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It's not goodbye...
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: June 03, 2004 04:57PM

But I'm off on a REAL vacation -- just me, not visiting family or trying to fit in some work -- returning June 14th.

And while I'm out of town, I expect whoever stole my rhyme scheme to put it right back where you found it.

Re: It's not goodbye...
Posted by: lg (
Date: June 03, 2004 05:02PM

OK, Marian, but no sneaking back here via an internet cafe like you did up in Alaska last year. Enjoy your break. I'll keep an eye out for your missing rhyme scheme. My guess is Hugh's got it, though.


Re: It's not goodbye...
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (
Date: June 03, 2004 05:04PM

Wishing you a nice relaxing time.

I don't have a rhyme scheme...mine's more a conspiracy than a scheme

Re: It's not goodbye...
Posted by: Talia (
Date: June 03, 2004 06:08PM

hmmm...where are you going?

Re: It's not goodbye...
Posted by: Linda (
Date: June 03, 2004 06:24PM

Then we can all go there and bother you.

Re: It's not goodbye...
Posted by: glenda (
Date: June 04, 2004 09:47AM


I've discovered that I'm a hack
So here's your damned old rhyme scheme back!

Re: It's not goodbye...
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: June 04, 2004 11:42AM

I looked around and the only ones I have are from Harry Graham and Newman Levy. I did have one of Winthrop Praed's, but I cannot find it any more, so maybe I returned it. The often-employed scheme from Anthony Hecht I refuse to give up, forget it.

Re: It's not goodbye...
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: June 15, 2004 08:40AM

This is TOTALLY embarrassing but I'm going to confess and get it over with: my rhyme scheme was right here all the time. I spilled coffee and wiped it up with a towel and then I dropped the towel ON the rhyme scheme and in my hurry to leave town I didn't clear up. So I found it when I got back. Strangely, though, I had no problems travelling without it.

Now before anybody asks: YES, I did bring you a present. And it's ...

a poem! Surprise!

This was published (and probably written) by WILLIAM MASSEY in 1763, in a book called "The Origin and Progress of Letters." The book is mostly a survey of alphabets and writing styles and mateials, but it begins with a rhapsody on the very IDEA of writing, a celebration of the fact that it is POSSIBLE to convert speech into a form that is visible and portable and can be preserved. (It seems there was debate, then and earlier, over whether "letters" were the IMMEDIATE creation of God, or whether God created writing "mediately, by his Gifts bestowed on Men.") So here is the question, rendered in verse for Massey's book:

Whence did the wondrous, mystic art arise,
of painting speech, and speaking to the eyes?
That we, by tracing magic lines are taught
how to embody, and to colour thought?

Quite a question, if you try not to take writing for granted. "Writing ... gives a sort of immortality to all other things" (John Ayres, 1697). I had occasion to read quite a few passages and poems about the miracle of written communication. The British Library* doesn't let you photocopy their rare books, so I didn't copy them all. Here's one more that I particularly liked (and it reminded me of Babelfish!). Nahum Tate, British poet laureate 16921715, wrote this one:

View writing's art, that like a sovereign queen
Amongst her subject sciences are seen;
As she in dignity the reft transcends,
So far her pow'r of good and harm extends;
And strange effects in both from her we find,
The PALLAS and PANDORA of mankind.

("Pallas" here refers to Pallas Athena, aka Athena, the wise and peace-loving Greek goddess.)

*That's a hint about where I spent my holiday.

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