The Materialistic Maiden

Where I sip coffee and judge everyone.

Category: 19th century

“Weel, Fitz, I’m here”—On Joseph Rodman Drake’s Scottish epistle, written for Fitz-Greene Halleck

For the past several weeks I have had a single poem running over and over through my mind. Because these lines have haunted me relentlessly, night and day, I feel compelled to share them. However, before we read the piece, I must provide context for the poem and its author.

“A Poet’s Epistle,” written by Joseph Rodman Drake, stems from an epistle written by Drake to his very good friend, Fitz-Greene Halleck, while abroad in Scotland. Drake, a young poet who died at age 25, acquainted himself with Halleck during Autumn of 1812, and the two “became devoted friends” very quickly, according to James Grant Wilson in his book, Life and Letters of Fitz-Greene Halleck (163). Their friendship was further solidified during the year 1813, “when Halleck, in the course of a conversation on the delights of another world, fancifully remarked that it would be heaven to ‘lounge upon the rainbow and read Tom Campbell.’ Drake was delighted with the thought, and from that hour the two poets maintained a friendship only severed by death” (163). Their friendship is furthermore evinced by the deep-rooted, brotherly love they shared, as, upon Drake’s untimely death, Fitz-Greene stated, “There will be less sunshine for me hereafter” (163). This weighted statement, paired with a poem written by Halleck and dedicated to Drake, entitled “On the Death of Joseph Rodman Drake”, showcases the profound grief that Fitz-Greene felt over the loss of Drake and provides for the reader a mere glimpse of their tragic and unabiding friendship.

Regarding “A Poet’s Epistle,” the poem seems to have made its public debut in volume 6 of the American Monthly Magazine, preceded by the following statement, “Not the least attractive pieces in this volume are those which record the intercourse of this ‘Castor and Pollux of Quizzers,’ as they were dubbed in those days when Croaker & Co. kept the town continually upon a broad grin. The ease, humour, and occasional flashes of true poetry which characterise the following epistle to Mr. Halleck, remind us of some of the happiest sallies of the Croakers…” (74). Wilson’s Life and Letters of Fitz-Greene Halleck provides even more context for the poem, as he explains, “In the spring of 1818, Dr. and Mrs. Drake, with DeKay, visited Europe….During their foreign tour, Halleck received the following poetical epistles, written by his friend Joseph Rodman Drake. The one dated May first is certainly remarkable as being the production of an American who had not been ten days in Scotland” (197-198).

Although both Wilson and the American Monthly Magazine provide slightly differing transcriptions of the poem, the one I have transcribed is borrowed from The New-York Book of Poetry, edited by Charles Fenno Hoffman, pp. 37-39.

A Poet’s Epistle.
[Written in Scotland to Fitz-Greene Halleck, Esq.]
By J. R. Drake.

Weel, Fitz, I’m here; the mair’s the pity,
I’ll wad ye curse the vera city
From which I write a braid Scots ditty
Afore I learn it;
But gif ye canna mak it suit ye,
Ye ken ye’ll burn it.

My grunzie’s got a twist until it
Thae damn’d Scotch aighs sae stuff and fill it
I doubt, wi’ a’ my doctor skill, it
‘ll keep the gait,
Not e’en my pen can scratch a billet
And write it straight.

Ye’re aiblins thinking to forgather
Wi’ a hale sheet, of muir and heather
O’ burns, and braes, and sic like blether,
To you a feast;
But stop! ye will not light on either
This time at least.

Noo stir your bries a wee and ferlie,
Then drap your lip and glower surly;
Troth! gif ye do, I’ll tell ye fairly,
Ye’ll no be right;
We’ve made our jaunt a bit too early
For sic a sight.

What it may be when summer deeds
Muir shaw and brae, wi’ bonnie weeds
Sprinkling the gowan on the meads
And broomy knowes,
I dinna ken; but now the meads
Scarce keep the cows.

For trees, puir Scotia’s sadly scanted,
A few bit pines and larches planted,
And thae, wee, knurlie, blastic, stuntit
As e’er thou sawest;
Row but a sma’ turf fence anent it,
Hech! there’s a forest.

For streams, ye’ll find a puny puddle
That would na float a shull bairn’s coble,
A cripple stool might near hand hobble
Dry-baughted ever;
Some whinstone crags to mak’ it bubble,
And there’s a river.

And then their cauld and reekie skies,
They luke ower dull to Yankee eyes;
The sun ye’d ken na if he’s rise
Amaist the day;
Just a noon blink that hardly dries
The dewy brae.

Yet leeze auld Scotland on her women,
Ilk sonzie lass and noble yeoman,
For luver’s heart or blade of foeman
O’er baith victorious;
E’en common sense, that plant uncommon,
Grows bright and glorious.

Fecks but my pen has skelp’d alang,
I’ve whistled out an unco sang
‘Bout folk I ha’ na been amang
Twa days as yet;
But, faith, the farther that I gang
The mair ye’ll get.

Sae sharpen up your lugs, for soon
I’ll tread the hazelly braes o’ Doon,
See Mungo’s well, and set my shoon
Where i’ the dark
Bauld Tammie keek’d, the drunken loon,
At cutty sark.

And I shall tread the hallowed bourne
Where Wallace blew his bugle-horn
O’er Edward’s banner, stained and torn.
What Yankee bluid
But feels its free pulse leap and burn
Where Wallace stood!

