Jefferson Market Courthouse in New York

A Love Affair with a Landmark in Manhattan: An Arresting Drama in Greenwich Village. [Opinions expressed are the views of OLD JEFF unless attributed to other - - potentially less-reliable - - sources, i.e., newcomers who have not been around since 1832 on Sixth Avenue.]

Friday, January 06, 2006

3 Kings

Janus the Roman god of doorways - - taking the place (temporarily) of Old Jeff, who is away visiting the Jeffersons - - will use this opp to reminisce in January on the Feast of the Epiphany about an epiphanic moment in Greenwich Village. Christopher Street's printer Frank Shay sold a poetry chapbook "in the shadow of old Jefferson Market" during 1922. The following year, this poet won the Pulitzer Prize.



NEW YORK: Printed for FRANK SHAY and sold by him at FOUR CHRISTOPHER ST., in the shadow of old JEFFERSON MARKET, 1922

. . . She sang as she worked,
And the harp-strings spoke;
Her voice never faltered,
And the thread never broke.
And when I awoke,
There sat my mother
With the harp against her shoulder
Looking nineteen
And not a day older,
A smile about her lips,
And a light about her head,
And her hands in the harp-strings
Frozen dead.
And piled up beside her
And toppling to the skies,
Were the clothes of a king's son,
Just my size.
The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver by Edna St. Vincent Millay [1892-1950] was published in 1922. Therefore, the text fell out of copyright and entered the public domain in the USA as of 1998. For The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver and several other works published in the early twenties, Millay won the the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923.
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• • Woodcut: Ballad of the Harp-Weaver, frontispiece

Jefferson Market.