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The Biglow Papers
by James Russell Lowell
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THE

BIGLOW PAPERS.

BY JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.

NEWLY EDITED, WITH A PREFACE BY THE AUTHOR OF "TOM BROWN'S SCHOOL-DAYS."

THIRD ENGLISH EDITION.

Reprinted, with the Author's Sanction, from the Last American Edition.

LONDON: TRUeBNER & CO. 60, PATERNOSTER ROW. 1861.



Transcriber's Note

Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note. Dialect spellings, contractions and discrepancies have been retained.

Greek words have been transliterated and are shown between {braces}.

The carat symbol [^] has been used to note 'superscript', and three asterisks [***] represent an inverted asterism. The following less common characters have been transcribed as follows:

ă a with breve ā a with macron [oe] oe ligature



PUBLISHERS' PREFACE.

In order to avoid any misconception, the Publishers think it advisable to announce that the present Edition of the "Biglow Papers" is issued with the express sanction of the Author, granted by letter, from which the following is an extract:—

"CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, 14th September, 1859.

"I think it would be well for you to announce that you are to publish an Authorized Edition of the 'BIGLOW PAPERS;' for I have just received a letter from Mr. ——, who tells me that a Mr. —— was thinking of an edition, and wished him to edit it. Any such undertaking will be entirely against my will, and I take it for granted that Mr. —— only formed the plan in ignorance of your intention.

"With many thanks, very truly yours,

"J. R. LOWELL."



ENGLISH EDITOR'S PREFACE.

I can safely say that few things in my life have pleased me more than the request of Messrs. Truebner, backed by the expressed wish of the author, that I would see the first English edition of the "Biglow Papers" through the press. I fell in with the Papers about ten years ago, soon after their publication; and the impression they then made on me has been deepening and becoming more lively ever since. In fact, I do not think that, even in his own New England, Mr. Lowell can have a more constant or more grateful reader, though I cannot say that I go much beyond most of my own intimate friends over here in my love for his works. I may remark, in passing, that the impossibility of keeping a copy of the "Biglow Papers" for more than a few weeks (of which many of us have had repeated and sorrowful proof[1]) shows how much an English Edition is needed.

Perhaps, strictly speaking, I should say a reprint, and not an edition. In fact, I am not clear (in spite of the wishes of author and publishers) that I have any right to call myself editor, for the book is as thoroughly edited already as a book need be. What between dear old Parson Wilbur—with his little vanities and pedantries, his "infinite faculty of sermonizing," his simplicity and humour, and his deep and righteous views of life, and power of hard hitting when he has anything to say which needs driving home—and Father Ezekiel, "the brown parchment-hided old man of the geoponic or bucolic species," "76 year old cum next tater diggin, and thair aint nowheres a kitting" (we readily believe) "spryer 'n he be;" and that judicious and lazy sub-editor, "Columbus Nye, pastor of a church in Bungtown Corner," whose acquaintance we make so thoroughly in the ten lines which he contributes—whatever of setting or framing was needed, or indeed possible, for the nine gems in verse of Mr. Hosea Biglow, has been so well done already in America by the hand best fitted for the task, that he must be a bold man who would meddle with the book now in the editing way. Even the humble satisfaction of adding a glossary and index has been denied to me, as there are already very good ones. I have merely added some half-dozen words to the glossary, at which I thought that English readers might perhaps stumble. When the proposal was first made to me, indeed, I thought of trying my hand at a sketch of American politics of thirteen years ago, the date of the Mexican war and of the first appearance of the "Biglow Papers." But I soon found out, first, that I was not, and had no ready means of making myself, competent for such a task; secondly, that the book did not need it. The very slight knowledge which every educated Englishman has of Transatlantic politics will be quite enough to make him enjoy the racy smack of the American soil, which is one of their great charms; and, as to the particular characters, they are most truly citizens of the world as well as Americans. If an Englishman cannot find 'Bird-o'-freedom Sawins,' 'John P. Robinson's,' 'pious editors,' and candidates "facin' south-by-north" at home—ay, and if he is not conscious of his own individual propensity to the meannesses and duplicities of such, which come under the lash of Hosea—he knows little of the land we live in, or of his own heart, and is not worthy to read the "Biglow Papers."

Instead, therefore, of any attempt of my own, I will give Mr. Lowell's own account of how and why he came to write this book. "All I can say is," he writes, "the book was thar. How it came is more than I can tell. I cannot, like the great Goethe, deliberately imagine what would have been a proper 'Entstehungsweise' for my book, and then assume it as fact. I only know that I believed our war with Mexico (though we had as just ground for it as a strong nation ever had against a weak one) to be essentially a war of false pretences, and that it would result in widening the boundaries, and so prolonging the life of slavery. Believing that it is the manifest destiny of the English race to occupy this whole continent, and to display there that practical understanding in matters of government and colonization which no other race has given such proofs of possessing since the Romans, I hated to see a noble hope evaporated into a lying phrase to sweeten the foul breath of demagogues. Leaving the sin of it to God, I believed, and still believe, that slavery is the Achilles-heel of our own polity, that it is a temporary and false supremacy of the white races, sure to destroy that supremacy at last, because an enslaved people always prove themselves of more enduring fibre than their enslavers, as not suffering from the social vices sure to be engendered by oppression in the governing class. Against these and many other things I thought all honest men should protest. I was born and bred in the country, and the dialect was homely to me. I tried my first Biglow paper in a newspaper, and found that it had a great run. So I wrote the others from time to time during the year which followed, always very rapidly, and sometimes (as with 'What Mr. Robinson thinks') at one sitting. When I came to collect them and publish them in a volume, I conceived my parson-editor, with his pedantry and verbosity, his amiable vanity and superiority to the verses he was editing, as a fitting artistic background and foil. He gave me the chance, too, of glancing obliquely at many things which were beyond the horizon of my other characters."

There are two American books, elder brethren of "The Biglow Papers," which it would be unjust in an Englishman not to mention while introducing their big younger brother to his own countrymen,—I mean, of course, "Major Downing's Letters," and "Sam Slick;" both of which are full of rare humour, and treat of the most exciting political questions of their day in a method and from points of view of which we are often reminded while reading the "Biglow Papers." In fact, Mr. Lowell borrows his name from the Major's Letters;—"Zekel Bigelow, Broker and Banker of Wall Street, New York," is the friend who corrects the spelling, and certifies to the genuineness, of the honest Major's effusions,[2] and is one of the raciest characters in the book. No one, I am sure, would be so ready as Mr. Lowell to acknowledge whatever obligations he may have to other men, and no one can do it more safely. For though he may owe a name or an idea to others, he seems to me to stand quite alone amongst Americans, and to be the only one who is beyond question entitled to take his place in the first rank, by the side of the great political satirists of ancient and modern Europe.

Greece had her Aristophanes; Rome her Juvenal; Spain has had her Cervantes; France her Rabelais, her Moliere, her Voltaire; Germany her Jean Paul, her Heine; England her Swift, her Thackeray; and America has her Lowell. By the side of all those great masters of satire, though kept somewhat in the rear by provincialism of style and subject, the author of the "Biglow Papers" holds his own place distinct from each and all. The man who reads the book for the first time, and is capable of understanding it, has received a new sensation. In Lowell the American mind has for the first time flowered out into thoroughly original genius.

There is an airy grace about the best pieces of Washington Irving, which has no parallel amongst English writers, however closely modelled may be his style upon that of the Addisonian age. There is much original power, which will perhaps be better appreciated at a future day, about Fenimore Cooper's delineations of the physical and spiritual border-land, between white and red, between civilization and savagery. There is dramatic power of a high order about Mr. Hawthorne, though mixed with a certain morbidness and bad taste, which debar him from ever attaining to the first rank. There is an originality of position about Mr. Emerson, in his resolute setting up of King Self against King Mob, which, coupled with a singular metallic glitter of style, and plenty of shrewd New England mother-wit, have made up together one of the best counterfeits of genius that has been seen for many a day; so good, indeed, that most men are taken by it for the first quarter of an hour at the least. But for real unmistakable genius,—for that glorious fulness of power which knocks a man down at a blow for sheer admiration, and then makes him rush into the arms of the knocker-down, and swear eternal friendship with him for sheer delight; the "Biglow Papers" stand alone.

If I sought to describe their characteristics, I should say, the most exuberant and extravagant humour, coupled with strong, noble, Christian purpose,—a thorough scorn for all that is false and base, all the more withering because of the thorough geniality of the writer. Perhaps Jean Paul is of all the satirists I have named the one who at bottom presents most affinity with Lowell, but the differences are marked. The intellectual sphere of the German is vaster, but though with certain aims before him, he rather floats and tumbles about like a porpoise at play than follows any direct perceptible course. With Lowell, on the contrary, every word tells, every laugh is a blow; as if the god Momus had turned out as Mars, and were hard at work fighting every inch of him, grinning his broadest all the while.

Will some English readers be shocked by this combination of broad and keen humour with high Christian purpose—the association of humour and Christianity? I hope not. At any rate, I would remind any such of Luther, and of our own Latimer and Rowland Hill; are they prepared to condemn them and many more like them? Nay (though it is a question which can only be hinted at here), does not the Bible itself sanction the combination by its own example? Is there not humour mixed with the tremendous sarcasm of the old prophets—dread humour no doubt, but humour unmistakably—wherever they speak of the helplessness of idols, as in the forty-fourth and forty-sixth chapters of Isaiah, and in Elijah's mockery of the priests of Baal:—"Cry aloud, for he is a God; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is on a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awakened." Is not the book of Proverbs full of grave, dry, pungent humour? Consider only the following passage out of many of the same spirit: "As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed. The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom, it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth. The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason. He that passeth by and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears."—Prov. xxvi. 14-17.

Or if it be objected that these things belong to an earlier covenant, that laughter and jesting are "not convenient" under the Gospel of Him who came not to destroy the law but to fulfil it, there is, perhaps, an answer to this also.

