A. J. H. (Augustine Joseph Hickey) Duganne.

Parnassus in pillory. A satire online

. (page 1 of 4)
Online LibraryA. J. H. (Augustine Joseph Hickey) DuganneParnassus in pillory. A satire → online text (page 1 of 4)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

University of California Berkeley
Gift of


l& ~tA-





"Lend me your EAKS."




Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1850,
in the ClerVs Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.

R. Craiyhead, Printer and 8tereotyper t
112 Fulton Street, New York.


O, THOU who whilome, with unsparing jibe
And scorching satire, lashed the scribbling tribe ;
Thou, who on Roman pimp and parasite
Didst pour the vials of thy righteous spite ;
Imperial HORACE ! let thy task be mine
Let truth and justice sanctify my line !

And thou ! relentless Draco of the schools,
Whose laws were scored upon the backs of fools !
Thou bi-tongued genius, from whose magic lips
Poison for knaves, for good men honey, drips ;
Thou Poet-Lacon, withering with a verb,
And reining folly with a figure's curb,
Thou of the DUNCIAD ! animate my strain ;
For vain my task if 'tis not in thy vein !


As in some butcher's barricaded stall,
A thousand prisoned rats gnaw, squeak, and crawl,
While at the entrance, held by stalwart hands,
A panting terrier strives to burst his bands ;
With eyes inflamed and glittering teeth displayed,
Half turns to bite the hand by which he's stayed ;
So writhes and pants my terrier muse to chase
The rats of letters from creation's face.

Far scurvier vermin these, my biped game
Rats gnaw but books these gnaw the author's fame ;
Holding Parnassus as a mammoth cheese,
Which, climbing not, they nibble as they please ;
And plying tooth and claw so fast and well,
That the whole mount is like a hollow shell.
Pharaoh was plagued with locusts for his crimes
Happy was Pharaoh to escape our times :
When myriad insects, plumed with pens of steel,
Buzz like some thrifty housewife's ceaseless wheel


Buzz, but beyond the buzz all likeness dwindles,
Save that their brains be warps, their legs be

Down, terrier, down ! we'll drop the canine form,
And incarnate the buzzing insect swarm.
Let us invoke the BARDS as once in Wales,
King Edward did from mountains, swamps, and


Convened them all, then broke each harp and head : (*]
(Would that our bards had such a wise King Ned !)
Let us invoke them and as up they spring,
Shoot them, as boys shoot crows upon the wing :
Then shall their death-songs poetize the blast,
Like dying swan-notes, sweet because the last.

Ah ! vain to strive inglorious to succeed
To scotch the snake, yet not destroy its breed ;
Small is the gain when for each foe that falls.


A foe more mischievous mine eyes appals :
Thus when the hydra's heads were struck to earth,
The dust that formed them gave them fresher birth.
Ah, gentle muse, if e'er with ardent fire,
Thou seek'st to gild our cis-atlantic lyre,
How must thy lips with heavenly satire smile,
To note the hands which now that harp defile !
How must thy gaze, as o'er our glorious landscape
It roves, from Florida's far reef to Ann's cape,
How must it blink to mark the phrensied eyes
Of myriad bards clairvoyant through the skies !
Oh, hapless land of mine ! whose country-presses
Labor with poets and with poetesses ;
Where Helicon is quaffed like beer at table,
And Pegasus is " hitched " in every stable ;
Where each smart dunce presumes to print a journal,
And every journalist is dubbed a " colonel ;"
Where lovesick girls on chalk and water thrive,
And prove, by singing, they're unfit to wive ;


Where Gray might Miltons by the score compute
" Inglorious " all, but, ah ! by no means " mute."

And, whom to pounce on first ? vengeful muse !
Faith, they're so near alike, 'tis hard to choose.
A stereotyped and ancient form they bear
Like sheepskin smallclothes of a century's wear.
Jack Ketch, when felons are about to die,
Divides their garments but so will not I ;
Though rainbow-hued, like Joseph's coat, their dress,
Should all exchange, could scarce fit each one less :
Each eyes his fellow's garb with crafty glare
Some well known patch he recognizes there :
Some button stolen where he stole his own
Some diamond-brooch, with ostentation shown,
Which he will swear is paste, and in a trice,
Prove that he bought one like it, at half-price.
Motley and mean in truth these bipeds be
A scurvier set ne'er marched through Coventry.


