- 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!
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
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.
Mark Twain in Hartford:
The Poem on Susy Clemen's Headstone:
Public domain text taken from The Poets’ Corner: