Слике страница
PDF
ePub

common in our own immediate neighborhood. Yet, with a becoming deference to the popular belief that distinctions of this sort are enhanced in value by every additional mile they travel, I have intermixed the names of some tolerably distant literary and other associations with the rest.

I add here, also, an advertisement, which, that it may be the more readily understood by those persons especially interested therein, I have written in that curtailed and otherwise maltreated canine Latin, to the writing and reading of which they are accustomed.

OMNIB. PER TOT. ORB. TERRAR. CATALOG.

ACADEM. EDD.

Minim. gent. diplom. ab inclytiss. acad. vest. orans, vir. honorand. operosiss., at sol. ut sciat. quant. glor. nom. meum (dipl. fort. concess.) catal. vest. temp. futur. affer., ill. subjec., addit. omnib. titul. honorar. qu. adh. non tant. opt. quam probab. put.

Litt. Uncial, distinx. ut Pries. S. Hist. Nat. Jaal.

Nevertheless, finding that, without descending to a smaller size of type than would have been compatible with the dignity of the several societies to be named, I could not compress my intended list within the limits of a single page, and thinking, moreover, that the act would carry with it an air of decorous modesty, I have chosen to take the reader aside, as it were, into my private closet, and there not only exhibit to him the diplomas which I already possess, but also to furnish him with a prophetic vision of those which I may, without undue presumption, hope for, as not beyond the reach of human ambition and attainment. And I am the rather induced to this from the fact that my name has been unaccountably dropped from the last triennial catalogue of our beloved Alma Mater, Whether this is to be attributed to the difficulty of Latinizing any of those honorary adjuncts (with a complete list of which I took care to furnish the proper persons nearly a year beforehand), or whether it had its origin in any more culpable motives, I forbear to consider in this place, the matter being in course of painful investigation. But, however this may be, I felt the omission the more keenly, as I had, in expectation of the new catalogue, enriched the library of the Jaalam Athenæum with the old one then in my possession, by which means it has come about that my children will be deprived of a never-wearying winter evening's amusement in looking out the name of their parent in that distinguished roll. Those harmless innocents had at least committed no but I forbear, having intrusted my reflections and animadversions on this painful topic to the safe-keeping of my private diary, intended for posthumous publication. I state this fact here, in order that certain nameless individuals, who are, perhaps, overmuch congratulating themselves upon my silence, may know that a rod is in pickle which the vigorous hand of a justly incensed posterity will apply to their memories.

The careful reader will note that, in the list which I have prepared, I have included the names of several Cisatlantic societies to which a place is not commonly assigned in processions of this nature. I have ventured to do this, not only to encourage native ambition and genius, but also because I have never been able to perceive in what way distance (unless we suppose them at the end of a lever) could increase the weight of learned bodies. As far as I have been able to extend my researches among such stuffed specimens as occasionally reach America, I have discovered no generic difference between the antipodai Fogrum Japonicum and the F. Americanum sufficiently

HOMERUS WILBUR, Mr., Episc. Jaalam, S. T. D. 1850, et Yal. 1849, et NeoCæs. et Brun. et Gulielm. 1852, et Gul. et Mar. et Bowd. et Georgiop. et Viridimont. et Columb. Nov. Ebor. 1833, et Amberst. et Watervill. et S. Jarlath. Hib. et S. Mar. et S. Joseph. et S. And. Scot. 1854, et Nashvill. et Dart. et Dickins. et Concord. et Wash. et Columbian. et Charlest. et Jeff. et Dubl. et Oxon. et Cantab. et Cæt. 1855, P. U. N. C. H. et J. U. D. Gott. et Osnab. et Heidelb. 1860, et Acad. BORE US. Berolin. Soc., et SS. RR. Lugd. Bat. et Patav. et Lond. et Edinb. et Ins. Feejee. et Null. Terr. et Pekin. Soc. Hon. et S. H. S. et S. P. A. et A. A. S. et S. Humb. Univ. et S. Omn. Rer. Quarund. 9. Aliar. Promov. Passamaquod. et H. P. C. et I. O. H, et A. A. $. et n. K. P. et $. B. K. et Peucin, et Erosoph. et Philadelph. et Frat. in Unit. et 2. T. et S. Archæolog. Athen, et Acad. Scient. et Lit. Panorm. et SS. R. H. Matrit. et Beeloochist. et Caffrar. et Caribb. et M. S. Reg. Paris. et S. Am. Antiserv. Soc. Hon. et P. D. Gott. et LL. D. 1852, et D. C. L. et Mus. Doc. Oxon. 1860, et M. M. S. S. et M. D. 1854, et Med. Fac. Univ. Harv. Soc. et S. pro Convers. Pollywog. Soc. Hon. et Higgl. Piggl. et LL. B. 1853, et S. pro Christianiz. Moschet. Soc. et SS. AnteDiluv. ubiq. Gent. Soc. Hon. et Civit. Cleric. Jaalam. et S. pro Diffus. General. Tenebr. Secret. Corr.

