Sunday, September 9, 2018

Not Mary Elizabeth Frye

Here's something different, though not entirely out of place, I hope, considering the number and relative popularity of Melvilliana posts on authorship questions.
As my article in the current issue of Notes and Queries (September 2018) demonstrates, the consoling poem known as Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep was originally written by Kansas native Clare Harner (1909-1977) and published under the title "Immortality" in the December 1934 issue of The Gypsy.

Clare Harner
The ubiquity of attributions to Mary Elizabeth Frye (1905-2004) in print and online formats, calls to mind the persistence with which the quote "We cannot live for ourselves alone...." has been falsely attributed (by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Garrison Keillor, for example) to Herman Melville.
On the internet right now, attributions of Clare Harner's "Immortality" to Mary Elizabeth Frye are sometimes accompanied by photographs wrongly supposed to represent the "Baltimore housewife and florist."
Newspaper columnist Richard K. Shull first attributed the poem to "Mrs. Mary Frye" in a story for The Indianapolis News (June 9, 1983). As portrayed by Shull, however, the admirable Mrs. Frye sounds more like a copyist than composer. And the extended version presented by Shull as "her original text" is certainly not the "modern definitive version" of "Do not stand at my grave and weep" given in the London Times obituary of Mary E. Frye.

Of two pictures most often identified by internet sources as Mary Elizabeth Frye of Baltimore, neither actually depicts the person claimed. Though intended to represent Mary Elizabeth Frye the homespun poet of "Do not stand at/by my grave and weep," these pictures are in fact photographs of other women, namely:
  1. Mary Frye of Dallas, Texas; and
  2. Mary Elizabeth Switzer
Mary Frye of Dallas has long been a leader in the home decor business.
"She is an active industry advocate, speaker and panelist at home furnishings seminars and conferences. A strong supporter of networking and a believer in servant leadership, she is dedicated to the mission of fostering connections to grow careers and build lasting relationships." --WithIt 2011 Professional Conference brochure
As president of Home Furnishings Independents Association in 2010, Mary Frye won the Chairman's Appreciation Award. The 2010 announcement of her award was accompanied by a smart, business-style photograph that has since been misidentified as a portrait of Mary Elizabeth Frye the reputed author of "Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep."
Mary Frye
via Furniture Today
This Mary Frye continues to excel in her field, recently winning a 2018 WOW Award for Mentoring. Professional articles in RetailerNOW by Mary Frye, executive vice president of the Home Furnishings Association may be found via the link below:
For an updated photo see Mary Frye on LinkedIn.

Another image misidentified online as Mary Elizabeth Frye of Baltimore is in fact a portrait of Mary Elizabeth Switzer (1900-1971), the distinguished government administrator and influential advocate of expanded services for persons with disabilities.

Mary Elizabeth Switzer (1900-1971)
via Smithsonian Institution
More about Mary Elizabeth Switzer:
  • Mary E. Switzer Facts 
I don't know why, but the bio of Mary Elizabeth Frye at Emily's Poetry Blog features an image of Margaret Thatcher.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Battle-Pieces in Gold Hill, Nevada

From the Gold Hill Daily News (Gold Hill, Nevada), October 1, 1866; found at GenealogyBank.

Gold Hill [Nevada] Daily News - October 1, 1866
The author of "Pypee," "Omoo," "Pierre" and "Moby Dick" has a reputation on both sides of the Atlantic as a writer of strange novels, but it is a new thing for him to appear as the author of a volume of poems. As such, however, he has ventured to come before the public with a beautifully-printed volume entitled "Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War," published by the Harpers. We have had barely time to give the book a hasty glance, but are satisfied that it is of a far different character from that of the most of the published "poetry of the war," which has been entailed on us along with the national debt and other afflictions.
When this notice of Melville's Battle-Pieces appeared, publisher Philip Lynch was also "sole editor" of the Gold Hill Daily News. (Alfred Doten came on as associate editor the next year, in November 1867.)
"According to the Nevada historian Myron Angel, under Lynch the Gold Hill Daily News gained a reputation as 'the best-printed [paper] of any on the Pacific Coast.'"
--Nevada Digital Newspaper Project
Mark Twain gave his Sandwich Islands lecture in Gold Hill on November 10, 1866, and afterwards endured a famous hold-up, perpetrated by his friends.

Gold Hill Daily News (Gold Hill, Nevada) - November 10, 1866
via GenealogyBank

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

To Daniel Shepherd


Come, Shepherd, come and visit me:
Come, we'll make it A[r]cady:
Come, if but for charity.
Sure, with such a pastoral name,
Thee the city should not claim.
Come, then, Shepherd, come away,
Thy sheep in bordering pastures stray.
Come, Daniel, come and visit me:
I'm lost in many a quandary:
I've dreamed, like Bab’lon’s Majesty:
Prophet, come expound for me. —
I dreamed I saw a laurel grove,
Claimed for his by the bird of love,
Who, elate with such dominion,
Oft cuffed the boughs with haughty pinion.
Indignantly the trees complain,
Accusing his afflictive reign.
Their plaints the chivalry excite
Of chanticleers, a plucky host:
They battle with the bird of light.
Beaten, he wings his northward flight,
No more his laurel realm to boast,
Where now, to crow, the cocks alight,
And — break down all the branches quite!
Such a weight of friendship pure
The grateful trees could not endure.
This dream, it still disturbeth me:
Seer, foreshows it Italy?
But other visions stir my head;
No poet-problems, fancy-fed —
Domestic prose of board and bed.
I marvel oft how guest unwined
Will to this farm-house be resigned.
Not a pint of ruby claret
     Cooleth in our cellar-bin;
And ripening in our sultry garret,
     Otard glows no flask within.
(Claret and otard here I name
Because each is your fav’rite flame:
Placed ’tween the two decanters, you,
Like Alexander, your dear charmers view,
And both so fair you find, you neither can eschew: —
That’s what they call an Alexandrine; }
Don’t you think it very damn’d fine?  }
— Brackets serve to fence this prattle,
Pound for episodic cattle. —
I said that me the Fates do cripple
In matter of a wholesome ‘tipple” —
Now, is it for oft cursing gold,
     For lucre vile,
The Hags do thus from me withhold
     Sweet Bacchus’ smile?
Smile, that like other smiles as mellow,
Not often greets Truth’s simple fellow: —
For why? Not his the magic dollar?
You should know, you Wall-Street scholar! —
Of Bourbon that is rather new
I brag a fat black bottle or two. —
Shepherd, is this such Mountain-Dew
As one might fitly offer you?
Yet if cold water will content ye
My word, of that ye shall have plenty.
Thanks to late floods, our spring, it brims, —
Will’t mind a crush * of goblet-rims?
I've told some doubts that sadly pose me:
Come then now straight resolve me.
Come, these matters sagely read,
Daniel, of the prophet breed.
Daniel Shepherd, come and rove —
     Freely rove the fairy dells;
The one the Housatonic clove,
     And that where genial friendship dwells.

