To a Little Girl, One Year Old, in a Ruined Fortress
To a Little Girl, One Year Old, in a Ruined Fortress
To a place of ruined stone we brought you, and sea-reaches. Rocca: fortress, hawk-heel, lion-paw, clamped on a hill. A hill, no. Sea cliff, and crag-cocked, the embrasures commanding the
Range easy, with most fastidious mathematic and skill.
Philipus me fecit: he of Spain, the black-browed, the anguished,
For whom nothing prospered, though he loved God. His arms, great scutcheon of stone, once at drawbridge, have now
Long in the moat, under garbage; at moat-brink, rosemary with blue,
Sun blaze and cloud tatter, it is the sirocco, the dust swirl is swirledOver the bay face, mounts air like gold gauze whirled; it traverses the
We have brought you where geometry of a military rigor survives its
And sun regilds your gilt hair, in the midst of your laughter.
Rosemary, thistle, clutch stone. Far hangs Giannutri in blue air. Far to
And on the exposed approaches the last gold of gorse bloom, in the
White goose by palm tree, palm ragged, among stones the white
And the she-goat, brown, under pink oleander, waits. I do not think that anything in the world will move, not goat, not
Goat droppings are fresh in the hot dust; not yet the beetle; the sun
And under blue shadow of mountain, over blue-braiding sea-shadow,
The gull hangs white; whiter than white against mountain-mass,The gull extends motionless on shelf of air, on substance of shadow. The gull, at an eye-blink, will, into the astonishing statement of sun,
All night, next door, the defective child cried; now squats in the dust
The wife of the gobbo sits under vine leaves, she suffers, her eyes
The engaged ones sit in the privacy of bemusement, heads bent: the
Let the beetle work, the gull comment the irrelevant anguish of air,
But at your laughter let the molecular dance of the stone-dark glimmer
And in that moment of possibility, let gobbo, gobbo’s wife, and us, and
all, take hands and sing: redeem, redeem!
1 I. Sirocco 2–4: Rocca: La Rocca, an abandoned fortress near Porto Ercole
in Italy. Warren lived there with Eleanor Clark and their new daughter Rosannain 1954.
For this volume I have examined the typescript, two sets of galley proofs
(they differ slightly), and the plate proofs, all of them in the Beinecke Library,as well as the relevant correspondence with Random House and with Eyre andSpottiswood. The typescript is corrected both in black pencil, in what seemsto be Warren’s hand, and in red pencil, in what is probably Albert Erskine’s. Unless noted otherwise, corrections in the typescript described here are those inblack pencil. The typescript seems to have been prepared in one piece on onetypewriter, with typed page numbers, although the typescript for the most partfollows the magazine versions, with most of the changes being penciled in.
On 23 May 1987, Warren marked up a copy of Promises with proposed re-
visions for Stuart Wright’s use. That copy is now at the Special Collections ofthe Emory University Library. Because Warren clearly did not collate this copyagainst his later revisions of the poem—indeed, he seems to have forgotten thatmany of the lines he revised had already been revised in later editions—I havenot adopted any emendations on the sole authority of the Emory volume. I citethe emendations from that volume with permission of the Special Collections ofthe Emory University Library.
Warren prepared the SP66 revisions from a typescript that follows P but the
setting copy is a marked up photocopy of P marked up in red pen and green pen. Some revisions were made on the dummy paste-up of SP66. I have not marked inwhich of these places each SP66 revision was made. The typescript for SP75 iscut and taped text prepared from SP66. The typescript for SP85 is cut and tapedtext prepared from SP75.
1 To a Little Girl, One Year Old, in a Ruined Fortress Text: P. Variants:
Partisan Review, 23 (Spring 1955), pp. 171–78 (as “To a Little Girl, One YearOld, in Ruined Fortress”), SP66, SP75, SP85. The sequence also appeared in a1956 private limited edition, To a Little Girl, One Year Old, In a Ruined Fortress(here Doggett), which was designed, illustrated, and printed by Jane Doggett inthe Department of Graphic Arts, School of Design, Yale University. The sectionsare untitled in PR and in Doggett. Doggett reflects changes made after PR, whichit cites, but Warren seems to have lost sight of the revisions he made for Doggettwhen he republished the poem in P. SP85 includes only “Sirocco,” and “TheChild Next Door.”
