When a brand new Poet Laureate needed to be chosen in 1972, WH Auden was broadly seen as the apparent selection.
Many lecturers regarded Auden – recognized for works together with September 1, 1939, and Cease All The Clocks, which featured in 4 Weddings and a Funeral – as crucial dwelling poet, and the bookmakers made him 5-4 favorite.
However tv persona Ross McWhirter was so alarmed on the prospect that he contacted Buckingham Palace to attract its consideration to a little-known however ‘hardcore’ pornographic poem printed below Auden’s title in an ‘underground’ journal, authorities recordsdata launched at this time reveal.
Fearing Auden’s appointment would result in embarrassment for the Queen, Mr McWhirter, who co-founded the Guinness World Data together with his twin brother Norris, wrote to probably the most senior officer of the Royal Family to alert him to the potential scandal.
Many lecturers regarded Auden – recognized for works together with September 1, 1939, and Cease All The Clocks, as crucial dwelling poet
Mr McWhirter, a former Tory parliamentary candidate, advised the Lord Chamberlain, Lord Maclean: ‘My concern is just that ought to this candidate be appointed both in ignorance of this or with out his first being given an opportunity to disprove authorship, then the subversive underground press are nearly sure to republish this pornographic “poem” below the byline “by the Poet Laureate” to the large potential embarrassment of Her Majesty’s Family and of decent-minded residents.’
He mentioned he couldn’t ‘legally ship the offending matter’ – a poem printed in 1969 – by submit, however might meet in particular person to indicate it to them.
Mr McWhirter, who appeared frequently on BBC present Document Breakers together with his twin, mentioned ‘easy responsibility’ had motivated him to behave.
The Palace replied that because the Poet Laureate was appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister, Mr McWhirter ought to contact Sir John Hewitt, the civil servant who led the appointment of public figures on behalf of then-prime minister Ted Heath. Mr McWhirter met Sir John and confirmed him the poem.
Afterwards, Sir John mentioned in a memo the poem, which describes a intercourse act in nice element, ran to ‘about 30 verses of an totally revolting character’.
Tv persona Ross McWhirter feared Auden’s appointment would result in embarrassment for the Queen
The memo added: ‘Mr McWhirter mentioned there was no proof that Auden had in reality written the poem however there was equally no proof that he had denied authorship’.
Sir John advised Mr McWhirter, who was murdered by the IRA outdoors his London dwelling in 1975, that Auden had in any case been ‘successfully dominated out’ as a candidate as he had moved to America and within the Forties develop into a US citizen, making him ineligible.
Auden mentioned in an interview on the time that he had no real interest in changing into Poet Laureate and had no intention of adjusting his nationality again to British so he could be eligible. The submit went as an alternative to Sir John Betjeman – and Auden died of coronary heart failure the next yr.
Students regard the poem because the work of Auden within the Forties, when he had advised pals he was writing a ‘purely pornographic poem’.