For a specimen of subdued humour in narrative, adhering in the most literal manner to facts, and yet contriving to bring them out by that graphic literalness under their most ludicrous aspect, what can equal St. Luke's description of the riot at Ephesus? The picture of the narrow trade selfishness of Demetrius—of polytheism reduced into a matter of business—of the inanity of a mob tumult in an enslaved country—of the mixed coaxing and bullying of its officials, was surely never brought out with a more latter vice, indeed, includes both the others, or rather uses them as its instruments. Thus, the "pious Editor" proclaims, as his creed,—

I du believe in Freedom's cause Ez fur away ez Paris is; I love to see her stick her claws In them infarnal Pharisees;

It's wal enough agin a king To dror resolves and triggers, But libbaty's a kind o' thing Thet don't agree with niggers.

No doubt they go further than this. I am quite aware that Mr. Lowell will be claimed as a champion by the peace party in this country; and certainly no keener things have been said against war in general than are to be found in this book.

With our own peace-at-any-price party, no one has less sympathy than I; and this leads me to urge on all English readers to bear in mind, that the "Biglow Papers" were written for a New England audience, by a New Englander, and must be judged from a New England point of view. The citizen of a huge young mammoth country, divided by a whole ocean from the nearest enemy that it could fear, assailable only on the vivid sense of the absurdity of the whole. "And Gallio cared for none of these things," is another touch of quiet humour, which at once brings out the ludicrous aspect of the punishment of the Jewish agitators by means of the very tumults which they raised.

I take it, therefore, that the exhibition of humour, in the pursuit, and as an aid for the attainment of a noble Christian purpose, is a means of action not only sanctioned by the very constitution of our natures (in which God has implanted so deeply the sense of the ludicrous, surely not that we might root it out) but, by the very example of Holy Writ. The humour exhibited may be different in degree and in quality; the skies of Syria are not those of Germany, or of Spain, of England, whether old or new. But the gift in itself is a pure and precious one, if lawfully and rightfully used.

Military braggadocio, political and literary humbug, and slave-holding, are the three great butts at which Hosea Biglow and Parson Wilbur shoot, at point-blank range, and with shafts drawn well to the ear. The fringe of its seaboard (itself consisting chiefly of unapproachable swamp or barren sand wastes), surrounded by weak neighbours or thin wandering hordes, only too easy to bully, to subdue, to eat up; from which bands of pirates, under the name of liberators, swarm forth year after year, almost unchecked, to neighbouring lands, and to which if defeated they only return to be caressed and applauded by their congeners; where the getting up of war-fevers forms part of the stock in trade of too many of the leading politicians; where in particular the grasping at new territories for slave labour, by means however foul, has become the special and avowed policy of the slavery party; the citizen of such a country has a right to tell his countrymen that—

'T'aint your eppyletts an' feathers Make the thing a grain more right; 'T'aint afollerin' your bell-wethers Will excuse ye in His sight;

'Ef you take a sword an' dror it, An' go stick a feller thru, 'Guv'ment aint to answer for it, God 'll send the bill to you.

And the bravest officer in Her Majesty's service will laugh as heartily as you will, I take it, my dear reader, if you have never heard it before, over a picture and a contrast such as the following:—

Parson Wilbur sez, he never heerd in his life Thet th' Apostles rigged out in their swaller-tail coats, An' marched round in front of a drum and a fife To git, some on 'em office, an some on em votes, But John P Robinson he Sez they didnt know everythin' down in Juddee.

But England is a small and wealthy country, whose best defence against a neighbour, always likely to become a foe, consists in a mere ocean canal; where the question, I will not say of war, but of readiness for war, is one of life or death—in which the temptation, always so strong, to subordinate national honour to what is supposed to be policy, is in our day for most statesmen almost irresistible, because political influence is so evenly balanced, that a peace party of perhaps twenty votes has often the destinies of a ministry in its hands. Had Mr. Lowell been an Englishman, no one who knows his writings can believe for a moment that he would have swelled the cry or strengthened the hands of the vain and mischievous clique, who amongst us have of late years raised the cry of peace when there is no peace.

The same caution will apply to our marked peculiarity of style in the book, which may offend at first many persons otherwise most capable of entering into its spirit. I mean the constant, and so to speak, pervading use of Scripture language and incidents, not only side by side with the most grotesque effusions of humour, but as one main element of the ludicrous effects produced. This undoubtedly would be as really offensive as it would be untrue, from any other point of view perhaps than that of a New Englander bred in the country. The rural population of New England is still, happily for itself, tinctured in all its language, habits, modes of feeling and thought, by a strict Scriptural training—"Out of the fulness of the heart the mouth speaketh." Look below the surface and you will see that there is no irreverence whatever beneath Hosea Biglow's daring use of Scripture; only that "perfect love which casteth out fear;" that the very purpose of the whole book is to set up Christ's Gospel as the standard by which alone all men are to be judged in all their acts. We may disagree from him in the conclusions which he draws from Scripture; of his earnest sincerity in enforcing those conclusions we cannot doubt.

It is satisfactory, indeed, to think that Mr. Lowell's shafts have already, in a great measure, ceased to be required, or would have to be aimed now at other bull's eyes. The servility of the Northern States to the South, which twelve years ago so raised his indignation, has well nigh ceased to be. The vital importance of the slavery question is now thoroughly recognized by the great republican party, which I trust is year by year advancing towards an assured victory.

For that victory Mr. Lowell has done knight's-service by his other works, as well as by the "Biglow Papers." I need not do more than refer to these, however, as they have been published in a cheap form over here, and I believe have circulated largely. In his other poems he is by no means so equal as in the "Biglow Papers;" but I cannot help thinking that (leaving out of sight altogether his satirical works) fifty years hence he will be recognized as the greatest American poet of our day, notwithstanding the contemporary judgment which has in England, and I believe in America, assigned that proud place to his friend and predecessor at Harvard College, H. W. Longfellow. To any reader who has not met with Lowell's Poems, and who may be induced to read them after a perusal of the present volume, I should recommend "The Vision of Sir Launfal," "A Parable," "Stanzas on Freedom," "The Present Crisis," and "Hunger and Cold," as specially fit to be read in connexion with the "Biglow Papers." It is only by looking at all sides of a man of this mould that you can get a notion of his size and power. Readers, therefore, should search out for themselves the exquisite little gems of a lighter kind, which lie about in the other poems comprised in the volume. I am only indicating those which, as it seems to me, when taken with the "Biglow Papers," give the best idea of the man, and what his purpose in life has been, and is.

I will not think so badly of my countrymen as to suppose for a moment that "The Biglow Papers" will not become the intimate friends of all good fellows in England; and when we have really made friends with a book, we like to know something about our friend's father; so I shall add the little I know of the history of James Russell Lowell.

He was born in 1819, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, so that he is some years younger than our own laureate, and we may hope to get out of him many another noble work, though we shall get no more "Biglow Papers"—at least I fear not; for the sort of inspiration which finds voice in this way comes, I take it, only once in a man's life. And moreover, this is his own conviction. In a letter which I received from him as to the present publication, he writes: "Friendly people say to me sometimes, 'Write us more "Biglow Papers;"' and I have even been simple enough to try, only to find that I could not. This has helped to persuade me that the book was a genuine growth, and not a manufacture, and that therefore I had an honest right to be pleased without blushing, if people liked it." He was educated at Harvard College, Cambridge; and, in fact, has never lived away from his native place. He read law, but never practised; and in 1855 was chosen to succeed Longfellow as Professor of Modern Literature in Harvard College. He has visited Europe twice; and I am sure that every one who knows his works must join with me in the hearty wish that he may come among us again as soon as possible.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Should this meet the eye of any persons who may have forgotten to return American copies of the "Biglow Papers" to their respective owners, they are requested to forward them to the publishers. The strictest secrecy will be preserved, and an acknowledgment given in The Times if required.

[2] See the English Edition of "Letters of Major Downing," published by John Murray in 1835, pp. 22, 23; and Letters x. xi. xii. and xv.



CONTENTS.

PAGE

PUBLISHER'S PREFACE v

EDITOR'S PREFACE vii

NOTICES OF AN INDEPENDENT PRESS xxix

No. I.

A LETTER FROM MR. EZEKIEL BIGLOW OF JAALAM TO THE HON. JOSEPH T. BUCKINGHAM, EDITOR OF THE BOSTON COURIER, INCLOSING A POEM OF HIS SON, MR. HOSEA BIGLOW 1

No. II.

A LETTER 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 11

No. III.

WHAT MR. ROBINSON THINKS 27

No. IV.

REMARKS OF INCREASE D. O'PHACE, ESQUIRE, AT AN EX-TRUMPERY CAUCUS IN STATE STREET, REPORTED BY MR. H. BIGLOW 40

No. V.

THE DEBATE IN THE SENNIT. SOT TO A NUSRY RHYME 55

No. VI.

THE PIOUS EDITOR'S CREED 64

No. VII.

A LETTER FROM A CANDIDATE FOR THE PRESIDENCY IN ANSWER TO SUTTIN QUESTIONS PROPOSED BY MR. HOSEA BIGLOW, INCLOSED IN A NOTE FROM MR. BIGLOW TO S. H. GAY, ESQ., EDITOR OF THE NATIONAL ANTISLAVERY STANDARD 74

No. VIII.

A SECOND LETTER FROM B. SAWIN, ESQ. 86

No. IX.

A THIRD LETTER FROM B. SAWIN, ESQ. 106

GLOSSARY 127

INDEX 131



NOTICES OF AN INDEPENDENT PRESS.

