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Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 9, No. 52, February, 1862 by Various

Part 5 out of 5

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part of the publick, (as I have reason to know from several letters of
inquiry already received,) but would also, as I think, have largely
increased the circulation of your Magazine in this town. _Nihil humani
alienum_, there is a curiosity about the affairs of our neighbours which
is not only pardonable, but even commendable. But I shall abide a more
fitting season.

As touching the following literary effort of Esquire Biglow, much might
be profitably said on the topick of Idyllick and Pastoral Poetry,
and concerning the proper distinctions to be made between them, from
Theocritus, the inventor of the former, to Collins, the latest authour I
know of who has emulated the classicks in the latter style. But in the
time of a civil war worthy a Milton to defend and a Lucan to sing, it
may be reasonably doubted whether the publick, never too studious of
serious instruction, might not consider other objects more deserving of
present attention. Concerning the title of Idyll, which Mr. Biglow has
adopted at my suggestion, it may not be improper to animadvert, that the
name properly signifies a poem somewhat rustick in phrase, (for, though
the learned are not agreed as to the particular dialect employed by
Theocritus, they are universanimous both as to its rusticity and its
capacity of rising now and then to the level of more elevated sentiments
and expressions,) while it is also descriptive of real scenery and
manners. Yet it must be admitted that the production now in question
(which here and there bears perhaps too plainly the marks of my
correcting hand) does partake of the nature of a Pastoral, inasmuch as
the interlocutors therein are purely imaginary beings, and the whole
is little better than [Greek: skias onar.] The plot was, as I believe,
suggested by the "Twa Briggs" of Robert Burns, a Scottish poet of the
last century, as that found its prototype in the "Mutual Complaint of
Plainstanes and Causey" by Fergusson, though the metre of this latter
be different by a foot in each verse. I reminded my talented young
parishioner and friend that Concord Bridge had long since yielded to the
edacious tooth of Time. But he answered me to this effect: that there
was no greater mistake of an authour than to suppose the reader had
no fancy of his own; that, if once that faculty was to be called into
activity, it were _better_ to be in for the whole sheep than the
shoulder; and that he knew Concord like a book,--an expression
questionable in propriety, since there are few things with which he
is not more familiar than with the printed page. In proof of what he
affirmed, he showed me some verses which with others he had stricken out
as too much delaying the action, but which I communicate in this place
because they rightly define "punkin-seed," (which Mr. Bartlett would
have a kind of perch,--a creature to which I have found a rod or pole
not to be so easily equivalent in our inland waters as in the books of
arithmetic,) and because it conveys an eulogium on the worthy son of an
excellent father, with whose acquaintance (_eheu, fugaces anni!_) I was
formerly honoured.

"But nowadays the Bridge ain't wut they show,
So much ez Em'son, Hawthorne, an' Thoreau.
I know the village, though: was sent there once
A-schoolin', coz to home I played the dunce;
An' I've ben sence a-visitin' the Jedge,
Whose garding whispers with the river's edge,
Where I've sot mornin's, lazy as the bream,
Whose only business is to head up-stream,
(We call 'em punkin-seed,) or else in chat
Along'th the Jedge, who covers with his hat
More wit an' gumption an' shrewd Yankee sense
Than there is mosses on an ole stone fence."

