Herman Melville: Sea Romancer Turned Gardener

“His subjects at the end included roses and irises, bluebirds and chipmunks, his early life with Lizzie in the Berkshires, and children’s dreams. …

…toward the end, … Melville … seems to have been content to avoid socializing, preferring instead to read his books, write, and tend his rose bushes.”

A short essay by  Mark Beauregard, offering a glimpse into Melville’s last years.

Did the “failed novelist” fail at yet another thing — poetry? Did he crave commercial success? Was he a happy man?

Happy, believe, this Christmas eve,
Are Willie and Rob and Nellie and May—
Happy in hope! in hope to receive
These stockings well-stuffed from Santa Claus’ sleigh.

— from Weeds and Wildings, with a Rose or Two, a collection of Melville’s poetry published in a private edition by Lizzie, Melville’s wife of more than forty years.