Posts Tagged ‘1837’

To a Shred of Linen

June 29, 2012

Image from flickr-jennamay

The following article, from the Cincinnati Chronicle, bears upon it the impress of inspiration. It shows how easily the pencil of genius can hallow the most trilling subject. The pen of no ordinary mind could have imparted the playful dignity to a linen rag, which Mrs. Sigourney has thrown around it. There will be few objections to literary ladies, if their “shreds of linen” always receive so beautiful an apotheosis.

TO A SHRED OF LINEN.

Would they swept cleaner!—
Here’s a littering shred
Of linen left behind, —a vile reproach
To all good housewifery. Right glad am I,
That no neat lady, train’d in ancient times
Of pudding making, and of sampler work,
And speckless sanctity of household care,
Hath happened here  to spy thee. She, no doubt,
When looking through her spectacles, would say,
“This comes of reading books:”—or some spruce beau
Essenced and lily-handed, had he chanced
To scan thy slight superfices, ‘twould be
“This comes of writing poetry.”—Well—well—
Come forth—offender!—hast thou aught to say?
Canst thou by merry thought, or quaint conceit,
Repay this risk, that I have run for thee?
——Begin at alpha, and resolve thyself
Into thine elements. I see the stalk
And bright, blue flower of flax, which erst o’erspread
That fertile land, where mighty Moses stretched
His rod miraculous. I see thy bloom
Tinging, though scantly, these New England vales.
But, lo! the sturdy farmer lifts his flail,
To crush thy bones unpitying, and his wife
With ‘kerchief’d head, and eyes brimful of dust,
Thy fibrous nerves, with hatchel tooth divides.

——I hear a voice of music—and behold!
The ruddy damsel singeth at her wheel,
While by her side the rustic lover sits.
Perchance, his shrewd eye secretly doth count
The mass of skeins, which, hanging on the wall,
Increaseth day by day. Perchance his thought,
For men have deeper minds than women—sure!
Is calculating what a thrifty wife
The maid will make; and how his dairy shelves
Shall groan beneath the weight of golden cheese,
Made by her dexterous hand — while many a keg
And pot of butter, to the market borne,
May, transmigrated, on his back appear,
In new thanksgiving coats.

Fain would I ask,
Mine own New England, for thy once loved wheel,
By sofa and piano quite displaced —
Why dost thou banish from thy parlor-hearth
That old Hygean harp, whose magic ruled
Dyspepsia, as the minstrel-shepherd’s skill
Exorcised Saul’s ennui? There was no need,
In those good times, of callisthenics,
And there was less of gadding, — and far more
Of home-born, heartfelt comfort, rooted strong
In industry, and bearing such rare fruit,
As wealth might never purchase.

But come back,
Thou shred of linen. I did let thee drop,
In my harangue, as wiser ones have lost
The thread of their discourse. What was thy lot
When the rough battery of the loom had stretch’d
And knit thy sinews, and the chemist sun
Thy brown complexion bleach’d.

Image from Vagabond Language

Methinks I scan
Some idiosyncrasy, that marks thee out
A defunct pillow-case.—Did the trim guest,
To the best chamber usher’d, e’er admire
The snowy whiteness of thy freshen’d youth
Feeding thy vanity? or some sweet babe
Pour its pure dream of innocence on thee?
Say, hast thou listen’d to the sick one’s moan,
When there was none to comfort?—or shrunk back
From the dire tossings of the proud man’s brow?
Or gather’d from young beauty’s restless sigh
A tale of untold love?

Still, close and mute!—
Wilt tell no secrets, ha! Well then, go down,
With all thy churl-kept hoard of curious lore,
In majesty and mystery, go down
Into the paper-mill, and from its jaws,
Stainless and smooth, emerge. Happy shall be
The renovation, if on thy fair page
Wisdom and truth, their hallowed lineaments
Trace for posterity.  So shall thine end
Be better than thy birth, and worthier bard
Thine apotheosis immortalize.

Alton Observer (Alton, Illinois) Jul 6, 1837

Image from Cynthia’s Linen Room

From History of American Women:

Lydia Sigourney (1791–1865) was a popular poet, essayist and travel writer during the early and mid 19th century. Most of her works were published with just her married name Mrs. Sigourney. Her poetry, like her prose, was about public subjects – history, slavery, missionary work and current events – or treated personal matters, especially loss and death, as experiences common to all. In contrast to Emily Dickinson or Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sigourney wrote for popular consumption, and was among the first American women to establish a successful writing career.

