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on slavery, except in its aid, was unconstitutional.
Page 257. Compromise System. Henry Clay was the great compromiser." The aim of his life was the preservation of the Union even at the cost of extending slave territory. The three compromises for which he is famous were the Missouri in 1820, the Tariff in 1833, and the California or "Omnibus” Compromise in 1850, the most conspicuous feature of which was the Fugitive Slave Law.
Page 257. S. J. Court.
At the beginning of Lincoln's administration, five of the Supreme Court Justices, an absolute majority, were from the South, and had always been State-rights Democrats.
Page 259. The Law-'n'-Order Party of ole Cincinnater.
In Cincinnati, on March 24, 1862, Wendell Phillips, while attempting to deliver one of his lectures on slavery and the war, was attacked by a mob and very roughly handled. Page 267. Gov'nor Seymour. Horatio Seymour (1810-1886), of Utica, New York, was one of the most prominent and respected men in the Democratic party, and a bitter opponent of Lincoln. He had at this time been recently elected Governor of New York on a platform that denounced almost every measure the government had found it necessary to adopt for the suppression of the Rebellion. His influence contributed not a little to the encouragement of that spirit which inspired the Draft Riot in the city of New York in July, 1863.
Page 268. Pres'dunt's proclamation.
In the autumn of 1862 Mr. Lincoln saw that he must either retreat or advance boldly against slavery. He had already proceeded far enough against it to rouse a dangerous hostility among Northern Democrats, and yet not far enough to injure the institution or enlist the sympathy of pronounced anti-slavery men. He determined on decisive action. On September 22, 1862, he issued a monitory proclamation giving notice that on the first day of the next year he would, in the exercise of his war-power, emancipate all slaves of those States or parts of States in rebellion, unless certain conditions were complied with. This proclamation was at once viulently assailed by the Democrats, led by such men as Seymour, and for a time the opposition threatened disaster to the administration. The elections in the five leading free States – New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois - went against the Republicans. But with the aid of New England, the West, and, not least of all, the Border Slave States, the President was assured a majority of about twenty in the new House to carry out his abolition policy.
Page 269. KETTELOPOTOMACHIA.
The incident furnishing the occasion for this poem was a Virginia duel, or rather a free fight. Mr. H. R. Pollard, of the Richmond Examiner, had some difficulty with Messrs. Coleman and N. P. Tyler, of the Enquirer, concerning the public printing. On Friday,
January 5, 1866, all three gentlemen met in the rotunda of the Virginia Capitol, and proceeded to settle their dispute by an appeal to revolvers. Six shots were fired, but no damage resulted, except to a marble statue of Washington.
Page 270. Letcheris et Floydis magnisque Extra ordine Billis.
John Letcher (1813–1884), a Virginia lawyer and politician, was several times in Congress, and was Governor of his State from 1860 to 1864. John B. Floyd (1805–1863) was Governor of Virginia from 1849 to 1852, Secretary of War in Buchanan's Cabinet, and a brigadier in the Confederate service. William Smith, of King George County, Virginia, was the proprietor of an old line of coaches running through Virginia and the Carolinas. He was called “Extra Billy" because he charged extra for every package, large or small, which his passengers carried. Mr. Smith himself, however, attributed his nickname to his extra service to the State. He was several times a Congressman, twice Governor of Virginia, and a Confederate Brigadier-General.
Page 281. Seward.
Under the influence of Mr. Seward, President Andrew Johnson developed a policy of reconstruction directly opposed to the views of Congress and the mass of the Republican party. He believed in punishing individuals, if necessary, but that all the States ought to be re-installed at once in the position they had occupied in 1860. The guarantees against disloyalty he proposed to exact from the South were few and feeble. Congress, on the other hand, determined to keep the subdued States in a position somewhat resembling that of ter ritories and under military surveillance until it could be satisfied that four years' war would not be without good results. Its chief aim was to secure the safety of the negro, who had been freed by the thirteenth Amendment in December, 1865. These differences of plan led to a protracted and bitter contest between the executive and legislative departments, culminating in the unsuccessful attempt to impeach Johnson in March, 1868. The Congressional policy was carried out over the President's vetoes. Among other conditions the Southern States were required to ratify the fourteenth and fifteenth Amendments, giving citizenship and suffrage to the blacks, before being qualified for readmission to the Union.
Page 283. Mac.
