And the winner is…

Thanks to all of you who entered our Slightly Foxed competition. The Betjeman quote in full is*:

Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows. (from Summoned by Bells)

We used this random number generator to pick the email from our inbox, the number 44 came out, and the 44th person to enter was…

…Tanya Izzard!

Congratulations to Tanya, who wins a year’s subscription to Slightly Foxed’s wonderful quarterly magazine.  You should have received an email to this effect – just reply with your postal details and we’ll do the rest.

Commiserations to everyone else, but you should get over to Slightly Foxed and buy a sub now; you won’t regret it. Watch out for other Dabbler competitions soon, and don’t forget that you can still win a copy of Second Class Male by improving on Betjeman.

*Or is it? That’s the quote all over the internet, but one Robert Compton, a member of The Betjeman Society, emails us to say:

Some people seem to think that the word “hour” should be inserted after “dark” in the above quotation. But my copy of “Summoned by Bells” published by John Murray in the 1960s has the text as above. Just thought you’d like to know!

If Robert is right (and it does seem to scan better without the ‘hour’, doesn’t it?) then technically everyone should be disqualified except him. However, we decided that would be a bit unfair, could possibly cause a riot, and the ‘hour’ version was the one ‘on the card’. So the original decision stands. But many thanks to Robert for adding to the sum of human knowledge… Thus the dangers of ‘research’ by Google and Wiki; someone just needs to tell the internet now…

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5 thoughts on “And the winner is…

    Dave Lull
    November 2, 2010 at 16:53

    If you read my entry, you’ll see that I made the same point as Robert, citing the 2006 Farrar, Straus, and Giroux paperback edition of the Collected Poems.

    Maybe you should put his name and my name in a hat and draw out the winner’s name.


    November 2, 2010 at 17:00

    Dave, your exactness is surely its own reward…

    November 2, 2010 at 17:14

    This ‘hour’ business is really odd. The two lines scan perfectly without ‘hour’ (and from what I can remember of Summoned By Bells, it scans well generally). And I think it makes more sense without ‘hour’ too. Does an hour ‘grow’? Not really. But the dark of reason, I can see that growing, in a rather menacing metaphor. Which leaves me wondering if ‘hour’ is actually an error perpetuated by printers. Now, if anyone reading this has access to Betjeman’s manuscripts…

    Dave Lull
    November 2, 2010 at 18:45

    How true, Brit,how true. My motto, that: Exactness is its own reward. Thanks for reminding me. I nodded in commenting as I did, no doubt from lack of sleep:


    November 2, 2010 at 19:26

    Right chaps, I have consulted my copy of the Collected Poems and there is no ‘hour’ mentioned – and that’s the 2006 John Murray edition, so very recent.

    We’ll accept both ‘hour’ and non-‘hour’ versions, so the winner stands, but I will, when I can be bothered, plough through the emails and see who got the non-googled version, in addition to Dave and Robert. Anyone who did will get a special prize: a kind word.

    Patrick – my theory is that all these quote websites simply mine each other, so an early error is perpetuated.

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