SONGS: In spite of her successes in the orchestral field, Miss Lang is best remembered for piano pieces, choral pieces, and over 130 plus songs. “Lang was a discerning critic of literature and made, for the most part, good choices in the poetry she chose to set. She chose the work of a number of women poets, including the poems of Lizette Woodsworth Reese, an important transitional poet between the 19th. and the 20th. Centuries. Lang also set three poems of George Eliot, a. k. a. Mary Ann Evans. John Vance Cheney and John Addington Symonds are also favorites in Lang’s songs.” (Cline, 29) A 1915 article on the “Boston Classicists” said, “Although not attaining to such a mastery of the more amplified forms as does Mrs. Beach, Margaret Ruthven Lang has made several successful essays in the form of orchestral overtures, which have been played.Miss Lang”s best-known works, however, are her songs, the widespread popularity of certain ones of which has given her a real and lasting fame as a song writer.” (Farwell, 343) As early as 1896 Rupert Hughes called Miss Lang “a genius” when he wrote: “While I must confess my blindness to the existence of any downright and exalted genius among women who write music-unless Mlle. Chaminade and Miss Lang are to be excepted-a few of them are doing so much better than the great majority of men, and most of them are so near average, that it is simply old-fashioned bigotry and empty nonsense to deny the sex musical recognition.” Hughes, Godey’s Mag., Jan. 1896, p. 30) Writing in 1993 Victoria Villamil wrote: “The consummately crafted, comelt songs of Margaret Ruthven Lang are happy reminders of an innocent age…Unlike the sentimental parlor songs we generally associate with the period, Lang”s many songs are intelligent and sophisticated settings of tasteful poetry. Lang had imagination and a remarkable melodic gift. Never at a loss for ideas, her songs often develop in unexpected ways, rarely following the usual repetitious strophic patterns and often employing unusual harmonies. What”s more, they are eminently singable.” She then mentions that Recital Publications had reprinted three sets of Lang”s songs, “though 5 Songs, Op. 15 (to the inconsequential poetry of Lizzette Woodworth Reese) is less successful. Nonsense Rhymes and Pictures (Edward Lear) and 10 Songs (for medium voice) make an excellent introduction to Lang”s work.” (Villamil, p. 257) Villamil then makes specific comments about six songs and the Nonsense set. These comments that reflect an intimate, personal knowledge of these pieces.
Myron Whitney gave the first public performances of Margaret’s songs in December 1887-she was just twenty years of age and recently returned from her European studies. In January 1888, at the first meeting of the Boston Manuscript Club five of her songs were sung. Among the five was Ghosts, which was published the following year. (Fuller, Pandora Guide, 171) Soon after her songs were heard outside of Boston. In 1889 Ojala, words by George Eliot was performed at a concert of American music that was part of the Paris Exposition; the same song was sung as part of the March 26, 1890 concert for the inauguration of the Lincoln Concert Hall in Washington, D.C. A total of eight solo songs have the copyright of 1889, and all were published by Arthur P. Schmidt. The following year, 1890, Schmidt published an additional Four Songs, by Margaret, none with opus number, and the price was 25 cents each. The first songs published with an opus number were the three songs of Opus 6, published in 1891. The great success of these early songs is reflected in the fact that Schmidt issued a collection of songs in 1893 which included some of the songs without opus number and also selected songs from Opus 6, 7, 8, and 9; the cost was one dollar-this only after publishing her first song just four years before. This was quite an achievement for a woman composer aged 26! Clara Rogers had already published five sets of songs with Schmidt during the period 1882 to 1888, but her collection, Album of Fourteen Songs was not published until 1896. (Radell and Malitsky, Vocal, 303) Schmidt immediately started to publicize Langs collection (price of $1); it is mentioned in