Vintage landscape: another May

Poem on window pane (detail), HABS, Library of Congress

Another May new buds new flowers
Ah why has happiness no second spring

Scratched into a sitting room window pane of Borough House, which was built between 1758 and 1821 in Sumter County, South Carolina.

The words (with slight variations) are from “Sonnet II” by Charlotte Smith  — whose poems were praised by her contemporaries Wordsworth and Coleridge.

I have not been able to find out who might have put them on the window.

Borough House, S.C., HABS, Library of CongressBorough House is architecturally noteworthy because it is partly constructed with rammed earth — an unusual building material in the United States.  (There is more about the house here.) It still stands today, in private ownership.

(I believe that the window with the poem is one of the two left of the front door.)

The photos here are part of an Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), May 1985, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

2 thoughts on “Vintage landscape: another May

  1. Thank you! I followed every link I could find on Borough House, hoping for a hint on who might have scratched these words — but since the house is still private and rarely open to the public, I couldn’t find anything.

    It was nice, however, to discover Charlotte Smith, whose influence on the Romantic poets has been re-evaluated recently. Her work is sad, though. A familiar 18th c. story: forced marriage, bad husband, loss of 3 children (9 survived though), debtor’s prison, etc.

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