[W. B. Yeats, Annie Horniman, and the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.] Manuscript Letter by Yeats, signed by him but written out by Horniman as his secretary, declining to provide work for publication, as he is 'writing plays for our little Irish Theatre'.

W. B. Yeats [William Butler Yeats], Irish poet, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature [Annie Horniman [Annie Elizabeth Fredericka Horniman] (1860-1937), patron of the Abbey Theatre, Dublin]
Publication details: 
11 May 1903; 18 Woburn Buildings, Euston Road, London.
SKU: 22820

Written at a crucial time in the run-up to the foundation of the Abbey Theatre. As Horniman's entry in the Oxford DNB states: 'In 1903 Yeats lured Annie to Dublin where he hoped her backing for productions by the Irish Literary Theatre would bring more of his poetic dramas to the stage. To her delight Yeats invited her to design his play The King's Threshold. Annie soon realized she was administrator rather than artist, and the atmosphere of an amateur company directed by three playwrights—Yeats, Lady Gregory, and J. M. Synge—was never congenial. She bought them an old theatre, organized and financed its renovation, guaranteed six years of subsidy, but took the boat home before the Abbey Theatre's historic opening night on 27 December 1904.' Regarding Horniman's position as Yeats's unpaid secretary the Oxford DNB writes: 'She gave unpaid help to the poet W. B. Yeats, typing his poems and correspondence and generally tidying his untidy life and his disorderly rooms. This close relationship was sustained for many years, despite her awareness of his selfishness, by her deep respect for his creative talents.' The present letter is 1p, 12mo. In good condition, lightly aged, with the blank second leaf of the bifolium bearing traces of brown paper mount. Folded once. Valediction and signature in Yeats's scrawled hand, otherwise in that of Horniman, who at the time was acting as Yeats's unpaid secretary. The recipient is unnamed, but is clearly the editor of a periodical. Reads: 'Dear Sir, | I am very busy just now & shall be very busy for some time to come, writing plays for our little Irish Theatre. I am afraid that I cannot risk breaking the mood by writing anything for you & I have nothing by me. | [rest in Yeats's hand] Yours faithfully | W B Yeats'. Presumably Yeats was working on On Baile's Strand for the grand opening (27 December 1904).