Concerning the subject-matter of the verses I have not the leisure at
present to write so fully as I could wish, my time being occupied
with the preparation of a discourse for the forthcoming bi-centenary
celebration of the first settlement of Jaalam East Parish. It may
gratify the publick interest to mention the circumstance, that my
investigations to this end have enabled me to verify the fact (of much
historick importance, and hitherto hotly debated) that Shearjashub
Tarbox was the first child of white parentage born in this town, being
named in his father's will under date August 7th, or 9th, 1662. It is
well known that those who advocate the claims of Mehetable Goings are
unable to find any trace of her existence prior to October of that year.
As respects the settlement of the Mason and Slidell question, Mr. Biglow
has not incorrectly stated the popular sentiment, so far as I can judge
by its expression in this locality. For myself, I feel more sorrow than
resentment; for I am old enough to have heard those talk of England who
still, even after the unhappy estrangement, could not unschool their
lips from calling her the Mother-Country. But England has insisted on
ripping up old wounds, and has undone the healing work of fifty years;
for nations do not reason, they only feel, and the _spretae injuria
formae_ rankles in their minds as bitterly as in that of a woman. And
because this is so, I feel the more satisfaction that our Government has
acted (as all Governments should, standing as they do between the people
and their passions) as if it had arrived at years of discretion. There
are three short and simple words, the hardest of all to pronounce in any
language, (and I suspect they were no easier before the confusion of
tongues,) but which no man or nation that cannot utter can claim to have
arrived at manhood. Those words are, _I was wrong_; and I am proud,
that, while England played the boy, our rulers had strength enough from
below and wisdom enough from above to quit themselves like men. Let us
strengthen the hands of those in authority over us, and curb out own
tongues,[A] remembering that General Wait commonly proves in the end
more than a match for General Headlong, and that the Good Book ascribes
safety to a multitude, indeed, but not to a mob, of counsellours. Let us
remember and perpend the words of Paulus Emilius to the people of Rome:
that, "if they judged they could manage the war to more advantage by any
other, he would willingly yield up his charge; but if they confided in
him, _they were not to make themselves his colleagues in his office, or
raise reports, or criticize, his actions, but, without talking, supply
him with means and assistance necessary to the carrying on of the war;
for, if they proposed to command their own commander, they would render
this expedition more ridiculous than the former." (Vide Plutarchum in
vita P.E.)_ Let us also not forget what the same excellent authour
says concerning Perseus's fear of spending money, and not permit the
covetousness of Brother Jonathan to be the good-fortune of Jefferson
Davis. For my own part, till I am ready to admit the Commander-in-Chief
to my pulpit, I shall abstain from planning his battles. Patience is the
armour of a nation; and in our desire for peace, let us never be willing
to surrender the Constitution bequeathed us by fathers at least as wise
as ourselves, (even with Jefferson Davis to help us,) and, with those
degenerate Romans, _tuta et presentia quam vetera et periculosa malle._

With respect,
Your ob't humble serv't,
HOMER WILBUR, A.M.

[Footnote A: And not only our own tongues, but the pens of others, which
are swift to convey useful intelligence to the enemy. This is no new
inconvenience; for, under date 3rd June, 1745, General Pepperell wrote
thus to Governour Shirley from Louisbourg:--"What your Excellency
observes of the _army's being made acquainted with any plans proposed,
until really to be put in execution_, has always been disagreeable
to me, and I have given many cautions relating to it. But when your
Excellency considers that _our Council of War consists of more than
twenty members_, am persuaded you will think it _impossible for me to
hinder it_, if any of them will persist in communicating to inferiour
officers and soldiers what ought to be kept secret. I am informed that
the Boston newspapers are filled with paragraphs from private letters
relating to the expedition. Will your Excellency permit me to say I
think it may be of ill consequence? Would it not be convenient, if your
Excellency should forbid the Printers' inserting such news?" Verily, if
_tempora mutantur,_ we may question the _et nos mutamur in illis;_ and
if tongues be leaky, it will need all hands at the pumps to save the
Ship of State. Our history dates and repeats itself. If Sassycus (rather
than Alcibiades) find a parallel in Beauregard, so Weakwash, as he is
called by the brave Lieutenant Lion Gardiner, need not seek far among
our own Sachems for his antitype.]

I love to start out arter night's begun,
An' all the chores about the farm are done,
The critters milked an' foddered, gates shet fast,
Tools cleaned aginst to-morrer, supper past,
An' Nancy darnin' by her ker'sene lamp,--
I love, I say, to start upon a tramp,
To shake the kinkles out o' back an' legs,
An' kind o' rack my life off from the dregs
Thet's apt to settle in the buttery-hutch
Of folks thet foller in one rut too much:
Hard work is good an' wholesome, past all doubt;
But 't ain't so, ef the mind gits tuckered out.

Now, bein' born in Middlesex, you know,
There's certin spots where I like best to go:
The Concord road, for instance, (I, for one,
Most gin'lly ollers call it _John Bull's Run._)--
The field o' Lexin'ton, where England tried
The fastest colors thet she ever dyed,--
An' Concord Bridge, thet Davis, when he came,
Found was the bee-line track to heaven an' fame,--
Ez all roads be by natur', ef your soul
Don't sneak thru shun-pikes so's to save the toll.

