Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

JOEL BARLOW. 1755-1812. Joel Barlow was a native of Connecticut, and was graduated at Yale College. After completing his studies, he was a while chaplain in the army. He was a lawyer by profession. A considerable portion of his life was spent in Europe, and he was, at one time, minister plenipotentiary to the French government. At Paris, he was honored with receiving the rights of citizenship. He died at an obscure village, near Cracow, while on a journey to confer with Napoleon, at Wilna, in Poland. He belonged to the first class of writers of his time. The Columbiad, an epic poem, is the principal of his works, though The Hasty Pudding is the most popular of his poetical writings. Barlow was a man much respected for his ardent patriotism, and for the purity of his life.

THE HASTY PUDDING.
I SING the sweets I know, the charms I feel,
My morning incense, and my evening meal —

The sweets of Hasty Pudding. Come, dear bowl,
Glide o'er my palate, and inspire my soul !

* * * * *

Assist me first with pious toil to trace,
Through wrecks of time, thy lineage and thy race;
Declare what lovely squaw, in days of yore,
Ere great Columbus sought thy native shore,
First gave thee to the world; her works of fame
Have lived, indeed, but lived without a name.
Some tawny Ceres, goddess of her days,
First learned with stones to crack the well-dried maize,
Through the rough sieve to shake the golden shower,
In boiling water stir the yellow flour;
The yellow flour, bestrewed and stirred with haste,
Swells in the flood, and thickens to a paste,
Then puffs and wallops, rises to the brim,
Drinks the dry knobs that on the surface swim ;
The knobs, at last, the busy ladle breaks,
And the whole mass its true consistence takes.
*
*
*
*

*
Dear Hasty Pudding, what unpromised joy .
Expands my heart, to meet thee in Savoy !
Doomed o'er the world through devious paths to roam,
Each clime my country, and each house my home,

My soul is soothed, my cares have found an end; I greet my long-lost, unforgotten friend. * * * *

*
But here, though distant from our native shore,
With mutual glee, we meet and laugh once more.
The same ! — I know thee by that yellow face,
That strong complexion of true Indian race,
Which time can never change, nor soil impair,
Nor Alpine snows, nor Turkey's morbid air;
For endless years, through every wild domain,
Where grows the maize, there thou art sure to reign.
But man, more fickle, the bold license claims,
In different realms, to give thee different names.
Thee the soft nations round the warm Levant
Polanta call; the French, of course, Polante.
E’en in thy native regions, how I blush
To hear the Pennsylvanians call thee Mush!
On Hudson's banks, while men of Belgic spawn
Insult and eat thee by the name Suppawn.
All spurious appellations, void of truth;
I've better known thee from my earliest youth;
Thy name is Hasty Pudding ! — thus our sires
Were wont to greet thee, fuming from the fires;
And while they argued in thy just defence
With logic clear, they thus explained the sense :

In haste the boiling cauldron, o'er the blaze,
Receives and cooks the ready powdered maize ;
In haste 't is served, and then in equal haste,
With cooling milk, we make the sweet repast.
No carving to be done — no knife to grate
The tender ear, and wound the stony plate;
But the smooth spoon, just fitted to the lip,
And taught with art the yielding mass to dip,
By frequent journeys to the bowl well stored,
Performs the hasty honors of the board."
Such is thy name, significant and clear,
A name, a sound, to every Yankee dear,

[ocr errors]

But most to me, whose heart and palate chaste
Preserve my pure, hereditary taste.

* * * * *

My song, resounding in its grateful glee, No merit claims; I praise myself in thee. My father loved thee through his length of days! For thee his fields were shaded o'er with maize ; From thee what health, what vigor, he possessed, Ten sturdy freemen from his loins attest; Thy constellation ruled my natal morn, And all my bones were made of Indian corn. Delicious grain! whatever form it take, To roast or boil, to smother or to bake, In every dish 't is welcome still to me, But most, my Hasty Pudding, most in thee !

* * * * And now, the corn-house filled, the harvest home, The invited neighbors to the husking come; A frolic scene, where work, and mirth, and play, Unite their charms, to chase the hours away.

