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The Secret (a treasure hunt) / Verse 06
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Verse 06

Page history last edited by Oregonian 3 years, 8 months ago


General notes on Verse 6

  • This verse is thought to be linked to Image 2 and a casque in the vicinity of White Point Garden in Charleston, SC. 
  • To understand how the clues relate to the landmarks in the park, see our White Point Garden Landmarks page.
  • The proposed solution for this casque is given on the Image 2 Verse 6 Solution page.




Lines Interpretation(s)

Of all the romance retold

Men of tales and tunes

Cruel and bold

Seen here

By eyes of old

  This appears to be a rewording of the preface to Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.  The full verse is below (with emphasis added in places to indicate similarities).


If sailor tales to sailor tunes,
Storm and adventure, heat and cold,
If schooners, islands, and maroons,
And buccaneers, and buried gold,
And all the old romance, retold
Exactly in the ancient way,
Can please, as me they pleased of old,
The wiser youngsters of today:

--So be it, and fall on! If not,
If studious youth no longer crave,
His ancient appetites forgot,
Kingston, or Ballantyne the brave,
Or Cooper of the wood and wave:
So be it, also! And may I
And all my pirates share the grave
Where these and their creations lie!"


  These introductory lines could simply be an indicator that the verse corresponds to an area with a history of piracy.  The features in Image 2 indicate that the area in question is Charleston, South Carolina.  Most of the remaining lines in Verse 6 appear to match up with various landmarks in White Point Garden, a public park at the southern tip of the Charleston peninsula.


Stand and listen to the birds

  White Point Garden has a bandstand that was once used for concerts ("stand and listen").  No connection to "birds" has been identified so far.


Hear the cool, clear song of water

  There are two matching fountains on the Hunley memorial, although it isn't clear if they were actually operational at the time Preiss visited the park.


Harken to the words:

  This line, ending in a colon, introduces a series of references to historic events in the history of Charleston.  Preiss (who clearly had a poetic nature) appears to be saying that we should stand amid the trees and fountains of White Point Garden and "harken" back to these dramatic, historic events.


Freedom at the birth of a century

  Given the historical nature of the site, it's likely that "birth of a century" would be a reference to either 1800 or 1900.  Who would have achieved freedom around those dates?  Neither date is a good match for the American Revolution or the Civil War, both of which are strongly tied to the concept of "freedom."


  Some searchers have suggested that these lines could be a reference to the William Gilmore Simms memorial that stands in White Point Garden.  Simms was a famous writer and speaker in his time and many people did, indeed, "harken" to his words.  The problems with this interpretation are that A) Simms lived from 1806 to 1870, never even approaching the turn of a century, and B) Simms was a very prominent supporter of slavery.  It's very, very unlikely that Preiss would reference the words of Simms with the word "freedom." 


  The only good match that has been proposed is that this is a reference to Denmark Vesey, who lived in Charleston in the early 19th century.  Vesey was originally a slave, but he won won $1,500 in a city lottery in November of 1799 and was able to purchase his own freedom at the "birth of a century."


Or May 1913

  This line is almost certainly a reference to the capstan from the USS Maine, which was given to the city of Charleston in May 1913 and was on display in White Point Garden at the time The Secret was written.  (You can see photos of it in 2006 here and here.)  A bronze marker on the north side of the monument's base noted the donation and ended with the line "May, 1913."


  The capstan was removed from the park in 2007, but it was replaced with a statue of William Moultrie, so the location is still clearly defined.  It would be very useful to find photos showing the removal of the capstan and the installation of the statue.


Edwin and Edwina named after him

  This is likely a reference to a visit to Charleston by Edward Blyden in 1889.  The visit was described this way: "In his search for converts to the colonization cause, Blyden concentrated on Charleston with its large black population and important newspaper, the News and Courier, whose editors were sympathetic. Many in Charleston sought from Blyden news of the South Carolinians who had emigrated a dozen years before. He was enthusiastically welcomed; he even had twin babies named after him, Edwin and Edwina Wilmot Blyden, during his stay." 

(Abroad in America: visitors to the new nation, 1776-1914, by Marc Pachter and Frances Stevenson Wein, 1976, p. 164)


  We can assume that Byron Preiss took the information about Blyden's visit from Abroad in America because he used another quotation from the same book as a clue in Verse 2.


Or on the eighth a scene

Where law defended

  On November 8th, 1718, a group of pirates were hanged in Charleston near what is now White Point Garden. (Presumably the hanging of pirates could be seen as a defense of the rule of law.)