They're 'most too fur away, take too much time
To visit often, ef it ain't in rhyme;
But there's a walk thet's hendier, a sight,
An' suits me fust-rate of a winter's night,--
I mean the round whale's-back o' Prospect Hill.
I love to loiter there while night grows still,
An' in the twinklin' villages about,
Fust here, then there, the well-saved lights goes out,
An' nary sound but watch-dogs' false alarms,
Or muffled cock-crows from the drowsy farms,
Where some wise rooster (men act jest thet way)
Stands to't thet moon-rise is the break o' day:
So Mister Seward sticks a three-months pin
Where the war'd oughto end, then tries agin;--
My gran'ther's rule was safer'n 't is to crow:
_Don't never prophesy--onless ye know._

I love to muse there till it kind o' seems
Ez ef the world went eddyin' off in dreams.
The Northwest wind thet twitches at my baird
Blows out o' sturdier days not easy scared,
An' the same moon thet this December shines
Starts out the tents an' booths o' Putnam's lines;
The rail-fence posts, acrost the hill thet runs,
Turn ghosts o' sogers should'rin' ghosts o' guns;
Ez wheels the sentry, glints a flash o' light
Along the firelock won at Concord Fight,
An' 'twixt the silences, now fur, now nigh,
Rings the sharp chellenge, hums the low reply.
Ez I was settin' so, it warn't long sence,
Mixin' the perfect with the present tense,
I heerd two voices som'ers in the air,
Though, ef I was to die, I can't tell where:
Voices I call 'em: 't was a kind o' sough
Like pine-trees thet the wind is geth'rin' through;
An', fact, I thought it _was_ the wind a spell,--
Then some misdoubted,--couldn't fairly tell,--
Fust sure, then not, jest as you hold an eel,--
I knowed, an' didn't,--fin'lly seemed to feel
'T was Concord Bridge a-talkin' off to kill
With the Stone Spike thet's druv thru Bunker Hill:
Whether't was so, or ef I only dreamed,
I couldn't say; I tell it ez it seemed.

THE BRIDGE.

Wal, neighbor, tell us, wut's turned up thet's new?
You're younger'n I be,--nigher Boston, tu;
An' down to Boston, ef you take their showin',
Wut they don't know ain't hardly wuth the knowin'.
There's _sunthin'_ goin' on, I know: las' night
The British sogers killed in our gret fight
(Nigh fifty year they hedn't stirred nor spoke)
Made sech a coil you'd thought a dam hed broke:
Why, one he up an' beat a revellee
With his own crossbones on a holler tree,
Till all the graveyards swarmed out like a hive
With faces I hain't seen sence Seventy-five.
Wut _is_ the news? 'T ain't good, or they'd be cheerin'.
Speak slow an' clear, for I'm some hard o' hearin'.

THE MONIMENT.

I don't know hardly ef it's good or bad,--

THE BRIDGE.

At wust, it can't be wus than wut we've had.

THE MONIMENT.

You know them envys thet the Rebbles sent,
An' Cap'n Wilkes he borried o' the Trent?

THE BRIDGE.

Wut! hev they hanged 'em? Then their wits is gone!
Thet's a sure way to make a goose a swan!

THE MONIMENT.

No: England she _would_ hev 'em, _Fee, Faw, Fum!_
(Ez though she hedn't fools enough to home,)
So they've returned 'em--

THE BRIDGE.

_Hev_ they? Wal, by heaven,
Thet's the wust news I've heerd sence Seventy-seven!
_By George_, I meant to say, though I declare
It's 'most enough to make a deacon, swear.

THE MONIMENT.

Now don't go off half-cock: folks never gains
By usin' pepper-sarse instid o' brains.
Come, neighbor, you don't understand--

THE BRIDGE.

How? Hey?
Not understand? Why, wut's to hender, pray?
Must I go huntin' round to find a chap
To tell me when my face hez hed a slap?

THE MONIMENT.

