Слике страница

Of “A wandering Star's first impressions As new as the jests of Didaskalos tis ; of Rome."

Better still, I could make out a good solid “Stop! stop !” with their hands o'er their

list ears, screamed the Muses,

From authors recondite who do not exist, “He may go off and murder himself, if he But that would be naughty: at least, I chooses,

could twist 'T was a means self-defence only sanctioned Something out of Absyrtus, or turn your his trying,

inquiries 'T is mere massacre now that the enemy's After Milton's prose metaphor, drawn from flying;

Osiris; If he's forced to 't again, and we happen But, as Cicero says he won't say this or that to be there,

(A fetch, I must say, most transparent and Give us each a large handkerchief soaked flat), in strong ether."

After saying whate'er he could possibly

think of, I called this a “ Fable for Critics ;” | I simply will state that I pause on the you think it's

brink of More like a display of my rhythmical A mire, ankle-deep, of deliberate confusion, trinkets;

Made up of old jumbles of classic allusion: My plot, like an icicle, 's slender and slip- So, when you were thinking yourselves to pery,

be pitied, Every moment more slender, and likely Just conceive how much harder your teeth to slip awry,

you 'd have gritted, And the reader unwilling in loco desipere An 't were not for the dulness I've kindly Is free to jump over as much of my frip

omitted. pery As he fancies, and, if he's a provident I'd apologize here for my many digresskipper, he

sions, May have like Odysseus control of the Were it not that I'm certain to trip into

gales, And get safe to port, ere his patience quite ('T is so hard to escape if you get in their fails;

mesh once); Moreover, although 't is a slender return Just reflect, if you please, how 't is said by For your toil and expense, yet my paper Horatius, will burn,

That Mæonides nods now and then, and, And, if you have manfully struggled thus

my gracious! far with me,

It certainly does look a little bit ominous You may e'en twist me up, and just light When he gets under way with ton d' your cigar with me:

apameibomenos. If too angry for that, you can tear me in (Here a something occurs which I 'll just pieces,

clap a rhyme to, And my membra disjecta consign to the And

say it myself, ere a Zoilus have time breezes,

to, A fate like great Ratzau's, whom one of Any author a nap like Van Winkle's may those bores,

take, Who beflead with bad verses poor Louis If he only contrive to keep readers awake, Quatorze,

But he 'll very soon find himself laid on Describes (the first verse somehow ends the shelf, with victoire),

If they fall a-nodding when he nods him. As dispersant partout et ses membres et sa self.)

gloire; Or, if I were over-desirous of earning Once for all, to return, and to stay, will A repute among noodles for classical learn

I, nill I ing,

When Phæbus expressed his desire for a I could pick you a score of allusions, i-wis, lily,

fresh ones



pass in,

Our Hero, whose homeopathic sagacity

All American authors who have more or With an ocean of zeal mixed his drop of

less capacity,

Of that anti-American humbug - success, Set off for the garden as fast as the wind While in private we're always embraciug (Or, to take a comparison more to my

the knees mind,

Of some twopenny editor over the seas, As a souud politician leaves conscience be- And licking his critical shoes, for you hind),

know 't is And leaped the low fence, as a party hack The whole aim of our lives to get one Engjumps

lish notice; O’er his principles, when something else My American puffs I would willingly burn turns up trumps.


(They're all from one source, monthly, He was gone a long time, and Apollo, weekly, diurnal) meanwbile,

To get but a kick from a transmarine jour Went over some sonnets of his with a file,

nal !" For, of all compositions, he thought that the sonnet

So, culling the gibes of each critical Best repaid all the toil you expended upon it;

As if they were plums, and himself were It should reach with one impulse the end of

Jack Horner, its course,

He came cautiously on, peeping round every And for one final blow collect all of its

corner, force;

And into each hole where a weasel might Not a verse should be salient, but each one should tend

Expecting the knife of some critic assassin, With a wave-like up-gathering to break at Who stabs to the heart with a caricature, the end;

Not so bad as those daubs of the Sun, to be So, condensing the strength here, there

sure, smoothing a wry kink,

Yet done with a dagger-o'-type, whose vile He was killing the time, when up walked portraits Mr. D— ;

Disperse all one's good and condense all At a few steps behind him, a small man in one's poor traits.

glasses Went dodging about, muttering, “Murder- Apollo looked up, hearing footsteps apers ! asses !

