“Like a piece of ice on a hot stove the poem must ride on its own melting. […] No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.” —Robert Frost, “The Figure a Poem Makes”
Immediately after my August 8 speaking engagement at the Charleston Library Society—where I solved Colonial Charleston’s biggest literary mystery by identifying Alexander Gordon, Esq., Clerk of His Majesty’s Council, as the author of The Humourist essays that had appeared pseudonymously in the South Carolina Gazette during 1753-1754—one of my faithful followers emailed me, “Have you come down from your Cloud Nine yet?” As you might imagine, I responded with, “Not quite: I’m always on one cloud or another!” And I am.
In that sense—and in keeping with The Humourist himself—I, too, am an aerial spirit!
Truly, even now, I am still on Cloud Nine. Being able to solve this major literary mystery is a highlight—perhaps the highlight—of my long and fruitful journey as a researcher.
Even so, my work with The Humourist—Alexander Gordon, Esq., Clerk of His Majesty’s Council (how wonderful–no, how utterly thrilling–to say “Alexander Gordon”)—is not finished! I have a lot of work that remains to be done. Rest assured: my Blog will continue!
Just how my Blog will continue remains to be seen! Just as Robert Frost believed that a poem should ride along on its own melting, I believe that research should move along in like fashion: on its own melting.
I’m still thinking about some of the wonderful questions asked by the audience when I did my “Big Reveal” on August 8:
- “When he came to South Carolina, did he bring his wife?”
- “You mentioned that he had a son and a daughter, what happened to them?”
- “Have you been able to locate any of his descendants?”
- “Was he involved in Charleston’s theatrical performances?”
I couldn’t really answer those questions, simply because I do not know—yet.
How ironic that I know a lot about Alexander Gordon’s life in Scotland, England, and Italy—where he was a well-known and respected historian and performer—and yet I know so relatively little about his life in South Carolina—nearly two decades—where he held a prominent position: Clerk of His Majesty’s Council.
Right now, I am feeling compelled to write the South Carolina chapter of Alexander Gordon’s life. So, for now, I plan to return to the South Carolina Gazette to discover everything that I can about Gordon from his arrival in South Carolina until his death in 1754. I need to write this chapter in his life. No, I must do so—if not me, who? And I shall do so.
The task will not be an easy one since I will have to read the South Carolina Gazette on microfilm, but, I am blessed to be able to do so!
Please, join me here, as I share with you the highlights of Alexander Gordon’s life in Colonial South Carolina! That will be the beginning of my ramblings! Thereafter my research will “ride along on its own melting”!
A Challenge Soon to Be Fulfilled
Do you remember my Controlled Revelation 13?
Well, of course you do! And if you follow Comments that my readers make, no doubt you will remember the one from Curious:
The announcement notes, “1 unfinished poem.” Perhaps you, Dr. Kendrick, would be willing to finish the poem? I know it would be marvelous……
And I am sure that you will remember my reply:
Interesting though the task might be, it must be taken on by someone more poetically gifted than I. I am flattered, Curious, but I confess: my poetic flights are no better than the “Dragon of Wantley”!
(The poem, by the way, is The Humourist’s “The Temple of Happiness: An Allegorical Poem.”)
It is my great pleasure to announce that …
… Curious has completed The Humourist’s “The Temple of Happiness.” I must say that I have seen it, and I am impressed! Actually, I am really impressed! You will be, too! And, soon, you shall see the “finished” poem here.
What remains to be seen, however, is whether Curious will come forth under a real name or whether our poet will come forth, as did The Humourist, under a pseudonym! My goodness! What if we have in our midst a Humourist, Jr. What a delightful mystery that might be!
We shall see. In the meantime, aren’t these literary puzzles enticing! You bet!