See here: the British they found out a flaw
In Cap'n Wilkes's readin' o' the law:
(They _make_ all laws, you know, an' so, o' course,
It's nateral they should understand their force:)
He'd oughto took the vessel into port,
An' hed her sot on by a reg'lar court;
She was a mail-ship, an' a steamer, tu,
An' thet, they say, hez changed the pint o' view,
Coz the old practice, bein' meant for sails,
Ef tried upon a steamer, kind o' falls;
You _may_ take out despatches, but you mus'n't
Take nary man--

THE BRIDGE.

You mean to say, you dus'n't!
Changed pint o' view! No, no,--it's overboard
With law an' gospel, when their ox is gored!
I tell ye, England's law, on sea an' land,
Hez ollers ben, "_I've gut the heaviest hand_."
Take nary man? Fine preachin' from _her_ lips!
Why, she hez taken hunderds from our ships,
An' would agin, an' swear she hed a right to,
Ef we warn't strong enough to be perlite to.
Of all the sarse thet I can call to mind,
England _doos_ make the most onpleasant kind:
It's you're the sinner ollers, she's the saint;
Wut's good's all English, all thet isn't ain't;
Wut profits her is ollers right an' just,
An' ef you don't read Scriptur so, you must;
She's praised herself ontil she fairly thinks
There ain't no light in Natur when she winks;
Hain't she the Ten Comman'ments in her pus?
Could the world stir 'thout she went, tu, ez nus?
She ain't like other mortals, thet's a fact:
_She_ never stopped the habus-corpus act,
Nor specie payments, nor she never yet
Cut down the int'rest on her public debt;
_She_ don't put down rebellions, lets 'em breed,
An' 's ollers willin' Ireland should secede;
She's all thet's honest, honnable, an' fair,
An' when the vartoos died they made her heir.

THE MONIMENT.

Wal, wal, two wrongs don't never make a right;
Ef we're mistaken, own it, an' don't fight:
For gracious' sake, hain't we enough to du
'Thout gittin' up a fight with England, tu?
She thinks we're rabble-rid------

THE BRIDGE

An' so we can't
Distinguish 'twixt _You oughtn't_ an' _You shan't!_
She jedges by herself; she's no idear
How 't stiddies folks to give 'em their fair sheer:
The odds 'twixt her an' us is plain's a steeple,--
Her People's turned to Mob, our Mob's turned People.

THE MONIMENT.

She's riled jes' now------

THE BRIDGE

Plain proof her cause ain't strong,--
The one thet fust gits mad's most ollers wrong.

THE MONIMENT.

You're ollers quick to set your back aridge,--
Though't suits a tom-cat more 'n a sober bridge:
Don't you git het: they thought the thing was planned;
They'll cool off when they come to understand.

THE BRIDGE

Ef _thet's_ wilt you expect, you'll _hev_ to wait:
Folks never understand the folks they hate:
She'll fin' some other grievance jest ez good,
'Fore the month's out, to git misunderstood.
England cool off! She'll do it, ef she sees
She's run her head into a swarm o' bees.
I ain't so prejudiced ez wut you spose:
I hev thought England was the best thet goes;
Remember, (no, you can't,) when _I_ was reared,
_God save the King_ was all the tune you heerd:
But it's enough to turn Wachuset roun',
This stumpin' fellers when you think they're down.

THE MONIMENT.

But, neighbor, ef they prove their claim at law,
The best way is to settle, an' not jaw.
An' don't le' 's mutter 'bout the awfle bricks
We'll give 'em, ef we ketch 'em in a fix:
That 'ere's most frequently the kin' o' talk
Of critters can't be kicked to toe the chalk;
Your "You'll see _nex'_ time!" an' "Look out bimeby!"
Most ollers ends in eatin' umble-pie.
'T wun't pay to scringe to England: will it pay
To fear thet meaner bully, old "They'll say"?
Suppose they _du_ say: words are dreffle bores,
But they ain't quite so bad ez seventy-fours.
Wut England wants is jest a wedge to fit
Where it'll help to widen out our split:
She's found her wedge, an' 't ain't for us to come
An' lend the beetle thet's to drive it home.
For growed-up folks like us 't would be a scandle,
When we git sarsed, to fly right off the handle.
England ain't _all_ bad, coz she thinks us blind:
Ef she can't change her skin, she can her mind;
An' you will see her change it double-quick,
Soon ez we've proved thet we're a-goin' to lick.
She an' Columby's gut to be fas' friends;
For the world prospers by their privit ends:
'T would put the clock back all o' fifty years,
Ef they should fall together by the ears.

