Percy Hugh Beverley Lyon
Biography of Percy Hugh Beverley Lyon
Percy Hugh Beverley Lyon MC (1893–1986) was a 20th-century British poet and educator, a winner of the Newdigate Prize and headmaster of Rugby School from 1931 to 1948.
Lyon studied at Oriel College, Oxford, publishing a number of lyrics in Oxford Poetry between 1910 and 1914.
He interrupted his studies during the First World War, serving as a lieutenant in the Durham Light Infantry and earning the Military Cross. Taken prisoner, he was in Graudenz at the end of hostilities.
Upon returning to Oxford after the war, he won the Newdigate Prize in 1919 with his poem France, although he was better known for his peace poem, "Now to be Still and Rest". In 1919 he also had a number of poems accepted for publication in Oxford Poetry: "The Secret Playroom (Graudenz, 1918)", "The Song of Strength" and "The Deserted Garden".
He went on to publish poetry in periodicals that included the London Mercury, The Oxford Magazine, The Spectator, and the Westminster Gazette.
Lyon was father to three daughters, Jill, Barbara and the children's writer Elinor Lyon.
From 1926 to 1931 he was the rector of the Edinburgh Academy. Within a month of taking up the post, he proposed a redesign of the school cap and during his five years of his rectorship, he set up a the Edinburgh Academy Stockbridge Club, a social club for boys in the district, persuaded the directors to install electric lighting throughout the school and himself directed the school's first Shakespeare production, Hamlet.
From 1931 to 1948 he was headmaster of Rugby School. While Headmaster, he was mentor and friend to John Gillespie Magee, Jr., author of the famous poem High Flight. Magee also fell in love with Lyon's daughter Elinor. After serving as headmaster, Lyon opened the Public Schools Appointment Bureau to find jobs for ex-public school boys.
' Earth puts her colours by, '
And veils her in one whispering cloak of shadow;
Green goes from the meadow,
Red leaves and flowers and shining pools are shrouded;
A few stars sail upon a windy sky,
And the moon is clouded.
The delicate music, traced
In and out of the soft lights and the laughter,