Jun 15, 2023 - Sale 2641

Sale 2641 - Lot 77

Price Realized: $ 688
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 800 - $ 1,200
CONTAINS FROST'S RIDDLE FROST, ROBERT. Louis Untermeyer, Ed. Modern American Poetry and Modern British Poetry. With three-line Autograph poem Signed, "R.F." The poem, with holograph title ("My What-is-it"), mounted vertically on the front pastedown. 1 page, oblong 8vo, pale blue paper; faint scattered foxing. Np, nd. The book, additionally signed and inscribed by Untermeyer: "for Belle Nixon / This copy of a too- / bulky anthology which / has the virtue of having / an original puzzle (about / a grasshopper) pasted in / in the handwriting of / Robert Frost-- / with happy memories / of a gay evening at / Fitchburg / Louis Untermeyer / April 1939," on the front free endpaper. 8vo, publisher's cloth, marked fading to spine, moderate scattered soiling; foxing and traces of mildew to text block edges, moderate scattered foxing to preliminaries and subsidiaries. New York, (1930); inscription: Np, April 1939

Additional Details

The poem: "He has dust in his eye, a fan for a wing, / An elegant leg with which he can sing, / And a mouth full of dyestuff instead of a sting."
First published in 1936 in Frost's anthology A Further Range under the title "One Guess." The published version contains a few differences from the present version, including a second line which begins "A leg akimbo." In March of 1935, Frost wrote a letter to an elementary school teacher Alice Jennings, asking whether any of the children could guess the solution to his "riddle-poem" and writing out the text matching the published version.