Read more at the  link.

Maintain the Right

September 19, 2011

Image from The Conservative Reader website.

From the Essex Gazette

“THE BILL OF ABOMINATIONS.”

Lines written on the passage of Pinckney’s Resolutions in the House of Representatives, and of Calhoun’s Bill of Abominations in the Senate of the U.S.

Now by our father’s ashes! — where’s the spirit
Of the true hearted and the unshackled gone?
Sons of old freemen, do we but inherit
Their NAMES alone?

Is the old Pilgrim spirit quenched within us?
Stoops the proud manhood of our souls so low,
That Mammon’s lure or Party’s wile can win us,
To silence now?

No — when our land to ruin’s brink is verging,
In God’s name, let us speak, while there is time!
Now when the padlocks for our lips are forging,
SILENCE IS CRIME.

What! shall we henceforth humbly ask as favors
Rights all our own! — in madness shall we barter
For treacherous peace, the freedom nature gave us,
God and our Charter?

Here shall the statesman seek the free to fetter?
Here Lynch law light its horrid fires on high!
And in the church, their proud and skilled abettor
Make truth a lie?

Torture the pages of the hallowed Bible
To sanction crime and robbery, and blood,
And, in oppression’s hateful service, libel
Both man and God!

Shall our New England stand erect no longer,
But stoop in chains upon her downward way,
Thicker to gather on her limbs and stronger
Day after day?

Oh no! methinks from all her wild green mountains —
From valleys where her slumbering fathers lie —
From her blue rivers and her welling fountains,
And clear, cold sky!

From her rough coast and isles, which hungry ocean
Gnaws with his surges — from the fisher’s skiff
With white sail swaying to the billow’s motion
Round rock and cliff —

From the free fire-side of her unbought farmer —
From her free laborer at his loom and wheel;
From the brown smith-shop, where beneath the hammer,
Rings the red steel!

From each and all, if God hath not forsaken
Our land, and left us to an evil choice,
Loud as the summer thunder-bolt shall waken
A PEOPLE’S VOICE!

Startling and stern! the northern winds shall bear it
Over Potomac to St. Mary’s wave;
And buried Freedom shall awake to hear it
Within her grave,

Oh — let that voice go forth — the bondman sighing
By Santee’s wave — in Mississippi cane,
Shall feel the hope within his bosom dying,
Revive again.

Let it go forth! The millions who are gazing
Sadly upon us from afar, shall smile,
And unto God devout thanksgiving raising,
Bless us the while.

Oh, for your ancient freedom, pure and holy,
For the deliverance of a groaning earth,
For the wronged captive, bleeding, crushed, and lowly,
Let it go forth!

Sons of the best of fathers, will ye falter
With all they left ye perilled and at stake?
Ho — once again on freedom’s holy altar
The fires awake!

Prayer — strengthened for the trial, come together,
Put on the harness for the moral fight.
And with the blessing of your Heavenly Father,
MAINTAIN THE RIGHT.

Alton Observer (Alton, Illinois) Mar 9, 1837

The Alton Observer did not publish the name of the author, John Greenleaf Whittier, but I found the same poem, slightly revised,  published later in a few  books.

What Constitutes a State

August 27, 2011

Image from the University of Duisburg Essen website

TRUE POLITICS.

In one of his lyrics, Sir William Jones, the great oriental scholar and judge, breaks forth into the annexed statistic strain:

What constitutes a state?
Not high raised monuments or labored mound,
Thick wall or moated gate;
Not cities proud with spires and turrets crowned;
Not bays and broad armed ports,
Where, laughing at the storm, rich navies ride.
Not starred and spangled courts,
Where low browed baseness wafts perfume to pride.
No! men, high minded men!
With powers as far above dull brutes endured
In forest, brake, or den,
As beasts excel cold rocks and and brambles rude;
Men who their duties know,
But know their rights, and knowing, dare maintain,
Prevent the long aimed blow,
And crush the tyrant while they rend the chain!
These constitute a state.

