Gulian C. (Gulian Crommelin) Verplanck.

The state triumvirate, a political tale: and the epistles of Brevet Major Pindar Puff [pseud.] .. online

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Lieut.-Col.John Shaw Billings


First Director of

The Newark Public Library





111. is NOT l>i:.\l> WHO CIM'TII I. Ill-: TO KNOWLEDGE 1

John Shaw Billings Memorial Fund
Founded by Anna Palmer Draper

I I I II l ^s^k^7v^s^>^k^Ss^^^s^B^As^vA v ^ v ,^ffl




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a political 3Tafe :





Ver \


Architophel each rank, degree, and age,
For various ends, neglects not to engage;
The wise and rich, for fame and counsel brought,
The fools and beggars, for their numbers sought,
With parasites, and libel-spawning imps,
Intriguing fops, dull jesters, and worse pimpa.




AND SOLD ItY W. B. (. 1 LI,.' •. , !.- O. '.'/> BIO/W.'V.

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AND OTHER B0<>:3 -> LLERb.

i Beynoour, prlnUjiv

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pen Foi * ^ HS

* i#87 x.

deposited in this ni" 7u AN Set *our, <>f the ^i, m • l n " e,)
•; The FoolsuS ,e";<fe, an '' co '' mel *"»«•*,



Societat. Piff. Paff. Puff. Clint. Soc. Honor. A. B. €.
D. E. F. G. H. I., &c. Sec. &c.


Behold I present unto thee a complete and
not inelegant edition of all Hie opera minora of the
Poetie Buckiailici, being the works of the Bucktail
Bards, collected by mine own labours, and sedu-
lously corrected by my care, so that the text there-
of now appeareth purged from all those errors
which the oscitancy of prior editors had suffered to
creep in; and the rust of errata being scoured off,
it now shineth in its pristine brightness.

With respect unto the merit of these classical pro-
ductions, it is not needful to speak at large. Even
from their first appearance, did the whole republic
of letters join in hailing them as the genuine off-
spring of Apollo, by the nymph' Tarhminra— *t&t
waters of the Pierian fount," and those of the" 'great
spring, bring dearly perceived' \o flow ! in mixed

streams throughout every pagl. i j '

The first poem, now called " The State Tri-
umvirate," was originally published separately,
under the title of Dick Shift; and bearing that
appellation hath been read and admired in all parts
of the civilized world, and translated into no less
than seventy-one languages,— that is to say— count-
ing each distinct dialect as a different tongue ; for
in fact, the original and parent languages into which
it hath been rendered, are but thirty-four.

Like unto the great " Philosophical Discourse"
of the great Clinton, it hath been equally read in
Austria, Australia, Russia, Prussia, Moldavia, Chi-
na, Macedonia, and Paphlagonia ; at Malabar, Tem-
ple-bar, and Madagascar— in England, Scotland,
Ireland, Holland, Switzerland, Lapland, Finland,
Courland, Greenland, and Van Diemen's land-
yea, also, in Paraguay, Bombay, and Botany Bay.
Every where, have our great philosopher and our
great poet walked hand in hand, yea, arm in arm, so
that in the Peru edition of these two admirable
and admired productions, they are both printed
together in one volume, thereby furnishing a com-
plete manual of American literature.

The manner in Avhich the tale or epos of Dick
Shift hath been extolled by all the American and
English, literati is so well |cnown, that it is needless
.ta^l tfeesepag& fritij ifee praises lavished thereon,
by the Port Folio,; the* 'North American Review,
the'Amile.vh' &ag&Hne, the Medical Repository'
the 'Law •Journal. -and the City-haU Recorder. Nei-


ther is it necessary to speak of the high panegyrics
of the Quarterly Review, of the British Review, of
the British Critic, the Eclectic Review, and the
Sportsman's Magazine, nor of the still more flatter-
ing eulogium of Mr. Bristed, in the last edition of
his " Resources," and of Professor Hosack, in his
Eloge Funebre du Docieur Henri/.

