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"Nothing At All" Poem by B. Hughes

    According to  A Ball Hughes Correspondence by Thomas B. Brumbaugh, from: Art Quarterly 21 (Winter 1958), pp. 423-27, Brumbaugh acquired an undated manuscript containing this poem. It was acquired with a group of letters from Ball Hughes and his wife Eliza to Colonel John Trumbull, the painter.
 
    The letters were dated in the early 1830's and reflect Hughes' desperate financial plight in his early years New York after arriving from London in 1829. According to Brumbaugh, the letters reveal "the ridiculously inadequate compensation given him by apathetic "patrons."" (including Trumbull). See Col. John Trumbull and Bust of John Trumbull for more information about Ball Hughes poverty and his relationship with Col. Trumbull.
 
    Brumbaugh thought it appropriate to set the mood for his article "with two stoic stanzas of an intolerable seven from a poem, "Nothing at all by B. Hughes,"..." Brumbaugh notes that the manuscript of the poem is "not in the hand of either Hughes or his wife, but the sentiments expressed, certain peculiarities of syntax and the boldly inscribed attribution (to B. Hughes) plead for its authenticity."
 
"Nothing at all by B. Hughes" (stanzas five and six)
 
If a man had no money to mind,
He may save the expense of a purse
And if he is perfectly blind
He is sure that his sight won't grow worse.
 
Strange stories may find few upholders
But one thing you'll find which is that,
If a man has no head on his shoulders
He won't care a damn for a Hat.
 
 
Does anyone know the current owner of the manuscript and words to the entire poem?
 
 
last update 3/8/2012
 
For noncommercial use, Copyright David E. Brown 2008-2012
 
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