HC Deb 17 July 1894 vol 27 cc178-9

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer the reason for the delay in filling up the post of Poet Laureate; and when it is likely to be filled up?

MR. PAUL (Edinburgh, S.)

Before the right, hon. Gentleman answers that question, may I ask will the Government test the soundness of the hereditary principle by recommending the appointment of the present Lord Tennyson in succession to his father?


No, Sir; I think not. I have no desire to extend the hereditary principle. This is rather a delicate question, and amid conflicting claims I must shelter myself in the decent obscurity of a learned language and reply, Poeta nascitur non fit.

MR. W. RAWSON SHAW (Halifax)

Arising out of the reply of the right hon. Gentleman, may I ask whether, in view of the general dissatisfaction in literary circles in consequence of the unprecedented delay of two years in filling up this ancient office, and the injustice to possible candidates of further delay, the right hon. Gentleman will communicate with the Prime Minister and represent to him the general feeling in favour of an early decision?


My hon. Friend must remember what happened to the shepherd Paris when he had to award the apple, and the misfortunes which befell him and his partner—spretœ injuria formœ.


Would the right hon. Gentleman propose to hold a limited competition, and ask the poets to send in their specimens?

[No answer was given.]