Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Elizabeth Manning Hawthorne and the mislaid Moby-Dick

Sophia Hawthorne autograph letter signed to Annie Adams Fields, [March 1863]
This March 1863 item is from the extensive Sophia Hawthorne correspondence with James and Annie Fields, 1851-1904 (MS C.1.11), held by the Boston Public Library and now accessible online via Digital Commonwealth:
Writing from Concord, Sophia Hawthorne wants Annie Fields to express mail some blue braid and black ribbon from Boston. While she's at it, perhaps Annie would check at Ticknor & Fields ("the establishment on the corner of School & Washington Streets") for a mislaid copy of Moby-Dick, one that Nathaniel Hawthorne's sister had tried to send them care of Nathaniel's Boston publishers.

My dearest Annie

I was very glad of your note and of the carte blanche it gives me about the visit. I am just now in a great haste as my workman is to take this to the mail and so I cannot say any thing in proper reply to your spring song. But I am going to ask you to buy something from me, as the walking is now good.
I want very much two pieces of blue worsted braid, such as is plaited upon dresses. It comes, I think, about three quarters of an inch wide on pieces of twelve yards length. Then I want some black velvet ribbon of about the same width. I must have a whole piece of the velvet. I believe it is eighteen yards in length.
I am scribbling on my knee with velocity. Will the angelic Michael take them (if you can buy them) to Adams' Express, dear Annie.

As to "Moby Dick," Miss Hawthorne, the sister of Mr Hawthorne, says she sent it months ago to the establishment on the corner of School & Washington Streets directed to us. I thought it might be among laid aside packages. 
If I trouble you too much, do not heed my note. 
Ever your loving friend, 
S. Hawthorne.
Without mentioning Melville or Moby-Dick, Randall Stewart gives the context of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne's 1863 reference in The Hawthornes at the Wayside, 1860-1864 in The Bulletin of the Boston Public Library (September 1944), page 278:
The generous friendship of Mr. and Mrs. Fields for the Hawthornes was shown not only in their hospitality but in their gifts and the performance of commissions in Boston. Among the gifts acknowledged with due thankfulness in the letters under review were "an exquisite looking book," "your very kind present of bananas," a "rich package," "Mr. Hawthorne's works beautifully bound," and oysters and ale. Many errands were requested of Mrs. Fields or her husband. Among the articles procured through their good offices were "braid or sewing silk of the color I enclose," "the cloth for our Saques," "brocatelle," "two pieces of blue worsted braid," "some black velvet ribbon," two pieces of vellum for Julian, a hat with "a quite moderate crown" for Rose, and "a first rate Silver Hunter's watch" and "a black iron short chain" for Julian. Altogether, the gifts and the errands — the latter especially — attest strongly to an extraordinary devotion.
Nathaniel Hawthorne's sister Maria Louisa died in 1852, so "Miss Hawthorne" who mailed Moby-Dick (after borrowing it, presumably--and reading, or re-reading?) to the Hawthornes care of Ticknor & Fields must be his older sister "Ebe," the brilliant and "enigmatic" Elizabeth Manning Hawthorne (1802-1883).

The range of Elizabeth Manning Hawthorne's reading in the early 1860's is partly revealed in letters published by Cecile Anne de Rocher in Elizabeth Manning Hawthorne: A Life in Letters (University of Alabama Press, 2006). Specific works mentioned there include Elsie Venner by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Romola by George Eliot, John Halifax, Gentleman by Dinah Maria Mulock, and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens along with serialized fiction by Reade, Trollope, and Thackeray. Referenced works of nonfiction include volumes by Ruskin, Napier's History of the War in the Peninsula; and Olmsted's Journey in the Seaboard Slave States.

Looking further I see in de Rocher's Elizabeth Manning Hawthorne: The Complete Letters (PhD Dissertation, Georgia State University, 2001) that Elizabeth does mention Moby-Dick in a letter to Una Hawthorne from Salem on December 5, 1862:
I know that Moby Dick was on the list of books which your Mamma has; but the list was of the books which I selected. I took most of them home with me in a basket, in which I also returned them; but a good deal of space was occupied by the "Literary World," a periodical about the size of the Athenaeum, so that all the books would not go in, and some were sent to me, but several of those on the list were not sent. I ought at the time, to have taken down the names of those I did not receive. I cannot now remember what they were. But I will endeavor to get "Moby Dick." Mrs. Dike has some books that can perhaps be exchanged for it when we can send to Boston. I have enquired for it in the bookstores here, but could not get it. (175)
[UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library, Hawthorne Family Papers (BANC MSS 72/236 z). Papers of Julian Hawthorne, Ctn 2, Folder 14, include the transcription of Elizabeth's December 5, 1862 letter to Una with "Copies of letters to Una Hawthorne from her aunt, Elizabeth M. Hawthorne, Dec. 9, 1861-Jan. 2, 1870 (also available on microfilm (BANC FILM 72/236, reel 4)."]

I'm not sure how to read the December 1862 reference by Elizabeth Manning Hawthorne, without missing context. It sounds like Una Hawthorne (eighteen years old in 1862) either recommended Moby-Dick or asked for it back. Now Una's aunt Elizabeth can't find it, and half suspects she never received it. Ironically, one or more volumes of The Literary World had crowded out Moby-Dick in Elizabeth's basket of borrowed books. Nevertheless, since Una asked about it (for whatever reason), Elizabeth promises: "I will endeavor to get "Moby Dick." By March 1863, Sophia Hawthorne thinks Elizabeth somehow found and "directed" it to the Hawthornes, care of Ticknor and Fields.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Redburn in Richards' Weekly Gazette

Here is another Melville review in Richards' Weekly Gazette, published and edited in Athens, GA by William Carey Richards. Found in the great online archive of Georgia Historic Newspapers.

Richards' Weekly Gazette - January 5, 1850
via Georgia Historic Newspapers
REDBURN; his first Voyage. Being the Sailor-Boy Confessions and Reminiscences of the Son of a Gentleman in the Merchant Service. By Herman Melville. In 2 vols. 12mo. New-York: Harper & Brothers 
“Redburn” is, to us, the most attractive of all Mr. Melville's books, not excepting even “Typee.” We have read it thoroughly, with a very pleasant impression, and have no hesitation in recommending others to read it. Its charm consists in its absolute naturalness, and its striking veri-similitude. The reader is willing to believe that every thing happened to “Redburn” just as the author narrates it. We say every tiling; perhaps, we should except the mysterious night in London, which is a little too fanciful for the harmony of the narrative. Very charming, indeed, is the simplicity of our hero, and very commendable the good humor and tact with which he demeans himself, under the many annoyances of his position, on board the Highlander. The book is not wanting in incident; affording opportunity for the display of Mr. Melville's descriptive powers. There are many vivid passages; and among them, the death of Jackson, a sort of human-devil, the spontaneous combustion of a dead body, shipped as a drunken sailor! the hero’s first essay at “going aloft,” will strike the reader. 
Mr. Melville's wit is admirably displayed in this work, and sparkles gracefully upon the surface of an under-current of strong feeling. The book deserves to have a wide popularity. --Richards' Weekly Gazette, January 5, 1850.

