You may have read in the news that the Bodleian Library has purchased a draft manuscript of Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem 'Binsey Poplars' for £50,000.
Fr Hopkins SJ was of course a curate at St Aloysius' from 1878-9 and it was in our house that he wrote this piece. He wrote to a friend: "I have been up to Godstow this afternoon. I am sorry to say that the aspens that lined the river are everyone felled." 'Binsey Poplars' laments the felling of these trees across the Isis from Port Meadow:
"My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,
Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,
All felled, felled, all are felled;
Of a fresh and following folded rank
Not spared, not one
That dandled a sandalled
Shadow that swam or sank
On meadow and river and wind-wandering
O if we knew but what we do
When we delve or hew–
Hack and rack the growing green!
Since country is so tender
To touch her, being so slender,
That, like this sleek and seeing ball
But a prick will make no eye at all,
Where we, even when we mean
to mend her we end her,
When we hew or delve:
After-comers cannot guess the beauty been.
Ten or twelve, only ten or twelve
Strokes of havoc unselve
The sweet especial scene,
Rural scene, a rural scene,
Sweet especial rural scene."
As far as we know, none of the current residents of 25 Woodstock Road has yet produced a manuscript of comparable value.