Pittsfield July 6th 1859
 [--Herman Melville, as first published in Willard Thorp, Herman Melville: Representative Selections (American Book Company, 1938), pages 346-8.]
*The MS. may read “a crunch.” [Thorp's note.]
Where Thorp reads "bird of love," the 1993 Northwestern-Newberry Edition of Melville's Correspondence edited by Lynn Horth has "bird of Jove." Of old the Roman Eagle, as in Dante:
... Never fire,
With so swift motion, forth a stormy cloud
Leap'd downward from the welkin's furthest bound,
As I beheld the bird of Jove descend
Down through the tree; and, as he rush'd, the rind
Disparting crush beneath him; buds much more,
And leaflets.
--Purgatory Canto 32, trans. Henry Francis Cary (not marked in Melville's copy of The Vision, accessible via Melville's Marginalia Online).
But here in the poem "To Daniel Shepherd," Melville's "bird of Jove" signifies the Austrian Empire with its adopted symbol of the double-headed eagle, as as Dennis Berthold points out in American Risorgimento (Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 2009), page 190.

According to the memorial at Find A Grave, Daniel Shepherd (1820-1870) was born on July 22, 1820 and died on the same day and month fifty years later. Thorp says that Shepherd returned to Saratoga Springs, New York in 1861. Confirmed, along with the coincidence of Shepherd's death on "his fiftieth birthday," by the obituary published in The Saratogian on Thursday, July 28, 1870.

The Saratogian (Saratoga Springs, New York) - July 28, 1870

Death of Daniel Shepherd.

It is our sad duty to record the death of DANIEL SHEPHERD, Esq., of this village, which occurred on Friday morning—his fiftieth birthday. Mr. Shepherd was a native of this county, a son of Hon. William Shepherd of Clifton Park, and inherited superior ability. He was a graduate of Union College, and distinguished for his literary attainments. After his graduation he came to this village, and studied law with Hon. W. A. Beach, and subsequently became connected with him in the practice of his profession. About this time he married Miss Mary R. White, a step-daughter of Dr. John Clarke, of the Congress Spring, and soon after formed a co-partnership with Hon. Chesseldon Ellis, of Waterford, at the close of that gentleman's career in Congress, and they removed to New York to engage in the legal profession. He resided in New York, continuing his legal practice, something less than fifteen years, and returned to Saratoga in the spring of 1861, since which time he has lived among us.

Mr. Shepherd was no ordinary man. His abilities were of a high order. He was a fine scholar, and a learned and able lawyer; but his tastes and culture were more distinctly literary than professional, and his energies were largely devoted to literary work. He was a successful writer of newspaper stories, and achieved considerable distinction as the author of a work entitled "Saratoga; a tale of 1787," in which he delineated frontier life with a masterly hand. He possessed a fine personal presence, was eminently social and genial in his nature, and with his bright and polished intellect he combined advantages which few young men possess in so high degree. But unfortunately, while in New York, he embarked in business enterprises that failed to realize his expectations, and involved him in difficulties, which proved too much for his sensitive nature, exerting a depressing influence upon his mind, and he has been almost entirely withdrawn from active life since his return to Saratoga. He has left a wife and four children (three sons and a daughter,) and a large number of relatives and personal friends, to mourn his death.
--The Saratogian (Saratoga Springs, New York), July 28, 1870 via Fulton History.
The Harvard copy of Saratoga: A Story of 1787 by Allan Melville's law partner and Herman's friend Daniel Shepherd is accessible online via Google Books:
This particular volume was inscribed by the author to S. D. Tillman. Also available online courtesy of HathiTrust Digital Library.

Another Google-digitized volume, this one evidently from Stanford, is accessible via The Internet Archive:

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Willard Thorp's Herman Melville: Representative Selections

A treasure of Melville's writings and Melville scholarship, valuable as ever eighty years on, and now more accessible than ever since getting Google-digitized. First published by the American Book Company in 1938, Willard Thorp's Melville offers a generous selection of poetry as well as prose, including the first publication of Melville's 1859 poem To Daniel Shepherd.

At least one copy (from University of California) is available online courtesy of
and another from Digital Library of India via
  • The Internet Archive

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Confidence-Man in Nashville

From The Nashville Patriot of May 9, 1857; found at GenealogyBank among newspapers added "within 3 months":

Nashville Patriot - May 9, 1857
THE CONFIDENCE-MAN; His Masquerade. By HERMAN MELVILLE, author of 'Piazza Tales,' 'Omoo,' 'Typee,' etc. New York: Dix, Edwards & Co.

The announcement of a new book from the pen of Herman Melville, is sufficient to attract attention. To those who have read Typee, and Omoo, no book authorized by Melville, can escape a reading. The subject of this work the "Confidence-man" is somewhat out of his usual vein. The scenes are taken from aboard a Mississippi steamer, and includes men and things as they occur and appear between St. Louis and New Orleans. It preserves a fine interest throughout.
As indicated on the masthead, The Nashville Patriot was then edited by William Henry Smith and  Ira P. Jones.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Poems by Herman Melville

Five "Poems by Herman Melville" were posthumously reprinted from Timoleon (1891) in The Century Volume 44 (May 1892) on pages 104-105. Arthur Stedman selected Melville's poems "Art," "Monody," "The Night-March," "The Weaver," and "Lamia's Song," presenting them with reference to both John Marr and Other Sailors and Timoleon as "the last fruit off an old tree." Stedman's 1892 collection receives brief mention in the Northwestern-Newberry Edition of Melville's Published Poems, in the editorial notes on "Monody." Previously cited also by Howard Vincent in Collected Poems and Merton M. Sealts, Jr. in The Early Lives of Melville (page 54), but little discussed in Melville scholarship. The Contents section gives them collectively as "POEMS" under "Poetry" and names "Herman Melville" as the author. 