proaching, From out of his pocket a paper he 'd take, And slipped out of sight the new rhymes With a proud look of martyrdom tied to he was broaching, its stake,

“Good day, Mr. D- I'm happy to meet And, reading a squib at himself, he'd say, With a scholar so ripe, and a critic so neat, “ Here I see

Who through Grub Street the soul of a 'Gainst American letters a bloody conspir- gentleman carries ; асу,

What news from that suburb of London and They are all by my personal enemies writ

Paris ten;

Which latterly makes such shrill claims to I must post an anonymous letter to Britain, monopolize And show that this gall is the merest sug

The credit of being the New World's megestion

tropolis ?Of spite at my zeal on the Copyright question,

“Why, nothing of consequence, save this For, on this side the water, 't is prudent to

attack pull

On my friend there, behind, by some pitiful O’er the eyes of the public their national hack, wool,

Who thinks every national author a poor By accusing of slavish respect to John Bull




[blocks in formation]

on tick


it ;

He would buy some himself, just to hear the

old click ; Why, I honestly think, if some fool in Japan Should turn up his nose at the

Poems on Man,' (Which contain many verses as fine, by the

bye, As any that lately came under my eye,) Your friend there by some inward instinct

would know it, Would get it translated, reprinted, and show As a man might take off a high stock to

exhibit The autograph round his own neck of the

gibbet; Nor would let it rest so, but fire column after

column, Signed Cato, or Brutus, or something as

solemn, By way of displaying his critical crosses, And tweaking that poor transatlantic pro

boscis, His broadsides resulting (this last there's no

doubt of) In successively sinking the craft they're

fired out of. Now nobody knows when an author is hit, If he have not a public hysterical fit; Let him only keep close in his snug garret's

dim ether, And nobody'd think of his foes - or of him

either ; If an author have any least fibre of worth

in him, Abuse would but tickle the organ of mirth

in him ; All the critics on earth cannot crush with

their ban One word that's in tune with the nature of

You may feel so delighted (when once you

are through it) As to deem it not unworth your while to re

view it, And I think I can promise your thoughts,

if you do, A place in the next Democratic Review." “ The most thankless of gods you must

surely have thought me, For this is the forty-fourth copy you've

brought me ; I have given them away, or at least I have

tried, But I've forty-two left, standing all side by

side (The man who accepted that one copy

died), From one end of a shelf to the other they

reach, • With the author's respects' neatly written

in each. The publisher, sure, will proclaim a Te

Deum, When he hears of that order the British

Museum Has sent for one set of what books were first

printed In America, little or big, for 't is hinted That this is the first truly tangible hope he Has ever had raised for the sale of a copy. I've thought very often 't would be a good

thing In all public collections of books, if a wing Were set off by itself, like the seas from the

dry lands, Marked Literature suited to desolate islands, And filled with such books as could never be

read Save by readers of proofs, forced to do it

for bread, Such books as one's wrecked on in small

country taverns, Such as hermits might mortify over in

caverns, Such as Satan, if printing had then been

invented, As the climax of woe, would to Job have

presented, Such as Crusoe might dip in, although there

are few so Outrageously cornered by fate


Crusoe; And since the philanthropists just now are




“Well, perhaps so; meanwhile I have

brought you a book, Into which if you 'll just have the goodness

to look,

of years,

And gibbeting all who're in favor of hang- Thus: Let murderers be shut, to grow ing

wiser and cooler, (Though Cheever has proved that the Bible At bard labor for life on the works of and Altar


-; Were let down from Heaven at the end of a Petty thieves, kept from flagranter crimes halter,

by their fears, And that vital religion would dull and grow Shall peruse Yankee Doodle a blank term

callous, Unrefreshed, now and then, with a sniff of That American Punch, like the English, no the gallows),

doubt, And folks are beginning to think it looks Just the sugar and lemons and spirit left odd,

out. To choke a poor scamp for the glory of God;

“But stay, here comes Tityrus Griswold, And that He who esteems the Virginia reel and leads on A bait to draw saints from their spiritual The flocks whom he first plucks alive, and weal,

tben feeds on, And regards the quadrille as a far greater A loud-cackling swarm, in whose feathers knavery

warm drest, Than crushing his African children with He goes for as perfect a - swan as the rest.

