Gamel Woolsey uses one of Vergil’s most famous lines from The Aeneid as inspiration for her imposing yet brief poem:
“Forsan et Haec Olim Meminisse Iuvabit”
(“Perhaps one day it will be a pleasure to remember even this…”)
Why should you feel remorse, regret,
For what was beautiful to me,
As uncommanded as the sea?
The winds blew and the waters sang
All summer: now that summer’s done
I can remember still the sun
That lay upon the mountain grass,
And all the beauty that there was –
Only remember what was fair,
And what was wild and innocent;
The rest is blown upon the air.
Woolsey was born in South Carolina in the United States and lived in New York City for a while before moving permanently to England. Her love affair with Llewelyn Powys prompted her to take up residence near him in Dorset. She later married writer Gerald Brenan and they lived together in Spain and England until her death in 1968.
While visiting my favorite bookshop in Maine I came across one of Woolsey’s novels, One Way of Love, published posthumously in 1987 by Virago Press. I am hoping to read it before the end of summer.