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Sonic juvonile verses written by young Woodworth attracted the attention of the village clergyman, the Rev. Nehemiah Thomas, who gave him a winter's instruction in the classics, and endeavored to raise an amount sufficient to support him at college, but without success. He was soon after apprenticed to a printer, the trade of his choice, Benjamin Russell the editor and publisher of the Columbian Centinel, Boston. He remained with his employer a year after the expiration of his indentures, and then removed to New Haven, where he commenced a weekly paper called the Belles Lettres Repository, of which he was "editor, publisher, printer, and (more than once) carrier." The latter duty was probably one of the lightest, as the periodical, after exhausting the cash received in advance, was discontinued at the end of the second month.
Several of Woodworth's poems first appeared in The Complete Coiffeur; or an Essay on the Art of Adorning Natural and of Creating Artificial Beauty. By J. B. M. D. Lafoy, Ladies' Hair Dresser, 1817. This is a small volume of about two hundred page*, one half being occupied with a French translation of the other. M. Lafoy was probably ambitious to follow in the footsteps of the illustrious Huggins, or perhaps regarded the affair as a shrewd mode of advertising. It is to be hoped he paid Woodworth well for this literary job.
Woodworth left New Haven, and after a brief sojourn in Baltimore, removed to New York in 1809. In 1810 he married. During the contest of 1812 he conducted a quarto weekly paper entitled The War, and a monthly Swedenborgian magazine, The Halcyon. Luminary and Theological Repository. Both were unsuccessful. His next literary undertaking was a contract in 1816 "to write a history of the late war, in the style of a romance, to be entitled The Champions of Freedom." The work was commenced in March, and the two duodecimos were ready for delivery in the following October. It possesses little merit as history or novel.
In 1818, a small volume of Woodworth's poetical contributions to various periodicals was published in New York. A second collection appeared in 1826.
In 1823, he commenced with George P. Morris the publication of the New York Mirror, a periodical with which he remained connected for a year. He was a frequent contributor of occasional verses to the newspapers, and his patriotic songs on the victories of the war of 1812 -14, and on other occasions, were widely popular. He was the author of several dramatic pieces, mostly operatic, which were produced with success. One of these, The Forest Rose, keeps possession of the stage, on account of the amusing Yankee character who forms one of the dramatis persona}.
In the latter years of his life he suffered from paralysis. A complimentary benefit was given to him at the National Theatre in Leonard street,
at which W. E. Burton made his first appearance in New York. It produced a substantial result, a gift as acceptable as well deserved, his pecuniary resources being meagre.
He died on the 9th of December, 1842. "The Old Oaken Bucket" is by far the best of his numerous lyrics. It will hold its place among the choice songs of the country.
The season of flowers is fled, The pride of the garden decayed,
The sweets of the meadow are dead,
The blossom-decked garb of sweet May,
EnomeU'd with hues of delight,
For sober Pomona has won
The frolicsome Flora's domains,
But though less delightful to view,
Yet now, and now only, we prove The uses by nature designed;
Regret the lost beauties of May, But the fruits of those beauties enjoy;
The blushes that dawn with the day,
How pleasing, how lovely appears
Its prattle, its smiles, and its tears,
But manhood's the season designed
To ripen the fruits of the mind, Which the seeds sown in childhood produce.
Then infancy's pleasures regret,
But the fruits of those pleasures enjoy;
Does spring autumn's bounty beget >
TTIK PRIDE. OF THE VALLEY.
The pride of the valley is lovely young Ellen, Who dwells in a cottage enshrined by a thicket, Sweet peace and content are the wealth of her dwelling,
Aud Truth is the porter that waits at the wicket.
The zephyr that lingers on violet-down pinion,
Ne'er breathed on a blossom in Flora's dominion,
She's true to her Willie, and kind to her mother,
Content with her station, she sighs for no other, Though fortunes and titles have knelt to her beauty.
To me her affections and promise are plighted,
0 moment of rapture, that sees me united
THE OLD OAKEN BUCKET.
How dear to this h«art are the scenes of my childhood, When fond recollection presents them to view; The orchard, the meadow, the deep tangled wild wood, And every loved spot which my infancy knew; The wide spreading pond, and the mill which stood by it, The bridge and the rock where the cataract fell; The cot of my father, the dairy-house nigh it,
And e'en the rude bucket which hung in the well. The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket, The moss-covered bucket which hung in the well.
