Слике страница
PDF
ePub

No. II

A LETTER

Clang the bells in every steeple,

Call all true men to disown The tradoocers of our people,

The enslavers o' their own; Let our dear old Bay State proudly

Put the trumpet to her mouth, Let her ring this inessidge loudly

In the ears of all the South:

FROM MR. HOSEA BIGLOW TO THE HON. J.

T. BUCKINGHAM, EDITOR OF THE BOSTON COURIER, COVERING A LETTER FROM MR. B. SAWIN, PRIVATE IN THE MASSACHUSETTS REGIMENT

“I'll return ye good fer evil

Much ez we frail mortils can, But I wun't go help the Devil

Makin' man the cus o' man; Call me coward, call me traiter,

Jest ez suits your mean idees, Here I stand a tyrant-hater,

An' the friend o' God an' Peace!”

Ef I'd my way I hed ruther

We should go to work an' part, They take one way, we take t' other,

Guess it would n't break my heart; Man hed ough to put asunder

Them tbet God has noways jined; An' I should n't gretly wonder

Ef there's thousands o' my mind.

[The first recruiting sergeant on record I conceive to have been that individual who is mentioned in the Book of Job as going to and

fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it. Bishop Latimer will have him to have been a bishop, but to me that other calling would appear more congenial. The sect of Cainites is not yet extinct, who esteemed the first-born of Adam to be the most worthy, not only because of that privilege of primogeniture, but inasmuch as he was able to overcome and slay his younger brother. That was a wise saying of the famous Marquis Pescara to the Papal Legate, that it was impossible for men to serve Mars and Christ at the same time. Yet in time past the profession of arms was judged to be kategoxhu that of a gentleman, nor does this opinion want for strenuous upholders even in our day. Must we suppose, then, that the profession of Christianity was only intended for losels, or, at best, to afford an opening for plebeian ambition ? Or shall we hold with that nicely metaphysical Pomeranian, Captain Vratz, who was Count Königsmark's chief instrument in the murder of Mr. Thynne, that the Scheme of Salvation has been arranged with an especial eye to the necessities of the upper classes, and that “God would consider a gentleman and deal with him sạitably to the condition and profession he had

laced him in"? It may be said of us all, Exemplo plus quam ratione vivimus. — H. W.]

[This letter of Mr. Sawin's was not originally written in verse. Mr. Biglow, thinking it peculiarly susceptible of metrical adornment, translated it, so to speak, into his own vernacular tongue. This is not the time to consider the question, whether rhyme be a mode of expression natural to the human race. If leisure from other and more important avocations be granted, I will handle the matter more at large in an appendix to the present volume. In this place I will barely remark, that I have sometimes noticed in the unlanguaged prattlings of infants a fondness for alliteration, assonance, and even rhyme, in which natural predisposition we may trace the three degrees through which our Anglo-Saxon verse rose to its culmination in the poetry of Pope. I would not be understood as questioning in these remarks that pious theory which supposes that children, if left entirely to themselves, would naturally discourse in Hebrew. For this the authority of one experiment is claimed, and I could, with Sir Thomas Browne, desire its establishment, inasmuch as the acquirement of that sacred tongue would thereby be facilitated. Iam aware that Herodotus states the conclusion of Psammeticus to have been in favor of a dialect of the Phrygian. But, beside the chance that a trial of this importance would hardly be blessed to a Pagan monarch whose only motive was curiosity, we have on the Hebrew side the comparatively recent investigation of James the Fourth of Scotland. I will add to this prefatory remark, that Mr. Sawin, though a native of Jaalam, has never been a stated attendant on the religious exercises of my congregation. I consider my humble efforts prospered in that not one of my sheep hath ever indued the wolf's clothing of war, save for the comparatively innocent diversion of a militia training. Not that my flock are backward to undergo the hardships of defensive warfare. They serve cheerfully in the great army which fights, even unto death pro aris et focis, accoutred with the spade, the axe, the plane, the sledge, the spelling-book, and other such effectual weapons against want and ignorance and unthrift. I bave taught them (under God) to esteem our human institutions as but tents of a night, to be stricken whenever Truth puts the bugle to

collar;

a

her lips and sounds a march to the heights of Nimepunce a day fer killin' folks comes wider-viewed intelligence and more perfect

kind o' low fer murder, organization. — H. W.]