But pouk my pen! I find I’m droppin
My braw Scots style to English loppin;
I fear amaist that ye’ll be hoppin
I’d quit it quite:
If so, I e’en must think o’ stopping,
And sae, gude night.

*Note: Line one of stanza one states, “The mair’s the pity,” which may reference Sir Walter Scott’s The Black Dwarf, as the line is found verbatim here.

On Edward L. Carey, publisher and partner of Carey & Hart

The other day, I was curiously perusing the internet for photographic/painted/engraved evidence of publishers from the nineteenth-century—consider Ticknor and Fields and Baker and Scribner, two publishing houses well known for publishing such authors as Nathaniel Hawthorne (the former) and Charles Fenno Hoffman (latter). However, one other publishing house has stuck out to me as of late, being Carey & Hart; thus, I took to finding out what I could about these two men. However, while delving into my research, I stumbled across a portrait of Edward L. Carey, of Carey & Hart, which immediately piqued my curiosity about the gentleman.

Sully-Edward Carey (switch color image for black and white).jpg

After feeling inspired by this portrait to find more information about this mysterious publisher, I took to the internet and books to find what I could about Mr. Carey. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a significant amount of information to flesh out a biography-the biography he deserves-but I will do my best to relay everything I was able to find, here.

Edward Carey was born circa 1804-5 to Bridget Flahaven Carey and Philadelphian publisher Mathew Carey of “Carey & Lea.” Although there is not a lot of information regarding Carey’s childhood or young adulthood, it is surmised that he was built in preparation for the publishing scene, as, “When, on the retirement of Mr. Carey [Mathew], in 1824, the firm of Carey & Lea was established, provision was made for the admission of Edward L. Carey, a younger son, when he should attain his majority” (The Publisher’s Weekly, No. 678, January 24, 1885, pg. 70). In 1829, Carey obtained his portion of the publishing house and combined it with Abraham Hart to form the publishing partnership known as Carey & Hart. Thereafter, the company thrived well, publishing works by authors and editors familiar to readers today, including William Cullen Bryant, Rufus Wilmot Griswold (Edgar Allan Poe’s literary executor), and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Although Hart and Carey thrived well amongst the Philadelphia literary scene, the two were struck by immense tragedy with the decline in health and ultimate death of Carey in 1845. A Maine newspaper, the Maine Cultivator and Hallowell Gazette of June 28, 1845, circulated a Philadelphia report on the death of Carey. According to the original Philadelphian article, Carey passed on June 16 at 11:00AM. Carey was only forty years of age, but he left behind a legacy that Hart would continue carrying on for several years thereafter.

Few news articles give brief, yet intriguing insight into Carey’s life and mind, which will now be discussed. For example, before his death, we learn from the Maine Cultivator that Carey had been elected President of the Academy of Fine Arts, although this was turned down due to ill health. We also learn from the Washington Reporter of June 28, 1845, that Carey was not only a lover of the fine arts, as presumed from my prior statement, but that he also collected art pieces:

…his encouraging voice has been an inspiration to our countrymen by whose creative genius life has been given to the marble and the canvas in foreign schools, and through whom Alleghania has been made one of the chosen homes of Art. Powers sent a few weeks ago his masterpiece from Rome…How much he will be grieved to learn that the very hour in which “Proserpine” reached Philadelphia witnessed the departure of his friend and patron to another world!

Of Carey, this same article continues, “For three years confined to his house by a local disease, Mr. Carey had lived among his paintings and his sculptures, in correspondence with men of genius, and in the society of friends who loved him as a brother.” Of his mind, “…[it] was cast in the finest mould of beauty. The atmosphere of beauty was his element.” Of his character, he is spoken in high regard, as the author of the article states, “When I remember how very warmly all who knew him loved him, I cannot doubt that many hearts will beat more slowly, like our own, at this public calamity.”

Although these insights are brief, they speak volumes of Carey’s character. Such keywords as “genius,” “beauty,” and “love” seem to surround this vague gentleman, giving us enough information to declare the type of man Edward Carey was, being a friend, a “brother,” and one simply too beautiful and endearing for this world.

I was perusing the pages of Charles Fenno Hoffman’s poetry this evening, when I suddenly felt the urge to share a few of his poems—pieces which have touched my heart. I share these with the hope that you may also enjoy these exquisite, nature-themed writings.

https-::books.google.com:books?id=NUdAAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA156&dq=encyclopedia+deer&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi2y9n4mKbVAhUHySYKHTdaDGoQ6AEIMTAC#v=onepage&q&f=false

From John Frost’s Grand Illustrated Encyclopedia of Animated Nature, pg. 154.

Hunt is Up, The. A Meditation

A MEDITATION .

The hunt is up —

The merry woodland shout,

That rung these echoing glades about

An hour agone,

Hath swept beyond the eastern hills,

Where, pale and lone,

The moon her mystic circle fills;

Awhile across her slowly reddening disk

The dusky larch,

As if to pierce the blue o’erhanging arch,

Lifts its tall obelisk.

And now from thicket dark,

And now from mist-wreathed river

The fire-fly’s spark

Will fitful quiver,

And bubbles round the lily’s cup

From lurking trout come coursing up,

Where stoops the wading fawn to drink:

While scared by step so near,

Uprising from the sedgy brink

The clanging bittern’s cry will sink

Upon the hunter’s ear;

Who, startled from his early sleep,

Lists for some sound approaching nigher —

Half-dreaming, lists — then turns to heap

Another fagot on his fire,

And then again, in dreams renewed,

Pursues his quarry through the wood.