General George B. McClellan was one of the leaders of the Northern Democracy during the war, and the presidential nominee against Lin coln in 1864.
Page 284. Johnson's speech an' veto message.
The Civil Rights Act of March, 1866, had just been the occasion of an open rupture be tween Congress and the President. The bill. conferring extensive rights on freedmen, passed both Houses, but was vetoed by Johnson. I was quickly passed again over his veto. Page 284
temp'ry party can be based on t. Johnson's plan of reconstruction did, indeed
furnish the material for the next Democratic I am something of a purist, though I like best platform in the presidential campaign of 1868. the word that best says the thing: (You know Page 284. Tyler.
I have studied lingo a little.) I am fifty-one John Tyler, who had been chosen Vice-Presi- years old, however, and have in one sense won dent in 1840, succeeded to the Presidency on my spurs. I claim the right now and then to the death of Harrison one month after the knight a plebeian word for good service in the inauguration. He abandoned the policy of the field. But it will almost always turn out that party that elected him, and provoked just such it has after all good blood in its veins, and can a contest with it as Johnson did.
prove its claim to be put in the saddle. Rote
is a familiar word all along our seaboard to exPage 300. AN INVITATION.
press that dull and continuous burden of the (Lowell entered this poem in his several edi- sea heard inland before or after a great storm. tions as addressed to J. F. H., initials which The root of the word may be in rumpere, but meant nothing to the general public, but re- it is more likely in rotare, from the identity of called to the contemporaries of his college days this sea-music with that of the rote -- a kind a Virginian gentleman, a graduate of Harvard of hurdy-gurdy with which the jongleurs acof the class of 1840, greatly endeared by his companied their song. It is one of those Eliztemper and gifts to his early associates and abethan words which we New-Englanders have especially to Lowell. Not long after his gradu- preserved along with so many others. It ocation he went to Germany to study; he disap- curs in the 'Mirror for Magistrates,' 'the sea's peared from sight, turning up at odd times in rote,' which Nares, not understanding, would odd places. He did much various study and had change to rore! It is not to be found in any much varied experience. After many years he provincial glossary, but I caught it alive at returned home. When the war broke out he Beverly and the Isles of Shoals. Like.mobjoined the Confederate army as a surgeon, and bled queen,' 't is 'good.' died worn out with hard service in 1862.]
“Whiff Ruskin calls an American elevation Page 308. AFTER THE BURIAL.
of English lower word.' Not a bit of it. I (“To show you that I am not unable to go have always thought the whiff and wind of along with you in the feeling expressed in your his fell sword' in Hamlet' rather fine than letter, I will copy a few verses out of my com- otherwise. Ben also has the word. Downmon-place book.
shod means shod with down. I doubted
about this word myself — but I wanted it. As Yes, faith is a goodly anchor
to misgave, the older poets used it as an acWhen the skies are blue and clear;
tive verb, and I have done with it as all poets do At the bows it hangs right stalwart With a sturdy iron cheer.
with language.. My meaning is clear, and that
is the main point. His objection to spumeBut when the ship goes to pieces,
sliding down the baffled decuman' I do not And the tempests are all let loose,
understand. I think if he will read over his It rushes plumb down to the sea-depths,
‘ridiculous Germanism? (p. 13 seq.) with the 'Mid slimy sea-weed and ooze.
he will see that he has misunderstood Better then one spar of memory,
(By the way, 'in our life alone doth One broken plank of the past,
Nature live'is Coleridge's, not Wordsworth's.) For our human hearts to cling to,
I never hesitate to say anything I have honAdrift in the whirling vast.
estly felt because some one may have said it
before, for it will always get a new color from To the spirit the cross of the spirit,
the new mind, but here I was not saying the To the flesh its blind despair,
same thing by a great deal. Nihil in intellectu Clutching fast the thin-worn locket With its threads of gossamer hair.
quod non prius in sensu would be nearer
though not what I meant. Nature (inanimate), O friend! thou reasonest bravely,
which is the image of the mind, sympathizes Thy preaching is wise and true ;
with all our moods. I would have numbered But the earth that stops my darling's ears the lines as Ruskin suggests, only it looks as if Makes mine insensate, too.
one valued them too much. That sort of thing
should be posthumous. You may do it for That little shoe in the corner, So worn and wrinkled and brown,
me, my dear Charles, if my poems survive me. With its emptiness confutes you,
Two dropt stitches I must take up which I And argues your wisdom down.
notice on looking over what I have written.