(Wy I 've worked out to slarterin' some

fer Deacon Cephas Billins, MISTER BUCKINUM, the follerin Billet

An' in the hardest times there wuz I ollers was writ hum by a Yung feller of our town tetched ten shillins,) that wuz cussed fool enuff to goe atrottin

There's sutthin' gits into my throat thet inter Miss Chiff arter a Drum and fife. it

makes it hard to swaller, ain't Nater for a feller to let on that he's

It comes so nateral to think about a hempen sick o'any bizness that He went intu off his own free will and a Cord, but I rather

It 's glory, - but, in spite o' all my tryin' cal'late he's middlin tired o' voluntearin

to git callous, By this Time. I bleeve u may put depend, I feel a kind o’ in a cart, aridin' to the unts on his statemence. For I never heered

gallus. nothin bad on him let Alone his havin what

But wen it comes to bein' killed, - I tell ye Parson Wilbur cals a pong shong for cock

I felt streaked tales, and he ses it wuz a sosbiashun of idees

The fust time 't ever I found out wy bagsot him agoin arter the Crootin Sargient

gonets wuz peaked; cos he wore a cocktale onto his hat.

Here 's how it wuz: I started out to go to his Folks gin the letter to me and i shew

a fandango, it to parson Wilbur and he ses it oughter The sentinul he ups an' sez, “Thet 's furBee printed. send It to mister Buckinum, der ’an you can go." ses he, i don't ollers agree with him, ses he, “None o' your sarse, sez I; sez he, but by Time,' ses be, I du like a feller that

“ Stan' back!” “ Aint you a busaint a Feared.

ter?I have intusspussed a Few refleckshuns

Sez I, “I 'm up to all thet air, I guess hear and thair. We're kind o' prest with

I've ben to muster; Hayin.

I know wy sentinuls air sot; you aint agoin' Ewers respecfly

to eat us; HOSEA BIGLOW.

Caleb baint no monopoly to court the

seenoreetas; This kind o' sogerin' aint a mite like our My folks to hum air full ez good ez his'n October trainin',

be, by golly!” A chap could clear right out from there ef An' so ez I wuz goin' by, not thinkin' wut 't only looked like rainin',

would folly, An' th’ Cunnles, tu, could kiver up their The everlastin' cus he stuck his oneshappoes with bandanners,

pronged pitchfork in me An' send the insines skootin' to the bar- An' made a hole right thru my close ez ef room with their banners

I wuz an in'my. (Fear o'gittin' on 'em spotted), an'a feller could cry quarter

Wal, it beats all how big I felt hoorawin' Ef he fired away his ramrod arter tu much

in ole Funnel rum an' water.

Wen Mister Bolles he gin the sword to our Recollect wut fun we hed, you 'n' I an' Leftenant Cunnle, Ezry Hollis,

(It 's Mister Secondary Bolles,' thet writ Up there to Waltham plain last fall, along the prize peace essay; o' the Cornwallis ? 2

Thet 's wy he did n’t list himself along o' This sort o' thing aint jest like thet, - I us, I dessay) wish thet I wuz furder, 8.

profanum vulgus, I hate your swearing and hectoring

fellows. - H. W. 1 In relation to this expression, I cannot but think ? i hait the site of a feller with a muskit as I du pizn that Mr. Biglow has been too hasty in attributing it to But their is fun to a cornwallis I aint agoin' to deny it. me. Though Time be a comparatively innocent personage to swear by, and though Longinus in his dis- 3 he means Not quite so fur I guess. - H. B. course IIepi'Yvous have commended timely oaths as not • the ignerant creeter means Bekketary ; but he only a useful but sublime figure of speech, yet I have ollers stuck to his books like cobbler's wax to an ile always kept my lips free from that abomination. Odi

- H. B.

stone. - H. B.

.