Arthur Stedman receives due credit for the Introduction.

[THE death of Herman Melville, which took place in New York soon after midnight on the morning of September 28, 1891, was the signal for an outpouring of articles on the life and writings of an author whose vogue had temporarily subsided, partly through his own self-seclusion. Melville has rightly been called the pioneer of South Sea romance, and his "Typee " and "Omoo" gained an international reputation at an earlier date than the writings of Lowell, although both authors were born in the same year—1819. These books, with "Moby-Dick; or, the White Whale," soon became classics of American literature, and are likely to remain such. They have been continuously in print in England, and new American editions are now in course of publication. Melville's art of casting a glamour over scenes and incidents in the South Pacific, witnessed and experienced by himself, has not been exceeded even by Pierre Loti. The Civil War first turned his attention to lyrical writing, and many of his "Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War" (1866) obtained a wide circulation. Near the close of his life he had printed for private distribution a few copies of two little books of miscellaneous poems, the last fruit off an old tree, entitled "John Marr and Other Sailors" and "Timoleon." From these volumes the following pieces have been selected.

Arthur Stedman.]


IN placid hours well pleased we dream
Of many a brave, unbodied scheme;
But form to lend, pulsed life create,
What unlike things must meet and mate:
A flame to melt, a wind to freeze;
Sad patience, joyous energies;
Humility, yet pride and scorn;
Instinct and study; love and hate;
Audacity, reverence. These must mate
And fuse with Jacob's mystic heart,
To wrestle with the angel—Art.


TO have known him, to have loved him,
       After loneness long;
And then to be estranged in life,
       And neither in the wrong;
And now for Death to set his seal —
       Ease me, a little ease, my song!
By wintry hills his hermit-mound
       The sheeted snow-drifts drape,
And houseless there the snowbird flits
       Beneath the fir-trees' crape:
Glazed now with ice the cloistral vine
       That hid the shyest grape.


WITH banners furled, and clarions mute,
   An Army passes in the night;
And beaming spears and helms salute
   The dark with bright.

In silence deep the legions stream,
   With open ranks, in order true;
Over boundless plains they stream and gleam —
   No chief in view!

Afar in twinkling distance lost
   (So legends tell) he lonely wends,
And back through all that shining host
   His mandate sends.


FOR years within a mud-built room
   For Arva's shrine he weaves the shawl,
Lone wight, and at a lonely loom,
   His busy shadow on the wall.

The face is pinched, the form is bent,
   No pastime knows he, nor the wine;
Recluse he lives, and abstinent,
   Who weaves for Arva's shrine.


DESCEND, descend!
       Pleasant the downward way,
From your lonely Alp
With the wintry scalp
To our myrtles in valleys of May.
       Wend then, wend!
Mountaineer, descend!
And more than a wreath shall repay.
       Come — ah, come!
With the cataracts come,
That hymn as they roam,
How pleasant the downward way!

Herman Melville.

A few years later the Kansas City Star reprinted "Monody" (October 16, 1894); "The Night March" (November 14, 1894); and "Art" (May 17, 1895).

Kansas City Star - October 16, 1894
via GenealogyBank
Numerous digitized copies of The Century Volume 44 with "Poems by Herman Melville" are now available courtesy of HathiTrust Digital Library, including

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Pre-1844 attributions of "A Visit from St Nicholas" to Clement C. Moore

Washington Daily National Intelligencer - December 28, 1843
via GenealogyBank
Clement C. Moore contributed four poems to The New-York Book of Poetry (New York: George Dearborn, 1837), one of which was A Visit from St Nicholas.

Moore's authorship of the beloved Christmas poem (aka "The Night Before Christmas") was already established when he affirmed his prior claim in a letter to the editor of the New York American, published March 1, 1844.

Moore-New York American-1March1844
Clement C. Moore, letter dated February 27, 1844 to Charles King, editor of the New York American
New York American (March 1, 1844) via Wikimedia Commons
LINES TO ST. NICHOLAS.— The following note from our friend C. C. Moore, the author of those lines which every child among us delights to hear, about Christmas, and which parents with not less delight recite, brings to our notice, one of the boldest acts of plagiarism of which we have any recollection. We ask the National Intelligencer to have the goodness to insert Mr. Moore's noteand if possible to elucidate the mistake, if such it be, or fraud attempted in respect of such well known lines.
New York, Feb. 27, 1844 
Dear Sir—My attention was, a few days ago, directed to the following communication, which appears in the National Intelligencer of the 25th of December last.
"Washington, Dec. 22d, 1843.
Gentlemen—The enclosed lines were written by Joseph Wood, artist, for the National Intelligencer, and published in that paper in 1827 or 1828, as you may perceive from your files. By republishing them, as the composition of Mr. Wood you will gratify one who has now few sources of pleasure left. Perhaps you may comply with this request, if it be only for 'auld lang syne.'" 
The above is printed immediately over some lines, describing a visit from St. Nicholas, which I wrote many years ago, I think somewhere between 1823 and 1824, not for publication, but to amuse my children. They, however, found their way, to my great surprise, in the Troy Sentinel: nor did I know, until lately, how they got there. When "The New York Book" was about to be published, I was applied to for some contribution to the work. Accordingly, I gave the publisher several pieces, among which was the "Visit from St. Nicholas." It was printed under my name, and has frequently since been republished, in your paper among others, with my name attached to it.  
Under these circumstances, I feel it incumbent on me not to remain silent, while so bold a claim, as the above quoted, is laid to my literary property, however small the intrinsic value of that property may be. 
The New York Book was published in 1827 [1837]. 
Yours, truly and respectfully,   
Chas. King, Esq.
As stated in this 1844 letter, transcribed above, Moore was prompted to reassert his claim by a false attribution in the Washington National Intelligencer. When he wrote Charles King of the American on February 27, 1844, Moore did not know that the National Intelligencer had already corrected the error, as pointed out by the Washington editor on March 6, 1844. Moore subsequently included "A Visit from St. Nicholas" in his 1844 volume, Poems.

Below are listed some of the earliest known attributions of "A Visit from St. Nicholas" to Clement C. Moore, all made before Moore published his 1844 book of Poems with "A Visit from St. Nicholas" on pages 124-7.

"A few days since the editors of the New York Courier, at the request of a lady, inserted some lines descriptive of one of the Christmas visits of that good old Dutch saint, St. Nicholas, and at the same time applied to our Albany neighbors for information as to the author. That information, we apprehend, the Albany editors cannot give. The lines were first published in this paper. They came to us from a manuscript in possession of a lady in this city. We have been given to understand that the author of them belongs by birth and residence to the city of New York, and that he is a gentleman of more merit as a scholar and a writer than many of more noisy pretensions. We republish the lines in a preceding column just as they originally appeared, because we still think of them as at first, and for the satisfaction of our brethren of the Courier, one of whom, at least, is an Arcadian."  --Troy Sentinel, January 20, 1829; as quoted by Arthur James Weise in Troy's One Hundred Years (Troy, NY, 1891).
Deaths and Bereavement 1828-1830
Clement C. Moore's daughter Emily died in 1828, just six years old. In the year 1830 Moore lost his wife Eliza (d. 4 April 1830) and daughter Charity Elizabeth (d. 14 December 1830). Moore gave heartfelt poetic expression to his grief in a poem titled, To Southey. Any later recollection of Christmas joys experienced in 1822 when "A Visit from St. Nicholas" was originally composed would have been tempered by remembrance of lost loved ones.

New York American for the Country - April 9, 1830
On Sunday evening, after a long illness, which she endured with Christian resignation and fortitude, Catherine Eliza, wife of Clement C. Moore.

The friends and relations of the deceased, and of her husband, are respectfully invited to attend the funeral to-morrow afternoon, at 5 o'clock, from No. 1 Charlton-street. --New York American, Monday, April 5, 1830; reprinted in New York American for the Country on Friday, April 9, 1830.
New York Evening Post - December 15, 1830
On Tuesday, the 14th instant, Charity Elizabeth, second daughter of Clement C. Moore. The friends of the family are respectfully invited to attend her funeral on Thursday, at 1 o'clock, P. M., from No. 1 Charlton street.

1833-4 (New Year's Eve)
In a diary entry for December 31, 1833 Francis Prioleau Lee, a student at General Theological Seminary in New York City, describes a holiday fair in Morristown, New Jersey featuring
"a figure called St. Nicholas who was robed in fur, and dressed according to the description of Prof. Moore in his poem." --quoted by Stephen Nissenbaum in The Battle For Christmas, fn 85, page 345.
The following lines appeared in print for the first time—though very often copied since—in the Troy Sentinel of Dec. 23d, 1823, which paper we then conducted. They were introduced, on that occasion, with the following remarks; which, as they continue to be a true expression of our opinion of the charming simplicity and cordiality of the lines, as well as of our unchanged feelings toward the little people to whom they are addressed, we repeat them, only observing that although when we first published them, we did not know who wrote them, yet, not many months afterwards we learnt that they came from the pen of a most accomplished scholar and and estimable man, a professor in one of our colleges....--Ontario Repository and Freeman - December 28, 1836; reprinted the following week in the Auburn Journal and Advertiser on Wednesday, January 4, 1837.
New York American - Saturday, December 31, 1836
"As appropriate to the season, and because it has long circulated without a name, we also copy A Visit from St. Nicholas.--By Clement C. Moore." --New York American, December 31, 1836.
The lines which follow have been much admired, and have appeared in a variety of publications, but never, we believe, before under the name of the real author--CLEMENT C. MOORE. --The American Monthly Magazine for January 1837.
Vermont Mercury - December 22, 1837
 Alexandria Gazette (Alexandria, Virginia), December 25, 1837:

Alexandria [Virginia] Gazette - December 25, 1837

Washington National Intelligencer, December 25, 1837:
Found on

We present each of you, therefore, with a copy of the following beautiful little poem, every word of which is as true as anything you can find in Philip Quarle, the Arabian Knights, or those most authentick of all historical narratives, the Fairy Tales of John Smith. It is written by Professor Clement C. Moore, who, in stealing leisure from the gravest and most important studies, for so light and graceful a production, has set an example which austere wisdom should oftener imitate among its solemn disciples:

A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS  --The New-York Mirror, December 23, 1837

Fri, Jan 5, 1838 – Page 2 · The Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee) ·
"CHRISTMAS. / A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS. / [BY CLEMENT MOORE.]" --Nashville, Tennessee Republican Banner, January 5, 1838.
Columbia Democrat (Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania) -  January 6, 1838
via GenealogyBank

"Poetry / A Visit from St Nicholas / By Professor Moore." --Columbia Democrat (Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania), January 6, 1838.

Boston Weekly Messenger - September 26, 1838


MR. EDITOR:--Having noticed strictures on this excellent picture in some of the public prints, which convince me that the authors were not acquainted with the particular attributes and offices of the Dutch Saint, I have obtained a copy of the lines written by Clement Moore, of New York, which may have suggested, and certainly served in some sort as a guide to the painter in his performance. Nothing can be more mirth-exciting than the look of the venerable dona-ferens;--all the incidents of the scene are introduced with accuracy and effect, and the story is told in language not to be misunderstood. I send you Mr. Moore's verses for publication.
P.  --Boston Weekly Messenger, September 26, 1838.
The Vision of Rubeta by Laughton Osborn criticizes "the nursery rhymes of Prof. Moore" as "nonsense" and "trash."
Natchez Weekly Courier (Natchez, Mississippi), December 28, 1838:
Fri, Dec 28, 1838 – Page 4 · The Natchez Weekly Courier (Natchez, Mississippi) ·


New York Commercial Advertiser - December 19, 1839
"THE POETS OF AMERICA, Illustrated by one of her Painters, designed as an Annual for 1840. The selections are entire pieces from the best authors.--...The Culprit Fay, by Drake; Song, from Fanny, by Halleck...A Visit from St. Nicholas, by Clement C. Moore...."  --New York Commercial Advertiser, December 19, 1839.
Alexandria Gazette - December 31, 1839
New York Weekly Whig - January 2, 1840
Kentucky Gazette (Lexington, KY), January 16, 1840:

Kentucky Gazette (Lexington, KY) - January 16, 1840
via Fulton History
Two 1840 anthologies correctly attribute "A Visit from St. Nicholas" to Clement C. Moore.
The Poets of America, edited by John Keese, credits "C. C. Moore" with authorship of "A Visit form St. Nicholas."