Alton Observer (Alton, Illinois) Jan 19, 1837

And what would TRUE POLITICS be without a little plagiarism? James Sidney Rollins appears to have used this verse, minus a few lines in a letter sometime around 1870. I can’t find any citation/credit in the book:

Title: James Sidney Rollins, memoir
Author: William Benjamin Smith
Publisher: Printed at the De Vinne Press, 1891
Page 253

The Tee Total Pledge

February 7, 2011

THE PICTURE. —

Note 1, the object at which they are aiming, viz, the removal of a nuisance, — the total overthrow of the rum casks. All the parties engaged seem to have this object in view, and all are laboring in their respective ways to accomplish it.

Note 2, the different kinds of instruments used for the purpose. Every one must be struck with the admirable adaptedness of the Teetotalers‘ fixtures to accomplish the object. Here is a fulcrum with a broad base, immovably fixed at a suitable distance, upon a solid foundation; lever of suitable size and length is nicely adjusted under the nuisance, and rests upon this fulcrum. Our teetotal men throw their weight upon the extreme end of the lever, and it would seem as certain as the laws of mechanics that the whole range of rum casks must tilt over.

But just as they begin to exult in the prospect of certain success by their admirable contrivance, one of them hastily cries out, “Hold, hold, neighbors, not too fast. You fulcrum is too near; I am afraid you will do injury to our cause by this precipitate measure. Let me place my moderation fulcrum under the lever, a little further back. We must be cautious, gentlemen, that we don’t injure the cause. Bear away upon my fulcrum while I hold on and steady it.”

These honest and zealous neighbors, ever ready to do any thing to remove the evil, again throw their whole weight upon the lever. They pull, and tug, and sweat, till they almost break the lever itself. But the rum casks stand firm; they budge not an inch. The moderation man persists in holding on to his fulcrum, and insists upon it that his plan is the only one that can succeed.

Now is it not perfectly apparent that all efforts upon “moderation” are utterly useless, and that the strength expended by it is lost.

Is it not then perfectly evident, that Mr. Moderation, however well meant his efforts, is in reality standing in  the way of more effectual measures, and doing more hurt than good to the cause.

Is it not also as clear as noonday, that if we would succeed, “moderation” should be laid aside, and all our efforts concentrated upon the “teetotal pledge.”

We commend the above illustration to the consideration of our moderate friends. It certainly contains matter for their serious reflection.

Alton Observer (Alton, Illinois) Jul 20, 1837

Image from the Melissa Launay Fine Arts website.

From the New England Spectator.
TEMPERANCE CELEBRATION.

The Temperance dinner and celebration was held at the Marlboro’ hotel, which was opened on that day, by Mr. Rogers. Mr. Fletcher, member of Congress from this district, presided.

We were much gratified to find such an array of talent and influence at a tee-total dinner, on the 4th of July, and at the opening of a tee-total hotel. It augurs well to the cause. Among others, were the editors of the Advocate and Mercantile Journal, Mr. Hallett and Mr. Sleeper; of the Clergy, Rev. Dr. Pierce, Mr. Pierpont, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Stow, Mr. N. Adams, Mr. Colman, Mr. Clough, &c.; and of other distinguished citizens, John Tappan, Moses Grant, Stephen Fairbanks, Dr. Walter Channing, &c.; and Mr. Snelling and others of the legal profession. There was a degree of hilarity suited to the occasion; and we did not see but that the inspiration of wit and poetry was as well excited by cold water as it usually is by wine.

At the close of the dinner, the following appropriate old composed for the occasion by Rev. Mr. Pierpont, was sung:

In Eden’s green retreats,
A water-brook, that played
Between soft, mossy seats
Beneath a plane-tree’s shade,
Whose rustling leaves
Danced o’er its brink, —
Was Adam’s drink,
and also Eve’s.

Beside the parent spring
Of that young brook, the pair
Their morning chant would sing;
And Eve, to dress her hair,
Kneel on the grass
That fringed its side,
And make its tide
Her looking glass.

And when the man of God
From Egypt led his flock,
They thirsted, and his rod
Smote the Arabian rock
And forth a rill
Of water gushed,
And on they rushed,
And drank their fill.

Would Eden thus have smiled
Had wine to Eden come?
Would Horeb’s parching wild
Have been refreshed with rum?
and had Eve’s hair
Been dressed in gin,
Would she have been
Reflected fair?

Had Moses built a still,
And dealt out to that host,
To every man his gill,
And pledged him in a toast,
How large a band,
Of Israel’s sons
Had laid their bones
In Canaan’s land?

“Sweet fields, beyond” death’s flood
“Stands dressed in living green;”
For, from the throne of God,
To freshen all the scene.
A river rolls,
Where all who will
May come and fill
Their crystal bowls.

