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No. 996. — 4 July, 1863.
POETRY.— The Black Regiment, 2. Song for the Loyal National League, 2. In War
BY GEORGE H. BOKER.
THE SECOND LOUISIANA.
Glad to breathe one free breath,
Though on the lips of death.
Praying—alas ! in vain ! -
So they could once more see
That burst to liberty ! Ranked in the western heaven,
This was what “ freedom” lent
To the black regiment.
Hundreds on hundreds fell ;
But they are resting well ;
Scourges and shackles strong
Never shall do them wrong.
Oh, to the living few,
Hail them as comrades tried ;
Fight with them side by side ; Teeth gleam and eyeballs shine ;
Never, in field or tent,
Scorn the black regiment !
SONG FOR THE LOYAL NATIONAL LEAGUE, Told them what work was sent
On the Anniversary of the Attack on Fort Sumter, For the black regiment.
April 11, 1863.
From Blackwood's Magazine. Few, indeed, were they who needed the warn-
ing which Waller — most elegant of love's We live, it is said, in a prosaic and real- epigrammatists—puts into the mouth of his istic age. With all our modern science and messenger, the Rose,modern refinements, our life is not so imag - Tell her that's young, inative, so gay, so insouciant, as that of our And shuns to have her graces spyd, grandmothers and grandfathers. Even con
That had she sprung
In deserts where no men abide, versation, we are told, has lost its brilliancy.
She must have uncommended died. Women, who used to talk so charmingly, vi Bid her come forth, brate now between slang and science. Men Suffer herself to be desired, are either too busy or too languid to exert
And not blush so to be admired.” themselves to talk at all, unless to constitu The days when such verses passed from encies or mechanics’ institutes. The few who hand to hand, and were read instead of Punch could talk well are suspected of keeping their and Mr. Darwin, were indeed“ a good time," talk to put into books. We all srite and as the American ladies call it, for the fair read instead of conversing. And even read- enchantresses who, strong in the charms of ing and writing have become occupations youth, had only to “ come forth” to insure rather than amusements. The warmest and admiration ; but it was quite a different case most imaginative lover never now pens a son- with poor Chloe, who was repairing the damnet to Delia's eyebrow, or an impromptu upon ages of years with a little innocent paint, or Sacharissa's girdle. The modern representa- with Celia, who had just mounted a new wig tives of those charmers would only vote him of her very own hair, honestly bought and à “muff” for his pains. Vers de société are paid for. Human nature, we suppose, was gone out of fashion altogether. Such poetry human nature then ; and it could never have as we want (and we do not want a great deal) been pleasant to have one's little personal peis done for us by regular practitioners—lau- culiarities, or some untoward accident, or reates, and so forth; we no more think of slight social sin, done into verse forthwith making our own verses than our own pills. by a clever friend, and handed round the Any man or woman who was to produce and breakfast or tea-tables of your own particular offer to read in polite company a poetical ef- circle for the amusement and gratification of fusion of their own or a friend's, such as other dear friends, clever or otherwise. It would have charmed a whole circle in the was a heavy penalty to pay for living in an days of Pope or of Fanny Burney, would be Augustan age. In this present generation, stared at upon reasonable suspicion of hav- if you find yourself the victim of a severe aring escaped from a private lunatic asylum. ticle in a popular review, you have yourself Even if the offered verses should be warranted half solicited the exposure by being guilty of to contain the severest remarks upon a mu- print in the first place; even if, in the hontual friend, we of a modern audience should est discharge of your ordinary duties, you have strength of mind enough to resist the awake some morning to a temporary notoriety temptation. Perhaps society has grown more in a column of the Times, you can satisfy charitable and less scandalous ; perhaps it is your feelings by stopping the paper; and in only less easily amused.
either case, you have the consolation of knowIt could hardly have been comfortable, after ing that probably a majority of your personal all, to live in the age of epigrams and im- friends will never read the abuse, and that promptus. It was all very well for the De- most certainly nine-tenths of those who do lias and Sacharissas aforesaid to have their read it will have forgotten it in a week. But charms celebrated by the wits and poets of the terse social epigram, of some four or eight the day; and though it is notoriously true lines, communicated first from friend to friend that their admirers did not err on the side in confidential whisper, and then handed of reticence, female delicacy in those days about in manuscript long before it escaped was hardly startled by the warmth of the into print, was remembered by the dullest homage. A lady had no more objection to dolt amongst a man's intimates, stuck to him be compared to Venus than to the Graces. all his life, and, in many instances, became
* "Epigrams, Ancient and Modern.” By the his only memorial to posterity. Like SinRev. J. Booth, B.A. Longman and Co.