And thus upon my dreaming youth,

When boyhood’s gambols pleased no more,

And young Romance, in guise of Truth,

Usurped the heart all theirs before;

Thus broke Ambition’s trumpet-note

On visions wild,

Yet blithesome as this river

On which the smiling moonbeams float

That thus have there for ages smiled,

And will thus smile for ever.

And now no more the fresh green-wood,

The forest’s fretted aisles,

And leafy domes above them bent,

And solitude

So eloquent!

Mocking the varied skill y’-blent

In Art’s most gorgeous piles —

No more can soothe my soul to sleep

Than they can awe the sounds that sweep

To hunter’s horn and merriment

Their verdant passes through,

When fresh the dun-deer leaves his scent

Upon the morning dew.

The game’s afoot! — and let the chase

Lead on, whate’er my destiny —

Though Fate her funeral drum may brace

Full soon for me!

And wave death’s pageant o’er me —

Yet now the new and untried world

Like maiden banner first unfurled,

Is glancing bright before me!

The quarry soars! and mine is now the sky,

Where, ” at what bird I please, my hawk shall fly! ”

Yet something whispers through the wood —

A voice like that perchance

Which taught the hunter of Egeria’s grove

To tame the Roman’s dominating mood,

And lower, for awhile, his conquering lance

Before the images of Law and Love —

Some mystic voice that ever since hath dwelt

Along with Echo in her dim retreat,

A voice whose influence all, at times, have felt

By wood or glen, or where on silver strand

The clasping waves of Ocean’s belt

Will clashing meet

Around the land:

It whispers me that soon — too soon

The pulses which now beat so high,

Impatient with the world to cope,

Will, like the hues of autumn sky,

Be changed and fallen ere life’s noon

Should tame its morning hope.

Yet why,

While Hope so jocund singeth

And with her plumes the gray beard’s arrow wingeth,

Should I

Think only of the barb it bringeth?

Though every dream deceive

That to my youth is dearest,

Until my heart they leave

Like forest leaf when searest —

Yet still, mid forest leaves

Where now

Its tissue thus my idle fancy weaves,

Still with heart new-blossoming

While leaves, and buds, and wild flowers spring,

At Nature’s shrine I’ll bow;

Nor seek in vain that truth in her

She keeps for her idolater.

content

From forestry; a journal of forest and estate management, pg. 521.

What is Solitude?

Not in the shadowy wood,

Not in the crag-hung glen,

Not where the echoes brood

In caves untrod by men;

Not by the black seashore,

Where barren surges break,

Not on the mountain hoar,

Not by the breezeless lake;

Not on the desert plain

Where man hath never stood,

Whether on isle or main —

Not there is solitude.

Birds are in woodland bowers;

Voices in lonely dells:

Streams to the listening hours

Talk in earth’s secret cells;

Over the gray-ribbed sand

Breathe Ocean’s frothy lips;

Over the still lake’s strand

The wild flower toward it dips;

Pluming the mountain’s crest

Life tosses in its pines,

Coursing the desert’s breast

Life in the steed’s mane shines.

Leave — if thou wouldst be lonely —

Leave Nature for the crowd;

Seek there for one — one only

With kindred mind endowed!

There — as with Nature erst

Closely thou wouldst commune —

The deep soul-music nursed

In either heart, attune!

Heart-wearied thou wilt own,

Vainly that phantom wooed,

That thou at last hast known

What is true Solitude!

content

A Peep at the Birds: With Twenty Engravings, Francis Channing Woodworth, pg. 16.

The Bob-O-Linkum

Thou vocal sprite — thou feather’d troubadour!

In pilgrim weeds through many a clime a ranger,

Com’st thou to doff thy russet suit once more

And play in foppish trim the masquing stranger?

Philosophers may teach thy whereabouts and nature;

But wise, as all of us, perforce, must think ’em,

The school-boy best hath fixed thy nomenclature,

And poets, too, must call thee Bob-O-Linkum.

Say! art thou, long ‘mid forest glooms benighted,

So glad to skim our laughing meadows over —

With our gay orchards here so much delighted,

It makes thee musical, thou airy rover?

Or are those buoyant notes the pilfer’d treasure

Of fairy isles, which thou hast learn’d to ravish

Of all their sweetest minstrelsy at pleasure,

And, Ariel-like, again on men to lavish?

They tell sad stories of thy mad-cap freaks

Wherever o’er the land thy pathway ranges;

And even in a brace of wandering weeks,

They say, alike thy song and plumage changes;

Here both are gay; and when the buds put forth,

And leafy June is shading rock and river,

Thou art unmatch’d, blithe warbler of the North,

While through the balmy air thy clear notes quiver.

Joyous, yet tender — was that gush of song

Caught from the brooks, where ‘mid its wild flowers smiling

The silent prairie listens all day long,

The only captive to such sweet beguiling;

Or didst thou, flitting through the verdurous halls

And column’d isles of western groves symphonious,

Learn from the tuneful woods, rare madrigals,

To make our flowering pastures here harmonious?

Caught’st thou thy carol from Ottawa maid,

Where, through the liquid fields of wild-rice plashing,

Brushing the ears from off the burdened blade,

Her birch canoe o’er some lone lake is flashing?

Or did the reeds of some savannah south

Detain thee while thy northern flight pursuing,

To place those melodies in thy sweet mouth,

The spice-fed winds had taught them in their wooing?

