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Mark Twain

(November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910 / Florida, Missouri)

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Warm Summer Sun


Warm summer sun,
Shine kindly here,
Warm southern wind,
Blow softly here.
Green sod above,
Lie light, lie light.
Good night, dear heart,
Good night, good night.

Submitted: Wednesday, November 30, 2011

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  • Bronze Star - 6,718 Points * Sunprincess * (12/12/2013 12:10:00 PM)

    A beautifully poignant write, and may the poet rest in peace also...

    Warm summer sun,
    shine brightly here,
    Warm Southern wind,
    blow softly here,
    Green sod above,
    lie light, lie light,
    Good night, dear heart;
    good night, good night.

    Mark Twain's eulogy to his daughter Olivia Susan Clemens,
    March 19,1872 to August 18,1896
    from: Susy and Mark Twain, Harper & Row Publisher,1965, page 393.

    Mark Twain's daughter Olivia Susan Clemens died on August 18,1896 at the age of twenty-four. She was buried in the Clemens family plot at Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, New York. A frequent question that arises is related to the poem that her father had placed upon her headstone.

    The lines were adapted from a poem entitled Annette written by Robert Richardson (sometimes identified as a native of Australia) . The poem was published in a book entitled Willow and Wattle, (1893) . The original poem in its entirety reads:
    ANNETTE.
    And they say, Annette, that you
    Broke a foolish heart or two;
    Can, I wonder, this be true?
    Yet I will admit, Annette,
    That you were a sad coquette;
    Fain of praise and fain of kisses,
    Fond of all the farthing blisses
    That for fallen man unmeet are,
    So they tell us, yet so sweet are
    Fond of your glad world, and this is
    All the blame I can recall
    That on your young head should fall -
    And I knew you best of all.

    Save thought and little care
    Than to braid your rippled hair,
    Ribbon blue or crimson wear
    Who in all this giddy fair
    Who so bright and debonnaire?
    Yet me thought, Annette, you were
    just a little tired sometimes
    Hearing of the midnight chimes
    Weary of the passing show,
    Tired of rout, and Park, and Row;
    Longing for the night's retreat, -
    Weary little heart and feet.
    Dancing days are quickly run -
    Dead, and only twenty-one!

    Ne'er so glad as when you had
    Twenty lovers, man and lad,
    Round you waiting for a glance
    From your radiant beaux yeux
    (Certes, they were very blue) .
    Twenty lovers in a row
    Callow gallants, faded beaux,
    I have seen them come and go,
    Waiting patient for the chance
    Of a single fleeting dance;
    Mayfair's youth and chivalry
    Bent to you their courtly knee.

    Never more shall feet of yours
    Lightly lead the laughing hours,
    Lead the waltz's dreamy dance
    To the fair old tunes of France.
    Dancing days are fleetly run -
    Dead, and only twenty-one!

    If that ancient ethic view
    Of Pythagoras be true,
    Your light soul is surely now
    In that bird upon the bough,
    Singing, with soft-swelling throat,
    To the wind that heeds it not;
    Or in that blue butterfly,
    Flitting like a jewel by,
    Flashing golden to the sun.
    Soon, like yours, its day is run -
    Dead, and only twenty-one!

    Dead a week, and not already
    Quite forgotten- nay, what right have
    I to doubt it; sure, we might have
    Easier missed a wiser lady.
    Over you the grass will blow,
    Springs will come and autumns go.
    Will you, Annette, ever know
    There remain here one or two
    Who will still remember you? -
    O'er whose memory, now and then,
    With a thought of sad, sweet pain,
    There will cross your fair flower face,
    And the bright coquettish grace,
    With the memory of old days.

    Somewhere there beyond the blue,
    In the mansions that so many
    Are, they say, is there not any
    One of all, Annette, for you?
    You, whose only trespass this is
    That you loved the farthing blisses,
    Broke a foolish heart in twain
    That would lightly mend again.

    Warm summer sun, shine friendly here
    Warm western wind, blow kindly here;
    Green sod above, rest light, rest light,
    Good-night, Annette!
    Sweetheart, good-night! (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 2,096 Points Wahab Abdul (12/12/2013 12:59:00 AM)

    A particularly heart wrenching epitaph written by Mark Twain, on the tombstone of his wife, Olivia L. Langdon, whom he married in 1870. He was buried alongside her after his demise. All Twain is trying to do is say goodbye to his wife whom he loved dearly. He paints of beautiful picture of the calm scene. The entire poetry is written in a loving, peaceful tone with the most delicate use of adjectives and the kindest emotion. The poem epitomizes his attitude towards his wife and perfectly portrays the love he felt for her. Yet, there is not much sorrow shown. He's picked his words carefully to make sure she'd be remembered not with tears in peoples eyes, but with serene smiles. Towards the end, he wishes her farewell and bids adieu to his most loved companion. (Report) Reply

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