T. Seaton (Thomas Seaton) Donoho.

Ivywall online

. (page 11 of 13)
Online LibraryT. Seaton (Thomas Seaton) DonohoIvywall → online text (page 11 of 13)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

of these noble arts, it is an equal source of humiliation and sorrow to behold the
apparent apathy and indifi'erence with which they seem to regard the incompar-
ably more valuable creations of poetry.

To see them adorn the walls of the Capitol with the glowing revelations of the
pencil, and decorate the public grounds Avith the costly c/ie/d'cBwrres of the chisel,
is an omen of good which will be hailed and applauded by all as a cheering pledge
of the progress of refinement. But, whilst they lavish their thousands upon
these immobile products of canvas and marble and bronze, they offer no reward
for the more exalted, more enduring and renowned ovations of the pen. No fos-
tering hand firom these high places has ever yet invited the Promethean fire of
poetry to animate the history of our country, which, with all its harmony of
form and wonder of proportion, lies asleep around the humble vault of Mount
Vernon, ready to spring into life and beauty at the first kindling touch of this
genial inspiration.

It surely were a work of supererogation to introduce the proofs that crowd the
records of the past to show how far above all others stands the " divine art " of
poesy. What are all the paintings, statues, and regalia of Versailles, of Fon-
tainbleau, and the Tuileries, compared with the " Marseilles Hymn ? " What



the kingly panoply of gold and gems heaped up in the Tower of London ; what
the collections of the Royal Academy, or even the time-hallowed shrines of
Westminster Abbey, when compared with the songs of Burns, and Dibden, and
Campbell ? Or what has the world that we would take in exchange for " Hail
Columbia" and the " Star Spangled Banner ? ", Well might the British states-
man exclaim : " Let me but write the ballads of a nation, and I care not who
makes its laws."

As far as the living, breathing man is above the cold, insensate marble that is
made to represent him; as far as the radiant skies of summer are above the per-
ishable canvas to which the painter has transferred their feeble resemblance, so
far is poetry above all other arts that have their mission to console, and elevate,
and inspire the immortal mind of man.

In view of these facts, and considering the lamentable paucity of patriotic
songs in my distinguished and beloved country, and with the hope of being the
humble means of arousing a proper public feeling upon this interesting subject,
I have been induced to offer, and do hereby offer, the sum of five hundred dollars
as a prize for the best National Poem, Ode, or Epic.
The rules which will govern the payment of this sum are as follows :
1st. I have selected (without consulting them) the following persons to act a>s
judges or arbiters of the prize thus offered, namely:

The President of the United States.

Hon. A. 0. P. Nicholson, of Tennessee.

Hon. Charles Sumner, of U. S. Senate.

Hon. R. M. T. Hunter, do.

Hon. James C. Jones, do.

Hon. J. R. Chandler, of U. S. House of Representatives.

Hon. Addison White, do. do.

Hon. Thomas H. Bayly, do. do.

Hon. D. T. Disney, do. do.

Hon. John P. Kennedy, Secretary of the Navy.

Dr. John W. C. Evans, of New Jersey.

Dr. Thomas Saunders.

Joseph Gales,

Gen. R. Armstrong,

Dr. G. Bailey,

W. W. Seaton,

Professor Henry, of the Smithsonian Institution.

Wm. Selden, late Treasurer of the United States.

Rev. C. M. Butler, Episcopal Church.

Rev. R. R. Gurley, Presbyterian Church.

Rev. S. S. Rozell, Methodist Episcopal Church.

Rev. Mr. Donelan, Catholic Church.

2d. These gentlemen, or any three of them, are hereby authorized to meet at

the Smithsonian Institution, on the second Monday of December next, at such

hour as they may appoint, and there proceed to read and examine the various

poems which may have been received, and to determine which of them is most

- of the Press.


meritorious and deserving of the pi'ize. And I hereby bind myself to pay the
sum aforementioned forthwith, to whoever they shall present to me as the person
who has written within the time prescribed the best National Patriotic Poem,
and upon their reiDrcseutation that he or she is an American citizen.

3d. All communications must be sent to me at Washington (post-paid) before,
the first Monday in December next, with a full and comi)lete conveyance of the
copyright to me and my heirs and assigns forever.

4th. I hereby bind and obligate myself to sell the poems thus sent to me as
soon as practicable, for the highest price, and to give the proceeds to the poor of
the city of Washington.

5th. No poem will be considered as subject to this prize which shall not have
been written subsequent to this date, and received before the first Monday in
December next.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10. 1S53.-


" Pray do not mock me so !
Do not laugh at me !


