Not to be confused with his more famous namesake who played such an important role in the early colonisation of North America, (1582 – 1618), Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh (1861 – 1922) was an English scholar, poet, and author. He was born in London, the fifth child and only son of a local Congregation minister. Raleigh is buried in the churchyard of the parish church of St. Lawrence at North Hinksey, near Oxford. His son Hilary edited his light prose, verse, and plays in ‘Laughter from a Cloud (1923). He is probably best known for the poem “Wishes of an Elderly Man, Wished at a Garden Party, June 1914”.
It is this poem, bitter-sweet and with its pessimistic view of mankind, but not without its wry humour, which I have chosen to remind my readers of today . . .
I wish I loved the Human Race
I wish I loved the Human Race; I wish I loved its silly face; I wish I liked the way it walks; I wish I liked the way it talks; And when I’m introduced to one, I wish I thought ‘What Jolly Fun’.