Letter from Ursula Wood to Ralph Vaughan Williams

Letter No.: 
VWL1782
[October 1947]

This is the end section of the long one which isn’t finished properly.1

“He hath made everything beautiful in his time”
Ecclesiastes

The song to life must be a song to love.
History climbs the walls of time
a growing vine between our hands
to bear its fruit of joy or desolation
beyond our scope of hope or prophecy.
Though famines and disasters mark
scars on our flesh, branding mortality
the song to life must be a song to love;
for the world blesses man
and has not man in his turn blessed the world?
All that has been, made, known or cherished
leaves its bright echo on the air:
articulate thought, discipline and measure,
wisdom, happy idleness and pleasure,
vision that is sight’s companion,2
five senses gathering and giving,
a flame, a grain of dust, an iris3 or a tear,4
an aspect or  shadow of man’s living
whose song to life has been a song to love.

Ursula’s Birthday Poem5


1.  Note in the hand of UW.
2.  This line omitted in printed version.
3.  ‘a shadow’ in printed version.
4.  A further line ‘Substance and dream and story wear’ is inserted here in the printed version.
5.  Note in VW’s hand. This poem was printed as the second of four sections of the sequence ‘The earth and the stars: for R.V.W. 12.10.1947’ in her collection Need for speech, Oxford 1948, p.60 ff.

Subjects:

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
UVW
General notes: 

Typescript.

Format: 
Letter
Original database number: 
4710xb