[I have observed, reader, (bene- or male-volent, as it may happen,) that it is customary to append to the second editions of books, and to the second works of authors, short sentences commendatory of the first, under the title of Notices of the Press. These, I have been given to understand, are procurable at certain established rates, payment being made either in money or advertising patronage by the publisher, or by an adequate outlay of servility on the part of the author. Considering these things with myself, and also that such notices are neither intended, nor generally believed, to convey any real opinions, being a purely ceremonial accompaniment of literature, and resembling certificates to the virtues of various morbiferal panaceas, I conceived that it would be not only more economical to prepare a sufficient number of such myself, but also more immediately subservient to the end in view, to prefix them to this our primary edition, rather than await the contingency of a second, when they would seem to be of small utility. To delay attaching the bobs until the second attempt at flying the kite would indicate but a slender experience in that useful art. Neither has it escaped my notice, nor failed to afford me matter of reflection, that, when a circus or a caravan is about to visit Jaalam, the initial step is to send forward large and highly ornamented bills of performance to be hung in the bar-room and the post-office. These having been sufficiently gazed at, and beginning to lose their attractiveness except for the flies, and, truly, the boys also, (in whom I find it impossible to repress, even during school-hours, certain oral and telegraphic correspondences concerning the expected show,) upon some fine morning the band enters in a gaily-painted waggon, or triumphal chariot, and with noisy advertisement, by means of brass, wood, and sheepskin, makes the circuit of our startled village-streets. Then, as the exciting sounds draw nearer and nearer, do I desiderate those eyes of Aristarchus, "whose looks were as a breeching to a boy." Then do I perceive, with vain regret of wasted opportunities, the advantage of a pancratic or pantechnic education, since he is most reverenced by my little subjects who can throw the cleanest summerset, or walk most securely upon the revolving cask. The story of the Pied Piper becomes for the first time credible to me, (albeit confirmed by the Hameliners dating their legal instruments from the period of his exit,) as I behold how those strains, without pretence of magical potency, bewitch the pupillary legs, nor leave to the pedagogic an entire self-control. For these reasons, lest my kingly prerogative should suffer diminution, I prorogue my restless commons, whom I also follow into the street, chiefly lest some mischief may chance befall them. After the manner of such a band, I send forward the following notices of domestic manufacture, to make brazen proclamation, not unconscious of the advantage which will accrue, if our little craft, cymbula sutilis, shall seem to leave port with a clipping breeze, and to carry, in nautical phrase, a bone in her mouth. Nevertheless, I have chosen, as being more equitable, to prepare some also sufficiently objurgatory, that readers of every taste may find a dish to their palate. I have modelled them upon actually existing specimens, preserved in my own cabinet of natural curiosities. One, in particular, I had copied with tolerable exactness from a notice of one of my own discourses, which, from its superior tone and appearance of vast experience, I concluded to have been written by a man at least three hundred years of age, though I recollected no existing instance of such antediluvian longevity. Nevertheless, I afterwards discovered the author to be a young gentleman preparing for the ministry under the direction of one of my brethren in a neighbouring town, and whom I had once instinctively corrected in a Latin quantity. But this I have been forced to omit, from its too great length.—H. W.]

* * * * *

From the Universal Littery Universe.

Full of passages which rivet the attention of the reader.... Under a rustic garb, sentiments are conveyed which should be committed to the memory and engraven on the heart of every moral and social being.... We consider this a unique performance.... We hope to see it soon introduced into our common schools.... Mr. Wilbur has performed his duties as editor with excellent taste and judgment.... This is a vein which we hope to see successfully prosecuted.... We hail the appearance of this work as a long stride toward the formation of a purely aboriginal, indigenous, native, and American literature. We rejoice to meet with an author national enough to break away from the slavish deference, too common among us, to English grammar and orthography.... Where all is so good, we are at a loss how to make extracts.... On the whole, we may call it a volume which no library, pretending to entire completeness, should fail to place upon its shelves.

* * * * *

From the Higginbottomopolis Snapping-turtle.

A collection of the merest balderdash and doggerel that it was ever our bad fortune to lay eyes on. The author is a vulgar buffoon, and the editor a talkative, tedious old fool. We use strong language, but should any of our readers peruse the book, (from which calamity Heaven preserve them,) they will find reasons for it thick as the leaves of Vallumbrozer, or, to use a still more expressive comparison, as the combined heads of author and editor. The work is wretchedly got up.... We should like to know how much British gold was pocketed by this libeller of our country and her purest patriots.

* * * * *

From the Oldfogrumville Mentor.

We have not had time to do more than glance through this handsomely printed volume, but the name of its respectable editor, the Rev. Mr. Wilbur, of Jaalam, will afford a sufficient guaranty for the worth of its contents.... The paper is white, the type clear, and the volume of a convenient and attractive size.... In reading this elegantly executed work, it has seemed to us that a passage or two might have been retrenched with advantage, and that the general style of diction was susceptible of a higher polish.... On the whole, we may safely leave the ungrateful task of criticism to the reader. We will barely suggest, that in volumes intended, as this is, for the illustration of a provincial dialect and turns of expression, a dash of humour or satire might be thrown in with advantage.... The work is admirably got up.... This work will form an appropriate ornament to the centre-table. It is beautifully printed, on paper of an excellent quality.

* * * * *

From the Dekay Bulwark.

We should be wanting in our duty as the conductor of that tremendous engine, a public press, as an American, and as a man, did we allow such an opportunity as is presented to us by "The Biglow Papers" to pass by without entering our earnest protest against such attempts (now, alas! too common) at demoralizing the public sentiment. Under a wretched mask of stupid drollery, slavery, war, the social glass, and, in short, all the valuable and time-honoured institutions justly dear to our common humanity and especially to republicans, are made the butt of coarse and senseless ribaldry by this low-minded scribbler. It is time that the respectable and religious portion of our community should be aroused to the alarming inroads of foreign Jacobinism, sansculottism, and infidelity. It is a fearful proof of the wide-spread nature of this contagion, that these secret stabs at religion and virtue are given from under the cloak (credite, posteri!) of a clergyman. It is a mournful spectacle indeed to the patriot and Christian to see liberality and new ideas (falsely so called,—they are as old as Eden) invading the sacred precincts of the pulpit.... On the whole, we consider this volume as one of the first shocking results which we predicted would spring out of the late French "Revolution"(!).

* * * * *

From the Bungtown Copper and Comprehensive Tocsin (a tryweakly family journal).

Altogether an admirable work.... Full of humour, boisterous, but delicate,—of wit withering and scorching, yet combined with a pathos cool as morning dew,—of satire ponderous as the mace of Richard, yet keen as the scymitar of Saladin.... A work full of "mountain-mirth," mischievous as Puck and lightsome as Ariel.... We know not whether to admire most the genial, fresh, and discursive concinnity of the author, or his playful fancy, weird imagination, and compass of style, at once both objective and subjective.... We might indulge in some criticisms, but, were the author other than he is, he would be a different being. As it is, he has a wonderful pose, which flits from flower to flower, and bears the reader irresistibly along on its eagle pinions (like Ganymede) to the "highest heaven of invention." ... We love a book so purely objective.... Many of his pictures of natural scenery have an extraordinary subjective clearness and fidelity.... In fine, we consider this as one of the most extraordinary volumes of this or any age. We know of no English author who could have written it. It is a work to which the proud genius of our country, standing with one foot on the Aroostook and the other on the Rio Grande, and holding up the star-spangled banner amid the wreck of matter and the crush of worlds, may point with bewildering scorn of the punier efforts of enslaved Europe.... We hope soon to encounter our author among those higher walks of literature in which he is evidently capable of achieving enduring fame. Already we should be inclined to assign him a high position in the bright galaxy of our American bards.

* * * * *

From the Saltriver Pilot and Flag of Freedom.

A volume in bad grammar and worse taste.... While the pieces here collected were confined to their appropriate sphere in the corners of obscure newspapers, we considered them wholly beneath contempt, but, as the author has chosen to come forward in this public manner, he must expect the lash he so richly merits.... Contemptible slanders.... Vilest Billingsgate.... Has raked all the gutters of our language.... The most pure, upright, and consistent politicians not safe from his malignant venom.... General Cushing comes in for a share of his vile calumnies.... The Reverend Homer Wilbur is a disgrace to his cloth....

* * * * *

From the World-Harmonic-AEolian-Attachment.

Speech is silver: silence is golden. No utterance more Orphic than this. While, therefore, as highest author, we reverence him whose works continue heroically unwritten, we have also our hopeful word for those who with pen (from wing of goose loud-cackling, or seraph God-commissioned) record the thing that is revealed.... Under mask of quaintest irony, we detect here the deep, storm-tost (nigh shipwracked) soul, thunder-scarred, semiarticulate, but ever climbing hopefully toward the peaceful summits of an Infinite Sorrow.... Yes, thou poor, forlorn Hosea, with Hebrew fire-flaming soul in thee, for thee also this life of ours has not been without its aspect of heavenliest pity and laughingest mirth. Conceivable enough! Through coarse Thersites-cloak, we have revelation of the heart, wild-glowing, world-clasping, that is in him. Bravely he grapples with the life-problem as it presents itself to him, uncombed, shaggy, careless of the "nicer proprieties," inexpert of "elegant diction," yet with voice audible enough to whoso hath ears, up there on the gravelly side-hills, or down on the splashy, Indiarubber-like salt-marshes of native Jaalam. To this soul also the Necessity of Creating somewhat has unveiled its awful front. If not [OE]dipuses and Electras and Alcestises, then in God's name Birdofredum Sawins! These also shall get born into the world, and filch (if so need) a Zingali subsistence therein, these lank, omnivorous Yankees of his. He shall paint the Seen, since the Unseen will not sit to him. Yet in him also are Nibelungen-lays, and Iliads, and Ulysses-wanderings, and Divine Comedies,—if only once he could come at them! Therein lies much, nay all; for what truly is this which we name All, but that which we do not possess?... Glimpses also are given us of an old father Ezekiel, not without paternal pride, as is the wont of such. A brown, parchment-hided old man of the geoponic or bucolic species, gray-eyed, we fancy, queued perhaps, with much weather-cunning and plentiful September-gale memories, bidding fair in good time to become the Oldest Inhabitant. After such hasty apparition, he vanishes and is seen no more.... Of "Rev. Homer Wilbur, A. M., Pastor of the First Church in Jaalam," we have small care to speak here. Spare touch in him of his Melesigenes namesake, save, haply, the—blindness! A tolerably caliginose, nephelegeretous elderly gentleman, with infinite faculty of sermonizing, muscularized by long practice, and excellent digestive apparatus, and, for the rest, well-meaning enough, and with small private illuminations (somewhat tallowy, it is to be feared) of his own. To him, there, "Pastor of the First Church in Jaalam," our Hosea presents himself as a quiet inexplicable Sphinx-riddle. A rich, poverty of Latin and Greek,—so far is clear enough, even to eyes peering myopic through horn-lensed editorial spectacles,—but naught farther? O purblind, well-meaning, altogether fuscous Melesigenes-Wilbur, there are things in him incommunicable by stroke of birch! Did it ever enter that old bewildered head of thine that there was the Possibility of the Infinite in him? To thee, quite wingless (and even featherless) biped, has not so much even as a dream of wings ever come? "Talented young parishioner"? Among the Arts whereof thou art Magister, does that of seeing happen to be one? Unhappy Artium Magister! Somehow a Nemean lion, fulvous, torrid-eyed, dry-nursed in broad-howling sand-wildernesses of a sufficiently rare spirit-Libya (it may be supposed) has got whelped among the sheep. Already he stands wild-glaring, with feet clutching the ground as with oak-roots, gathering for a Remus-spring over the walls of thy little fold. In Heaven's name, go not near him with that flybite crook of thine! In good time, thou painful preacher, thou wilt go to the appointed place of departed Artillery-Election Sermons, Right-Hands of Fellowship, and Results of Councils, gathered to thy spiritual fathers with much Latin of the Epitaphial sort; thou, too, shalt have thy reward; but on him the Eumenides have looked, not Xantippes of the pit, snake-tressed, finger-threatening, but radiantly calm as on antique gems; for him paws impatient the winged courser of the gods, champing unwelcome bit: him the starry deeps, the empyrean glooms, and far-flashing splendors await.