That moss-covered vessel I hail as a treasure;
For often, at noon, when returned from the field, I found it the source of an exquisite pleasure.
The purest and sweetest that nature can yield. How ardent I seized it with hands that were glowing,
And quick to the white pebbled bottom it fell j Then soon, with the emblem of truth overflowing,
And dripping with coolness, it rose from the well; The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket, The moss-covered bucket arose from the well.
How sweet from the green mossy brim to receive it,
As, pois'd on the curb, it inclined to my lips! Not a full blushing goblet could tempt me to leave it,
Though fill'd with the nectar that Jupiter sips. And now far removed from the loved situation,
The tear of regret will intrusively swell, As fancy reverts to my father's plantation,
And sighs for the bucket which hangs in the well; The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket, The moss-covered bucket which hangs in his well.
JOHN PIEKPONT. The Rev. Jonx Piekpont was bom at Litchfield, Connecticut, April 6, 1785. He is a descendant of the Rev. James Pierpont, the second minister of New Haven and a founder of Yale College. His early years were watched over with great care by an excellent mother, to whom he warmly expressed his gratitude in his subsequent poems. Entering Yale College he completed his course in 1804, and passed the succeeding four years as a private tutor in the family of Col. William Allston of South Carolina. On his return home he studied law in the celebrated school of his native town, and was admitted to practice in 1812. About the same period, being called upon to address the Washington Benevolent Society, Newburyport, where he had removed, he delivered the poem entitled "The Portrait," which he afterwards published, and which is included in the collection of his "Patriotic and Political Pieces." He soon, in consequence of impaired health, and the unsettled state of affairs produced by the war, relinquished his profession and became a mer
the Airs of Palestine, at Baltimore. It was well received, and was twice reprinted in the course of the following year at Boston.
In 1819 Mr. Pierpont was ordained minister of the Hollis Street Unitarian church in Boston. He passed a portion of the years 1835-6 in Europe, and in 1840 published a choice edition of his poems.*
In 1851, on occasion of the centennial celebration at Litchfield, he delivered a poem of considerable length, with the mixture of pleasantry and sentiment called for in such recitations, and which contains, among other things, a humorous sketch of the Yankee character.
Besides his poems Mr. Pierpont has published several discourses.
Mr. Pierpont is erect and vigorous in appearance, with the healthy ruddiness in complexion of a youth. His style of speaking is energetic.
The chief poetical performances of Mr. Pierpont have been called forth for special occasions. Even his more matured poem, the Airs of Palestine, which first gave him reputation, was written for recitation at a charitable concert. Its design is to exhibit the associations of music combined with local scenery and national character in different countries of the world, the main theme being the sacred annals of Judea. It would bear as well the title The Power of Music. It is a succession of pleasing imagery, varied in theme and harmonious in numbers.
Most of the other poems of Pierpont are odes on occasional topics of religious, patriotic, or philanthropic celebrations. They are forcible and elevated, and have deservedly given the author a high reputation for this speciality.
INVITATIONS Or THE MUSE—PT.OM AIES OF PALESTINE.
Here let us pause:—the opening prospect view:— How fresh this mountain air!—how soft the blue, That throws its mantle o'er the lengthening scene! Those waving groves,—those vales of living green,— Those yellow fields,—that lake's cerulean face, That meets, with curling smiles, the cool embrace Of roaring torrents, lulled by her to rest;— That white cloud, melting on the mountain's breast: How the wide landscape laughs upon the sky 1 How rich the light that gives it to the eyel
Where lies our path ?—though many a vista call.
See, there Parnassus lifts his head of snow;
* Airs of Palestine and other Poems, by John Pterpnut Boston. Monroe & Co.
