Bliss Carman's Letters to Margaret Lawrence 1927-1929

Edited by D.M.R. Bentley

Assisted by Margaret Maciejewski

Letter 25

New Canaan, Connecticut

Halloween. 1927



Dear Margaret:


I enclose my latest portrait,1 a study in green on a blue ground. I hope you like it. Your tempestuous letter was a solar-plexus punch, and not without a dash of blasphemy. I was down for the count until I came to the last sentence. That revived me, and I am on my feet again, with steam enough left to go another round.

I am glad you love people with words. Now listen to mine. Damn your sculptor!2 If you decide in favour of the invitation to New York, let me know. I shall take Giordano3 to Hollywood and the desert, and we will assuage our irreparable grief with booze and bacchantes and inspired operas from Shamballah.4 And you, my dear, will be in New York. I can’t wish you anything worse.

May you give Giordano a picture? Yes, truly, he may have whichever he likes. You may have more. Behold, have I not given thee the half of all my possessions and all that remains of myself to give?

Oh! Margaret darling you make me nervous! I shall eagerly await your story. Yes, writing—or any engrossing labor one loves— is not only a vent and a solace, but is the one dominant need for us, I suppose. Only, dearest, you musn’t say "men may have what is left—if any". That is the unforgivable offence against the Masters or the Holy Spirit or whatever there is. It hurts horribly.

"Ballads & Lyrics"5 went to you by post the other day, and I will have a copy of "Far Horizons"6 sent from New York. It contains the "Shamballah" poem.7 Read also one of the end-papers "In Excelsis".8

I leave Wednesday morning for the South,9 and shall be in New Orleans on the 9th, (c/o Dr. Pierce Butler,10 Sophie-Newcomb College)[.] But my safest address is Waco, Texas, c/o Dr A.J. Armstrong,11 Baylor University. Do write.


I love you truly



  1. Not identified, but perhaps Fig. 1.

    Fig. 1: Bliss Carman c. 1927. [back]


  2. Not identified. [back]

  3. Caesar George Finn (see Letter 4 n.6). [back]

  4. See Letter 5 n.4 and Letter 8 n. 13. [back]

  5. See Letter 8 n.7. [back]

  6. Carman’s Far Horizons (Boston: Small, Maynard, 1925). [back]

  7. See Letter 5 n.4 and Letter 8 n.13. [back]

  8. Included with this letter is a card printed with "In Excelsis," the poem that appears on the back end-paper of Far Horizons:

    The new moon hangs in the wintry tree,
    The spring rains march by the door,
    The summer comes and the roses blow,
    The mellow woods of autumn glow,
    And love is more and more.

    The seasons pass, the strong winds die,
    The sunlight steals from the wall,
    The glittering planets wheel and sink,
    The tides return to the ocean’s brink,
    And love is all in all.

    The card is inscribed "Margaret from Carman / Golden October 1927". [back]

  9. On his reading tour. See Letter 4 n.2 and Letters 26-41. [back]

  10. Pierce Butler (1886-1953) was a Professor of English and the President of Sophie Newcomb Memorial College (see Letter 30 n.4). [back]

  11. A. Joseph Armstrong. See Letter 23 n.3. [back]