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Charleston reprinting of "Hawthorne and His Mosses"

As previously announced on Melvilliana, one early extract from Melville's Hawthorne and His Mosses appeared in the New York Evening Post for August 21, 1850. Here another reprinting, this one with the complete text of the first part as originally published in The Literary World on August 17, 1850. (The second part of Melville's now famous review-essay appeared one week later in The Literary World on August 24, 1850.)

Southern Literary Gazette - August 31, 1850
On August 31, 1850 the Southern Literary Gazette gave Part I of  Melville's "Hawthorne and His Mosses" from The Literary World of August 17, 1850. Melville's pseudonymous review appears in the Gazette under the editorial heading, "The Essayist." As in the Literary World,  Melville's contribution in the Gazette reprint is credited only to "A Virginian Spending July in Vermont." Part II of Melville's "Mosses" essay does not appear in the next issue of the Gazette and evidently was never reprinted there.

Then published in Charleston, South Carolina, the Southern Literary Gazette was edited by William Carey Richards, a native Brit and "ardent Baptist" per Gertrude Gilmer in A Critique of Certain Georgia Ante Bellum Literary Magazines, Georgia Historical Quarterly 18.4 (December,1934), page 300.

Southern Literary Gazette with reprint of Melville's "Hawthorne and His Mosses" [Part I]
via Georgia Historic Newspapers
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Friday, May 17, 2019

Pierre in Columbus Georgia

From The Southern Sentinel, September 16, 1852; found in Georgia Historic Newspapers. The Southern Sentinel was then published and edited in Columbus, Georgia by Tennant Lomax.

Columbus, Georgia Southern Sentinel - September 16, 1852


1. Pierre; or the Ambiguities —by Herman Melville. New York: Harpers. 
Transcendentalism must possess a strangely infectious power. For here is the author of “Typee” transformed into as absurd a dreamer as now rejoices in the patronymic of Young America. Lennox, with its learned neighborhood, certainly does not suit the voyager of “Mardi.” He had better take to the sea again.
Eugene Sue never spun a story of more impossible plot; Alexander Dumas never depicted more unreal characters; nor did George Sand ever send into the world a book of as questionable morality. The style, moreover, abounds in affectations and barbarisms; the efforts to be funny, are ludicrous only from their failure; and the attempted eloquence degenerates into merest rodomontade. His heroic announcement that he writes not in conformity with the rules of art —and he might have added, of nature—to him may seem very grand, but to us sounds snobbish. 
Whatever the “ambiguities” of the volume, one thing is indubitable—namely, that a more perfect abortion in literature than Pierre, has not been sent into the world for some time.
Number 2 is Hawthorne's Blithedale Romance, praised by the Georgia reviewer as "the most finished and exquisite of Mr. Hawthorne's works."
... This famous analyst and painter of human nature, captivates you by the skill and nicety of his procedure. The superficial man of the world, changed into a cringing shadow; the earnest, half noble, half deluded woman, spurning the restrictions of her sex; the confiding, womanly heart, that wins the strong man’s love; the calm student of human life, and the herculean philanthropist, absorbed in the cure of others, until he himself is diseased beyond recovery—are all delineated, as none but Hawthorne could draw them. The moral of Hollingsworth’s character constitutes, we should say, just the study for many New Englanders. He is the exact type of the sincere abolitionist, affording all such, who will take it, a profoundly true view of their own condition and danger. The whole story preaches, with strongest emphasis, the inefficiency of all reforms, where egotism is not excluded—in which the benign soul of the Gospel is not incarnated.... --The Southern Sentinel (Columbus, GA), September 16, 1852.

William Carey Richards on Mardi. And Pierre?

From Richards' Weekly Gazette, May 12, 1849, published in Athens, GA and edited by William Carey Richards. Accessible online via Georgia Historic Newspapers; also Fulton History.

Richards' Weekly Gazette (Athens, Georgia)
May 12, 1849

Our Book Table.

[Publishers and Authors who desire to have their Books noticed in this Gazette, are requested to send copies to the Editor through Stringer & Townsend, New-York, or Carey & Hart, Phil.
MARDI, AND A VOYAGE THITHER. By Herman Melville. In two vols., 12mo., pp. 365-387. New York. Harper & Brothers. 1849. 
Verily, this book is a literary phenomenon. "Typee” and “ Omoo” are completely thrown into the shade by this latest effort of Mr. Melville's peculiar talent. The ostensible difference between Mardi and its predecessors is, that while they claimed to be fact, and were universally regarded as fiction, this is boldly set forth as a fiction, which the author thinks may possibly be received as a verity. If he has any hopes of this kind, he may as well dismiss them— for certainly a wilder or more incongruous mass of fiction was never brought forth, with christian rites, than is contained in these two volumes. To analyze them, is beyond our purpose. The story is not altogether unlike “ Typee” and “ Omoo," but, being a sublimation of their extravagances, the reader may judge to what extent his common sense will be taxed in its perusal. To do Mr. Melville justice, we must acknowledge at once his singular inventive faculty, and his rhetorical facility. There is a sparkle, a charm, a certain wild grace about his style, that would be quite irresistible, were it not for his decided and oppressive mannerisms, which almost everywhere disfigure it. 
With Mr. Melville’s description of the South Seas, and of their icthyological wonders — as also of the exquisite island scenery therein encountered—we should be stoics not to be charmed.
His escape from the ‘Arcturion,’ and the subsequent adventures of himself and his companion,“Old Jarl”— a poor substitute, by the way, for Toby of “Typee,” though not without his good points—for many days over the wonder-teeming waters of the Southern Seas, are very graphically narrated. 
Yillah, the heroine of the book, is a beautiful creation of the author's fancy; but we cannot help thinking that he might have managed his story better than to make her a phantom, vanishing from his very arms one night, and going no one knew whither. This trick of Mr. Melville’s, by the way, of creating such exquisite beings as Fayaway, of Typee memory, and Yillah, of Mardi, for his own especial and unlicensed enjoyment, is a striking commentary upon the morality of the book.  
The Island of “Mardi” is another “Typee,” where our author passes himself off under the name of Taji, a demi-god, and a visitor from the sun. He becomes the guest of Media, King of Odo, and, after Yillah so mysteriously disappears, he resolves to go in search of her; and Media, who is a very jolly, sociable and clever fellow, decides to accompany him. 
And now commences a series of travels and adventures almost unparalleled in romance. Feasts and frolics are plenty as blackberries; and so plenty are Kings, that five and twenty of them sit down to dinner together, “and a royal time they have.” 
In the further development of the story, the machinery of magic is employed, and we have an enchantress Hautia, with her singing maidens as heralds; and, at the very close of the book, Taji becomes a victim of Hautia, who reveals to him his lost Yillah, lying dead in a sea-cavern! Romantic enough, in all conscience. 
We liked “Typee” vastly well. It was fresh, racy and delightful, despite its somewhat sensuality. “ Omoo” tired us with its attenuation of the fine thread of the former work, and disgusted us with the author’s evident latitudinarianism in both morals and religion. In “Mardi,” we have a still further wire-drawing process, and, perhaps, even less disguised immorality and infidelity. These are hard words, but they must be uttered in justice to our position as a journalist. 
Without questioning Mr. Melville’s very clever talent at romancing, we must conscientiously condemn his too thinly veiled lasciviousness, and, moreover, deny his right to work an idea to death, as he has evidently done in Mardi.  We will not take leave of the book, without affording our readers as fair a specimen of the descriptive powers of our author as a single brief paragraph can present. It is a description of Yillah, at first sight. 
"Before me crouched a beautiful girl. Her hands were drooping. And, like a saint from a shrine, she looked sadly out from her fair, long hair. A low wail issued from her lips, and she trembled like a sound. There were tears on her cheek, and a rose-colored pearl on her bosom. Did I dream? A snow-white skin: blue firmament eyes: Golconda locks. For an instant, spell-bound I stood, while with a slow apprehensive movement, and still gazing fixedly, the captive gathered more closely about her a gauze-like robe.” 
In Antebellum Athens and Clarke County, Georgia (University of Georgia Press, 1974; paperback 2009), Earnest C. Hynds devotes a good part of chapter 6 to the southern literary career and influence of William Carey Richards. Richards' Weekly Gazette started out in Athens as Southern Literary Gazette.
"Richards moved the publication to Charleston in 1850 and sold one-half interest in it to Joseph Walker of that city. The name was changed back to Southern Literary Gazette, and it evidently retained that title after 1852 when Richards sold his interest in the publication and moved to New York."  --Antebellum Athens, page 98.
On December 8, 1849, Richards' Weekly Gazette reprinted "CAPT. RIGA IN PORT," explicitly crediting "Melville's 'Redburn: His First Voyage.'" The review of Redburn in the New York Literary World on November 17, 1849 had featured the same excerpt from chapter 3 of Melville's fourth book.