[ocr errors]

I see

only culture and the pulling up of weeds from INTRODUCTION

about it, I thought it best to get before him

the acknowledged examples of English comWAEN, more than three years ago, my tal- position in verse, and leave the rest to natural ented young parishioner, Mr. Biglow, came to emulation. With this view, I accordingly lent

Ι me and submitted to my animadversions the him some volumes of Pope and Goldsmith, to first of his poems which he intended to com- the assiduous study of which he promised to mit to the more hazardous trial of a city news- devote his evenings. Not long afterward, he paper, it never go much as entered my imagi- brought me some verses written upon that nation to conceive that his productions would model, a specimen of which I subjoin, having ever be gathered into a fair volume, and ush- changed some phrases of less elegancy, and a ered into the august presence of the reading few rhymes objectionable to the cultivated ear. public by myself. So little are we short

The poem consisted of childish reminiscences, sighted mortals able to predict the event! I and the sketches which follow will not seem confess that there is to me a quite new sat- destitute of truth to those whose fortunate isfaction in being associated (though only as education began in a country village. And, sleeping partner) in a book which can stand first, let us hang up his charcoal portrait of by itself in an independent unity on the the school-dame. shelves of libraries. For there is always this

Propped on the marsh, a dwelling now, drawback from the pleasure of printing a ser- The humble school-house of my A, B, C, mon, that, whereas the queasy stomach of this

Where well-drilled urchins, each behind his generation will not bear a discourse long tire, enough to make a separate volume, those re- Waited in ranks the wished command to fire, ligious and godly-minded children (those Sam- Then all together, when the signal came, uels, if I may call them so) of the brain must Discharged their a-b abs against the dame. at first lie buried in an undistinguished heap,

Daughter of Danaus, who could daily pour and then get such resurrection as is vouch

In treacherous pipkins her Pierian store, safed to them, mummy-wrapped with a score

She, mid the volleyed learning firm and calm,

Patted the furloughed ferule on her palm, of others in a cheap binding, with no other

And, to our wonder, could divine at once mark of distinction than the word “Miscella

Who flashed the pan, and who was downright neous" printed upon the back. Far be it from

dunce. me to claim any credit for the quite unexpected popularity which I am pleased to find “There young Devotion learned to climb with these bucolic strains have attained unto. If I know myself, I am measurably free from the

The gnarly limbs of Scripture family-trees,

And he was most commended and admired itch of vanity; yet I may be allowed to say

Who soonest to the topmost twig perspired ; that I was not backward to recognize in them

Each name was called as many various ways a certain wild, puckery, acidulous (sometimes As pleased the reader's ear on different days, even verging toward that point which, in our So that the weather, or the ferule's stings, rustic phrase, is termed shut-eyed) flavor, not Colds in the head, or fifty other things, wholly unpleasing, nor unwholesome, to pal- Transformed the helpless Hebrew thrice a ates cloyed with the sugariness of tamed and

week cultivated fruit. It may be, also, that some

To guttural Pequot or resounding Greek, touches of my own, here and there, may have

The vibrant accent skipping here and there, led to their wider acceptance, albeit solely

Just as it pleased invention or despair ;

No controversial Hebraist was the Dame; from my larger experience of literature and

With or without the points pleased her the authorship.

same; I was at first inclined to discourage Mr. If any tyro found a name too tough, Biglow's attempts, as knowing that the desire And looked at her, pride furnished skill to poetize is one of the diseases naturally in

enough ; cident to adolescence, which, if the fitting She nerved her larynx for the desperate thing, remedies be not at once and with a bold hand

