DESCRIPTION: Margaret Gray and her baby bid farewell to Robert Gray as he goes to work in the field. They agree to meet at a neighbor's house. She becomes lost in the woods. Her baby dies. Long after, she finally finds her way home.
AUTHOR: Julia C. R. Dorr
EARLIEST DATE: 1872 (Dorr, Poems)
KEYWORDS: baby separation death love return reunion travel rescue farming ordeal friend husband wife
FOUND IN: US(NE)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Flanders/Brown, pp. 19-26, "Margaret Gray" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cohen-AFS1, pp. 37-41, "Margaret Gray -- A Legend of Vermont (1 text)
Ives-Maine 12, "Margery Gray" (2 texts, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Mrs. Julia C. R. Dorr, Poems (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1872 ("Digitized by Library of Congress")), pp. 56-62, "Margery Grey, A Legend of Vermont" (1 text)
ST FlBr019 (Partial)
NOTES: Flanders and Brown claim this piece was well-known in Vermont, and indeed they seem to list two informants. But it doesn't appear to have turned up in any other collection.
Julia Caroline Ripley Dorr (1825-1913) was successful enough as a writer to earn a place in the Dictionary of American Biography (she was born in Charleston, South Carolina, but moved to Vermont before she was two; her mother, who was frail, died when her family arrived there. She married Seneca M. Dorr in 1847, spent some time in New York City, but returned to the family home in Rutland, Vermont, i 1857. Her first books, published in the 1850s, were novels which were listed as by "Caroline Thomas." Her first volume of "Poems" was published in 1872, and included this piece; at least nine more volumes followed. Her husband died in 1884, and she spent the rest of her life living quietly.)
Despite her productivity, I checked eight anthologies without finding a single word she had written. Granger's Index to Poetry, which cites some 300 anthologies, lists a few of her poems -- but not one of those 300 volumes includes this piece. Given how wordy this poem is, it's perhaps not surprising. Nor is it surprising that she didn't place much material in tradition; her goal was to avoid anything "which she could not with propriety read to children" (DAB, volume III, p. 381) - RBW
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