Unthrifty prodigal! — is no thought of ill

Thy ceaseless roundelay disturbing ever?

Or doth each pulse in choiring cadence still

Throb on in music till at rest for ever?

Yet now in wilder’d maze of concord floating,

‘Twould seem that glorious hymning to prolong,

Old Time in hearing thee might fall a-doting,

And pause to listen to thy rapturous song!

19th century engraving of the New Forest, UK

New Forest, UK: Link.

Primeval Woods

I.

Yes ! even here, not less than in the crowd,

Here, where yon vault in formal sweep seems piled

Upon the pines, monotonously proud,

Fit dome for fane, within whose hoary veil

No ribald voice an echo hath defiled —

Where Silence seems articulate; up-stealing

Like a low anthem’s heavenward wail: —

Oppressive on my bosom weighs the feeling

Of thoughts that language cannot shape aloud;

For song too solemn, and for prayer too wild, —

Thoughts, which beneath no human power could quail,

For lack of utterance, in abasement bow’d —

The cavern’d waves that struggle for revealing,

Upon whose idle foam alone God’s light hath smiled.

II.

Ere long thine every stream shall find a tongue,

Land of the Many Waters! But the sound

Of human music, these wild hills among,

Hath no one save the Indian mother flung

Its spell of tenderness? Oh, o’er this ground,

So redolent of Beauty , hath there play’d no breath

Of human poesy — none beside the word

Of Love, as, murmur’d these old boughs beneath,

Some fierce and savage suitor it hath bound

To gentle pleadings? Have but these been heard?

No mind, no soul here kindled but my own?

Doth not one hollow trunk about resound

With the faint echoes of a song long flown,

By shadows like itself now haply heard alone?

III.

And Ye, with all this primal growth must go!

And loiterers beneath some lowly spreading shade,

Where pasture-kissing breezes shall, ere then, have play’d,

A century hence, will doubt that there could grow

From that meek land such Titans of the glade!

Yet wherefore primal? when beneath my tread

Are roots whose thrifty growth, perchance, hath arm’d.

The Anak spearman when his trump alarm’d;

Roots that the Deluge wave hath plunged below;

Seeds that the Deluge wind hath scattered;

Berries that Eden’s warblers may have fed;

In slime of earlier worlds preserved unharmed,

Again to quicken, germinate, and blow,

Again to charm the land as erst the land they charm’d.

The Tragic Case of Henry William Herbert, America’s Unruly “Forester”-Part One

Frank Forester was not an uncommon name during the mid nineteenth-century. Forester, a dignified sportsman, known to his friends as being full of vitality and exuberance, published several accomplished volumes of literature, including manuals about Horsemanship and guides about the Warwick woodlands and field sports. Behind this steadily growing literary star, however, was the primary source of the Forester character-nay, pseudonym-an ambivert with a penchant for sorrow and cynicism—Henry William Herbert.

By the time Herbert’s Forester alter-ego began to emerge, Henry had faced several hardships, which had forced him, albeit slowly, into a sedentary life in New Jersey, eventually nearly being confined to the tranquil, morose solitude of his home, The Cedars. Life had been vastly different for the Englishman just two years before, especially more than a decade before; and although this turbulent figure had a temper to be unsurpassed, our sympathies lie with Henry—fate’s unscrupulous, demanding hold confined him to a prison of the mind and soul from which he never escaped.

Born in London, United Kingdom, April 7, 1807, young Henry found himself swathed and nurtured in the wealth of his aristocratic lineage, being the grandson of Henry Herbert, the 1st Earl of Carnarvon. According to Luke White, Jr., author of Henry William Herbert and the American Publishing Scene, Herbert, during his early years, “acquired that twin enthusiasm for books and the out-of-doors…” (5). Henry commenced with receiving a classical education, was enrolled at Caius college, Cambridge, and graduated with honors in 1830 (5). Upon graduation, he carried with him proper knowledge of the classical languages-which he would put to use while completing an eleven-year professorship as a teacher of Greek and Latin at the Reverend R. Townsend Huddart’s Classical Institute-as well as several debts due to gambling and spending lavishly, a habit that would follow him to the grave (5, 20). These overwhelming debts may have caused concern for his family, for between just 1830 and 1831 it is recorded that Henry left his home in London. It is also recorded, according to White, that “in answer to an inquiry, ‘the Herbert family, the late Earl of Carnarvon speaking through his secretary, said they were not aware of any Henry William Herbert in their family'” (6). This statement alone seems to lend credence and severity to the notion that Henry had brought shame to the family due to his erratic indulgences, and may have affected an implied estrangement from the family—let it be noted that Henry never returned to England, nor did he seem to remain close with his family, as far as lack of correspondences prove.

After his departure from London, he stayed briefly in France, either to take in the culture and language, as exaggeratedly evinced by Henry, or to (most likely) escape the debtors on his tail. France did not seem to provide either the security or needs that Henry needed however, and he set sail for America in 1831, carrying at his side money and letters of introduction for a gentleman in Canada. Thus began the beginning of Henry’s hopeful new life, and climb to literary fame—thus also began the downfall to his unforeseen and tragic demise.

Happy Birthday, Charles Fenno Hoffman!

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This marks the second birthday that I get to “spend” with this deceased literary figure (and thankfully, my boyfriend doesn’t mind Hoffy too much). So, in honor of Charlie’s birthday, I’m posting his second of two Birthday-related poems. You can visit my first blog post about him by going here.