tram's co-travellers, there was no escape from
its dreadful companionship; if bad, it was the gram of four lines would require a page of more readily remembered ; if neat and well- preface to make its point fully intelligible to pointed, it was more generally admired and an ordinary reader. But certainly, as one more widely circulated. True, the author turns page after page of this “ literature of of the satire did not always put in the ac- Society," one gets confirmed in the imprestual name; the victim of his verse figured sion that society was very ill-natured in those commonly under some classical alias ; but days. The science of making one's self everybody knew -- and none better than the beautiful forever,” hy the aid of paint and unfortunate object - that Grumio meant Sir other accessories, is still studied by some laHarry, that Chremes stood for old Brown, dies, if we may trust law-reports and adverand that Lady Bab was intended by Phryne. tisements, and, no doubt, sharp-sighted friends Even if there was nothing more personal than detect this false coinage of beauty ; but they a row of asterisks in the original, there were do not mercilessly nail it down on the social always plenty of copies in circulation with counter, as in the case of poor Dorinda the hiatus carefully filled in. Let no one (whose real name was doubtless perfectly suppose for a moment that the polish and the well known to her contemporaries) :humor of such productions made the attack “Say, which enjoys the greater blissesmore endurable. Few men, and perhaps John, who Dorinda's picture kisses, fewer women, are of Falstaff's happy temper
Or Tom his friend, the favored elf,
Who kisses fair Dorinda's self? ament, content to be the subject of wit in
'Faith, 'tis not easy to divine, others. There is more sound than truth in
While both are thus with raptures fainting, the epigram which says,
To which the balance shall incline, “ As in smooth oil the razor best is whet,
Since Tom and John both kiss a painting.” So wit is by politeness sharpest set ;
There is a sequel, too, even less gallant, which Their want of edge from their offence is seen calls itself “ 'The Point Decided : ".
Both pain us least when exquisitely keen.” And both cut deepest too, and leave scars
Nay, surely John's the happier of the twain,
Because the picture cannot kiss again.” that are longest in healing. Johnson was quite right when he pronounced, on the other The rude wits of society delighted in attack
unconscious, hand, that the vehicle of wit and delicacy” ing these adventitious charms only made the satire more stinging; com
probably, that in this as in many other things, pared with ordinary abuse, he said, “ the the Greek epigrammatists had been long bedifference was between being bruised with a
fore them. Here is one of the best amongst club, or wounded with a poisoned arrow.” many-anonymous, so far as we know-which
One is surprised, however, on the whole, we miss in Mr. Booth’s volume :in looking over any collection of epigrams “ Cosmelia's charms inspire my lays, which were considered extremely good things
Who, fair in nature's scorn, in their day, to find how poor the majority
Blooms in the winter of her days,
Like Glastonbury thorn. of them are. They would read better, no
If e'er, to seize the tempting bliss, doubt, to those who knew the parties. The Upon her lips you fall, spice of neighborly ill-nature, which gave The plaistered fair returns the kiss, them their chief zest originally, and made up
Like Thisbe, through a wall.” for the poverty of the wit, is lost-happily- Modern gallantry keeps its eyes open, and its to the cool judgment of the modern reader. lips to itself, under suspicious circumstances ; They are like the glass of champagne kept and perhaps not being so readily taken in by till it has lost its sparkle.
false colors, is not so bitter against those who A nicely printed little book, recently pub- wear them. lished, containing a selection (for a collection There are blockheads amongst fashionable it certainly is not, though so called in the physicians in our own days, and jealousies, it dedication), will impress this fact upon most is to be feared, are not unknown in the proof its readers. Of course, such jeux d'esprit fession; but they do not put their professional do not show to advantage when gathered to- antagonism into the form of epigrams, as Dr. gether at random, as these seem to have been. Wynter, Dr. Cheney, Dr. Hill, Dr. Lettsom, They find their best place as illustrations of Dr. Radcliffe, and a host of others did (or biography or political history; often, an epi- their friends and enemies did for them) in