Committed to ‘Art for Life’s Sake’, both poets wrote about suffering, injustice and social responsibility. Similarities and differences in their beliefs show in the form and content of their work. First published in Dymock Poets & Friends, No. 13, 2014, pp.36-38.
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Key Words: art, atheism, biography, class, Darwinism, feminism, freethought, history, humanism, internationalism, poetry, politics, religion, socialism, war, writing
People: Abd’ul-Bahá, Elizabeth Gibson Cheyne, Thomas Kelly Cheyne, Sydney Cockerell, Wilfrid Gibson
Elizabeth and Wilfrid Gibson: Art For Life’s Sake? Politics, Religion and Poetry
‘I am a suffragist, a socialist, and a free thinker’, declared Elizabeth Gibson Cheyne in an autobiographical note from around 1913.
1 Writing in a very different historical and personal context some twenty years later, her younger brother Wilfrid refused such labels: ‘I am not an ’ist of any sort’ — a position exemplified in his subsequent poem, Spain, 1937:
… In turn, Fascist and Communist,
Idealist against idealist
Trample each other, for their country’s good,
Into a mess of bloody mud,
Each learning each to be the other ’ist.
Though his letters of the time express antifascist sentiments, by this stage of his life anti-war feelings trumped any ‘ism’.
This paper outlines and compares some aspects of Elizabeth and Wilfrid’s beliefs about politics and religion, suggesting that these affected the form and content of their work, as well as their identities as poets.
With or without labels, in the early years of the twentieth century the two ‘young utopians’ stood together against social injustice as well as the stifling social conventions and hypocrisy of their shared Victorian upbringing.
3 They mingled with Christian and ethical socialists, reformers and revolutionaries, Quakers and Rationalists, poets and parsons, aesthetes and anarchists. They participated in the ferment of new ideas about art, religion, poetry and politics. For both poetry was a form of resistance, of speaking out in ways they felt unable do otherwise. And from the outset, their commitment to ‘Art for Life’s sake’ rather than ‘Art for Art’s sake’ meant their identities as poets were inextricably intertwined with their ideas about how life should be.
In 1900, Wilfrid’s version of Pushkin’s ‘The Slave’ appeared in Free Russia, the paper of the Society of Friends of Russian Freedom (SFRF). It was perhaps his first explicitly political poem.
(To One Who Calleth Himself Free)
O thou who, counting freedom as thy kin,
Dost roam untrammelled over land and sea,
To-day, in far Siberia, gaunt and thin,
One broken spirit starves and sweats for thee.
Take Russia to thy heart, thy peace to win.
For thou art slave till all the world is free.
This was Wilfrid’s only contribution to the paper, which between 1900 and 1902 carried several of Elizabeth’s versions of Russian poems, produced in collaboration with the editor, Felix Volkhovsky.
5 Though Wilfrid and Elizabeth were still living in the parental home in Northumberland, their association with Free Russia and the SFRF indicates their involvement in a wide literary, cultural and political network that linked Volkhovsky, social activists Robert and Elizabeth Spence Watson in Gateshead, and Sydney Cockerell, in London.
Cockerell, who bridged the worlds of art and politics, introduced the Gibsons to his wide circle of friends. He described visiting Tolstoy and working with Morris — key figures in the ongoing debates about the relationship between art, life, and politics. He lent Elizabeth a copy of Kropotkin’s Memoirs of a Revolutionist, and she found it ‘one of the most interesting books I have ever read’.
7 Kropotkin’s account of his politicization, imprisonment for subversive activities in Russia, and daring escape, would later inspire several suffragettes jailed for militant activism.
Elizabeth was already familiar with an earlier generation of feminist campaigners, but it was the new wave of suffrage agitation from around 1906 that caught her imagination. She supported the Pankhurst’s militant WSPU (Women’s Social and Political Union), and united poetry and politics by joining the committee of the Women Writers Suffrage League. But for her, the vote was one issue among many that she explored in her writing. As a freethinker, she was in the minority of feminists who went beyond criticism of inequitable marriage laws to challenge the institution itself; she believed what mattered was not the legal status of a relationship, but whether or not it integrated love, passion, responsibility, and respect. Without those, marriage was no different from prostitution. As a socialist, she criticised middle class ‘ladies’ who thought themselves superior to the working class women they exploited.