the Schmidt ad for the 1892-93 The Musical Yearbook of the United States. together with her Five Songs Opus 15 (price of 75 cents) which had the note: “The melodies are many of them quaint and interesting; the accompaniments appropriate and clearly written. Teachers and singers should examine them.” (Yearbook, Vol. 10, ii) The famous singers of the day such as Ernestine Schumann-Heink, Alma Gluck, and John McCormack soon took up her works, and in 1892 Mrs. Gerrit Smith gave a song recital in New York City devoted completely to Margaret’s works. Mrs. Smith was herself the wife of “one of the best composers in the smaller forms of short songs,” Mr. Gerrit Smith (1859-1912) who “was one of the founders, and for some years the president, of the Manuscript Society.” (Hughes, Songs Am. Composers, xvi) Mr. Smith was also the “moving force behind the formation of the American Guild of organists” and its first Warden (later called President). He was also “known as a vigorous champion of American composers.” (Armstrong, 1) Margaret’s Irish Love Song was one of Ernestine Schumann-Heink’s favorites, and was often sung by this artist as an encore (See Discography). This became Margaret’s most popular song with a “total U. S. press run…both high and low voice of 121,100 copies.” (Cipolla 3/5/09 e-mail) Elson describes Irish Mother’s Lullaby, Lament, and Ghosts as “masterly.”She chose poems with great care for her texts and was careful to avoid the norm of her era which tended to “rate gush as feeling and gilt as gold.”Hughes described her harmonies as having “the appearance of spontaneous ease, and the elaborateness never obtrudes itself upon the coherence of the work.”He added that the songs are “singable to a degree unusual in scholarly compositions,” and he placed two or three of her songs “among the chief of their manner.” The continued popularity of Irish Mother’s Lullaby led the Irving Berlin Publishing Company in 1939 to ask for the renewal of its copyright if she possibly had “substantial objections” to its original publisher. If this were so, “then we are interested.” (Blunsom, 168) However, the Irish Mother’s Lullaby had a total U. S. press run with Schmidt of only 13,591 copies-just over 10 per cent of of the 121,100 copies of an Irish Love Song. (Cipolla 3/5/09 e-mail) Possibly Irving Berlin could have done better for Margaret! Arthur Foote also set George Eliot’s Ojala! Would She Carry Me! and it was published by Schmidt just a year after Margaret’s setting, in 1890. Foote’s setting is in 3/4 meter with a tempo of “Non troppo allegro” (quarter note = 96) and is in C Minor. Margaret’s setting is in 2/4, “Andantino-Con moto,” but without a specific speed indication and is in F Sharp Major throughout. With a simple choral accompaniment, her setting is complete in just two pages. Foote uses C Major for the second and third sections and then returns to C Minor for the final section. Foote seems to have set the complete poem-the phrase used by Lang “From the Spanish Gypsy” seems to reflect the fact that she eliminated phrases which resulted in a much shorter setting. Finally, Lang makes no musical reference to Spanish/Gypsy musical styles while Foote’s introduction and accompaniment style are guitar-like with rolled chords and arpeggiated figures. For Foote, this is almost a folk-like setting-for Lang, a much more introspective setting. Foote set An Irish Folk-Song which was published by Schmidt in 1894. The poem by Gilbert Parker sets two verses of text which are followed by ten-measure refrain”s set to “Ah.” Editions for High (Sop. or Ten. in G Minor, 50 cents) and Low Voice (Alto or Bar. in E Minor, 50 cents) were published along with additional editions with added Violin Obbligato (available in both High and Low versions, both 60 cents), and another version with Violin and Cello Obbligato parts for the E Minor, Low version, 60 cents. There was also a Piano Solo version available at 50 cents. The piano introduction sets the mood with dotted-eighth and sixteenth patterns and the text speaks of a child returning to the “glen…yu’ll be comin’ back, my darlin’!” Lang’s Irish Love Song was published a year later by Schmidt in 1895, also in two keys, and this then went