Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I Slept and Dreamed That Life Was Beauty

I Woke and Found Life Was Duty
These pillow cases were part of my haul of vintage linen goodies I got from our guild's rummage sale.  When I opened the baggie these were in I just gasped.  As a pair, they are so fabulous.

I found that these were stamped pillow shams offered in the Sears Roebuck catalog in 1897.  They were originally $.23,  if you can believe that!  I thought that the embroidery on these were done exceptionally well, as I have seen some versions online in a less refined manner. 
I think these are very telling about the average woman's life in late Victorian/early Edwardian days.  Most women worked either in the home or in a trade of some sort, and while dreaming is indeed beautiful, one must wake and return to their duties.  This is from a poem by Ellen Sturgis Hooper, A Transcendental poet, who published it in The Dial in 1840. 
You can now buy PDF versions of these pillow cases for your own embroidery on my Etsy shoppe.
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The original poem the pattern is based on:

I Slept, and Dreamed that Life was Beauty
By Ellen Sturgis Hooper

I slept, and dreamed that life was Beauty;
I woke, and found that life was Duty.
Was thy dream then a shadowy lie?
Toil on, sad heart, courageously,
And thou shalt find thy dream to be
A noonday light and truth to thee.

The Dial (July 1840) p. 123

1 comment:

Susan Guzman said...

These are marvelous! Reminds me of a redwork pillow cover my husband purchased for me in Chicago quite a few years ago while we were visiting an antique shop that had lots of linens. This one was written in German. I'll have to locate it and finally do something with it! :) Thanks for the reminder!