* * * * * Meanwhile, the housewife urges all her care, The well-earned feast to hasten and prepare. The sifted meal already waits her hand, The milk is strained, the bowls in order stand, The fire flames high; and as a pool, that takes The headlong stream that o'er the mill-dam breaks, Foams, roars and rages, with incessant toils, So the vexed cauldron rages, roars and boils.

First, with clean salt she seasons well the food, Then strews the flour, and thickens all the flood. Long o'er the simmering fire she lets it stand ; To stir it well, demands a stronger hand; The husband takes his turn; and round and round The ladle flies; at last the toil is crowned ; When to the board the thronging huskers pour, And take their seats as at the corn before.

And mix with molasses line wading should be con

I leave them to their feast. There still belong
More copious matters to my faithful song.
For rules there are, though ne'er unfolded yet,
Nice rules and wise, how pudding should be ate.

Some with molasses line the luscious treat,
And mix, like bards, the useful with the sweet.

* * * * * Milk, then, with pudding, I would always choose ; To this in future I confine my muse. First, in your bowl, the milk abundant take, Then drop with care, along the silver lake, Your flakes of pudding; these, at first, will hide Their little bulk beneath the swelling tide ; But when their growing mass no more can sink, When the soft island looms above the brink, Then check your hand; you ’ve got the portion due; So taught our sires, and what they taught is true.

There is a choice in spoons. Though small appear The nice distinction, yet to me 't is clear. These tuneful lips, that thousand spoons have tried, With just precision could the point decide, Though not in song; the muse but poorly shines In curves, and cubes, and geometric lines : Yet the true form, as near as she can tell,, Is that small section of a goose-egg shell Which in two equal portions shall divide The distance from the centre to the side.

Fear not to slaver; 't is no deadly sin ; Like the free Frenchman, from your joyous chin Suspend the ready napkin; or, like me, Poise with one hand your bowl upon your knee; Just in the zenith your wise head project; Your full spoon rising in a line direct, Bold as a bucket, heeds no drops that fall, The wide-mouthed bowl will surely catch them all.

[ocr errors]

ALEXANDER H.MILTON. 1757-1804. Alexander Hamilton was born on one of the West India Islands. His father was a Scotch gentleman, and his mother a descendant of a French Huguenot. At the age of fifteen, he so distinguished himself by a written account of a hurricane, that he was sent to the United States to be educated. He entered King's College, New York. Here he was conspicuous for his acuteness and eloquence, and particularly for the part he took, when only seventeen, in resisting the oppressions of England. As an officer under Washington, he attracted the admiration of his general, and became his most confidential aid. After the war, he with great rapidity prepared himself for the bar. He became a member of Congress, where he had great influence, by his profound political essays, his eloquence, sagacity, and love of justice. He was Secretary of the Treasury, under Washington. On resigning this office, he was thronged with clients, but, at Washington's request, became his first officer in the provisional army. There were few incidents in his history after this. He was killed in a duel, by Aaron Burr, at Weehawken. His death occasioned deep and universal mourning throughout the country, and Burr, from this time, became a fugitive and a vagabond.

(From a Letter to Colonel Laurens.]

THE FATE OF ANDRÉ. NEVER, perhaps, did any man suffer death with more justice, or deserve it less. The first step he took, after his capture, was to write a letter to General Washington, conceived in terms of dignity without insolence, and apology without meanness. The scope of it was to vindicate himself from the imputation of having assumed a mean character, for treacherous or interested purposes : asserting that he had been involuntarily an impostor; that, contrary to his intention, which was to meet a person for intelligence on neutral ground, he had been betrayed within our posts, and forced into the vile condition of an enemy in disguise; soliciting only, that, to whatever rigor policy might devote him, a decency of treatment might be observed, due to a person, who, though unfortunate, had been guilty of nothing dishonorable. His request was granted in its full extent; for, in the whole progress of the affair, he was treated with the most scrupulous delicacy. The board of officers were not more impressed with the candor and firmness, mixed with a becoming sensibility, which he displayed, than he was penetrated with their liberality and politeness. He acknowledged the generosity

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »