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 :// 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.


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