THE BRIDGE.

You may be right; but hearken in your ear,--
I'm older 'n you,--Peace wun't keep house with Fear:
Ef you want peace, the thing you've gut to du
Is jest to show you're up to fightin', tu.
_I_ recollect how sailors' rights was won
Yard locked in yard, hot gun-lip kissin' gun:
Why, afore thet, John Bull sot up thet he
Hed gut a kind o' mortgage on the sea;
You'd thought he held by Gran'ther Adam's will,
An' ef you knuckle down, _he_'ll think so still.
Better thet all our ships an' all their crews
Should sink to rot in ocean's dreamless ooze,
Each torn flag wavin' chellenge ez it went,
An' each dumb gun a brave man's moniment,
Than seek sech peace ez only cowards crave:
Give me the peace of dead men or of brave!

THE MONIMENT.

I say, ole boy, it ain't the Glorious Fourth:
You'd oughto learned 'fore this wut talk wuz worth.
It ain't _our_ nose thet gits put out o' jint;
It's England thet gives up her dearest pint.
We've gut, I tell ye now, enough to du
In our own fem'ly fight, afore we're thru.
I hoped, las' spring, jest arter Sumter's shame,
When every flag-staff flapped its tethered flame,
An' all the people, startled from their doubt,
Come must'rin' to the flag with sech a shout,--

I hoped to see things settled 'fore this fall,
The Rebbles licked, Jeff Davis hanged, an' all;
Then come Bull Run, an' _sence_ then I've ben waitin'
Like boys in Jennooary thaw for skatin',
Nothin' to du but watch my shadder's trace
Swing, like a ship at anchor, roun' my base,
With daylight's flood an' ebb: it's gittin' slow,
An' I 'most think we'd better let 'em go.
I tell ye wut, this war's a-goin' to cost--

THE BRIDGE.

An' I tell _you_ it wun't be money lost;
Taxes milks dry, but, neighbor, you'll allow
Thet havin' things onsettled kills the cow:
We've gut to fix this thing for good an' all;
It's no use buildin' wut's a-goin' to fall.
I'm older 'n you, an' I've seen things an' men,
An' here's wut my experience hez ben:
Folks thet worked thorough was the ones thet thriv,
But bad work follers ye ez long's ye live;
You can't git red on 't; jest ez sure ez sin,
It's ollers askin' to be done agin:
Ef we should part, it wouldn't be a week
'Fore your soft-soddered peace would spring aleak.
We've turned our cuffs up, but, to put her thru,
We must git mad an' off with jackets, tu;
'T wun't du to think thet killin' ain't perlite,--
You've gut to be in airnest, ef you fight;
Why, two-thirds o' the Rebbles 'ould cut dirt,
Ef they once thought thet Guv'ment meant to hurt;
An' I _du_ wish our Gin'rals hed in mind
The folks in front more than the folks behind;
You wun't do much ontil you think it's God,
An' not constitoounts, thet holds the rod;
We want some more o' Gideon's sword, I jedge,
For proclamations hain't no gret of edge;
There's nothin' for a cancer but the knife,
Onless you set by 't more than by your life.
_I_'ve seen hard times; I see a war begun
Thet folks thet love their bellies never'd won,--
Pharo's lean kine hung on for seven long year,--
But when't was done, we didn't count it dear.
Why, law an' order, honor, civil right,
Ef they _ain't_ wuth it, wut _is_ wuth a fight?
I'm older 'n you: the plough, the axe, the mill,
All kinds o' labor an' all kinds o' skill,
Would be a rabbit in a wile-cat's claw,
Ef't warn't for thet slow critter, 'stablished law;
Onsettle _thet_, an' all the world goes whiz,
A screw is loose in everythin' there is:
Good buttresses once settled, don't you fret
An' stir 'em: take a bridge's word for thet!
Young folks are smart, but all ain't good thet's new;
I guess the gran'thers they knowed sunthin', tu.

THE MONIMENT.

Amen to thet! build sure in the beginning',
An' then don't never tech the underpinnin':
Th' older a Guv'ment is, the better 't suits;
New ones hunt folks's corns out like new boots:
Change jest for change is like those big hotels
Where they shift plates, an' let ye live on smells.

THE BRIDGE

Wal, don't give up afore the ship goes down:
It's a stiff gale, but Providence wun't drown;
An' God wun't leave us yet to sink or swim,
Ef we don't fail to du wut 's right by Him.
This land o' ourn, I tell ye, 's gut to be
A better country than man ever see.
I feel my sperit swellin' with a cry
Thet seems to say, "Break forth an' prophesy!"
O strange New World, thet yet wast never young,
Whose youth from thee by gripin' need was wrung,--
Brown foundlin' o' the woods, whose baby-bed
Was prowled round by the Injun's cracklin' tread,
An' who grew'st strong thru shifts an' wants an' pains,
Nussed by stern men with empires in their brains,
Who saw in vision their young Ishmel strain
With each hard hand a vassal ocean's mane,--
Thou, skilled by Freedom an' by gret events
To pitch new States ez Old-World men pitch tents,--
Thou, taught by Fate to know Jehovah's plan
Thet only manhood ever makes a man,
An' whose free latch-string never was drawed in
Aginst the poorest child o' Adam's kin,--
The grave's not dug where traitor hands shall lay
In fearful haste thy murdered corse away!
I see----

Jest here some dogs began to bark,
So thet I lost old Concord's last remark:
I listened long, but all I seemed to hear
Was dead leaves goss'pin' on some birch-trees near;
But ez they hedn't no gret things to say,
An' said 'em often, I come right away,
An', walkin' home'ards, jest to pass the time,
I put some thoughts thet bothered me in rhyme:
I hain't hed time to fairly try 'em on,
But here they be,--it's

JONATHAN TO JOHN.

It don't seem hardly right, John,
When both my hands was full,
To stump me to a fight, John,--
Your cousin, tu, John Bull!
Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess
We know it now," sez he,
"The lion's paw is all the law,
Accordin' to J.B.,
Thet's fit for you an' me!"

Blood ain't so cool as ink, John:
It's likely you'd ha' wrote,
An' stopped a spell to think, John,
_Arter_ they'd cut your throat?
Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess
He'd skurce ha' stopped," sez he,
"To mind his p-s an' q-s, ef thet weasan'
Hed b'longed to ole J.B.,
Instid o' you an' me!"

Ef _I_ turned mad dogs loose, John,
On _your_ front-parlor stairs,
Would it jest meet your views, John,
To wait an' sue their heirs?
Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess,
I on'y guess," sez he,
"Thet, ef Vattel on _his_ toes fell,
'T would kind o' rile J.B.,
Ez wal ez you an' me!"

Who made the law thet hurts, John,
_Heads I win,--ditto, tails?_
"_J.B._" was on his shirts, John,
Onless my memory fails.
Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess,
(I'm good at thet,)" sez he,
"Thet sauce for goose ain't _jest_ the juice
For ganders with J.B.,
No more than you or me!"

When your rights was our wrongs, John,
You didn't stop for fuss,--
Britanny's trident-prongs, John,
Was good 'nough law for us.
Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess,
Though physic's good," sez he,
"It doesn't foller thet he can swaller
Prescriptions signed 'J.B.,'
Put up by you an' me!"

We own the ocean, tu, John:
You mus'n't take it hard,
Ef we can't think with you, John,
It's jest your own back-yard.
Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess,
Ef _thet's_ his claim," sez he,
"The fencin'-stuff 'll cost enough
To bust up friend J.B.,
Ez wal ez you an' me!"

Why talk so dreffle big, John,
Of honor, when it meant
You didn't care a fig, John,
But jest for _ten per cent_.?
Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess,
He's like the rest," sez he:
"When all is done, it's number one
Thet's nearest to J.B.,
Ez wal ez you an' me!"

We give the critters back, John,
Coz Abram thought 't was right;
It warn't your bullyin' clack, John,
Provokin' us to fight.
Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess
We've a hard row," sez he,
"To hoe jest now; but thet, somehow,
May heppen to J.B.,
Ez wal ez you an' me!"

We ain't so weak an' poor, John,
With twenty million people,
An' close to every door, John,
A school-house an' a steeple.
Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess
It is a fact," sez he,
"The surest plan to make a Man
Is, Think him so, J.B.,
Ez much ez you or me!"

Our folks believe in Law, John;
An' it's for her sake, now,
They've left the axe an' saw, John,
The anvil an' the plough.
Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess,
Ef't warn't for law," sez he,
"There'd be one shindy from here to Indy;
An' thet don't suit J.B.
(When't ain't 'twixt you an' me!)"

We know we've gut a cause, John,
Thet's honest, just, an' true;
We thought't would win applause, John,
Ef nowheres else, from you.
Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess
His love of right," sez he,
"Hangs by a rotten fibre o' cotton:
There's natur' in J.B.,
Ez wal ez you an' me!"

The South says, "_Poor folks down!_" John,
An' "_All men up!_" say we,--
"White, yaller, black, an' brown, John:
Now which is your idee?"
Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess,
John preaches wal," sez he;
"But, sermon thru, an' come to _du_,
Why, there's the old J.B.
A-crowdin' you an' me!"

Shall it be love or hate, John?
It's you thet's to decide;
Ain't _your_ bonds held by Fate, John,
Like all the world's beside?
Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess
Wise men forgive," sez he,
"But not forget; an' some time yet
Thet truth may strike J.B.,
Ez wal ez you an' me!"

God means to make this land, John,
Clear thru, from sea to sea,
Believe an' understand, John,
The _wuth_ o' bein' free.
Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess,
God's price is high," sez he;
"But nothin' else than wut He sells
Wears long, an' thet J.B.
May learn like you an' me!"

* * * * *

REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.

_The Cloister and the Hearth; or, Maid, Wife, and Widow_. A
Matter-of-Fact Romance. By CHARLES READE, Author of "Never too Late to
Mend," etc., etc. New York: Rudd & Carleton. 8vo.

The novels of Charles Reade are generally marked not only by
individuality of genius, but by individualisms of egotism and caprice.
The latter provoke the reader almost as much as the former gives him
delight. It disturbs the least critical mind to find the keenest insight
in company with the loudest bravado, and the statement of a wise or
beautiful thought followed up by a dogmatic assertion of infallibility
as harsh as a slap on the face. The indisposition to recognize such a
genius comes from the fact that he irritates as well as stimulates the
minds he addresses. Everybody reads him, but the fooling he inspires is
made up of admiration and exasperation. The public is both delighted and
insulted. He not only does not attempt to conceal his contemptuous sense
of superiority to common men, but he absolutely screeches and bawls it
out. Fearful that the dull Anglo-Saxon mind cannot appreciate his finest
strokes, he emphasizes his inspirations not merely by Italics, but by
capitals, thus conveying his brightest wit and deepest contrivances by
a kind of typographic yell. Were there not a solid foundation of
observation, learning, genius, and conscience to his work, his egotistic
eccentricities would awake a tempest of hisses. Being, in reality,
superficial and not central, they are readily pardoned by discerning
critics. Even these, however, must object to his disposition to cluck or
crow, in a manner altogether unseemly, whenever he hits upon a thought
of more than ordinary delicacy or depth.

It is but just to say, in palliation of this fault, that Mr. Reade's
insolent tone is not peculiar to him. It characterizes almost every
prominent person who has attempted to mould the opinions of the age. We
find it in Macaulay, Carlyle, Ruskin, and Kingsley, as well as in Reade.
Modesty is not the characteristic of the genius of the nineteenth
century; and the last thing we look for in any powerful work of the
present day is toleration for other minds and opposing opinions.
Each capable person who puts in his thumb and pulls out a plum draws
instantly the same inference which occurred to the first explorer of
the Christmas-pie. Charles Reade has no reservation at all, and boldly
echoes Master Horner's sage conclusion.

"The Cloister and the Hearth," in spite of its faults, is really a great
book. It is a positive contribution to history as well as to romance. It
would be vain to point to any other volume which could convey to common
minds so clear and accurate a conception of European life in the
fifteenth century as this. The author has deeply studied the annals,
memoirs, and histories which record the peculiarities of that life, and
he has carried into the study a knowledge of those powers and passions
of human nature which are the same in every age. The result is a
"romance of history" which contains more essential truth than the most
labored histories; for the writer is a man who has both the heart to
feel and the imagination to conceive the realities of the time about
which he writes.