on to be her best selling composition-it was even set in Braille. Without any overtly Scottish rhythms, her song was more a ballad in folk-style. As no author is mentioned, and because she always took great pains to acknowledge the text writer, one can assume that she wrote the text herself. For Amy Beach’s most successful song, Ecstasy, published in 1893, she also had written both the words and music. An indication of Margaret”s success as a song writer is reflected in the publication of an album of her works, Songs of Margaret Ruthven Lang, in 1893. Ten songs were included which ranged from Ghosts of 1889, the first year in which any of her songs had been published, to Betrayed from Opus 9. Within only four years Margaret had achieved enough popularity that Schmidt would feel it a good business move to issue this collection. In comparison, Arthur Foote’s first songs were published in 1884, and he had to wait 23 years for his Album of Selected Songs to be published in 1907. Blumsom created a chart of the five Boston women composers active at the same time that Margaret was composing, and while Amy Beach led in total works published, Margaret Lang had the most songs published. Total Published Works Published Songs
Rogers, Clara 59 48
Hopekirk, Helen 58 37
Beach, Amy 243 115
Lang, Margaret 149 130
Daniels, Mabel 73 34 (Blunsom, 36)
Margaret’s style of writing for the voice was always very vocal-a gift not given to all who chose this medium. When Philip Hale reviewed the January 1892 first performance of Amy Beach’s Mass, he noted that “The voices are at times treated as orchestral instruments. This is particularly true of certain passages given to the solo voices.” (BPL Hale Crit., Vol. 1)
Under the baton of her father, The Cecilia presented three world premiers of her works-In a Meadow (Feb. 1, 1889), Love Plumes His Wings for women’s voices (Jan. 25, 1893), and Bonnie Ran the Burnie Down (May 6, 1897).
In his chapter “The Women Composers” in Contemporary American Composers Hughes stated “When I find Miss Lang’s work supremely womanly, I would not deny that quality to the sex which Joan of Arc and Jael were not uncharacteristic members.” David Horn writes that Rupert Hughes, who, besides being a music critic, was also known as a novelist, was a great supporter of American contemporary composers. In the forward to Contemporary American Composers of 1900 he states that “lo, these many years! That some of the best music in the world is being written here at home, and that it only needs the light to win its meed of praise.” (Horn, 85) Horn mentions that this 1900 edition was the result of Hughes’ own research, which he gathered by contacting the composers involved, and of the author’s own analysis of published and unpublished scores. At this same period Hughes also wrote Love Affairs of Great Musicians (1903), Songs By Thirty Americans (1904) and a two-volume musical encyclopedia (1903) that was revised in 1939 by Deems Taylor and Russell Kerr as the Music Lovers’ Encyclopedia, a work that has been reprinted many times. His career then moved to Broadway and then Hollywood with nearly fifty movies being made from a Hughes story or novel, but he was also known for his three-volume life of George Washington. He is also credited with being a mentor to his nephew, the reclusive industrialist Howard Hughes.
Hughes describes Margaret’s song The Maiden and the Butterfly as fragile and rich as a butterfly’s wing. My Lady Jacqueminot is exquisitely, delicately passionate. Eros is frail, rare, and ecstatic. Ghosts is elfin and dainty as snowflakes. The Spinning Song is inexpressibly sad, and such music as women best understand, and therefore ought to make best. But womanliness equally marks The Grief of Love, which is in every sense big in quality; marks the bitterness of Oh, What Comes over the Sea, the wailing Gaelic sweetness of the Irish Love Song, and the fiery passion of Betrayed, highly dramatic until its rather trite ending. Nameless Pain is superb. Her Lament I consider one of the greatest of songs, and proof positive of woman’s high capabilities for composition. Miss Lang has a harmonic individuality, too, and finds out new effects that are strange without strain.
