Saturday, September 3, 2022

A Charm in Life

Fresco depicting Clare of Assisi holding a lily

Beads from a Rosary

A Charm in Life

     A charm in life
And safe-conducts in death,
Says Sister St. Clare,
Are the Lilies and Roses White.
Come away from the Tulips
Poor flaunters that flare
These Lilies and Roses attain,
For theirs are Christ’s sweetness and light.

-- Herman Melville

Transcribed and edited from the digital manuscript image, accessible online via Harvard Library:

  • Persistent Link
  • Description Melville, Herman, 1819-1891. Unpublished poems : autograph manuscript, undated. Herman Melville papers, 1761-1964. MS Am 188 (369.1). Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.Folder 1. Weeds and wildings: As they Fell.
  • Page sheet 3v (seq. 6)
  • Repository Houghton Library
  • Institution Harvard University
  • Accessed 03 September 2022
In print, a transcription of "A charm in Life" may be found with editorial notes for the poem Rosary Beads in Herman Melville, Billy Budd, Sailor and Other Uncompleted Writings, edited by G. Thomas Tanselle, Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, Robert Sandberg and Alma MacDougall Reising (Northwestern University Press and The Newberry Library, 2017) page 618. Also transcribed in the footnotes to my essay on Substack,

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