And cleared the five-barred syllables at a applied, may become chronic, and render one,

spring. who might else have become in due time an

“Ah, dear old times! there once it was my hap, ornament of the social circle, a painful object Perched on a stool, to wear the long-eared cap even to nearest friends and relatives. But

From books degraded, there I sat at ease, thinking, on a further experience, that there A drone, the envy of compulsory bees; was a germ of promise in him which required Rewards of merit, too, full many a time,

1 The reader curious in such matters may refer (if he A Discourse on the Late Eclipse, Dorcas, a Funeral can find them) to A sermon prenched on ihe Anniver. Sermon on the Death of Madam Submit Tidd, Relict of sary of the Dark Day, An Artillery Election Sermon, the late Experience Tidd, Esq., &c., &c.

ease

Each with its woodcut and its moral rhyme,
And pierced half-dollars hung on ribbons gay
About my neck (to be restored next day)
I carried home, rewards as shining then
As those that deck the lifelong pains of men,
More solid than the redemanded praise
With which the world beribbons later days.

have endeavored to glean the materials of reyolutionary history from the lips of aged persons, who took a part in the actual making of it, and, finding the manufacture profitable, continued the supply in an adequate propor tion to the demand.

66

morse

“Old Joe is gone, who saw hot Percy goad
His slow artillery up the Concord road,
A tale which grew in wonder, year by year,
As, every time he told it, Joe drew near
To the main fight, till, faded and grown gray,
The original scene to bolder tints gave way;
Then Joe had heard the foe's scared double.

quick Beat on stove drum with one uncaptured stick, And, ere death came the lengthening tale to

lop, Himself had fired, and seen a red-coat drop; Had Joe lived long enough, that scrambling

fight Had squared more nearly with his sense of

right, And vanquished Percy, to complete the tale, Had hammered stone for life in Concord jail."

corse :

Ah, dear old times! how brightly ye re

turn! How, rubbed afresh, your phosphor traces

burn! The ramble schoolward through dewsparkling

meads, The willow-wands turned Cinderella steeds, The impromptu pin-bent hook, the deep reO'er the chance-captured minnow's inchlong The pockets, plethoric with marbles round, That still a space for ball and pegtop found, Nor satiate yet, could manage to confine Horsechestnuts, flagroot, and the kite's wound

twine, Nay, like the prophet's carpet could take in, Enlarging still, the popgun's magazine; The dinner carried in the small tin pail, Shared with some dog, whose most beseeching

tail And dripping tongue and eager ears belied The assumed indifference of canine pride ; The caper homeward, shortened if the cart Of Neighbor Pomeroy, trundling from the

mart, O'ertook me, – then, translated to the seat I praised the steed, how stanch he was and

fleet, While the bluff farmer, with superior grin, Explained where horses should be thick, where

thin, And warned me (joke he always had in store) To shun a beast that four white stockings wore. What a fine natural courtesy was his ! His nod was pleasure, and his full bow bliss ; How did his well-thumbed hat, with ardor

rapt, Its curve decorous to each rank adapt ! How did it graduate with a courtly ease The whole long scale of social differences, Yet so gave each his measure running o'er, None thought his own was less, his neighbor's

more; The squire was flattered, and the pauper knew Old times acknowledged 'neath the threadbare

blue ! Dropped at the corner of the embowered lane, Whistling I wade the knee-deep leaves again, While eager Argus, who has missed all day The sharer of his condescending play, Comes leaping onward with a bark elate And boisterous tail to greet me at the gate ; That I was true in absence to our love Let the thick dog's-ears in my primer prove."

I do not know that the foregoing extracts ought not to be called my own rather than Mr. Biglow's, as, indeed, he maintained stoutly that my file had left nothing of his in them. I should not, perhaps, have felt entitled to take so great liberties with them, had I not more than suspected an hereditary vein of poetry in myself, a very near ancestor having written a Latin poem in the Harvard Gratulatio on the accession of George the Third. Suffice it to say, that, whether not satisfied with such limited approbation as I could conscientiously bestow, or from a sense of natural inaptitude, certain it is that my young friend could never be induced to any further essays in this kind. He affirmed that it was to him like writing in a foreign tongue, - that Mr. Pope's versification was like the regular ticking of one of Willard's clocks, in which one could fancy, after long listening, a certain kind of rhythm or tune, but which yet was only a poverty. stricken tick, tick, after all, — and that he had never seen a sweet-water on a trellis growing so fairly, or in forms so pleasing to his eye,

as a fox-grape over a scrub-oak in a swamp. He added I know not what, to the effect that the sweet-water would only be the more disfigured by having its leaves starched and ironed out, and that Pegāsus (so he called him) hardly looked right with his mane and tail in curl. papers. These and other such opinions I did not long strive to eradicate, attributing them rather to a defective education and senses untuned by too long familiarity with purely natural objects, than to a perverted moral sense. I was the more inclined to this leniency since

I add only one further extract, which will possess a melancholy interest to all such as

[ocr errors]

gufficient evidence was not to seek, that his verses, wanting as they certainly were in classic polish and point, had somehow taken hold of the public ear in a surprising manner. So, only setting him right as to the quantity of the proper name Pegasus, I left him to follow the bent of his natural genius.

Yet could I not surrender him wholly to the tutelage of the pagan (which, literally interpreted, signifies village) muse without yet a further effort for his conversion, and to this end I resolved that whatever of poetic fire yet burned in myself, aided by the assiduous bellows of correct models, should be put in requisition. Accordingly, when my ingenious young parishioner brought to my study a copy of verses which he had written touching the acquisition of territory resulting from the Mexican war, and the folly of leaving the question of slavery or freedom to the adjudication of chance, I did myself indite a short fable or apologue after the manner of Gay and Prior, to the end that he might see how easily even such subjects as he treated of were capable of a more refined style and more elegant expression. Mr. Biglow's production was as follows:

[ocr errors]

I've sighted an' I 'll let her went;
Bang! went queen’s-arm, ole gander flopped
His wings a spell, an' quorked, an' dropped.
Sez Joe, “I would n't ha' been hired
At that poor critter to ha' fired,
But sence it's clean gin up the ghost,
We'll hev the tallest kind o' roast ;
I guess our waistbands 'll be tight

Fore it comes ten o'clock ternight." I won't agree to no such bender,"

Sez Isrel; keep it tell it's tender;
'Taint wuth a snap afore it's ripe.
Sez Joe, “I'd jest ez lives eat tripe ;
You air a buster ter suppose
I'd eat what makes me hol' my nose !"
So they disputed to an' fro

Till cunnin' Isrel sez to Joe,
Don't le's stay here an' play the fool,

Le's wait till both on us git cool,
Jest for a day or two le's hide it,
An' then toss up an' so decide it.”
Agreed !

sez Joe, an' so they did,
An' the ole goose wuz safely hid.
Now't wuz the hottest kind o’ weather,
An' when at last they come together,
It did n't signify which won,
Fer all the mischief hed been done:
The goose wuz there, but, fer his soul,
Joe would n't ha' tetched it with a pole;
But Isrel kind o' liked the smell on't
An' made his dinner very well on't.

THE TWO GUNNERS

A FABLE

My own humble attempt was in manner and form following, and I print it here, I sincerely trust, out of no vainglory, but solely with the hope of doing good.

LEAVING THE MATTER OPEN

A TALE

Two fellers, Isrel named and Joe,
One Sundy mornin' 'greed to go

Igunnin' soon 'z the bells wuz done
And meetin' finally begun,
So'st no one would n't be about
Ther Sabbath-breakin' to spy out.
Joe did n't want to go a mite;
He felt ez though 't warn’t skeercely right,
But, when his dorbts he went to speak on,
Isrel he np and called him Deacon,
An' kep' apokin' fun like sin
An' then arubbin' on it in,
Till Joe, less skeered o' doin' wrong
Than bein' laughed at, went along.
Past noontime they went trampin' round
An' nary thing to pop at found,
Till, fairly tired o' their spree,
They leaned their guns agin a tree,
An' jest ez they wuz settin' down
To take their noonin', Joe looked roun'
And see (acrost lots in a pond
That warn't mor'n twenty rod beyond)
A goose that on the water sot
Ez ef awaitin' to be shot.

BY HOMER WILBUR, A. M.

