What is the poem Miles recites in “The Innocents”?

WordPress kindly provides me with the various terms people have searched on to get to this blog. Many of these search terms are very obviously essay assignments. As I have said before, those students who really can’t be arsed to do their own work and who aren’t above plagiarism are welcome to steal whatever they can from this blog, as long as they bear in mind that this blog is not written to exacting scholarly standards; and that if they can find this blog from a search engine, so can examiners.

But be that as it may. One search item that ferquently finds this blog is the question “What is the poem Miles recites in The Innocents“? Search engines then provide a link to a post I had written some time ago on Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, and the film The Innocents, that was based on it. However, that post does not answer the question. So, as this blog is ever ready to be as helpful as possible, the answer is:

The poem was written by scripwriter Truman Capote specially for the film.

No charge – all part of the service.

(And I’d be grateful if students who have nicked some part of this blog for their essay assignment could let me know what grade they got for it.)

12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Charley on October 24, 2014 at 10:28 am

    So that was Capote, eh? Well, well…you live and learn.

    Now if you can only tell me what Brando as Quint was doing when he had Miss Jessel trussed up like a chicken in ‘The Nightcomers’. I mean, I can guess (I think) but I sneaked into that over forty years ago and I’m not the better for it yet!

    And whilst you’re at it, what was Scully’s dead father saying to her in that creepy first season episode of The X-Files; what did Maureen O’Hara whisper to Wayne at the end of ‘The Quiet Man’; and where can I buy a copy of the Necronomicon?

    Sorry, my mind runs to lamentable (but enjoyable) pop culture questions.

    As for stealing from your blog…listen, take it as a compliment!


    • You actually want a rationale for what happens in a Michael Winner film?

      At the end of The Quiet Man, Maureen O’Hara whispers into John Wayne’s ear a reference to the promised spanking which, I am reliably informed, was too obscene explicitly spoken nback in the 50s.

      Ias for stealing from the blog – yes, I do indeed regard it as a compliment! Except for the posts I have written under the influence of alcohol, that is,

      Cheers for now,


  2. Posted by John Henrick on October 24, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Himadri, young Miles must have been quite a naughty lad to have been expelled from school. Even his mnemonic Latin song has been found to be filthy, as a click on http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~loxias/news/britten.htm will reveal.


    • Ah yes, but that’s the work oif Myfanwy Piper and benjamin Britten – filthy minded beasts! I’m sure that the lovely Henry James had no such thought at all in his mind…

      (Perhaps i should find an icon to indicate sarcasm, in case I’m misunderstood here!)

      I do like that link though…

      All the best, Himadri


  3. Posted by Kathy Tipping on October 24, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Himadri, I am astounded to read this post. I googled this question a week ago and was linked to your essay amongst other pertinent articles. Very spooky that even anonymously, you are monitored on every last google whim. Good to know my curiosity sends ripples into the ether and provokes comment, but I must insist that no plagiarist motivation was at the heart of my inquiry! Best, Kath.


    • Hello Kathy, I had not the slightest thought in the world of charging you with plagiarism! Or, indeed, anyone else who came to this blog googling on this question. There have been other searches, though, that are blatant. Searches along the lines of “Macbeth was spurred on to murder purely by his wife. Discuss.”

      Not that I mind – I’d feel quite chuffed, actually, if any of my meanderings ever found its way into school and college assignments. I just want to knw what grade I got! 🙂

      All the best, Himadri


  4. Posted by Charley on October 24, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Good Lord, of course! ‘The Nightcomers’ WAS a Michael Winner film —auteur and friend to people of Good Taste everywhere! (When you get that little sarcasm icon, I have to borrow it, Himadri.)

    As to your explanation of Maureen’s words to Wayne, well…now that I think of it, wasn’t there a scene in that movie where Wayne is offered a stick to ‘beat the lovely lady with’? Try to get that past today’s PC crowd.

    It’s all so clear to me now!

    Between Brando, Winner, O’Hara and the lot of them I seem to sense a fetish theme opening up here.

    Once again I owe you apologies for lowering the tone on this excellent blog. On the other hand, a lot of comments for such a short article…


  5. Posted by alan on October 26, 2014 at 8:49 am

    I think that you should also mention to potential plagiarists that your occasional mild scepticism about current fashions in literary criticism might have a deleterious impact upon the grade they get for your work.


  6. One of my continuing best-read posts is about an Ibsen play. Initially I entitled it Doll House and illustrated it with a toy doll house under construction. When I saw the unusual number of hits I realized I was getting the hobbyists and collectors, so I changed the title to Ibsen’s Doll House. No effect.


    • Hello Nancy,

      “A Doll’s House” is a very popular play, so it’s not perhaps so surprising that your post on it gets so many hits! I’veoften wondered, by teh eay, why it sis that so many actresses queue up to play Nora or Hedda gabler, while virtually ignoring comparably great female roles such as Rebecca West (Rosmersholm”, Ellida Wangel (The Lady from the Sea), Rita Allmers (The Master Builder), Ella Rentheim and gunhild Borkman (John Gabriel Borkman), etc.

      All the best for now, Himadri


  7. Posted by Steven Stevens on August 11, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    Dear Old Git Thank you for your answer about the poem in’The Innocents’.I’m just an old guy watching the film again. I do hope search engines will become sophisticated enough for professors to be able to submit papers and spot plagiarism – alas, it appears cheating and short-cuts.have become rather a standard . World leaders certainly helped set the lowest of examples . Again,thanks for the answer .


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