  There is a historical monument in the garden to commemorate the event:

The Legend,


  Note that the marker only says "the autumn of 1718," rather than an exact date.  Presumably that's because the crew were hanged on November 8th but Stede Bonnet himself wasn't hanged until December 10th. 


  The hanging of Bonnet is, by far, the more famous of those two execution events.  It was immortalized in pictures and several historical accounts. But the hanging of Bonnet's crew is almost forgotten.  It isn't mentioned in the main brochure for the park or in most history books.  If this monument is the correct reference for the verse, it means that Preiss must have consulted some fairly obscure sources when he was researching the history of the area.


  The reference to piracy would make particular sense in this verse, given the reference to Treasure Island in the first lines.


Between two arms extended

  The interpretation of this line depends on finding the correct definition of "arms."  Under the most literal interpretation, the line could refer to the arms on two statues in the park.  The extended arm on the Sgt. Jasper statue points out towards Fort Moultrie. The arm on the Fort Sumter statue points along High Battery towards Fort Sumter.


  But under an alternative (and more poetic) interpretation, "arms" could be short for "armaments" and "between two arms" could refer to a position between any pair of the many weapons on display in the park.  There are several short, bucket-shaped mortars at the perimeter, but "arms extended" would more likely refer to two of the guns with longer barrels.  The capstan for the USS Maine was positioned between the two columbiads on the eastern edge of the park.


Below the bar that binds

  "The bar" could be the sea wall, or "battery," that runs along the eastern and southern edges of the park.  It binds the tip of the peninsula and keeps it from eroding.


  "The bar" could also be the capstan from the USS Maine, which stood in the park on display until 2007.  According to the Wikipedia definition, a "capstan is a vertical-axled rotating machine developed for use on sailing ships to apply force to ropes, cables, and hawsers."


Beside the long palm's shadow

  As with the earlier reference to "arms extended," there are (at least) two different ways of interpreting this line, and it's quite possible that Preiss was making a double entendre and hoping we would see both meanings.


  The words "long palm" could literally refer to the palm of a hand, which might make this a reference to either the Confederate Defenders monument or the Fort Moultrie monument.  The latter of those two, sometimes referred to as the "Sergeant Jasper Monument," commemorates the same battle described above in which a fort made of palmetto logs on Sullivan's Island was successfully defended against the British in 1776.  The Fort Moultrie monument is topped with a statue of Sergeant William Jasper with an outstretched arm and a palm facing down.


  Alternatively, "long palm" could refer to a cabbage palm or palmetto (Sabal palmetto).  These trees have long skinny trunks and cast long shadows.  They also have a very strong connection to South Carolina and, in particular, to Charleston.  During the Revolutionary War, the city of Charleston was successfully defended by a fortress constructed on Sullivan's Island out of palm trunks and sand.  To honor that defense, the South Carolina state flag was modified in 1861 to include a palmetto, and South Carolina now has the nickname of "The Palmetto State."  There is also thought to be the shadow of a cabbage palm hidden in Image 2


  There are now many palmettos in and around White Point Garden.  One of them is at the east end of the park, near one of the two columbiads that flank the spot where where the capstan from the USS Maine once stood.


Embedded in the sand

Waits the Fair remuneration

  "Sand" might mean that we are looking for a place that isn't covered with a lawn or other plants.  It could also be a hint that we should be looking in a coastal area.


  "Fair" may be capitalized just as a reference to the "Fair Folk" in the book.


White house close at hand.

  This is possibly a reference to the Villa Marguerita at 4 South Battery, near the pirate memorial.  It has a front porch with tall, white columns and it resembles a smaller version of the U.S. White House.  Church Street runs along the west side of the house, so this might be related in some way to the Christian cross hidden in the lion's mane in Image 2.

(Photo from the Charleston County Public Library site, which has descriptions and photos of all the buildings along the street.)