F. a. H,

The author of "Nannie," a poem of great popularity in the City

of New York; of the "Croakers," famous in Frogtown; and "Red

Jacket," pronounced "dem foine" by all gentlemen of the turf,

began his poetical life nearly simultaneously with the natural,

having in baby-hood given utterance to the following wonderful

couplet :

" Papa !
Mamma !"

in which, it will be observed, the rhymes are perfect. Growing
up to man's estate, and writing some fiery poems, a great capi-
talist,* in order to save the country from war and ruin, engaged
our bard by a large salary not to write poetry. This engagement
continued several years. The patriotic millionaire then dying,
F. C H. presently informs us :

" I now am in the cotton trade.
And sugar line."

But, relapsing into song, business, of course, deserted him. The
usual fate of genius had now been his, were it not that part of a
magnificent legacyf left him by the capitalist aforesaid yet re-
mained, upon which he retired, has written nothing since, save
.the Latham poem, and being a bachelor, is living quite happily.

* Jacob John Astore. f One thousand dollars. — PrinUr..


An uncommon ease pervades his versification, a natural, un-
studied flow of language, and a careless playfulness and felicity
of jest.


" At midnight, in his guarded tent,

The Turk was dreaming of the hour
When Greece, her Icnee in suppliance bent,
' Should tremble at his power :

In dreams, through camp and court, he bore
The trophies of a conqueror ;

In dreams his song of triumph heard.
Then wore his monarch's signet ring :
Then pressed that monarch's throne— a king ;
As wild his thoughts, and gay of wing.

As Eden's garden bird." — Fitz-Green HalUck.

At midnight; in his ojQ&ce dim,

Sat Latham, dreaming of the time
When all the land, inspired by him,

Should pour the mighty rhyme :
In dreams he saw his countrymen
Enraptured seize the tuneful pen ;

In dreams their ^^ Songs of Freedom'^ heard ;
Then felt himself a glorious thing ;
Then pressed Apollo's throne — a king :
So wild his thoughts, he cut the wing
Of a domestic bird !*

At morning, eloquent and long,
His '^ offer'^ met the nation's eyes ;

=>= This passage is rather obscure, but may be presumed to mean, " he cut a
pigeon-wing" — there being a dance so called. — Editor.


Large print was clamorous for song r

Hurra, my boys, a prize !
The news passed on ; the bards awoke,

No more content to dream :
^^ The prize V upon their senses broke
Like Etna's flame through ^Etna's smoke :;
They seize the long-neglected lyre,
They light anew its ancient fire.

They bid its primal glory beam :
On every hill, in every vale,
Uprose the universal gale

Of " Liberty or Death I"
^' Strike — till the last of kings be dead ;
Strike — for the stars above your head ;
Strike — for the Yankee Land ye tread 1"
Gods ! I am out of breath !

They wrote — like Emmons, long, not well ;*
They filled full many a foolscap sheet,

They finished ; let the Judges tell
Their undeplored defeat.

In fancy, all their rhymes I saw,

In fancy, heard their proud hurra,
- When the last word was done.

Then saw each paper careful close.

And knew, with thumb upon my nose.
Not yet the prize was won !

Come to the contest, Fitz-Blue ! come !
Come as a giant, when he feels

* For once, our great poet is unjust. The author mentioned certainly wrote
much— the " Fredoniad," in ten volumes, being but a small part of his labors-
yet he also wrote well, and always on national subjects. It is to be regretted that
his Illustrious critic has so seldom chosen themes of native land. — Editor.


His dinner, well assured he 's " some V'

And, when the broken seals
Shall break so many hearts, to thee
Five hundred dollars fall in fee !
Come in Bozzaris' battle storm,
Red Jacket's Tuscarora form.
Or like thyself, mild, playful, warm,

In love with wit, and dance, and wine ;,
And thou art conqueror — thy name.
Which every school-boy knows is fame,
Shall fill the rival host with shame.

And Latham's prize be thine I

Now to the country where my songs

Have mounted like a rocket's light^
My genius, more subdued, belongs ;
And all her Revolution wrongs

I '11 brand, and glorify her right !
Come, ye who would oppress your race —
Come, who possess an honest face —

Come to the land of freedom • here
Did tyrants wield their dastard power,
But taught ere long to cringe and cower.

Hence fled they in their abject fear I
To-day our land is glorious, free 1
A people wonderful are we !
To-day our doors are open wide,
Come all the world, and we'll provide

Room, peace, and joy, and all good things !
Here stars and stripes are sure defence ;
Here gold abounds and common sense ;

Here changeful Fitz-Blue sings !


