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William Empson's poem 'Letter I' appears to anticipate the black hole, using the idea of a dying star from which no light escapes as a metaphor for unrequited passion. Closer inspection of the Cambridge undergraduate context in which the poem was written, along with the other source materials incorporated besides Arthur Eddington in the poem, reveals the motivation behind Empson's playful engagement with the limits of what was possible under general relativity. Empson's attempt to follow thedoi:10.1179/030801805x64906 fatcat:74v3lh5mfjdnbfroc6jlrya5fm