Without further ado-

A Birthday Meditation

Another year! alas, how swift,
Alinda, do these years flit by,
Like shadows thrown by clouds that drift
In flakes along a wintry sky.
Another year! another leaf
Is turn’d within life’s volume brief,
And yet not one bright page appears
Of mine within that book of years.There are some moments when I feel
As if it should not yet be so;
As if the years that from me steal
Had not a right alike to go,
And lose themselves in Time’s dark sea,
Unbuoyed up by aught from me;
Aught that the future yet might claim
To rescue from their wreck a name.

But it was love that taught me rhyme,
And it was thou that taught me love;
And if I in this idle chime
Of words a useless sluggard prove,
It was thine eyes the habit nursed,
And in their light I learn’d it first,
It is thine eyes which, day by day,
Consume my time and heart away.

And often bitter thoughts arise
Of what I’ve lost in loving thee,
And in my breast my spirit dies,
The gloomy cloud around to see
Of baffled hopes and ruin’d powers
Of mind, and miserable hours —
Of self-upbraiding, and despair —
Of heart, too strong and fierce to bear.

“Why, what a peasant slave am I, ”
To bow my mind and bend my knee
To woman in idolatry,
Who takes no thought of mine or me.
O God! that I could breathe my life
On battle-plain in charging strife —
In one mad impulse pour my soul
Far beyond passion’s base control.

Thus do my jarring thoughts revolve
Their gather’d causes of offence,
Until I in my heart resolve
To dash thine angel image thence;
When some bright look, some accent kind,
Comes freshly in my heated mind,
And scares, like newly flushing day,
These brooding thoughts like owls away.

And then for hours and hours I muse
On things that might, yet will not be,
Till one by one my feelings lose
Their passionate intensity,
And steal away in visions soft,
Which on wild wing those feelings waft
Far, far beyond the drear domain
Of reason and her freezing reign.

And now again from their gay track
I call, as I despondent sit,
Once more these truant fancies back
Which round my brain so idly flit;
And some I treasure, some I blush
To own — and these I try to crush —
And some, too wild for reason’s rein,
I loose in idle rhyme again.

And even thus my moments fly,
And even thus my hours decay,
And even thus my years slip by,
My life itself is wiled away;
But distant still the mounting hope,
The burning wish with men to cope
In aught that minds of iron mould
May do or dare for fame or gold.

Another year! another year,
A LINDA , it shall not be so;
Both love and lays forswear I here,
As I’ve forsworn thee long ago.
That name, which thou wouldst never share,
Proudly shall fame emblazon where
On pumps and corners posters stick it,
The highest on the J ACKSON ticket.

Artemas Wyman Sawyer

I discovered this gem of a gentleman yesterday evening and simply felt the necessity to write about him.

I like to describe him as a cross between Rufus Griswold and Charles Fenno Hoffman. If you take a look at his photo below, you’ll see why:
Artemas_Wyman_Sawyer

Anyway, let’s get down to who this guy was and his significance.

According to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, he was born in Westhaven, Vermont, March 4, 1827 (924). He was the son of a Reverend, Reuben Sawyer, and Laura Wyman. He was educated at New London Academy and then Dartmouth College. He taught school in Windsor, Vermont for three years before attending a theological institute. According to this source, he decided on ministry as a career early on, most likely due to his being baptized when he was twelve. He was ordained a minister of the Baptist church in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1853.

Not only was he super successful at this point, but he continued on to be exceptionally successful. He became professor of classics at Acadia College in Wolfville, in 1855, which he held for five years. During this time, in 1858, he married Maria E. Chase, and the couple had five children overtime, including Everett Wyman Sawyer. Artemas returned to Acadia in 1869 as Acadia’s president and held this position for twenty-seven years.

According to a memorial article found on this website, “Though stern in appearance, Dr. Sawyer was a Christian scholar and gentleman, and in the classroom ‘a prince of teachers,’ clear in his presentation and with stimulating thoughts in his classes. He stressed the importance of Christian living. The period of Dr. Sawyer’s presidency was one of great change within university structures and curriculums. He endorsed the inclusion of science, history, languages and a system of electives. Female students were first admitted to degree courses in 1884. In 1891 Acadia College became Acadia University, and in the following year introduced a course to lead to a Bachelor of Theology.”

Basically, this guy did a lot of good for the school system. He opened doors, broke the traditional system, although reluctantly at first, and even promoted health and well-being with the opening of a gymnasium in 1890. Nice! However, in regard to the bachelor in theology, “During Sawyer’s presidency theology received very little attention because Maritime Baptists seemed unwilling to commit the funds necessary to establish a program” (source).

In 1896, Sawyer asked to be replaced, apparently, but remained professor of psychology and Christianity almost until his death in 1907. Over all, his life did not go unnoticed and he was a significant part in shaping modern Acadia University.

“He brought stability, leadership, learning, and tact to the position…” (source).

“He was described as a ‘ripe scholar, a profound thinker and a wise administrator who made Acadia richer through a devoted attention to her interests” (source).

Here you can find an example of his handwriting (source).

Here you can find one of his written works.

Here you can find another photo of the guy.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Dearest friends, today is Valentine’s Day (in case you couldn’t tell from the title). So, to celebrate, I thought I would post a poem from our very own Charles Fenno Hoffman, America’s sweetheart!

