As I continued to proofread my last round of Mathew Franklin Whittier's collected works (and proposed works, where they are unsigned), I ran across a poem I mentioned in the 8/29/18 entry, entitled "A Moment." I had tentatively concluded that it was Mathew's work, being unsigned where it appears in the Boston "Weekly Museum." I also mentioned that I had passed it by when I first encountered it, while writing my first book, "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own words," because I didn't feel sure of it.
Unfortunately, I had neglected my standard procedure of doing an internet search on the interior lines. This morning, when I checked it, it didn't take me long to find it in a compilation by British poet Charles Swain, published that same year, in 1849. Swain's other work, in that compilation, is of comparative quality. I'm not familiar with him (i.e., in this lifetime), but it strikes me as being excellent poetry. There's no doubt that "A Moment" is his. Therefore, I had to edit a mention of it in my sequel, "Mathew Franklin Whittier in his own world," accordingly.
Mathew would often send poems that he ran across, which touched him deeply (usually, as regards his first wife and true love, Abby), to the editor along with his own submissions. Very often, they ended up above or below his own piece or pieces. This poem appears directly below a parody of poetry critiques, undoubtedly written by Mathew. So my feeling drawn to it was correct, as past-life intuitive memory; only, it wasn't Mathew's own poem. I left a mention of this in my sequel, primarily because it substantiated the authorship of the parody.
So my vague emotional feeling was correct; but where I took it, as a tentative intellectual conclusion, was mistaken. Actually, it was mistaken for this blog; but not when I wrote my first book.
It was the final example of a momentary epiphany, given in the poem, that Mathew would have related to, not so much the first one in this last stanza; and this was the source of my confusion:
Go, ask of the hero, when victory soundeth,
What glory a moment of time may command;
Ask the home-seeking sailor, while fast his heart boundeth,
How sweet is the moment he views his own land;
Ask the Lover, when whisper to whisper replieth,
In accents that tremble, lest lips be o'erheard;
And oh! they will tell you each moment that dieth,
Hath crowded eternity oft in a word!
Mathew, raised Quaker, wrote vigorously against the concept of the glory of war (especially, imperialistic war). He is unlikely to have penned that first example, though it's not impossible, because at times he praised warriors who were fighting a just cause. However, another subtle point occurs to me, as I type the above. Mathew generally didn't write poems about topics or concepts--not even the concept of an epiphany. He wrote from his own experience. Which is to say, if he had not experienced being victorious in battle, he wouldn't write about it. I feel, from past-life intuitive and emotional memory, that it was strictly this last example, of the Lovers, that touched him deeply, as he thought back to his courtship with Abby. In fact, even when I was speculating that this was Mathew's poem, I felt that he would have written it primarily by way of leading up to this last example--that it was the excuse for the entire poem.
That, you will recognize, was my intellectual interpretation of a feeling, given certain assumptions. The psychic mediums do precisely the same thing, when interpreting the symbols and impressions that spirits convey to them. And they are sometimes mistaken, in precisely the same way. The impression was correct; but intellectual assumptions lead one astray in the intepretation.
I want to give any of my open-minded readers an understanding of how I work, and how honest I try to be. I am, actually, the antithesis of a wild-eyed fanatic, bent on proving his own theory at all costs. Which is to say, the self-deluded and the pioneer may superficially look similar--but it is a profound mistake to charge the pioneer with being deluded, on that basis alone. It is no-doubt convenient, but it's a profound error, nonetheless. Discernment on the part of the skeptic--the honest skeptic--is required.
These mistakes do remind me of just how frightening it is to have one's world view challenged. This was just a minor challenge, but I have faced some more formidable ones, and I know the feeling. For example, I knew that the letter-writer signing "A.B.D." must have been Mathew, when his first installment described a military training precisely as Mathew's "Ethan Spike" would have done. Either that, or someone was very skillfully imitating "Spike"--and there just weren't any contenders that I knew of this early, in 1849. But after reading several of "A.B.D.'s" letters, and finding them all quite plausible for Mathew's pen, I ran across the one I shared yesterday (I believe it was), wherein A.B.D. suddenly waxes eloquent about his school days in the vicinity of Portland, Maine. I knew Mathew had grown up in Haverhill, Mass., and I received a shock, not unlike a jolt of electricity!
In my first book, I had to just report the thing as I found it, unresolved. But as of my sequel, I figured it out. Mathew was, indeed, writing as more than one persona at a time; and he would, indeed, occasionally throw in a monkey wrench like this, to prevent his pro-slavery enemies from tracing him--and especially, from tracing his children there in Portland.
But I do understand that feeling; and I also sympathize with the almost insuperable urge to rationalize, when faced with an interior earthquake like that. Thus, understanding my work requires that the honest skeptic have not only discernment, but courage. This kind of courage requires that a person be in love with Truth. And in this era, a modern Diogenes may sooner find an honest man, than a man in love with Truth.
That is putting a huge responsibility on my readership. I can only assume that presenting at this level will gradually weed people out, leaving an elite group who stick with it (i.e., for the right reasons). One or more of them, eventually, may pass this along by word of mouth, so that my work survives me into the next generation or two. There, among the advanced souls who will be reincarnating at that time, it may find a wider audience.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
P.S. If you want to understand my relationship with Abby--what it was like in the 19th century, and why we have picked it up again, today, across the Great Divide--watch this excellent sci-fi short film:
Abby "nudged" me to watch it, and I wasn't disappointed.
Music opening this page: "Galileo," by It's a Beautiful Day,
from the album "Marrying Maiden"