Ruskin surely remembers Carlyle's 'whiff of “But enough, dear Sydney, of death and sor- grape-shot. That is one. The other is that row. They are not subjects which I think it rote may quite as well be from the Icelandic at profitable or wise to talk about, think about, or hriota = to snore ; but my studies more and write about often. Death is a private tutor. more persuade me that where there is in EngWe have no fellow-scholars, and must lay our lish a Teutonic and a Romance root meaning lessons to heart alone.” Lowell to Sydney the same thing, the two are apt to melt into Howard Gay, March 17, 1850.]
each other so as to make it hard to say from Page 350. THE CATHEDRAL.
which our word comes.' ... Letters II., pp. (“Now for Ruskin's criticisms. As to words, 65-67.]
Phæbe! is all it has to say
In plaintive cadence o'er and o'er, Like children that have lost their way
And know their names, but nothing more. Is it a type, since nature's lyre
Vibrates to every note in man, Of that insatiable desire,
Meant to be so, since life began ?
Or a fledged satire, sent to rasp
Their jaded sense, who, tired 80 soon With shifting life's doll-dresses, grasp,
Gray-bearded babies, at the moon ? I, in strange lands at gray of dawn
Wakeful, have heard that fruitless plaint Through Memory's chambers deep withdrawn
Renew its iterations faint.
Page 399. PHBE. [The correspondence concerning this poem with the original form of the verses is here given in detail.
TO R. W. GILDER.
LONDON, September 4, 1881. Dear Mr. Gilder, - Your telegram scared me, for, coming at an unusual hour, I thought it brought ill news from Washington. My relief on finding it innocent has perhaps made me too good - natured towards the verses I send you, but I have waited sixty-two years for them, and am willing to wait as many more (not here) before they are printed. Do what you like with them. They mean only my hearty good-will towards you and my hope for your success in your new undertaking. . Faithfully yours,
J. R. LOWELL. If I could see the proofs, very likely I could better it — they sober one and bring one to his bearings. Perhaps the metaphysical (or whatever they are) stanzas — what I mean is moralizing - were better away. Perhaps too many compound epithets - but I had to give up,
visionary in order to save legendary, which was essential. Perhaps a note, saying that so long as the author can remember, a pair of these birds (give ornithological name muscicapa ?) have built on jutting brick in an archway leading to the house at Elmwood - or does everybody know what a phobe is ? I am so old that I am accustomed to people's being ignorant of whatever you please.
So nigh! yet from remotest years
It seems to draw its magic, rifo With longings unappeased and tears
Drawn from the very source of life.
TO THE SAME.
LONDON, September 5, 1881. Dear Mr. Gilder, - I sent off the verses yesterday, and now write in great haste to say that in my judgment the stanza beginning “Or waif from young Earth's,”?, etc., were better away. Also for doom-divided print “ doom-dissevered." I have not had time to mull over the poem as I should like.
Faithfully yours, J. R. LOWELL. P.S. I may write in a day or two suppressing more, after I have had time to think.
Ere pales in heaven the morning star,
A bird, the loneliest of its kind, Hears Dawn's faint footfall from afar
While all its mates are dumb and blind.
TO THE SAME.
LONDON, September 6, 1881. Dear Mr. Gilder, - I bother you like a boy with his first essay in verse. I wrote yester day to ask the omission of a stanza - but last night, being sleepless, as old fellows like me are too often apt to be, I contrived to make a stanza which had been tongue-tied say what I wished. Let it go thus,
Waif of the young World's wonder-hour
It is a wee sad-colored thing,
As shy and secret as a maid, That, ere in choir the robins ring,
Pipes its own name like one afraid. It seems pain-prompted to repeat
The story of some ancient ill,
Is all it says, and then is still.
Hushed by the pathos of its fate,
Comes from its doom-divided mate. Phæbe! it calls and calls again,
And Ovid, could he but have heard, Had hung a legendary pain
About the memory of the bird ; A pain articulate so long
In penance of some mouldered crime Whose ghost still flies the Furies' thong
Down the waste solitudes of Time ; Or waif from young Earth's wonder-hour
When gods found mortal maidens fair, And will malign was joined with power
Love's kindly laws to overbear.