If Eden’s strength and bloom
COLD WATER thus hath given,
If, even beyond the tomb,
It is the drink of Heaven,
Are not good wells,
And chrystal springs
The very things,
For our HOTELS?

Alton Observer (Alton, Illinois) Jul 27, 1837

Image from the Ohio History Central website.

BOYS, DO YOU HEAR THAT? —

There is a society of young ladies in Hartford, who pledge themselves not to receive the addresses of any young man who has not signed the tee-total pledge.

At a temperance meeting, not long since, a fair one offered the pledge to her friend, saying, “John, will you sign that?”

He hesitated, and finally declined. “Then,” said she, “you will understand, I shall not be at home next Sunday evening.

Madison Express (Madison, Wisconsin) Apr 14, 1842

‘The moon,’ said a total-abstinence orator, ‘is not quite ‘tee tee total,’ but she lets her ‘Moderation’ be known to all men, for she only ‘fills her horn once a month.

‘Then she fills it with something very strong;’ observed a by stander, ‘for I’ve often seen her half gone.’

‘Ay,’ said another, ‘and I have seen her ‘full.”

Tioga Eagle (Wellsboro, Pennsylvania) Jul 13, 1842


Image from Karen’s Whimsy

“A frog,” says Professor Pump, “is an amphibious animal, as vat likers on cold water, consequently he inwented the teetotal society. He always walks with a jump he does; and ven he sits down he has to stand up. Being a lover of native melodoes, he gives free concerts every night, he does himself. He perwides music for the millyon which he has been so called because it is usually heard in the mill pond. He is a varmint wot aint so bad when broiled on a griddle. No sir ree.

Rock River Pilot (Watertown, Wisconsin) Jul 5, 1848

Image from the National Women’s History Museum website.

Maine Liquor Law.

(CONCLUDED FROM THE LAST.)
[excerpt]

It is worthy of note that a large proportion of the Tee-totalers when they go a journey, leave their tee-total principles at home and become temperance men, and take a little wine or brandy occasionally for the stomach’s saxe and their many infirmities. Again it is asserted that a large majority of the people in the State are in favor of the Maine Law. —

Democratic State Register (Watertown, Wisconsin) Mar 15, 1852

MARCH OF MIND. —

An honest farmer in this State married a Miss from a fashionable boarding-school, for his second wife. He was struck dumb with her eloquence, and gaped with wonder at his wife’s learning.

“You may, said he, bore a hole through the solid airth, and chuck in a mill-stone, and she will tell you to a shavin’ how long the stone will be going clean threw. She has kimistery and cockneylogy, and talks a heap about ox hides and chimical affinities.

I used to think that it was air I sucked in every time I expired, howsomever, she telled me that she knew better — she telled me that I had been sucking in two kinds of gin! ox gin and high gin! I’m a tumble town tee total temperance man, and yet have been drinking ox gin, and high gin all my life.”

The Adams Sentinel (Gettsyburg, Pennsylvania) Nov 28,  1860

From Wiki

Teetotal Huzza.

BY JOHN ASQUITH.

As I rambled about one fine summers night,
I passed by some children who sung with delight,
And this was their ditty they sang at their play,
Teetotal forever, teetotal huzza.

Our fathers were sots, they had learned to love ale,
Our mothers were ragged, and their faces were pale;
The teetotal breeze blew their rags all away,
Teetotal forever, teetotal huzza.

Our bonnets were torn, and our shoes went click clack;
Our frocks went to uncles and could not get back;
But master Teetotaler did fetch them away,
Teetotal forever, teetotal huzza.

Our houses were naked, we had scarcely a chair,
The strong drink had broken the  crockery ware,
We have now chairs, and tables, and china so gay,
Teetotal forever, teetotal huzza.

We lived on dry bread, and just what we could get,
And if we had nothing we scarcely durst fret.
We have now beef and pudding, on each Sabbath day,
Teetotal forever, teetotal huzza.

We lived in deep sorrow, and darkness, and strife,
And who knows the ills of a drunkard’s child’s life.
But now we are happy, can dance, sing and play,
Teetotal forever, teetotal huzza.

Cedar Falls Gazette (Cedar Falls, Iowa) Feb 12, 1869

A water-spout — A teetotal lecture.

Indiana Progress (Indiana, Prennsylvania) Jan 29, 1874