On August 31, 1850 Richards' Southern Literary Gazette reprinted the first part of  Melville's "Hawthorne and His Mosses" from The Literary World of August 17, 1850. As in the Literary World,  Melville's essay in the Gazette reprint is credited only to "A Virginian Spending July in Vermont."

"The Death of a Whale" excerpt from Moby-Dick chapter 61 was reprinted in the Southern Literary Gazette on January 3, 1852 (pages 5-6).

Richards published his Valedictory to readers of the Southern Literary Gazette on December 18, 1852. One week later, on December 25, 1852, the Gazette reprinted all of one section (vi) in Book VI of Pierre; Or, The Ambiguities, given as a specimen of the author's presumed insanity:
"From this romance we copy the following extraordinary description of the simple music of the guitar. Melville has cer[t]ainly gone crazy, and is, we presume, by this time in some lunatic asylum. Think of seeing sounds in the shape of icicles! Think of hearing lightning! What ridiculousness and senselessness and unintelligibleness!" --Southern Literary Gazette, December 25, 1852.
Richards the "Ex-Editor" openly acknowledged authorship of magazine reviews for the Christmas Day issue. So Richards was still contributing editorial matter at the close of 1852. In his December 18, 1852 "Valedictory," Richards named assistant editor Paul Hamilton Hayne as his replacement. But Richards also indicated in the published farewell that Hayne was then out of town. It's hard to say which editor to credit with the excerpt from and comment on Melville's Pierre. The long extract and short notice might have been among Richards' last contributions as ex-editor of the Southern Literary Gazette, or Hayne's first as chief editor. Something to look for in the Paul Hamilton Hayne papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Southern Literary Gazette - December 25, 1852 via Georgia Historic Newspapers
Links to bios of William Carey Richards:
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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Typee in New London Connecticut

New London Democrat (New London, Connecticut) - March 21, 1846
From the New London Democrat (March 21, 1846), published every Saturday in New London, Connecticut by proprietor and editor James M. Scofield. Found at GenealogyBank among items added "within 1 month."
By Herman Melville, Jr., in two parts.
Such is the title of a work just published, of no ordinary interest. A rapid perusal however, has convinced us that they are books to be read rather than described. They are written in an easy yet graphic style; and abound with pasages and incidents of thrilling interest.
Besides the information they impart of the character, manners, and customs of the savage dwellers in the Islands of the sea, the reader will be abundantly compensated for a perusal, by the interest which is imparted to the mind by the "hair breadth secapes" [escapes or 'scapes] of the narrator, from perils incident to a dweller among Cannibals.
Go at once to KINGSLEY'S and buy the work, and be led through a series of voyage, adventure, incident and scenery, on ship board, and on shore, among the civilized and savage, which will make you for the time-being forget all but the absorbing interest by which you are spell-bound. Remember, KINGSLEY has not only this work, but lots of readable and interesting matter. 


This complaint by Herman Melville's mother Maria Gansevoort Melville won early recognition in Melville scholarship as a gem of maternal indignation, and a glimpse at Melville's mood while creatively engaged. In this case, preoccupied with the writing of Moby-Dick. James C. Wilson quotes it and other newfound items from the Augusta Melville papers in "Melville at Arrowhead," ESQ 30.4 (1984): 232-44 at 241; reprinted in The Hawthorne and Melville Friendship (McFarland, 1991), pages 208-209. (Wilson reads "train" where other transcriptions have "time.") Recounted also in Historical Notes for the 1984 Northwestern-Newberry Edition of The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade; the 1988 Northwestern-Newberry Edition of Moby-Dick, or The Whale; and Hershel Parker's Herman Melville: A Biography Vol. 1, 1819-1851 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), page 820. Parker voices the unstated contrast between Herman and his dead brother Gansevoort, the gallant one. Laurie Robertson-Lorant cites part of it in Melville: A Biography (University of Massachusetts Press, 1996), page 266. Andrew Delbanco opens with it in Melville's Fever, reviewing two editions of Pierre for The New York Review of Books (April 4, 1996). Also quoted in Delbanco's New York Times essay Melville Has Never Looked Better (October 28, 2001); and Melville: His World and Work (Random House, 2006). Clare L. Spark has it in Hunting Captain Ahab: Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival (Kent State University Press, 2001; Second Edition 2006), page 9.