My Turtle Dove, among the Five Norman Songs, is fearlessness and harmonic exploration shows two of the strongest of Miss Lang’s traits. Her recherché harmonies are no pale lunar reflection of masculine work. Better yet, they have the appearance of spontaneous ease, and the elaborateness never obtrudes itself upon the coherence of the work, except in a few such rare cases as My Native Land, Christmas Lullaby, and Before My Lady’s Window. They are singable to a degree unusual in scholarly compositions. To perfect the result Miss Lang chooses her poems with great taste all too rare among musicians, who seem usually to rate gush as feeling and gilt as gold. Her Oriental Serenade is an example of weird and original intervals, and A Spring Song, by Charlotte Pendleton, a proof of her taste in choosing words.” (Hughes, Comtem. Am. Com., 433 plus) These previous two paragraphs are taken almost verbatim from the article by Hughes “The Women Composers” in the January 1896 issue of Godey’s Magazine. In this article Hughes took two pages to reprint Miss Lang”s song Ghosts complete, and he ended the article with with a manuscript reproduction of the opening three measures of Miss Lang”s piano piece Rhapsody, Opus 21 published in 1895 followed by her full autograph-Amy Beach and Clara Rogers had each been allowed only a page and one-half each.
Writing two years later for The Century Magazine, in an article that considers both American and also European women composers, Hughes covers many of the same pieces he had covered before, but uses somewhat different language. “The touch of the fantastic that makes her song Ghosts a thing so delicately eerie makes a success also of her setting of Edward Lear’s curious nonsense, The Jumblies, which is arranged for male chorus with the accompaniment of two pianos. Some of Miss Lang’s frailer songs show the qualities many people expect in womanliness more than the works of any of these other writers [Hughes has been writing for nine pages at this point]. The passionate delicacy of A Maiden and a Butterfly and Eros is such as none but a woman could achieve properly; but equally womanly are the pathos of the Spinning Song, the largeness of the Grief of Love, the dreaminess of Oh, What Comes Over the Sea? and the dramatic fire of Betrayed and Nameless Pain. Her Lament I consider one of the greatest of songs, and proof positive of woman’s high capabilities for composition. Miss Lang has a harmonic individuality, too, and finds out new effects that have little sense of effort after strangeness. Personally I see in Miss Lang’s compositions such a depth of psychology that I place the general quality of her work above that of any other woman composer. It is devoid of meretriciousness and of any suspicion of seeking after virility; it is so sincere, so true to the underlying thought, that it seems to me to have an unusual chance of interesting attention and stirring emotions increasingly with the years.” (Hughes, Cent. Mag., 778)
In his 1900 book Hughes continued: “Her Opus 32 is made up of two songs, both full of fire and originality. Opus 33 is a captivating Spring Idyll for the piano, for which she has also written a Revery, of which the exquisiteness of sleep is the theme. The music is delicious, and the ending is a rare proof of the beautiful possibilities of dissonance.
Personally, I see in Miss Lang’s compositions such a depth of psychology that I place the general quality of her work above that of any other woman composer. It is devoid of meretriciousness and of any suspicion of seeking after virility; it is so sincere, so true to the underlying thought, that it seems to me to have an unusual chance of interesting attention and stirring emotions increasingly with the years. (Hughes, Contem Am. Com., 433-438)
Also in 1900 Mathews quote Karleton Hackett as saying: “To the songs of Margaret Ruthven Lang we turn with special pleasure, for in them we find that flowing melody and sympathetic harmonic development which a song demands. There is to be found no daintier bit than Ghosts, no lovelier song than Marvoureen. She catches the spirit of the poem and so infuses it into the music that we feel its beauties with redoubled force. Her songs have not as yet struck a deep note, but in their kind they are perfect and we promise ourselves a richer harvest in the future.” (Mathews, The Great in Music, 277)
On Monday, November 27, 1911 Margaret was the “Guest of Honor” at the meeting of the National Arts Club, where, together with pieces by Lola Carrier Worrel of Denver and Gertrude Sans Souci of NYC, seven of her songs were sung-soprano Edith Watkins Griswold sang Song in the Songless, Day is Gone, and A Song of the Lilac while contralto Adah Hussey performed A Garden is a Lovesome Thing (ms.), Summer Noon, A Song of the Spanish Gypsies (ms.), and An Even Psalm; Margaret was the accompanist for both sets of songs. On Friday, May 2, 1913, also for the National Arts Club, the soprano A. Angel Chopourian accompanied by F. W. Riesberg performed Spring, Snowflakes, Song in the Songless, and Day is Gone.
