[Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford, first Baron Redesdale.] Autograph humourous 'verses on the Battle of the Sunflower on "The Batsford Nondescript"', in the form of a dialogue between botanists A. H. Wolley-Dod and Sir William Turner Thiselton-Dyer.

Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford, first Baron Redesdale (1837-1916), diplomatist and author, grandfather of the celebrated Mitford sisters [Anthony Hurt Wolley-Dod; Sir William Turner Thiselton-Dyer]
Publication details: 
On letterhead of Batsford Park, Moreton-in-Marsh. Dated in another hand 28 September 1896.
SKU: 15987

2pp., 12mo. Bifolium. In good condition, lightly aged and worn, with thin strip from stub adhering to edge of second leaf. The page is headed 'Private & Confidential', and the poem is preceded by the following note: 'I must send you the verses on the Battle of the Sunflower on "The Batsford Nondescript". A twenty-four line poem, in six four-line stanzas, on the theme of a disagreement over the naming of a specimen, between the botanist Anthony Hurt Wolley-Dod (1861-1948) and the director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Sir William Turner Thiselton-Dyer (1843-1928). Penultimate stanza headed 'Wolley Dod loquitur', and last one headed 'A week later - the same loquitur'. The poem begins: 'Quoth Wolley Dod, "Dear me! how odd! | Why here's the identical flower, | Which I sent to Kew, to be named by you, | A thing quite out of your power. | It was this - it was that - and I'll eat my hat | If ever I knew such a joke, | When at last you came to give it a name | 'Twas Jerusalem Artichoke!" | Says Thiselton Dyer, "To call you a liar | Is a thing I'd scorn to do, | But my meaning is plain, if you say that again | You'll be saying what is not true!"' Redesdale's entry in the Oxford Dictionary of Biography emphasises his 'cosmopolitanism' and 'dandy's charm', and the fact that he was 'busy with translations, addresses, and pamphlets to such an extent that he seemed, after the age of sixty-five, to have turned from an amateur into a professional man of letters'.