First I must apologize for
the delay of this issue of the Newsletter. The personal changes in my life
the past three months have been overwhelming and I have been unable to
function well as editor. While this is likely to continue for some time,
nonetheless I wished to publish at least one issue as time allows. I hope
everyone enjoys it and the summer!
A quick search of our Ella
website reveals 131 poems written by Ella that mention Summer. Compare
that to Spring (80), Winter (67), and Autumn (50) and you'll see
that Summer was a great inspiration to her, both in terms of joy and as
a way of contrasting darker times. I have tried to select a few
poems that show her different uses of the season.
Since the last newsletter,
one new web edition of a book, The Song
of the Sandwich, has been added to our website. It is a very
humorous book with wonderful illustrations. It has also been added to one
of the internationally known indexes
of digital books at the University of Pennsylvania.
one of our EWW Society members has published a novel based on the life
About the book, "Ella Moon," the author, Ed Ifkovic, has
written "Ella Wheeler Wilcox was one of the Victorian world's most popular
poets. Born on an impoverished Wisconsin farm, she hungered for fame and
fortune. As a young farm girl, she caught the attention of East Coast editors.
Her life became a tapsestry of color and melodrama, an epic of American
rags to riches. She scandalized her generation with verse that seemed
too risque' for a puritanical nation, but her own married life was the
model of Christian propriety.
"This fictionalized account chronicles her controversial
life, not only the glittering heights of international celebrity, but also
the nagging fears that tempered her vast and cherished success."
The first 40 pages are available for downloading as a
preview from the Badger Books web site at http://www.badgerbooks.com.
To quote Steve Fortney, a reviewer, the book is "a fictionalized
biography of the poet and journalist Ella Wheeler Wilcox, is to be transported
in to a world of uplift, sentiment, joy, and hope that is almost foreign
to a cynical and despairing age such as ours. Yet this remarkable novel
is peculiarly uplifting, in spite of having been written in a time so much
darker than the universe of meaning this prolific poet created in her own
Badger Books also lists Ella Moon for sale in their Spring
and it may be order via their 1-800 number. The book is available in both
hardcover and softcover. Also, the novel can be order online or at from
Borders, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.com.
I would like to thank all those
who sent me material for our website, especially Bonnie Char who typed
"An Erring Woman's Love," Lyn Smith of Hertfordshire, UK, and Ingrid Horn
who both sent several digital images of more book covers for the bibliography.
month in Ella's life:
|June 14, 1762
Amos Wheeler, Ella's grandfather, was born. He married Eunice Hosford
on August 20, 1788 (1789?) in Thetford, Vermont and died February
4, 1836, in Thetford, Vermont. Unconfirmed research suggests that he may
be the Amos Wheeler born June 19, 1762 in Holden, Worcester, MA to Abijah
Wheeler and Sarah.
Marcus Hartwell Wheeler, Ella's father, was born July 14, 1808 in Thetford,
Vermont. He married to Sarah Pratt on May 22, 1836 in Thetford, Vermont
and died January 24, 1899 in Westport, Wisconsin. He claimed he was "a
descendant from Ethan Allen."
Ella Wheeler's parents, Marcus and Sarah Pratt Wheeler, came from Thetford,
Vermont, in June, 1849, with their three children. Ella was not born until
over a year later. The Wheelers rented a house on the present County A
at Scharine Corner east of Janesville. Then it was the busy Mineral Point-Milwaukee
Ella's year of birth has been given as 1850, 1853 or 1855 over the
years. The best proof comes from the U.S. Federal Census for Rock
County, Wisconsin, taken in June 1860. The federal census listing of the
Wheeler family in June 1860 (courtesy of State Hist. Soc. of Wis.) lists
her age as nine. She was born November 5, 1850 and would be ten later that
Publication of "The World's Need" in The Century 50(2):185.
THE WORLD'S NEED.
So many gods, so many creeds--
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs.
Robert Wilcox retires. "Mr. Wilcox was engaged in the Manufacture of
sterling silver works of art, and his business house, from which he retired
June, 1904, still retains his name 'The Wilcox and Wagoner Co.,' at 41
Union Square, New York."
|A SUMMER DAY
There's a gaping rent in the curtain
That longs for a needle and thread,
There's a garment that ought to be finished,
And a book that wants to be read.
There's a letter that needs to be answered,
There are clothes to fold away,
And I know these tasks are waiting,
And ought to be done to-day.
But how can I mend the curtain,
While watching this silvery cloud,
And how can I finish th' garment,
When the robin calls so loud.
And the whispering trees are telling
Such stories above my head,
That I can but lie and listen,
And the book is all unread.
If I try to write the letter,
I am sure one half the words
Will be in the curious language
Of my chattering friends, the birds.
The lilacs bloom in the sunshine,
The roses nod and smile,
And the clothes that ought to be folded
And ironed, must wait awhile.