And what inflames mine anger as I gaze,

His stolen shreds each knave with pride displays :

This one wears breeches that might make his


This in a child's caul his huge head would crowd ;
This dabbles daintily with French fabrique
This wears a helmet o'er his visage sleek :
All stolen all misused, and brought to waste !
Gods ! if they must thieve, why not thieve with taste ?

But, hold ! are these in truth Columbia's bards ?

Do such assume the muse's high regards ?

Are there no souls where loud Niagara roars ?

No hearts on Mississippi's sounding shores ?

Are there no ears where tempests rend the skies ?

No eyes where forests gleam with myriad dyes ?

No harps where every air is melody ?

Are there no songs where every voice is free ?


List, O, my muse ! amid the jargon dire

Of screeching voice and worse than tuneless lyre ;

'Mid all the din which racks our addled brains,

I hear the rippling rivers of sweet strains :

I hear where, trembling through the leafy glen,

The poet's soul talks melody with men :

I feel young BRYANT in his dreamy youth

Anoint my heart with loveliness and truth :

I thrill with HALLECK'S ancient clasp of fire,

And bow my heart to " Harvard's " golden lyre ;

While clarion sounds that swing beneath the stars,

And crashing thoughts, like battling symetars,

Roll round me from the mighty harps of those

Whose songs are victories over Freedom's foes.

Well, well ! it may be that, amid the masses
Who in our journals write themselves down asses ;
It may be there exist some score or better
Of bards as well in spirit as in letter.


With these I've nought to do or, if I scan them,
To prove they've brains, it needs be I trepan them.
I come here as a critic as a satirist
Whether I argue right or wrong, whose matter is't ?
" Norfolk ! we must have knocks !" whose head's

not equal
To the encounter, may regret the sequel !

Poetry has its " amateurs " who wile
Their listless leisure with the muse's smile ;
Who simper sweetly in a Milton's tongue,
And lisp the lofty themes that Homer sung :
Merely for pastime really but in sport
To " try the hand " or " keep it in " in short
To show that if their own fame they had built on,
Homer had superseded been, and Milton.

Our country swarms with bards who've " crossed the

And think their native land earth's meanest quarter :


Bards who have heard the gondoliers sing Tasso,
Seen Arabs eat, and Indians throw the lasso ;
Men who have travelled, and of course must know
All sorts of flowers that on Parnassus grow.
Your " graceful " bards are these your " versifiers,"
Whose garlands are all roses and no briers ;
Who steam to Havre take the Rhone or Rhine,
Ascend Mont Blanc half-way then stop and dine ;
Muse (just like Byron) on the Bridge of Sighs,
Quote Rogers freely, prate of golden skies,
Eat maccaroni, ask where " Peter's keys " are ( a )
Find out what's meant by " dead as Julius Csesar ;"
Take notes (on railroads) of the towns they ride

(Until they get the "Traveller's Pocket Guide"

through ;)
Then home return, and (may the gods forgive

Print books whose leather shall at least outlive them.


These good men are not dangerous no ! far from it,
Though each esteems himself a star or comet.
And, faith, their muse describes eccentric orbits,
As if their Pegasus had need of jawbits ;
With foreign " airs " their " sales " are best inflated,
" Puffs " are they sure of who with wind are freighted ;
Truly your travelled bard is fortune's favorite,
He sees the world, and makes the public pay for it.

The PUBLIC huge, half-reasoning, like an elephant,
Of its own good is half the time irrelevant ;
It takes on trust a book that GRISWOLD edits,
And quarterly reviews like gospel credits ;
It hath an ostrich maw, and can digest
Sticks, stocks, and stones, and all with equal zest ;
For Harper's pictured " Bible," throngs it his shop,
Or seeks like mad the " trial " of some bishop ;
Swallows " John Donkey's " sad attempts at humor,
And thinks FROST'S books as wise as those of Numa.



