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by jes' subscribin' right an' left on this high-minded plan;
I've gin away my thousans so to every Southun sort
O' missions, colleges, an' sech, ner ain't no poorer for 't.
I warn't so bad off, arter all; I need n't hardly mention
That Guv'ment owed me quite a pile for my arrears o' pension,
I mean the poor, weak thing we hed:
we run a new one now,
Thet strings a feller with a claim up ta the nighes' bough,
An' prectises the rights o' man, purtects down-trodden debtors, Ner wun't hev creditors about a
scrougin' o' their betters: Jeff 's gut the last idees ther' is, poscrip', fourteenth edition, He knows it takes some enterprise to run an oppersition;
Ourn 's the fust thru-by-daylight train, with all ou'doors for deepot; Yourn goes so slow 'd think 't wuz you drawed by a las' cent'ry teapot ;Wal, I gut all on 't paid in gold afore our State seceded,
An' done wal, for Confed'rit bonds warn't jest the cheese I needed: Nut but wut they 're ez good ez gold,
but then it's hard a-breakin' on'em, An' ignorant folks is ollers sot an'
wun't git used to takin' on 'em ; They're wuth ez much ez wut they wuz
afore ole Mem'nger signed 'em, An' go off middlin' wal for drinks, when ther''s a knife behind 'em ; We du miss silver, jes' fer thet an' ridin' in a bus,
Now we 've shook off the desputs thet wuz suckin' at our pus; An' it's because the South 's so rich; 't wuz nat❜ral to expec' Supplies o' change wuz jes' the things we should n't recollec'; We'd ough' to ha' thought aforehan', though, o' thet good rule o' Crockett's,
For 't's tiresome cairin' cotton-bales an' niggers in your pockets, Ner 't ain't quite hendy to pass off one o' your six-foot Guineas
An' git your halves an' quarters back in gals an' pickaninnies: Wal, 't ain't quite all a feller 'd ax, but then ther' 's this to say,
It's on'y jest among ourselves thet we expec' to pay;
Our system would ha' caird us thru in any Bible cent'ry,
'Fore this onscripterl plan come up o' books by double entry;
We go the patriarkle here out o' all sight an' hearin',
For Jacob warn't a suckemstance to Jeff at financierin';
He never'd thought o' borryin' from Esau like all nater
An' then cornfiscatin' all debts to sech a small pertater;
There's p'litickle econ'my, now, combined 'ith morril beauty
Thet saycrifices privit eends (your in'my's, tu) to dooty!
Wy, Jeff'd ha' gin him five an' won his eye-teeth 'fore he knowed it, An', stid o' wastin' pottage, he'd ha' eat it up an' owed it.
But I wuz goin' on to say how I come here to dwall;
'Nough said, thet, arter lookin' roun', I liked the place so wal, Where niggers doos a double good, with us atop to stiddy 'em, By bein' proofs o' prophecy an' suckleatin' medium,
Where a man's sunthin' coz he's white, an' whiskey 's cheap ez fleas, An' the financial pollercy jes' sooted my idees,
Thet I friz down right where I wuz, merried the Widder Shennon, (Her thirds wuz part in cotton-land, part in the curse o' Canaan,) An' here I be ez lively ez a chipmunk on a wall,
With nothin' to feel riled about much later 'n Eddam's fall.
Ez fur ez human foresight goes, we made an even trade:
She gut an overseer, an' I a fem❜ly ready-made,
(The youngest on 'em's 'mos' growed up, rugged an' spry ez weazles,
Thet makes my writin' seem to squirm; a Southuner 'd allow I'd Some call to shake, for I've jest hed to meller a new cowhide.
Miss S. is all 'f a lady; th' ain't no
better on Big Boosy
Ner one with more accomplishmunts 'twixt here an' Tuscaloosy; She's an F. F., the tallest kind, an' prouder 'n the Gran' Turk, An' never hed a relative thet done a stroke o' work;
Hern ain't a scrimpin' fem❜ly sech ez you git up Down East,
Th' ain't a growed member on 't but owes his thousuns et the least: She is some old; but then agin ther' 's
drawbacks in my sheer:
Wut 's left o' me ain't more 'n enough to make a Brigadier :
Wust is, thet she hez tantrums; she 's
like Seth Moody's gun
(Him thet wuz nicknamed frum his limp Ole Dot an' Kerry One); He'd left her loaded up a spell, an' hed to git her clear,
So he onhitched, - Jeerusalem ! the middle o' last year
Wuz right nex' door compared to where she kicked the critter tu (Though jest where he brought up wuz wut no human never knew); His brother Asaph picked her up an' tied her to a tree,
An' then she kicked an hour 'n' a half afore she 'd let it be:
Wal, Miss S. doos hev cuttins-up an'
pourins-out o' vials,
But then she hez her widder's thirds, an' all on us hez trials.