[ocr errors]

An' Rantoul, tu, talked pooty loud, but Throughout is swarmin' with the most don't put his foot in it,

alarmin' kind o’ varmin. Coz human life 's so sacred thet he 's He talked about delishis froots, but then principled agin it,

it wuz a wopper all, Though I myself can't rightly see it 's any

The holl. on 't 's mud an' prickly pears, wus achokin' on 'em,

with here an' there a chapparal; Than puttin' bullets thru their lights, or

You see a feller peekin' out, an', fust you with a bagnet pokin' on 'em;

know, a lariat How dreffle slick he reeled it off (like Is round your throat an' you a copse, 'fore Blitz at our lyceum

you can say, “Wut air ye at ?" 2 Ahaulin' ribbins from his chops so quick You never see sech darued gret bugs (it you skeercely see 'em),

may not be irrelevant About the Anglo-Saxon race (an' saxons To say I've seen a scarabæus pilularius would be handy

big ez a year old elephant), To du the buryin' down here upon the Rio The rigiment come up one day in time to Grandy),

stop a red bug About our patriotic pas an' our star- From runnin' off with Cunnle Wright, – 't spangled banner,

wuz jest a common cimex lectularius. Our country's bird alookin' on an' singin' out hosanner,

One night I started up on eend an' thought An' how he (Mister B. himself) wuz happy I wuz to hum agin, fer Ameriky,

I heern a horn, thinks I it's Sol the fisherI felt, ez sister Patience sez, a leetle mite man hez come agin, histericky.

His bellowses is sound enough, ez I'm a I felt, I swon, ez though it wuz a dreffle

livin' creeter, kind o' privilege

I felt a thing go thru my leg, — 't wuz Atrampiu' round thru Boston streets

nothin' more 'n a skeeter ! among the gutter's drivelage; Then there 's the yaller fever, tu, they call I act'lly thought it wuz a treat to hear a it here el vomito, little drummin',

(Come, thet wun't du, you landcrab there, An' it did bonyfidy seem millanyum wuz

I tell ye to le' go my toe! acomin'

My gracious ? it's a scorpion thet 's took Wen all on us got suits (darned like them a shine to play with 't, wore in the state prison)

I darsn't skeer the tarnal thing fer fear An' every feller felt ez though all Mexico he 'd run away with ’t.)

Afore I come away from hum I hed a

strong persuasion This 'ere 's about the meanest place a Thet Mexicans worn't human beans, 4. skunk could wal diskiver

ourang outang nation, (Saltillo 's Mexican, I b’lieve, fer wut we A sort o' folks a chap could kill an’ never call Salt-river);

dream on 't arter, The sort o'trash a feller gits to eat doos No more 'n a feller 'd dream o' pigs thet beat all nater,

he hed hed to slarter; I'd give a year's pay fer a smell o' one I'd an idee thet they were built arter the good blue-nose tater;

darkie fashion all, The conntry here thet Mister Bolles de- An' kickin' colored fölks about, you know, clared to be so charmin'

's a kind o' national;

[ocr errors]

wuz hisn. 1

4

an

a

a

1 it must be aloud that thare 's a streak of nater in lovin' sho, but it sartinly is 1 of the curusest things in nater to see a rispecktable dri goods dealer (deekon off 4 chutch maybe) a riggin' himself out in the Weigh they du and struttin' round in the Reign aspilin' his trowsis and makin' wet goods of himself. Ef any thin's foolisher and moor dicklus than militerry gloary it is milishy gloary. - H. B.

2 these fellers are verry proppilly called Rank

Heroes, and the more tha kill the ranker and more
Herowick tha bekum. - H. B.

3 it wuz“ tumblebug" as he Writ it, but the parson put the Latten instid. i sed tother maid better meeter, but he said tha was eddykated peepl to Boston and tha would n't stan' it no how. idnow as tha wood and idnow as tha wood. - H. B.

4 he means human beins, that 's wut he means. i spose he kinder thought tha wuz human beans ware the Xisle Poles comes from.-H. B.

[ocr errors]

But wen I jined I worn't so wise ez thet They ’d let the daylight into me to pay me air queen o' Sheby,

fer desartin ! Fer, come to look at 'em, they aint much I don't approve o' tellin' tales, but jest to diff'rent from wut we be,

you I may state An' here we air ascrougin' 'em out o'thir Our ossifers aint wut they wuz afore they own dominions,

left the Bay-state; Ashelterin' 'em, ez Caleb sez, under our Then it wuz “Miste. Sawin, sir, you 're eagle's pinions,

middlin' well now, be ye? Wich means to take a feller up jest by the Step up an' take a nipper, sir; I'm dreffle slack o' 's trowsis

glad to see ye ;” An' walk bim Spanish clean right out o' But now it 's “ Ware 's my eppylet ? here, all his homes an' houses;

