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  The research archive of Gary W. Ewer regarding the history of the daguerreotype

For today (December 29,) I will close this year with a daguerreian poem. My source is a photocopy of a clipping found pinned to the velvet pad opposite a daguerreotype; I unfortunately do not know the date or the publication of the item. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - THE OLD DAGUERREOTYPE. _______ "Hold it in this position, dear, And stand just in this spot; 'Tis always hit or miss with me If I can see or not. E'en when my eyes were young and strong, There always came a blur When I was trying to make out The likeness there of her! You say 'tis age? Well, yes--and tears-- That make it dazzle so; Sometimes it almost seems to me The sweet face tries to go; It plays a kind of hide and seek; Exactly as did she When I would sing the old time song, 'Come, gang alang wi' me.' I'd sing in my old, earnest way, And then I'd look around; But, bless my soul, my sweetheart there Was nowhere to be found. She was as shy as any deer; So it's familiar like To see her picture vanishing Whene'er the light doth strike. Just see! The buds pinned near her heart Are still as red as blood-- In left hand of the garden, there, The sweet old rose bush stood. The very year she died, it died! It seemed as if it said: I used to blossom just for you; I'll stop now you are dead. That belt with bright embroidery And silver buckle, broad, that if I ever tried to touch She'd call her 'silver sword.'-- Why, I can see the filigree Upon the chatelaine, and nearly half a century In darkness it hath lain The beaded guard chain 'round her neck-- That dress of purple lawn-- What! must you go so early, dear? How soon now night comes on! This satin lining is now frayed; Morocco case is worn; but, only think! 'twas bought, my dear, Ere ever you were born! There, I have got it hooked at last! The catch is worn out, too; But is it any wonder when 'Tis twice as old as you? Worn out? Oh, everything on earth Wears out--except the past; It lasts a lifetime, dear, you know, Nor is worn out at last! I've, too, a gold framed miniature; Its lips are red and ripe, But it has not the saucy smile Of old Daguerreotype; The smile that plays at hide and seek, The same sweet smile, I'd see When I'd begin to sing to her 'Come, gang alang wi' me.' She seems to sing it now it me! I'm going by and by! Put by the case, my dear, 'twill last, I guess, as long as I." ----------------------------------------------------------------- 12-29-96

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