But revenons a nos moutons that's sheep
Return we to our bards who've crossed the deep:
Our travel-poets whom we well may call so,
For he who reads their travels, travails also ;
Our cognoscenti, whom we all should follow,
As cousins-german to the real Apollo ;
Whose muse, in corkscrew curls and boddice waist,
Waltzes or polks, by finger-tips embraced ;
While with her nose retrousste and most haughty,
She lisps " now, Mister Writer, don't be naughty !"

What time Nat Willis, in the daily papers,
Published receipts of shoemakers and drapers ;( 3 )
What time, in sooth, his " Mirror " flashed its rays,
Like Barnum's "drummond" on the Broadway gaze ;
When lisping Misses, fresh from seminaries,
Worshipped " mi-boy " and " brigadier " as lares ;
When youngsters mad (scribendi cacoethes)
Found, that Castalia's stream was drugged like
Lethe's ;



Then BAYARD TAYLOR protege of Natty,
Dixon-like " walked " into the " literati ;"( 4 )
And first to proper use his genius put,
Like ballet-girls, by showing " Views a-Foot."

TAYLOR'S a pushing and industrious youth,
And so deserves that I should tell the truth ;
I wish him well, and own that I'm not sorry at
His late great hit, as Barnum's poet-laureate ;
If the high station suits his muse, why let it
And for the prize I wish that he may get it !
TAYLOR'S a youth of promise and good sense,
But for his genius " it's no consequence !"
He'll do to oscillate when the air quite still is,
'Twixt Horace Greeley and Maecenas Willis ;
His ' knapsack " yarn, however, is worth unravelling,
By all who'd learn the cheapest modes of travelling ;
'Tis snug, as down the glorious Rhine one floats,
To know one's passage only costs ten grotes ;


'Tis nice, while viewing St Peter's, to be told I
Can get good buttered buns for just two soldi ;
So TAYLOR'S muse presents a physiognomy
Invaluable to lovers of economy.

Here's TUCKERMAN calm, sentimental, placid
A Roman punch, without the strength or acid,
"While Taylor cheapens fares and prices lava,
TUCKERMAN at " La Scala" murmurs "brava."
A delicate muse is his genteel, exclusive
Marvelling, no doubt, why critics are abusive ;
'Tis vulgar (as Lord Chesterfield admonished)
To let folks see us startled or astonished ;
And T., (a well-bred, gentlemanly poet,)
If he has feeling, never lets us know it.
He sees Niagara, and says " I declare !"
Applauds a thunder-storm, with " Pretty fair !"
Reads Milton listlessly, with half-closed lids,
And wonders if the devil wore white kids ;



Likes us to know that he has been to Italy
Thinks that Vesuvius does eruptions prettily ;
Whistles " II Figaro " quotes scraps of Dante
A Yankee transcript of the dilettante

We have our ballad-poets (Lord preserve us !)
Song-mongers, sonneteers, and minstrels " nervous."
When " woodman " MORRIS wished to " spare that


Surely no seer's prophetic eyes had he ;
Else had he known that blockheads without number
Would from his luckless stock the country lumber ;
Smooth, unctuous MORRIS bard and brigadier
(Alas ! that MORRIS can't be more is clear ;)
A household poet, whose domestic muse
Is soft as milk, and sage as Mother Goose ;
Whose lyrics (sought for with a kind of rabies,)
Like " Sherman's Drops," are cried for by the babies.
Ah ! luckless bard ! why did his hydra-blood


Raise from our soil so fierce a ballad-brood ?
Why are the hapless men of music-stores ( 6 )
Dogged by a race of Yankee troubadours ?
Why is the yardstick slighted for the lyre
The pestle melted by poetic fire ?
Our watchmen's sleep disturbed by vocal woes,
6rw/tar'd, caterrh'd, by red-haired Komeos ?
Why but because each whining snob has learned
How feet are measured and how times are turned ;
Cipher with songs his master's ledger spoils
Snip puts to press his sonnets as he moils ;
Crispin with thread poetic waxeth strong,
And Chip, who dovetailed wood, now dovetails song ;
And all because (forgive, O dread Apollo !)
Where MORRIS leads, Tom, Dick, and Hal must

follow ;

Aping his strain with throats all cracked and wheezy,
" If MORRIS sings," cry they " sure, singing's easy !"




