We Love Music for the Buried Hopes, the Garnered Memories, the Tender Feelings, It Can Summon with a Touch

Letitia Elizabeth Landon? Pablo Picasso? Samuel Rogers?

landon09Dear Quote Investigator: The following statement has been attributed to the major artist Pablo Picasso:

Art! I love it for the buried hopes, the garnered memories, the tender feelings it can summon at a touch.

Curiously, a similar remark about music has been attributed to the Victorian novelist and poet Letitia Elizabeth Landon:

We love music for the buried hopes, the garnered memories, the tender feelings it can summon at a touch.

The poet Samuel Rogers has also been linked to the words above. Would you please help to dispel this confusion?

Quote Investigator: The earliest evidence located by QI appeared in the novel “Romance and Reality” by L.E.L. The three initials were used to designate the author Letitia Elizabeth Landon. The following passage employed a simile based on a magic lamp. Thus, the phrase “summon with a touch” referred to both a magical genie and intense feelings. Boldface has been added to excerpts: 1

The man who stands listening to even a barrel-organ, because it repeats the tones “he loved from the lips of his nurse”—or who follows a common ballad-singer, because her song is familiar in its sweetness, or linked with touching words, or hallowed by the remembrance of some other and dearest voice—surely that man has a thousand times more “soul for music” than he who raves about execution, chromatic runs, semi-tones, &c. We would liken music to Aladdin’s lamp–worthless in itself, not so for the spirits which obey its call. We love it for the buried hopes, the garnered memories, the tender feelings, it can summon with a touch.

The parallel saying about art was attributed to Pablo Picasso in 1964, but the artist was not being quoted directly, and this linkage might be spurious. A detailed citation is given further below. By 2003 the saying about music was being credited to Samuel Rogers who had died in 1855. QI believes this linkage was not substantive.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Landon’s remark was popular, and it circulated for decades. For example, in 1884 a newspaper in Saint Paul, Minnesota printed this instance. The word “with” was changed to “to”: 2

Miss L. E. Landon: Music—We love it for the buried hopes, the garnered memories, the tender feelings it can summon to a touch.

In 1887 a journalist writing in an Edinburg, Indiana newspaper reformulated Landon’s discussion of music to construct a passage about Italian laborers with a comical edge. Landon’s name was not mentioned: 3

Not all the Italians who come to this country prowl around the streets stirring up buried hopes, awakening garnered memories and reviving tender feelings by working the crank of a hand organ. Of course a great many noble Italian counts and dukes go around with a monkey and a hand-organ, or stand behind barber chairs, but there are others who are actually working.

In 1895 a newspaper in Topeka, Kansas printed a column listing “Gems of Thought” that included an instance using the word “at” instead of “with”. Also, the word “music” was moved from a prefix position directly into the expression. No attribution was given: 4

We love music for the buried hopes, the garnered memories, the tender feelings it can summon at a touch.

In 1927 the compiler of “The New Dictionary of Thoughts: A Cyclopedia of Quotations” was sufficiently impressed by Landon’s remark that he included an instance in his reference: 5

We love music for the buried hopes, the garnered memories, the tender feelings it can summon at a touch.—L. E. Landon.

In 1964 “Playboy” magazine published a five page collection of quotations under the title: “The Wisdom of Pablo Picasso” with the subtitle: “the world’s foremost living artist puts forth a credo for creativity”. Landon’s quotation was modified to make it applicative to art instead of music, and it was ascribed to Picasso: 6

Art! I love it for the buried hopes, the garnered memories, the tender feelings it can summon at a touch.

The above statement and many others in the article were clearly derived from pre-existing quotations. The name of the constructor of the “art” version of the adage was not clear to QI; no reference was provided. Perhaps the “Playboy” article was an eccentric stunt or a hoax? QI will discuss some other suspicious quotations in separate articles.

In 1972 the book “European Erotic Art” by Francis Carr printed an instance ascribed to Picasso: 7

Pablo Picasso: Art is the best possible introduction to the culture of the world. I love it for the buried hopes, the garnered memories, the tender feelings it can summon at a touch.

In 2003 a compilation of sayings titled “A Touch of Class” printed an instance credited to the once popular poet Samuel Rogers: 8

We love music for the buried hopes, the garnered memories, and the tender feelings it can summon at a touch.
Samuel Rogers

In conclusion, Letitia Elizabeth Landon should be credited with the text she wrote in 1831. The linkage to Samuel Rogers was flawed. The variant quotation about art attributed to Pablo Picasso in 1964 was derived directly or indirectly from Landon’s words. QI suspects that the ascription to Picasso was incorrect.

Image Notes: Drawing of Letitia Elizabeth Landon from an original painting by Maclise via Wikimedia Commons. Magic lamp from JooJoo41 at Pixabay. Music notes from Alexas_Fotos at Pixabay.

(Great thanks to Andrew Malton and Mardy Grothe whose inquiries led QI initiate this investigation which grew to encompass other quotations. The question above was formulated by QI. Quotation expert Mardy Grothe’s website is available here. Special thanks to Professor Charles Doyle for help verifying the 1972 citation.)

Notes:

  1. 1831, Romance and Reality by L.E.L. (Letitia Elizabeth Landon), Volume 1 of 3, Chapter 8, Quote Page 64, Published by Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, London. (Google Books Full View) link
  2. 1884 June 22, The Saint Paul Sunday Globe Sunday Globlets, Quote Page 9, Column 7, Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Newspapers_com)
  3. 1887 October 13, The Edinburg Daily Courier, The Italian Laborer, Quote Page 3, Column 4, Edinburg, Indiana. (Newspapers_com)
  4. 1895 January 29, The Topeka State Journal, Gems of Thought, Quote Page 6, Column 6, Topeka, Kansas. (Newspapers_com)
  5. 1927, The New Dictionary of Thoughts: A Cyclopedia of Quotations, Originally compiled by Tryon Edwards, Revised and Enlarged, Topic: Music, Quote Page 414, Britkin Publishing Company, Charlotte, North Carolina. (Google Books Full View) link
  6. 1964 January, Playboy, Volume 11, Number 1, The Wisdom of Pablo Picasso: the world’s foremost living artist puts forth a credo for creativity, Start Page 95, Quote Page 97, HMH Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois. (Verified with scans)
  7. 1972, European Erotic Art by Francis Carr, Quote Page 17, Published by Luxor Press, London. (Verified with scans; thanks to Charles Doyle and the University of Georgia library system)
  8. 2003, A Touch of Class, Compiled by Carol VanderHeyden, Quote Page 27, Column 1, Trafford Publishing, Victoria, B.C, Canada. (Google Books Preview)