The characterization of the book is original, various, and powerful.
It ranges from the lowest hind to the most exquisite representative
of female tenderness and purity. The scenes of passion show a clear
conception of and a strong hold upon the emotional elements of
character, and a capacity to exhibit their most terrible workings
in language which seems identical with the feelings it so burningly
expresses. In vigor and vividness of description and narration the novel
excels any of Reade's previous books. The plot is about the same as that
of "The Good Fight," though the _denouement_ is different. "The Cloister
and the Hearth," indeed, incorporates "The Good Fight" in its pages, but
the latter forms not more than a fourth of the extended work. Altogether
the romance must be classed among the best which have appeared during
the last twenty years.

_Lessons in Life_. A Series of Familiar Essays. By TIMOTHY TITCOMB. New
York: Charles Scribner, 16 mo.

Who is more popular than honest Timothy? Opening this, his latest
volume, we read on, a fly-leaf fronting the title-page that twenty-six
editions of the "Letters to Young People," fifteen editions each of
"Bitter-Sweet" and "Gold Foil," and thirteen editions of "Miss Gilbert's
Career" have gone the way of all good books. The author says, in his
modest preface to the "Lessons," that he can hardly pretend to have done
more than to organize and put into form the average thinking of those
who read his books, and be only claims for his essays that they possess
the quality of common sense. He herein pays a very high compliment to
the crowd which demands over the bookseller's counter so many thousands
of his volumes. Wisdom, admirably put, is not a commodity glutting the
market every day. We find in the pages of this new venture so many
healthy maxims and so much excellent advice, that we hope the volume
will spread itself farther and wider than any of its predecessors. This
wish fulfilled will give it no mean circulation. "The Ways of Charity,"
one of the papers in this volume, ought to be printed in tract form, and
scattered broadcast everywhere. And there are other articles in the book
quite as good as this.

_English Sacred Poetry of the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and
Nineteenth Centuries._ Selected and edited by ROBERT ARIS WILLMOTT, M.A.
Illustrated by Holman Hunt, John Gilbert, and others. London: Routledge
& Co. 4to.

Mr. Willmott has considerable reputation for judgment and taste as a
compiler. He knows a good poem afar off, and his chief pleasure seems
to lie in reproducing from old books the excellent things that time has
spared to us. His last contribution to the stock of elegant volumes is
this very handsome book of English Sacred Poetry. The illustrations are
by no means equally good, but the majority of them are satisfactory.
Delicious bits of English landscape scenery peep out along the pages, as
one turns the leaves of this beautiful collection. An old village church
rising among the graves of centuries, a bird's-nest snug and warm in the
boughs of a mossy tree, a group of old-time worshippers gathered on the
grass, a brook making its way through flower-enamelled banks, a shepherd
with his flock couched on the hill-side, and other similar scenes of
quiet and rest, abound in this volume. The printer and the binder have
produced as luxurious a specimen of their respective arts as we have
seen from the British holiday press.

* * * * *

RECENT AMERICAN PUBLICATIONS

RECEIVED BY THE EDITORS OF THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

The Cotton Kingdom: A Traveller's Observations on Cotton and Slavery in
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Volumes. New York. Mason Brothers. 12mo. pp. viii., 376; 404. $2.00.

The Last Political Writings of General Nathaniel Lyon, U.S.A. With a
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The Lamplighter's Story; Hunted Down; The Detective Police, and other
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Poems. By John G. Saxe. Complete in One Volume. Blue and Gold. Boston.
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Elijah, a Sacred Drama, and other Poems. By Rev. Robert Davidson, D.D.
New York. C. Scribner. 16mo. pp. 184. 75 cts.

Works of Charles Dickens. Household Edition. Illustrated from Drawings
by F.O.C. Darley and John Gilbert. The Old Curiosity-Shop. In Three
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National Hymns: How they are Written, and how they are not Written. A
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A Manual of Elementary Geometrical Drawing, involving Three Dimensions.
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For Better, for Worse. A Love Story. From "Temple Bar." Philadelphia.
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Songs in Many Keys. By Oliver Wendell Holmes. Boston. Ticknor & Fields.
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Lessons in Life. A Series of Familiar Essays. By Timothy Titcomb, Author
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