’ I am ill at these numbers, but e’en rhymery is easier ‘than confuting the past in mute prose.’ Who wrote that? Voltimand or Voltemand? Or the Burning Swine? A pest on his anapest! ‘All our old loves are corpses or wives.’ All our sorrows are virgins or whores.” Vivian Darkbloom notes: “p.288. all our old etc.: Swinburne.” (ADA)
There are other instances of quotes and references in VN's works but this one, from ADA, came first to my mind when I wanted to compare them to other author’s references. In this case, “all our old loves are corpses or wives" was recollected in isolation and, not having read Swinburne, I attributed these outstanding lines to Nabokov. It was on rereading the paragraph in ADA that I noticed the added quotation marks and found Darkbloom's reference to Swinburne (explicitly mentioned by Lucette as "the Burning Swine").
Swinburne’s verse came to my mind after I watched the movie “Begin Again” (directed by John Carney, 2013) and extracted from it a line from “Lost Stars”, written by Brisebois, Danielle / Alexander, Gregg / Lashley, Nick / Southwood, Nick), namely, “Youth is wasted on the young”* to discover, thanks to the tip of a friend, that this verse had been used before, in 1995, by Billy Corgan.** Corgan’s name was not mentioned in connection to these new lyrics so… was it plagiarism? I asked. My friend Gallego thought that the lines might have been so familiar to American ears that to indicate the name of the original author would be unnecessary (at least in the US, of course). I wonder…
“Rhymery is easier [ ] ‘than confuting the past in mute prose’,” though, was not annotated by Darkbloom. There’s a comment by Stan Kelly-Bootle praising VN’s entire paragraph*** , but I still don’t know who authored these lines. VN himself?
*- “Lost Stars”
[…] Turn the page
Maybe we'll find a brand new ending
Where we're dancing in our tears
And God, tell us the reason
Youth is wasted on the young
It's hunting season
And the lambs are on the run
[…] Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC Read more: Adam Levine - Lost Stars Lyrics | MetroLyrics
**- “thru the eyes of ruby” by billy corgan © 1995 cinderful music/chrysalis songs (bmi)
wrap me up in always, and drag me in with maybes
your innocence is treasure, your innocence is death[…]
no one will come to save you
so speak your peace in the murmurs drawn
but youth is wasted on the young
your strength is my weakness, your weakness my hate
my love for you just can't explain
why we're forever frozen, forever beautiful,
forever lost inside ourselves
the night has come to hold us young.
***S K-B writes:Eros qui prend son essor! Arts that our marblery harbors: Eros, the rose and the sore,’ I am ill at these numbers, but e’en rhymery is easier ‘than confuting the past in mute prose.’ Who wrote that? Voltimand or Voltemand? Or the Burning Swine? A pest on his anapest! ‘All our old loves are corpses or wives.’ All our sorrows are virgins or whores.
And a near-Joycean rhythm! Did you notice the clever levels in “e’en rhymery is easier ...?” “E’en” = abrev. for “even” and “evening” (compare “yestreen”), of course. But also OE/Dialect/Scots plural of “eye” leading to “eye rhymes” being easier. E.g., “wind” and “mind,” “love” and “prove.” (always allowing for sounds changing over the years.) https://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind1003&L=nabokv-l&F=&S=&X=6634A329A6C94619BD&Y=jerry_friedman%40yahoo.com&P=11938