* * * * *

From the Onion Grove Ph[oe]nix.

A talented young townsman of ours, recently returned from a Continental tour, and who is already favourably known to our readers by his sprightly letters from abroad which have graced our columns, called at our office yesterday. We learn from him, that, having enjoyed the distinguished privilege, while in Germany, of an introduction to the celebrated Von Humbug, he took the opportunity to present that eminent man with a copy of the "Biglow Papers." The next morning he received the following note, which he has kindly furnished us for publication. We prefer to print verbatim, knowing that our readers will readily forgive the few errors into which the illustrious writer has fallen, through ignorance of our language.

"HIGH-WORTHY MISTER!

"I shall also now especially happy starve, because I have more or less a work of one those aboriginal Red-Men seen in which have I so deaf an interest ever taken fullworthy on the self shelf with our Gottsched to be upset.

"Pardon my in the English-speech unpractice!

"VON HUMBUG."

He also sent with the above note a copy of his famous work on "Cosmetics," to be presented to Mr. Biglow; but this was taken from our friend by the English custom-house officers, probably through a petty national spite. No doubt, it has by this time found its way into the British Museum. We trust this outrage will be exposed in all our American papers. We shall do our best to bring it to the notice of the State Department. Our numerous readers will share in the pleasure we experience at seeing our young and vigorous national literature thus encouragingly patted on the head by this venerable and world-renowned German. We love to see these reciprocations of good-feeling between the different branches of the great Anglo-Saxon race.

* * * * *

From the Jaalam Independent Blunderbuss.

... But, while we lament to see our young townsman thus mingling in the heated contests of party politics, we think we detect in him the presence of talents which, if properly directed, might give an innocent pleasure to many. As a proof that he is competent to the production of other kinds of poetry, we copy for our readers a short fragment of a pastoral by him, the manuscript of which was loaned us by a friend. The title of it is "The Courtin'."

Zekle crep' up, quite unbeknown, An' peeked in thru the winder, An' there sot Huldy all alone, 'ith no one nigh to hender.

Agin' the chimbly crooknecks hung, An' in amongst 'em rusted The ole queen's arm thet gran'ther Young Fetched back frum Concord busted.

The wannut logs shot sparkles out Towards the pootiest, bless her! An' leetle fires danced all about The chiny on the dresser.

The very room, coz she wuz in, Looked warm frum floor to ceilin', An' she looked full ez rosy agin Ez th' apples she wuz peelin'.

She heerd a foot an' knowed it, tu, Araspin' on the scraper,— All ways to once her feelins flew Like sparks in burnt-up paper.

He kin' o' l'itered on the mat, Some doubtfle o' the seekle; His heart kep' goin' pitypat, But hern went pity Zekle.

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

* * * * *

Satis multis sese emptores futuros libri professis, Georgius Nichols, Cantabrigiensis, opus emittet de parte gravi sed adhuc neglecta historiae naturalis, cum titulo sequenti, videlicet:—

Conatus ad Delineationem naturalem nonnihil perfectiorem Scarabaei Bombilatoris, vulgo dicti HUMBUG, ab HOMERO WILBUR, Artium Magistro, Societatis historico-naturalis Jaallamensis Praeside, (Secretario, Socioque (eheu!) singulo,) multarumque aliarum Societatum eruditarum (sive ineruditarum) tam domesticarum quam transmarinarum Socio—forsitan futuro.

PROEMIUM.

LECTORI BENEVOLO S.

Toga scholastica nondum deposita, quum systemata varia entomologica, a viris ejus scientiae cultoribus studiosissimis summa diligentia aedificata, penitus indagassem, non fuit quin luctuose omnibus in iis, quamvis aliter laude dignissimis, hiatum magni momenti perciperem. Tunc, nescio quo motu superiore impulsus, aut qua captus dulcedine operis, ad eum implendum (Curtius alter) me solemniter devovi. Nec ab isto labore, {daimonios} imposito, abstinui antequam tractatulum sufficienter inconcinnum lingua vernacula perfeceram. Inde, juveniliter tumefactus, et barathro ineptiae {ton bibliopolon} (necnon "Publici Legentis") nusquam explorato, me composuisse quod quasi placentas praefervidas (ut sic dicam) homines ingurgitarent credidi. Sed, quum huic et alii bibliopolae MSS. mea submisissem et nihil solidius responsione valde negativa in Musaeum meum retulissem, horror ingens atque misericordia, ob crassitudinem Lambertianam in cerebris homunculorum istius muneris c[oe]lesti quadam ira infixam, me invasere. Extemplo mei solius impensis librum edere decrevi, nihil omnino dubitans quin "Mundus Scientificus" (ut aiunt) crumenam meam ampliter repleret. Nullam, attamen, ex agro illo meo parvulo segetem demessui, praeter gaudium vacuum bene de Republica merendi. Iste panis meus pretiosus super aquas literarias faeculentas praefidenter jactus, quasi Harpyiarum quarundam (scilicet bibliopolarum istorum facinorosorum supradictorum) tactu rancidus, intra perpaucos dies mihi domum rediit. Et, quum ipse tali victu ali non tolerarem, primum in mentem venit pistori (typographo nempe) nihilominus solvendum esse. Animum non idcirco demisi, imo aeque ac pueri naviculas suas penes se lino retinent (eo ut e recto cursu delapsas ad ripam retrahant), sic ego Argo meam chartaceam fluctibus laborantem a quaesitu velleris aurei, ipse potius tonsus pelleque exutus, mente solida revocavi. Metaphoram ut mutem, boomarangam meam a scopo aberrantem retraxi, dum majore vi, occasione ministrante, adversus Fortunam intorquerem. Ast mihi, talia volventi, et, sicut Saturnus ille {paidoboros}, liberos intellectus mei depascere fidenti, casus miserandus, nec antea inauditus, supervenit. Nam, ut ferunt Scythas pietatis causa et parsimoniae, parentes suos mortuos devorasse, sic filius hic meus primogenitus, Scythis ipsis minus mansuetus, patrem vivum totum et calcitrantem exsorbere enixus est. Nec tamen hac de causa sobolem meam esurientem exheredavi. Sed famem istam pro valido testimonio virilitatis roborisque potius habui, cibumque ad eam satiandam salva paterna mea carne, petii. Et quia bilem illam scaturientem ad aes etiam concoquendum idoneam esse estimabam, unde aes alienum, ut minoris pretii, haberem, circumspexi. Rebus ita se habentibus, ab avunculo meo Johanne Doolittle, Armigero, impetravi ut pecunias necessarias suppeditaret, ne opus esset mihi universitatem relinquendi antequam ad gradum primum in artibus pervenissem. Tunc ego, salvum facere patronum meum munificum maxime cupiens, omnes libros primae editionis operis mei non venditos una cum privilegio in omne aevum ejusdem imprimendi et edendi avunculo meo dicto pigneravi. Ex illo die, atro lapide notando, curae vociferantes familiae singulis annis crescentis eo usque insultabant ut nunquam tam carum pignus e vinculis istis aheneis solvere possem.

Avunculo vero nuper mortuo, quum inter alios consanguineos testamenti ejus lectionem audiendi causa advenissem, erectis auribus verba talia sequentia accepi:—"Quoniam persuasum habeo meum dilectum nepotem Homerum, longa et intima rerum angustarum domi experientia, aptissimum esse qui divitias tueatur, beneficenterque ac prudenter iis divinis creditis utatur,—ergo, motus hisce cogitationibus, exque amore meo in illum magno, do, legoque nepoti caro meo supranominato omnes singularesque istas possessiones nec ponderabiles nec computabiles meas quae sequuntur, scilicet: quingentos libros quos mihi pigneravit dictus Homerus, anno lucis 1792, cum privilegio edendi et repetendi opus istud 'scientificum' (quod dicunt) suum, si sic elegerit. Tamen D. O. M. precor oculos Homeri nepotis mei ita aperiat eumque moveat, ut libros istos in bibliotheca unius e plurimis castellis suis Hispaniensibus tuto abscondat."