.... to overbear, (comma). Then go on
Like Progne, did it feel the stress
And coil of the prevailing words
Man's ampler nature to a bird's ? This manages the transition, which was wenting. Perhaps this might follow:
One only memory left of all
The motley crowd of vanished scenes,
J. R. LOWELL
TO THE SAME.
it must be) before he was born, and if anybody ever lived in the open air it was I. So be at peace. By the way, I took Progne merely because she was changed into a little bird. I should have preferred a male, and was thinking of a fellow (transformed, I think by Medea), but can't remember his name. While I am about it I question wee." Is it English ? I had no dictionary at hand. But there is on atrocity — “moldered." Why do you give in to these absurdities? Why abscond in to this petty creek from the great English main of orthography? 'Tis not quite so bad as “I don't know as” for “I don't know that," but grazes it and is of a piece with putting one's knife in one's mouth.]
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
LONDON, September 8, 1881. Dear Mr. Gilder, - This is positively the last! I wish to omit the stanza beginning “Or a winged satire,” etc. I have been convinced by a friend whom I have consulted that it was a cuckoo's egg in my nest. Item. The verso that bothered me most of all was this:
Listen, breath held, but no reply, etc. I wished to have a distinct pause after “listen," in accordance with the sense. Somehow I could not get the right, and “breath held" was clearly the wrong one, awkward, and with the same vowel sound in both halves. Print
Listen : no whisper of reply
Is heard of doom-dissevered mate. that won't do, either, with its assonance of "heard" and "dissevered” so, though I prefer "dissevered", for sense, I will go back to the original word “divided,” which I suppose was instinctive.
This is positively my last dying speech and confession. You need fear nothing more from me. I fancy you ducking your head for fear of another rap every time the postman comes. I hope you will like my
and tell me so if you don't. Kindest regards to Mrs. Gilder.
V. A CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF
MR. LOWELL'S POEMS
TO THE SAME.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
LONDON, September 12, 1881. As I am writing, I add that if you think (as I am half inclined)
No whisper of reply
Comes from its doom-dissevered mate better than the other reading, print it so.
J. R. LOWELL. P.S. We are sadly anxious to-day about the President.
TO THE SAME.
Thank you for the printed copy. Of course I am disgusted with it. Print somehow is like a staring plaster-cast compared with the soft and flowing outlines, the modest nudity of the manuscript clay. But it is a real pleasure to me that you like it.
“Robins ring" is right, and whenever you spend a June night at Elmwood (as I hope you will so soon as I am safe there once more) you will recognize its truth. There are hundreds of 'em going at once, like the bells here last night (Sunday), with a perfect indecency of disregard for rhythm or each other. Mr. Burroughs, I hear, has been criticising my knowledge of out-doors. God bless his soul! I had been living in the country thirty years (I fancy
IN arranging this list the editor has relied first on the dates supplied by the author, and then on the dates of periodicals and books in which the poems otherwise undated first appeared. Whenever the first appearance of a poem has not been determined precisely, the title is printed in italic under the year when the volume first including it was published. 1839. Threnodia.
Summer Storm. 1840. The Sirens.
love of ours).
stripped of thee).
soul of man). Sonnet (I ask not for those thoughts,
that sudden leap). Sonnet: To M. W., on her Birthday. Sonnet (My Love, I have no fear that
thou shouldst die). Sonnet (I cannot think that thou shouldst
fair in vain).
Si descendero in Infernum, ades. 1842. The Forlorn.
nets in Defence of Capital Punishment.
grown or not).
A Chippewa Legend. 1844. Columbus.
On the Death of a Friend's Child.
The Present Crisis.
To the Past.
An Interview with Miles Standish. 1846. The Falcon.
An Indian Summer Reverie. 1847. The Landlord.
On a Portrait of Dante by Giotto.
will go and see).
Introduction of the Cochituate Water
lished in book form.] 1849. Trial.
Lines suggested by the Graves of Two
English Soldiers on Concord Battle
stanzas added, A Mood).
larged, Al Fresco).
To W. L. Garrison, 1850. The Fountain of Youth.
The Unhappy Lot of Mr. Knott. 1851. Anti-Apis. 1852. A Parable (An ass munched thistles,
while a nightingale). 1854. The Singing Leaves.
Without and Within.
Sonnet: The Maple.
The Origin of Didactic Poetry. 1858. The Dead House.
trice). 1859. Villa Franca.
At the Burns Centennial.