Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Sir Walter Scott, out hunting and with some good lines suddenly in his head, brought down a crow, whittled a pen from a feather, and wrote the poem on his jacket in crow's blood.This may be an embellished recollection of a passage in a letter from Walter Scott to William Clerk (August 26, 1791):
[S]o much simplicity resides among these hills, that a pen, which could write at least, was not to be found about the house, though belonging to a considerable farmer, till I shot the crow with whose quill I write this epistle.
F.B. Pinnion, Thomas Hardy: His Life and Friends (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992), p. 111:
He could meditate on his subject as he walked in congenial surroundings on the heath or in the neighbouring woods, jotting down his thoughts, sometimes, when he had no scrap of paper with him, on 'large dead leaves, white chips left by the wood-cutters, or pieces of stone or slate that came to hand'; he had found that 'when he carried a pocket-book his mind was barren as the Sahara'.