Friday, October 23, 2015

One Line From Thee: A Poem on an Envelope

I am transcribing a soldier's letter from 1862. Fortunately, the envelope it was sent in came with it and has a few lines of poetry as well as a George Washington stamp on it. It is not a Civil War specific poem, but I think it is a pleasant read and it does show a major difference in the worlds of then and now. Emails sure are fast and convenient, but lack some of the traits of a hand-written letter, including envelopes and perhaps a sort of character or personal touch. Of course, modern envelopes are pretty mostly plain white and kind of generic, but perhaps the older envelopes, aka "covers" are like an early version of post cards, with illustrations or pre-printed messages on them, sometimes, especially during the war, of a political nature. I find this particular verse to be a really nice message, with clever writing and rhymes.

I'll post the letter once I have finished transcribing it and researching a couple of names it mentions.



ONE LINE FROM THEE
No wrath that fame entwineth,
For Genius’ noble son,
No gem that brightly shineth,
For Fortune’s favored one.
No coral from the ocean, 
No diamond from the mine,
Will wake such sweet emotion
As one short note of thine.

For Fame’s bright wreath will sever,
And all her buds decay,
And Fortune’s gems will never
Prove cheering while they stay.
The treasures that are glowing
In caves of earth or sea.
Though purest light bestowing,
Will shine in vain for me.

But what thou has indited,
Each letter thou hast penned,
The faithful heart’s delighted
Of one who is your friend.
Oh! treasures from the ocean, 
Or from the shaded mine, 
Can wake no such emotion
As one short note of thine.

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