Now you can read about Herman Melville's "ungallant" conduct at the Pittsfield Depot in the handwriting of his mother. Written from New York City, Maria's letter of March 10, 1851 to Herman's sister Augusta in Pittsfield is available online in the digitized Augusta Melville papers, courtesy of The New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Detail, letter from Maria Gansevoort Melville to Augusta Melville - March 10, 1851
via The New York Public Library Digital Collections
Herman I hope returned home safe after dumping me & my trunks out so unceremoniously at the Depot. Altho we were there more than an hour before the time, he hurried off as if his life had depended upon his speed, a more ungallant man it would be difficult to find. I hope to hear from Herman, & Helen tomorrow.
Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "Melville, Maria Gansevoort" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1834 - 1863. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/618e9c00-4711-0136-427c-00122d9adb5b
As pointed out in the 1993 Northwestern-Newberry Edition of Melville's Correspondence (ed. Lynn Horth), this epistolary grievance exemplifies "the device of the indirect message," being addressed to Augusta but "clearly intended" by Maria G. Melville "to reach her recalcitrant son" (page 784).

It looks like Herman got the message. Early in Melville's next book after Moby-Dick, the hero is what the author was not that day at the Pittsfield Depot, ultra-attentive to his mother. Pierre acts like a lady-in-waiting to help his royal "Duchess" get dressed, affectionately calls her "sister," physically bows and kneels before her, and makes a show of escorting her to breakfast "with a humorous gallantry":
The haughtily happy mother rose to her feet and as she stood before the mirror to criticize her son’s adornings, Pierre, noticing the straggling tie of her slipper, knelt down and secured it. “And now for the run,” he cried, “Madam!” and with a humorous gallantry, offering his arm to his mother, the pair descended to breakfast. --Pierre; Or, The Ambiguities (1852).

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Hendricks House editions

Here are links to some Hendricks House editions of books by Herman Melville that are Google-digitized and accessible online courtesy of HathiTrust Digital Library.

MOBY-DICK (1851)
  • Moby-Dick; or, The Whale 1952, ed. Howard P. Vincent and Luther S. Mansfield.
PIERRE (1852)
CLAREL (1876)

Hendricks House Pierre

The Hendricks House edition of Melville's Pierre; or, The Ambiguities is Google-digitized and accessible online courtesy of HathiTrust Digital Library. Here below, one of three University of Michigan volumes, all reprints, currently available there.

Another copy of the 1949 Hendricks House Pierre (also a reprint, 1957) is accessible via the great Internet Archive:

Monday, May 13, 2019

Clams, boats, and footnotes in Pierre

via The New York Public Library Digital Collections
"Come, Isabel, come, Lucy; we have not had a single walk together yet. It is cold, but clear; and once out of the city, we shall find it sunny. Come: get ready now, and away for a stroll down to the wharf, and then for some of the steamers on the bay. No doubt, Lucy, you will find in the bay scenery some hints for that secret sketch you are so busily occupied with—ere real living sitters do come—and which you so devotedly work at, all alone and behind closed doors."  --Pierre, Book 26
The passage quoted above occurs near the start of the last "Book" (XXVI) of Herman Melville's Pierre; or, The Ambiguities. In a footnote to this passage, the editors of the 2017 Norton Critical Edition of Pierre inform their target audience of undergraduate readers that Melville's word steamers means "Clams" (page 344).

Clams or boats? Does it matter? Sometimes I think nobody really gives a flip about footnotes except me and one or two librarians in the basement annex. Not to alarm my fellow sub-subs, but it has occurred to me before now that scholarly footnotes--especially the short informative kind, as distinct from more luxurious interpretive and argumentative varieties--may already be obsolete in the era of smartphones, like print yellow pages and street-maps.

City of New York by Charles Parsons, 1856
via Library of Congress
Consider the merits of Melville's alternative title: The Ambiguities. On reflection, I wish Pierre had treated his dear companions Lucy and Isabel to a bucket of steamed clams, after their walk to the wharf. If only they had stopped to eat some delicious "steamers" instead of boarding one on the bay. Lunch over, the ill-starred trio might have returned sooner to their rooms in the "Church of the Apostles." With proper nourishment, Pierre could finally have finished his "vile" Inferno of a novel. Who knows, Lucy might soon have found customers for her portrait sketches; Isabel guitar students. In this half-baked alternative scenario, perhaps the killing of Pierre's cousin Glen and the awful tragic ending might have been averted.

Cape Cod Steamers via WeNeedaVacation.com
Steamer clams or "steamers" are "a specialty of New England," as Elise Bauer informs in How to Cook and Eat Steamer Clams on Simply Recipes. Here on the prairie, "steamers" conjure pleasant thoughts of Cape Cod and Chesapeake Bay. But Edible Long Island will tell you that New York clamologists know plenty about soft shell clams (aka piss clams, longnecks or Ipswich clams) too.

Indeed, Eater NY has a whole article on
Commenters there dispute the notion that steamers are "more of a Boston thing." In the category of "Oddities," Sietsema mentions that
 Off the Hook in Astoria, Queens, presents pots of steamed softshell clams, known as "steamers," and so does London Lennie’s in Woodhaven, Queens.
In chapter 15 of Moby-Dick, Ishmael and Queequeg enjoyed two kinds of chowder at the Try Pots on Nantucket island, one with clams. New York connoisseurs rave about the steamer clams at Pearl Oyster Bar, located at 18 Cornelia Street in Manhattan's West Village. Steamers on Cornelia get us to the right place, after all, since the unnamed "city" in Melville's Pierre is modeled on Manhattan.

Right place but wrong century I guess for steamers to mean clams. Melville's "steamers on the bay" are vessels in New York Harbor, ferry boats and ocean steamers. For context, here's a relevant description from 1853 by Cyrus Redding, writing for the London New Monthly Magazine under the pseudonym "J. W. Hengiston":