Wilfrid’s work was popular with suffragettes, and a couple of his poems appeared in Sylvia Pankhurst’s socialist feminist ‘Women’s Dreadnought’, but he appears to have been a sympathiser rather than an active supporter. Similarly, although he would later be a Labour voter, there is no direct evidence that he was ever active in any socialist organization. For him, even more than for Elizabeth, it was the writing that mattered.
In 1911, Elizabeth married Biblical scholar Thomas Cheyne, leaving Northumberland for Oxford. The following year, Wilfrid too finally left home, hoping to make his way as a poet in London. These life changes would give fresh impetus to the development of their creative identities.
On a national level, these were the years of what historians call the Great Unrest, when the British Isles underwent what some hoped — or feared — was a revolutionary upsurge of class war, sex war, and anti-colonial activism. Shootouts, conspiracies, demonstrations and riots filled the headlines. Suffragettes disrupted meetings, hounded politicians, attacked property; jail and hunger strikes followed. Civil war in Ireland looked increasingly likely as struggles over Home Rule intensified. The industrial front saw trade union membership double in four years and the rise of revolutionary syndicalism; there were waves of strikes across Britain, with outbursts of violence as police and armed troops confronted striking dockers, transport workers and miners.
Such contemporary events, even when not directly alluded to, can provide a backdrop — an interpretative context — for thinking about the different understandings and sensibilities invoked in Elizabeth and Wilfrid’s writing, as well as its impact on readers. This can be demonstrated by comparing two of their poems written at roughly the same time.
Elizabeth’s is from her 1911 collection The Way of the Lord.
There are two mothers in the country where I live—
Another mother, and myself:
I am the mother of the rich children;
And the other mother is the mother of the poor children.
I am not jealous of the other mother—
Because my children have everything,
And hers have nothing.
I am not cruel to her:
I allow her to come and work for me,
As a nurse, a sewing-woman, and a charwoman,
And I pay her as much a day as my own breakfast costs me,
For that should feed and clothe herself and her children handsomely.
I give her my children’s old clothes;
And sometimes I give her their rejected food,
If their particular pet-animals do not need it.
I speak civilly to the other mother, because I am covertly thankful I am not she,
And because I am afraid that if I spoke otherwise
She might strike me or my children
And demand her and their share of everything,
Or steal it when we are not looking
I think that when people are poor it is their own fault
And that it is because they are lazy, or drunken, or both
It is a shame that I have to pay for the poor children’s education,
As it takes all I can afford to send my own children
To the public school and to the university.
It is a greater shame that I have to pay for their school dinners and medical inspection,
As it takes all I can afford to feed my own children on epicure’s food,
And to send them to the best eye-specialists and physicians.
I take all that is given to me and my children;
But I am afraid of pauperising the poor mother and her children.
I think she ought also to save up for her old age pension.
One day, when I was explaining these things quite politely,
She retorted that it is I who am the pauper;
And that her children must go ragged
That mine may be smart;
That hers must go hungry that mine may be pampered;
That hers must die that mine may live.
So I told her she was talking politics, which are not women’s business,
And that the Socialists had been perverting her.
I shut the door in her face and gave her no more work
Till I could do without her no longer,
And had to send for her to come back,
She said that some of her children had died in the meantime,
As she had had no money to buy food for them.
So I said: ‘That will teach you to keep your place, and not to call me a pauper.’
Now she comes and cleans my nurseries,
And feeds and tends my babies,
And makes elaborately embroidered clothes for them;
But she says nothing;
And I wonder why she is silent.
One night I dreamt that I asked her why,
And that she said:
‘My dead children are crying to me to kill you,
And my living children are crying to me to forgive you;
And I have not yet decided which to do.’
Wilfrid’s poem, from 1912, is the untitled epigraph to his collection Fires.
Snug in my easy chair,
I stirred the fire to flame.
The flickering fancies came,
Born of hearts desire:
Amber woodland streaming;
Topaz islands dreaming;
Spire on burning spire;
Of Golconda’s mines;
Passion’s crater yearning;
Troy, the ever-burning;
Shelley’s lustral pyre;
Witches cauldron’s leaping;
Golden galleys sweeping
Out from sea-walled Tyre:
Fancies, fugitive and fair,
Flashed with singing through the air;
Till, dazzled by the drowsy glare,
I shut my eyes to heat and light;
And saw, in sudden night,
Crouched in the dripping dark,
With steaming shoulders stark,
The man who hews the coal to feed my fire.