I lie in the locust shadows,
And gaze at the summer sky,
Bidding the cares and toubles
And trials of life pass by.
The beautiful locust blossoms
Are falling about my feet,
And the dreamy air is laden
With their odors rare and sweet.
The honey-bees hum in the clover,
The grasses rise and fall,
The robin stops and listens,
As he hears the brown thrush call.
The humming-bird sings to me softly,
The butterfly flits away--
Oh what could be sweeter than living,
This beautiful summer day!
Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.
Sailing away on a summer sea,
Out of the bleak March weather;
Drifting away for a loaf and play,
Just you and I together;
And it's good-bye worry and good-bye hurry
And never a care have we;
With the sea below and the sun above
And nothing to do but dream and love,
Sailing away together.
Sailing away from the grim old town
And tasks the town calls duty;
Sailing away from walls of grey
To a land of bloom and beauty,
And it's good-bye to letters from our lessers and our
To the cold world's smile or its frown.
We sail away on a sunny track
To find the summer and bring it back
And love is our only duty.
Afloat on a sea of passion
Without a compass or chart,
But the glow of your eye shows the sun is high,
By the sextant of my heart.
I know we are nearing the tropics
By the languor that round us lies,
And the smile on your mouth says the course is south
And the port is Paradise.
We have left grey skies behind us,
We sail under skies of blue;
You are off with me on lovers' sea,
And I am away with you.
We have not a single sorrow,
And I have but one fear--
That my lips may miss one offered kiss
From the mouth that is smiling near.
There is no land of winter;
There is no world of care;
There is bloom and mirth all over the earth,
And love, love everywhere.
Our boat is the barque of Pleasure,
And whatever port we sight
The touch of your hand will make the land
The Harbor of Pure Delight.
Poems of Progress and New Thought Pastels
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
London: Gay & Hancock, 1911.
|WHEN YOU GO AWAY
When you go away, my friend,
When you say your last good-bye,
Then the summer time will end,
And the winter will be nigh.
Though the green grass decks the heather,
And the birds sing all the day,
There will be no summer weather
After you have gone away.
When I look into your eyes,
I shall thrill with deepest pain,
Thinking that beneath the skies
I may never look again.
You will feel a moment's sorrow,
I shall feel a lasting grief;
You forgetting on the morrow,
I to mourn with no relief.
When we say the last sad word,
And you are no longer near,
And the winds and all the birds
Cannot keep the summer here,
Life will lose its full completeness---
Lose it not for you, but me;
All the beauty and the sweetness
Each can hold, I shall not see.
Poetical works of Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Edinburgh : W. P. Nimmo, Hay, & Mitchell,
|THE SUMMER GIRL
She's the jauntiest of creatures, she's the daintiest of misses,
With her pretty patent leathers or her alligator ties,
With her eyes inviting glances and her lips inviting kisses,
As she wanders by the ocean or strolls under country skies.
She's a captivating dresser, and her parasols are stunning,
Her fads will-take your breath away, her hats are dreams
She is not so very bookish, but with repartee and punning
She can set the savants laughing and make even dudelets
She has no attacks of talent, she is not a stage-struck maiden;
She is wholly free from hobbies, and she dreams of no
She is mostly gay and happy, never sad or care-beladen,
Though she sometimes sighs a little if a gentleman is
She's a sturdy little walker and she braves all kinds of weather,
And when the rain or fog or mist drive rival crimps a-wreck,
Her fluffy hair goes curling like a kinked-up ostrich feather
Around her ears and forehead and the white nape of her
She is like a fish in water; she can handle reins and racket;
From head to toe and finger-tips she's thoroughly alive;
When she goes promenading in a most distracting jacket,
The rustle round her feet suggests how laundresses may
She can dare the wind and sunshine in the most bravado manner,
And after hours of sailing she has merely cheeks of rose;
Old Sol himself seems smitten and at most will only tan her,
Though to everybody else he gives a danger-signal nose.
She's a trifle sentimental, and she's fond of admiration,
And she sometimes flirts a little in the season's giddy
But win her if you can, sir, she may prove your life's salvation,
For an angel masquerading oft is she, the summer girl.
Kingdom of love and How Salvator won
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Chicago, W.B. Conkey company .
Three Women. Part VII.
One late summer day
He awoke with a headache, which will not surprise,
When you know that his bedtime had been at sunrise,
And that gay Narraganset, the world renowned "Pier,"
Was the scene. Through the lace curtained window the clear
Yellow rays of the hot August sun touched his bed
And proclaimed it was mid-day. He rose, and his head
Seemed as large and as light as an air filled balloon
While his limbs were like lead.
In the glare of the noon,
The follies of night show their makeup, and seem
Like hideous monsters evoked by some dream.
The sea called to Roger: "Come, lie on my breast
And forget the dull world. My unrest shall give rest
To your turbulent feelings; the dregs of the wine
On your lips shall be lost in the salt touch of mine.
