Song, literature, and poetry filled the long winter evenings for rural people in Ontario during the early twentieth century. The people would gather together to sing and play and often someone would stand up and recite. Memorization feeding from habit, song and recitation peppered speech and thought, as is the case for the characters in A Marginally Noted Man. These are listed below in chronological order.
Now the day is over, Night is drawing nigh . . .
Till my ransomed soul shall find rest beyond the river . . .
Over the unreturning brave, — alas!
Ere evening to be trodden like the grass
Which now beneath them, but above shall grow
In its next verdure, when this fiery mass
Of living valour, rolling on the foe
And burning with high hope, shall moulder cold and low.
—The Eve of Waterloo from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage of Lord Byron (1788-1824)
I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine, That feedeth among the lilies . . .
—Song of Songs 6:3 The Holy Scriptures, Jewish Publication Society of America (1960)
We poets in our youth begin in gladness; but thereof comes in the end despondency and madness.
—From Resolution and Independence of William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness . . .
—Song of Songs 8:5
Set me as a seal upon thy heart . . .
—Song of Songs 8:6
Now honour your partner and don’t be afraid to dance to the tune of the waltz promenade.
—The Waltz Promenade, an old square dance call
Pour toujours, ta parole, Seigneur, se dresse dans les cieux . . .
—Psalm 119: ל lamed
If you were the only girl in the world, and I were the only boy . . .
—Music by Nat D. Ayer with lyrics by Clifford Gray (1916)
Yet each man kills the thing he loves . . .
—From The Ballad of Reading Gaol of Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
Whom God wishes to destroy, he first deprives of reason.
—Attributed to Euripedes (480-406 B.C.E.)
One woe doth tread upon another’s heel, So fast they follow.
—From Hamlet Act IV Scene 7 Line 164 of William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Who can see the wind? Neither you nor I. But when the trees bow down their heads, the wind is passing by.
—Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)
The hope of a nation is in its youth.
—Paraphrased from Erasmus (1466-1536)
Calm is the morn without a sound.
—From In Memoriam, XI of Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
Thy navel is like a round goblet, Wherein no mingled wine is waiting; thy belly is like a heap of wheat set about with lilies.
—Song of Songs 7:3
Welcome beneath this roof of mine! Welcome! this vacant chair is thine, Dear guest and ghost!
—Robert Burns Stanza 9 of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
The evening star, love’s harbinger.
—From Paradise Lost of John Milton (1608-1674)
They rest and we weep.
—Paraphrased from Lord Tennyson’s In Memoriam XXX Verse 5