Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

swear in, why, I asked myself, is not a vane above the spire is to be 150 feet church cupola equally sacred ? That it from the ground. I do not think it any is not so considered, is plain. What, exaggeration to say, that about 1,000 then, becomes of my position? You oaths, not reckoning the little fellows, may well conceive the discomfiture have been consumed in getting the which my falling argument gave me. steeple to its present height. But nous terrons.

THIS SETS ME THINKING! I have paid some attention to Archi- What a vast amount of imprecation tecture; looked a little into Model Cot- must have been required for rearing the tages, and can prate right fluently and turrets and towers, the steeples and prettily about the Ionic, Corinthian, and spires, the monuments, columns, obelisks, Composite orders—ancient and modern and domes of the world! There is the Doric-the Tuscan order, now extinct; Escurial, at Madrid, whose highest point is the Egyptian and the Roman styles. I 200 feet from the earth ; Notre Dame, at have at band, a store of ecclesiastic-ar- Paris, 204 feet; the Porch only of Solochitectural pedantry, well spiced with mon's Temple, 210 feet (I can never such words as :-transepts, almeries, believe that oaths were used on that lavatories, oratories, almonries, roods, work); the Wellington Obelisk, at jubes, misereres, aspersoria, naves, bap- Dublín, also 210 feet high ; Porcelain tistries, pixes, crypts, anditoria, cloisters, Tower, at Nankin, 228; Seville Tower, chantries, benetiers, tabernacles, weep- in Spain, 250 ; Milan Cathedral, and ers, etc., to say nothing of a host of Castellan Tower, at Valencia, each merely secular technicalities. I am, 280 ; the minarets on the Mosque also, author of an essay, written to prove of St. Sophia, at Constantinople, 290 the superiority of the Jeffersonian capi- feet; St. Ivan's Tower, Moscow, and tal, composed of the leaf and flower of Lincoln Spire, England, each 300 feet; the tobacco-plant, and surmounting a Trinity Spire, and St. Michael's Tower, shaft of Indian corn, over the Greek Coventry, the former of which is 300 Corinthian, of acanthus leaves, perched feet high, and overlooked by the latter, on a fluted column, and emblematic of which boasts its yard more of altitude; pothing; also to show that Thomas St. Paul's, and the Dome of Milan, each Jefferson was a greater man, though 370; the walls of Babylon, 350; the 20 sculptor, than Callicrates, author end Wall of Herod's Temple, 360; Dome of the Corinthian capital; that his con- of the Florence Cathedral, 380; Tower ception was the happier of the two; of Utrecht, 464, and of Strasburgh, 474; and that we, Americans, are fools the ancient tower of Balbec, in Syria, fogies, and toadies, in not adopting the 500, and St. Peter's, at Rome, 518 feet Jeffersonian idea, and running off after high! Grecian gods, when we have in our own What awful maledictions must have land the elements of architectural orders, accompanied these structures, while on quite as beautiful, more chaste, and their way to greet the earliest glories of infinitely more symbolic, than anything the rising sun! And we have not yet to be found either at Athens or Rome. mounted the Egyptian Pyrainids, the From some inexplicable cause, the essay highest of which rears its head to the sttracted no attention, and is now out proud height of 520 feet. What shcdof print.

dering imprecations frightened the hyena Yet, much as I have dabbled in archi- and the jackal of the desert, when these tecture, I have nowhere seen it stated vast piles of stone were heaping up, and that oaths are essentially necessary in the up, almost to the clouds ! Think too, construction of steeples, churches, or of the Babylonian Belus, 666 feet high; other sacred edifices. Their perpetual and of presumptuous Babel, seeking for recurrence, however, falling at the rate the sky, and only pausing when it had of about sixty per hour from the afore- mounted to a height of 680 feet. What said steeple, would indicate that I am at volleys of curses must have echoed fault; and, though no writer on architect- through these stupendous fabrics ere are has yet mentioned it, you may re- they became wonderful! No wonder, cord it as a fact, that curses are as ne- that at Babel, there should have been cessary to masonry and wood-work, as confusion of tongues, ainid such a din are bricks, mortar, and boards. The of oaths, as reverberated and resounded steeple to which I allude has now at- through its gigantic tube, from base to tained a height of some sixty feet, in- apex! And yet, sir, I have enumerated clading the church at its base; and the but a few of the architectural prodigies of the world; have not dropped a hint the days of Fulton and Watt, when he about light-houses ; not mentioned Trini- lay under the ban of illegitimacy. You ty Church, New York; nor said one will see the bearings of this paragraph word of Bunker Hill, and Baltimore. as you proceed.] You may well join me in my surprise To resume: my first theory, by which that the earth was not long ago “crushed to account for this singular phenomenon, out," or swang blindly from its moor- was, luckily, correct. I only regret that ings, under the weight of so large a load I must invoke your patience while I unof profanation.