Nevertheless, I should be utterly unworthy of the
two great names which I bear, and of the high of-
fice of an editor of my country's classics, did I alto-
gether neglect to append hereunto certain Testimo-
nia doclorum Virorinn, or opinions of the great scho-
lars of Europe, touching the merit of the first of
these works, unto which I now stand loco parentis,
that is to say, a god-father.

And first — In the review of Dick Shift, in the
Edinburgh Review, the critic (who I learn from the
undoubted authority of my esteemed friend Carolus
Wilkins, Tabemae Argentaris Nov. Eb. Thesaurar.
is no other than Mr. Jeflery himself) thus com-
menceth :

* This is an extremely clever and amusing poem —
•a little wicked, perhaps — not at all sentimental —
1 certainly not of the Lake school — hut full of power,
'and gayety, vigour, and wit. It is exactly like
•nothing we have had before— and even if we did
4 not know its transatlantic origin, it would be quite
1 clear thai it comes neither from Scott, nor Camp

hell r Byron. The nearest approach that our

'poetry has hitherto made t<> this kind of composi-

A 2

4 tion is in the lighter pieces of Prior. Yet Dick
' Shift is not absolutely of his school — but somewhere
1 half way between it and the sterner and coarser in-

* vective of Swift. Its lively tone of raillery — its vi-
' vid and picturesque narrative, often broken up into
'animated dialogue, sometimes interrupted by easy
' chattering, and then again flowing on in vigorous
' and polished verse — remind us forcibly of Prior.
' Its bold sarcasm — its hardy coarseness — its pungent
' irony, are of Swift's taste. Its general characteris-
' tics arc great force and boldness — intense earnest-
' neas of indignation, mixed with little flying traits of
' ludicrous description, and a very philosophical and

* republican contempt for those great men, who
'like, kc. &c.'

Mr. Jeffery then rambleth into a disquisition on
the causes why kings and prime ministers, who do
not happen to be of the Fox party, are always
blackguards ; after which he giveth a history of the
English satirical poetry, toucheth on the characters
of Dr. Donne, Butler, Dry den, DeFoe, Swift, Pope,
Churchill, Cowper, kc. kc. Finally, the critic
maketh a copious analysis of Dick Shift, detecteth
six Americanisms, which, though they have Shak-
speare's authority for their use, are not received in
good society at Edinburgh ; and concludeth a review
of twenty-two pages in this wise:

'Thus we think it quite evident, that in spite of
' the narrow restraints of our commercial policy, po-
' etry, the finest of all manufactures, is now likely to

* be produced on the other side the Atlantic, both of
4 a better quality and at a cheaper rate than it can be
'made in our own island — and Coleridge, Words-
' worth, and the loyal and consistent author of Wat
' Tyler, are in danger of being undersold in their own
1 home market.'

But, gentle and patriotic reader, this praise, is
faint indeed, compared with the splendid panegyric
of the eloquent Phillips, the Demosthenes of Ire-
land, and the chosen model of so many of our Ame-
rican youth. In his address to the electors of Drim-
drumadree, Mr. Phillips quoteth a passage from
Dick Shift, and laudeth the poet in these words :

'Oh divine, oh delicious sally of satire! Cor-
'ruption had erected her court on the heights of the
'Hudson, in the avenues of Albany, in the lobby of
' the legislature — in face a fury, in deed a demon, her
' influence was infernal, and her power was para-
' mount. She seemed about to rear on the ruins of
'the republic, and the nothingness of the nation, a
' pyramid of pride, beneath whose shade magnani-
k mity might moulder, and wisdom would wither
'away. She assailed the virtuous with the venom
'of venal turpitude; she allured the wisdom of the
•wicked by the wiles of wealth. Her throne was
' the lobby — th»- ermine washer rloke — banks were
' her playthings — bribes were her sugar-plums. Oft
'did she draw the dagger of detraction, and oft did
'she unvein the life-blood of confiding conscience
'and paralyzed patriotism. Oh. what an bourwa


tied for the gigantic energies of genuine genius
'The great Unknown, the mysterious and mighty
' author of Dick Shift, then walked forth' in the
' eloud, and the mist, and the majesty of cortceal-
' ment — armed with the pride, and the power, and
' the punishment of purest patriotism. Corruption