Another 1840 anthology, Selections from the American Poets (edited by William Cullen Bryant) reprinted "A Visit from St Nicholas" under the name of "Clement C. Moore."

From the Daily Cleveland Herald of December 24, 1840; reprinted in the Cleveland Herald and Gazette, December 30, 1840:

"This number contains two engravings. About the first, "St. Nicholas," designed by Mr. Ingham and beautifully engraved on wood by Mr. Roberts, so much has already been said by our worthy associate, Mr. Fanshaw, that nothing remains for us to add more than is contained in the following lines, written by C. C. Moore:
'Twas the night before New-Year, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse...."
--The New-York Mirror, January 2, 1841

Newark Daily Advertiser - January 2, 1841
 "The Brother Jonathan of this week is embellished, truly embellished with a capital engraving from Ingham's picture of Santa Claus, or St. Nicholas, in the act of descending a chimney from his sleigh, loaded with presents for the children's stockings--as graphically described in Professor Moore's Christmas poem. The mammoth sheet is well stored with a great variety of choice things. The picture alone is worth double the price of the paper."  --Newark Daily Advertiser, January 2, 1841
Philadelphia Daily Pennsylvanian - December 21, 1841
"A Visit from St. Nicolas" reprinted with credit to "Clement C. Moore" in The Constitutionalist [Bath, New York], December 22, 1841.
"KRISS KRINGLE'S BOOK.-- ... This is precisely the book for the young folks, stories, pictures and all, not forgetting the spirited lines by C. C. Moore, entitled "A Visit from St. Nicholas," which have been appropriately incorporated in this pretty and seasonable production."
Leesburg [Virginia] Genius of Liberty - December 25, 1841
We add below the following sprightly and popular effusion of an American poet: 
By C. C. MOORE. -- Leesburg Genius of Liberty (Leesburg, Virginia), December 25, 1841 via NewspaperArchive.


For the Maryland Republican.

MESSRS. EDITORS:--Every child has heard of St. Nicholas, and has kept awake many an hour to get a peep at him; but strange to tell, the little Dutchman persists in travelling only in the night, and always manages to fill the stockings of his good little children after their eyes are fast closed in sleep; thus it happens that very few can boast of having made his acquaintance. It seems, however, that one gentleman once had this good fortune. Children and parents are much indebted to that distinguished gentleman, (Prof. CLEMENT MORE, L. L. D. of New York,) for having given to the world such a beautiful and (as we may well suppose,) faithful description of a personage so universally clever, and of such eccentric modesty. We need not remind any one, old or young that this is the season when we may expect his annual visit. We wish him a prosperous voyage hither, and should be right glad if he would land first in our ancient and beautiful city. We have many large chimnies here, very convenient for him, with many a long stocking, the filling of which will materially lighten his pack. And in the mean time Messrs. Editors, let the children have, by way of antepast, the 199th edition of Prof. More's description of a visit from St. Nicholas, and oblige W....
--Maryland Republican (Annapolis, Maryland), December 17, 1842
Tarboro [North Carolina] Press, January 7, 1843
Washington Daily National Intelligencer - December 28, 1843
via GenealogyBank


Published in the Washington Daily National Intelligencer on December 28, 1843 (three days after the mistaken attribution of "A Visit from St. Nicholas" to Joseph Wood): 
Messrs. EDITORS: I perceive in your paper of the 25th instant that an extract from the beautiful little poem entitled "A Visit from St. Nicholas" is given to the pen of Jos. Wood. This is a mistake. It is well known to be the production of CLEMENT C. MOORE, of the city of New York, and is published as his in the volume of American Poems edited by John Keese.
Very respectfully, &c.
Related posts:

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Pig and the Rooster

From Poems by Clement C. Moore (New York: Bartlett & Welford, 1844), 165-169. Spoiler Alert! As in Melville's short story in Harper's New Monthly Magazine (December 1853), the rooster has the last word.

The "grammar school" referenced in Moore's headnote was the Grammar School of Columbia College in New York City. Extant records show that Moore's son Benjamin (born in August 1818, so one year older than Herman) left the school July 3, 1828, the year before Herman Melville and his older brother Gansevoort were enrolled. Moore's younger sons Clement (b. 1821) and William (b. 1823) would have attended after Herman's father moved the family to Albany. But Herman, age 10, might have received a similar writing assignment during his year at the Columbia Grammar School.