My objec', though, in writin' now warn't to allude to sech,
But to another suckemstance more dellykit to tech,
I want thet you should grad'lly break my merriage to Jerushy,
An' there's a heap of argymunts thet 's emple to indooce ye:
Fust place, State's Prison,- wal, it's true it warn't fer crime, o' course, But then it's jest the same fer her in gittin' a disvorce;
Nex' place, my State's secedin' out hez leg'lly lef' me free
To merry any one I please, pervidin' it's a she;
Fin'lly, I never wun't come back, she need n't hev no fear on 't, But then it's wal to fix things right fer fear Miss S. should hear on 't; Lastly, I've gut religion South, an' Rushy she's a pagan
Thet sets by th' graven imiges o' the gret Nothun Dagon;
(Now I hain't seen one in six munts, for, sence our Treashry Loan, Though yaller boys is thick anough, eagles hez kind o' flown ;)
An' ef J wants a stronger pint than them thet I hev stated,
Wy, she 's an aliun in'my now, an'
For sence we 've entered on th' estate
Wut doos Secedin' mean, ef 't ain't thet nat'rul rights hez riz, 'n'
Thet wut is mine 's my own, but wut's another man's ain't his'n?
Besides, I could n't do no else; Miss S. suz she to me,
"You 've sheered my bed," [thet 's when I paid my interduction fee To Southun rites, ] "an' kep' your
sheer," [wal, I allow it sticked So's 't I wuz most six weeks in jail afore I gut me picked,]
"Ner never paid no demmiges; but thet wun't do no harm,
Pervidin' thet you'll ondertake to oversee the farm;
(My eldes' boy 's so took up, wut with the Ringtail Rangers
An' settin' in the Jestice-Court for welcomin' o' strangers" ;)
[He sot on me ;] "an' so, ef you'll jest ondertake the care
Upon a mod'rit sellery, we'll up an' call it square;
But ef you can't conclude," suz she,
an' give a kin' o' grin, "Wy, the Gran' Jurymen, I 'xpect, 'll hev to set agin."
Thet's the way metters stood at fust; now wut wuz I to du,
But jes' to make the best on 't an' off coat an' buckle tu?
Ther' ain't a livin' man thet finds an income necessarier
Than me,- bimeby I'll tell ye how I fin'lly come to merry her.
She hed another motive, tu: I mention of it here
I' encourage lads thet 's growin' up to study 'n' persevere,
An' show 'em how much better't pays to mind their winter-schoolin' Than to go off on benders 'n' sech, an' waste their time in foolin'; Ef't warn't for studyin' evenins, I never'd ha' been here
An orn'ment o' saciety, in my approprut spear:
She wanted somebody, ye see, o' taste an' cultivation,
To talk along o' preachers when they
stopt to the plantation;
For folks in Dixie th't read an' rite, onless it is by jarks,
Is skurce ez wut they wuz among th' oridgenle patriarchs;
To fit a feller f wut they call the soshle higherarchy,
All thet you've gut to know is jes' beyund an evrage darky; Schoolin''s wut they can't seem to stan', they're tu consarned high
Au' knowin' t' much might spile a boy for bein' a Secesher.
We hain't no settled preachin' here, ner ministeril taxes;
The min'ster's only settlement's the carpet-bag he packs his Razor an' soap-brush intu, with his hymbook an' his Bible,But they du preach, I swan to man, it's puf'kly indescrib'le!
They go it like an Ericsson's ten-hosspower coleric ingine,
An' make Ole Split-Foot winch an' squim, for all he's used to singe
JAALAM, 6th Jan., 1862. GENTLEMEN,I was highly gratified by the insertion of a portion of my letter in the last number of your valuable and entertaining Miscellany, though in a type which rendered its substance inaccessible even to the beautiful new spectacles presented to me by a Committee of the Parish on New Year's Day. I trust that I was able to bear your very considerable abridgment of my lucubrations with a spirit becoming a Christian. My third granddaughter, Rebekah, aged fourteen years, and whom I have trained to read slowly and with proper emphasis (a practice too much neglected in our modern systems of education), read aloud to me the excellent essay upon "Old Age," the authour of which I cannot help suspecting to be a young man who has never yet known what it was to have snow (canities morosa) upon his own roof. Dissolve frigus, large super foco ligna reponens, is a rule for the young, whose wood-pile is yet abundant for such cheerful lenitives. A good life behind him is the best thing to keep an old man's shoulders from shivering at every breath of sorrow or ill-fortune. But
methinks it were easier for an old man to feel the disadvantages of youth than the advantages of age. Of these latter I reckon one of the chiefest to be this; that we attach a less inordinate value to our own productions, and, distrusting daily more and more our own wisdom (with the conceit whereof at twenty we wrap ourselves away from knowledge as with a garment), do reconcile ourselves with the wisdom of God. I could have wished, indeed, that room might have been made for the residue of the anecdote relating to Deacon Tinkham, which would not only have gratified a natural curiosity on the part of the publick (as I have reason to know from several letters of inquiry already received), but would also, as I think, have largely increased the circulation of your Magazine in this town. Nihil humani alienum, there is a curiosity about the affairs of our neighbours which is not only pardonable, but even commendable. But I shall abide a more fitting season.
