Chapter & Verse

A correspondence corner for not-so-famous lost words

Thomas Bettman requests the source of a fragment from Hart Crane that he remembers: "The poetry of despair is beautiful, alas, but I must have"...what?

 

E.J. Barnes seeks the name of the (political?) speaker alleged to have exclaimed, "I smell a rat! I can see it floating in the air! And if it is not nipped in the bud, it will start a conflagration that will drown us all!"

 

Timothy Jacobs would like to learn the original source of the assertion "Every love story is also a ghost story," a quotation he came across in a short story by David Foster Wallace.

 

"notable Americans" (November-December 2001). Philip F. Zeidman, who wrote the speech for Vice President Hubert Humphrey soon after the 1964 election, reports that its "droll litany of the most obscure and forgotten vice presidents" was intended to show that Humphrey didn't take himself too seriously and to say, in effect, to President Lyndon Johnson, "I know my place."

 

"botanically correct" (January-February). Mary Reyes was the first of many readers to suggest in answer the song "Misalliance," the sad saga of a bindweed and a honeysuckle, with words by Michael Flanders and music by Donald Swann, from their late 1950s revue (and subsequent recording) At the Drop of a Hat. (Details are available at ://timothyplatypus.tripod.com/FaS.) Other readers suggested the red rose-greenbrier union found in popular ballads such as "Lord Lovel" and variants of "Barbara Allan." Dean Estabrook proposed an old Mexican song, "Dos Arbolitos," recorded by Linda Ronstadt on her 1988 album Canciones de Mi Padre.

Send inquiries and answers to "Chapter and Verse," Harvard Magazine, 7 Ware Street, Cambridge 02138.

       

You might also like

Steven Pinker on Apple’s Vision Pro

Professor of psychology on the science and history behind the Vision Pro.

The State of Black America

Harvard African American scholars take stock of a difficult moment. 

Threats Foreign and Domestic

Joseph Nye discusses geopolitics and Harvard’s challenges.

Most popular

Murphy Time

Harvard’s greatest football coach—and one of the best anywhere

Harvard Files Amicus Brief in Graduate Student Unionization Case

The University argues that the relationship between graduate students and universities should remain academic, not managerial, and student labor unions would “damage private sector graduate education.”

Labor Litigator

Attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan takes on the app economy.

More to explore

Photograph of Winthrop Bell 1910

Winthrop Bell

Brief life of a philosopher and spy: 1884-1965

Illustration of people talking to each other with colorful thought bubbles above their heads

Talking about Talking

Fostering healthy disagreement

Vacationing with a Purpose

New England “summer camps” for adults