Given a straightforward political interpretation, Elizabeth’s poem reads as a caustic intervention into heated debates over the Liberal government’s recent introduction of welfare reforms, including a very limited system of old age pensions and national insurance.
10 Both poems could be said to be about class, but here as elsewhere, Wilfrid makes no reference to the class conflict and exploitation so explicit in ‘The Mother’. Though a national strike in 1912 succeeded in winning miners a minimum wage, his poem gives no inkling of any struggle to change the status quo.
A more complex interpretation emerges from a brief examination of how the poems achieve their effects through form, structure and language. Each poem contrasts the speaker’s comfortable life with the hardship endured by those whose work enables that comfort. Both gain impact with a sudden switch of viewpoint in the final four lines. In Wilfrid’s poem, the voice remains the same throughout, but its language becomes simpler — starker — with the visual and linguistic shift from the poetic ‘flickering fancies’ to the miner’s ‘dripping dark’. The structure could be said to exemplify his often discussed decision to drop the romantic ‘confectionery’ of his early poetry for the ‘bread and cheese’ of social realism.
In that case, the plain language of ‘The Mother’ could be compared to bread and water.
12 The shift here is dramatized when we hear for the first time the ‘other mother’ speaks in her own voice, confronting the smug evasions of her employer, and hinting (‘I have not yet decided which to do’) at the potential power of the oppressed over their oppressors. But her direct speech is heard in a dream: it is the speaker’s own fears and fantasies that are being explored. Overall, Elizabeth’s piece has a notably more modern tone. Admired at the time for its psychological insight and contribution to ongoing debates about social problems, it is still, a century later, a pertinent comment on current controversies.
Though Elizabeth wrote other poems and dramatic monologues giving voice to particularised characters, her poetry and prose is characteristically abstract. References to capitalism, imperialism, and revolution deploy a political language alien to Wilfrid, whose poems express social concerns in a more personal — though not individualistic — manner. He wrote a number of other poems in which the ‘I’ of the poem (implicitly the poet himself) reflects on the differences between his life and those of the workers he encounters, as in ‘The Cheerful Sweep’, where he:
[…]’wondered, if it had devolved on me,
The job of keeping others’ windows clean,
So that their hearthfires might burn cheerily,
If ever I’d have been
So single-hearted that all men might see
Through soot and grime the flame of life in me’[…]
There is no sense that privilege, or the lack of it, is deserved; rather, he uses the language of chance (‘if it had devolved on me’) or destiny — these are lives without agency. Insofar as there is a message, it is that society depends on the contribution of working men and women whose lives should be acknowledged and respected in their shared humanity. The work of the poet, then, is to make those lives visible, and the fact that he was widely known as ‘the People’s Poet’ testifies to his success in that respect.
Another relevant theme in Wifrid’s poetry appears in ‘Murderers’, from 1930:
And so we’re hanging Robert Smith today.
We’re hanging him?
Ay, so the papers say.
But I’m no hangman.
No, to save your face,
You pay another man to take your place.
Mine? Nonsense! I know nothing of the case:
Murders are not in my line: I’d not heard
A thing about it — hadn’t read a word…
Why, till you spoke just now, I didn’t know
There’d even been a trial!
Ay, just so,
Murders are not our line, as you say,
And yet we’re taking a man’s life to-day.
Explicitly about capital punishment and the need to face up to, and take responsibility for, what is done in our name, the poem recalls his horror at the legitimized killing of war, a recurrent theme in his poetry of the thirties and forties.
When it came to religion, Wilfrid and Elizabeth rejected the narrow certainties of their upbringing in very different ways. Though Wilfrid’s poems occasionally use Christian imagery, this is no indication of his beliefs, any more than his early poems on pagan themes. Friends and family knew him as an atheist: Dorothy Una Ratcliffe recalled his:
inability to accept any form of religion: many times he has spoken of the extraordinary fact that different forms of life prey on one another in order to survive. He cannot accept the belief that any well-disposed Power would permit such a state of things to exist: so that he considers all forms of belief in a Creator a form of wishful thinking.