On a warm sunny day, in the midst of July,
A lazy young pig lay stretched out in his sty,
Like some of his betters, most solemnly thinking
That the best things on earth are good eating and drinking.
At length, to get rid of the gnats and the flies,
He resolv'd, from his sweet meditations to rise;
And, to keep his skin pleasant, and pliant, and cool,
He plung'd him, forthwith, in the next muddy pool.
When, at last, he thought fit to arouse from his bath,
A conceited young rooster came just in his path:
A precious smart prig, full in vanity drest,
Who thought, of all creatures, himself far the best.
"Hey day! little grunter, why where in the world
Are you going so perfum'd, pomatum'd, and curl'd?
Such delicate odors my senses assail,
And I see such a sly looking twist in your tail,
That you, sure, are intent on some elegant sporting;
Hurra! I believe, on my life, you are courting;
And that figure which moves with such exquisite grace,
Combin'd with the charms of that soft-smiling face,
In one who's so neat and adorn'd with such art,
Cannot fail to secure the most obdurate heart.
And much joy do I wish you, both you and your wife,
For the prospect you have of a nice pleasant life."
"Well, said, master Dunghill," cried Pig in a rage,
"You're, doubtless, the prettiest beau of the age,
With those sweet modest eyes staring out of your head,
And those lumps of raw flesh, all so bloody and red.
Mighty graceful you look with those beautiful legs,
Like a squash or a pumpkin on two wooden pegs.
And you've special good reason your own life to vaunt,
And the pleasures of others with insult to taunt;
Among cackling fools, always clucking or crowing,
And looking up this way and that way, so knowing,
And strutting and swelling, or stretching a wing,
To make you admired by each silly thing;
And so full of your own precious self, all the time,
That you think common courtesy almost a crime;
As if all the world was on the look out
To see a young rooster go scratching about."
Hereupon, a debate, like a whirlwind, arose,
Which seem'd fast approaching to bitings and blows;
'Mid squeaking and grunting. Pig's arguments flowing;
And Chick venting fury 'twixt screaming and crowing.
At length, to decide the affair, 'twas agreed
That to counsellor Owl they should straightway proceed;
While each, in his conscience, no motive could show,
But the laudable wish to exult o'er his foe.
Other birds, of all feather, their vigils were keeping,
While Owl, in his nook, was most learnedly sleeping:
For, like a true sage, he preferred the dark night,
When engaged in his work, to the sun's blessed light.
Each stated his plea, and the owl was required
To say whose condition should most be desired.
It seem'd to the judge a strange cause to be put on,
To tell which was better, a fop or a glutton;
Yet, like a good lawyer, he kept a calm face,
And proceeded, by rule, to examine the case;
With both his round eyes gave a deep-meaning wink,
And, extending one talon, he set him to think.
In fine, with a face much inclin'd for a joke,
And a mock solemn accent, the counsellor spoke —
" 'Twixt Rooster and Roaster, this cause to decide,
Would afford me, my friends, much professional pride.
Were each on the table serv'd up, and well dress'd,
I could easily tell which I fancied the best;
But while both here before me, so lively I see,
This cause is, in truth, too important for me;
Without trouble, however, among human kind,
Many dealers in questions like this you may find,
Yet, one sober truth, ere we part, I would teach —
That the life you each lead is best fitted for each.
'Tis the joy of a cockerel to strut and look big,
And, to wallow in mire, is the bliss of a pig.
But, whose life is more pleasant, when viewed in itself,
Is a question had better be laid on the shelf,
Like many which puzzle deep reasoners' brains,
And reward them with nothing but words for their pains.
So now, my good clients, I have been long awake,
And I pray you, in peace, your departure to take.
Let each one enjoy, with content, his own pleasure,
Nor attempt, by himself, other people to measure."
Thus ended the strife, as does many a fight;
Each thought his foe wrong, and his own notions right.
Pig turn'd, with a grunt, to his mire anew,
And He-biddy, laughing, cried — cock-a-doodle-doo.
--Clement C. Moore

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Moby-Dick in the London Globe

In early advertisements for The Whale, as the first British edition of Moby-Dick was titled, publisher Richard Bentley quoted several glowing reviews including one from an otherwise unidentified "Evening Paper" calling Melville's new book "the raciest thing of the kind that was ever produced."

Tue, Nov 4, 1851 – 1 · The Morning Chronicle (London, Greater London, England) ·
Hershel Parker cites Bentley's excerpt in volume 2 of Herman Melville: A Biography (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), page 101. Recently digitized images now accessible in The British Newspaper Archive show the larger context of the quoted lines, as printed in The Globe and Traveller on Monday evening, October 20, 1851:

The Globe (London) - October 20, 1851 via the The British Newspaper Archive
All honour and praise to Fenimore Cooper, whose memory will never be suffered to die whilst the English language endures. That great and lamented genius was one of the most forcible delineators of sea-life that ever made old ocean and his familiars his peculiar study. But he has left a worthy successor (we know how much we say when we assert this) in the person of Herman Melville, whose new work "The Whale," is perhaps the raciest thing of the kind that was ever produced. Melville does not merely skim the surface, he dives into the deep unfathomed main. We smell and taste the brine in every page. His ink must be the black liquor of the cuttle-fish, and his pen drawn from the wing of the albatross. "The Whale" is a very great performance.  --The Globe and Traveller (London), 20 October 1851 via The British Newspaper Archive.
The London Globe and Traveller was indeed an evening paper, founded as a "trade journal" and "advertising platform" for booksellers according to The British Newspaper Archive. Images from the Globe were not available in the BNA before August 31, 2016.

On Friday, 24 October 1851 the Globe and Traveller speedily excerpted praise for The Whale from the review published just that morning in the London Morning Advertiser.

Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews (Cambridge University Press, 1995; 2009 in paperback) contains no earlier notice of Melville's Whale than the one printed in the London Globe and Traveller on 20 October 1851. (The first notice of Moby-Dick in Contemporary Reviews is from the London Morning Herald, also on 20 October 1851.) Contemporary Reviews (pages 310-311) does have the review of Melville's White-Jacket in the London Globe and Traveller on 4 March 1850.

Tue, Oct 28, 1851 – 1 · The Morning Post (London, Greater London, England) ·

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Omoo in England: The Cambridge Chronicle and Journal

Our Library Table.

Pp 321.
John Murray, Albemarle Street, London.

Those who read will not easily forget a work published in Murray's Home and Colonial Library, called "Residence in the Marquesas Islands," by one Herman Melville. It was a marvellous narrative; so marvellous, indeed, that the happy valley of Typee, wherein the author professed to have lived we know not how long a life of positive luxury and peace, was held to be a brilliant offspring of fancy. True or false, the book made a sensation, and now, in "Omoo," we have the sequel of it; and we are bound to say that in the present volume there are many indications of genuineness and authenticity calculated to remove any doubts which the strange adventures in Typee may have generated. This volume, however, is far less interesting than its predecessor: it is spun out with trumpery quarrels on board a south-sea whaler, the actors in which are a set of half-civilized brutes picked up at Sydney and elsewhere. If these had been omitted, we might have had a more gratifying book in half the compass. We pick out a tolerable notion of life at Tahiti and Polynesia generally, and rise from the perusal with no very exalted opinions of the benefits conferred upon Queen Pomaree and her subjects by the notorious Mr. Pritchard and the missionaries of his persuasion. Hospitality in the extreme seems to be a virtue common amongst the natives of these South Sea Islands; but of their morality or sincere Christianity, the less said the better.  --The Cambridge Chronicle and Journal, 17 April 1847 via The British Newspaper Archive.