St. Valentine’s Day

The snow yet in the hollow lies;
But, where by shelvy hill ’tis seen,
In myriad rills it trickling flies
To lace the slope with threads of green;
Down in the meadow glancing wings
Flit in the sunshine round a tree,
Where still a frosted apple clings,
Regale for early Chickadee:

And chestnut buds begin to swell,
Where flying squirrels peep to know
If from the tree-top, yet, ’twere well
To sail on leathery wing below —
As gently shy and timorsome,
Still holds she back who should be mine;
Come, Spring, to her coy bosom, come,
And warm it toward her Valentine!

Come, Spring, and with the breeze that calls
The wind-flower by the hill-side rill,

The soft breeze that by orchard walls
First dallies with the daffodil —
Come lift the tresses from her cheek,
And let me see the blush divine,
That mantling there, those curls would seek
To hide from her true Valentine.

Come, Spring, and with the Red-breast’s note,
That tells of bridal tenderness,
Where on the breeze he’ll warbling float
Afar his nesting mate to bless —
Come, whisper, ’tis not always Spring!
When birds may mate on every spray —
That April boughs cease blossoming!
With love it is not always May!

Come, touch her heart with thy soft tale,
Of tears within the floweret’s cup,
Of fairest things that soonest fail,
Of hopes we vainly garner up —
And while, that gentle heart to melt,
Like mingled wreath, such tale you twine,
Whisper what lasting bliss were felt
In lot shared with her Valentine.

Now go and eat a lot of candy. Rot your teeth away.

Happy Birthday, Charles Fenno Hoffman!

Today is the Birthday of one of my favorite nineteenth century writers, Charles Fenno Hoffman.

Charles_Fenno_Hoffman

In honor of his Birthday today, I thought I’d add a quick blurb about him before sharing a couple of his poems.

Born in New York, February 7, 1806, he grew up in a “socially and politically prominent” household with parents Joseph Ogden and Maria Fenno Hoffman (Barnes 17).

At eighteen, he had nearly completed studies at Columbia College and began studying law. At twenty-one, he was admitted to the bar. He abandoned law for writing, however, and wrote anonymously for the New York American (456). In 1835, he published his first book, A Winter in the West, a two-part book documenting his travels from New York to St. Louis. This was significant as it was one of the most complete works documenting travels this way, especially as far as St. Louis, Missouri. His second work, Wild Scenes in the Forest and Prairie, was published in 1837, which was followed by his most notable novel, Greyslaer, in 1840 (457). Hoffman was the founder of the Knickerbocker magazine, edited for the New York Mirror, and in 1843 published The Vigil of Faith, a book of poetry (457).

In 1849, he “went insane,” which was an oh-so very nice way of saying he was manic depressive. He was admitted permanently to the Harrisburg State Hospital in Pennsylvania, where he remained until his death on June 7, 1884.

Despite his condition, Hoffman was known to many friends for being genial and good-natured. According to an account by William Keese, he is described as follows:

He was a general favorite in society, and his wit, bright intelligence, and genial manners, made his companionship very attractive. He was loved by the young, for he sympathized with them in their sports and enthusiasms, and from his knowledge of nature and his own adventurous experience drew the stories that take children captive. He was a gallant and noble gentleman, and a wide circle of friends mourned the affliction that befell him (Lamb 152).

He was perseverant, compassionate, honorable, and loyal. He was close to the anthologist and Edgar Allan Poe’s defamer, Rufus Griswold, and was even deeply in love at one point in his life. His poetry documents the turmoils of love and rejection, the beauty of nature and afflictions of growing up. In one poem, which I am going to post below, written on his 25th Birthday, Hoffman recollects his life up until that point and bemoans himself for his lack of accomplishments:

Birthday Thoughts
by Charles Fenno Hoffman

At twenty-five — at twenty-five,
The heart should not be cold;
It still is young in deeds to strive,
Though half life’s tale be told;
And Fame should keep its youth alive,
If Love would make it old.

But mine is like that plant which grew
And wither’d in a night,
Which from the skies of midnight drew
Its ripening and its blight —
Matured in Heaven’s tears of dew,
And faded ere her light.

Its hues, in sorrow’s darkness born,
In tears were foster’d first;
Its powers, from passion’s frenzy drawn,
In passion’s gloom were nurs’d —
And perishing ere manhood’s dawn,
Did prematurely burst.

Yet all I’ve learnt from hours rife
With painful brooding here
Is that, amid this mortal strife,
The lapse of every year
But takes away a hope from life,
And adds to death a fear.

(Source.)

Was this man truly unaccomplished? I do not think so. He was strong-willed, intelligent, and is remembered by any and all who happen to stumble upon his writings. (So, basically, I pretty much love this guy, so I’m pretty biased with most of what was said in this post. Whoops.)

Poems Attributed to Poe (that aren’t his.)

Earlier this afternoon, I discovered some poems of Poe’s that I had never read!

Actually, the iPhone app “Time Hop” oh so kindly took me back to a Facebook status where I had quoted a Poe poem called “The Village Street.” Not recognizing the poem, I immediately did a search to see where in the name of Davy Jones I had found this poem. Upon finding the poem in question, I found three others which were attributed to Poe, all listed on this website. Being that they were unsigned by his name, and after reading through them, I became skeptical and went to researching the man (or woman) behind the name of A. M. Ide.

As I read through the poems, they seemed to resemble Poe’s flourishing language…a watered down version of his language, with great redundancy, mind you. The rhythm seemed off to me as well, so I thought surely these couldn’t be his poems!