There Nereids sing, and Triton winds his shell;
No, no—a lonelier, lovelier path be mine:
AX ITALIAN' 8CKNC
On Arno's bosom, as he calmly flows, And his cool arms round Vnllombroea throws, Rolling his crystal tide through classic vales, Alone.—at night,—the Italian boatman sails. High o'er Mont' Alto walks, in maiden pride, Night's queen;—he sees her image on that tide, Now, ride the wave that curls its infant crest Around his prow, then rippling sinks to rest; Now, glittering dance around his eddying oar, Whose every sweep is echoed from the shore; Now, far before him, on a liquid bed Of waveless water, rest her radiant head. How mild the empire of that virgin queen I How dark the mountain's shade! how still the scene! Hushed by her silver sceptre, zephyrs sleep On dewy leaves, that overhang the deep, Nor dare to whisper through the boughs, nor stir The valley's willow, nor the mountain's fir, Nor make the pale and breathless aspen quiver, Nor brush, with ruffling wing, that glassy river.
Hark!—'tis a convent's bell:—its midnight chime; For music measures even the march of Time:— O'er bending trees, that fringe the distant shore, Gray turrets rise:—the eye can catch no more. The boatman, listening to the tolling bell. Suspends his oar:—a low and solemn swell, From the deep shade, that round the cloister lies, Rolls through the air, and on the water dies. What melting song wakes the cold ear of Night? A funeral dirge, that pale nuns, robed in white, Chant round a sister's dark and narrow bed, To charm the parting spirit of the dead. Triumphant is the spell! with raptured ear, That unchanged spirit hovering lingers near;— Why should she mount? why pant for brighter bliss, A lovelier scene, a sweeter song, than this!
Written for the Dedication of the new Congregational Church in Piumouth, butlt upon the Ground occupied by the earliest Congregational Church in America.
The winds and waves were roaring;
The Pilgrims met for prayer;
They stood, in open air.
And when its close was calm,
The music of their psalm.
Do we, their children, throng;
Gives back our choral song.
Their worship and their prayers,
From hearts as true as theirs!
What have we, Lord, to bind us
Their hill of graves behind us, Their watery way before,
We would not, Holy Father,
Forsake this hallowed spot,
Where graves and griefs are not;
Shall rear no pillared shrine,
Than that of love divine.
Written for the Second Centennial Celebration ofthtSctthment of Boston, September nth, 1880.
Break forth in song, ye trees,
Sweeps from the sea!
Exiled though free.
Ye sister hills, lay down
In homage due;—
Firm hearts and true.
These are the living lights,
That from your bold, green heights,
Shall shine afar,
Toward Bethlehem's star.
Gone are those great and good.
And raised their hymn.
Shall ne'er grow dim. Ye temples, that to God
Guard well your trust,—
Their garnered dust. Thou high and holy Onk,
All nature fills,
On these our hills.
M. M. NOATI.
Mordecai Mantel Noah, whose popular reputation, as a newspaper writer of ease and pleasantry, was extended through the greater part of a long life, was born in Philadelphia July 19, 1785. Ho was early apprenticed to a mechanical business, which he soon left, and engaged in the study of the law, mingling in politics and literature. He removed to Charleston, S. C, where he was busily engaged in politics of the day.
In 1813, under Madison, he was appointed TJ. S. consul to Morocco. The vessel in which he sailed from Charleston was taken by a British frigate, and he was carried to England and detained several weeks a prisoner, when he was allowed to proceed to his destination. After his return to America in 1819, he published a volume of his Travels in England, France, Spain, and the Barbary States, from 1813 to 1815. He had now established himself at New York, where he edited the National Advocate, a democratic journal. He was elected sheriff of the city and county. In a squib of the time he was taunted with his religion. "Pity," said his opponents, "that Christians are to be hereafter hung by a Jew." "Pretty Christians," replied the Major, as he was generally called, "to require hanging at all."
The National Advocate was discontinued in 1826, and Noah then commenced the publication of the New York Enquirer, which he conducted for a while till it was annexed to the Morning Courier, a union which gave rise to the present large commercial journal, The Courier and Enquirer. In 1834, in connexion with Thomas Gill, he established a popular daily newspaper, The Evening Star, which attained considerable reputation from the ready pen of Noah, who was considered the best newspaper paragraphistof his day. His style in these effusions well represented his character: facile, fluent, of a humorous turn, pleasing in expression, though sometimes ungrammatical, with a cheerful vein of moralizing, and a knowledge of the world. The Star was united to the Times, becoming the Times and Star, and was finally merged in the Commercial Advertiser in 1840. After this, in July, 1842, Noah originated the Union, a daily paper, illustrating a new phase of the Major's political life; and like all his other undertakings of the kind, enlivened by the editor's peculiar pleasantry. It was continued in his hands through the year, after which Noah, in conjunction with Messrs. Deans and Howard, established a Sunday newspaper, The Times and Messenger, for which he wrote weekly till within a few days of his death, by an attack of apoplexy, March 22, 1851.
