« ПретходнаНастави »
affections as hostages, the while he patches up a truce with our conscience.
Meanwhile, let us not forget that the aim of the true satirist is not to be severe upon persons, but only upon falsehood, and, as Truth and Falsehood start from the same point, and sometimes even go along together for a little
way, his business is to follow the path of the latter after it diverges, and to show her floundering in the bog at the end of it. Truth quite beyond the reach of satire. There is so brave a simplicity in her, that she can no more be made ridiculous than an oak or a pine. The danger of the satirist is, that continual use may deaden his sensibility to the force of language. He becomes more and more liable to strike harder than he knows or intends. He may be careful to put on his boxing-gloves, and yet forget, that, the older they grow, the more plainly may the knuckles inside be felt. Moreover, in the heat of contest, the eye is insensibly drawn to the crown of victory, whose tawdry tinsel glitters through that dust of the ring which obscures Truth's wreath of simple leaves. I have sometimes thought that my young friend, Mr. Biglow, needed a monitory hand laid on his arm,aliquid sufflaminandus erat. I have never thought it good husbandry to water the tender plants of reform with aqua fortis, yet, where so much is to do in the beds, he were a sorry gardener who should wage a whole day's war with an iron scuffle on those ill weeds that make the gardenwalks of life unsightly, when a sprinkle of Attic salt will wither them up. Est ars etiam maledicendi, says Scaliger, and truly it is a hard thing to say where the graceful gentleness of the lamb merges in downright sheepishness. We may conclude with worthy and wise Dr. Fuller, that
one may be a lamb in private wrongs, but in hearing general affronts to goodness they are asses which are not lions.”-H. W.]
GUVENER B. is a sensible man ;
He stays to his home an' looks arter his folks; He draws his furrer ez straight ez he can, An' into nobody's tater-patch pokes ;
But John P.
My ! aint it terrible ? Wut shall we du ?
We can't never choose him, o'course,—thet's flat; Guess we shall hev to come round, (don't you ?) An' go in fer thunder an' guns, an' all that;
Fer John P.
Gineral C. is a dreffle smart man :
He's ben on all sides thet give places or pelf; But consistency still wuz a part of his plan,-, He's ben true to one party,—an’ thet is himself;
So John P.
Gineral C. he goes in fer the war;
He don't vally principle more'n an old cud ; Wut did God make us raytional creeturs fer, But glory an' gunpowder, plunder an' blood ?
So John P.
We were gittin' on nicely up here to our village,
With good old idees o' wut's right an’ wut aint, We kind o' thought Christ went agin war an’ pil
An' thet eppyletts worn't the best mark of a saint;
But John P.
The side of our country must ollers be took,
An' Presidunt Polk, you know, he is our country ; An' the angel thet writes all our sins in a book Puts the debit to him, an' to us the per contry;
An' John P.
Robinson he Sez this is his view o’the thing to a T. Parson Wilbur he calls all these argimunts lies ; Sez they're nothin' on airth but jest fee, fuw,
fum : An' thet all this big talk of our destinies Is half on it ignorance, an’t’other half rum;
But John P.
Parson Wilbur sez he never heerd in his life
coats, An' marched round in front of a drum an' a fife, To git some on 'em office, an' some on 'em votes ;
But John P.
Wal, it's a marcy we've gut folks to tell us
vow,God sends country lawyers, an' other wise fellers,
To start the world's team wen it gits in a slough ;
Fer John P.
[The attentive reader will doubtless have perceived in the foregoing poem an allusion to that pernicious sentiment,-“ Our country, right or wrong." It is an abuse of language to call a certain portion of land, much more, certain personages, elevated for the time being to high station, our country. I would not sever nor loosen a single one of those ties by which we are united to the spot of our birth, nor minish by a tittle the respect due to the Magistrate. I love our own Bay State too well to do the one, and as for the other, I have myself for nigh forty years exercised, however unworthily, the function of Justice of the Peace, having been called thereto by the unsolicited kindness of that most excellent man and upright patriot, Caleb Strong. Patriæ fumus igne alieno luculentior is best qualified with this,— Ubi libertas, ibi patria. We are inhabitants of two worlds, and owe a double but not a divided, allegiance. In virtue of our clay, this little ball of earth exacts a certain loyalty of us, while, in our capacity as spirits, we are admitted citizens of an invisible and holier fatherland. There is a
patriotism of the soul whose claim absolves us from our X other and terrene fealty. Our true country is that ideal
realm which we represent to ourselves under the names of religion, duty, and the like. Our terrestrial organizations are but far-off approaches to so fair a model, and all they are verily traitors who resist not any attempt to divert them from this their original intendment. When, therefore, one would have us to fling up our caps and shout with the multitude,—“ Our country, however bounded!” he demands of us that we sacrifice the larger to the less, the higher to the lower, and that we yield to the imaginary claims of a few acres of soil our duty and privilege as liegemen of Truth. Our true country is bounded on the north and the south, on the east and the west, by Justice, and when she oversteps that invisible boundary-line by so much as a hair's-breadth, she ceases to be our mother, and chooses rather to be looked upon quasi noverca. That is a hard choice, when our earthly love of country calls upon us to tread one path and our duty points us to another. We must make as noble and becoming an election as did Penelope between Icarius and Ulysses. Veiling our faces, we must take silently the hand of Duty to follow her.
Shortly after the publication of the foregoing poem, there appeared some comments upon it in one of the public prints which seemed to call for animadversion. I accordingly addressed to Mr. Buckingham, of the Boston Courier, the following letter.
JAALAM, November 4, 1847. “To the Editor of the Courier :
“RESPECTED SIR,--Calling at the post-office this morning, our worthy and efficient postmaster offered for my perusal a paragraph in the Boston Morning Post of the 3d instant, wherein certain effusions of the pastoral. muse are attributed to the pen of Mr. James Russell Lowell. For aught I know or can affirm to the contrary, this Mr. Lowell may be a very deserving person and a youth of parts (though I have seen verses of his which I could never rightly understand); and if he be such, he, I am certain, as well as I, would be free from any proclivity to appropriate to himself whatever of credit (or discredit) may honestly belong to another. I am confident, that, in penning these few lines, I am only fore