'Tis said that to another pen belongs
The authorship of MORRIS'S best songs ;
But sure am I, no charity's in this
For if he's not the author, some one is ;
Matters it little who incurs the name,
Poor human nature suffers still the same !
Some one first led (to set our rhymesters crazy)
This dance (or morris-dance, or not, is hazy ;)
Some one cried " Besom !" and, behold, the word
A thousand watery fiends from slumber stirred ;
Till now, alas ! (as in the northman's ( 8 ) fable,)
To stop the flood no human power is able.

We have our Dramatists from " Brutus " PAYNE,
Though BIRD, and CONRAD, down to think again !
Can we say down from those I just have mentioned?
(This question's asked because I'm good-intentioned,
And wouldn't for the world a quarrel breed),
Well, down to BOKER and the martial REID,


Who fought for glory, grub, and Jackson's medal, ( 7 )
And wrote "Love's Martyr," which he used to peddle.

I believe in Uncle Sam I believe in dollars
I believe in mad dogs and phonetic scholars ;
I believe in Sheba's queen she of the bath, whose
Story I've read I believe in Corny MATTHEWS ;
And more than this, I believe that he called "Puffer,"
Than those who laugh at him is ten times tougher.
What though our Murdoch, rash but patriotic,
Damned native plays in preference to exotic ;
What though no " Witchcraft " saved poor Puffer's


And " Jacob " ( 8 ) built no ladder for his feme ;
Though adverse fates foredoom his best intents,
And even his hits are chalked as accidents ;
Yet I'll maintain, with all my heart and will,
MATTHEWS deserves well of his country still ;
I trow booksellers are his worst revilers,


He's barked at by those curs ycleped " compilers ;"
The hate of many honest souls he bears,
Because his egotism beats even theirs ;
Yet for their hate, I hate thee not, Cornelius,
(Faith, for these things I like thee tanto melius)
I like thee, spite of all thy dam-ned plays,
Thy " weak inventions " as King Richard says
I like thee, for that those who'd bite thy heel,
First had good cause that heel's full weight to feel ;
I like thee for that thou hast richly flayed,
With good goose-quill, the thin-skins of " the trade ;"
I like thee that thou dar'st to strike and stand
For "Author's Rights "so " Puffer "here's my
hand ! ( 8 )

There are two reeds for aught 1 know, two hundred,
But two, par excellence, who might my fun dread ;
There's READ (-d) le petit bard and artist,
And REID (i-d) bigger, if not the smartest ;


" Poor Scholar " is the latter's nom de plume

(Most candid he this title to assume) ;

He wrote a play (Bulwer, some said, wrote part, or

Shakspeare, perhaps), and christened it " Love's

'Twas played half-damn'd and then, in despera

The author sealed its doom by publication ;

A thing unwise all men of sense must say so :

I've had a dozen damn'd and let them stay so.

REID was a poet born I have his word on't,

Born in the Green Isle, though by no means verdant ;

His " Broken-Hearted " poem neutral-tinted

Wherever REID abides is always printed ;

He steered for Hungary ( 10 ) ere that land was undone,

And, doubtless, now is living snug in London ;

If so, the news ere long will be imparted,

That " Punch " is publishing his " Broken-Hearted."



