Book submission: Longfellow’s Poems and Ballads

Title: Poems and Ballads
Author: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Publication date: New York, 1891
Library: Alderman Library, University of Virginia
Call number: PS 2252.W6 1891
Submitted by: Andrew Stauffer
Copy belonging to Jane Chapman Slaughter, with extensive marginal notes addressed to her lost beloved, John Adamson. The book has the following note written in pencil on the front free endpaper: “Our readings together were in this book, ere you went to your life of work and sacrifice, and I remained to my life of infinite yearning for your presence, the sound of your voice; a yearning never to be satisfied in this world or the next. Now never I see thee/ Never more hear/ The voice of my comrade/ Ever more dear…..’And he never came back.'”

A number of the poems in this copy bear Jane Slaughter’s annotations, with explicit reference to her memories of reading them apparently with John H. Adamson, whose name is also inscribed in the book as its first owner. For example, in the bottom margin after “The Skeleton in Armor,” Jane has written in a note, “Then you looked at your watch & said – “Now shall we go & make that visit, for at 5 o’clock I have to go to Washington,” & we meant you & I, & we had a happy walk –“.  Then, in a later hand, she has added the following, on the facing page: “Our last walk together in this world. Never to see each other more – Never, oh, never! It was after this I called you — “Norseman,” the name we always used to the end, in our letters. Do you remember? – You added to it “your Norseman,” and “your devoted Norseman.”

Similarly, above Longfellow’s poem, “Footsteps of Angels,” Jane wrote in 1900, “You read this, July 1st, Sunday, the day you said – “goodbye,” sitting in the great armchair in the Infirmary parlor – O friend of mine!”; then, in the later hand, she has added, “Once, mine! Now, mine no more!”(29). One more example: at the close of Longfellow’s translation of the “Coplas de Manrique,” is Jane’s note, “Sunday May 6th / No’ubliez pas”; and then, in Jane’s later hand, “Read to me by ‘my Norseman,’ O so long ago, before he went on his “crusade” in Liberia at Capetown [sic] on the West Coast” (100).

2 thoughts on “Book submission: Longfellow’s Poems and Ballads

  1. Well- written narrative regarding “Poems and Ballads” by Longfellow. I found the exact same Federal Book Company copy this morning at a local thrift store here in Seattle for 1.50 and conducted a bit of online searching before hitting upon this site. The edition is complete and in very good readable condition. This is the second book of his found in this manner; the first being an original copy of “Evangeline” in good condition, albeit missing the first thirteen pages. Thank you to Andrew Stauffer for posting this wonderful piece as well as helping me to identify the volume.

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