It was a tricky investigation, as bits of certain poems honestly do resemble Poe’s style, if even a little. “The Village Street” reminded me of imagery found in “Ulalume.” “The Forest Reverie” had meter which seemed reminiscent of Poe’s style. “Annette” struck me as being just another poem written for some other love interest in Edgar’s life (or even a coverup name for Osgood, as the poem was written in 1845, around the time he would have had the tryst with Osgood). And it was through this poem that I found my answers.

Certain words and a particular line in the poem led me on to investigating in my “Complete Poems of Edgar Allan Poe” book by Thomas Ollive Mabbott. The descriptions of “violet eyes” and the specific line, “Of the golden-haired–the violet-eyed,” reminded me of Poe’s “Eulalie,” being the line, “Till the yellow-haired young Eulalie became my smiling bride,” and the line, “While ever to her young Eulalie upturns her violet eye.” Consulting the book, I found the explanation that Mabbott gave in regards to the origin of the poem and who it may have been written for. Interestingly enough, there is a theory that the name Eulalie was inspired by a poem called “Isadore,” by Albert Pike, which begins with descriptions of vines. Looking back at the poem “To Isadore,” which was supposedly ascribed to Poe, there is great imagery involving vines, which occur in the first few lines, as it also did in the first few lines of Pike’s poem.

Surely, thought I, surely “To Isadore” must be Poe’s poem! Not too long after this connection did I see a footnote in the back, leading me to a page with a brief explanation of these four specific poems. This is where my skepticism rang true. “Four poems signed ‘A. M. Ide’ were published in the Broadway Journal in 1845. John H. Ingram thought ‘A. M. Ide’ might be a pen name of Poe, and reprinted three of these four poems as possibly Poe’s in The Complete Poetical Works…of Edgar Allan Poe (1888)–but Abijah M. Ide was a young New Englander who corresponded with Poe…” and thus these are his poems (Mabbott 509).

And there we go. The mystery has been solved, and Poe truly did not write these poems. What irks me is the number of eBooks and Poe anthologies that came up in my search who are including these poems in their collections, falsely claiming the poems as Poe’s. Before assuming things like this, please, please do your research.

Sweet Caroline

CarolineSearlesGriswold
Caroline F. Griswold, née Searles, was the quiet, humble wife of Reverend Rufus Wilmot Griswold. The daughter of sea captain Edward Searles and, then, Eliabeth Searles, the family was a wealthy family from Long Island. The family prospered due to their father’s business as a ship owner, sailing to ports and bringing rich cargoes back to his warehouses. It is said he “died of a broken spirit,” and his death resulted in the family moving to New York. Her mother was able to support her daughter Caroline, and son Randolph Searles, from proceeds of a local boardinghouse (Hatvary, Bayless 15). After the death of her first husband, Elizabeth remarried John Angell, who also passed, however she kept the last name Angell and thus became Elizabeth Angell (Bayless 15).

Not a lot is known about Caroline’s childhood and teenage years, however we do know she was described as a “quiet, devoted girl,” who, on one fateful March evening, caught the heart of Rufus Griswold. Griswold and Marcus Butler, a fellow employee of his at Harpers, were attempting to escape a downpour when they found themselves in the home of Mrs. Angell at 51 ½ Clinton Street, where Butler was well known. Griswold was introduced to Randolph Searles (then about 26) and the nineteen-year-old Caroline. “This beautiful girl, with her dark, shy eyes and her glossy auburn hair, immediately became the center of Griswold’s world; and he learned later that from the moment she saw him her heart was his” (Bayless 15).

Upon their first meeting, a love story began to develop between the two, and Griswold frequently visited the Searles home. “The self-styled hermit soon abandoned his somber robe and donned the habit of a gay, entertaining man of the world, whose colorful tales of his adventures enlivened the household” (Bayless 16). He even performed “Zip Coon” for the family, accompanied with a dance whilst singing. (You can listen to this song here.)

Caroline would not see Griswold once more, after his leave of New York, until around 1836, where he left his paper, The Olean Advocate, to return to Caroline, who he had not forgotten nor had stopped thinking about.

He confessed his love to her, finding she loved him from their first meeting, and the couple wedded March 20(also stated elsewhere as being on the 19th), 1837. “…Griswold, romanticizing himself into the rôle of tragic outcast rescued from his exile by a good angel, was happier than he had ever been in his life” (Passages, Bayless 16). After their wedding, the couple moved in with her family at 51 ½ Clinton Street. Rufus adored her with all of his being, and “…as his practical, sensible wife, she furnished the wheel which for five years was to stabilize his life” (16, 21). At the end of that year, he was licensed to preach, and it is said Griswold’s literary interests superseded his religious interests (Hatvary). Perhaps Caroline motivated, influenced, or inspired him to become a reverend?

By 1837, Caroline was expecting their first child, and was left in the care of her mother while Griswold was off doing business in Vergennes, Vermont. February 12, 1838, their first daughter, Emily Elizabeth, was born. Caroline, three months later, joined her husband in Vergennes. They arrived to a rented, incomplete brick house, and were transferred to the village inn temporarily. Caroline only wanted to live comfortably in her own home and take care of the family income, rather than associate with the overwhelming fashionable citizens also boarding at the inn. Rufus fit in with this scene, however Caroline did not, nor did she seem to enjoy it (Bayless 25). Although pleased with her husband’s success there, she did “have to exert herself a little too much to play the lady.” Caroline was practical, whereas Rufus was impulsive. She loved her husband and supported him, regardless, and was a proud wife. The family moved into their home a week later, where they settled very well (Bayless 26).