His verbis (vix credibilibus) auditis, cor meum in pectore exsultavit. Deinde, quoniam tractatus Anglice scriptus spem auctoris fefellerat, quippe quum studium Historiae Naturalis in Republica nostra inter factionis strepitum languescat, Latine versum edere statui, et eo potius quia nescio quomodo disciplina academica et duo diplomata proficiant, nisi quod peritos linguarum omnino mortuarum (et damnandarum, ut dicebat iste {panourgos} Gulielmus Cobbett) nos faciant.

Et mihi adhuc superstes est tota illa editio prima, quam quasi crepitaculum per quod dentes caninos dentibam retineo.

* * * * *

OPERIS SPECIMEN.

(Ad exemplum Johannis Physiophili speciminis Monachologiae.)

12. S. B. Militaris, WILBUR. Carnifex, JABLONSK. Profanus, DESFONT.

[Male hancce speciem Cyclopem, Fabricius vocat, ut qui singulo oculo ad quod sui interest distinguitur. Melius vero Isaacus Outis nullum inter S. milit. S. que Belzebul (Fabric. 152) discrimen esse defendit.]

Habitat civitat. Americ. austral.

Aureis lineis splendidus; plerumque tamen sordidus, utpote lanienas valde frequentans, f[oe]tore sanguinis allectus. Amat quoque insuper septa apricari, neque inde, nisi maxima conatione, detruditur. Candidatus ergo populariter vocatus. Caput cristam quasi pennarum ostendit. Pro cibo vaccam publicam callide mulget; abdomen enorme; facultas suctus haud facile estimanda. Otiosus, fatuus; ferox nihilominus, semperque dimicare paratus. Tortuose repit.

Capite saepe maxima cum cura dissecto, ne illud rudimentum etiam cerebri commune omnibus prope insectis detegere poteram.

Unam de hoc S. milit. rem singularem notavi; nam S. Guineeus. (Fabric. 143) servos facit, et idcirco a multis summa in reverentia habitus, quasi scintillas rationis paene humanae demonstrans.

24. S. B. Criticus, WILBUR. Zoilus, FABRIC. Pygmaeus, CARLSEN.

[Stultissime Johannes Stryx cum S. punctato (Fabric. 64-109) confundit. Specimina quam plurima scrutationi microscopicae subjeci, nunquam tamen unum ulla indicia puncti cujusvis prorsus ostendentem inveni.]

Praecipue formidolosus, insectatusque, in proxima rima anonyma sese abscondit, we, we, creberrime stridens. Ineptus, segnipes.

Habitat ubique gentium; in sicco; nidum suum terebratione indefessa aedificans. Cibus. Libros depascit; siccos praecipue seligens, et forte succidum



THE BIGLOW PAPERS.



MELIB[OE]US-HIPPONAX.

THE

BIGLOW PAPERS,

EDITED,

WITH AN INTRODUCTION, NOTES, GLOSSARY, AND COPIOUS INDEX,

BY HOMER WILBUR, A.M.

PASTOR OF THE FIRST CHURCH IN JAALAM, AND (PROSPECTIVE) MEMBER OF MANY LITERARY, LEARNED, AND SCIENTIFIC SOCIETIES, (for which see page xlvii.)

The ploughman's whistle, or the trivial flute, Finds more respect than great Apollo's lute. Quarles's Emblems, B. II. E. 8.

Margaritas, munde porcine, calcasti: en, siliquas accipe. Jaa. Car. Fil. ad Pub. Leg. Sec. 1.



NOTE TO TITLE-PAGE

It will not have escaped the attentive eye, that I have, on the title-page, omitted those honorary appendages to the editorial name which not only add greatly to the value of every book, but whet and exacerbate the appetite of the reader. For not only does he surmise that an honorary membership of literary and scientific societies implies a certain amount of necessary distinction on the part of the recipient of such decorations, but he is willing to trust himself more entirely to an author who writes under the fearful responsibility of involving the reputation of such bodies as the S. Archaeol. Dahom., or the Acad. Lit. et Scient. Kamtschat. I cannot but think that the early editions of Shakspeare and Milton would have met with more rapid and general acceptance, but for the barrenness of their respective title-pages; and I believe that, even now, a publisher of the works of either of those justly distinguished men would find his account in procuring their admission to the membership of learned bodies on the Continent,—a proceeding no whit more incongruous than the reversal of the judgment against Socrates, when he was already more than twenty centuries beyond the reach of antidotes, and when his memory had acquired a deserved respectability. I conceive that it was a feeling of the importance of this precaution which induced Mr. Locke to style himself "Gent." on the title-page of his Essay, as who should say to his readers that they could receive his metaphysics on the honor of a gentleman.

Nevertheless, finding, that, without descending to a smaller size of type than would have been compatible with the dignity of the several societies to be named, I could not compress my intended list within the limits of a single page, and thinking, moreover, that the act would carry with it an air of decorous modesty, I have chosen to take the reader aside, as it were, into my private closet, and there not only exhibit to him the diplomas which I already possess, but also to furnish him with a prophetic vision of those which I may, without undue presumption, hope for, as not beyond the reach of human ambition and attainment. And I am the rather induced to this from the fact, that my name has been unaccountably dropped from the last triennial catalogue of our beloved Alma Mater. Whether this is to be attributed to the difficulty of Latinizing any of those honorary adjuncts (with a complete list of which I took care to furnish the proper persons nearly a year beforehand), or whether it had its origin in any more culpable motives, I forbear to consider in this place, the matter being in course of painful investigation. But, however this may be, I felt the omission the more keenly, as I had, in expectation of the new catalogue, enriched the library of the Jaalam Athenaeum with the old one then in my possession, by which means it has come about that my children will be deprived of a never-wearying winter-evening's amusement in looking out the name of their parent in that distinguished roll. Those harmless innocents had at least committed no——but I forbear, having intrusted my reflections and animadversions on this painful topic to the safe-keeping of my private diary, intended for posthumous publication. I state this fact here, in order that certain nameless individuals, who are, perhaps, overmuch congratulating themselves upon my silence, may know that a rod is in pickle which the vigorous hand of a justly incensed posterity will apply to their memories.

The careful reader will note, that, in the list which I have prepared, I have included the names of several Cisatlantic societies to which a place is not commonly assigned in processions of this nature. I have ventured to do this, not only to encourage native ambition and genius, but also because I have never been able to perceive in what way distance (unless we suppose them at the end of a lever) could increase the weight of learned bodies. As far as I have been able to extend my researches among such stuffed specimens as occasionally reach America, I have discovered no generic difference between the antipodal Fogrum Japonicum and the F. Americanum sufficiently common in our own immediate neighbourhood. Yet, with a becoming deference to the popular belief, that distinctions of this sort are enhanced in value by every additional mile they travel, I have intermixed the names of some tolerably distant literary and other associations with the rest.

I add here, also, an advertisement, which, that it may be the more readily understood by those persons especially interested therein, I have written in that curtailed and otherwise maltreated canine Latin, to the writing and reading of which they are accustomed.

OMNIB. PER TOT. ORB. TERRAR. CATALOG. ACADEM. EDD.

Minim. gent. diplom. ab inclytiss. acad. vest. orans, vir. honorand. operosiss., at sol. ut sciat. quant. glor. nom. meum (dipl. fort. concess.) catal. vest. temp. futur. affer., ill. subjec., addit. omnib. titul. honorar. qu. adh. non tant. opt. quam probab. put.

*** Litt. Uncial. distinx. ut Praes. S. Hist. Nat. Jaal.

HOMERUS WILBUR, Mr., Episc. Jaalam. S. T. D. 1850, et Yal. 1849, et Neo-Caes. et Brun. et Gulielm. 1852, et Gul. et Mar. et Bowd. et Georgiop. et Viridimont. et Columb. Nov. Ebor. 1853, et Amherst. et Watervill. et S. Jarlath. Hib. et S. Mar. et S. Joseph. et S. And. Scot. 1854, et Nashvill et Dart. et Dickins. et Concord. et Wash. et Columbian. et Charlest. et Jeff. et Dubl. et Oxon. et Cantab. et caet. 1855, P. U. N. C. H. et J. U. D. Gott. et Osnab. et Heidelb. 1860, et Acad. BORE US. Berolin. Soc. et SS. RR. Lugd. Bat. et Patav. et Lond. et Edinb. et Ins. Feejee. et Null. Terr. et Pekin. Soc. Hon. et S. H. S. et S. P. A. et A. A. S. et S. Humb. Univ. et S. Omn. Rer. Quarund. q. Aliar. Promov. Passamaquod. et H. P. C. et I. O. H. et {A. D. Ph.} et {P. K. R.} et {Ph. B. K.} et Peucin. et Erosoph. et Philadelph. et Frat. in Unit. et {S. T.} et S. Archaeolog. Athen. et Acad. Scient. et Lit. Panorm. et SS. R. H. Matrit. et Beeloochist. et Caffrar. et Caribb. et M. S. Reg. Paris. et S. Am. Antiserv. Soc. Hon. et P. D. Gott. et LL.D. 1852, et D.C.L. et Mus. Doc. Oxon. 1860, et M. M. S. S. et M.D. 1854, et Med. Fac. Univ. Harv. Soc. et S. pro Convers. Pollywog. Soc. Hon. et Higgl. Piggl. et LL.B. 1853, et S. pro Christianiz. Moschet. Soc., et SS. Ante-Diluv. ubiq. Gent. Soc. Hon. et Civit. Cleric. Jaalam. et S. pro Diffus. General. Tenebr. Secret. Corr.



INTRODUCTION.

