Birth date: 
03/30/1886
Death date: 
08/19/1960
Birth town: 
Cambridge
Country: 
England

Frances Cornford should not be confused with her husband Francis Cornford.

Frances Crofts Cornford (née Darwin) was an English poet.

She was the daughter of the botanist Francis Darwin and Ellen Crofts, born into the Darwin — Wedgwood family. She was a granddaughter of the British naturalist Charles Darwin. Her elder half-brother was the golf writer Bernard Darwin. She was raised in Cambridge, among a dense social network of aunts, uncles, and cousins, and was educated privately.

In 1909, Frances Darwin married Francis Cornford, a classicist and poet. They had 5 children: Helena (b. 1913), John (1915-1936), a poet and Communist who was killed in the Spanish Civil War. Christopher (1917-1993), an artist and writer

Clare, who became the mother of Matthew Chapman Hugh

Frances Cornford published several books of verse, including Poems (1910), Spring Morning (1915), Autumn Midnight (1923), and Different Days (1928). Mountains and Molehills (1935) was illustrated with woodcuts by Cornford's cousin Gwen Raverat.

She wrote poems including The Guitarist Tunes Up:

With what attentive courtesy he bent
Over his instrument;
Not as a lordly conqueror who could
Command both wire and wood,
But as a man with a loved woman might,
Inquiring with delight
What slight essential things she had to say
Before they started, he and she, to play.


One of Frances Cornford's poems was a favourite of the late Philip Larkin and his lover Maeve Brennan. All Souls' Night uses the superstition that a dead lover will appear to a still faithful partner on that November date. Maev, many years after Larkin's death, would re-read the poem on All Souls:

My love came back to me
Under the November tree
Shelterless and dim.
He put his hand upon my shoulder,
He did not think me strange or older,
Nor I him.


Although the myth enhances the poem - it can be read as the meeting of older, former lovers.

She is buried at the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground in Cambridge.

Frances Darwin Cornford's Works:

Poems (1910)
Spring Morning (1915)
Autumn Midnight (1923)
Different Days (1928)
Mountains and Molehills (1935)
Poems from the Russian (1943)
Travelling Home & Other Poems (1948)
Collected Poems (1954)
On a Calm Shore (1960)
Fifteen Poems from the French (1976)
Frances Cornford: Selected Poems (1996)

Interviews

Magazines

Poems by this Poet

Displaying 1 - 10 of 145
Poemsort descending Post date Rating Comments
A Back View 5 September 2014
0
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A Child's Dream 5 September 2014
3
Average: 3 (6 votes)
0
A Country Legacy 29 November 2013
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A Diplomat 19 May 2014
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A Fragment of Empedocles 19 May 2014
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A Friend 29 November 2013
0
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A Glimpse 19 May 2014
0
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A Lodging for the Night 19 May 2014
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)
0
A Montreux Hotel 19 May 2014
0
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A Recollection 30 July 2013
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