PRIVATE MAXWELL GREEN
HONOURABLE ARTILLERY COMPANY
1ST JANUARY 1970 AGE 19
BURIED: VOORMEZEELE ENCLOSURE NO. 3, YPRES, BELGIUM
Maxwell Green's parents have adapted a passage from Robert Browning's The Ring and the Book. During his lifetime this was Browning's best selling publication, a verse poem running to 21,000 lines. The subject of the poem is a seventeenth-century Roman murder case in which a husband is accused of killing his wife and her parents because he suspects she's been having an affair. The lines from which the inscription is taken read:
The heart and its immeasurable love
Of my one friend, my only, all my own,
Who put his breast between the spears and me.
Ever with Caponsacchi! ...
The day-star stopped its task that makes night morn!
O lover of my life, O soldier saint,
No work begun shall ever pause for death!
The murdered wife is Pompilia and the man who is accused of being her lover, Caponsacchi, did indeed love and worship her but as one might love and worship the Virgin Mary. Caponsacchi is Browning's idea of heroic manhood - passionate, earnest and good hearted.
Maxwell Green was scarecely more than a school boy. He was educated at Haberdashers' Aske. The records say that he enlisted in August 1914 and further information relates that had attended the University of London and worked in insurance. As he was only 19 when he was killed I think it's more likely that he had a place at university but joined up instead and that the reference to insurance was to his father whose business if definitely was.