When, more than three years ago, my talented young parishioner, Mr. Biglow, came to me and submitted to my animadversions the first of his poems which he intended to commit to the more hazardous trial of a city newspaper, it never so much as entered my imagination to conceive that his productions would ever be gathered into a fair volume, and ushered into the august presence of the reading public by myself. So little are we short-sighted mortals able to predict the event! I confess that there is to me a quite new satisfaction in being associated (though only as sleeping partner) in a book which can stand by itself in an independent unity on the shelves of libraries. For there is always this drawback from the pleasure of printing a sermon, that, whereas the queasy stomach of this generation will not bear a discourse long enough to make a separate volume, those religious and godly-minded children (those Samuels, if I may call them so) of the brain must at first lie buried in an undistinguished heap, and then get such resurrection as is vouchsafed to them, mummy-wrapt with a score of others in a cheap binding, with no other mark of distinction than the word "Miscellaneous" printed upon the back. Far be it from me to claim any credit for the quite unexpected popularity which I am pleased to find these bucolic strains have attained unto. If I know myself, I am measurably free from the itch of vanity; yet I may be allowed to say that I was not backward to recognize in them a certain wild, puckery, acidulous (sometimes even verging toward that point which, in our rustic phrase, is termed shut-eye) flavour, not wholly unpleasing, nor unwholesome, to palates cloyed with the sugariness of tamed and cultivated fruit. It may be, also, that some touches of my own, here and there, may have led to their wider acceptance, albeit solely from my larger experience of literature and authorship.[3]

I was, at first, inclined to discourage Mr. Biglow's attempts, as knowing that the desire to poetize is one of the diseases naturally incident to adolescence, which, if the fitting remedies be not at once and with a bold hand applied, may become chronic, and render one, who might else have become in due time an ornament of the social circle, a painful object even to nearest friends and relatives. But thinking, on a further experience, that there was a germ of promise in him which required only culture and the pulling up of weeds from around it, I thought it best to set before him the acknowledged examples of English compositions in verse, and leave the rest to natural emulation. With this view, I accordingly lent him some volumes of Pope and Goldsmith, to the assiduous study of which he promised to devote his evenings. Not long afterwards he brought me some verses written upon that model, a specimen of which I subjoin, having changed some phrases of less elegancy, and a few rhymes objectionable to the cultivated ear. The poem consisted of childish reminiscences, and the sketches which follow will not seem destitute of truth to those whose fortunate education began in a country village. And, first, let us hang up his charcoal portrait of the school-dame.

"Propt on the marsh, a dwelling now, I see The humble school-house of my A, B, C, Where well-drilled urchins, each behind his tire, Waited in ranks the wished command to fire; Then all together, when the signal came, Discharged their a-b abs against the dame, Who, 'mid the volleyed learning, firm and calm, Patted the furloughed ferule on her palm, And, to our wonder, could detect at once, Who flashed the pan, and who was downright dunce.

There young Devotion learned to climb with ease The gnarly limbs of Scripture family-trees, And he was most commended and admired Who soonest to the topmost twig perspired; Each name was called as many various ways As pleased the reader's ear on different days, So that the weather, or the ferule's stings, Colds in the head, or fifty other things, Transformed the helpless Hebrew thrice a week To guttural Pequot or resounding Greek, The vibrant accent skipping here and there, Just as it pleased invention or despair; No controversial Hebraist was the Dame; With or without the points pleased her the same; If any tyro found a name too tough, And looked at her, pride furnished skill enough; She nerved her larynx for the desperate thing, And cleared the five-barred syllables at a spring.

Ah, dear old times! there once it was my hap, Perched on a stool, to wear the long-eared cap; From books degraded, there I sat at ease, A drone, the envy of compulsory bees."

I add only one further extract, which will possess a melancholy interest to all such as have endeavoured to glean the materials of Revolutionary history from the lips of aged persons, who took a part in the actual making of it, and, finding the manufacture profitable, continued the supply in an adequate proportion to the demand.

"Old Joe is gone, who saw hot Percy goad His slow artillery up the Concord road, A tale which grew in wonder, year by year, As, every time he told it, Joe drew near To the main fight, till, faded and grown gray, The original scene to bolder tints gave way; Then Joe had heard the foe's scared double-quick Beat on stove drum with one uncaptured stick, And, ere death came the lengthening tale to lop, Himself had fired, and seen a red-coat drop; Had Joe lived long enough, that scrambling fight Had squared more nearly to his sense of right, And vanquished Percy, to complete the tale, Had hammered stone for life in Concord jail."

I do not know that the foregoing extracts ought not to be called my own rather than Mr. Biglow's, as, indeed, he maintained stoutly that my file had left nothing of his in them. I should not, perhaps, have felt entitled to take so great liberties with them, had I not more than suspected an hereditary vein of poetry in myself, a very near ancestor having written a Latin poem in the Harvard Gratulatio on the accession of George the Third. Suffice it to say, that, whether not satisfied with such limited approbation as I could conscientiously bestow, or from a sense of natural inaptitude, I know not, certain it is that my young friend could never be induced to any further essays in this kind. He affirmed that it was to him like writing in a foreign tongue,—that Mr. Pope's versification was like the regular ticking of one of Willard's clocks, in which one could fancy, after long listening, a certain kind of rhythm or tune, but which yet was only a poverty-stricken tick, tick after all,—and that he had never seen a sweet-water on a trellis growing so fairly, or in forms so pleasing to his eye, as a fox-grape over a scrub-oak in a swamp. He added I know not what, to the effect that the sweet-water would only be the more disfigured by having its leaves starched and ironed out, and that Pegāsus (so he called him) hardly looked right with his mane and tail in curl-papers. These and other such opinions I did not long strive to eradicate, attributing them rather to a defective education and senses untuned by too long familiarity with purely natural objects, than to a perverted moral sense. I was the more inclined to this leniency since sufficient evidence was not to seek, that his verses, as wanting as they certainly were in classic polish and point, had somehow taken hold of the public ear in a surprising manner. So, only setting him right as to the quantity of the proper name Pegasus, I left him to follow the bent of his natural genius.

There are two things upon which it would seem fitting to dilate somewhat more largely in this place,—the Yankee character and the Yankee dialect. And, first, of the Yankee character, which has wanted neither open maligners, nor even more dangerous enemies in the persons of those unskilful painters who have given to it that hardness, angularity, and want of proper perspective, which, in truth, belonged, not to their subject, but to their own niggard and unskilful pencil.

New England was not so much the colony of a mother country, as a Hagar driven forth into the wilderness. The little self-exiled band which came hither in 1620 came, not to seek gold, but to found a democracy. They came that they might have the privilege to work and pray, to sit upon hard benches and listen to painful preachers as long as they would, yea, even unto thirty-seventhly, if the spirit so willed it. And surely, if the Greek might boast his Thermopylae, where three hundred men fell in resisting the Persian, we may well be proud of our Plymouth Rock, where a handful of men, women, and children not merely faced, but vanquished, winter, famine, the wilderness, and the yet more invincible storge that drew them back to the green island far away. These found no lotus growing upon the surly shore, the taste of which could make them forget their little native Ithaca; nor were they so wanting to themselves in faith as to burn their ship, but could see the fair west wind belly the homeward sail, and then turn unrepining to grapple with the terrible Unknown.

As Want was the prime foe these hardy exodists had to fortress themselves against, so it is little wonder if that traditional feud is long in wearing out of the stock. The wounds of the old warfare were long ahealing, and an east wind of hard times puts a new ache in every one of them. Thrift was the first lesson in their horn-book, pointed out, letter after letter, by the lean finger of the hard schoolmaster, Necessity. Neither were those plump, rosy-gilled Englishmen that came hither, but a hard-faced, atrabilious, earnest-eyed race, stiff from long wrestling with the Lord in prayer, and who had taught Satan to dread the new Puritan hug. Add two hundred years' influence of soil, climate, and exposure, with its necessary result of idiosyncrasies, and we have the present Yankee, full of expedients, half-master of all trades, inventive in all but the beautiful, full of shifts, not yet capable of comfort, armed at all points against the old enemy Hunger, longanimous, good at patching, not so careful for what is best as for what will do, with a clasp to his purse and a button to his pocket, not skilled to build against Time, as in old countries, but against sore-pressing Need, accustomed to move the world with no {pou sto} but his own two feet, and no lever but his own long forecast. A strange hybrid, indeed, did circumstance beget, here in the New World, upon the old Puritan stock, and the earth never before saw such mystic-practicalism, such niggard-geniality, such calculating-fanaticism, such cast-iron-enthusiasm, such unwilling humour, such close-fisted-generosity. This new Graeculus esuriens will make a living out of any thing. He will invent new trades as well as tools. His brain is his capital, and he will get education at all risks. Put him on Juan Fernandez, and he would make a spelling-book first, and a salt-pan afterwards. In c[oe]lum, jusseris, ibit,—or the other way either,—it is all one, so any thing is to be got by it. Yet, after all, thin, speculative Jonathan is more like the Englishman of two centuries ago than John Bull himself is. He has lost somewhat in solidity, has become fluent and adaptable, but more of the original groundwork of character remains. He feels more at home with Fulke Greville, Herbert of Cherbury, Quarles, George Herbert, and Browne, than with his modern English cousins. He is nearer than John, by at least a hundred years, to Naseby, Marston Moor, Worcester, and the time when, if ever, there were true Englishmen. John Bull has suffered the idea of the Invisible to be very much flattened out of him. Jonathan is conscious still that he lives in the world of the Unseen as well as of the Seen. To move John, you must make your fulcrum of solid beef and pudding; an abstract idea will do for Jonathan.

* * * * *

*** TO THE INDULGENT READER.

My friend, the Rev. Mr. Wilbur, having been seized with a dangerous fit of illness, before this Introduction had passed through the press, and being incapacitated for all literary exertion, sent to me his notes, memoranda, &c., and requested me to fashion them into some shape more fitting for the general eye. This, owing to the fragmentary and disjointed state of his manuscripts, I have felt wholly unable to do; yet, being unwilling that the reader should be deprived of such parts of his lucubrations as seemed more finished, and not well discerning how to segregate these from the rest, I have concluded to send them all to the press precisely as they are.

COLUMBUS NYE, Pastor of a Church in Bungtown Corner.

