They [meet together] to sing out their thoughts.  They would hurt them if they didn't.  They're so strong and burn so.  With only one throat each they can't make music enough to let it out in private; but what one hasn't another has, and so they gather to help each other's love and thanks out by singing, because everyone then feels that what they all sing he sings and everyone sings, with one mighty voice, and on the great torrent of that voice their big thoughts float out of every heart like great ships out of the harbour to cross the eternal seas.

 — George MacDonald
Lilith A

One of my favorite books is George MacDonald's Lilith.  The Johannesen edition we have also includes what they call Lilith A, a transcription of MacDonald's unpublished first draft.  It has been amazing to read them back to back, to see both what an imaginative and technically able writer he was, and how the story was fleshed out into something magnificent through the rewriting and editing process.

Here is how the above paragraph looks in the published version:

They need help from each other to get their thinking done, and their feelings hatched, so they talk and sing together; and then, they say, the big thought floats out of their hearts like a great ship out of the river at high water.

The final version is more succinct, but I love the original because it speaks more specifically to what it's like to sing in choir.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 9:02 am | Edit
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I also like the original version better, on account of its association with choir singing. :D

Posted by Diane Villafane on Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 12:51 pm
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