Letter to her husband Harold Nicholson, 13 November 1926:
After breakfast I was caught by the old man [poet laureate Dr Robert Bridges], who glowered at me from under his eyebrows and said didn’t I want to know his opinion of my poem? I wasn’t at all sure that I did … however I sat down meekly, as near as possible to the bit of smouldering peat which did duty as the fire, and composed myself in an attitude of proper respect, a nice blending of (1) Little Lord Fauntleroy, (2) the younger generation (3) the young Swinburne at the feet of Victor Hugo. I was then treated for two hours to a lecture on English prosody. Chaucer, ellision, syllabic verse, the diatonic scale, Shakespeare, Milton, the iniquity of daring to exist at all - all this was thundered at me in true Tennysonian manner. I huddled myself together, getting smaller and smaller, longing for a coat-collar, an umbrella, anything to creep behind and hide.
Vita Sackville-West, 1892 – 1962, was an English author, poet and gardener. She won the Hawthornden Prize for poetry in 1926 and 1933.
Letter published in Nicholson, Nigel (ed) 1993 Vita and Harold. The letters of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson 1910-1962. London: Phoenix p 172