Edward Cracroft Lefroy
Edward Cracroft Lefroy.
Priest and Poet. (1855-1891)
Lefroy's mother was a niece of the novelist, Jane Austin. As a school boy his friendships were few but very close, his greatest delight being to wander afield in the woods with a chosen chum.
In 1874 Lefroy entered Keble College Oxford; he took his B.A. in 1877 and was priested in 1878.
But Lefroy's heart was weak and in 1882 he was compelled to give up his clerical work. As he set his face bravely toward the setting sun, the priest-poet wrote in his diary that his one regret would be "that I will not be able to watch the after career of the many dads in whom I have taken an interest." He died, mourned by his many friends, in 1891. He had never married.
He described himself as "a-sexual" but was romantically attracted to young boys as well as women.
- Main Author: Lefroy, Edward Cracroft, 1855-1891.
- Other Authors: Symonds, John Addington, 1840-1893., Gill, Wilfred Austin.
- Language(s): English
- Published: London & New York : J. Lane, 1897.
- Subjects: Lefroy, Edward Cracroft, > 1855-1891.
- Physical Description: xiv, 199,  p. front. (port.) 20 cm.
Edward Cracroft Lefroy, his life and poems including a reprint of Echoes from Theocritus; by Wilfred Austin Gill: with a critical estimate of the sonnets by the late John Addington Symonds is in the public domain.
A book of poetry, Men and Boys contains several of his poems. This book will soon be available to read on-line at BoyWiki in its entirety.
Examples of his sonnets
Two examples are given here. First, a description of the poet:
"This gentleman, whom delicate health has prevented pursuing further the clerical profession, may be considered the living poetical brother of Hartley Coleridge and Mr. Charles Tennyson-Turner: to the work of the latter his sonnets bear an especial affinity. They are simple in language, genuine in feeling, and poetic in expression, but they do not invariably fulfil the technical requirements of the legitimate sonnet. Of one thing it seems to me Mr. Lefroy has need to beware--that he does not lapse into the fatal Wordsworthian habit of rhyming upon everything he sees or thinks of: as yet his bark is sailing safely enough in that disastrous neighborhood, but once caught in the current--and there is an end of 'pure gems of white-heat thought carved delicately!'"
- Source of the above biographical description:
- Sharp, William (ed) (1889) American Sonnets, Walter Scott, London
- How calmly drops the dew on tree and plant,
- While round each pendulous leaf the cool airs blow!
- The neighbour city has no sign to show
- Of all its grim machines that toil and pant,
- Except a sky that coal makes confidant:
- But there the human rivers ebb and flow,
- And thither was I wonted once to go
- With heart not ill at ease or recusant.
- Here now I love to wander morn and eve,
- Till oaks and elms have grown oracular;
- Yet conscious that my soberest thoughts receive
- A tinge of tumult from the smoke afar;
- And scarcely know to which I most belong--
- The simple fields or that unsimple throng.
Perhaps the following was for a boy he loved?
On the Beach in November
- My heart's Ideal, that somewhere out of sight
- Art beautiful and gracious and alone,--
- Haply, where blue Saronic waves are blown
- On shores that keep some touch of old delight,--
- How welcome thy memory, and how bright,
- To one who watches over leagues of stone
- These chilly northern waters creep and moan
- From weary morning unto weary night.
- O Shade-form, lovelier than the living crowd,
- So kind to votaries, yet thyself unvowed,
- So free to human fancies, fancy-free,
- My vagrant thought goes out to thee, to thee,
- As wandering lonelier than the Poet's cloud,
- I listen to the wash of this dull sea.
- Source of the sonnets above:
- This link requires checking for other works by Lefroy, as well as other gay or BoyLove poetry and poets:
- Men and Boys (book), an anthology of BoyLover poetry, with author descriptions.
- "Edward Cracroft Lefroy, his life and poems including a reprint of Echoes from Theocritus;" is now in the public domain, and is available, containing many OCR errors, at the following link:
- The book is available in .PDF format at this link (4 Megabytes):
- In .DJVU format it may be downloaded here (2.5 Megabytes):
- The book may also be downloaded at the following link (60 Megabytes, perhaps higher quality):
- More biographical information on Lefroy, "A Flower in Broken Leaf," may be found here, along with examples of his gay poetry: