The epigram—which WMR called, not without reason, “unpublishable”, seems to be a late thrust at Buchanan. The verses were drafted in a notebook around 1878. The notebook context suggests a close relation between this epigram and the sequence of aphoristic texts that DGR eventually culled for his poem “Soothsay”. Also closely related is the fragment “Anomalies”, which may have been originally written to be included among the “Soothsay” texts.
Four texts or partial texts are known, none titled. Two are relatively finished: the copy with one correction at Princeton, and the fair notebook copy at Duke. These texts vary slightly from each other and the latter has what appears to be a pair of additional lines at the end. The Duke notebook also has a draft of the epigram, and one of the Ashley notebooks has a fragment.
The epigram has not previously been published. It was first
noticed by Baum in his
Analytical List of
Manuscripts in the Duke
University Library (see pages 12, 36, 74).