Title: Southern writers: biographical and critical studies, Sidney Lanier
Author: Baskervill, William Malone
Publication date: Nashville, Tenn.; 1897
Library: Williston Memorial Library, Mount Holyoke College
Call number: 83YE L272yb
Submitted by: Rachael Smith
Gift inscription on the cover reads: “Ellen Burroughs” — In most grateful acknowledgement from M. D. L. Easter, 1897.
“Ellen Burroughs” was a pen name used by poet and Wellesley English professor Sophie Jewett. Her collection “The Pilgrim, and Other Poems” was published in 1896 and included this poem, titled “Sidney Lanier”:
The Southwind brought a voice; was it of bird?
Or faint-blown reed? or string that quivered long?
A haunting voice that woke into a song
Sweet as a child’s low laugh, or lover’s word.
We listened idly till it grew and stirred
With throbbing chords of joy, of love, of wrong;
A mighty music, resonant and strong;
Our hearts beat higher for that voice far-heard.
The Southwind brought a shadow, purple-dim,
It swept across the warm smile of the sun;
A sudden shiver passed on field and wave;
The grasses grieved along the river’s brim.
We knew the voice was silent, the song done;
We knew the shadow smote across a grave.
M. D. L. are the initials of Sidney Lanier’s wife, Mary Day Lanier. She edited and published collections of his poetry and letters following his death in 1842. In this book, she has corrected two sections of her husband’s poetry that were misprinted, and made a note in the margin where a quote “was taken from one of my own letters.”