I. Sirocco Title] Warren complained in a letter of September 8, 1985, to
Stuart Wright that he had misspelled the word for thirty years, and that the correctspelling is “Scirocco.” But “Sirocco” is often listed as an alternate spelling, so Ihave chosen not to emend the title. (The letter to Wright is in the Special Col-lections of the Vanderbilt University Library.) Warren did not put periods afterthe Roman numerals in the sequence section titles in Doggett, P, English, SP66,SP75 or SP85. I have done so here in order to treat all sequences in the same way. 2–5: clamped] set PR, Doggett 3–9: A hill, no. Sea cliff, and crag-cocked, the em-brasures] No hill, but a sea-cliff, and crag-cocked embrasures Doggett 3–14: Seacliff,] Sea-cliff, PR, On a sea cliff, SP66, SP75, SP85. PTS reads “Sea-cliff,” butthe hyphen is deleted in pencil. There is a red check in the margin of the linethat is crossed out in pencil. I read the red check as the editor’s query, and thepenciled marks as authorial revisions. Therefore I have let the reading from Pstand. Where similar cases recur—as they do frequently when Warren employshyphenated compound words in this volume—I have allowed the reading fromP to stand. (Early reviewers of Promises complained about Warren’s verbal ticof employing hyphenated words. Clearly had he not revised his typescript, hewould have given them more to complain about.) 5: anguished,] ∼∧ English7: great scutcheon] a great scutcheon SP66, SP75, SP85 7: at drawbridge,] overthe drawbridge, SP66, SP75, SP85 7: have now languished] now have languishedPTS (revised to P) have languished SP66, SP75, SP85 8: Long in the moat,] Nowlong in the moat, SP66, SP75, SP85, Long now in the moat, Emory 8: blue,] Ared pencil mark in PTS here indicates where to bend the long line at the margin. These marks are for the typesetter to follow in cases where the line cannot be seton one line, but they rarely occur at places where Warren himself bent long linesin the typescript, and they are also not always followed on republication of thepoems, so therefore I have treated them as a feature of the design of the bookrather than as a feature of the versification of the poem. 9: Sun blaze] Sun-blazePR, Doggett, PTS (revised to P) 9: it is the sirocco,] now the sirocco, SP66,SP75, SP85 10: bay face,] bay-face, PR, Doggett, PTS (revised to P) 10: tra-verses] A red pencil mark in PTS here indicates where to bend the long line atthe margin. 11: geometry] the geometry PR, Doggett, PTS (revised on PG toP) 11: survives] A red pencil mark in PTS here indicates where to bend the longline at the margin. 11: rigor] rigour English 13: blueness] A red pencil mark inPTS here indicates where to bend the long line at the margin. 14: gorse bloom,]gorse-bloom, PR, Doggett, PTS (revised to P)
II. Gull’s Cry 2: oleander,] oleanders, SP66, SP75 4: Goat droppings]
Goat-droppings PR, Doggett, PTS (revised to P) 5: shadow] shade SP66, SP755: of mountain,] of the mountain, SP66, SP75 6: against mountain-mass,] againstthe mountain-mass, SP66, SP75 7: on shelf] on the shelf PR, PTS (revised toP), on a shelf SP66, SP75 7: The gull extends motionless on shelf of air,] Thegull, without motion, extends on the shelf of air, Doggett 7: on substance] onthe substance SP66, SP75 8: The gull, at an eye-blink] There is a red mark,crossed out in pencil, in the left margin of this line, indicating I think a query
about the hyphenation of eye-blink. But nothing is altered in pencil in the line,which leads me to believe that the penciled corrections are Warren’s responses toErskine’s queries and are therefore authorial rather than editorial. Such marks arefrequent in PTS, and, having noted that Warren often does not take their advice,I won’t record them further. 9: where] A red pencil mark in PTS here indicateswhere to bend the long line at the margin. There is a note in PTS in red pen,not in Warren’s hand, indicating that the run-over parts of long lines should becarried over flush with the right margin. 11: bent:] ∼, PR, Doggett 12: Let thebeetle work,] And the beetle will work, PR, Doggett 12: air,] ∼. PR, Doggett
13: glimmer] A red pencil mark in PTS here indicates where to bend the long
13: at your laughter] in the moment of your laughter PR,
Doggett, PTS (but PG is revised in pencil to P) 14: moment] instant PR, Doggett
14: all,] A red pencil mark in PTS here indicates where to bend the long line at
the margin. 14: redeem, redeem!] redeem, redeem! SP66, SP75
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