Chapter & Verse

A correspondence corner for not-so-famous lost words

Miranda Yousef asks for titles of any novels that reprint this excerpt from Ford Madox Ford's poem "In October 1914": "This is Charing Cross; it is past one of the clock;/There is very little light./There is so much pain."

 

Ellen Peel hopes someone can identify the novel which presents one spouse's version of events and then forces the reader to flip the book over and upside down for the other spouse's version.

 

John Cooke hopes someone can identify a novel about a man's efforts to keep his amnesia-afflicted ex-girlfriend from recalling that she broke up with him.

 

David Burrows asks where Emerson writes of attending a musical performance which he imagines occurring in an insane asylum, with the inmates as performers and family members and staff as the audience.

 

Patrick O'Malley requests a confirmed source for "Marriage is like putting your hand into a bag of snakes in the hope of pulling out an eel," attributed (without citation) to Leonardo da Vinci and W.H. Brookfield and paraphrased in M.E. Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret.

 

Pete Hart seeks the source of "Oblivion here thy wisdom lies,/thy thrift the sleep of cares./For a proud idleness like this/crowns all thy mean affairs."

 

J.R. Taber would like to know who wrote "Not for me the mad violence of the moon,/nor the apex of the serene volcano in eruption./For who shall find our father Chaos/waddling in the inevitable mire of yesteryear/Splashed with newt's blood but unafraid."

 

"Puccini of music" (March-April). Mason professor of music emeritus David G. Hughes suggested checking Music and Criticism: A Symposium (1948), edited by Richard F. French, the proceedings of the conference recalled by Richard Wilbur. In his lecture, "The Raison d'Être of Criticism in the Arts," E.M. Forster stated, "When the English humorist Beachcomber says, 'Wagner is the Puccini of music,' he means rather more than he says. Besides guying a well-worn formula, he pierces Grand Opera itself, and reveals Brünnehilde and Butterfly transfixed on the same mischievous pin." Forster's citation is not footnoted. The writer J.B. Morton began his 50-year stint as "Beachcomber" in the Daily Express in 1924.

 

"cliff...strawberry" (September-October). Don Walker was the first to identify this Buddhist parable; Lavinia Schoene and others noted that it appears in Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, compiled by Paul Reps.

 

Erratum: Katherine Kurs noted that the name of Scottish artist Ian Hamilton Finlay was misspelled in the last issue. We regret the editorial error.

 

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

     

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