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!

    Robert Richardson

Unfortunately, it's hard to find any biographies on poet Robert Richardson. Some references say that he might have been Australian. Annette was published in a book titled Willow and Wattle in 1893.

Samuel Clemens, who gained great fame writing as Mark Twain had a daughter Olivia Susan Clemens who was a darling among the proper young ladies of Hartford's west side. Her verbal and musical gifts became the rhapsodies of her father's journals. However, some of these well-known lines are at times mistakenly attributed to him. Susy Clemens died on August 18th at the age of 24 of spinal meningitis. Sensitive and ethereal, she is remembered for the way her death devastated her father, Mark Twain. On the gravestone of his daughter he had these lines engraved:

    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.
Twain's reaction is the saddest thing he ever wrote: "It is one of the mysteries of our nature, that a man, all unprepared can receive a thunder-stroke like that and live." Susy enjoyed the spiritual and transcendental, a popular pastime of the day. "We who believe in the soul -- we who are soul -- understand," Sally mused. She fit pleasantly into the Victorian practice of intellectual parlor discourse and , enchanted all listeners, a family friend wrote.

On expert Bob Blair notes that the lines on her gravestone were remembered from a book that Clemens and his daughter had read together. When he learned that the lines were being attributed to him, Twain found the name of the forgotten author and had it added to the stone. Her legacy is the definition she gives her father's character. Her exuberant nature became a source of her father's expressiveness, and in his superlatives Mark Twain does not differ from other fathers with daughters, their wonders and their worship.

Sources:

Sources:

Blair, Bob:
http://www.geocities.com/~bblair/011130.htm

Mark Twain in Hartford:
courant.ctnow.com/projects/twain

The Poem on Susy Clemen's Headstone:
www.twainquotes.com/

Public domain text taken from The Poets’ Corner:
http://www.geocities.com/~bblair/rrannette.htm

CST Approved.

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