The John Payne Society
President: The Hon. Sir John A. Cockburn.
The John Payne Society, which was founded on 2 May, 1905, has for its object the popularization of John Payne’s works. It issues daintily bound selections from them at 2s. 6d. per volume. The membership fee is 5s. per annum, members receive copies of the Society’s publications gratis, and the meetings generally take place in London. The first president was Sir Edward Charles Ross, and the first general meeting of the Society was held at Margery Hall, Forest Gate, on 12 August, 1905. At these meetings papers are read and recitations are given.
The first volume issued by the Society was Sir Winfrith, a volume containing Payne’s principal ballads. Among the more important papers read at different times were those by Mr. W. F. Kirby, Dr. O. Smithson, Mr. John Casey and Mr. Edward Beesly. Mr. Tracy Robinson, one of the members, issued in 1906 a handsome volume entitled Selections from the Poetry of John Payne. Mr. Thomas Wright, the Secretary, has contributed to the Press the following articles: “Hafiz and John Payne” (T.P.’s Weekly, 7 September and 14 September, 1906); “A Great Anthology—Mr. Payne’s Flowers of France” (Id. 8 March, 1907); “John Payne and his Work, an Intimate Appreciation” (The Academy, 14 September, 1912); “Talks with John Payne” (Common Sense, 20 October, 1917). The following important articles appeared in the Birmingham Daily Post: “Mr. John Payne’s New Poems,” 6 March, 1908, and “John Payne, Poet and Translator” (15 February, 1916).
At the 13th Annual Meeting of the Society, held at Olney, 27 November, 1917, an address was given by Mr. Wright on “John Payne as I knew him.” Payne’s song, “The Air is White,” was sung by Mrs. E. Sowman, and Miss H. Gibson recited “The Ballad of Past Delight.” The 14th Annual Meeting took place at 49 Nevern Square, London, on Saturday, 27 April, 1918, when Mr. A. W. Oke, LL.M., took the chair, and addresses were given by Mr. Thomas Wright, Mr. John Kettelwell and others. On the following Thursday Mr. Wright delivered a lecture on John Payne before members and students of Bristol University.
The 15th Annual Meeting took place, by invitation of Dr. T. G. Pinches, on Saturday, 27 April, 1919, at 10 Oxford Road, Kilburn, the house in which Payne wrote the finest of his poems, and made several of his translations. The Hon. Sir John Cockburn was in the chair, an address was given by Mr. Wright, and some of Payne’s poems were read by Mr. Ashton Burall.
Any person can join the Society. For particulars application should be made to the Secretary, Cowper School, Olney, Bucks.