Related post:

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Pierre "a dangerous pest" not poet in New York Herald review

The substantial and distinctly, aggressively personal ("We long to give you one good shake....") attack on Melville and Melville's Pierre in the New York Herald is reprinted in Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews, edited by Brian Higgins and Hershel Parker (Cambridge University Press, 1995), pages 437-439.

Earlier collections with the September 18, 1852 Herald review are Melville: The Critical Heritage ed.Watson Gailey Branch (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1974); and Critical Essays on Herman Melville's Pierre; or, The Ambiguities; ed. Brian Higgins and Hershel Parker (G. K. Hall, 1983).

These twentieth-century reprintings of the Herald review all read "dangerous poet" in the following passage:
For a murderer in cold blood — a wretch who cooly loads his arms, rams the charge home, and sallies forth with the set purpose of taking the life of his rival — we have no thrill of sympathy, no bowels of compassion. Let him hang like a dog! A harmless madman in the first chapter, he is a dangerous poet in the last. Let him hang! --as reprinted in Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews, page 438
But images of the 1852 Herald review provided by The Library of Congress-Chronicling America and GenealogyBank supply the right word, "pest" not "poet":

New York Herald - September 18, 1852
For a murderer in cold blood — a wretch who coolly loads his arms, rams the charge home, and sallies forth with the set purpose of taking the life of his rival — we have no thrill of sympathy, no bowels of compassion. Let him hang like a dog! A harmless madman in the first chapter, he is a dangerous pest in the last. Let him hang!
The New York herald. (New York [N.Y.]), 18 Sept. 1852. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>
Review of Herman Melville's Pierre
New York Herald - September 18, 1852 via Library of Congress
The unsigned review of Melville's Pierre on September 18, 1852 in the New York Herald can also be found in the archives of Historical Newspapers at GenealogyBank (only just added there, within the past month).

In context, "pest" makes better sense than "poet," which might derive from a blurry microfilm copy or perhaps (along with "cooly"?) a different edition of the newspaper. Pierre supposedly wrote light occasional verse, but the added chapters on authorship describe him in the city as a novelist. His actions are more troubling to the critic than his writings. The Herald critic admits to liking Melville's rebellious hero at first, but refuses to sympathize with the cold-blooded killer he becomes. As a dangerous criminal, a murderer, this Pierre deserves hanging. Emphatically: "Let him hang like a dog!" By also calling Pierre "a dangerous pest," the critic possibly means to associate Melville's doomed enthusiast with insect or animal "pests" that are dispassionately exterminated as threats to public health. In this view, Melville's Pierre would deserve no more sympathy than rats and roaches. More generally, the sense of pest here fits the secondary definition (after "Plague") in Webster's Dictionary of the English Language: "Any thing very noxious, mischievous or destructive."

Here's my transcription of the full review:

Literary Notices.

PIERRE, OR THE AMBIGUITIES. — By Herman Melville. New York: Harper Brothers, 1852. — Ambiguities, indeed! One long brain-muddling, soul-bewildering ambiguity (to borrow Mr. Melville's style), like Melchisedeck, without beginning or end—a labyrinth without a clue—an Irish bog without so much as a Jack-o'-th'-lantern to guide the wanderer's footsteps—the dream of a distempered stomach, disordered by a hasty supper on half-cooked pork chops. Verily, books spring to life, now a days, by a strange Caesarian process. Our ancestors, simple folks, used to fancy it incumbent on an author to nurse the germ in his fecundated brain till the foetus assumed a definite shape, and could be marshalled into existence, safe from the brand of monstrosity. Modern writers miscarry 'ere the embryo hath shapen limb or nerve, or blood, and midwives and doctors in droves pledge their willing faith that it will live. Potent elixirs and cordials elicit some reluctant spark of animation; but reaction soon follows, and 'mid the feigned astonishment of foster-mothers and wet-nurses, the emasculated bantling expires a miserable death.

What can be more conclusive evidence of immature conception than the planting on the social stage of this nineteenth century, of a man like Pierre—brimful of noble passions—silly weaknesses—lordly power of mind and warmth of heart—the petted child of a tender mother, who, yielding to her son's craving after sisterly love, calls him "brother"—thrusting him into contact with a timid, fragile girl, who turns out to be an illegitimate daughter of his father's, and firing him with such a chivalrous devotion for this new found sister, par la main gauche, that he resigns, without a pang, home, mother, betrothed, rank, and even the necessaries of life, to roam the world, knight-errant like, in her company; reversing, with less show of reason, Abraham's white lie, and proclaiming publicly that the daughter of his father is his wife? Where did Mr. Melville find an original for the portrait of Isabel? Where for Mrs Glendinning? Alas! Those pork chops! Sore must have been the grapple between the monster indigestion and the poor suffering epigastrium. Frantic the struggle between the fiend nightmare and our unfortunate friend the author.