There was no man better known in his day in New York than Major Noah. His easy manners, fund of anecdote, fondness for biographical and historical memoirs, acquaintance with the public characters, political and social, of half a century, with whom his newspaper undertakings had brought him in contact; his sympathy with the amusements of the town of all descriptions, actors, singers, and every class of performers, all of which were severally promoted by his benevolent disposition, made his company much sought and appreciated.
In 1845 Noah delivered A Discourse on the Restoration of the Jews, which was published— a fanciful speculation.
Some time before his death he published a little volume of his newspaper essays, entitled Gleanings from a Gathered Harvest; but they are of his more quiet and grave moralizings, and hardly indicate the shrewdness and satiric mirth which pointed his paragraphs against the follies of the times. In his way, too, the kindly Major had been something of a dramatist. He
has related the story of his accomplishments in this line in so characteristic a manner, in a letter to Dunlap, published in his "History of the American Theatre," that we may quote it at once as part of our history, and as a specimen of the style of the writer.
TO WILLIAM DCTfLAP, ES<J. I
New Yobk, July 11, 1832.
I am happy to hear that your work on the American Drama is in press, and trust that you may realize from it that harvest of fame and money to which your untiring industry and diversified labors give you an eminent claim. You desire me to furnish you a list of my dramatic productions; it will, my dear sir, constitute a sorry link in the chain of American writers—my plays have all been ad captandum: a kind of amateur performance, with no claim to the character of a settled, regular, or domiciliated writer for the green-room—a sort of volunteer supernumerary—a dramatic writer by "particular desire, and for this night only," as they say in the bills of the play; my "line," as you well know, has been in the more rugged paths of politics, a line in which there is more fact than poetry, more feeling than fiction; in which, to be sure, there are "exits and entrances"—where the "prompter's whistle" is constantly heard in the voice of the people; but which, in our popular government, almost disqualifies us for the more soft and agreeable translation of the lofty conceptions of tragedy, the pure diction of genteel comedy, or the wit, gaiety, and humor of broad farce.
I had an early hankering for the national drama, a kind of juvenile patriotism, which burst forth, for the first time, in a few sorry doggrels in the form of a prologue to a play, which a Thespian company, of which I was a member, produced in the South Street Theatre—the old American theatre in Philadelphia. The idea was probably suggested by the sign of the Federal Convention at the tavern opposite the theatre. You, no doubt, remember the picture and the motto: an excellent piece of painting of the kind, representing a group of venerable personages engaged in public discussions, with the following distich:
These thirty-eight great men have signed it powerful deed, That better times to us shall very soon succeed.
The sign must have been painted soon after the adoption of the federal constitution, and I remember to have stood "many a time and oft," gazing, when a boy, at the assembled patriots, particularly the venerable head and spectacles of Dr. Franklin, always in conspicuous relief. In our Thespian corps, the honor of cutting the plays, substituting new passages, casting parts, and writing couplets at the exits, was divided between myself a.id a fellow of infinite wit and humor, by the name of Helmbold; who subsequently became the editor of a scandalous little paper, called the Tickler: he was a rare rascal, perpetrated all kinds of calumnies, was constantly mulcted in fines, sometimes imprisoned, was full of faults, which were forgotten in his conversational qualities and dry sallies of genuine wit, particularly his Dutch stones. After years of singular vicissitudes, Helmbold joined the army as a common soldier, fought bravely during the late war, obtained a commission, and died. Our little company soon dwindled away; the expenses were too heavy for our pockets; our writings and performances were sufficiently wretched, but as the audience was admitted without cost, they were too polite to express any disapprobation. We recorded all our doings in a little weekly paper, published, I believe, by Jemmy Riddle, at the corner of Chestnut and Third street, opposite the tavern kept by that sturdy old democrat, Israel Israel.