The waters are covered by their small ferry steamers, running in all directions—over to Jersey on one side, or over to Long Island on the other —while the larger ones up the Hudson, or East River, dash through the water like floating palaces, and at a speed beyond all others in the world; while to and from the Atlantic, the great ocean steamers, along their own shores or to Europe, join all the best qualities of sea-going ships to increased size and beauty of form; but it is their numbers which are still more astonishing. The waters and the wharves are alive with them; and the stir, the crowds, the cargoes, and loads, and stacks of merchandise for ever piled on the slips, loading and unloading by thousands of carts and drays, which are darting in every direction, which gives one so overwhelming an idea of the magnitude of the commerce and riches of the States—even our city, and our wharves, and our docks, are sleep and idle in the comparison. This swarming scene borders the city, on both sides, for two miles; on the East River side lie all the fine sailing ships by hundreds; on the Hudson side the steamers most; but both sides are crammed and jammed in by both sorts at every slip, so full, that the schooners, sloops, smacks, fishing-boats, &c., can often hardly find room to poke their noses in. The slips on both sides, towards the Battery, are reserved for passage steamers, and ferry ditto, canal boats, and coasting craft. It is curious to see the tug-steamers start up the Hudson with a flock of canal-boats fast to her, like a hen and chickens, for Albany, where they take the Erie canal.  --J. W. Hengiston [Cyrus Redding] on "New York—Its Hotels, Waterworks, and Things in General" in The New Monthly Magazine Vol. 97 (London, 1853) page 87
Back in Book 26 of Pierre, a detour brings Pierre, Isabel, and Lucy to an upstairs art gallery. Unfortunately, nobody mentions stopping for clams afterward. Instead, they get on a ferry boat quite like those encountered at "slips on both sides, towards the Battery" by Redding/Hengiston.
In the midst of all these mental confusions they arrived at the wharf; and selecting the most inviting of the various boats which lay about them in three or four adjacent ferry-slips, and one which was bound for a half-hour's sail across the wide beauty of that glorious bay; they soon found themselves afloat and in swift gliding motion.
As Henry A. Murray observed seventy years ago in one of the "Explanatory Notes" for the 1949 Hendricks House Pierre:
"It seems that Pierre and his companions are at the Battery, New York City, and have selected a Staten Island ferry boat for a ride across the harbor."

Monday, May 6, 2019

Gansevoort Melville, friends and foes

Here are some more extracts from Gansevoort Melville's letters to William Edward Cramer in the Augusta Melville papers, now accessible online courtesy of The New York Public Library Digital Collections. Among his friends, Gansevoort specifically commended "Mr. Nichols" as "a spirited and graceful writer & an ardent Democrat."
I had occasion to write to Mr. Croswell today in regard to the "Young Hickory Banner." It was projected and will be carried out by the same gentleman who projected & who has in the main done up all the work of the "Sober Second Thought" with which Mr. Sickles' name appears associated. The individual to whom I allude is Mr. Nichols, a spirited and graceful writer & an ardent Democrat. In editing the "Young Hickory Banner" his aim is usefulness, not profit. Pray read the Prospectus.
--Letter from Gansevoort Melville to William E. Cramer, July 19, 1844
"Mr. Nichols" is Thomas Low Nichols, editor of the Young Hickory Banner. "Mr. Sickles" is Daniel Edgar Sickles, editor of the Sober Second Thought, for the Presidential Campaign of 1844.

From Lockport, New York, Gansevoort instructed his friend Cramer to keep him out of Albany:
Do not let one friend add an appointment for Albany without my full previous concurrence.  --Gansevoort Melville to William E. Cramer, October 9, 1844.
In Herman Melville: A Biography Vol. 1, 1819-1851 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996) page 327, Hershel Parker attributes this request to Gansevoort's understanding of "practical Albany politics." Whatever his political motives were for staying away from Albany, Gansevoort apparently had strong personal "reasons" as well. Writing from Syracuse, Gansevoort reminded Cramer:
"Recollect - No appointment for me in Albany. I have my reasons."  --Gansevoort Melville to William E. Cramer, October 12, 1844.
Gansevoort Melville to William E. Cramer - October 16, 1844
Augusta Melville papers via The New York Public Library Digital Collections
Aware of his haters in Albany, Gansevoort in another letter (from Utica on October 16, 1844) asked Cramer not to mention his name even privately among friends:
Again -- as to the many carpers, that you say I have at Albany -- let them carp. I care not one straw for all their carping. With the blessing of God I'll yet live to be a buckler to my friends and an edged weapon to my foes. Still I would avoid obtruding myself on their attention, and therefore in the gentlest manner possible would suggest to you that it may perhaps be prudent entirely to abstain from mentioning my name in general conversation -- & even in particular conversation with your intimates male & female unless in cases where you have a special object in so doing & even then rarely.  --Gansevoort Melville to William E. Cramer, October 16, 1844.
Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "Melville, Gansevoort" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1844 - 1845. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/635b4bb0-4711-0136-3d52-1755ec1b20d8

Related posts:

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Allan Melville gets Gansevoort's ticket to the ball

This is one of the letters from Gansevoort Melville to William Edward Cramer in the Augusta Melville papers, now accessible online courtesy of The New York Public Library Digital Collections. I like Gansevoort's expressions "gall and wormwood" and "unmitigated dulness"; and the latinity at the end. Dated January 9, 1845 when Herman Melville (not mentioned here) was also in New York City. Seymour is Horatio Seymour. Foster is Henry Allen Foster.
New York. January 9th 1845.
Astor House. Thursday
Private & Confidential

Friend Cramer. Your letter of Saturday and Monday found me on a sick bed to which with the exception of a single interval of a couple of hours I had been confined for several days. This morning I am sitting up, but am very much debilitated and do not expect to be permitted to leave my room for some days to come. The news of Seymour's election as Speaker reached me at the same time with your letter. I was not surprised at it and from certain givings-out had anticipated the result of the contest. That result must be gall and wormwood to certain gentlemen in Albany who were active in the effort to defeat him. The majority in caucus - 5 - was small but still enough --enough for Seymour-- but not enough to place another Oneida man --Foster-- out of danger.

The Tammany ball last night went off with a good deal of eclat, as I understand from Allan, who (I being unable to attend) had the benefit of my ticket. In case I hear of any opening of the kind you mention I will inform you at once, in compliance with your request--but I do not think it probable that things of that kind of a desirable character are apt to turn up without being sought.

The little that I have written has been with some effort--excuse its unmitigated dulness and pray enliven my sick chamber with a daily epistle de omnibus rebus et multis aliis.

Yours Truly

Gansevoort Melville
Peter A. Cowdrey late Corporation Counsel is another applicant for the anticipated vacancy on the bench of the Circuit Court. He is a respectable man and a lawyer of fair standing.
Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "Melville, Gansevoort" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1844 - 1845. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/58ffefc0-5c82-0136-14dd-194ba775773e

Astor House, Broadway, 1867
via The New York Public Library Digital Collections 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Augusta Melville papers, digitized

Business sign for Allan Melvill (Herman Melville's father)
via NYPL Digital Collections
Did you know? The New York Public Library has done a noble thing in making the collection of Augusta Melville papers, 1796-1863 accessible online.
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b21572615
MSS Unit ID: 24415
Archives collections id: archives_collections_24415
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): ed569050-41b1-0136-a355-75fa5fcadf17
  • https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/collections/augusta-melville-papers
Included in this incredibly rich collection are draft portions of Typee in manuscript, Herman's 1849 letter to Allan Melville about Malcolm, letters to Augusta from her (and Herman's) mother Maria Gansevoort Melville, from sister Helen Melville (Griggs), and from cousin Ann Marie Priscilla Melvill--two of which, as Hershel Parker discovered, refer to Isle of the Cross. More wonderful discoveries await, doubtless.
Sat, Nov 5, 1983 – 7 · Bennington Banner (Bennington, Vermont) · Newspapers.com

Friday, April 26, 2019

Boston lecture on The South Seas, advertised as "South Sea Adventures"

In December 1857 Melville lectured on Statues in Rome at The Tremont Temple in Boston. At the end of January 1859 he was back with a different lecture--on "South Sea Adventures," according to the Boston Courier on January 31, 1859.

Found at GenealogyBank among items added "within 1 week":

Boston Courier - January 31, 1859


The Ninth Lecture of this course will be delivered 
HERMAN MELVILLE, Esq., of Pittsfield.
  Subject--"South Sea Adventures."
  Single tickets 25 cents each, for sale at the door.
  Doors open at 6 1/2 o'clock. Lecture commences at 7 1/2 o'clock.
SYLVANUS COBB, Jr. delivers the tenth lecture.
 Reviewed the next day in the Boston Traveler:

Boston Daily Traveler - February 1, 1859
MECHANIC APPRENTICES' LECTURES.--The ninth lecture of the Mechanic Apprentices' course was delivered last evening by Herman Melville, Esq., of Pittsfield. He announced as his subject "The South Seas," and commenced by giving an extended account of the origin of the name, South Seas, which was but another name for the Pacific. He felt, in lecturing upon the South Seas, like one embarking on an exploring expedition. He might confine his lecture to the fish of those seas--the sword-fish, unlike the fish of that name in our waters, after stabbing vessels and leaving his sword broken off in the ship, or at other times withdrawing it, leaving an open wound, to the infinite terror of the seamen--the devil-fish--or he might occupy whole hours about the birds, or the whaling voyages of those seas or the Polynesian Islands.

The lecturer dwelt at some length upon the great beauty of these, in many respects, superior to any yet discovered in the world. He wondered why Englishmen, who went yachting in various waters in Europe, did not sail among the Polynesian islands of the South Seas. He then went on to speak of the vast extent of the Pacific, covering, it was estimated, over a hundred millions of square miles, and said that the modern explorations had not dispelled the mystery which had hung about it. Various matters connected with his own experience in those waters were given, and the lecture abounded with numerous anecdotes and facts of great interest.

The hall was not more than half full. It was announced that Sylvanus Cobb, Esq., would deliver the next lecture.
Fuller reconstructions of Melville's South Seas lecture are available in Melville as Lecturer by Merton M. Sealts, Jr.; and the Northwestern-Newberrry Edition of The Piazza Tales and Other Prose Pieces.

Related posts:

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Later Season in Harper's Bazar, June 1870

By George William Curtis?
Geo Wm Curtis
Brady-Handy photograph collection, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
We know Herman Melville went to Washington in March 1861, seeking a diplomatic appointment. In May 1870 Melville was working six days a week in the New York Custom House--and getting his portrait painted by Joel Oriel Eaton, as Hershel Parker relates in Herman Melville: A Biography Vol. 2, 1851-1891 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), pages 702-704. Though Melville never visited the U. S. capital that "garden month of May," he could have read about it in the June 25, 1870 issue of Harper's Bazar. In "The Later Season," if he did happen to see it, Melville the poet might have found hints for some of the floral prose and verse we find in the posthumously published collection, Weeds & Wildings, with a Rose or Two. And Clarel (1876), then Melville's work in progress.

In any case, George W. Curtis definitely liked to spice his own writing with allusive bits from Melville's. For example, references to Bartleby in Prue and I (and earlier, Sea from Shore in Putnam's for July 1854). Before 1895, Google Books and HathiTrust Digital Library give only two hits in searches for "infinite blueness": describing sky in "The Later Season," and sea in Moby-Dick, Chapter 134, The Chase — Second Day.

I'm not sure Melville or anybody could better this riff on roses:

Harper's Bazar - June 25, 1870
... But till boulevards and fountains come, and if they never come, every spring-time the roses will; will bud and bloom and hang their heavy heads—such roses as do not grow out of Paestum; roses that Sappho and that Hafiz Sang of, as the poets' dream; roses fit to crown Anacreon; deep red roses that seem to burn in the sun; delicate tea-roses with a petal like some perfect cheek; damask and blush and moss roses, the queenly Lamarque, the tiny, faultless Scotch, the pungent sweet-brier; roses that are almost black, so purply crimson is their richness; roses that are spotless white, all of them, without speck, long-stemmed, in generous clusters—and all making the air about them an intoxication of delicious odor. For one brief month it is politics and power set down in paradise; and sometimes as strangely out of place as the serpent there.
"The Later Season" is unsigned, as customary in Harper's Bazar:
The Harpers have an objection to crediting articles in their periodical publications to their authors, as is the custom with Fields, Osgood & Co., and it is a principle with them that the contributor should be subordinated to the publication. I cannot therefore furnish you with a full list of the writers for either the Bazar or Weekly, but most of them are persons already known to the public.  --Springfield Republican (Springfield, MA), April 6, 1870.
Here is the complete article, transcribed from Harper's Bazar for June 25, 1870:


IT is a singular circumstance that nearly all the pleasure-seekers at the National Capital should make their resort thither in the chilly winter days, and never in the spring-time—the springtime, which there is something out of the land of dreams. In the winter the climate of the place is often, if not so keenly cold as the more northern climate, yet much more penetratingly so, with a disagreeable dampness in addition that brings about a hundred rheumatic aches and ails; and so high do the winds blow that, at the beginning of a storm, clouds of dust frequently rise to meet the clouds of snow that descend, already mud, upon your sleeve. But in the spring a delightful balm seems to fall upon the air and fill it; soft showers cool any fervent heat of the Sun, and keep the sod and sward as green as “freshly broken emeralds;” the sky seems to soar away in its infinite blueness with a life of its own; and the sunbeams pour over dome and obelisk and pillared lines of marble till they shine with dazzling lustre through their light screens of waving greenery, hardly developed into summer lushness yet, until one, experiencing an hour of all this, must needs declare the month of May in Washington to be all that ought to be demanded, either for the pride of the eye or the delight of the flesh. 
It is probable that the wintry throngs are drawn to Washington largely—outside of the purely political gathering—in view of the ball-room gayeties before Lent; but the gayeties after Easter are quite as attractive—if one did but know it. There is quite as much opportunity of admiring and of displaying lovely faces and toilettes, and many of the enjoyments are of a healthier order both for body and soul, requiring the rounds of no physician with his poison bottles to sting into one the life and strength thrown away in the reckless abandonment of midnight revel. 
For the tournaments of fashion during this later season, which follows with every long session of Congress, the reception of the President's wife presents a perfect Field of the Cloth of Gold, and all the rank and grace and beauty of the town, arrayed in purple and fine linen, adorn the scene—a scene more interesting and satisfying to behold than any of the winter receptions, as the thick velvets and silks, which give such sameness and heaviness to any large assembly, being discarded now, the lighter and airier fabrics are found floating round maid and matron, tissues capable of being transformed into various guises, each more delicate and exquisite than the other, and all giving the effect of works of art in their combinations of lace and net and flowers and jewelry, like cobwebs strung with dew, and all to be seen in rooms full of sunshine, whose open windows, letting in the outside fragrance, and songs of birds, and glimpses of charming landscape, add a lustre to every thing that neither the glow of wax-light nor the glare of gas can ever shadow forth; while, so long as the session lasts, as the corps of correspondents, the diplomats, and aids-de-camp linger, there are sure to be enough carpet knights to brighten or darken the picture according to its exigencies and their uniform. 
Then, between the receptions and the few evening parties prized now for their rarity, and always made rich and rare to compensate for their lateness, as the popular prejudice runs, there come the riding-parties to the Falls, where fine equestrianship may do its best, and last night's Sylph be to-day's Amazon; the moonlit boating where the Potomac narrows between steep and romantic banks of a sylvan wildness; picnics to Rock Creek, a region of fabulous beauty, where the woods abound in blossoms, the purple lupine and the pink azalea, and the great white dogwood boughs stretch away into the darkness like a press of moonbeams; and excursions down the river to Mount Vernon, among its blooming magnolias and rosy Judas-trees, where the great tomb stands open to irreverent eyes, and where, with their mementoes, with Eleanor Custis's harpsichord, and the wonderful mantle-piece of carved Siena marble, the quaint old rooms and their verandas invite the guest, and the garden shelters wandering lovers, who tread down the wild hyacinths in the grass, between its breast-high hedges of spicy box. All day, too, the halls of Congress are open, with the drama there growing livelier as the adjournment draws nearer; and every evening the drives are thronged with splendid equipages winding down the Fourteenth Street way, out by the Soldiers' Home, across the Long Bridge into Virginia, or up the Anacostia branch and the wild hill roads, where wide stretching views open between the forest trees at every turn, and where sometimes one sees, with its two rivers, one red and turbid, one shining like silver, the city lying far away, much of its outline gone, and the color of its baked brick and stone and marble mellowed in the distance, till through the quivering air and amidst all its embowering trees it looks only and exactly like a vision of ancient temples in the midst of gardens of flowers. 
Twice a week, too, the Marine Band blows out stirring music in the President's Grounds, and in the Capitol Park late in the afternoon; and it is a point of gentility for every one then to promenade in gala attire beneath the trees and over the shady slopes of the pleasant grounds till the music ceases in twilight; and many a long-delaying love affair, kindled beneath the winter lamps, culminates then as the stars come out and the perfumed wind casts down great shadows from the swinging branches overhead, and indulgent dowagers gossip on oblivious of decorum, dew, and mortal aches, since they have been there themselves. Finally, the festivities of this almost ideal spring season, where the world of fashion and the world of nature meet at their best, come to an end with Decoration day—the last day ere the spring brightens into the blaze of summer—a day that robs death of its terrors, and seems to carry one back to that primeval period when the old death-defying Egyptians made their festival with flowers, as we stand in that desolation of the dead on the heights of Arlington, and see the billows of graves stretching away to the horizon, wave after wave, crested with the line of white headstones, and every mound heaped with flowers that have been scattered to the tune of singing children's voices; while, below, the peaceful river floats out broadly, and far across its stream, over all the terraces whose turf was lately purple with violets, and above the tossing tree-tops that hide the arched and columned bases of its snowy splendor, the dome of the country's Capitol rises—a shining guardian of the slumbers of the dead. 
And meantime the squares, the triangles, the gardens of the city are all a miracle of verdure, of spotless deutzia and golden laburnum, honeysuckle and Cape jasmine; half the houses are draped in ivy and in grape-vines; the Smithsonian grounds surround their dark and castellated group of buildings in a wilderness of bloom and leaf; Lafayette Square and the Capitol Park are dense and shadowy; and even the market-sheds are picturesque at night with a hundred torches flaring in the wind over the heads of mules and donkeys, of vendors and higglers, piles of crisp salads and heaps of strawberries. And since the place is so beautiful now, with its enormous tent of sky, one is lost in imagining what it may become when all the great avenues have been boulevarded with double rows of trees, and, the old love of and belief in the town returning to the people the country over, each one in all the land shall have given pennies more or less to plant the place with fountains, and the Potomac itself shall pause upon its seaward flight to shoot a hundred crystal columns in the air, setting their changing, shimmering shapes amidst the sculptured colonnades and façades of Treasury and Patent and Post offices and their embosoming trees. But till boulevards and fountains come, and if they never come, every spring-time the roses will; will bud and bloom and hang their heavy heads—such roses as do not grow out of Paestum; roses that Sappho and that Hafiz Sang of, as the poets' dream; roses fit to crown Anacreon; deep red roses that seem to burn in the sun; delicate tea-roses with a petal like some perfect cheek; damask and blush and moss roses, the queenly Lamarque, the tiny, faultless Scotch, the pungent sweet-brier; roses that are almost black, so purply crimson is their richness; roses that are spotless white, all of them, without speck, long-stemmed, in generous clusters—and all making the air about them an intoxication of delicious odor. For one brief month it is politics and power set down in paradise; and sometimes as strangely out of place as the serpent there. But let who will make holiday in Washington for the sake of the garish early season of January, the wise one, whom chance has ever given a glimpse of the other, will wait for the later season there and the garden month of May.
The June 4, 1870 issue of Harper's Bazar (so, three weeks before publication of "The Later Season" in the same volume) contains one explicit reference to Melville and Moby-Dick in "Manners upon the Road: A Spring Travel," written by George William Curtis in the guise of "An Old Bachelor."

Some morning I throw open the blinds and put out my head to smell an apple blossom—for I am sure that 'twas only yesterday that what Herman Melville, in “Moby Dick,” would have called a perfumed whiteness lay lightly on all the orchards as we passed; and behold! instead of a lovely flower, here is a solid, straw-colored Porter apple.
The apple-blossom "whiteness" pictured by Curtis verbally evokes Melville's chapter on The Whiteness of the Whale. In Moby-Dick, however, "perfumed" only occurs once, in Chapter 29, Enter Ahab; to Him, Stubb. In a string of adjectives, "perfumed" there describes deliciously mild days at sea, compared to
"Persian sherbet, heaped up—flaked up, with rose-water snow."
Black Cherry Rose Water Sherbet via Olive to Eat
For further reading:
    In addition to "The Easy Chair" and the political editorials in the Weekly, Mr. Curtis is the author of the charming series of papers in Harper's Bazar entitled "Manners upon the Road," in which, under the signature of" An Old Bachelor," he treats principally social topics of current interest. These articles were commenced in the first number of the Bazar, in January, 1868, and were continued weekly until he was obliged, as stated above, temporarily to lay aside his pen. They exhibit the same traits of versatile thought, graces of style, and refined culture, which characterize the "Easy Chair." (322)
    • Richard Bridgman, Melville's Roses in Texas Studies in Literature and Language
      Vol. 8, No. 2 (Summer 1966), pp. 235-244. <https://www.jstor.org/stable/40753898>

    Friday, April 19, 2019

    Battle-Pieces in Brooklyn

    From The Brooklyn Daily Union, October 15, 1866; found at Newspapers.com with items "Added in the past 1 month":

    Mon, Oct 15, 1866 – 2 · The Brooklyn Union (Brooklyn, New York) · Newspapers.com

    Battle Pieces.

