Transcription Tuesday VI: Farewell

Ariana Malthaner

This week we are back with another original poem composed by a friend of Isabella Woods. This particular poem speaks of a parting, and is signed by an Emily on September 21st 1864.

A regular frustration of historians is that humans, generally, do not feel the need to record information that we feel is obvious, or already understood. The oft-cited example is that of modern, Western recipes: unless otherwise specified, an ‘egg’ refers to a chicken egg and ‘milk’ indicates cow’s milk. Our cultural context informs us that these are the products we need, without it needing to be stated.

Historical people were no different. Isabella at no point provides her location or any details about her friends because to her, this information was unnecessary. She already knew. Thus, while this poem is beautiful and clearly speaks of a tender relationship between two women, it is devoid of context. We don’t know who Emily might be, whether friend or relative, or the reason for their separation.

Neverthless, it is lovely.

Farewell

Farewell! But never from my heart

Shall time thine image blot;

The dreams of other days depart –

Thou shall not be forgot;

And never in the supplicant sigh,

Poured forth to Him who rules the sky,

Shall my own name be breathed on high

And thine remembered not

Emily

Ariana Malthaner