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Uncollected, Lost and Found

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Update for Anna W. Walii’s comment on GeviertstricheEm Dashes
and Ihr seid so gut:

To ——— [first version]

Ah, wherefore, lonely, to and fro
Flittest like the shades that go
Pale wandering by the weedy stream?
We, like these, are but a dream:
Then dreams, and less, our passions be;
Yea, fear and sorrow, and despair
Be but phantoms. But what plea
Avails here? phantoms having power
To make the heart quake and the spirit cower.

The place Anna W. Walii found the pictured pages with poems was an abandoned former holiday camp for boys called Boys Village, located in South Wales, UK. It was demolished and had not been in use for approximately 15 years (which could have been 20, could have been 10).

Everything was removed from the place, and that’s why Anna was so surprised to see some pages from the book spread around. Now the question was, for how long they had been around? They look quite old, but at the same time, if they were left there since Boys Village times, they would have been in a much worse condition. And perhaps the book was not all about Herman Melville exclusively, perhaps this was a collected works of different poets?

The pictures of texts used to be uploaded into an entry; Anna showed great interest if they looked familiar to me. Maybe, she presumed, it was much ado about nothing, but she was quite intrigued and would love to solve the mystery.

The poem text Anna obviously had searched for was Herman Melville’s To ———, which I used to adopt for a quite epic Melville-, poetry-, and Munich-related poem named Geviertstriche (Em Dashes), and which had not been online anywhere but here. I had taken it from my copy of John Bryant (ed.): Herman Melville: Tales, Poems, and Other Writings, an utter beautiful and very useful sampler of rare Melvillena, because I needed a rare English poem that existed in two versions.

Trouble with searching it is, none of the moderately differing versions of To ——— do even occur in the complete The Poems of Herman Melville by Douglas Robillard, since it was not included in any of Melville’s poetry collections. So John Bryant’s sampler seems to be the only available book containing To ———.

From the editor, we learn about To ———:

Melville considered including this poem among his Rose Poems, in Weeds and Wildings, but dropped it, no doubt because it lacks a rose or two. The poem echoes the “palely loitering” knight of Keats’s “La Belle Dame Sans Merci.” (See also “Pontoosuce.”)

Useful to hear — however no help for Anna, what book pages she found in South Wales. It is definitely not Bryant — but all three of the found poems are “uncollected” ones by Melville. So I assume that the book might have been one that had taken its function before Bryant was published in 2002. I encourage you to tell me or Anna if you have any hints.

In case somebody who knows the book is lead here, I cite Anna’s found poems in full text, from a newer site with all Collected Poems of Herman Melville (a dearly recommended link!):

Herman Melville, To ---------, book page

To ——— [second version]

Ah, wherefore, lonely, to and fro
Flittest like the shades that go
Pale wandering by the weedy stream?
We, like these, are but a dream:
Then dreams, and less, our miseries be;
Yea, fear and sorrow, pain, despair
Are but phantoms. But what plea
Avails here? phantoms having power
To make the heart quake and the spirit cower.

Herman Melville, Give Me the Nerve, book page

Give me the Nerve

     Give me the nerve
That never will swerve
Running out on life’s ledges of danger;
     Mine, mine be the nerve
That in peril will serve,
Since life is to safety a stranger.

     When roaring below
The cataracts go,
And tempests are over me scudding;
     Give, give me the calm
That is better than balm,
And the courage that keepeth new-budding.

Herman Melville, Give Me the Nerve, book page

My Jacket Old

My jacket old, with narrow seam—
When the dull day’s work is done
I dust it, and of Asia dream,
Old Asia of the sun!
There other garbs prevail;
Yea, lingering there, free robe and vest
Edenic Leisure’s age attest
Ere Work, alack, came in with Wail.

Books continue to be found and lost.

Images: Anna W. Walii, August 2009.

Written by Wolf

11. October 2010 at 6:55 am

Posted in Laderaum, Rabe Wolf

9 Responses

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  1. Thank you for this update Wolf, who knows, perhaps one day the mystery will be solved..
    All the best,
    Anna

    Anna

    11. October 2010 at 4:34 pm

  2. Finally I was ready to give your Polish tdxt into Google-Translator to correct the typical mess you get out of there — and found it gone as well. No end to the mysteries .ò)

    Wolf

    11. October 2010 at 4:46 pm

  3. Well, the text wasn’t actually related to the topic of our ‘conversation’, I only used this entry to upload some pictures for you. Misunderstanding, I guess..
    Google translator, oh, yes, it can be quite entertaining :)

    Anna

    11. October 2010 at 10:40 pm

  4. Oj — so I could have started my encouragement to browse through people’s Melvilleana months ago? I’m sure we will have an answer before Christmas :o)

    Wolf

    12. October 2010 at 7:13 am

  5. […] Update for Uncollected Lost and Found: […]

  6. These are pages from the 1947 “Collected Poems of Herman Melville”, edited by Howard Vincent. The “To —” poem appears on page 392 of that edition. The bent over former page shows the title of another poem, “Give Me The Nerve”, which does appear on page 391 of that edition. “My Jacket Old” is positioned below “Give Me The Nerve” on page 391.

    Lloyd Holden

    25. July 2011 at 10:28 pm

  7. Our saviour :o)

    I’m sure I’ll blog this sometime. Not today or tomorrow maybe — but see me grateful for the eventual answer.

    Wolf

    26. July 2011 at 6:06 am

  8. Mistery solved, great! Thank you Lloyd. By the way, I visited a place where I had found the scraps again, and they’ve gone. Finally desolved in the rain, probably. Gone, but preserved in our conversation. A nice story, isn’t it.
    Regards
    Anna

    Anna

    26. July 2011 at 2:15 pm

  9. Oh — you found it. I visited your blog to tell you, did not find any entry, remembered that you just uploaded the pictures, and started thinking a bout a proper place to tell :)

    Exactly what I thought: the pages might be gone entirely in the meantime, they just endure here — a nice story.

    Wolf

    26. July 2011 at 3:04 pm


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