Thursday, October 3, 2013

Countdown to Halloween: "The Forest Fairies' Fount" (1829)

And so it begins - with a lost gem, an early American Halloween poem from 1829 that not only connects us back to the beginning of last year's Countdown but also comes with its own sad story.

Last year, we began with Robert Burns' "Halloween". This poem quotes that seminal work in a footnote. "The Forest Fairies' Fount", subtitled a "Scottish Legend", was published in the one and only collection of poems by Sarah Louisa P. (Hickman) Smith, a precocious talent who died at the age of 21. She was prominent enough to be included in William T. Coggeshall's Poets and Poetry of the West (1860), where he gives the following biography:
She's also profiled here, in Samuel Knapp's Female Biography (1833). The collection itself, available here, is a delight, featuring poems inspired by Scott's Waverley and Catherine Maria Sedgwick's Hope Leslie alongside other romantic treats like this. Enjoy "The Forest Fairies' Fount", and remember poor Sarah Louisa P. Hickman Smith.

3 comments:

Naila Moon said...

Oh so spooky and the imagery of site unseen is clear.

Caffeinated Joe said...

Cool poem and weird that I was just watching an episode of Scariest Places and the lady talked about a dark mist in a graveyard that caused her to flee!

Thomas Ruys Smith said...

Glad you both liked it! More poems coming...