The Quest for Corvo
By A. J. A. Symons
Sooner or later in 1925 a chum requested A. J. A. Symons if he had learn Fr. Rolfe's Hadrian the Seventh. He hadn't, yet quickly did, and located himself entranced by means of the radical -- "a masterpiece"-- and no much less occupied with the mysterious individual of its all-but-forgotten writer. The Quest for Corvo is a hilarious and heartbreaking portrait of the unusual Frederick Rolfe, self-appointed Baron Corvo, an artist, author, and pissed off aspirant to the priesthood with a bottomless expertise for self-destruction. yet this singular paintings, subtitled "an scan in biography," is usually a extraordinary self-portrait, a research of the obsession and sympathy that evokes the biographer's artwork.
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And what was once the true fact ? That Rolfe were supplied with a snug domestic for 2 years, were in a position to exhibit his powers to the numerous viewers and clergymen who frequented the Shrine, and additional, as I advised him, had loved considerable relaxation to hire his expertise for writing, and so earn monby for himself. And word the insanity of the fellow ! whilst I requested him how he calculated up the £1000 he charged me with, he spoke back' i've got counted the figures at the banners i've got painted, and locate they no 1 80 the hunt FOR CORVO hundred.
I by no means knew even if the proposed commitment took any certain shape, for the straightforward cause that Rolfe selected to wreck with me, and this has to be the belief of my random reminiscences. MALEDICTORY. I want i may have spelt it with a V ! It happened hence. I by no means heard a lot ofRolfe's dealings with Stanhope Sprigge, yet I understood he had a manuscript to ' position ' which acquired mislaid. during tirile Rolfe requested me to ship him a press release of some of the small sums of cash I had complex him, or expended on his behalf.
I rigged up bits of chain, mendacity unfastened on my prow and poop with a string wherein i'll shake them whilst attacked. for 2 nights the stay away from acted. The swarms got here (up the anchor rope) and nuzzled me : I shook the chains : the beasts plopped overboard. Then they received used to the noise and sneered. Then they bit the strings. Then they bit my ft and woke me shrieking and shaking with worry. Now this is often what i've got performed. i'm completely ready to persevere to the top. So i've got taken the boat to a ' squero ' to be repaired.
Figuring out· his mistrust of Roman monks, i can't think that it used to be except guarded and distant. One sentence survives. Commenting on Benson's comment that Hadrian had taught him the price of loneliness, Rolfe rejoined ' might I say that have has taught me the frightful damage of it whilst obligatory ? ' yet Benson's enthusiasm and frankness quickly broke down the barrier of Rolfe's reserve. In might he wrote that he had placed Hadrian one of the 3 books from which he needed by no means to be separated, although he proposed to stick jointly definite pages upon Socialists as too absolutely ROBERT HUGH BENSON 147 sordid.
With a spontaneity that I observed was once attribute, Mr. Pirie-Gordon declared that those letters may still, within the fullness of time, be bequeathed to me. In next interviews, and by means of the learn of the correspondence left for my inspection, i used to be capable of piece the tale jointly, to observe one other rotation of that wheel to which Rolfe used to be certain. the 1st assembly among Rolfe and Pirie-Gordon happened at Oxford. past due one evening in the summertime of 1906. Fr. Rolfe had secured a congenial career, and used to be staying at Jesus collage, supporting his former Grantham headmaster, Dr.