* fled from his face, and fell cowering, and crushed,
*and crumbling on the altars of her own Mam -
4 mon-like idolatry. The high flame of poetry,
' like a beacon blaze on a rock, warned the world,
'to beware. Who first fanned that flame? Who
' flashed the torch of truth into the dark, dreaic^,
1 and desolate den of Detraction? The matchless
'author of Dick Shift! Sublime songster ! super-
' lative satirist ! Thy fame is for ever — thy satires
' a scourge, thy mirth is merit, and thy rhyme is
' reason. When hereafter the green grass shah" grow
' on thy grave, many an eagle eye shall embalm thy
'memory with its dews — many a merry.maid shall

• mourn — many a lovely lip shall lisp^-iiiiirry a che-
' rub child shall chaunt — many a saci'ed song shall
1 sound — many a holy hand shall hold thy, tvc. &§c.'
—Counsellor O 1 Regan's edition of Phillips's Poli-
tical S])ecches, p. 94.

Let us now proceed to select some small sam-
ples from the mass of tribute, which this great ge-
nius hath received from the continent of Europe.

And first in the French" tongue—

* French is the 'anguage now spoken in that country,
anciently called Gallia. Gallia est omnis divisa in
partes ties. Cesar. Comm. Lib. I. p. 9 , Edit. Onden-


In that exquisite epic, the Colombiade, of my
worthy friend and correspondent M. Proneur de
Fanfar, (which, as the world well knowcth, is en-
tirely dedicated to the honour of the worthies of
America,) the whole of the nineteenth book is de-
voted to the praise of our illustrious Clinton. The
poet beautifully showeth the history of his hero's
political labours, through the mystic veil of allegory,
representing him as contending against the savage
tribes of Bucktails, ("les Bucktails feroces,") head-
ed by the arch magician Tammany, or (as the poet
frequently calleth him, for the sake of the verse)

The book closeth with a superb description of a
single combat between the hero and the magician
chief, who assumeth the form of a while-brown, or
grizzly bear, with a long fishes tail. The poet des-
cribeth him in lines, worthy of Racine, as being,

" Iiulomptable Ours blanc, poisson impetucux,
Sa croupe so racourbe en replis tortueux."

The magician is finally vanquished — heescapcth,
however, leaving his tail in the victor's possession.
Before he vanishcthhe addresseth his conqueror in
a prophetic Btrain, relating to him his future glories,
and ending with these word., "Je vois," says the
tailless head of the Bucktails:

\leinc, d. ins T;inimany-h;.ll ],. s , Bucktaill SbfcatUI


e plaire torn tonjoug, el chantei tei rertus,


.Mais quel heureax auteur, dans unc autre Entitle
Peindrd la haute gloirf, do ce nouvcl Alcide ?
C'estl'auteur de DIK SHIF,Virgile dumonde nouveai
Jamais mil ecrivain n'cut im genie si beau !
< 'esl a lui, grand DEVITT, si vous daigniez m'en

Que Phebus a cnmrnis, tout le soin de ta gloire.

Oui malgr6 la haine de Tammanus irrite

1] conduira CLINTON a PimmortalitS.

I might lien; also insert, the profound criticism on
' : Richard Chemise," contained in the twelfth num-
ber of the Journal de Galimatias, and generally at-
tributed, in Paris*, to the pen of M. Le Marquis de
Chateaubriand; but I forbear to encroach on the
^pace allotted by my printer to these Prolegomena.

Throughout all Germany the learned vie with each
other in praise of this work, as well as of Dr.Clinton's
" Philosophical Discourse :" indeed my excellent and
learned friend, Professor Everritt, of Boston, in-
formeth me, that during the last course which he
attended at the university of Gottingen, Dick
Shift was actually used as a text-book by Dr.
Blunderspach, in his lectures on criticism and po-
etry. Professor Blunderspach hath recently put
forth an edition of Heyne's Virgil, in seventeen vo-
lumes, thick octavo, containing a regular com-
mentary ("perpetua adnotatione,") upon Heyne's

:7 A city on ihc Seine, formerly called Lutetia, novr
the capitolrfu royaumt dt France,


own commentary, in the course of which he styleth
our author, " Poetam ilium Americanum, dulcem,
lepidum, facetum, acrem, qui in suo RICARDO
SHIFTO, seria cum jocis eleganter miscuit, et
Swiftii atylum, ingeniumque, imitando superavit."

