of colonialism and his enthusiasm for self-government. In 1888 he was imprisoned for two months in Galway and Kilmainham jails after a scuffle with the police at an Irish political meeting, an experience described in the sonnets of In Vinculis (1889). A strikingly handsome man, he had numerous love affairs with women in the aristocratic and cultured circles in which he moved (described in the “secret memoirs” first made public in 1972). His Sonnets and Songs by Proteus (1875; revised and enlarged 1881 and 1892) contains the best of his love poetry. Blunt published a complete edition of his poetical works in 1914 and two volumes of My Diaries (1919 and 1920).”
“Evelyn Baring, 1st earl of Cromer, also called (1883–92) Sir Evelyn Baring, (born Feb. 26, 1841, Cromer Hall, Norfolk, Eng.—died Jan. 29, 1917, London), British administrator and diplomat whose 24-year rule in Egypt as British agent and consul general (1883–1907) profoundly influenced Egypt’s development as a modern state.”
From: Rosebery – Statesman in Turmoil (2005), by Leo McKinstry:
“If the British were to abandon Egypt (Sir Evelyn Baring, known to his critics as ‘Over-Baring’ because of his authoritarian manner) believed it would be taken over by another European power, which would be disastrous for Britain’s position in the Mediterranean and for the route to India…
…(Rosebery) was particularly anxious to avoid any deal over the future of Egypt with the French, whose intentions he always regarded with suspicion. One of the negative side-effects of any such agreement with France, he privately argued, was that it would invoke the hostility of the Triple Alliance of Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungary, thereby upsetting the balance of power in Europe. For Rosebery, the twin advantages of the Triple Alliance were, first, that it pinned down German and Austro-Hungarian resources in Europe and, second, that it served as an impediment to French and Russian imperial ambitions. Unlike Cromer, the anti-Imperialist radicals sensed that Rosebery would be able to ensure the maintenance of British rule. ‘It is announced that Rosebery has taken office after all,’ wrote the poet W.S. Blunt, who had personally criticised Rosebery a decade earlier over his Egyptian investments, on 15 August 1892. ‘This will neutralise any good that might have come from a change of Government to Egypt. Rosebery will continue to represent the bond holders.’ Rosebery himself never treated Blunt with much respect, as he explained to the Queen: ‘This invaluable subject of Your Majesty spends his time in masquerading like an Oriental in a circus, under a tabernacle outside Cairo, and intriguing against the British occupation of Egypt. Fortunately he is not looked on as a serious personage.’ But Harcourt, in another sign of his distance from Rosebery, was willing to entertain Blunt, though he urged him, only partly in jest, to be careful about their assignations: ‘Rosebery has doubtless got his touts on the look-out for you,’ he wrote after one visit by Blunt to the Chancellor’s office in 11 Downing Street, ‘so I must beg you, when you come again, to put on a false nose and I will let you through the garden gate.’ “.