Sawin, step an' fetch it! Wal, it doos seem a curus way, but then An' mind your eye, be thund'rin' spry, or, hooraw fer Jackson !

damn ye, you shall ketch it ! ” It must be right, fer Caleb sez it 's reg'lar Wal, ez the Doctor sez, some pork will bile Anglo-saxon.

so, but by mighty, The Mex'cans don't fight fair, they say, Ef I hed some on 'em to hum, I'd give they piz'n all the water,

'em linkum vity, An' du amazin' lots o' things thet is n't I'd play the rogue’s march on their hides wut they ough' to;

an' other music follerin' Bein' they baint no lead, they make their But I must close my letter bere, fer one on bullets out o' copper

'em 's ahollerin', An’ shoot the darned things at us, tu, wich These Anglosaxon ossifers, - wal, taint no Caleb sez aint proper;

use ajawin', He sez they 'd ough' to stan' right up an' I'm safe enlisted fer the war, let us pop 'em fairly

Yourn,

BİRDOFREDUM SAWIN. (Guess wen he ketches 'em at thet he 'll hev to git up airly),

[Those have not been wanting (as, indeed, Thet our nation 's bigger ’n theirn an' so when hath Satan been to seek for attorneys ?) its rights air bigger,

who have maintained that our late inroad upon

Mexico was undertaken not so much for the An' thet it's all to make 'em free thet we

avenging of any national quarrel, as for the air pullin' trigger,

spreading of free institutions and of ProtestantThet Anglo Saxondom's idee 's abreakin'

ism.

Capita vix duabus Anticyris medenda! 'em to pieces,

Verily I admire that no pious sergeant among An' thet idee's thet every man doos jest

these new Crusaders beheld Martin Luther ridwut he damn pleases;

ing at the front of the host upon a tamed pontiEf I don't make his meanin' clear, perhaps

fical bull, as, in that former invasion of Mexico,

the zealons Gomara (spawn though he were of in some respex I can,

the Scarlet Woman) was favored with a vision I know thet “

every man
» don't mean a

of St. James of Compostella, skewering the nigger or a Mexican;

infidels upon his apostolical lance. We read,

also, that Richard of the lion heart, having gone An' there 's another thing I know, an' thet to Palestine on a similar errand of mercy, was is, ef these creeturs,

divinely encouraged to cut the throats of such Thet stick an Anglosaxon mask onto State- Paynims as refused to swallow the bread of life prison feeturs,

(doubtless that they might be thereafter incaShould come to Jaalam Centre fer to pacitated for swallowing the filthy gobbets of

Mahound) by angels of heaven, who cried to the argify an' spout on 't,

king and his knights, Seigneurs, tuez! tuez ! The gals 'ould count the silver spoons the providentially using the French tongue, as minnit they cleared ont on 't.

being the only one understood by their auditors. This would argue for the pantoglottism of these

celestial intelligences, while, on the other hand, This goin' ware glory waits ye haint one

the Devil, teste Cotton Mather, is unversed in agreeable feetur,

certain of the Indian dialects. Yet must he be An' ef it worn't fer wakin' snakes, I'd a semeiologist the most expert, making himself home agin short meter;

intelligible to every people and kindred by 0, would n't I be off, quick

me, ef

signs ; no other discourse, indeed, being needful,

than such as the mackerel-fisher holds with his 't worn't thet I wuz sartin

finned quarry, who, if other bait be wanting, can by a bare bit of white rag at the end of a string captivate those foolish fishes. Such piscatorial persuasion is Satan cunning in. Before one he trails a hat and feather, or a bare feather without a hat; before another, a Presidential chair or a tide-waiter's stool, or a pulpit in the city, no matter what. To us, dangling there over our heads, they seem junkets dropped out of the seventh heaven, sops dipped in nectar, but, once in our mouths, they are all one, bits of fuzzy cotton.

This, however, by the way. It is time now revocare gradum. While so many miracles of this sort, vouched by eye-witnesses, have encouraged the arms of Papists, not to speak of Echetlæus at Marathon and' those Dioscuri (whom we must conclude imps of the pit) who sundry times captained the pagan Roman soldiery, it is strange that our first American crusade was not in some such wise also signalized. Yet it is said that the Lord hath manifestly prospered our armies. This opens the question, whether, when our hands are strengthened to make great slaughter of our enemies, it be absolutely and demonstratively certain that this might is added to us from above, or whether some Potentate from an opposite quarter may not have a finger in it, as there are few pies into which his meddling digits are not thrust. Would the Sanctifier and Setter-apart of the seventh day have assisted in a victory gained on the Sabbath, as was one in the late war? Do we not know from Josephus, that, careful of His decree, a certain river in Judæa abstained from flowing on the day of Rest ? Or has that day become less an object of His especial care since the year 1697, when so manifest a providence occurred to Mr. William Trowbridge, in answer to whose prayers, when he and all on shipboard with him were starving, a dolphin was sent daily," which was enough to serve 'em; only on Saturdays they still catched a couple, and on the Lord's Days they could catch none at all” ? Haply they might have been permitted, by way of mortification, to take some few sculpins (those banes of the salt-water angler), which unseemly fish would, moreover, have conveyed to them a symbolical reproof for their breach of the day, being known in the rude dialect of our mariners as Cape Cod Clergymen.

It has been a refreshment to many nice consciences to know that our Chief Magistrate would not regard with eyes of approval the (by many esteemed) sinful pastime of dancing, and I own myself to be so far of that mind, that I could not but set my face against this Mexican Polka, though danced to the Presidential piping with a Gubernatorial second. If ever the country should be seized with another such mania pro propaganda fide, I think it would be wise to fill our bombshells with alternate copies of the Cambridge Platform and the Thirty-nine Articles, which would produce a mixture of the highest explosive power, and to wrap every one of our cannon-balls in a leaf of the New Testament, the reading of which is denied to those

who sit in the darkness of Popery. Those iron evangelists would thus be able to disseminate vital religion and Gospel truth in quarters inaccessible to the ordinary missionary. I have seen lads, unimpregnate with the more sublimated punctiliousness of Walton, secure pickerel, taking their unwary siesta beneath the lily-pads too nigh the surface, with a gun and small shot. Why not, then, since gunpowder was unknown in time of the Apostles (not to enter here upon the question whether it were discovered before that period by the Chinese), suit our metaphor to the age in which we live, and say shooters as well as fishers of men ?

I do much fear that we shall be seized now and then with a Protestant fervor, as long as we have neighbor Naboths whose wallowings in Papistical mire excite our horror in exact proportion to the size and desirableness of their vineyards. Yet I rejoice that some earnest Protestants have been made by this war, - I mean those who protested against it. Fewer they were than I could wish, for one might imagine America to have been colonized by a tribe of those nondescript African animals the AyeAyes, so difficult a word is No to us all. There is some malformation or defect of the vocal organs, which either prevents our uttering it at all, or gives it so thick a pronunciation as to be unintelligible. A mouth filled with the national pudding, or watering in expectation thereof, is wholly incompetent to this refractory monosyllable. An abject and herpetic Public Opinion is the Pope, the Anti-Christ, for us to protest against e corde cordium. And by what College of Cardinals is this our God's-vicar, our binder and looser, elected ? Very like, by the sacred conclave of Tag, Rag, and Bobtail, in the gracious atmosphere of the grog-shop. Yet it is of this that we must all be puppets. This thumps the pulpit-cushion, this guides the editor's pen, this wags the senator's tongue. This decides what Scriptures are canonical, and shuffles Christ away into the Apocrypha. According to that sentence fathered upon Solon, OUTW δημόσιον κακόν έρχεται οίκαδ' εκάστω. Τhis unclean spirit is skilful to assume various shapes. I have known it to enter my own study and nudge

my elbow of a Saturday, under the semblance of a wealthy member of my congregation. It were a great blessing, if every particular of what in the sum we call popular sentiment could carry about the name of its manufacturer stamped legibly upon it. I gave a stab under the fifth rib to that pestilent fallacy, — "Our country, right or wrong," by tracing its original to a speech of Ensign Cilley

at a dinner of the Bungtown Fencibles. – H. W.]

No. III

WHAT MR. ROBINSON THINKS

(A FEW remarks on the following verses will not be out of place. The satire in them was not meant to have any personal, but only a

« ПретходнаНастави »