Saturday, November 8, 2014

Stop the presses! The rest of the story from the Album of the Heart entry of March 9, 1874

Shortly after I posted the March 9, 1874 entry to my blog (Nov 7th) I heard from my friend Margo Metegrano, a dedicated researcher of poems and their authors, and the driving force behind CowboyPoetry.com. She was intrigued by the spelling of "momentoes" in the poem title and decided to look into it. Low and behold she found the author and entire poem in the online archives of Lloyd's Weekly London Newspaper dated August 8, 1847. I didn't catch it but "momentoes" is a misspelling of the word "mementoes". Ida's entry was excerpted from the poem but the spelling of the title was her own.

Mementoes of the Past

Where is there a little flower,
To fill the heart with sadness?
What is there in a leafless bower,
To give the spirit gladness?
What is there in the flowing streams,
That bind the traveller fast?
Those transient, visionary gleams
Momentoes of the past!

The little violet in our path,
May give us days of sorrow;
Tis such a fondness memory hath,
Of youthful years to borrow:
Whole volumes, at such times, are read
Within the humblest flower,
As we the paths of childhood tread
If but for one brief hour!

The rust of time, frail memory's strings
May almost wear away;
But one light touch the music brings
Of some forgotten day:
The chord once struck, ah! how it thrills
And vibrates at the heart;
With harmony the bosom fills,
No string forgets it's part.

A lowly flower, a faded leaf,
The murmurs of a stream,
May give, from woe, a short relief.
Bring back a time worn dream;
May waft remembrance back from age,
Its coldness, and its rime

As, for a moment, we engage,
With warm spring's merry time. 
Through mists of years, we flutter back
To fair elysian fields,
And wander down a memory's track, 
To land the pleasure yields;

Where once we culled the sweetest flowers
Through verdant valleys passed;
Oh, welcome in declining hours,
Mementoes of the past! 


The published poem cites M. C. Cooke as the author. I believe him to be British born Mordecai Cubitt Cooke (1825 ~ 1914). He had little formal education but was well known as a mycologist, illustrator, lecturer, editor, translator and the occasional poet. He was a prolific writer and a skilled artist. His biographer, Mary English, sums him up as a "Victorian Naturalist, Mycologist, Teacher and Eccentric". 

So there you have it, the rest of the story and a wonderful poem. Thank you Margo for keeping my train on the rails.