fold it. Sir, as an American citizen, I have An Eastern Pacha, whenever any row, serious fears lest the architect of the broil, tumult, or other difficulty, was National Monument to Washington, brought before him for adjustment, was hath under-estimated the amount of im- wont to inquire, “ Who was she ?”' Exprecation necessary to the completion of perience, he said, had taught him, that that work. While the census-takers are whenever these affairs were probed to gathering pitiful pennies in aid of this the bottom and thoroughly sifted, a wotruly national and patriotic design, and man would be found to be the prime the managers are forced to employ all cause of the disturbance. Woman, he sorts of schemes and ingenuities to believed, was at the bottom of all evil shame the American people into patriot- whatsoever ; and he even attributed to ism-I blush while I write it-would it her the misfortunes and accidents which not be well for each State to send on a men commonly lay to the account of illdelegation of hard swearers to Washing- luck, or destiny. In this day and geneton ?--or, at least, authorize their Sena- ration, we are more gallant. Whatever tors and Representatives in Congress, we may think, we are careful to assign many of whom, I understand, can out- to woman a loftier position than the corswear a trooper, to do the necessary ner-stone of turpitude, the foundation "cussing," and at once relieve our coun- course of disaster. Neither doth our try of the disgraceful spectacle now philosophy consider money the root of staring her in the face-a monument all evil—the vivifying esculent which commenced to her father, creeping up- nourishes the hardy tree of wickedness. wards like a snail, threatening every mo- The race after wealth is daily becoming ment to stand still, and be transformed more exciting: the haste to be rich ha: into & monument of base ingratitude ? kept pace with locomotion in general Sir, I consider this a most excellent and and we of the present day, so far from timely suggestion, and trust the manag- turning up our nostrils at lucre, and pre ing committee may be profited by it. tending to believe it filthy, esteem it as

But to return to our steeple. How do our greatest good, and its acquisition the you account, Mr. Editor, for this shame- chief end of man. The true root of evi ful practice, thus openly pursued in the -the great first cause--is now ascer broad light of day, and in so prominent tained to be the arch-enemy of man and sacred a place, as a cupola of one of kind; and the burden of sin is laid God's temples? I see you are puzzled, where it rightfully belongs on the broad and will only trouble you to look over shoulders of its father Beelzebub. To the results of my investigations; if no account, now, for this church-steeple other good come of them, I have made swearing. at least one valuable discovery, which I Can anything be more plausible than shall give you the benefit of in brackets, that Satan, who hates all things good and afterwards resume the thread of good men, good deeds, and good books this sadly disjointed and incoherent epis- -seeing an arena in process of constructle.

tion, wherein he was to be encountered, (Necessity is the reputed mother of grappled with, overthrown and utterly invention. Haven't you often wondered discomfited, is greatly exercised thereat, who was the father? As usual, alas! and is doing all that in him lies, to the mother all the world knows; but stay the progress of the work, Finding the father—who is be? Well, sir, I church and steeple to advance steadily, have discovered that Perplexity is the in defiance of all his machinations,—for sire of that brat; and, further, that he is a long, long time he persuaded the conthe offspring of lawful wedlock. I hope gregation they were too poor to build the world will be duly grateful for this he, in his blind fury and rage, has deterdiscovery, and that the boy will be more mined at all events, to manifest his prekindly received for the future, than in sence in and about the edifice. But, being himself too modest to mount the about which I complain, will you deign, steeple in the garish light of day, and in Mr. Editor, to cast your eye over the the face of a whole town, and curse it in following conversation in which Necesperson; and having neither imp nor sitas, Perplex, and I, participated; and satellite equal to the task, he has put containing, as you will see, numerous oaths and anathemas in the mouths of the plans submitted by them with a view to builders, and thus vents his spleen by cure or alleviate the evil, together with prosy upon the holy pile !