Who's next upon the mimic scene ? Ah, truly,
'Twere well, my muse, you come to ENGLISH duly.
Griswold, whose voice in poetry's oracular,
Whose awful fiat stamps each bard's vernacular ;
Griswold opines that TOM ycleped " The Rhymer,"
On steep Parnassus yet may be a climber,
And proves by one most nautical " Ben Bolt,"
That " Donkey-John" 's of Pegasus a colt ; (")
I'll not deny for they may read who run
That by DUNN ENGLISH is the English done ;
-His " Bolt " may bar Griswoldian criticism,
But I must scan him through a Satire's prism ;
So without gloves, and yet no thought to knuckle,
With " Don Key Haughty " for a space I'll buckle.

This " Rhymer's " critic-lash, in sooth they tell us,
Cuts like a knout (i'faith, my muse grows jealous ;)
Surnamed "The Bitter" he his threatening growl,
Greeting young Orpheus like a Cerberus-howl


(Young Orpheus fresh from college or the counter,
With harp in hand, to catch a muse and mount her ;)
A critic he, whose " cut-and-slash " is mighty,
A bard whose flights it must be owned are flighty ;
A dramatist whose tragic muse has flitted,
Proud o'er the pit but only to be pitied !

I pr'ythee, Tom, what mill supplies thy paper ?
What gas-house furnishes thy ** midnight taper ?"
Hast thou Briareus' arms, or, with antennae,
Dost grasp a thousand pens, to turn a penny ?
I heard a speech to-day 'twas ENGLISH wrote it,
The journal's leader they from ENGLISH quote it ;
I bought a book DUNN ENGLISH on the cover ;
I sung a song lo ! ENGLISH as a lover.
Lawyer, and doctor, farmer, bard, and playwright,
0, motley Tom ! in one thing, pr'ythee, stay right !
Waste not thyself pursuing shadowy vapors,
Cut not thy real work but cut thy capers !


Shape for thy Future's years some work whose might
Shall mock the tasks which now thy powers invite ;
Strike the brave harp for man or break its strings ;
For Heaven hears only when a full heart sings.

Here's Byron-BoKER, with a slight mustache :
Be careful, pen ! attempt no combat rash ;
Else, with a rage that shall o'erwhelin ev'n yours,
BOKER may, Byron-like, review reviewers.
Yet, in good sooth, perhaps for BOXER'S sake,
'Twere well to rouse the lion with a shake ;
Byron, when flogged, eschewed his schoolboy trash,
Who knows but BOKER faith ! I'll try the lash.

Now, 'pon my sacred word 'tis with a sigh

I lift the flagellating rods on high ;

Like the stern Trappist strike I though afresh

At every blow, bleed my own tender flesh ;

Chastening whom most we love, we can't be mild,

Lest, whilst we "spare the rod," we "spoil the child."


BORER'S a young man still he wrote Calaynos,
For a young man 'twas not a crime too heinous ;
There's a rich vein of bloodshed running through it
(The pit at " Sadler's Wells " took kindly to it ;) ( ia )
Next he exhumed I mean, he took from Hume,
A headless tale of bride and Bluebeard groom ;
And last, to show the Public how he braved it,
Brought "The Betrothal" out and barely saved it.
His verse is well enough smooth, classic, measured
(Addison's style is one that should be treasured ;)
True, there's no life where art the subject warps,
But, as the crones say, " 'tis a handsome corpse ;"
BOKER of bards is not the first nor last,
He's growing haply, though, he grows too fast ;
If poets seek the muse's bright empyrean,
They'll first do well to reach the heart's criterion ;
Lay their foundation on good rocks not water
Then build like Cheops if they've bricks and mortar;
So BOKER if he'll mind me to the letter,


(I can advise, because I write much better,)
Will tear to shreds his bookish rules, and write,
As Corny Matthews does, with all his might ;
Then, if he charms not all the public noddles,
We'll know it is his own fault, not his model's.

BOKER'S in Philadelphia Matthew Carey
Sold books in that " Emporium Literary ;"
Big newspapers and Ladies' Magazines
Are published there ; the markets furnish greens
Much earlier than those of northern cities ;
There flourish puffs poetic, and love-ditties ;
" Colonel Fitzgerald " prints the " City Item,"
And rowdies find that juries won't indict 'em.