We do not object to a canvas well laid with weird horrors, fantastic sprites gushing from out some misty cloud, and playful imps, dancing and chattering in the foreground, to the ruin of the composition of the picture, and to the speechless agony of the severe classic. But, good Mr. Melville, your dream has overstepped the bounds of our impressibility. We long to give you one good shake, to have you rub your eyes, and favor us with the common sense word of the enigma. Is Pierre really a candidate for the distinguished honor of a latticed chamber at the Brattleborough asylum? Would a mild infusion of hellebore, and a judicious course of treatment in some sunny vale, calm his phrenzy, and cool his calcined brain? Or are his erratic habits—his wondrous épanchement for a full-blown sister—his reckless disregard of filial duty, plighted love, and public esteem—mere forms of eccentricity, outward symptoms of the genius latent within? We confess that we should like to be correctly informed on these points. We own to a sneaking partiality for Pierre, rough and unnatural as he is, and share his fiery rebellion against the yoke of conventional proprieties, and the world's cold rules of esteem. Weep we, too, with gentle Isabel; poor bud, blighted by a hereditary canker. And, need we blush to avow that our pulse beat faster than our physician in ordinary would have sanctioned, when the heartless Stanly disclaimed his poverty-stricken cousin, and strove to wrest his reluctant bride from the arms of her chosen lover? But that shot—was it manly? was it honorable? was it fair? to requite a hasty blow, well warranted, du reste—for who would not strike to the earth one who passed for the seducer of his mistress?—with a pistol ball, fired from an arm's length on a defenceless man? This, Mr. Melville, is murder. For a murderer in cold blood—a wretch who coolly loads his arms, rams the charge home, and sallies forth with the set purpose of taking the life of his rival—we have no thrill of sympathy, no bowels of compassion. Let him hang like a dog! A harmless madman in the first chapter, he is a dangerous pest in the last. Let him hang! And those ill starred girls! Ill became it their pure maidenhood to drench the fatal phial, and drown the spark of heavenly virtue and earthly sense in one corroding draught of poisonous passion. Sadly, too sadly—but, as we said, we cannot wholly eradicate every trace of compassion for the erring impulse of confiding girlhood—do we see Lucy relax her hold of the flask, and reeling forward, fall heavily across the pro[s]trate form of her lover. These three—the murderer, the child of fractious whim and ungovernable passion, the self-denying woman, to whom infamy is pleasant, so it be the price of her lover's society—the pariah, clinging, cerement-like, to the only hand that has ever clasped hers in friendly grasp—stiffening horridly in the rack of death, and clenching, in the last throe, the hem of each other's garment—oh! 'tis a mournful, a sickening picture!

Why did Mr. Melville desert "that bright little isle of his own," in the blue waters of the Pacific? Is Polynesia used up? Has the vulgar herd of authors penetrated the fastnesses of those primitive tribes, whose taboo has become naturalized among us, and whose aquatic nymphs have fired the imagination of many a future Bouganville or Cook? Is there not a solitary whale left, whose cetaceous biography might have added another stone to the monumental fame of the author of Moby-Dick? If our senses do not deceive us, Mr. Melville will rue his desertion of the forecastle and the virgin forest, for the drawing room and the modest boarding-house chamber. The former was the scene of victories of which no young author need be ashamed; the latter, we fear, has some defeats to witness. Social life is not, perhaps, more difficult to paint than pleasant excursions into Mahomet's paradise; but it requires a different order of talent. Mere analytical description of sentiment, mere wordy anatomy of the heart is not enough for a novel to-day. Modern readers wish to exercise some little judgment of their own; deeds they will have, not characters painted in cold colors, to a hairbreadth or a shade. We are past the age when an artist superscribed his chef d'oeuvre with the judicious explanation, "this is a horse." Mr. Melville longs for the good old times when the chorus filled the gaps between the acts with a well-timed commentary on the past, and a shrewd guess at the future.

But we have a heavier charge than this to advance. Mr. Herman Melville, the author of "Typee" and "Omoo," we know; but who is Mr. Herman Melville, the copyist of Carlyle? Most men begin by treading in the wake of a known author, and timidly seeking for shelter under the cover of his costume. Mr. Melville ventured his first flight on his own unaided pinions, and now that their strength has been fully tested, voluntarily descends to the nursery, and catches at leading strings. No book was ever such a compendium of Carlyle's faults, with so few of his redeeming qualities, as this Pierre. We have the same German English—the same transcendental flights of fancy—the same abrupt starts—the same incoherent ravings, and unearthly visions. The depth of thought—the unerring accuracy of eye—the inflexible honesty of purpose, are wanting; at least, nothing outwardly reveals their presence. Like many other people, Mr. Melville seems to have attributed a large share of Carlyle's popularity to his bad English; whereas, in point of fact, his defects of form have always proved a drawback to his success, and nothing short of his matchless excellence of matter, would have introduced him into literary society. A much higher rank would have been held to-day by the author of "Sartor Resartus," had he clad his striking and brilliant ideas in a less barbarous garb. The fault was original and "catching." Herds of pretenders to literary fame have ranged themselves under the banner of the Edinburgh reviewer, and, fancying they were establishing a Carlyle-ist school, have borrowed their master's hump, without stealing a single ray from the flashing of his eye, or a single tone from the harmony of his tongue. Sorry, indeed, are we to class Mr. Melville among these. Could he but sound the depths of his own soul, he would discover pearls of matchless price, that 'twere a sin and a shame to set in pinchbeck finery. Let him but study the classic writers of his own language—dissect their system—brood over their plain, honest, Saxon style—not more French than German—the search would soon convince him that he might still be attractive, though clad in his homely mother tongue. Soyons de notre pays, says the poet-philosopher of Passy [Pierre-Jean de Béranger], it will satisfy our wants, without borrowing tinsel imagery of a Lamartine, or the obscure mysticism of a Goethe or a Kant.

Yet a single admonition. Nature, Mr. Melville, is the proper model of every true artist. Fancy must be kept within proper bounds, and the eye must never be suffered to wander from the reality we are striving to paint. No poetical license can justify such departures from the style of ordinary dialogue as abound in this book. The Tireis-and-Phillis tone of conversation is long since dead and buried; trouble not its ashes. Passion can excuse incoherency, but not fine drawn mannerism, or gaudy concetti. For instance, what can be in worse taste than the following reply of Isabel, when Pierre entreats her not to demur to Lucy's living with them?
"Thy hand is the castor's ladle, Pierre, which holds me entirely fluid. Into thy forms and slightest moods of thought thou pourest me; and I there solidify to that form, and take it on, and thenceforth wear it, 'till once more thou mouldest me anew. If what thou tellest me be thy thought, how can I help its being mine?"
How false this coloring! How far from the sweet simplicity with which Sterne or Tennyson would have robed the timid Isabel!

As we said above, we can trace many of the faults of the book to the deleterious influence of deep, untempered draughts of Carlyle. This particular one may perhaps be laid to the charge of a man who has done no good to our literature—Martin Farquhar Tupper. We want no such réchauffé, though the hot dish were, at its first appearance on table, worthy the palate of an epicure; we want our own author, in his own unborrowed garb, adorned with his own jewels, and composing his features into that countenance and expression which nature intended they should wear.  --The New York Herald, September 18, 1852.
Also accessible online, the earlier notice of Pierre in the New York Herald on July 29, 1852, published with similarly brief mentions of other new works (including The Blithedale Romance) under the heading "Original Article. / The Literary World."