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Guy Vernon

Guy Vernon: A Novelette in Verse

John Townsend Trowbridge
Edited and with an Introduction by WILLIAM LOGAN
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 200
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  • Book Info
    Guy Vernon
    Book Description:

    Edited and extensively annotated by the renowned poet and critic William Logan, this edition of Guy Vernon incorporates revisions Trowbridge marked in his own copy of the anthology. Back in print for the first time since 1878, the long seriocomic work about race, racism, and sexual intrigue in antebellum America reemerges as a lost classic of American literature.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8021-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Introduction: The Forgotten Masterpiece of John Townsend Trowbridge
    (pp. vii-xxxvi)

    John townsend trowbridge (1827–1916) was born two years after the opening of the Erie Canal and died during the First World War. The friend of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Walt Whitman (at a time when Longfellow and Holmes refused to meet the author ofLeaves of Grass), he wrote gouts of poems, a string of plays, and at least forty novels, more than one a popular success. Having started with hack work in New York, with hack work he continued, growing so impoverished in the Grub Street of the day that at one point he took...

  4. Note on the Text
    (pp. xxxvii-2)
  5. Dramatis Personae
    (pp. 3-4)

    Guy Vernon, a wealthy plantation owner from Louisiana

    Florinda, a penniless but beautiful young woman

    Rob Lorne, a poet and journalist, Florinda’s suitor

    Saturn, Vernon’s mulatto manservant

    Captain Jones, captain of a Yankee steamer

    Nancy, Florinda’s maid

    Aunt, Florinda’s wealthy relative and guardian

    George Lazell, Lorne’s college friend, now reading for the law

    Doctor, employed to tend Vernon

    With various servants, coachmen, members of society...

  6. I The Wedding Journey
    (pp. 5-22)

    He was as fair a bachelor as ever

    Resolved to take a wife at forty-five.

    Indeed, how one so amiable and clever,

    Good-looking, rich, et cetera, could contrive

    Till the high noon of manhood not to wive

    Was a vexed theme, and long remained a mystery

    To those who did not know his early history.

    And none knew that among his bride’s relations.

    At Saratoga, where you meet all grades

    Of well-dressed people spending short vacations,

    Manoeuvring mothers, marriageable maids,

    And fortune hunters on their annual raids,

    He saw her waltz, and spite of every barrier

    Of years or influence...

  7. II Homeward Voyage
    (pp. 23-40)

    Know ye the land?—and so forth. Cuba seems

    The later western Eden of our planet.

    What wafted incense from the gate of dreams,

    What heavenly zephyrs hover o’er and fan it!

    With groves of orange, mango, and pomegranate,

    And flowering forests through whose wealth of blooms,

    Like living fires, dart birds of gorgeous plumes.

    There by still bays the tall flamingo stands,

    The sunrise flame of whose reflected form

    Crimsons the glassy wave and glistening sands.

    There, large and luminous, throughout the warm,

    Soft summer eves myriads of fireflies swarm

    Like the bright spirits of departed flowers

    Nightly revisiting...

  8. III The Forsaken Bride
    (pp. 41-54)

    Foreseeing all her friends’ immense astonishment,

    Going to meet it with an equal dread,

    Florinda gave her maid a strict admonishment

    Just what to say, and what to leave unsaid,

    To questions soon to shower upon her head,

    For, first suspicions having proved unjust,

    The girl was granted all the greater trust.

    Deep was the dear old Aunt’s amazement, meeting

    At the hall door the unexpected bride.

    Then, having passed the first tumultuous greeting,

    “Your husband, Florie! Where is he?” she cried,

    Still more bewildered—while the niece replied,

    “Some sudden and important information

    Obliged him to return by his...

  9. IV The Lost Bridegroom
    (pp. 55-70)

    Meanwhile Lazell accepted the commission,

    Though it was long before he could report.

    He moved with all the caution and precision

    Of any practiced diplomat at court

    Or strategist advancing on a fort;

    And ’twas no fault of his if something less

    Was compassed than unqualified success.

    All Lorne could tell him of the strange event,

    Or he himself could learn at Guy’s plantation,

    Or at the bank from which the drafts were sent,

    Or elsewhere, bearing on the situation,

    Was added carefully to his equation

    When, by no common difficulties daunted, he

    Essayed to cipher out the unknown quantity....

  10. V Husband and Lover
    (pp. 71-82)

    I do not say that Guy was to be sorted

    With wretches guilty of some heinous treason,

    Only that he was quite absurdly courted—

    To his annoyance, partly for which reason

    He hurried to the mountains for a season,

    With Mrs. Vernon, to piece on a truer

    And happier ending to their bridal tour.

    Happier no doubt it was, and yet not wholly

    Happy for either. Vernon was oppressed

    By a persistent, gentle melancholy.

    It seemed as if the world within his breast

    Were, like the peaceful world without, possessed

    By the sad spirit of the early fall,

    Which in...

  11. VI Saturn
    (pp. 83-102)

    Lorne undertook the business with a zeal

    And promptness hardly to have been expected.

    The lodging house had little to reveal;

    And yet one clue that Saturn had neglected

    Showed where his baggage went, and where he checked it

    For a swift western train that afternoon—

    Which Lorne, this point decided, followed soon.

    And now commenced the rather curious chase

    Of the escaping husband by the lover.

    ’Mid crossing trains Lorne often lost the trace

    Whereby he hoped to hunt the pair to cover,

    Which happy chances helped him to recover,

    A friendly clerk or baggageman somewhere

    Remembering Saturn’s face...

  12. Notes to Guy Vernon
    (pp. 103-152)
  13. Appendix: Trowbridge’s Revisions
    (pp. 153-159)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 160-160)