Love Calls to Thee: Early Drawings by Kahlil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran is best known as a poet and the author of The Prophet, but he was also an accomplished visual artist.  Most of his work is now in the Gibran National Committee’s Museum in his home town of Bsharreh, Lebanon.  However the following seven drawings reside in Harvard’s Houghton Library, a legacy of his brief but formative time in Boston.  Gibran drew these between the ages of 19 and 21 and gifted them to Josephine Preston Peabody, his close friend and poetic mentor who called him “my young prophet” and likely had a major influence on his most famous book.

The drawings were given to the library by Peabody’s later husband, Lionel Simeon Marks, who was a Harvard professor.  One contains an Arabic inscription by Gibran which was translated by Harvard Professor William Thomson as follows:

“Give heed, o soul, for Love calls to thee, so listen:
Open the doors of thy heart and receive Love and the King.”

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F. Holland Day on Oscar Wilde

Of all men who have consented to adorn the present age, at least within the realm of that Power upon whose domain the sun never sets, none have been the recipients of adulation so profound, intermingled with opprobium so venomous as that bestowed upon Oscar Wilde. That the philosophy for which Mr. Wilde stood, upon his advent into Letters, was, to the Philistine, a new and somewhat startling one, needs no argument; but to prove his sincerity and absoluteness of belief, in its principles, to those congregations of Canaille that he has addressed from time to time with his unique suavity, will undoubtedly fall to the good fortune of a future generation.

F. Holland Day reviewing Oscar Wilde’s A House Of Pomegranates in the first issue of The Knight Errant journal, published be Francis Watts Lee’s Elzevir Press, Boston, 1892.

British writer Oscar Wilde, who toured the US in 1882, was a hero of young F. Holland Day, and later an acquaintance.  Day’s publishing firm Copeland and Day were the American publishers of Wilde’s play Salomé.  Text from archive.org/JSTOR Early Journal Content.

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Above: Portrait of Oscar Wilde taken during his 1882 US tour by Napoleon Sarony.  Print in the Library of Congress.