The reference to a scene on "the eighth" is thought to refer to the execution of some notorious pirates.  The paragraph shown here is from History of South Carolina, Volume 1 by Yates Snowden and Harry Gardner Cutler (1920).
The historical marker that describes the same event is on the northern edge of White Point Garden.  From this perspective, the statue of William Moultrie is visible in the distance on the left.
Charleston - White Point Garden: Pirate Monument
The two monuments that might qualify for having "arms extended" are the Confederate Defenders monument (near left) and the Sgt. Jasper monument (far right).
Charleston - White Point Garden: Fort Sumter Memorial "To the Defenders of Fort Moultrie - June the 28th, 1776" - Monument dedicated June 28, 1876 - White Point Garden, Charleston, SC

At the east end of the park, where the capstan from the USS Maine once stood, there is now a statue of William Moultrie.  The statue is between two historic columbiads that are positioned with their barrels pointing toward the street ("arms extended").  For more information on the weapons and monuments, see our White Point Garden Landmarks page.


There are two cabbage palms near the southern columbiad. At the time this picture was taken (early in the morning) the sun was behind the photographer and the shadows were pointed away from the street.  During the course of a day, the shadow from each palm tree would sweep around to point first toward the statue and then toward the street.  In late afternoon or early evening, it's possible that "the long palm's shadow" would be between the two guns (if "palm" does, in fact, refer to these trees).

IMG_6738-White Point Garden



Other Notes:

  • Historical photos of White Point Garden from times close to 1980 would be a huge help in the search at this point.
  • There's an interesting pattern of direction and alliteration in the words that start Lines 14-16 (between, below, and beside).  




Comments (24)

FlippinArkansas said

at 4:45 pm on Feb 24, 2017

"Harken to the words:
Freedom at the birth of a century"
I have a theory that this might refer to Denmark Vesey, a former slave who bought his freedom in 1799. He is significant in Charleston history for his alleged role in a planned slave revolt. The plan involved killing slave owners, freeing slaves, and sailing to Haiti, which was the first black Republic, winning its independence at the turn of the nineteenth century. He was hanged in 1822. His legacy is still felt.
According to Wikipedia: "In 1976 the city of Charleston commissioned a portrait of Vesey. It hung in the Gaillard Municipal Auditorium, but was controversial." The reference link is dead but the GMA is just a mile and a half north of White Point Garden. It was perhaps notable enough of a controversy that Preiss could have used it as a sly, just-this-side-of-obscure clue. His former residence (though only symbolically) is just a little north of WPG as well. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denmark_Vesey_House https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denmark_Vesey

Oregonian said

at 4:58 pm on Feb 24, 2017

Whoa! What a breakthrough! That's the first interpretation I've ever seen that makes sense for "freedom at the birth of a century." And it certainly fits in with the references to slavery and Africa. Good work!

So how would "Harken to the words:" fit into that?

FlippinArkansas said

at 11:27 pm on Feb 24, 2017

I believe I've stumbled on the most likely meaning of "Harken to the words": the portrait of Denmark Vesey was from behind him, while he was speaking to an audience that was "harkening" to his words. http://tigerprints.clemson.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3140&context=all_theses

FlippinArkansas said

at 11:29 pm on Feb 24, 2017

The relevant image can be found on page 67.

FlippinArkansas said

at 11:39 pm on Feb 24, 2017

Sorry. Correction: page 58.

FlippinArkansas said

at 5:22 pm on Feb 24, 2017

There certainly may be more than this, but "harken" in context is usually meant to ask you to think back to an earlier time in history. Due to the historical debate around Vesey, perhaps Preiss was giving an additional clue as to the meaning of the next line.

Oregonian said

at 11:19 am on Feb 28, 2017

Your discovery about "freedom at the birth of a century" was really the final bit I needed. I'd been hesitating to post a solution because I didn't know the meaning of that one line and I thought it might change things. But now that I'm sure the "freedom" bit is just another reference to Charleston history, I've gone ahead and created an Image 2 / Verse 6 solution page. We'll probably never see that casque unearthed, but I'm pretty sure we've solved it.

FlippinArkansas said

at 2:25 pm on Feb 28, 2017

Glad to be of some help.

sarah said

at 4:02 pm on Mar 1, 2017

Another option for reading "between two arms extended, below the bar that binds" would be to start two lines earlier and read it as a description of the hanging of the pirates: "On the eighth a scene where law defended between two arms extended below the bar that binds" where the arms extended are the upright parts of a gallows and the bar that binds is the cross bar of the gallows - the law was defended by hanging the pirates between the uprights and below the top bar. There's an engraving of Stede Bonnet's hanging that shows the setup. http://www.goldenageofpiracy.org/images/general-history-of-pyrates-1724-25/stede-bonnet-hanging.png

Oregonian said

at 4:47 pm on Mar 1, 2017

True, but the problem with that interpretation is that it wouldn't get us any closer to the hiding spot. The gallows where the pirates were hanged have long since disappeared and no one even knows exactly where they were.