The immortal Eichorn goes yet farther: in his
lectures on the satirical poetry of the Saducees, he
introduceth a critical analysis of Dick Shift, and
roundly calleth the author "Poetarum hujuscc se-
culi facile principem."

But why should I fill these pages with the testi-
monies of the learned to thisAvonderful work, when
they may all be summed up in the single opinion of
1 hat .gigantic Grecian, Dr. Parr. Immediately upon
the receipt of a copy of Dick Shift, (which I seat
him by the diplomatic hands of my worthy friend
Mr. Rush,) after reading it with the utmost delight,
he gave vent to his feelings in the following Attic ep-
igram :

ft hcv ytjiotr TTooYtT, hocr JoXfT TgAA fig TOU?.
0(p IhSocr; ?r/^ocpS\ 'ettK, C <x/A, fyurt '<xi?.
Tyyivt; v '#$£, avJ 1 $(>qu Vfi @oox 1 iw /t,

H, \JPi A KteViP eJc^, <X.vS $UHg 7TU12T.

With regj rd to th<- poems appended unto tin
tale of Dick Shift, and bearing the name of Major
Puff a; 'I"- author, I regrel to pay, thai they him


beta so short a time in the world, that I have not
yet Imm-.i able to gather any information as to the
manner m which they were received by the literati
of Europe ;-at home they have met with universal


Mr. Walsh, in the last edition of his " Appeal
from the Judgment of Great Britain," saith, "The
poetical and political epistles of Pindar Puff, com-
pel me to chant a palinody of my ancient preju-
dices, and to confess that I have heretofore vili-
pended the poetical talent of our country with too
harsh an exacerbation of critical asperity."

Dr. Clinton, Pres. L. P. S. N. Y. &c. (o w) in
his eloquent, learned, and profound address to the
society for the cultivation of conchology and Tus-
caroraliterature-speaking ofthis work of his youth-
ful friend and protege, Major Puff, declareth* « That

* His Excellency is a little given to repeating himself.
We have had most of this hefore, in his Opus Magnum —
opus vero aureum— the Philosophical Discourse. The first
compliment not a little resemhlelh that which he paid to
certain societies, which he declareth "needed nothing
but more encouragement from the public, and more at-
tention from the members to become useful." The
"vernacular literature," "nisus of the human mind,"
* polemic controversies," " Cimmerian gloom," and " in-
tellectual illumination," are also to be found in profuse
abundance in the suae work; wherein poor Butler, Ju-
nius, and Lord Coke, are alio denounced. The Cestus


1 it wants nothing but more melody in the versifica-
4 tion, more poetry in the thought, and more ele-
1 gance in the expression, to become ornamental to
' our vernacular literature ; and to show by what a
; nisusofthe human mind, intellectual illumination
' may be made to irradiate the Cimmerian gloom
1 into which the writings of Junius, Lord Coke, and
' the author of Hudibras have plunged the world.'
4 Though his touch, like that of Midas, turns trifles
\ into gold, yet the great qualities of Pindar Puff are

* attended with a due sense of his limited powers.

• He does not see in himself the tortoise of the In-

of Venus, the bow of Ulysses, and shield of Minerva, are
constant ornaments of bis Excellency's style, he being
deeply read in Tooke's Pantheon, and King's History of
the Heathen Gods. The concluding paragraph rcmindeth
me of two passages which I have always especially admir-
ed. "The Pierian Spring, and the Parnassian Mount are
" not to be expected in the den of Cacus !" and, again,
"every writer who enters the political lists," (saith his
Excellency, doubtless modestly alluding to his own poli-
tical writings,) " endeavours to bend the bow of Ulys;e-,
11 and in striving to make up in venom what he wants in
"vigour, mistakes scurrility for satire, ribaldry, for wit,
'• and confounds the natron of Egypt with the salt of At-

•• tica. 11 Clinton's Literary and Philosophical Discourse.

Tin- two preceding sentences, about .Midas and the tor-

toise, are almost verbatim from the Doctor's Discourse

before the Academy of Fine K\ I



dian, or tin Ail. i- Hi' the heathen mythology sup-
1 porting the world!!! Pnir,' addeth the orator,
1 rose in the poetical like a sky-rocket in the natural
4 world ; hut his muse engages in no polemic
1 versies. She wears the cestus of Venus, she bears
1 the shield of Minerva, and the bow of Ulysses ; she
1 does not expect to find Mount Parnassus in a cel-
k lar, nor the Pierian spring in a garret, neither has
' she ever been known to mistake sal ammoniac for
4 table salt.'

Sufficient, surely, are these praises for my be-
l<»\ed Pindar — it becometh not me to sound his
praises — he is my favourite pupil — mine nephew by
blood — mine own son by adoption — Made virtuic.

The notes appended unto the several poems are
evidently Variorum, sometimes from the pens of
the authors, and often from those of divers learned

With respect unto the anonymous and mysteri-
ous author of Dick Shift, or, as it is now termed,
The State Triumvirate, I have most diligently la-
boured to inquire, if so be that I might be enabled
to reveal unto the public this Eleusinian mystery.
M\ labour was in vain until I learnt, from a philo-
sophical essay in that profound literary Journal,
the Columbian, generally thought to be penned b\
Dr. Clinton himself that the author was no other
than a .Mr. Casrius, an Attorney at Law, who liveth
in a village, and Inth a cream-coloured visage*."

1 M?i'ip| thai by the epithpi " cream


Great as is the fame which this bard hath earned,
full certain am I that it will soon he eclipsed by the
rising fame of my Pindar. He hideth not his face,
as Mr. Cassius doth, but showeth it alway at the
elbow of his patron for the time being. He is not
hungry and lean, as the Columbian newspaper doth
aver that Cassius is, but dineth with the rich and

faced," his Excellency intended simply to express the
singular beauty and fairness of Mr. Cassius's visage —
for, lo ! I actually believed " cream-faced," as used by
Shakspeare and Dr. Clinton, to signify no other than
11 larteus," in Latin ; thus, " lactea collet auro innectun-
tur ; n and, again, the divine Maro, speaking of that fair
lad, Ascanius, saith, il Fa sos cervix, cui lactea, crines ac-
ccpit ;" but upon consulting Ainsworth's Dictionary,
Edit. Mathew Carey, and carefully collating it with a
copy of the Edit. Van Winkle and Wiley, and T. and
J. Swords, I find "cream-faced" to mean nothing more
than " oris pallidi vcl luridi," so that the phrase was
doubtless imitated by Messrs. Shakspeare and Clinton,
from the " totO erpaluit ore" of the Roman bard.

This pallor, it should be kept in mind, is described by
all the ancient poets, as the constant effect or concomi-
tant of hunger, as


Pallida semper

< hvfiune

Virgil. Kbit. Hsynb.

Homer, in the Odyssey, (Lib. XII.) describrth the

same effect, as produced in •he companions ol I lv i


great, and eateth corporation dinners in full uniform.
He breakfasteth with one philosopher, and taketh
tea with another, and BwaJloweth pickled oysters at
parties, telling young damsels the scientific name
thereof. Moreover, lie striveth not to be original,
as Cassius doth ; but when he spieth a good
thought, like his master, he stealeth it, and putteth
it into his own mellifluous composition.

partly, indeed, by fear, but also in part by hunger, for
though he first saith,

'they were all pale with fear;" yet a little after he ex-
pressly addeth,

" vcxabat vero ventremfama.n

J design this brief note, gentle, and most erudite read-
er, as a foretaste, or earnest, or pledge, (afafrn**,*,) as
the great Gregory Aanzianzen saith. Edit. Montfaucon.
vol. 13. p . |094.) of an Ezcunui, or Disquuitio, on
the various colours of the human " face divine, 1 ' which
Baid Excursus 1 intend to prepare for my edition of the
New-York Political Classics, for the purpose ofelueida-
re passage in that beautjful fragment
•• I ' Union," (generally ascribed to our learned
Chii r Justice,) beginning thus: -The rubric of his face
shows the nature of his idolatry, and the deitv he wor-
ships," tec


As it is recorded of Plato, that when he was yet in
his cradle, the bees anointed his lips with honey* —
even so was I wont to fill the mouth of the little
Pindar with sngar-house molasses; and sweet now
are the words of his mouth.

