Sunday, February 26, 2012

Golden Treasury

       In the past I used to collect used books, old volumes of poetry from the early 1900's. You probably know the ones I mean, they are small, fitting nicely in your hand, and have yellowing pages. The one I'm looking at right now was bought at a used book sale, the date on the book is 1927. Sometimes I find interesting things inside the pages, used as bookmarks and lost. In the front of this book, the name of the original owner is written in the spidery handwriting of that time, in ink, with this note written in all capitals underneath:
This is the second book I
have bought. Please return.
     Well, I can't return it. I think I paid the pencilled amount on the second page, 50 cents, to bring this book home from the used book sale. The title is "The Golden Treasury" - selected from the best songs and lyrical poems in the English language and arranged with notes, by Francis T. Palgrave (late professor of poetry in the University of Oxford.)  
     The first little slip of paper marking a place is on page 303 - I open it to see what was the interesting lines marked to be remembered. It's marked with a torn corner from a newspaper, but there's no date. Too bad, I would like to know when it was put in the book, and left there for me to find.
By The Sea
it is a beauteous evening, calm and free;
The holy time is quiet as a Nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquility;

The gentleness of heaven is on the Sea;
Listen! the might Being is awake
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder - everlastingly.
     I'm far from the sea here, but we have had many thunderstorms lately, and everlasting rain. Keats, Sir Walter Scott, Wordsworth and Byron all have their poems in this book. And Shakespeare, of course. 
     The picture above, in the round bezel with the word "Dream" on her forehead, is Emily Dickinson. Of all the poets, I like her the best.I turn quickly to the Index of Writers, and her name is absent, she's not included in this Golden Treasury. I suppose Professor Palgrave missed out on her, somehow.

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