* * * * *

It remains to speak of the Yankee dialect. And, first, it may be premised, in a general way, that any one much read in the writings of the early colonists need not be told that the far greater share of the words and phrases now esteemed peculiar to New England, and local there, were brought from the mother-country. A person familiar with the dialect of certain portions of Massachusetts will not fail to recognize, in ordinary discourse, many words now noted in English vocabularies as archaic, the greater part of which were in common use about the time of the King James translation of the Bible. Shakspeare stands less in need of a glossary to most New Englanders than to many a native of the Old Country. The peculiarities of our speech, however, are rapidly wearing out. As there is no country where reading is so universal and newspapers are so multitudinous, so no phrase remains long local, but is transplanted in the mail-bags to every remotest corner of the land. Consequently our dialect approaches nearer to uniformity than that of any other nation.

The English have complained of us for coining new words. Many of those so stigmatized were old ones by them forgotten, and all make now an unquestioned part of the currency, wherever English is spoken. Undoubtedly, we have a right to make new words, as they are needed by the fresh aspects under which life presents itself here in the New World; and, indeed, wherever a language is alive, it grows. It might be questioned whether we could not establish a stronger title to the ownership of the English tongue than the mother-islanders themselves. Here, past all question, is to be its great home and centre. And not only is it already spoken here by greater numbers, but with a far higher popular average of correctness, than in Britain. The great writers of it, too, we might claim as ours, were ownership to be settled by the number of readers and lovers.

As regards the provincialisms to be met with in this volume, I may say that the reader will not find one which is not (as I believe) either native or imported with the early settlers, nor one which I have not, with my own ears, heard in familiar use. In the metrical portion of the book, I have endeavoured to adapt the spelling as nearly as possible to the ordinary mode of pronunciation. Let the reader who deems me overparticular remember this caution of Martial:—

"Quem recitas, meus est, O Fidentine, libellus; Sed male cum recitas, incipit esse tuus."

A few further explanatory remarks will not be impertinent.

I shall barely lay down a few general rules for the reader's guidance.

1. The genuine Yankee never gives the rough sound to the r when he can help it, and often displays considerable ingenuity in avoiding it even before a vowel.

2. He seldom sounds the final g, a piece of self-denial, if we consider his partiality for nasals. The same of the final d, as han' and stan' for hand and stand.

3. The h in such words as while, when, where, he omits altogether.

4. In regard to a, he shows some inconsistency, sometimes giving a close and obscure sound, as hev for have, hendy for handy, ez for as, thet for that, and again giving it the broad sound it has in father, as hansome for handsome.

5. To the sound ou he prefixes an e (hard to exemplify otherwise than orally).

The following passage in Shakspeare he would recite thus:—

"Neow is the winta uv eour discontent Med glorious summa by this sun o' Yock, An' all the cleouds thet leowered upun eour heouse In the deep buzzum o' the oshin buried; Neow air eour breows beound 'ith victorious wreaths; Eour breused arms hung up fer monimunce; Eour starn alarums chănged to merry meetins, Eour dreffle marches to delightful measures. Grim-visaged war heth smeuthed his wrinkled front, An' neow, instid o' mountin' barebid steeds To fright the souls o' ferfle edverseries, He capers nimly in a lady's chămber, To the lascivious pleasin' uv a loot."

6. Au, in such words as daughter and slaughter, he pronounces ah.

7. To the dish thus seasoned add a drawl ad libitum.

[Mr. Wilbur's notes here become entirely fragmentary.—C. N.]

{a}. Unable to procure a likeness of Mr. Biglow, I thought the curious reader might be gratified with a sight of the editorial effigies. And here a choice between two was offered,—the one a profile (entirely black) cut by Doyle, the other a portrait painted by a native artist of much promise. The first of these seemed wanting in expression, and in the second a slight obliquity of the visual organs has been heightened (perhaps from an over-desire of force on the part of the artist) into too close an approach to actual strabismus. This slight divergence in my optical apparatus from the ordinary model—however I may have been taught to regard it in the light of a mercy rather than a cross, since it enabled me to give as much of directness and personal application to my discourses as met the wants of my congregation, without risk of offending any by being supposed to have him or her in my eye (as the saying is)—seemed yet to Mrs. Wilbur a sufficient objection to the engraving of the aforesaid painting. We read of many who either absolutely refused to allow the copying of their features, as especially did Plotinus and Agesilaus among the ancients, not to mention the more modern instances of Scioppius Palaeottus, Pinellus, Velserus, Gataker, and others, or were indifferent thereto, as Cromwell.

{b}. Yet was Caesar desirous of concealing his baldness. Per contra, my Lord Protector's carefulness in the matter of his wart might be cited. Men generally more desirous of being improved in their portraits than characters. Shall probably find very unflattered likenesses of ourselves in Recording Angel's gallery.

* * * * *

{g}. Whether any of our national peculiarities may be traced to our use of stoves, as a certain closeness of the lips in pronunciation, and a smothered smoulderingness of disposition, seldom roused to open flame? An unrestrained intercourse with fire probably conducive to generosity and hospitality of soul. Ancient Mexicans used stoves, as the friar Augustin Ruiz reports, Hakluyt, III., 468,—but Popish priests not always reliable authority.

To-day picked my Isabella grapes. Crop injured by attacks of rose-bug in the spring. Whether Noah was justifiable in preserving this class of insects?

{d}. Concerning Mr. Biglow's pedigree. Tolerably certain that there was never a poet among his ancestors. An ordination hymn attributed to a maternal uncle, but perhaps a sort of production not demanding the creative faculty.

His grandfather a painter of the grandiose or Michael Angelo school. Seldom painted objects smaller than houses or barns, and these with uncommon expression.

* * * * *

{e}. Of the Wilburs no complete pedigree. The crest said to be a wild boar, whence, perhaps, the name. (?) A connection with the Earls of Wilbraham (quasi wild boar ham) might be made out. This suggestion worth following up. In 1677, John W. m. Expect ——, had issue, 1. John, 2. Haggai, 3. Expect, 4. Ruhamah, 5. Desire.

"Hear lyes y^e bodye of Mrs Expect Wilber, Y^e crewell salvages they kil'd her Together w^th other Christian soles eleaven, October y^e ix daye, 1707. Y^e stream of Jordan sh' as crost ore And now expeacts me on y^e other shore: I live in hope her soon to join; Her earthlye yeeres were forty and nine." From Gravestone in Pekussett, North Parish.

This is unquestionably the same John who afterward (1711) married Tabitha Hagg or Rag.

But if this were the case, she seems to have died early; for only three years after, namely, 1714, we have evidence that he married Winifred, daughter of Lieutenant Tipping.

He seems to have been a man of substance, for we find him in 1696 conveying "one undivided eightieth part of a salt-meadow" in Yabbok, and he commanded a sloop in 1702.

Those who doubt the importance of genealogical studies fuste potius quam argumento erudiendi.

I trace him as far as 1723, and there lose him. In that year he was chosen selectman.

No gravestone. Perhaps overthrown when new hearse-house was built, 1802.

He was probably the son of John, who came from Bilham Comit. Salop. circa 1642.

This first John was a man of considerable importance, being twice mentioned with the honourable prefix of Mr. in the town records. Name spelt with two l-s.

"Hear lyeth y^e bod [stone unhappily broken.] Mr. Ihon Willber [Esq.] [I inclose this in brackets as doubtful. To me it seems clear.] Ob't die [illegible; looks like xviii.] ... iii [prob. 1693.] ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... paynt ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... deseased seinte: A friend and [fath]er untoe all y^e opreast, Hee gave y^e wicked familists noe reast, When Sat[an bl]ewe his Antinomian blaste, Wee clong to [Willber as a steadf]ast maste. [A]gaynst y^e horrid Qua[kers]...."

It is greatly to be lamented that this curious epitaph is mutilated. It is said that the sacrilegious British soldiers made a target of this stone during the war of Independence. How odious an animosity which pauses not at the grave! How brutal that which spares not the monuments of authentic history! This is not improbably from the pen of Rev. Moddy Pyram, who is mentioned by Hubbard as having been noted for a silver vein of poetry. If his papers be still extant, a copy might possibly be recovered.

FOOTNOTES:

[3] The reader curious in such matters may refer (if he can find them) to "A Sermon preached on the Anniversary of the Dark Day," "An Artillery Election Sermon," "A Discourse on the Late Eclipse," "Dorcas, a Funeral Sermon on the Death of Madam Submit Tidd, Relict of the late Experience Tidd, Esq." &c. &c.



THE BIGLOW PAPERS.



No. I.

A LETTER

FROM MR. EZEKIEL BIGLOW OF JAALAM TO THE HON. JOSEPH T. BUCKINGHAM, EDITOR OF THE BOSTON COURIER, INCLOSING A POEM OF HIS SON, MR. HOSEA BIGLOW.

JAYLEM, june 1846.

MISTER EDDYTER:—Our Hosea wuz down to Boston last week, and he see a cruetin Sarjunt a struttin round as popler as a hen with 1 chicking, with 2 fellers a drummin and fifin arter him like all nater. the sarjunt he thout Hosea hedn't gut his i teeth cut cos he looked a kindo's though he'd jest com down, so he cal'lated to hook him in, but Hosy woodn't take none o' his sarse for all he hed much as 20 Rooster's tales stuck onto his hat and eenamost enuf brass a bobbin up and down on his shoulders and figureed onto his coat and trousis, let alone wut nater hed sot in his featers, to make a 6 pounder out on.

wal, Hosea he com home considerabal riled, and arter I d gone to bed I heern Him a thrashin round like a short-tailed Bull in fli-time. The old Woman ses she to me ses she, Zekle, ses she, our Hosee's gut the chollery or suthin anuther ses she, don't you Bee skeered, ses I, he's oney amakin pottery[4] ses i, he's ollers on hand at that ere busynes like Da & martin, and shure enuf, cum mornin, Hosy he cum down stares full chizzle, hare on eend and cote tales flyin, and sot rite of to go reed his varses to Parson Wilbur bein he haint aney grate shows o' book larnin himself, bimeby he cum back and sed the parson wuz dreffle tickled with 'em as i hoop you will Be, and said they wuz True grit.

