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Funeral Instructions

Harry Buxton Forman,

Harry Buxton Forman,

Thanks to Tacy Rickard for discovering this quirky historic reference.

This is the story of Henry Buxton Forman, born 1852, whose family moved to Teignmouth from London when he was ten. He became an accomplished literary forger with many of his works targeted at the American market where there was a special interest in works of Shelley.

Forman died after a long illness on 15 June 1917 and his ashes were sprinkled on the River Teign that flowed near his Devon childhood home. He left his funeral instructions in an untitled published verse:

Let the prison’d litch-fire batten on the tissues
Leaving naught but ashes, clean and grey and pure
Gather, friends, the handful that from the furnace issues,
Cushion them in crane-bill, and bear them to the Moor.
Ashes of her poet, bear them to one land,
Take them up to Dartmoor and strow them in the Teign,
Bid the river roll them, roll them through his own land,
Rush them through the harbour and lose them in the Main!

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 Henry Buxton Forman …..