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Transcription Tuesday VIII: As soft falls the silken shade

Ariana Malthaner

One of the great challenges of transcription is that many sources are difficult to read. While in some cases this challenge can be overcome by revisiting a text or having another reference handy, in many of the instances of original poetry, there will often be gaps in sentences.

To illustrate, this week’s original poem is undated, unsigned, and unfortunately the transcription is incomplete, as there are certain words that are illegible. This is a common struggle with Isabella Woods’ autograph book and thus, unfortunately, while we will continue to visit the copied material that was important to her, we shall be leaving behind the original poems of her friends moving forward, and turning instead to other autograph books in the Backus-Page collection.

This particular poem is similar to the last original poem we looked at in that it appears to be a poem of farewell, of parting. The writing is fairly small, and while neat, can be difficult to read. A lot of the letters are flat, or cramped and thus difficult to make out. There are also difficulties with the ink in places, as the writing instrument appears to have had an uneven ink flow, resulting in darker and heavier writing, as seen in lines 3 and 7, with the smudge of line 7 as the ultimate result.

From what can be deciphered, the poem, it is quite nice, though it isn’t as well-structured as some of the previous pieces we have seen.

As soft as falls the silken shade

Let every sorrow be,

Which grief, or care, or hope delayed,

May ever cut on thee.

And softly glide thine hours away

As music from the string

Of woodland lyric while….stray

The fragrant airs of spring

And both each joy be pure and bright

As dew on…flowers

Some tinder theme of new delight

To cheer thy pensive hours.

And as a soft melodious lay

Tries on the still of even

May thy soft spirit pass away

And mingle into heaven

Ariana Malthaner