Those 4 lines that start "Between... Below... Beside... Embedded..." have a parallel structure that (to me at least) suggests they should be read together. And together they steadily narrow down the burial spot all the way to the exact place in the ground.

Have you read the solution I posted? Check it out and let us know what you think!

DanaSkully said

at 4:01 pm on Feb 18, 2018

Hi all, I want to share an issue that keeps coming up for me regarding Dr. Edward Blymont and how I don't think he's the man referred to in this Verse. Here is a short Imgur album with an article from 1889 explaining Dr. Blyden's main beliefs and teachings. See for yourself: https://imgur.com/a/mBcYh

JulieM said

at 12:06 pm on May 2, 2018

I am sure that others have googled Edwin and Edwina and found the father daughter Booth connection, so I was curious as to why it is not considered as part of the puzzle. Edwin Booth was named after Edwin Forrest (another actor).

maltedfalcon said

at 12:51 pm on May 2, 2018

Actually it was considered the clue connection for quite a long time, Edwin Booth is a great fit for a lot of cities he got around, but after looking deeper, it didn't really advance the puzzle. then when the link in other verses was found to the book "Abroad in America" It definitely showed BP had the book and referenced it. and in that book is the now commonly assumed Edwin and Edwina connection. So while you can absolutely look at using the Booths, You have to balance it against a know book BP used as a reference and that it is clearly mentioned in that book.

JulieM said

at 1:37 pm on May 2, 2018

Thank you

Goonie68 said

at 11:38 am on May 5, 2018

Falcon, do you know how Edwin and Edwina is used in relation to the book and what it does for the verse? Does the reference give you a direction in the puzzle?

Brad said

at 7:52 am on Nov 3, 2018

Edwin and Edwina...
Just a thought... Edwin Harleston and niece Edwina Harleston Whitlock. Relevance: https://findingaids.library.emory.edu/documents/harleston1161/
"Edwin Augustus Harleston (1882-1931), African American artist and activist, was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He married Elise Forrest (1891-1970), a photographer, in 1920. Edwina Harleston Whitlock (1916-2002), their niece, who was also known as "Gussie," was raised by the couple after her parents died. Edwin Harleston was active in the Charleston Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), founded in 1917." and;
"In his role as an African American activist, Harleston was involved with the NAACP, the South Carolina Interracial Commission, and the Avery Institute."
Turn of century, tick. Edwin and Edwina, tick. Avery (aviary is where birds are kept). It's a little too left field for me, but may be worth persuing.
A further thought about the Edwin and Edwina line. "Named after him" may literally be a list of names. i.e. John, Edwin, Edwina. Edwin and Edwina are listed (named) after John, not John's namesake. This would inevitably be on a plaque or inscription on a monument etc. Anyone know where a place may be?

Brad said

at 5:52 am on Nov 6, 2018

Could this lead on to Harleston Village?

Brad said

at 6:02 am on Nov 6, 2018

Freedom at the birth of a century... Could this refer to Gadsden's Wharf? This is where the bulk of slaves (from Africa) were brought into a) Charleston, and on to the rest of America. It could link well into the immigration reference.
It's now the site of... Liberty Square and Freedom Lane. Aha! I thought. Alas, it's been redeveloped post-1980 to have these names.
However, the slave trade ended in the early 1800's, at the birth of a century.
Could this be relevant as a starting point?
It fits in with the first 9 lines, with cruel people, water, birds, freedom at the birth of a century, etc.
Does anyone know of what was there in 1980? If there were plaques, they might hold some information...
If someone could link this site to Harleston Village using the two other lines (May 1913... this one is killing me!!! Nothing happened then!!!) and on the 8th a scene Where law defended, I am pretty sure I can tell you where the casque is.

Linda S said

at 2:37 pm on Nov 6, 2018

there is a half way decent website for historical maps, Netronline, one may find images there.

Brad said

at 1:29 am on Nov 29, 2018

I've noticed something about this verse, and it's starting to pop up in others, but not in all of them.
Has anyone noted the meter and rhyming structure of this verse. It's more pronounced than the other ones, but I can see a little of elsewhere. This verse has, by far the most structured meter and the most amount of rhymes of all the verses. And when broken down, may actually give a slightly different rendering of the meaning....
I've broken the verse below by a rhythm and rhyme method, and you can see where the verse breaks is slightly different than what we have been thinking.

