Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 15: No 2) >> The Mysterious ''R. I.'' >> Page 15

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 15

Poetry | 1824-11-22
Transcription My lip's fond press, `twill ever share,

Thou wilt not envious be;

`Tis not I love that lock of hair,

But that it came from thee, dear love,

But that it came from thee.

And when again we meet, `twill tell

How true my heart has prov'd;

`Tho other maids have smil'd as well,

Thee, only thee I've lov'd, dear maid,

Thee, only thee I've lov'd.


One of the most powerful influences on Simms's early poetry, as he

himself often declared, was Lord Byron, quite a favourite with the ladies. This

is a good example of a Byronic love song. The poem has an Irish musical lilt

and works rather well as a lyric. If we can trust the specifics of it, we find a

young fellow playing the field, and here,pledging undying love.

The young lady addressed? Perhaps further research and information

from Simms Society members might reveal the identity of the mysterious "R.I."

One possibility comes to mind. Rebecca Giles (1824?-1906) was a relative of

Anna Malcolm Giles Simms. She married George Isaacs (1824-1888). Perhaps

"R. I." was an older sister or aunt of George Isaacs. It was with Mr and Mrs

Isaacs that Simms and his family stayed in Columbia during Sherman's march

through South Carolina in February 1865. See Simms's Letters, IV, 449.