His poem ‘Sabbath’ suggests a visceral revulsion from Christian worship:
Lowing of cattle as the twilight falls
Over green pastures and still waters deep;
Then not a sound save where a late thrush calls
The cheerful Christians in their chapel scream —
There is a fountain filled with blood …
However, few of his poems touch on religion, and the beliefs summarized in his 1925 poem ‘Enough’ remained constant throughout his life:
Then, have you no philosophy—
Come peace, come strife,
We must abide the day.
And after, when the light
Ebbs silently away?
We must abide the night.
And is there naught beside?
Enough, if we have lived before we died.
Elizabeth’s version of a Darwinian universe is very different:
The flaming visions come and go,
Throughout the sacred hours of night;
No tongue can tell, no pen can show
The Beauty of God, as, sea-foam white,
Flame-blue, fire-red, leaf-green, He stands
Unrolling Heaven with His hands,
For mortal hearing, sense and sight.
From the beginning, lo! He spreads
The universe, in wonder wide,
And aeon to aeon welds and weds
In mighty evolution-pride,
The cosmic Force, that sun and space
Creates, yet gives to man the grace
To flow in all Creation’s tide.
She rejected organised religion while remaining profoundly religious, seeking truth in all religions, interconnections rather than differences. It was God that mattered, not churches or dogmas. ‘A creed contains less of God than a hand can hold of the universe, she wrote.
19 ‘Religion is not God’, /But one of the many ways/ That lead to Him’.
These views resemble those of other feminists in the ethical movement, though despite her self-identification as a freethinker it is not clear if Elizabeth ever joined an ethical or freethought organization. Most of those tended towards what is now called secular humanism, and reviewers in the ethical press praised her work in spite of, rather than because of, its theism or perceived pantheistic tendencies. Whatever her practical involvement, her work did get published in ethical journals and also appeared in Social Worship, a collection of alternatives to traditional religious prayers, hymns and ceremonies. Elizabeth’s contribution to it includes this untitled Lesson:
‘Who is the Lord, of whom you are the servant?’
‘Gentleness, mercy, holy anger, sincerity, passion, and faithfulness are some of His names.
Others of his names are Gautama of India, Jesus of Nazareth, Emerson of Concord, Abdu’l-Bahá of Persia;
For Righteousness, the Redeemer, adopts many a name of our frail humanity in the course of Its everlasting life; and It is the light of white and dark peoples.
I am the servant of the Lord my God, who is one God, though called by innumerable beautiful names.’
‘Abdu’l-Bahá of Persia’ was the spiritual leader of the Bahá’í Faith, whose adherents in England included feminists, social reformers, radical clergy and others seeking a new religion for a new age. Through Thomas Cheyne, who had become a Bahá’í (though remaining an ordained Anglican priest), Abdu’l-Bahá met Elizabeth in 1912. He was impressed, describing her as ‘perfect, wise and a truth worshipper’, and ‘a saint’.
22 Be that as it may, Elizabeth kept her distance from the religious ’isms of her time, while expressing a consistent preference for ‘the way of Jesus’ as distinguished from organised Christianity. Jesus, she says, was not a Christian; He was a socialist and freethinker.
23 And: ‘God is part of every man …’:
God is not man’s lofty friend,
But man’s beginning and man’s end;
God is man, and man is God —
There is neither slave nor lord.
For her, God is woman, too, often referred to as ‘She’. Elizabeth writes of the Woman upon the Cross, God our Mother, Parent-God and Mother-Father God. If humans are children of God, sometimes God is the child of Man. As well as challenging the conventional masculinism of religion, this approach expands the notions of human and divine love and responsibility.
She never wrote sustained theological or political argument, using poems, parables, aphorisms, and other short texts to express feelings, to challenge the status quo, to provoke. However fragmentary or contradictory, there is a continuity of concern, a spiritual engagement with the world at all levels from intimate experience to international politics. Feminist, socialist and freethinker, became, for her, religious identities
Like her husband, she advocated internationalism and universalism. ‘[M]en are brothers, through and through; /Their life-blood flows in one broad stream’, she wrote.
25 She also scorned notions of white superiority, and pointed out that Jesus would have been dark-skinned. Thomas’s final book The Reconciliation of Races and Religions was published in 1914 at the onset of the Great War; he hoped its advocacy of respectful interchange between peoples of all religions would further the cause of world peace.
