13 January 2014

Philip James Bailey, Nottingham

A plaque on a building on the corner of Fletcher Gate and Middle Pavement, Nottingham, reveals that the writer Philip James Bailey once lived there. There is also a bust of Bailey by Albert Toft at the rear entrance to Nottingham Castle – both images are on another of my posts here.

I originally put a little piece of information about Bailey on the sidebar several years ago, which I reproduce below:

Bailey was born in Nottingham and educated in Glasgow, and is usually associated with the Spasmodic school of poetry along with J. W. Marston, S. T. Dobell, and Alexander Smith. He is most noted for Festus, a huge work to which Bailey was continually adding, and which was heavily influenced by Milton's Paradise Lost. Its most famous lines are:

'We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts not breaths;
In feeling, not in figures on a dial
We should count time by heart throbs; he most lives
Who thinks most, feels noblest, acts the best.'



I'm very grateful to Dr Rowena Edlin-White for locating Bailey's grave in Rock (or Church) Cemetery, Mansfield Road, Nottingham, and for her transcript – which can't have been an easy thing to do – which I reproduce below:

'SACRED
TO THE CHERISHED MEMORY OF
ANNIE SOPHIA
FOR 33 YEARS THE DEVOTED WIFE OF
PHILIP JAMES BAILEY
ENTERED INTO REST OCTOBER 27th 1896
“BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART FOR THEY
SHALL SEE GOD”

TO THE REVERED AND BELOVED MEMORY OF
PHILIP JAMES BAILEY
(FESTUS)
WHO ENTERED INTO REST SEPTEMBER 6th 1902
AGED 86 YEARS

“DEATH IS ANOTHER LIFE. WE BOW OUR HEADS
AT GOING OUT, WE THINK, AND ENTER STRAIGHT
ANOTHER GOLDEN CHAMBER OF THE KING’S
LARGER THAN THIS WE LEAVE, AND LOVELIER.”*

PHILIP FESTUS JAMES BAILEY
ONLY SON OF PHILIP JAMES BAILEY
WHO DIED MARCH 9th 1904 AGED 62 YEARS.'

*From Festus.

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