Waiting
(n.p.), (n.p.), [c. 1910-1921]. A printed manuscript poem by Burroughs, his most famous, first published in Knickerbocker magazine in 1863, when Burroughs was 25; anthologized in Whittier's Songs of Three Centuries in 1875. At that time the poem had seven stanzas; over the years the weakest stanza (the sixth of seven) was dropped (by an unknown editor). "Waiting" appeared as the preface to Burroughs' Light of Day in 1900 with six stanzas, but even so the fifth stanza continued to trouble him. According to the Clara Barrus biography Our Friend John Burroughs, published in 1914, "a few years ago" Burroughs occasionally substituted a new fifth stanza, beginning, "The law of love binds every heart..." (Later renditions have this line reading "The law of love threads every heart.) But that too failed to satisfy him, and future renditions would have the original six (of seven) stanzas. This broadside has the six stanzas, with the short-lived "binds every heart" fifth stanza; it is printed in Burroughs' holograph, with an original water color of tree branches, and it is inscribed by Burroughs, for Barnard C. Connelly, and dated Feb. 9, 1921, the month before Burroughs' death. 7" x 9-3/4", bevel-edged on three sides; previously framed and sunned over most of the page; staining to two margins, touching only the date. A very good copy. Although Burroughs wrote "considerable poetry as a young man" (his words, from John Burroughs Talks), "a time came when I wrote no more poetry and destroyed most of what I had done previously...I am practically a man of a single poem." We have found reference to a smaller (4-1/2" x 6") leaflet of this poem being done earlier, by Alfred Bartlett, but have found no record of the printing history of this variation. [#031668] SOLD

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