I know not why and surely 'tis a pity,
The pen is penury in Penn's great city ;
Songs make a man sans all things nay, what
worse is,


Verse, in an adverse ratio, brings reverses.
Would the poor author live by books, perchance he
Will find that Grub-street is no thing of fancy ;
Does he serve Graham ? " Graham bread n he

shares ;

Toils he for Godey ? many a goad he bears ;
Would he the editorial tripod court ?
Newspaper columns will no roof support.
Ah, luckless wretch ! wouldst thou escape a hovel?
Edit " Paul Pry," or write a " blood-red " novel ;
Eschew all modesty let sense go hang :
Write shilling legends for the " Idler " gang ;
Argue like mad, some question undisputed ;
Swear you're a heaven-born genius persecuted;
Mix in due quantities your brass and lead,
And " swap " the " bogus " for your daily bread !
Then shall each peddling bookman call you "Nepos,"
Your name be bless'd in " Literary Depots."


Amid the Babel-tongues of Philadelphia,
There's one young man who always gains himself ear :
Tolerably 'cute, though not at all ^ood-looking,
Books, birds, pies, poems, he's expert in cooking ;
To-day he'll read his " greatest " poem, for your
Especial good anon, he'll be your lawyer ;
One day, as " Harry Harkaway," he'll shoot you
As many quails or reedbirds as may suit you ;
The next, discourse upon the arts or music,
Until he prattles both himself and you sick ;
Or till he proves, in every subject pitched on,
That earth boasts one more " admirable Crichten." (")

" Endymion !" may his pipe still keep its tune !
Endymion HIRST, who sleeps beneath the moon ;
With " Blackstone" pillowing his majestic head,( u )
That head which, all unlike his works, is red ;
Cold HIRST who says he " never feels a line
He sings " (his readers believe him, O ye Nine !)


Time was when, dormant in the stripling's breast,
Trochee was silent mute was anapaest ;
Time was, ere luckless Helicon he drank,
When all his verses, like his briefs, were blank ;
His thoughts unnumbered, noteless all his time,
And dull-set as his voice his dulcet rhyme ;
But chance, or circumstance, or whimsic fate,
By curious accidents makes mortals great ;
And thus it chanced, or came to pass, in sooth,
That Sully painted " Shakspeare in his youth ;"
With " hyacinth hair " and beard of amber hue,
Expansive brow, and eyes half-brown, half-blue.
HIRST was a connoisseur in painting then,
And Sully's picture met his critic ken ;
The young man murmurs, starts, and rubs his eyes :
Egad ! the portrait takes him by surprise ;
The brow he marks the amber beard he sees,
" Shakspeare and I," he cries, " are like as peas !"


In truth, "'twas passing strange," the stripling


Such " counterfeit presentment " here was wrought :
Endymion's embryo Avon's mighty bard
Which sat to Sully, faith, to tell was hard.
Pregnant, no doubt, of some tremendous fame,
One's hair was red and t'other's much the same ;
That lofty brow that nose " By all the Nine !"
Cries HIRST, " His locks are hyacinth so are mine !
If thus kind Nature marks her duplicate,
Egad ! I'll take to poems, and be great ;
I'll write till none shall know which bard is which,
Shakspeare may die but there's a vacant niche ;

And " Lo ! Parnassus heard the dread resolve :

HIRST lives ! the Future will his fame evolve !

This satirizing's tedious though I force not
The reader to endure it O, of course not !
Pm satisfied they'll read it whom I quiz,


And those not named will read to see who is ;
Be glad, then, friends, whose genius is not known
Be glad my work's not still-born like your own ;
Since through my potent pen you'll gain, in verity,
Mention at least in most remote posterity.

Posterity ! the race of fools and dummies,

Who'll crowd the Future with the Present's

mummies ;
Who'll read my books and hundreds worse than


1 3 4

Online LibraryA. J. H. (Augustine Joseph Hickey) DuganneParnassus in pillory. A satire → online text (page 1 of 4)