By the Cam and the Isis

By the Cam and the Isis


1954-2000. An annotated edition of the poems Cambridge and Oxford

With over 120 pages of annotation and documentation by the poet and other Emeriti, Incl. Henry Chadwick and R.W. Burchfield.

This volume contains the texts of Francis Warner's Cambridge and Oxford, together with detailed notes to the people and places mentioned in the Poems.

‘One of the great teachers’ (Oxford Today, Michaelmas issue, 1998)

Francis Warner, MA (Cantab.) DLitt (Oxon.) divides his time between St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, where he used to teach and is now an Honorary Fellow, and St Peter’s College, Oxford, where he used to teach and is now an Emeritus Fellow, and Dean of Degrees.

Here he looks back over the last half century in his two universities with gratitude. This book takes the form of two poems, each describing a walk and the friends he meets and visits, or remembers: around Cambridge one night in winter, around Oxford one summer afternoon.

This new edition is fully annotated and documented, and as a result has become one poet’s portrait of his generation; of those who experienced the Second World War (some of them the First World War as well), and then devoted their lives to teaching the young in these twin cities.

‘You profoundly evoke the Cambridge of your youth.’ Henry Chadwick

‘The flow of characters through your Cambridge is the very living essence of what was good there. Your poem is truly matter from the heart, and the true heart of Cambridge.

‘I hope your picture of Oxford remains true . . . the continuity of values, the concern for the young, not the star performers but small things like reading a colleague’s piece of writing to check the notes; and whatever is the opposite of name-dropping – Bowra appearing because he was kind to his mother, Edmund Blunden because of his courage in suffering his traumatic memories of the First World War, Auden roused from a fit of gloom by a martini to give a glowing teaching-session to students sitting on your floor . . . musical rehearsals, trees, college gardens . . . beauty looking out from many places, in works of art and nature, half-perceived as you come and go in a civilized way of life . . . from friend to friend, generation to generation.

‘I can seen now how all your work has built up to a unity. It is about civilization – or perhaps a civilization, the one we inherit, and selects certain moments, certain people, who represent and have carried that civilization right from its beginnings. It is quite something to have done, Francis, and I am grateful.’ Kathleen Raine

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