From a boy, I was a regular attendant of the Chestnut Street Theatre, during the management of Wignell and Reinagle, and made great efforts to compass the purchase of a season ticket, which I obtained generally of the treasurer, George Davis, for $18. Our habits through life are frequently governed and directed by our early steps. I seldom missed a night; and always retired to bed, after witnessing a good play, gratified and improved: and thus, probably, escaped the hau its of taverns, and the pursuits of depraved pleasures, which too frequently allure and destroy our young men; hence I was always the firm friend of the drama, and had an undoubted right to oppose my example through life to the horror anil hostility expressed by sectarians to play and play-houses generally. Independent of several of your plays which had obtained possession of the stage, and were duly incorporated in the legitimate drama, the first call to support the productions of a fellow townsman, was, I think, Barker's opera of the "Indian Princess." Charles Ingersoll had previously written a tragedy, a very able production for a very young man, which was supported by all the "good society;" but Barker who was "one of us," an amiable and intelligent young fellow, who owed nothing to hereditary rank, though his father was a Whig, and a soldier of the Revolution, was in reality a fine spirited poet, a patriotic ode writer, and finally a gallant soldier of the late war. The managers gave Barker an excellent chance with all his plays, and he had merit and popularity to give them in return full houses. About this time, I ventured to attempt a little melo-drama, under the title of The Fortress of Sorrento, which, not having money enough to pay for printing, nor sufficient influence to have acted, I thrust the manuscript in my pocket, and having occasion to visit New York, I called in at David Longworth's Dramatic Repository one day, spoke of the little piece, and struck a bargain with him, by giving him the manuscript in return for a copy of every
play he had published, which at once furnished me with a tolerably large dramatic collection. I believe the play never was performed, and I was almost ashamed to own it; but it was my first regular attempt at dramatic composition.
In the year 1812, while in Charleston, S. C, Mr. Young requested me to write a piece for his wife's benefit. You remember her, no doubt; remarkable as she was for her personal beauty and amiable deportment, it would have been very ungallant to have refused, particularly as he requested that it should be a "breeches part," to use a green-room term, though she was equally attractive in every character. Poor Mrs Young! she died last year in Philadelphia. When she first arrived in New York, from London, it was difficult to conceive a more perfect beauty; her complexion was of dazzling whiteness, her golden hair and ruddy complexion, figure somewhat embonpoint, and graceful carriage, made her a great favorite. I soon produced the little piece, which was called Paul and Alexis, or the Orphans of the Rhine. I was, at that period, a very active politician, and my political opponents did me the honor to go to the theatre the night it was performed, for the purpose of hissing it, which was not attempted until the curtain fell, and the piece was successful. After three years' absence in Europe and Africa, I saw the same piece performed at the Park under the title of The Wandering Boys, which even now holds possession of the stage. It seems Mr. Young sent the manuscript to London, where the title was changed, and the bantling cut up, altered, and considerably improved.
About this time, John Miller, the American bookseller in London, paid us a visit. Among the passengers in the same ship was a line English girl of great talent and promise, Miss Leesugg, afterwards Mrs. Hackett. She was engaged at the Park as a singer, and Phillips, who was here about the same period, fulfilling a most successful engagement, was decided and unqualified in his admiration of her talent. Every one took an interest in her success: she was gay, kind-hearted, and popular, always in excellent spirits, and always perfect. Anxious for her success, I ventured to write a play for her benefit, and in three days finished the patriotic piece of She would be a Soldier, or the Battle of Chippewa, which, I was happy to find, produced her an excellent house. Mrs. Hackett retired from the stage after her marriage, and lost six or seven years of profitable and unrivalled engagement.
"After this play, I became in a manner domiciliated in the green-room. My friends, Price and Simpson, who had always been exceedingly kind and liberal, allowed me to stray about the premises like one of the family, and always anxious for their success, I ventured upon another attempt for a holyday occasion, and produced Marion, or the Hero of Lake George. It was played on the 25th of November—Evacuation day, and I bustled about among my military friends, to raise a party in support of a military play, and what with generals, staff-officers, rank and file, the Park Theatre was so crammed, that not a word of the play was heard, which was a very fortunate affair for the author. The managers presented me with a pair of handsome silver pitchers, which I still retain as a memento of their good will and friendly consideration. You must bear in mind that while I was thus employed in occasional attempts at play-writing, I was engaged in editing a daily journal, and in all the fierce contests of political strife; I had, therefore, but little time to devote to all that study and reflection so essential to the success of dramatic composition.
My next piece, I believe, was written for the