slavery, Since all who take part in a waltz or cotil- “ There comes Emerson first, whose rich lon

words, every one, Are mounted for hell on the Devil's own Are like gold nails in temples to hang tropillion,

phies on, Who, as every true orthodox Christian well Whose prose is grand verse, while his knows,

verse, the Lord knows, Approaches the heart through the door of Is some of it pr– No, 't is not even the toes,

prose; That He, I was saying, whose judgments I'm speaking of metres; some poems have are stored

welled For such as take steps in despite of his From those rare depths of soul that have word,

ne'er been excelled; Should look with delight on the agonized They 're not epics, but that does n't matter prancing

a pin, Of a wretch who has not the least ground In creating, the only hard thing 's to for his dancing,

begin; While the State, standing by, sings a verse A grass-blade 's no easier to make than an from the Psalter

oak; About offering to God on his favorite hal- If you ’ve once found the way, you ’ve ter,

achieved the grand stroke; And, when the legs droop from their twitch- In the worst of his poems are mines of rich ing divergence,

matter, Sells the clothes to a Jew, and the corpse But thrown in a heap with a crash and a to the surgeons;

clatter; Now, instead of all this, I think I can di- Now it is not one thing nor another alone rect you all

Makes a poem, but rather the general To a criminal code both humane and effect

tone, ual;

The something pervading, uniting the I propose to shut up every doer of wrong

whole, With these desperate books, for such term, The before unconceived, unconceivable soul, short or long,

So that just in removing this trifle or that, As, by statute in such cases made and pro

you vided,

Take away, as it were, a chief limb of the Shall be by your legislators decided:



by the way,

[ocr errors]

whose range

the one,

he's got

Roots, wood, bark, and leaves singly per- Each figure, word, gesture, just fits the fect may be,

occasion, But, clapt hodge-podge together, they With the quiet precision of science he 'll don't make a tree.

sort 'em,

But you can't help suspecting the whole a “ But, to come back to Emerson (whom,

post mortem. I believe we left waiting),— his is, we may “ There are persons, mole-blind to the say,

soul's make and style, A Greek head on right Yankee shoulders, Who insist on a likeness 'twixt him and

Carlyle; Has Olympus for one pole, for t’ other the To compare him with Plato would be Exchange;

vastly fairer, He seems, to my thinking (although I'm Carlyle 's the more burly, but E. is the afraid

rarer; The comparison must, long ere this, have He sees fewer objects, but clearlier, truebeen made);

lier, A Plotinus-Montaigne, where the Egyp- If C.'s as original, E.'s more peculiar; tian's gold mist

That he's more of a man you might say of And the Gascon's shrewd wit cheek-by-jowl coexist;

Of the other he's more of an Emerson; All admire, and yet scarcely six converts C. 's the Titan, as shaggy of mind as of

limb, – To I don't (nor they either) exactly know E. the clear-eyed Olympian, rapid and what;

slim; For though he builds glorious temples, 't is The one's two thirds Norseman, the other odd

half Greek, He leaves never a doorway to get in a Where the one 's most abounding, the god.

other's to seek; 'T is refreshing to old-fashioned people like C.'s generals require to be seen in the

mass, To meet such a primitive Pagan as he, E.'s specialties gain if enlarged by the glass; In whose mind all creation is duly re- C. gives nature and God his own fits of the spected

blues, As parts of himself — just a little pro- And rims common-sense things with mystijected;

cal hues, And who's willing to worship the stars and E. sits in a mystery calm and intense,

And looks coolly around him with sharp A convert to — nothing but Emerson.

common-sense ; So perfect a balance there is in his head, C. shows you how every-day matters unite That he talks of things sometimes as if With the dim transdiurnal recesses of they were dead;

night, Life, nature, love, God, and affairs of that While E., in a plain, preternatural way, sort,

Makes mysteries matters of mere every He looks at as merely ideas; in short,

day; As if they were fossils stuck round in a C. draws all his characters quite à la Fucabinet,

seli, Of such vast extent that our earth 's a mere Not sketching their bundles of muscles and dab in it;

thews illy, Composed just as he is inclined to conjec- He paints with a brush so untamed and proture her,

fuse, Namely, one part pure earth, ninety-nine They seem nothing but bundles of muscles parts pure lecturer;

and thews; You are filled with delight at his clear E. is rather like Flaxman, lines strait and demonstration,



the sun,


« ПретходнаНастави »