The pillow on the billow
U 13.1007-8: I leave you this to think of me when I’m far away on the pillow.
FW 445.29-30: but me far away on the pillow
For close to a century it was the obligation of any British schoolboy to learn “The Burial of Sir John Moore after Corunna” by heart. Its author, the Reverend Charles Wolfe (1791-1823), a little-known Irish poet, first published it anonymously in 1817. It soon attracted speculation on its authorship: Shelley and Byron thought it was worthy of Thomas Campbell, others ascribed it to Byron.
It would have been a predictable slip of the tongue for a faltering schoolboy to repeat the word “pillow” from the second line to the gleeful laughter of his classmates.
1 McHugh’s Annotations to Finnegans Wake wrongly identifies the author as Thomas Campbell.
2 Remains of the late Rev. Charles Wolfe, ed. John Abraham Russel, (ed. 2, 1826), p. 30.
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