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04/10/2013 11:56 am ET | Updated Jun 10, 2013

Winston Churchill's Rare Poem Could Auction For Up To £15,000

A poem written by British wartime leader Winston Churchill while he served abroad as a cavalry officer is expected to fetch up to £15,000 on Wednesday when it goes under the hammer at Bonhams auction house.

The 40-line work 'Our Modern Watchwords' is the only poem known to have been written by Churchill as an adult.

It is scrawled in blue crayon and was penned by Churchill in 1899 or 1900, when he was in his mid-20s.

The former British premier won a poetry competition as a pupil at Harrow School and went on to become a famed historian who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953, but the poem has been described as having a "reliable, heavy-footed rhythm" by ex-poet laureate Andrew Motion.

The two-page poem is signed and was written while Churchill served with the 4th Hussars regiment.

Each line of the four 10-line stanzas ends with the name of faraway places such as Wai-hai-wai in China, Sokoto in Nigeria and Karochaw in Japan.

The poem was acquired several years ago by retired manuscript dealer Roy Davids.

"It is quite rousing stuff and is an imperial celebratory poem that references cities that stretch the British Empire," Davids told the Daily Telegraph in February, when he first put the poem up for auction.


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