Living is strife and torment disappointment and love and sacrifice golden sunsets and black storms. I said that some time ago and today I do not think I would add one word. - Laurence Olivier, Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists - unless laughter could be said to remedy anything. - Kurt Vonnegut, The sudden disappointment of a hope leaves a scar which the ultimate fulfillment of that hope never entirely removes. - Thomas Hardy
This is a solid little tome, compact one might say. It fits nicely in the palm. The topic is ‘The Remains of Henry Kirke White‘ – a scholar who died young, and by all accounts appeared to have studied himself to death. Not through the study of the ‘self’, rather the study of words. They can be the death of one you know, powerful enchanters that they are. This wee book I hold is an 1835 edition.
The title is odd is it not? As though one would open the cover to find bits of bone and hair within. Or a mummified toe. Actually it is a compilation of the chap’s writings and poems. He died young, and some think that is the main reason for his fame, however Byron thought some of his work to have merit. For myself…he goes on a bit – but I have found odd spits and spots I like, though I have not consumed all mind. I have picked out here for you the opening pages, which have script upon them and engravings, plus a page that jumped out at sonmi as it contains a ‘Fragment’, and then finally, the first two verses of an ode from the very man himself which grabbed my wrists tight with fine papery fingers and had me lay it down here also.
If anyone can read the names written at the beginning of the book I’d be grateful if they would tell me. I can see that the first handwritten date is 1839, and then another follows within of 1840. I can see a possible ‘Miss. S. Burford, Castleton’. (Castleton being a place name).
If you click upon the following link, you can read the whole book online. Mr Kirke White was nothing if not prolific – The poetical works and remains of Henry Kirke White
Loud rage the winds without. — The wintry cloud
O’er the cold north star casts her fitting shroud ;
And Silence, pausing in some snow-clad dale,
Starts as she hears, by fits, the shrieking gale ;
Where now shut out from every still retreat
Her pine-clad summit, and her woodland seat,
Shall Meditation, in her saddest mood,
Retire, o’er all her pensive stores to brood ?
Shivering and blue, the peasant eyes askance
The drifted fleeces that around him dance ;
And harries on his half- averted form,
Stemming the fury of the sidelong storm.
Ode On Disappointment
Come Disappointment come!
Not in thy terror clad;
Come in they meekest, saddest guise;
Thy chastening rod but terrifies
The restless and the bad.
But I recline
Beneath thy shine,
And round my brow resign’d my peaceful cypress twine.
Though Fancy flies away
Before thy hollow tread,
Yet Meditation in her cell,
Hears with faint eye the lingering knell,
That teils her hopes are dead:
And though the tear
By chance appear,
Yet she can smile, and say,
My all was not laid here.