Maybe nobody has discovered that I've continued this blog, through the old Archives link, after all. I don't see it showing up in the stats, now. A page has to get high enough in the rankings to be among the top 30 pages in order to register in the stats, as they are configured.
I really do need to back off this blog for my health, due to long-term stress, but I just made another discovery. I had purchased an original copy, first edition, of Elizabeth Barrett's "Poems," published in 1844. I bought Vol. II, because I was under the impression that the poem--which I believe Mathew wrote--entitled "Lady Geraldine's Courtship" was in that volume. It wasn't.
I had requested a return, wrapped the volume back up again in its box, and the matter was disappointingly finished as far as I was concerned. This is one of those instances where Abby, my wife in the astral, has had to really push on me. It's hard for her to get something through my thick head, if I'm not thinking along those same lines. Which is to say, introducing an entirely new thought, or even a contrary thought, is far more difficult for her than simply nudging me down a track in the direction my thoughts were already traveling.
So I kept feeling she wanted me to read the other poems in that volume, that there might be something else of ours in it--and she wouldn't let it go. Finally, I got up this morning and acquiesced. And she was right. The poem "The Lost Bower," is Mathew's. Barrett modified it to set it in England, but the bulk of it is his, written, not about a hill and woods near her childhood home, but about Job Hill and the adjoining woods near his. Clearly, the picture of a child adventurously tearing his way through brambles and underbrush is far more plausible for a boy, than a girl. Even if we grant that the girl is a tomboy, they had to wear dresses in those days. No girl in a dress is going to risk tearing it to shreds, by ripping apart brambles to enter a wood.
But that's not the strongest clue (aside from sheer quality, and style). There's an error in that poem, an obvious one, which was never corrected as near as I can tell. It is included in at least two versions I found online, today. This is the second time I've discovered such a thing in a plagiarized poem. The plagiarist doesn't fix it, because he or she isn't savvy enough to realize it's an error. Imagine that I stole a physicist's formula, and presented it as my own. In the copying process, an obvious error creeps in. But I know nothing about physics, and as a result, I never correct it. That error now becomes the physicist's posthumous calling card.
Admittedly, the poem may never have been reprinted in Browning's lifetime; but one would think she would have set the matter straight for posterity, so that the error didn't keep on repeating. The first instance I found of this kind of error, the plagiarist perpetuated it in a subsequent printing, making that a stronger case.
But I don't think I'm wrong about this. It means that Mathew sent Barrett a sampling of his work--as people do today, with famous artists of all kinds. She felt free to include two of them in her poetry compilation, modifying them slightly so as to personalize them for herself, and for England. And she let everyone believe they were her poems.
So far as I know, only one of them became famous, "Lady Geraldine's Courtship." Perhaps "The Lost Bower" never achieved the same popularity, because it recounts a childhood mystical experience--and the public, at large, is bored by mysticism. They love aristocracy, however, and romance.
Have you ever seen the film "My Life," written and directed by Bruce Joel Rubin? Rubin was the writer of the wildly popular film, "Ghost." No, I don't believe he stole these from anyone else. I kept up a correspondence with him for awhile, and he's legit. But my point here is, that everybody loves ghosts and romance, so "Ghost" became famous. But nobody that I've ever mentioned it to, has seen "My Life." And that second film, from the spiritual and artistic point of view, is at least as good as "Ghost."
So I think we have the same thing here, as regards "Lady Geraldine's Courtship" and "The Lost Bower."
The particulars have been inserted into my sequel. If nobody is reading this blog, today, then, I am really writing for posterity now--a posterity who has read that book.
This morning, I added back into the Archive, the earlier entries that I had set aside a couple of years ago. The whole thing is now accessible--just go to the bottom of the Archives page, and look for the link.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Music opening this page: "A Leaf Has Veins," by The Free Design,
from the album, "You Could Be Born Again"