As touching the following literary effort of Esquire Biglow, much might be profitably said on the topick of Idyllick and Pastoral Poetry, and concerning the proper distinctions to be made between them, from Theocritus, the inventor of the former, to Collins, the latest authour I know of who has emulated the classicks in the latter style. But in the time of Civil War worthy a Milton to defend and a Lucan to sing, it may be reasonably doubted whether the publick, never too studious of serious instruction, might not consider other objects more deserving of present attention. Concerning the title of Idyll, which Mr. Biglow has adopted at my suggestion, it may not be improper to animadvert, that the name properly signifies a poem somewhat rustick in phrase (for, though the learned are not agreed as to the particular dialect employed by Theocritus, they are universanimous both as to its rusticity and its capacity of rising now and then to the level of more elevated sentiments and expressions), while it is also descriptive of real scenery and manners.
Yet it must be admited that the production now in question (which here and there bears perhaps too plainly the marks of my correcting hand) does partake of the nature of a Pastoral, inasmuch as the interlocutors therein are purely imaginary beings, and the whole is little better than καπνοῦ σκιᾶς ὄναρ. The plot was, as I believe, suggested by the "Twa Briggs" of Robert Burns, a Scottish poet of the last century, as that found its prototype in the "Mutual Complaint of Plainstanes and Causey" by Fergusson, though the metre of this latter be different by a foot in each verse. I reminded my talented young parishioner and friend that Concord Bridge had long since yielded to the edacious tooth of Time. But he answered me to this effect: that there was no greater mistake of an authour than to suppose the reader had no fancy of his own; that, if once that faculty was to be called into activity, it were better to be in for the whole sheep than the shoulder; and that he knew Concord like a book, - an expression questionable in propriety, since there are few things with which he is not more familiar than with the printed page. In proof of what he affirmed, he showed me some verses which with others he had stricken out as too much delaying the action, but which I communicate in this place because they rightly define "punkin-seed" (which Mr. Bartlett would have a kind of perch, -a creature to which I have found a rod or pole not to be so easily equivalent in our inland waters as in the books of arithmetic), and because it conveys an eulogium on the worthy son of an excellent father, with whose acquaintance (eheu, fugaces anni!) I was formerly honoured.
Whose garding whispers with the river's edge,
Where I've sot mornin's lazy as the bream,
Than there is mosses on an ole stone fence."
Concerning the subject-matter of the verses, I have not the leisure at present to write so fully as I could wish, my time being occupied with the preparation of a discourse for the forthcoming bi-centenary celebration of the first settlement of Jaalam East Parish. It may gratify the publick interest to mention the circumstance, that my investigations to this end have enabled me to verify the fact (of much historick importance, and hitherto hotly debated) that Shearjashub Tarbox was the first child of white parentage born in this town, being named in his father's will under date August 7th, or 9th, 1662. It is well known that those who advocate the claims of Mehetable Goings are unable to find any trace of her existence prior to October of that year. spects the settlement of the Mason and Slidell question, Mr. Biglow has not incorrectly stated the popular sentiment, so far as I can judge by its expression in this locality. For myself, I feel
more sorrow than resentment: for I am old enough to have heard those talk of England who still, even after the unhappy estrangement, could not unschool their lips from calling her the Mother-Country. But England has insisted on ripping up old wounds, and has undone the healing work of fifty years; for nations do not reason, they only feel, and the spretæ injuria forma rankles in their minds as bitterly as in that of a woman. And because this is so, I feel the more satisfaction that our Government has acted (as all Governments should, standing as they do between the people and their passions) as if it had arrived at years of discretion. There are three short and simple words, the hardest of all to pronounce in any language (and I suspect they were no easier before the confusion of tongues),
but which no man or nation that cannot utter can claim to have arrived at manhood. Those words are, I was wrong, and I am proud that, while England played the boy, our rulers had strength enough from the People below and wisdom enough from God above to quit themselves like men.
The sore points on both sides have been skilfully exasperated by interested and unscrupulous persons, who saw in a war between the two countries the only hope of profitable return for their investment in Confederate stock, whether political or financial. The always supercilious, often insulting, and sometimes even brutal tone of British journals and publick men has certainly not tended to soothe whatever resentment might exist in America.
"Perhaps it was right to dissemble your love, But why did you kick me down stairs?'
We have no reason to complain that England, as a necessary consequence of her clubs, has become a great society for the minding of other people's business, and we can smile good-naturedly when she lectures other nations on the sins of arrogance and conceit; but we may justly consider it a breach of the political convenances which are expected to regulate the intercourse of one well-bred government with another, when men holding places in the ministry allow themselves to dictate our domestic policy, to instruct us in our duty, and to stigmatize as unholy a war for the rescue of whatever a high-minded people should hold most vital and most sacred. Was it in good taste, that I may use the mildest term, for Earl Russell to expound our own Constitution to President Lincoln, or to make a new and fallacious application of an old phrase for our benefit, and tell us that the Rebels were fighting for independence and we for empire? As if all wars for independence were by nature just and deserving of sympathy, and all wars for empire ignoble and worthy only of reprobation, or as if these easy phrases in any way characterized this terrible struggle, terrible not so truly