Of all the romance retold
Men of tales and tunes
Cruel and bold
Seen here
By eyes of old (old as rhyming agent. Could come from the poem by RLS sited)

Stand and listen to the birds
Hear the cool, clear song of water
Harken to the words: (irds as rhyme- but only 3 lines)

Freedom at the birth of a century
Or May 1913
Edwin and Edwina named after him
Or on the eighth a scene (een as rhyme. Note: on the 8th a scene... could mean theatre scene. Theatre on 8th St?)

Where law defended
Between two arms extended (ended as rhyme. Note: the law is being defended between two arms extended... Lady Justic Statue??? If we took "By eyes of old" and dropped ii into the next rhyme structure, and reverese the first lines (so that they align with the order of the LLS poem, we would have the classical structure of a Sonnet- a very popular poetic form of Shakespeare. The structure being ABAB CDCD EFEF GG)

**Below the bar that binds (The odd line out.)

Beside the long palms shadow
Embedded in the sand
Waits the Fair remuneration
White house close at hand. (and as rhyme. Would lead us to sand below a long palm's shadow, near a white house. Could also be linked with objects above)

Just a thought. A pigeon to put among the cats.

DonB said

at 11:24 am on Jun 26, 2022

I think that the casque is more likely buried near the east side (the water side) of the Joel Riley Waterfront Park. If you look on Google maps you can see the two small water inlets there that make up a picture of the 'Bar that binds' (Do a picture search on Google for 'old bar handcuffs' and you will see what I am talking about). There are a couple of indications of this formation in the picture (the 'arches' in the mask that has a picture of Charleston in it, and the bar and rope just to the right of the mask). The two piers sticking into the 'bar that binds' are the 'Two arms extended'. You can hear/see the water at this location (Hear the cool, clear song of water) and also hear/see all the birds out on 'Shutes Folly Island' ('Stand and listen to the birds'). If you look at the area on Google maps - satellite view, you can see the square looking land area that sticks out into the middle of the 'Bar that Binds' looks just like the nose on the lion. If you stand in the middle of the area and look to the pier on your right (south) you will see the 'White house close at hand'. Unfortunately, the Joel Riley Waterfront Park was constructed around 1990 and that probably messed up our chance of finding the casque. I doubt that we would ever be able to find the location of 'the long palm's shadow' (I think this was an actual palm tree that would have been cut down during the park's construction) , or the area of sand that we should dig in (the entire area was wiped out with the new park's construction). If someone goes to Charleston and stands there, I hope you let me know what you see and what you think of this possibility.

DonB said

at 12:58 pm on Jun 26, 2022

A couple of other thoughts....

The face mask in the lower left part of the painting has been pointed out by others to be in the shape of Fort Sumter. That fort is in the line of site when standing in Joel Riley Park.
Also, the pear in the painting has been pointed out by others to perhaps be a reference to the 'Pearman Bridge'. This bridge (that was demolished in 2005 and replaced by the Arthur Ravenel Bridge) would have been in the line of site of Joel Riley Park in the early 80's.
I have also noticed that in the actually 'Boston' casque solution, its verse referred to a well know, historic landmark a few blocks away from the actual burial site of the casque (that landmark being The Old North Church), and that most of the rest of the verse referred to what could be directly seen from the burial site. So I tried to find a landmark close to this site that might have been referred to in this verse. The closet thing I can find is the 'Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon' building a couple of blocks to the west of the park. Also, the verse refers to May, 1913. I think that this might be referring to the day that the care of that landmark was given (by an act of Congress) to the Daughters of the American Revolution in the early part of 1931. I do not know the exact date that the organization actually (formally) took over but perhaps it was in May? Perhaps a plaque in, or near, that building would show the date. The landmark could also be the 'Old Slave Mart museum' just to the west - but I could not find a reference to May, 1913 for that building. I have searched the internet for that month and year and could not find anything of interest that would have been referenced to in this verse. (In the Japanese version of The Secret there are 'additional hints' given. And one of those hints for this verse says to go to the history books and find out what happened in May of 1931. I cannot find it!!!)

DonB said

at 3:04 pm on Jun 26, 2022

There is a typo in the above post.
Should be: "to the Daughters of the American Revolution in the early part of 1913"

DonB said

at 3:39 pm on Jun 26, 2022

Also, typo in the above post, in the last line should read:
"find out what happened in May of 1913"

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