A few days ago, Peter Stallybrass pointed me toward the digital edition of Francis Daniel Pastorius (1651-1719) work, His Hive, Melliotrophium Alvear or, Rusca Apium, Begun Anno Do[mi]ni or, in the year of Christian Account 1696. This work is a compendium of various kinds of "found" lore, a sort of precursor to Walter Benjamin's Arcades project --
Pastorius' commonplace book, usually referred to as the Beehive manuscript (from Pastorius' prologue, p. 1), is a compendium and alphabetical digest of knowledge including inscriptions, epitaphs, proverbs, poetry, Biblical citations, theological citations, quotations, a list of books he read or knew, copies of letters, and notes on science, useful herbs and other plants.
The Beehive is a foundational work of American poetics, even if few American poets know it. Key, as Peter pointed out to me, is the alphabetical index, the third volume, which enables a reader to find items scattered through the work, which consists of three volume of about 1000 pages. Certainly the index makes for a stellar, uncanny, found poem, more resonant for contemporary readers than Pastorius's own poetry.