« ПретходнаНастави »
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 2 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 pulpitcushion, 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, Oüto ômuðotov kaköv Špxetal oikað’ ékáoto). This 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.] .
[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 general, application. Of the gentleman upon whose letter they were intended as a commentary Mr. Biglow had never heard, till he saw the letter itself. The position of the satirist is oftentimes one which he would not have chosen, had the election been left to himself. In attacking bad principles, he is obliged to select some individual who has made himself their exponent, and in whom they are impersonate, to the end that what he says may not, through ambiguity, be dissipated tenues in auras. For what says Seneca? Longum iter per praecepta, breve et efficace per eacempla. A bad principle is comparatively harmless while it continues to be an abstraction, nor can the general mind comprehend it fully till it is printed in that large type which all men can read at sight, namely, the life and character, the sayings and doings, of particular persons. It is one of the cunningest fetches of Satan, that he never exposes himself directly to our arrows, but, still dodging behind this neighbor or that acquaintance, compels us to wound him through them, if at all. He holds our 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 is 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 an’s 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 ;
My I aint it terrible 2 Wut shall we du ?
Gineral C. is a dreffle smart man :
Gineral C. he goes in fer the war;
We were gittin' on micely 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' pillage,
An' theteppyletts worn’t the best mark of a saint
The side of our country must ollers be took,
Parson Wilbur he calls all these argimunts lies;
Parson Wilbur Sez he never heerd in his life
Sez they didn’t know everythin’ down in
Wal, it's a marcy we’ve gut folks to tell us