Wednesday, April 19, 2017

AFTER, a poem

"After." A poem by Florence Earle Coates.  Illustration by V.A.B.
Folded card (Laurel series, I-3) 

The image is of a folded card from the Laurel Series, with corrections made and signed by Mrs. Coateslikely prior to final production.  It was created ca. 1914 or 1915, based on the series number (I-3) recorded on the back as compared with other Laurel Series cards listed in copyright catalogs online.  The illustrator's initials are "VAB." This version of the poem leaves out the third stanza, which reads:
After the heat of anger,
   Love that all life enwraps;
After the stress of battle,
   The trumpet sounding "taps."

On the back.

"After" was first published in the 24 March 1906 issue of The Outlook, with the first line of the last stanza then reading, "After regret and doubting."  On "Easter 1906" (April 19), Mrs. Coates sent a handwritten copy of "After" to composer Amy Cheney Beach (Mrs. H. H. A. Beach).  Sometime between then and September of 1908, Mrs. Beach would set the poem to music, suggesting to Mrs. Coates that the line instead read, "After despair and doubting."  Mrs. Coates replied to Mrs. Beach, in a letter written on 8 September 1908, and thanked her "sensitive genius for a very great improvement which [she] shall straightway adopt." [Letters accessed: Amy Cheney Beach Papers, Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham NH].

After. Op. 68. Words by Florence Earle Coates; music by Mrs. H. H. A. Beach. High and low voice. Words also printed as text. Caption title. 1 score (7 p.) ; 35 cm. Boston : Arthur P. Schmidt. (1909)
The poem was subsequently published (with text change applied) in Lyrics of Life (1909) and in Poems (1916) Vol. II.

Retouch of original image, to include Mrs. Coates' correction.  

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