In 1840, their second child, Caroline, was born, and by 1841, Rufus was commuting back and forth between Philadelphia and New York, where Caroline and the girls lived. “As often as possible Griswold went to New York to see them, for he loved his wife and children dearly and disliked being separated from them” (32, 37).

Griswold was described as being erratic, colorful, and pampered, and Caroline’s family seemed to accept him—nay, tolerate him. Caroline and Griswold never owned a house of their own for every time Griswold attempted to put money away to save for a home, he would take it back and purchase little gifts for Caroline, who was appreciative of them nevertheless (51). For example, he had an original manuscript of “The Spanish Student” by Longfellow bound and gifted to Caroline for her autograph collection (57).

Caroline was said to wait for Griswold late at night for his arrival back home, with a meal and often a song to sing while he ate. “Often when she left the room he would almost involuntarily give thanks to God for such a blessing” (52).  Despite Griswold’s commuting and rather flamboyant behavior, Caroline loved her husband all the same, and quite dearly at that.

He once again left his family, and not thinking it suitable for Caroline and the girls to tag along with him, he left them behind. A third child was expected that autumn as well, so the travel and readjusting to a new city would have strained Caroline. Thus the commuting recommenced (52).

Griswold rejoined his family numerous times throughout summer and early autumn, and their son was born November, 1842. On the sixth day of November, he returned to Philadelphia for work, and all seemed well.

Three days later, Rufus received news while dining at the Jones Hotel, that his wife and newborn son were dead.

Taken from

“Universalist Union, Volume 8, pg.16”

Grief stricken and completely and utterly distraught, Rufus fled to his wife on the night train to New York, and stayed by his wife’s coffin for thirty hours, adamantly refusing to leave her side. He kissed her cold lips and embraced her, as his two little children clung to him and cried for their mother (64).

That midnight, Griswold wrote to his friend Fields,

You knew her my friend—she was my good angel—she was the first to lead me from a cheerless, lonely life, to society…She was not only the best of wives, but the best of mothers. You have seen our dear children—she taught them as children are rarely taught, and when she went her way they were left by her at the feet of Christ, at the very gate of heaven…They will bury her then [11:00 that day]—bury my dear Caroline and my child from my sight!…then I must set about tearing up the foundations of my home. Alas for me, I shall never more have a home to fly to in my sorrows—never more a comforter in my afflictions—never more a partner to share in all my woes or to be a source and author of all my pleasures…May God forever keep you from all such sorrow—farewell (65).

The funeral was held November 11, and the procession was moved to Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn. According to Bayless, “When the body was placed in the tomb, Griswold uttered a shriek, fell upon the coffin, and burst into agonized weeping” (65). Those standing by, including Hamilton Randolph Searles and his wife, gently urged him to leave the tomb. After seeing they could not ease the reverend’s throbbing heart, they left him to make peace with Caroline’s death. Captain Waring, Caroline’s uncle, finally had to pry Rufus from her grave, stating, “In Heaven’s name, Rufus, have done with this nonsense and come along home with me,” to which Rufus obliged and followed (65).

The night after Caroline’s death, Rufus wrote a poem, “Five Days,” to release more grievous feelings, which was printed anonymously in The New-York Tribune for November 16, 1842. You can view the poem, so graciously discovered and transcribed by a man whose name I shall protect, here.

Forty days after Caroline’s death, Griswold, still completely beside himself, escaped to her tomb once more. Below is the following account as stated by him:

I could not think that my dear wife was dead. I dreamed night after night of our reunion. In a fit of madness I went to New York. The vault where she is sleeping is nine miles from the city. I went to it: the sexton unclosed it: and I went down alone into that silent chamber. I kneeled by her side and prayed, and then, with my own hand, unfastened the coffin lid, turned aside the drapery that hid her face, and saw the terrible changes made by Death and Time. I kissed for the last time her cold black forehead—I cut off locks of her beautiful hair, damp with the death dews, and sunk down in senseless agony beside the ruin of all that was dearest in the world. In the evening, a friend from the city, who had learned where I was gone, found me there, my face still resting on her own, and my body as lifeless and cold as that before me. In all this I know I have acted against reason; but as I look back upon it it seems that I have been influenced by some power too strong to be opposed. Through the terrible scenes of the week I have been wonderfully calm, and my strength has not failed me, though it is long sine I have slept. It is four o’clock in the morning—I am alone—in the house that while my angel was by my side was the scene of happiness too great to be surpassed even in heaven. I go forth today a changed man. I realize at length that she is dead. I turn my gaze from the past to the future (67).

Weeks, months, and years passed with Caroline still remaining an aching memory in his heart. He questioned God, he blamed God, and his faith was ultimately shaken after her death. How could a just God take his angel away from him? He believed it was the result of God’s punishment, but despite how Griswold yearned to end this suffering, he knew he must continue on, if even only for his two girls (then three and five). Never again would he feel the same compassion from his darling, however, never again the same love and tenderness from a woman, his angel sent from God.
The world lost a mother, a devoted child of the Lord, and a faithful, adoring wife. For Griswold, his world had fallen completely apart, may have changed for the worse, and ultimately for him, and the rest of society who knew her well, “It was one thing to theorize and theologize; it was another to live without Caroline” (67).

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