    Herman Melville is the author of a volume of verses published by Harper & Brothers. The verses contain a good deal of fair writing, some spirited lines, and a great deal of commonplace with an addendum in the shape of a not very creditable essay on politics.

    Tuesday, April 9, 2019

    Lines Written after a Snow-Storm by Clement C. Moore, 1824 and 1844 versions

    Now accessible online courtesy of Troy Public Library and New York State Historic Newspapers, the first printing of "Lines Written after a Snow-Storm" by Clement C. Moore:
    Untitled and unsigned, this poem appeared in the Troy Sentinel on February 20, 1824, almost two months after the anonymous first printing of Moore's "Account of A Visit from St. Nicholas" on December 23, 1823. The two poems may have been composed around the same time. There was in fact a snowstorm in New York City on Saturday, December 21, 1822, a few days before Christmas. The speaker in both poems is a father with children (asleep in "Visit" while sugarplum visions "danc'd in their heads"; awake in "Lines" while snowflakes "dance upon the air"). Significant verbal parallels with "Visit" include the shared beds/heads rhyme, the simile with the trigram "as the snow," as well as forms of the words dance, vision, and winter's. Presumably the person or persons (Harriet Butler and Sarah Sackett, according to different reports) who furnished editor Orville L. Holley with a copy of Moore's "Visit from St. Nicholas" also provided Moore's lovely little snow poem. In the 1844 volume Poems by Clement C. Moore it appears on pages 80-82 under the title, "Lines / Written after a Snow-Storm."
    Troy Sentinel - February 20, 1824
    Troy Public Library via NYS Historic Newspapers
    Come dearest children look around,
        And see how soft and light
    The silent snow has clad the ground,
        In robes of purest white.

    The trees are deck'd by fairy hands,
        Nor need their native green;
    And every breeze now seems to stand,
        All hush'd, to view the scene.

    You wonder how these snows were made
        That dance upon the air;
    As if from purer worlds they stray'd,
        So lovely and so fair.

    Perhaps they are the summer flowers,
        In northern stars that bloom;
    Wafted away from ivy bowers,
        To cheer our winter's gloom.  
    Perhaps they are feathers of a race
        Of birds, that live away
    In some cold wintry place,
        Far from the sun's warm ray.

    And clouds perhaps are downy beds,
        On which the winds repose;
    Who, when they move their slumbering heads,
        Shake down the feathery snows.
    But see, my dearlings, while we stay
       And gaze with such delight,
    The fairy scene now fades away,
       And mocks our raptur'd sight.

    And let this fleeting vision teach
        A truth you soon must know —
    That all the joys we here can reach,
       Are transient as the snow.
    New York Evening Post - December 23, 1822
    via GenealogyBank
    Numerous corrections and changes were made in revision of this poem for publication in Moore's 1844 Poems. My favorite example is "ivy bowers" in the 1824 printing, corrected by Moore to "icy bowers" in the later book version. The copyist's or printer's error of "ivy" for "icy" nicely illustrates why "original" printings, including first printings in newspapers, do not necessarily offer the most accurate and reliable textual readings. Here's the 1824 version again, but this time with 1844 changes shown in brackets:
    Come dearest children [1844: children dear, and] look around, [1844: semicolon],
        And see [1844: Behold] how soft and light
    The silent snow has clad the ground, [1844: end comma deleted]
        In robes of purest white.

    The trees are [1844: seem] deck'd by fairy hands [1844: hand],
        Nor need their native green;
    And every breeze now seems [1844: now appears] to stand,
        All hush'd, to view the scene.

    You wonder how these [1844: the] snows were made
        That dance upon the air; [1844: end comma]
    As if from purer worlds they stray'd,
        So lovely [1844: lightly] and so fair.

    Perhaps they are the summer flowers, [1844: end comma deleted]
        In northern stars that bloom; [1844: end comma]
    Wafted away from ivy bowers [1844: icy bowers], [1844: end comma deleted]
        To cheer our winter's gloom.  
    Perhaps they are [1844: they're] feathers of a race
        Of birds, [1844: comma deleted] that live away,
    In some cold wintry place, [1844: cold dreary wintry place,]
        Far from the sun's warm ray.

    And clouds perhaps are downy beds, [1844: And clouds, perhaps, are downy beds]
        On which the winds repose;
    Who, when they move [1844: rouse] their slumbering heads [1844: slumb'ring heads],
        Shake down the feathery [1844: feath'ry] snows.
    But see, my dearlings [1844: darlings], while we stay
       And gaze with such [1844: fond] delight,
    The fairy scene now [1844: soon] fades away,
       And mocks our raptur'd sight.

    And let this fleeting vision teach
        A truth you soon must know —
    That all the joys we here can reach, [1844: end comma deleted]
       Are transient as the snow.
    And here's the book version that appears in Moore's 1844 Poems:

    1844 version, transcribed below:
    COME children dear, and look around;
       Behold how soft and light
    The silent snow has clad the ground
       In robes of purest white.

    The trees seem deck'd by fairy hand,
       Nor need their native green;
    And every breeze appears to stand,
       All hush'd, to view the scene.

    You wonder how the snows were made
       That dance upon the air,
    As if from purer worlds they stray'd,
       So lightly and so fair.

    Perhaps they are the summer flowers
       In northern stars that bloom,
    Wafted away from icy bowers
       To cheer our winter's gloom.

    Perhaps they're feathers of a race
       Of birds that live away,
    In some cold dreary wintry place,
       Far from the sun's warm ray.

    And clouds, perhaps, are downy beds
       On which the winds repose;
    Who, when they rouse their slumb'ring heads,
       Shake down the feath'ry snows.

    But see, my darlings, while we stay
       And gaze with fond delight,
    The fairy scene soon fades away,
       And mocks our raptur'd sight.

    And let this fleeting vision teach
       A truth you soon must know —
    That all the joys we here can reach
       Are transient as the snow. 
    --Clement C. Moore, Poems (New York: Bartlett & Welford, 1844), 80-82.
    Related posts: