For Humfrey Coningsby – lord of the manor of Neen Sollars in South Shropshire – the world was a place of wonders and despair, of love found and then forsaken. He was a cantankerous, sentimental, petulant traveler; a gentleman soldier; a sly linguist; a confidant of Princes and Emperors; a receiver of such delights, and a doomed versifier. He walked out of this world on 10th October, 1610 – and now he walks back in, with barely a word of explanation.
This series of poems, complaints, explanations and demands for satisfaction forms the narrative of a life still being lived over four hundred years later. The Siege of Strigonium in 1595 was wretched; life in Aleppo in 2015 is worse.
Humfrey Coningsby’s story was also the subject of a BBC Radio Four Afternoon Drama by Jonathan Davidson, which was broadcast on 22nd June 2015. Full details here.
Praise for Jonathan Davidson:
“Jonathan Davidson’s poetry is quietly authentic and beautifully controlled, able to give a spin to mostly familiar subjects with a Larkinian sense of the electrifying mot juste.”
— Adam Thorpe, The Observer
“Jonathan Davidson has a loving, observant and wry regard for the frailties of the human condition. He makes fresh something we thought we knew; writing the everyday the way Vermeer might be said to paint it.”
— Maura Dooley
Date Published: 2015-04-24
Catalogue Number: VP0060
Number of Pages: 40
Cover design by Jamie McGarry
Cover photograph by the author
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