Come away, come away. Ah! the jubilant mirth
Of the sea is not known by the stupid old earth."
The beach swarmed with bathers--to be more exact,
Swarmed with people in costumes of bathers. In fact,
Many beautiful women bathed but in the light
Of men's eyes; and their costumes were made for the sight,
Not the sea. From the sea's lusty outreaching arms
They escaped with shrill shrieks, while the men viewed
And made mental notes of them. Yet, at this hour,
The waves, too, were swelling sea meadows, a-flower
With faces of swimmers. All dressed for his bath,
Roger paused in confusion, because in his path
Surged a crowd of the curious; all eyes were bent
On the form of a woman who leisurely went
From her bathing house down to the beach. "There she goes,"
Roger heard a dame cry, as she stepped on his toes
With her whole ample weight. "What, the one with red hair?
Why, she isn't as pretty as Maude, I declare."
A man passing by with his comrade, cried: "Ned,
Look! there is La Travers, the one with the red
Braid of hair to her knees. She's a mystery here,
And at present the topic of talk at the Pier."
Roger followed their glances in time to behold
For a second a head crowned with braids of bright gold,
And a form like a Venus, all costumed in white.
Then she plunged through a billow and vanished from sight.
It was half an hour afterward, possibly more,
As Roger swam farther and farther from shore,
With new life in his limbs and new force in his brain,
That he heard, just behind him, a sharp cry of pain.
Ten strokes in the rear on the crest of a wave
Shone a woman's white face. "Keep your courage; be brave;
I am coming," he shouted. "Turn over and float."
His strong shoulder plunged like the prow of a boat
Through the billows. Six overhand strokes brought him
To the woman, who lay like a wilted white rose
On the waves. "Now, be careful," he cried; "lay your hand
Well up on my shoulder; my arms, understand,
Must be free; do not touch them--please follow my wishes,
Unless you are anxious to fatten the fishes."
The woman obeyed him. "You need not fear me,"
She replied, "I am wholly at home in the sea.
| I knew all the arts of the swimmer, I thought,
But confess I was frightened when suddenly caught
With a cramp in my knee at this distance from shore."
With slow even breast strokes the strong swimmer bore
His fair burden landward. She lay on the billows
As lightly as if she were resting on pillows
Of down. She relinquished herself to the sea
And the man, and was saved; though God knows both can
False and fickle enough; yet resistance or strife,
On occasions like this, means the forfeit of life.
The throng of the bathers had scattered before
Roger carried his burden safe into the shore
And saw her emerge from the water, a place
Where most women lose every vestige of grace
Or of charm. But this mermaid seemed fairer than when
She had challenged the glances of women and men
As she went to her bath. Now her clinging silk suit
Revealed every line, from the throat to the foot,
Of her beautiful form. Her arms, in their splendor,
Gleamed white like wet marble. The round waist was slender,
And yet not too small. From the twin perfect crests
And the virginlike grace of her beautiful breasts
To the exquisite limbs and the curve of her thigh,
And the arch of her proud little instep, the eye
Drank in beauty. Her face was not beautiful; yet
The gaze lingered on it, for Eros had set
His seal on her features. The mouth full and weak,
The blue shadow drooping from eyelid to cheek
Like a stain of crushed grapes, and the pale, ardent skin,
All spoke of volcanic emotions within.
By her tip tilted nose and low brow, it was plain
To read how her impulses ruled o'er her brain.
She had given the chief role of life to her heart,
And her intellect played but a small minor part.
Her eyes were the color the sunlight reveals
When it pierces the soft, furry coat of young seals.
The thickly fringed lids seemed unwilling to rise,
But drooped, half concealing them; wonderful eyes,
Full of secrets and bodings of sorrow. As coarse
And as thick as the mane of a finely groomed horse
Was her bright mass of hair. The sea, with rough hands,
Had made free with the braids, and unloosened the strands
Till they hung in great clusters of curls to her knees.
Her voice, when she spoke, held the breadth and the breeze
Of the West in its tones; and the use of the R
Made the listener certain her home had been far
From New England. Long after she vanished from view
The eye and the ear seemed to sense her anew.
There was that in her voice and her presence which hung
In the air like a strain of a song which is sung
By a singer, and then sings itself the whole day,
And will not be silenced.
As birds flock away
From meadow to tree branch, now there and now here,
So, from beach to Casino, each day at the Pier
Flock the gay pleasure seekers. The balconies glow
With beauty and color. The belle and the beau
Promenade in the sunlight, or sit tete-a-tete,
While the chaperons gossip together. Bands play,
Glasses clink; and 'neath sheltering lace parasols
There are plans made for meeting at drives or at balls.
By Ella Wheeler
Chicago ; New York : W.B. Conkey Company, 1897.
Subscription and Printed Copies
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2001 Richard A. Edwards, all rights reserved. This document may be distributed
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