And Latham ! with the heroes old

Of Bladensburgh's historic time —
A moving history — I 'm bold

To give thee praise sublime !
Like them thou lov'st " our city" — so,

In danger's hour, would'st cry, " away !"

Nor heed whoever answered, ^^ stay !"
Nor look behind, once turned to go !
Like them, dost thou in centre stand.
With eyes of love on all the land —
But there hast thou superior power ;
On thee has fallen a golden shower.
And liberal art thou again.
Scattering far thy precious rain ;
Especially art free to those
Who pretty poetry compose ;
Most free when native bard devotes
His lyre to patriotic notes ;
And were it not for thee, my friend.
This poem, (now so near its end,)
To freedom's loss, had not been penned !

'T is done ; and in the ages dim.
For many centuries, ^t will dwell
In million minds, and men shall tell —

" It were not written but for him !"
And thus at once our country's praise,
As well as own, in future days.

Twin stars, shall shine on high !
The Song is Freedom's, we are Fame's ;
Two of the few immortal names

That were not born to die !



W. C. B.

Several sentimental and philosophical poems, some with very
hard names, have given W. C. B. a wide reputation, insomuch that
he is known from our Atlantic shores almost to the Pacific. He
wooed the muse before he had attained his " teens," like Pope,
Tasso, Chatterton, and Cowley, far surpassing them all, which fact
has been attributed to the nature of our glorious institutions.
America is singularly adapted to the production of precocious
talent. The boys of this country join political processions, sing
political songs, (hence our numerous poets,) run with the fire
engines, smoke cigars and swear, like men, and hence they
are men at a very tender age. The world beholds all this with
astonishment, more and more admiring our freedom.

®l]e §00m 0f % Singers,

BY W. C. B.

" The melancholy days are come,

The saddest of the year,
Of wailing winds, and naked woods,

And meadows brown and sear." — TF^ C. Bryant.

The grand, romantic days have come,

The proudest of all time ;
A Banker calls our poets forth,

And oiFers cash for rhyme !
Far in the iron-compassed vault,

'Mid silver, gold, and notes,
I hear him tell the Continent :

'^ Prepare to tune your throats V


A thousand weak-voiced birds reply,

Who rhyme nor reason know ;
The Banker turns away his head,

Or only says : " So — so !"

Where are the bards, the true old bards.

That lately stood and sang.
And shamed away to silent gloom

This now uproarious gang ?
Alas, they've learned another trade;

For though their songs were sweet.
They got no other pay than praise —

And praise ain't good to eat !
The poet, in these latter times,

Wants bread — ye give him stones;
Ye wrong him through his toilsome life,

Then canonize his bones !

And I, had I not printer turned.

Had perished long ago.
As the flower that only gives its bloom

To the death-touch of the snow.*
In poetry was found no pay.

So, politics I sought.
And recently, at auction, I

A horse and buggy bought !
What's more, one-third the cost I paid.

And for the other two.
These patriotic Latham notes

Shall carry me safe through!

* Chrysanthemum. Its budding beauty is often surprised by •mnter.—Autfwr.


0, thou ! wlioever now thou art,

That condescend'st to song ! '
Inspire me to the height of " prize V

I fain would "go it strong \"
Ha ! ha ! I burn ! I rave ! ha ! ha !

My Country fills my heart !
Throughout this sublimated form

There is no mortal part !
For is it not enough to make

An angel of a man,
To sing thy praise, America ?

And as no other can !

Land of unnumbered boats of steam !

Unnumbered roads of rail !
Land of magnetic telegraphs !

And baby-jumpers ! hail !
Thy empire from the rising sun

To the setting sun extends !
The world, and all the rest of men,

Shake hands with thee as friends!
They see, upon thy starry flag,

A wonder and a sign.
And own, with universal shout —

That horse and buggy 's mine !


N. P. W.

Here, as generally, N. P. W. gives the reader a sketch of him-
self, rendering our biographical task unnecessary. He is the
poet of refinement — of polite society — an admirable artist —

" To gild refined gold, and paint the lily."


BY N. P. W.

" The dust is old upon my ' sandal-shoon.'
And still I am a pilgrim ; I have roved
From wild America to Bosphor's waters,
And worshipp'd at innumerable shrines
Of beauty." iV. P. Willis.

Land of the daring soul !
Thy child who loves thee, though he wander'd long,
Offers the priceless tribute of a song !

Not with the maddening bowl,
Not with the drunkard's joy he praises thee,
But reason's bliss, divinest poesie !

Thou art the stranger's home !
Those whom oppression from their native shore
Hath banish' d, hither fly, and never more

Would from thy Eden roam !
All this is well, if 'twere but men of rank
And title, having money in the bank.


