« AnteriorContinuar »
THE SNOWDROP AND CRITIC,
To the Editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine, 1775.
I have given your very modest "Snow Drop" what, I think, Shakspeare calls "a local habitation and a name;" that is, I have made a poet of him, and have sent him to take possession of a page in your next Magazine: here he comes, disputing with a critic about the propriety of a prologue.
Enter CRITIC and SNOW DROP.
Prologues to magazines!-the man is mad,
But let us hear what new and mighty things
Bit by the muse in an unlucky hour,
I've left myself at home, and turn'd a flower,
A plain white Snow Drop gathered from the vale:
I come to sing that summer is at hand,
The summer time of wit, you'll understand;
If their good grace will give us time to grow;
We've various seeds just struggling into birth;
* Introduction to Magazine, No. 1.-See p. 18, Miscellaneous Letters and Essays.
Plants, fruits, and flowers, and all the smiling race,
Our numbers, Sir, so vast and endless are,
Each eye, each hand, shall pluck what suits its taste,
The Rose and Lily shall address the fair,
And whisper sweetly out, "My dears, take care;
All this is mighty fine! but prithee, when
I'll tell you, sir! we'll garnish out the scenes
With stately rows of hardy Evergreens,
Trees that will bear the frost, and deck their tops
With everlasting flowers, like diamond drops,
We'll draw, and paint, and carve, with so much skill, That wondering wits shall cry, diviner still!
Better, and better, yet! but now suppose,
Some critic wight, in mighty verse or prose,
Should draw his gray goose weapon, dipt in gall, And mow ye down, Plants, Flowers, Trees, and all.
Why, then we'll die like Flowers of sweet Perfume, And yield a fragrance even in the tomb!
AN ADDRESS TO LORD HOWE.
At the time the following lines were written, Lord Howe was command. er in chief of the British forces in the American revolutionary war. Mr. Paine also addressed to him the second number of "The Crisis," dated at Philadelphia, Jan. 13, 1777; in which he remarks, "Your avowed object here, is to kill, conquer, plunder, pardon, and enslave; and the ravages of your army through the Jerseys, have been marked with as much barbarism as if you had openly professed yourself the prince of ruffians; not even the appearance of humanity has been preserved, either on the march or on the retreat of your troops. In a folio general order book, belonging to colonel Rhol's battalion, taken at Trenton, and now in possession of the council of safety of this state, the following barbarous order is frequently repeated, His Excellency, the Commander in Chief, orders, that all inhabitants who shall be found in arms, not having an officer with them, shall be immediately taken and hung up'! How many you may thus have privately sacrificed we know not, and the account can only be settled in another world."
The rain pours down, the city looks forlorn,
So oft has black revenge engross'd the care
From flight to flight the mental path appears,
In guilt alike, but more alike in fate,
Cursed supremely for the blood they drew,
Each from the rising world, while each was new.
Go, man of blood! true likeness of the first,
Else why these scenes that wound the feeling mind,
Why cries the orphan ?" Oh! my father's slain!
Oh! could I paint the passion that I feel,
I'd send destruction and relieve mankind.
Since then no hopes to civilize remain,
One prayer is left, which dreads no proud reply,
TO SIR ROBERT SMITH.
As I will not attempt to rival your witty description of Love, (in which you say, "Love is like paper, with a fool it is wit, with a wit it is folly," &c.) I will retreat to sentiment, and try if I can match you there: and that I may start with a fair chance, I will begin with your own question,
WHAT IS LOVE?
'Tis that delightful transport we can feel,
When happy Love pours magic o'er the soul,
When Contemplation spreads her rainbow wings,