In 1912 Ethel Syford evaluated Margaret’s gifts as a song writer: “It would be useless to dwell here upon Miss Lang’s individual gift for melody or even upon the enormous popularity which her songs have for studio and concert use. Perhaps the most remarkable quality which we can note concerning her is the way she insists upon striding on beyond her former self, the unfailing growth which she constantly works for and demands for herself. With her it is a question of on and on, ever reaching for one more last word of light and truth. It is an attitude of high seriousness as regards her demands upon herself. She makes no effort to make an ‘effect’ to gain for herself quick, warm response. She has thrown that to the winds and follows the mood, the truth of the words; is faithful to the moods of the words and devoutly aims to make her music as beautifully a servant of the truth of those words as she can.”(Syford-article, 23)
List of Poets Set (excludes Unknown and translations). If the entry has no number after it, this means that only one text by that poet was set.
Anon T. B. AldrichM. E. BlakeH. F. BlodgettH. BowmanT. E. BrownJ. V. Cheney (9)
A. W. CoulterMdm. DarmesteterG. Eliot (2)E. FieldMrs. FieldsR. L. Gales (2)
S. GallerJ. GautierH. C. GreenL. I. Guiney (2)T. S. JonesJ. Keats
H. P. KimballC. KingsleyE. Lear (one poem and two sets of limerics)
J. M. LippincottP. B. Marston (2)W. McLennan (2)G. MeredithA. Meynell (2)
L. C. Moulton (2)R. K. Munlittrick (2)C. PendletonC. G. D. RobertsC. RossettiL. W. Reese (9)J. V. von ScheffelF. D. Sherman (2)A. C. Swinburne
J. A. SymondsJ. Tabb
In 1912 Arthur P. Schmidt issued the first Volume of Lyric Fancies-A Selection of Songs by American Composers. This volume came in “High, Medium and Low Voice,” collections with 12 to 15 songs in each. Lang was represented in every volume: High Voice-Arcadie; Medium Voice-An irish Love Song; Low Voice-An Irish Love Song. This volume had editions copyrighted in at least 1912, 1913 and 1919. Volume II also had the same three voicings: High, Medium and Low with Day is Gone being the Lang selection for all three.
On February 17, 1913, Victor Harris, conductor of the New York women’s choir, the St. Cecilia Club, wrote Margaret: “The ladies of the Club are most enthusiastic about it [Song of the Three Sisters], and I personally cannot recall anything that we have ever put into rehearsal which has given me more pleasure in the conducting.It is a composition which any composer might be proud.”The club sang this work at the Waldorf-Astoria on March 25, 1913 with a choir of about 125 voices.The work was repeated again seven years later on March 23, 1920.Harris’s letter then asked for a new work for the club. (Scrapbook)
By mid-1913 Margaret finished the requested new work [The] Wind, Victor Harris wrote on October 3, 1913: “The music is exquisitely conceived and worked out and I know that we will study and produce it this year with the greatest possible pleasure. You have not hesitated to male it difficult but that does not worry me in the slightest, and you may be quite sure that we will put our best efforts into it to such an extent that the performance will be worthy of you and the work.”