Vain will be hereafter all attempts to rival, yea,
to imitate him. As the divine Horace saith —

Pindarum quisque studet semulari, I,

ule, ceratis, ope Daedalea
Nititur pennis, vitreo daturus

jNoinina Ponto.

Monte decurrens, velut amnis, imbres
Quern super notas aluere ripas,

Fervet, immensusque ruit profundo
Pindarus ore.

That is to say, being translated into vernacular

Who strives on paper- wings to fly,

Can never mount up half 80 high

As that sweet bard, bright Pindar Puff,

Whose verse is smooth, u bose satire rough.

If Coleman smiles, BOIDS light balloon

May mount twelve yards towards the moon ;

* Diascorides Ilfgi y-K'— Lib. xi. p. 10'Jl. 1




But soon will fall each rhyming fool,
Aru! flounder in oblivion's pool,
While Pindar, like the Hudson flows,
Swell'd by the melting of the snows,
And sweeps in his impetuous song
at Clinton and his works along.

Vale, Lector benevole.

Ex museo meo, vico Maiden-Lane,
Prid. Kal. Nov.

iStfv \s* fttgfo hzpn (taps




Mentioned by Pindar Puff, and other modern
poets, and alluded to in the foregoing Pro-


This word is not to be found in any modern
lexicon or dictionary, in its compound form, al-
though its primitives are of constant use and recur-
rence. It hath two meanings ; the more usual one,
being its analogical, metaphysical, and figurative,
(or, as it hath yet better been styled by grammari-
ans,) transitive and secondary sense. In this vulgar
and vernacular acceptation, I assert (meo periculo)
it is always used by the poets ; and signilieth, that
set of barbarous, savage, and as it were semi-bes-
tial men, who wickedly place themselves in array
against the " sublime, grand, bold, magnificent, and
comprehensive policy of Governor Clinton's state
administration." (These, reader, are the per&a so-
lennia always to be used in Bpeaking of our great

philosopher's political labours. S.e the writings of

Elainesius, [•**»*,] Pellius, MUlerus, Vanwyclrius
Mumfordus, Spoonerus, Carterus, et Bogardus.


But BUCKT AIL hath also, of necessity, another
and primitive signification, in a purely physical sense
— being the w§», or, as Aristotle more commonly
calleth it, (Hist. Animal, edit. Bipont,) x^*™, or, ac-
cording to Linneus, in his Systcma Natures, the
Cauda, or as Buffon more generally termeth it, la
Queue, or, to speak in the way of logical definition,
" that part of the quadruped or other animal, which
is at the end of the spine, being evidently an elon-
gation of the vertebrae; ordinarily, though not uni-
versally, covered with hair ;" " cauda pilosa."
Plin. Hist. Nat. edit. Grouov. et Varior. I say,
the c^*, Mgwo-j cauda, queue, or TAIL of that ani-
mal which is described by Linneus as " Cervus, cor-
nibus Ramosis, teretibus, iocurvatis, — cauda brevi."
(Syst. JYat. edit. Gmelin.) This animal hath been
known in all ages and countries :

Among the Greeks it bore the name or appella-
tion of ihnT^j as in Homer. Odyss. x. 158:

c O? %ol [tot uvJ/Mcg^o»v EA<x<pov fxiyxv us q£qv oivrrtV

As down the hill I solitary go,

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Online LibraryGulian C. (Gulian Crommelin) VerplanckThe state triumvirate, a political tale: and the epistles of Brevet Major Pindar Puff [pseud.] .. → online text (page 1 of 9)