Hosea ses taint hardly fair to call 'em hisn now, cos the parson kind o' slicked off sum o' the last varses, but he told Hosee he didn't want to put his ore in to tetch to the Rest on 'em, bein they wuz verry well As thay wuz, and then Hosy ses he sed suthin a nuther about Simplex Mundishes or sum sech feller, but I guess Hosea kind o' didn't hear him, for I never hearn o' nobody o' that name in this villadge, and I've lived here man and boy 76 year cum next tater diggin, and thair aint no wheres a kitting spryer 'n I be.

If you print 'em I wish you'd jest let folks know who hosy's father is, cos my ant Keziah used to say it's nater to be curus ses she, she aint livin though and he's a likely kind o' lad.

EZEKIEL BIGLOW.

* * * * *

Thrash away, you 'll hev to rattle On them kittle drums o' yourn,— 'Taint a knowin' kind o' cattle Thet is ketched with mouldy corn; Put in stiff, you fifer feller, Let folks see how spry you be,— Guess you 'll toot till you are yeller 'Fore you git ahold o' me!

Thet air flag 's a leetle rotten, Hope it aint your Sunday's best;— Fact! it takes a sight o' cotton To stuff out a soger's chest: Sence we farmers hev to pay fer 't, Ef you must wear humps like these, Sposin' you should try salt hay fer 't, It would du ez slick ez grease.

'T would n't suit them Southern fellers, They 're a dreffle graspin' set, We must ollers blow the bellers Wen they want their irons het; May be it 's all right ez preachin', But my narves it kind o' grates, Wen I see the overreachin' O' them nigger-drivin' States.

Them thet rule us, them slave-traders, Haint they cut a thunderin' swarth (Helped by Yankee renegaders), Thru the vartu o' the North! We begin to think it 's nater To take sarse an' not be riled;— Who 'd expect to see a tater All on eend at bein' biled?

Ez fer war, I call it murder,— There you hev it plain an' flat; I don't want to go no furder Than my Testyment fer that; God hez sed so plump an' fairly, It 's ez long ez it is broad, An' you 've gut to git up airly Ef you want to take in God.

'Taint your eppyletts an' feathers Make the thing a grain more right; Taint afollerin' your bell-wethers Will excuse ye in His sight; Ef you take a sword an' dror it, An' go stick a feller thru, Guv'ment aint to answer for it, God 'll send the bill to you.

Wut 's the use o' meetin-goin' Every Sabbath, wet or dry, Ef it 's right to go amowin' Feller-men like oats an' rye? I dunno but wut it's pooty Trainin' round in bobtail coats,— But it 's curus Christian dooty This ere cuttin' folks's throats.

They may talk o' Freedom's airy Tell they 're pupple in the face,— It 's a grand gret cemetary Fer the barthrights of our race; They jest want this Californy So 's to lug new slave-states in To abuse ye, an' to scorn ye, An' to plunder ye like sin.

Aint it cute to see a Yankee Take sech everlastin' pains All to git the Devil's thankee, Helpin' on 'em weld their chains? Wy, it 's jest ez clear ez figgers, Clear ez one an' one make two, Chaps thet make black slaves o' niggers Want to make wite slaves o' you.

Tell ye jest the eend I've come to Arter cipherin' plaguy smart, An' it makes a handy sum, tu, Any gump could larn by heart; Laborin' man an' laborin' woman Hev one glory an' one shame, Ev'y thin' thet 's done inhuman Injers all on 'em the same.

'Taint by turnin' out to hack folks You 're agoin' to git your right, Nor by lookin' down on black folks Coz you 're put upon by wite; Slavery aint o' nary colour, 'Taint the hide thet makes it wus, All it keers fer in a feller 'S jest to make him fill its pus.

Want to tackle me in, du ye? I expect you 'll hev to wait; Wen cold lead puts daylight thru ye You 'll begin to kal'late; 'Spose the crows wun't fall to pickin' All the carkiss from your bones, Coz you helped to give a lickin' To them poor half-Spanish drones?

Jest go home an' ask our Nancy Wether I'd be sech a goose Ez to jine ye,—guess you'd fancy The etarnal bung wuz loose! She wants me fer home consumption, Let alone the hay 's to mow,— Ef you 're arter folks o' gumption, You've a darned long row to hoe.

Take them editors thet 's crowin' Like a cockerel three months old,— Don't ketch any on 'em goin', Though they be so blasted bold; Aint they a prime set o' fellers? 'Fore they think on 't they will sprout (Like a peach thet's got the yellers), With the meanness bustin' out.

Wal, go 'long to help 'em stealin' Bigger pens to cram with slaves, Help the men thet 's ollers dealin' Insults on your fathers' graves; Help the strong to grind the feeble, Help the many agin the few, Help the men thet call your people Witewashed slaves an' peddlin' crew!

Massachusetts, God forgive her, She's akneelin' with the rest, She, thet ough' to ha' clung fer ever In her grand old eagle-nest; She thet ough' to stand so fearless Wile the wracks are round her hurled, Holdin' up a beacon peerless To the oppressed of all the world!

Haint they sold your coloured seamen? Haint they made your env'ys wiz? Wut 'll make ye act like freemen? Wut 'll git your dander riz? Come, I'll tell ye wut I 'm thinkin' Is our dooty in this fix, They 'd ha' done 't ez quick ez winkin' In the days o' seventy-six.

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 messidge loudly In the ears of all the South:—

"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; Men hed ough' to put asunder Them thet 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 {kat' exochen} 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 Koenigsmark'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 suitably to the condition and profession he had placed him in"? It may be said of us all, Exemplo plus quam ratione vivimus.—H. W.]

FOOTNOTES:

[4] Aut insanit, aut versus facit.—H. W.



No. II.

A LETTER

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.

[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. I am aware that Herodotus states the conclusion of Psammiticus to have been in favour 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 have taught them (under God) to esteem our human institutions as but tents of a night, to be stricken whenever Truth puts the bugle to her lips, and sounds a march to the heights of wider-viewed intelligence and more perfect organization.—H. W.]

MISTER BUCKINUM, the follerin Billet was writ hum by a Yung feller of our town that wuz cussed fool enuff to goe atrottin inter Miss Chiff arter a Drum and fife. it ain't Nater for a feller to let on that he's sick o' any bizness that He went intu off his own free will and a Cord, but I rather cal'late he's middlin tired o' Voluntearin By this Time. I bleeve u may put dependunts on his statemence. For I never heered nothin bad on him let Alone his havin what Parson Wilbur calls a pongshong for cocktales, and he ses it wuz a soshiashun of idees sot him agoin arter the Crootin Sargient cos he wore a cocktale onto his hat.

his Folks gin the letter to me and i shew it to parson Wilbur and he ses it oughter Bee printed. send It to mister Buckinum, ses he, i don't ollers agree with him, ses he, but by Time,[5] ses he, I du like a feller that ain't a Feared.

I have intusspussed a Few refleckshuns hear and thair. We're kind o' prest with Hayin.

Ewers respecfly,

HOSEA BIGLOW.

* * * * *

This kind o' sogerin' aint a mite like our October trainin', A chap could clear right out from there ef 't only looked like rainin'. An' th' Cunnles, tu, could kiver up their shappoes with bandanners, An' send the insines skootin' to the bar-room with their banners (Fear o' gittin' on 'em spotted), an' a feller could cry quarter Ef he fired away his ramrod arter tu much rum an' water.

Recollect wut fun we hed, you 'n I an' Ezry Hollis, Up there to Waltham plain last fall, ahavin' the Cornwallis?[6] This sort o' thing aint jest like thet,—I wish thet I wuz furder,—[7] Nimepunce a day fer killin' folks comes kind o' low fer murder (Wy I 've worked out to slarterin' some fer Deacon Cephas Billins, An' in the hardest times there wuz I ollers tetched ten shillins), There's sutthin' gits into my throat thet makes it hard to swaller, It comes so nateral to think about a hempen collar; It 's glory,—but, in spite o' all my tryin' to git callous, I feel a kind o' in a cart, aridin' to the gallus. But wen it comes to bein' killed,—I tell ye I felt streaked The fust time ever I found out wy baggonets wuz peaked; Here's how it wuz: I started out to go to a fandango, The sentinul he ups an' sez, "Thet 's furder 'an you can go." "None o' your sarse," sez I; sez he, "Stan' back!" "Aint you a buster?" Sez I, "I 'm up to all thet air, I guess I've ben to muster; I know wy sentinuls air sot; you aint agoin' to eat us; Caleb haint no monopoly to court the seenoreetas; My folks to hum air full ez good ez hisn be, by golly!" An' so ez I wuz goin' by, not thinkin' wut would folly, The everlastin' cus he stuck his one-pronged pitchfork in me An' made a hole right thru my close ez ef I wuz an in'my. Wal, it beats all how big I felt hoorawin' in ole Funnel Wen Mister Bolles he gin the sword to our Leftenant Cunnle (It 's Mister Secondary Bolles,[8] thet writ the prize peace essay; Thet 's wy he did n't list himself along o us, I dessay), An' Rantoul, tu, talked pooty loud, but don't put his foot in it, Coz human life 's so sacred thet he 's principled agin' it,— Though I myself can 't rightly see it 's any wus achokin' on 'em Than puttin' bullets thru their lights, or with a bagnet pokin' on 'em; How dreffle slick he reeled it off (like Blitz at our lyceum Ahaulin' ribbins from his chops so quick you skeercely see 'em), About the Anglo-Saxon race (an' saxons would be handy To du the buryin' down here upon the Rio Grandy), About our patriotic pas an' our star-spangled banner, Our country's bird alookin' on an' singin' out hosanner, An' how he (Mister B. himself) wuz happy fer Ameriky,— I felt, ez sister Patience sez, a leetle mite histericky. I felt, I swon, ez though it wuz a dreffle kind o' privilege Atrampin' round thru Boston streets among the gutter's drivelage; I act'lly thought it wuz a treat to hear a little drummin', An' it did bonyfidy seem millanyum wuz acomin' Wen all on us got suits (darned like them wore in the state prison) An' every feller felt ez though all Mexico wuz hisn.[9]

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