I’m just putting together a long article (or perhaps set of articles) about Peter Sedgwick about whom I have written previously.
Here is Sedgwick (the future translator of Victor Serge and author of Psychopolitics) writing 8 months before Khrushchev’s secret speech a not-altogether-serious note seeking the return of a loan from his student friend and fellow Communist Raph Samuel.
“Hurry hurry hurry, quick quick quick
Or the bailiff will come with his brass-lipped stick
He’ll send you to Prison until you pay
And all your fat books will be taken away.
Deep in the dungeon you will die
The old smelly rate will scratch you in the eye
The ants will eat you, lying in the wet
Until you pay every debt
But on that day
When you finally pay
You will return to the light of the sun
Before your carriage white horses will run
The streets will be packed and the people will cheer
And stuff you with oat cakes, honey and beer.
Your fame will be spread throughout the land
And the Master of Balliol shake your hand.
The queen will receive you into her bed
And put big ideas into your head,
In the soft sheets, a night end more,
She’ll teach you things you never knew before,
And captivate by raging desire,
Fill in a red form, as you require;
All this and more will really be
If you will pay my money to me.”