1915 saw two newspaper interviews of Margaret.The February 11th. issue of the Lewiston Maine Journal asked about her life, and she responded that she had always lived in Boston “with the exception of a couple of years spent abroad, where I studied composition in music under Victor Gluth.” When asked about composition, she replied: “Perhaps the most fascinating thing in music is rhythm.” Asked about her teachers, her comment was that “I enjoyed studying orchestration with George W. Chadwick…and when Mr. MacFarell [MacDowell] was in Boston I used to go to him for criticism of my work. His musical judgment is extraordinary.” (Scrapbook) A month later the March 9, 1915 issue of the Boston Evening _____ contained an interview with Margaret with a fine photograph showing her seated in an ornate chair. The reporter asked where she got her inspiration-the reply was: “With me, I think the really good things come with the curious sense of being sent-as if I really had no responsibility in the matter. And this makes one slow to refuse these chance opportunities of action or expression.” (Scrapbook)“Lang’s lessons with Chadwick took place at her maternal grandmother’s home.” (Blunsom, 74 citing Lang Diaries, 1892)
In an interview in the Boston Globe of——— entitled “Tuneful Minds-Clever Boston Women Who Compose-Miss Lang and Mrs. Beach on Songs and Symphonies-Methods of Fashioning Their Melodious Measures,” the writer began:
“Miss Lang, I want you to tell me something of how composers work,’ said a reporter to Miss Margaret Ruthven Lang the accomplished daughter of Mr. B. J. Lang. ‘Do they, generally speaking, work much at the piano, depending upon improvising, for instance, to stumble upon some great motif?”
“I suppose,” said Miss Lang, “the methods of composers vary as much as those of other artists. I can only speak with certainty of my own. Little songs and smaller compositions generally take definite and permanent shape in my mind before I touch my pencil. In greater works I often find it necessary to deviate somewhat from my original idea when I come to the actual scoring.”
“I think very few composers work at the piano, and often the idea is as spontaneous as a smile or a sigh. I remember once when McDowell was staying with us, he suddenly learned that it was the anniversary of my mother’s wedding day. He immediately turned to me and said: ‘Let us play them a triumphal march at dinner,’ and, seating himself at the desk, he wrote out in about 10 minutes a march that had all the fire, color, balance and poise of a work of art. We played it at dinner to the great delight of the family.”
“Do compositions suggest themselves as simple melodies for you to fill in the harmonies according to your knowledge of counterpoint and the rules of harmony, and do they make their appearance a phrase at a time?”
“Emphatically no. A melody, a simple tune never comes without its accompanying harmonies, and always in more complete form than by single phrases. You know I was really very old, compared with many, when I began to compose. I must have been 11 or 12. I had never given much attention to music, except to playing the violin. I began to fiddle with some other girls, and the idea came to me to compose some concerted music for our special use. I had never studied harmony at all, so I turned my composition over to my father, who walked over the incorrect scoring with his blue pencil, and it was decided that if I were going to compose I must immediately begin the study of harmony, counterpoint, and, finally of orchestration. It seems to me that only a very mathematical mind can enjoy study in harmony for its own sake. It is very difficult, and is interesting only as a means to an end, as an aid to composition.”
“Do you find it necessary to modify or alter your works after hearing an orchestra play them for the first time?”
“I sometimes find that certain effect overbalance the particular effort for which I had striven; but I have an absurd prejudice against working a composition over which I have once considered finished. I vastly prefer writing something quite new, trying to avoid the faults into which I may have previously fallen. After the Boston Orchestra rehearsed my symphony for the first time, the conductor requested me to make a considerable cut in one of the movements. Very much against my wishes I did so, and after the concert one of the first violins came to me and said: ‘O, Miss Lang, why did you make that cut? If you had a child with one leg longer than the other, you would not try to remedy the defect by cutting off the foot. The part cut may have been inadequate, your balance may not have been good, but it was the best you had, and by the cut you simply deprive the movement of any sense of balance whatever. It was exactly like taking off the child’s foot to make the legs of equal length.’I knew how true this was, and if I had been a little stronger, and perhaps a little older, I should have refused to submit to the cutting process, even if it meant the withdrawing of the symphony.” (Boston Globe, ????)