Two brothers once, an ill-matched pair,
Together dwelt (no matter where),
To whom an Uncle Sam, or some one,
Had left a house and farm in common.
The two in principles and habits
Were different as rats from rabbits;
Stont Farmer North, with frugal care,
Laid up provision for his heir,
Not scorning with hard sun-browned hands
To scrape acquaintance with his lands;
Whatever thing he had to do
He did, and made it pay him, too;
He sold his waste stone by the pound,
His drains made water-wheels spin round,
His ice in summer-time he sold,
His wood brought profit when 't was cold,
He dug and delved from morn till night,
Strove to make profit square with right,

Isrel he ups and grabs his gun;
Sez he, “ By ginger, here's some fun!”
Don't fire," sez Joe, “it ain't no nse,
Thet 's Deacon Peleg's tame wil'-goose :"
Sez Isrel, “I don't care a cent.

Lived on his means, cut no great dash, And paid his debts in honest cash.

In that way I shall get the start,
And South may whistle for his part.
So thought, so done, the field was sown,
And, winter having come and gone,
Sly North walked blithely forth to spy,
The progress of his wheat and rye ;
Heavens, what a sight! his brother's swine
Had asked themselves all out to dine ;
Such grunting, munching, rooting, shoving,
The soil seemed all alive and moving,
As for his grain, such work they'd made on 't,
He could n't spy a single blade on 't.

[blocks in formation]

" The grain

9

[ocr errors]

66

On tother hand, his brother South
Lived very much from hand to mouth,
Played gentleman, nursed dainty hands,
Borrowed North's money on his lands,
And culled his morals and his graces
From cock-pits, bar-rooms, fights, and races;
His sole work in the farming line
Was keeping droves of long-legged swine,
Which brought great bothers and expenses
To North in looking after fences,
And, when they happened to break through,
Cost him both time and temper too,
For South insisted it was plain
He ought to drive them home again,
And North consented to the work
Because he loved to buy cheap pork.
Meanwhile, South's swine increasing fast,
His farm became too small at last;
So, having thought the matter over,
And feeling bound to live in clover
And never pay the clover's worth,
He said one day to Brother North :
“Our families are both increasing,
And, though we labor without ceasing,
Our produce soon will be too scant
To keep our children out of want;
They who wish fortune to be lasting
Must be both prudent and forecasting ;
We soon shall need more land; a lot
I know, that cheaply can be bo't;
You lend the cash, I'll buy the acres,
And we 'll be equally partakers."
Poor North, whose Anglo-Saxon blood
Gave him a hankering after mud,
Wavered a moment, then consented,
And, when the cash was paid, repented ;
To make the new land worth a pin,
Thought he, it must be all fenced in,
For, if South's swine once get the run on 't
No kind of farming can be done on 't;
If that don't suit the other side,
'T is best we instantly divide.
But somehow Sonth could ne'er incline
This way or that to run the line,
And always found some new pretence
'Gainst setting the division fence;
At last he said:

“For peace's sake,
Liberal concessions I will make ;
Though I believe, upon my soul,
I 've a just title to the whole,
I'll make an offer which I call

- we 'll have no fence at all ;
Then both of us, whene'er we choose,
Can take what part we want to use ;
If you should chance to need it first,
Pick you the best, I 'll take the worst."

Won't hurt them," answered South again; “But they destroy my crop ;

“No doubt; 'T is fortunate you 've found it out; Misfortunes teach, and only they, You must not sow it in their way; Nay, you," says North, must keep them

out;
Did I create them with a snout?'
Asked South demurely ; as agreed,
The land is open to your seed,
And would you fain prevent my pigs
From running there their harmless rigs?
God knows I view this compromise
With not the most approving eyes ;
I gave up my unquestioned rights
For sake of quiet days and nights ;
I offered then, you know 't is true,
To cut the piece of land in two."
Then cut it now," growls North ;

“Abate
Your beat," says South, “ 't is now too late ;
I offered you the rocky corner,
But you,

of your own good the scorner,
Refused to take it ; I am sorry;
No doubt you might have found a quarry,
Perhaps a gold-mine, for aught I know,
Containing heaps of native rhino;
You can't

expect me to resign My rights

[ocr errors]

66

Gen'rous,

6

But where," quoth North,“ are mine?" “ Your rights,"

says tother,

"" well, that's funny, I bought the land”

I paid the money ; That," answered South, “is from the point, The ownership, you 'll grant, is joint; I'm sure my only hope and trust is Not law so much as abstract justice, Though, you remember, 't was agreed That so and so— consult the deed ; Objections now are out of date,

· Agreed !" cried North ; thought he, This fall With wheat and rye I ’úl sow it all;

« ПретходнаНастави »