NABOKV-L post 0006034, Mon, 18 Jun 2001 10:59:13 -0700

[Fwd: Pale Fire index card numbers - a proposed listing]
Following on from Kiran's posting on assigning lines of Pale Fire
to specific card numbers (1 to 80), I submit my attempt.

I have now typed out the complete Pale Fire poem so I was
able to produce the list below with a small program.

The format is card number, line number, poem text.

1 1 I was the shadow of the waxwing slain
2 13 Retake the falling snow: each drifting flake
3 29 All colors made me happy: even gray.
4 41 I cannot understand why from the lake
5 49 I had a favourite young shagbark there
6 58 The house itself is much the same. One wing
7 71 I was an infant when my parents died.
8 86 I was brought up by dear bizarre Aunt Maud,
9 99 My God died young, Theolatry I found
10 115 And there's the wall of sound: the nightly wall
11 125 The regular vulgarian, I daresay,
12 A thread of subtle pain,
13 157 During one winter every afternoon
14 167 There was a time in my demented youth
15 183 The little scissors I am holding are
16 195 Maud Shade was eighty when a sudden hush
17 209 What moment in the gradual decay
18 221 So why join in the vulgar laughter? Why
19 235 Life is a message scribbled in the dark.
20 247 Sybil. Throughout our high-school days I knew
21 261 Your profile has not changed. The glistening teeth
22 269 Come and be worshiped, come and be caressed,
23 275 We have been married forty years. At least
24 281 I love you when you're standing on the lawn
25 293 She might have been you, me, or some quaint blend:
26 305 It was no use, no use. The prizes won
27 315 Another winter was scrape-scooped away.
28 337 And she returned in tears, with new defeats,
29 357 She was my darling: difficult, morose -
30 369 Pause, and your guarded scholium. Then again:
31 375 It does not matter what it was she read
32 384 I'd finished recently my book on Pope.
33 403 You scrutinized your wrist: ""It's eight fifteen.
34 413 A nymph came pirouetting, under white
35 429 And then there was a kind of travelog
36 448 Are we quite sure she's acting right?"" you asked.
38 475 Out of his lakeside shack
40 494 It was a night of thaw, a night of blow,
42 515 Was a larvorium and a violet:
43 537 The Institute assumed it might be wise
45 567 Time means succession, and succession, change:
46 588 For as we know from dreams it is so hard
47 596 But who can teach the thoughts we should roll-call
50 638 In later years it started to decline:
51 653 What is that funny creaking - do you hear?
53 683 The Cashaw Club had paid me to discuss
55 708 I realized, of course, that it was made
58 737 My vision reeked with truth. It had the tone,
60 759 If on some nameless island Captain Schmidt
61 767 The article was by Jim Coates. To Jim
62 773 Who'd miss the opportunity to meet
63 779 She plied me with fruit cake, turning it all
64 787 She was. I might have persevered. I might
66 816 It did not matter who they were. No sound,
68 835 Now I shall spy on beauty as none has
69 847 In method B the hand supports the thought,
70 861 Why is it so? Is it, perhaps, because
71 873 My best time is in the morning; my preferred
72 895 The more I weigh, the less secure my skin;
73 907 I have my doubts about the one-armed bloke
74 915 Now I shall speak . . . Better than any soap
75 923 Now I shall speak of evil as none has
76 931 And while the safety blade with scrape and screak
79 971 Existence, or at least a minute part
80 985 But it's not bedtime yet. The sun attains

Charles Cave
amateur Nabokovian!