The continued popularity of her songs was shown as John McCormack included The Day is Done [Gone-Op. 40 of 1903] in his recitals at Carnegie Hall on Sunday, February 11, 1917 and at Boston’s Symphony Hall on February 20, 1917. (Scrapbook)
The 1919 Musical America short biography of Margaret lists that “She is a composing member of the New York Manuscript Society, an Honorary Member of the Musical Art Club of Boston, and Honorary Vice-President of the American Music Society.”(Etude, Aug. 2, 1919)“Her last published work appeared in 1919, but her songs and choral works continued to be appreciated for years afterward. Her harmonic language was not as complex as that of Beach, making her works more accessible to the average listener.” (Glickman, 184)”Appreciated for years afterward” continued to 1976 when I Knew the Flowers Had dreamed of You and On An April Bough were included with full annotations in the NATS publication ART-SONG IN THE UNITED STATES, 1801-1976, AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY. In an ad entitled “Songs From the Concert programs of Boston Singers” in the May 2/3, 1919 BSO program, Laura Comstock Littlefield is listed as having performed Day is Gone and Alice Bates Rice is listed as having performed the Nonsense Rhymes. (BSO Program, May 2/3. 1919, p. 1295) At the end of the program Ms. Rice had an ad under “Musical Instruction” which listed her as: “Soprano Soloist, Teacher of Singing, Lang Studios, 6 Newbury Street.” (Op. Cit., p. 1352) Bertha Cushing Child, Contralto, also taught at the Lang Studios as did the pianist Miss Mary Ingraham. (Ibid)
The 1999 entry by Alan Levy for Margaret in the American National Biography outlines her compositional style. “Lang’s composition style was a mixture of German Romanticism and Impressionism, with relatively conservative use of harmonic dissonance and clear elements of Irish and Scottish folk melodies. Critics praised Lang’s music for its unobtrusive spontaneity. Her admirers found her music refreshingly distinct from that of many of the modernists of the early twentieth century whose music was often considered harsh. Champions of the modern styles considered Lang’s music old-fashioned, but traditionalists found its focus on pleasing sonorities rather than compositional techniques to be gratifying. Her conservative critics applauded especially.” (Levy, Am. Nat. Biog, Vol 13, 135)
Copyrighted in 1944 and available from the author at 112 Pinckney Street, Boston 14, Mass., Margaret published a 23 page book entitled “Anagrams In Rhyme” which included 78 examples where “The purpose of each verse is to find a word of the indicated number of letters, which may be altered a given number of times, using only those letters.Thus, a word of four letters, ‘Mite,’ may be changed into time, item, and emit.” She then gave an example:
Word of five letters
This—–that—–from staid and classic rhyme
May, notwithstanding,—–to pass the time;
But, lest it—–friendship’s fragile tie,
Receive it tenderly, then do or die.
(Keyword of this example is Verse.)
This VERSE that VEERS from staid and classic rhyme
May, notwithstanding, SERVE to pass the time;
But, lest it SEVER friendship’s fragile tie.
Receive it tenderly, then do or die.
One of the more challenging ones uses a word of five letters, five different ways.
The botanist, who—–among his books,
Seeking to find within their—–some clue
To source of new-found—–, (although he looks
Deeply, and knows the—– both old and new,)
May wrestle with a —–, ere he’s through.
(Keyword is Pores)
The botanist, who PORES among his books,
Seeking to find within their PROSE some clue
To source of new-found SPORE, (although he looks
Deeply, and knows the ROPES both old and new,)
May wrestle with a POSER ere he’s through.
Obviously the development of these helped keep her brain at age 77 quite active!
Margaret was one of only two people who were in every edition of Who’s Who In America from Vol. 1 of 1899 through Vol. 35 of 1968.(Scrapbook)