26 It was dedicated to his wife: both of them rejected the narrow patriotisms that led to — and justified — war.
Wilfrid’s feelings about the war were initially more ambivalent, and he tried to enlist in the army several times before finally being accepted in 1917; he later told Lawrence Binyon that it was not death he feared, but having to kill someone. Though many of his war poems are suffused with his own memories of the English countryside, they are never nationalistic: their sentiments, the stories they tell, could apply to soldiers or civilians anywhere. His post-war poems make plain his feelings about the futility of war, and the hypocrisies surrounding it:
Armistice Day, 1932
The buzzer sounds, and at our benches, we
Stopping the lathes, two minutes silently
Mourn for the lads who fell; then turn again
To making arms, for killing other men.
‘War would cease’ Elizabeth had written in 1909, ‘if every soldier recognized that he was a murderer’.
28 Before and after hostilities began, she published a number of anti-war poems, rejecting not only the notion of fighting for one’s country, but also the notion that men fought on behalf of women: ‘My brother goes, without my leave,/ To join in murderous war […] My Brother goes, without my song:/ I cannot lift my voice/ In prayer for stolen conquests […] Desert not peace and human ways […]’
Other poems sound a more directly religious note. ‘God Supplicates his Son’ begins:
My Son, O my Son, Man, why hast thou forsaken Me?
I have taught thee the alphabet of the book of peace;
I have helped thee to read its shining chapters; […]
But now thou hast torn and trampled upon the book […]
After Thomas died in 1915, Elizabeth tried to overcome her grief by doing war work in London with various Christian organisations. As the war dragged on, her religious and political ideas became increasingly conventional, and her final book waves the flag for God and country. Written shortly before the war ended, it is disturbingly reminiscent of Wilfrid’s depiction of bloodthirsty Christians in ‘Sabbath’, seeming to suggest that since extreme suffering is the only path to God, it is wrong to seek for peace.
31 Not long after, her mental health gave way; she died in Camberwell Asylum in 1931.
When Thomas died, Wilfrid had offered Elizabeth sanctuary in Dymock, but though she visited she did not stay. The little community was breaking up, and her brother preoccupied with his own problems. After that, while they maintained some contact, the increasing divergence of their views pushed them apart. Though Elizabeth was rapidly forgotten, Wilfrid continued to acknowledge her influence, and to regret that her poetry had not had the success he felt it deserved.
Both Elizabeth and Wilfrid aspired to produce ‘Art for Life’s sake’. If Elizabeth did so as a provocateur, Wilfrid’s contribution was to give expression to a structure of feeling, lending voice to those whose voices were rarely heard. Each of them in their different ways used their poetry to address questions of individual responsibility for what society does in our name.
‘For Life’s Sake’ implies that art should have an effect — not always easy to evaluate. During Elizabeth’s lifetime her work appeared in places ranging from mainstream journals to the little magazines of literary modernism, from the radical press to publications by Theosophists, Freemasons, and Ethical Societies. Though her numerous books of poetry and prose had limited circulation, they were noticed in the Times Literary Supplement as well as tiny specialist journals; while some reviewers disliked her increasingly plain and ‘unpoetic’ style, others spoke of her ‘rich simplicity of diction’ and ‘Whitmanesque disregard of conventional techniques,’ praising the ‘sheer beauty and unexpectedness of her thought.’
32 Her poems were quoted by social investigators, set to music, used in alternatives to traditional religious services, and read out at protest meetings.
Their quality, however, was very uneven, and her reputation rapidly overshadowed by that of her younger brother — who was, for a while at least, seen by many as a major poet of the new century. His poetry had a wide circulation, and he gave well-attended public readings in the UK and the USA; in the post-war years he occasionally spoke on the BBC. Audiences of workers responded warmly to readings of his poems of everyday lives, and soldiers took copies of Battle with them to the front, writing to thank him for expressing their own feelings about the war. Dominic Hibberd and others have written about his largely unacknowledged influence on other, now better known, war poets. Though his critical reputation has faded, several of his poems retain their popularity, continuing to be performed and anthologized.
Poetry, good or bad, has something to tell us about the times in which it was written, a useful though neglected source for the cultural historian. But whether written for Art’s sake, Life’s sake or its own sake, it comes to life in conversation with its readers. As long as it can find new readers, the conversation will go on.
Thanks to Carol Peaker, Jess Owen and Stephen Lamden for their respective leads to Free Russia, the ethical press, and the Bahá’í connections.