But when the common kind,
Irish and Dutch; who whiskey drink, who smoke
Tobacco vile — ah, me ! it does provoke

The cultivated mind !
A land to Art and Song so passing dear —
There should be none but high-born gentles here !

Who cannot wear white kid ;
Whose handkerchief hath not the breath of flowers \
Who cannot sing, dance, sigh in ladies' bowers ; —

His presence be forbid !
Let us old France and Italy excel :
The soul of living is, in " living well !"

Such time shall come at last !
'T is almost here ; for Luxury, up town,
Begins to pull the frame-made houses down,

Where gothic mansions vast
Shall like Alladin's rise ! And look ye, too.
What deeds our papers, what our Bankers, do !

'T is like a lottery : ^' PRIZE V
In largest capitals, stands everywhere !
But still the noblest offer I declare

That which before me lies ;
A Patriotic Poem ! May it be
Worthy my native land, and worthy me !

These ^'offers'' indicate
The land's progressiveness. There 's nought so fine
On earth as heaven-born poesie ! (see mine !)

Nought helps to make us great
Like poesie ! The world's supremest boast
Is woman — she loves poesie the most !


KEY. C. p. C.

The Rev. C. P. C. had the immortal honor of being- born in
sight of the Capitol of the Nation, and within the District of
Columbia. We may imagine how he stood, a child poet, on the
wharf of Alexandi-ia, and gazed with large eyes of patriotism on
the swelling dome of our Temple of Freedom, dim and soft in
the blue distance ; how grand thoughts winged the sunny air
from that bannered height, and nestled like doves in his young
heart, thence to fly forth like eagles over the earth at the call of
the magnificent Latham !

His verse is rather of the transcendental order, but frequently,
for a little time, rests on the boundary of meaning.

BY THE REV. C. P. 0.

" Amid the watches of the windy night,
A poet sat, and listened to the flow
Of his own changeful thoughts — until there passed
A vision by him, mixrmuring as it moved,
A wild and mystic lay, to which his thoughts
And pen kept time — and thus the measure ran:^

"All is but as it seems;

The round green earth.
With river and glen ;
The din and the mirth

Of the busy, busy men ;
The world's great fever
Throbbing forever ;
The creed of the sage,
The hope of the ago,
All things we cherish.
All that live and all that perish,
These are but inner dreams." — Eev. C P. Crunch.

Amid the bowlings of the midnight dogs,
A poet sat, and in himself did rhyme


A patriotic song, for Latham's Prize.

A vision murmured by him, and therein

America was singing, and his pen

Followed the words — and these the words it followed

America 's my name ;
The round earth knows,

On land and on sea,
If it cometh to blows,

How great, how great I be !
The British fever
Cured I forever;
Down the hill of Bunker,
Like whipt curs they slunk, or
But climbed to its summit.
To find they '^ could n't come it" —
Which, in fact, is the same.

My great war hurried on,

Past believing ;
The foe had gone,
Making a dismal moan;

Ha ! for his grieving !
That was a match-light compared to a blaze.
That was a nudge to the waking amaze !
Him I followed fast,
Often him overcast,
Till all my land he found
Wonderful slippery ground,

Then to the ocean fled ;
There he stood daring,
Boasting and swearing :

'' Ocean is mine V he said.


" Ocean is yours ? '' said I.

In my grand scorn I spoke,
After him as I broke,
Tossing the wild waves dark
Madly both sides my bark —
^^ Ocean is yours, you say ?
Insolent ! clear the way !
'Tis the world's highroad, and
That shall you understand !'^
So, like a thundering Jove,
Striking his face
With red disgrace,
I marked thereon the lie ;
Then gave his crazy boat an angry shove !

Later, I caught again

Red-Coats intruding;
Bravely I fought again,

Still the true mood in ;
Short, then, the fight it was,

Victory was mine.
Proving how right it was —

My '^ right divine!"

Later yet, Mexico,

Largely my debtor,
Saucy, did vex me so —

How could I let her ?
Straight I went at her, then.

Took every town.
Settled the matter, then.

Knocking her down !


Thus is it ever, too ;

When, in my wrath,
Nations endeavor to

Slip from my path !
But if they mind themselves,

Let me alone.
Truly they '11 find themselves

Ready to own
Amo?' est sirenus,

Divine as the stars ;
My friendship is Yenus,

My anger is Mars !

Thus sang America, and made the poet

Most happy with her changeful melodies.

And confident, as he had followed them

Faithful with pen, his labor meet reward

Should find in grateful hearts, and Latham's Prize.


a. p. M.

Here we have the best song of the great song-writer, G. P. M.
His ballad of the fair maiden, whom somebody loved, and treated
savagely, so that, after suifering through an entire winter night,

" Her heart and morning broke together,
In the storm" —

was nothing to this production, though the former received shouts
of applause whenever sung. But "The Disunionist" breathes a
sentiment dear to the heart of every American, and is therefore
destined to an unbounded popularity. This popularity will be
increased by the fact that our Bard is a Brigadier-General, uni-
ting with his song-talent the all-conquering power of Alexander,
Csesar, Napoleon, and Bombastes Furioso.

%\lt §m\xhmt

BY G. P. M.

" Woodman, spare that tree I
Touch not a single bough !

In youth it shelter'd me,

And I'll pi'otect it now.
'T was my forefather's hand

That placed it near his cot.
There, woodman, let it stand.

Thy axe shall harm it not !" — George P. Morris.

Mister, spare our States !

Speak not another word !
The silly parrot prates,

But you're a sillier bird.
'T was our forefathers' hand

That fixed our glorious lot,
Then, Mister, let 'em stand,

I tell you, touch 'em not !


Tlie old familiar name^

Whose glory and renown
Made England's lion tame —

Her " meteor flag" come down ! —
Mister, liusli your tongue !

Cut not our Heaven-bound ties ;
Long after you are hung

Our stars shall "flout the skies!"

When but a little boy, —

Blue jacket, pretty pants —
How oft I heard with joy

My uncles and my aunts,
My father, mother tell

The greatness of our land —
These foolish tears will swell —

But* let our old States stand !

My heart-strings round 'em cling —

So mind your eye, my friend !
A Brigadier may bring

Your swaggering to an end llf
Old States ! " the free and brave !"

Here, Mister, leave the spot;
While I 've a sword to save,

I tell you, touch 'em not !

* At this pause the handkerchief is produced and apijlied to the eyes. It con-
tributes strongly to the pathos.

t The hundred thousand readers of the " Journal," published in New York by
N. P. W. and myself, have been frequently informed, through my partner, that
I have the honor of being a Brigadier General in the Militia of that State. I
beg leave to repeat the information here, for the advantage of those, if any, who
may thus far be ignorant of " mine office." — Author.


Mrs. S. J. H.

We regret our inability to give more than a single specimen of
our female aspirants for the Latham Prize. They were numerous.
Every "Boarding School for Young Ladies" contributed at least
twenty. Yet we have been able to prevail only with the present
authoress to allow this introduction to the public.

Mrs. S. J. H. is a veteran in literature. We trust she will
pardon the word, which intimates age, as, with all the world, we
proudly testify to her yet-blooming charms of person.

Her writings, like her manners, possess a juvenile elegance.
She is a model for the daughters of the land, in propriety of
deportment, and the winning graces of mental supremacy.

BY MRS. 8. J. H.

" * It snows ! ' cries the school-boy, ' Hurra ! * and his shout

Is ringing through parlor and hall,
While swift as the wing of a swallow, he 's out.

And his playmates have answered his call ;
It makes the heart leap but to witness their joy,

Proud wealth has no pleasures, I trow.
Like the rapture that throbs in the pulse of the boy,

As he gathers his treasures of snow ;
Then lay not the trappings of gold on thine heirs,
While health, and the riches of nature, are theirs." — 3Irs. S. J. Hale.

" The prize I" cries the poet, " Plurra ! " and his rhyme
He readeth through parlor and hall,
Then up to the chambers his summons doth cHmb,

And down to the kitchen doth fall;
It makes his heart glad when he utters aloud
The rhymes to his household, I trow,


And lie hears, wlien they praise, the applause of the crowd,

That shall give him 500, you know !
Let him rest in that hope till the winter shall come,
And then let him shout, or thereafter be dumb !

" The prize ! " cries the Poetess (author hereof,)
^' For telling how Freedom I love ?
My answer is silence ! Go on ! Ye may scoff,*

But my passion all words is above !
When the daughters of Lear were assembled to tell

How fond were their hearts to their sire,
There were two who spoke fluently, fully, and well.

But the third, with few words, must retire : —
Should the crown have been hers? Soon the winter

will come.
And then shall we know who shall shout, or be dumb \"

0. W. H.

Pills and poetry seem congenial; identical, indeed, as it is gen-
erally admitted that " Poetry is a drug in the market." 0. W.
H. is entitled to M. D. after his name, as well as some others in
our book. But should anybody imagine for him a character like
that in the song :

" The Doctor came,

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 13

Online LibraryT. Seaton (Thomas Seaton) DonohoIvywall → online text (page 11 of 13)