Hawthorne and Melville

by alovecartography


In 1851-1852 a young Herman Melville and a somewhat more distinguished Nathaniel Hawthorne were involved in a Love relationship which was reportedly ended by Hawthorne.  There are published Love letters and letters of desire between the two men; some with no attempt at subtlety with references to their intimacy.   Critics and scholars have suggested that the following poem was written in response to Hawthorne’s death in 1864.  Love is what we remember.


Herman Melville

To have known him, to have loved him
      After loneness long;
And then to be estranged in life,
      And neither in the wrong;
And now for death to set his seal—
      Ease me, a little ease, my song!
By wintry hills his hermit-mound
      The sheeted snow-drifts drape,
And houseless there the snow-bird flits
      Beneath the fir-trees’ crape:
Glazed now with ice the cloistral vine
      That hid the shyest grape.