- Undated MS, Monroe Collection, University of Chicago. Written to accompany a poem which appeared in Poetry in 1913, the note was unused. NB Elizabeth Gibson Cheyne is her married name. I use whichever name appears on a particular piece of writing.
- Wilfrid Gibson, letter to Dorothy Una Ratcliffe, 20/9/35, Brotherton Collection, University of Leeds; ‘Spain, 1937’, Coming and Going, 1938, Oxford University Press.
- I discuss this stage of their life more fully in Shoulder to Shoulder: Elizabeth and Wilfrid Gibson, Dymock Poets and Friends, No.3, 2004, pp.23-33. More on the Gibsons.
- Wilfrid Gibson, ‘the Slave’ Free Russia, April 1, 1900, p.38.
- Though Elizabeth had previous experience of translating from Italian, it is unlikely either she or Wilfrid knew Russian.
- Robert was President of the SFRF, and Cockerell was a member; both were friends with Volkhovsky.
- Elizabeth Gibson to Sydney Cockerell, 14/6/1900, Cockerell archive, British Library.
- Elizabeth Gibson Cheyne, The Way of the Lord, , Mrs. Cheyne, Oxford, pp.32-3.
- Wilfrid Gibson, epigraph , to Fires, 1915, Elkin Mathews, London.
- From 1909, pensions, deliberately insufficient to live on, were payable to the poorest workers over 70. National Insurance, introduced in 1911, covered only a section of the workforce, with no provision for families. In 1906-7, local councils were empowered to provide free school meals and medical inspections. From 1912, they could also provide free medical treatment for children; few did so.
- Letter to Harold Monro, cited in Dominic Hibberd, Harold Monro, 2001, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke and New York, pp.54-5.
- Lascelles Abercrombie disapprovingly noted both Gibsons’ turn to ‘naked diction’ in Poetry Review, May 1912, 1:V, p. 227.
- Wilfrid Gibson, Hazards, 1930, Macmillan, London, p.15.
- ibid, p.19.
- Dorothy Una Ratcliffe, Cruise Diary, 17/5/1955, Brotherton Collection, University of Leeds.
- Wilfrid Gibson, I Heard a Sailor,1925, Macmillan, London.
- Wilfrid Gibson, The Golden Room and other poems 1925-27, 1928, Macmillan, London. p.154.
- Elizabeth Gibson Cheyne, Resurrection, 1915, Mrs. Gibson Cheyne, London, p.91.
- Elizabeth Gibson, Foam of the Wave, 1908, Elizabeth Gibson, Hexham, p.16.
- Elizabeth Gibson, ‘God and Man’, A Pilgrim’s Staff, 1908, Samurai Press, Cranleigh, Surrey, p.60.
- Stanton Coit (ed.) Social Worship, 1913, West London Ethical Society, London, Vol.1, p.14.
- Letter from Abdu’l-Bahá’ to Thomas Cheyne, 31/1/1914, translated by Stephen Lamden at: http://www.hurqalya.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/BIBLIOGRAPHY-HYP/0-T-K-CHEYNE.BIB/rev_t_k_cheyne-bib.htm; Sara Louise Blomfield, 1940, The Chosen Highway, Baha’i Publishing Trust, London, p.169.
- See Elizabeth Gibson Cheyne, [1914?] ‘Jesus and Christianity’, The Son of Man is Come, Mrs. Cheyne, Oxford, p.23.
- Elizabeth Gibson Cheyne, ‘God in Man’, Oxford, op cit, p.12.
- Elizabeth Gibson Cheyne, ‘Kinship’, ibid, p.30.
- T.K. Cheyne, The Reconciliation of Races and Religions, 1914, A. & C. Black, London.
- Wilfrid Gibson, New Statesman and Nation, 12 Nov.1932.
- Elizabeth Gibson, Welling of Waters, 1909, E. Gibson, Hexham, p.11.
- Elizabeth Gibson Cheyne, ‘Man’s Sister Upbraids Him’, A Rosary, 1914, Mrs. Cheyne, Oxford.
- Elizabeth Gibson Cheyne, Litanies, 1914, Mrs. Cheyne, Oxford, 1914, p.10.
- Elizabeth Gibson Cheyne, The Wilderness Shall Blossom as the Rose, 1918, J.W.Sparks, London.
- Literary World, undated flyer; W.K. Seymour, ‘Mrs Gibson Cheyne’s Poems’, Ethical World, Nov. 1, 1915, p174.