my comments upon them respectively. Sir, I am no believer in spiritual PERPLEX.-(loquitur.) “I believe rappings, necromancy, sorcery, or other with you, that the devil is at the bottom humbug. I believe that witches are ob- of your steeple--the true and sole cause solete, and all manner of spells and en- of this evil of swearing. Can he not chantments broken-at best they were, be dug up-rooted out?" in my opinion, bat so much nonsense. EGO.-" Alas! Perplex, I fear not. Bat allow me to say, that however the For though Satan is as arrant a Paul world may scorn the idea, I do believe Pry as ever popped in,' and is solicitous in a Satan. I accept him, sir, hoof, never to be intrusive; though, like a horns and tail, according to orthodoxy; bad shilling, he is always on hand—I fear and I believe him to be an active, wily, that any attempt to be rid of him by wide-awake, trap-setting, plotting, bird- excavation, would end in defeat. You liming, sulphureous fiend. Moreover, I have no idea at what an immense depth believe HE IS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS

he lies concealed. There is an artesian CUPOLA!

well in Charleston (S. O.), which has Another brace of brackets, if you attained a depth of more than a thousand please, Mr. Editor; 'twill break the con- feet; and though every turn of the Dection but a moment.

screw was expected to bring up water, [One of the workmen on the steeple there was no water yet at last accounts. has just called, in a loud voice, upon Now, philosophers suppose the volcanic God to damn him! What superlative or fire strata of the earth to lie below folly, to say the least, for a man upon a the aqueous regions; and, as we should steeple to be guilty of!“Help thyself, have to find fire before finding Satan, and Heaven will help thee,” is an old you will at once perceive the impractiproverb, and a good one. Nor can I see cability of your plan. Besides, to say why this man should invoke the Divine nothing of the expense attendant upon aid in a matter so easily arranged with- the execution of your scheme, before we out it. Still less can I approve of the could attain such immense 'prufundity petition, when the whole neighborhood, of depth as would be necessary, the old men and maidens, fathers and mo- steeple would be finished, the bells hung, thers and servants, and wee little ones and then-an oath would stand no sort --who have a great knack for imitation, of chance by the side of a “bob-major ' and turn all they hear into availability in the belfry." should be compelled to listen to it, or PERPLEX. "Can you not exorcise ernigrate, and remain in exile from home him—lay him in some way?" till the lightning-rod is tipped, and the EGO." You forget the ubiquitous steeple finished. Why call upon God at nature of the fiend; that he is spry all in this emergency? What with a fall as well as black as a flea—just unof sixty feet-tħe route diversified by an der your thumb till you lift it to get Occasional corbel, and terminating in a him between your fingers. Even were pile of slab-stones, setting up edgewise at there any power in incantation, which I the base of the steeple-it does strike do not believe, the subject to be exorme, and it will strike the experimenter cised must first be found—as a bare even more forcibly, that a man of mode- must be caught ere boiled—before you rate abilities might contrive most effectu- could commence to work upon him. ally to damn himself, by simply leaping While utterly faithless as regards the from the steeple to the stones. He who power of spells, I know of but one protakes the leap may rest assured he will cess for raising the devil, which of never be hung: and, with no better pass- course would have to be done, prior to port into heaven than the oath last upon laying him. Danæus de Sortiaraiis tais lips, I can promise him St. Peter tells us, that he who would raise Beelwill never grant him admittance.] zebub, must sacrifice to bim, a dog,

Having succeeded, as I trust, in ferret- & cat, and a hen, all his own proing out the cause of the dire effects perty—(none of which I possess); must swear eternal obedience to him, and shrugged and eyes shut, awaiting the receive a mark in some unseen place, impending oath. Ere we knew it, some either under the eyelid, or in the roof swearer would forget his substitute, and of the mouth, inflicted by the devil down would come a big, black oath, like in person—a pretty piece of business a bomb-shell at a mess-table, scattering truly, for a quiet man, and an anti- confusion and dismay in every direction, swearer, to be engaged in!

and completely upsetting confidence. Í “Moreover, what would be the use of have heard of your sugar-planter before; laying liim, when he has been laid and may as well tell you, what perhaps again and again, and will not stay laid- you have never heard, that when his ire like the nasal organ of the urchin was greatly provoked, he forgot to whose father took him to see the great

thunder after the new style." Dr. Franklin ; and who, when affec- PERPLEX.—“Let the swearers be pertionately requested by his sire to blow his suaded to commence work an hour or nose, replied, that he had repeatedly two before dawn-not with their hamperformed that interesting operation, mers and trowels, but their oaths. And but the nose 'wouldn't stay blowed.'” while Age is recruiting for the morrow,

PERPLEX.-“Decant a thousand o Innocence peacefully dreaming, Child brick’from the top of the steeple, so as hood smiling in its sleep, and Infancy to take the old reprobate just between chatting with the cherubim-ero darkthe horns."

ness has flown to the uttermost parts EGO.—“Ingenious, but not practi- of the earth, or the East grown warm cable. It would be folly to proceed with the blushes of Aurora, - let these thus, unless you had his majesty so fellows take a private ouss' of an • cabined, cribbed, and confined,' that he hour's duration, to last them through the could not dodge the falling missiles. day.” You constantly forget that he is still at EGO.-"A very pretty scheme, but like large, and that catching him is the first most pretty scheines, thoroughly Utopian. great step to be taken. In the event Swearing is said to be only good in its that we had him in such close quarters place (for iny part I do not think it as I have described, what would it pro- good in any place). To illustrate :-Å fit us? • Didn't Father O'Flaherty traveller who once stopped at a badly hit him wunst over the top ov his head kept inn, complained to the waiter, that wid a testamint, widout aven stunnin' his plate greatly needed cleansing, avd ov him? And shure, didn't he come received for answer that "every man back the very next night widout aven must eat his peck of dirt before he dies." a bit of rag 'round his horns ?'

To this he replied (I am sorry to say “I am of opinion we can do nothing with an oath), that he had no objection with Beelzebub. Will you please con- to complying with that requisition, but trive some plan, dear Perplex, for he'd “be d-d” if he “liked this way rendering the evil endurable." Cure it of making a fellow eat the whole peck we cannot, unless we could remove the at a meal.” Thus, I fear it would be, cause."

with our steeple-swearers. They might PERPLEX.-" Could not these swearers curse you for your suggestions, and prebe induced to adopt the plan of the

fer to take their oaths in DRIBLETS. Louisiania sugar-planter, who was an

Another consideration : men could awful swearer in his wild-oat days, but not easily be brought to swear, at that as the years grew thick upon him, be- hour, upon a steeple. The darkness came converted at a camp-meeting, and shrouding the tall spire in its sable folds instead of his old oaths, would ejaculate -the striking similitude of the cupola's a terrific Thunder!' when his wrath deep, black, and hollow void, to an abyss was provoked."

deeper, darker, and infinitely more proEGO.—“You are still seeking to cure, found-and, above all, the sweet, silent rather than to alleviate. Men are for- stars, which at that hour would still be getful, and swearers proverbially short shining overhead, would set the strongest of memory. Were the neighborhood to lungs at variance, and illy attune the adopt the expedient you suggest, it tongue to imprecation. Methinks that would destroy our present watchfulness. men, with hearts of men, would be In our joy at baving at last found a more inclined to adoration, amid the remedy, we would throw off all restraint, deep stilness, the solemn grandeur, and instead of sitting, as we now do, on a holy beauty of such a scene. perpetual qui vive, with shoulders PERPLEX.-"Get the swearers to curse in some foreign lingo, which your child- or high or low in standing, when he fain ren, at least, would not understand. You would curse, hath but to turn him round, can easily collate from the dictionaries, and fire into the tubes; once safe therein, a variety of oaths, some of which might the flying oaths would quickly find their strike the fancy of these fellows, and be destined grave, whicho hideth all deadopted in lieu of their native-tongued formity." curses."

EGO.-"Bravo! Necessitas-I will-Ego.—"Too much like your Sugar- I will." planter scheme. I tell you there is no You have heard Mr. Editor; and trusting the memory of a swearer. now, may I beg of you to have the order Besides, Perplex, do you not see that for the tubing filled (which you will the furnishing of such a list would bring find inclosed), and ship the same to my as in, as accessories to the crime. 'Tis address, at your earliest convenience. all ope with God, whether men use their Be pleased to have the tubing of gutta mother tongue or an adopted one, in percka, firmly riveted, and finished in a which to blaspheme. Nay, there are thorough manner. Some splitting, shimen, who will one day be called to ac- vering oaths will try its strength, ere they count for oaths nestling deep duwn, like become innocuous in the earth. a brood of serpents, within their hearts, And now, sir, that I am done, I have but forbidden by propriety, decency, or misgivings lest you should think my other motive, to come to the lip for tone too light. I assure you, I was never utterance; others, for oaths inaudible, more serious in my life. born in the rancor of the heart, and What would you have had ? A serdying in whispers between their teeth." mon or a homily with the untaking

What think you, Perplex, of mount- title, “Swearing ?" Sir, your patrons ing a parson on the steeple ?"

would never have read it. Nine-tenths PEEPLEX.—" Aye-or, a committee of of them would have turned over the ladies. The difficulty would be in pro- leaves bearing that caption, with an imcaring these worthy conservators of patient twirl of finger and thump, makmorals. 'Twould be an unheard-of duty ing a "dog-ear" at each corner, as they to require of the clergy; and the ladies burried forwards to the next article; just could not long survive so severe a trial as people, at a book-auction, when a as keeping guard, for days and weeks, splendid binding surprises them with an over a regiment of hard-swearers." inside Bible, shut it up with a contemp

* I fear, sir, I must give up your case as tuous bang, and pry about for an Annual, irremediable; I am quite in despair." -some " Loce-Token," “ Forget-me not,"

NECESSITAS.—“ Please, sir, I have just or anything, in short, “interesting." thought of a remedy, occurring to me at The Swearers have so often, been the moment, when Perplex spoke of soundly drabbed for their iniquities, his despair."

they have become case-hardened and EGO.—“Speak, Madame : I do attend sermon-proof; of course they would

have passed it by, perhaps with an oath, NECESSITAS.—“I propose, sir, that or a malediction on my devoted head. you do sink, or cause to be sunk, at As it is, many will have an itching to bottom of your steeple, a pit, deep, wide, know how their brethren appear while and roomy; covered in with staunch, in successful operation on a church stout boards, all tongued and grooved, steeple. Much good may the sight do and sealed hermetically, save an aperture them. in the middle plank, through which you

The anti-swearers would, of course, insert a tube, in length ten feet; five have passed it over, as not meant for thereof below and five above, the inter- them. section. Into this shaft, conduct tubes As for the ladies-heaven bless them supplemental, in length sufficient to o'er- —they, too, would have thought it in top the highest point to which your spire no way useful to them, not knowing, in aspires, 150 feet (as all the morning their innocence, that the world contained journals say), and in numbers such as to soundatural a creature as a female supply each scaffolding that girts your swearer. While one-half your ladyspire. And at each landing in the hol- readers would have been prodigiously low void, where airy ladders kiss, each shocked at the bald, hard word “SWEARladder, ladder's foot, connecting tubes ING," and immediately “skipped” the you place, all snugly fitting, with inter- paper; the other half would have hel. { joinings nice. Thus then, each swearer, up their pretty little hands in duml.

VOL. 1.-4.

Fe."

« AnteriorContinuar »