Skip to comments.THE ANARCHIAD: AMERICAN ANTIQUITIES.óNo. II
Posted on 05/22/2003 3:52:18 PM PDT by William McKinley
MESSRS. MEIGS AND DANA:In a late address, I gave you an account of the recent discoveries in the Western country, and engaged to furnish some further extracts from the epic poem called THE ANARCHIAD, if the specimen then exhibited should meet with merited applause. I am happy to find, as a proof of the good taste of the times, that it has been read with the greatest avidity. Though I have not been able to decipher all the lines of the Vision which evidently alluded to the beautiful scenes of paper money and confusion, now so gloriously displayed in Rhode Island; yet I thought I ought not to delay to gratify the Connecticut readers with a fragment of the speech which the old Anarch makes to Beelzebub, for the purpose of persuading him to come over and help his faithful friends in our Macedonia, since his affairs were in so thriving a posture in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, that his zealous and indefatigable substitutes and apostles might carry them to perfection without any further assistance from him. After describing, in a very pathetic manner, the necessity of his presence and personal influence, he encourages him to hope for every reasonable countenance from his faithful adherents and allies in this State. He gives as long and significant a list of their names and characters as Homer does of the troops that went to the siege of Troy. I can only have room to select a few of the most remarkable, which are sufficiently designated in the following lines:
SURVEY the State, behold the flame that draws
Chiefs, mobs, conventions, to support thy cause.
See where the frogs' loquacious realms extend,
Instructions on their deputies attend,
O'er all the east new fangled magi rise,
Join croaking choirs and boast the name of wise.
The north by myriads pours her mighty sons,
Great nurse of mobs, of bankrupts, and of duns:
There Froth, the sep'rate, glows with pop'lar rage,
And Gn, type of dotards in old age.
Where lard and brimstone gild the itch-vat shore,
The soil that trays and wooden dishes bore,
His full-globed paunch the brainless Bubo draws,
And solid ignorance threats the feeble laws.
Near Hartford stream, where groves perpetual bloom,
And onion gardens breathe a glad perfume,
Though sunk in dust, to his own stench a prey,
Again our Laz'rus shall ascend to day;
Thy potent voice shall burst the deathful chain,
And raise him active in thy toils again.
Where purslain harvests charm th' extended sight,
Clothe the fair fields and feed thy sons for fight;
In act to speak, his eyes a smoky fire,
His face of shadow, and his shins of wire,
See Copper graceful ride, and, o'er his cane,
Look like a pale moon sick'ning in its wane.
Why sleep'st thou, Blacklegs, child of knavery, why ?
Seest thou, blest Wronghead, helpless how we lie ?
And where is Wimble, earliest squib of fame !
Your tongues and pens must wake the factious flame !
And thou, poor Quack, behold thy efforts fail;
Could one address thy o'erstrain'd wits exhale ?
Wake, scribble, print; arouse thee from thy den,
And raise conventions with thy blust'ring pen!
No more the Boatman's call alarms the shore,
Old Ben, exhausted, wields the quill no more;
The Chairman's snuff expir'd as erst was sung,
And gouts have quelled the Irish Blunderer's tongue.
Yet, can a faction cease in craft to thrive,
Where such high talents, such strong brains survive ?
These, and a thousand yet unnam'd we find
Fame waits the thousand yet unnam'd behind.
The poetic seer has then the address, by a happy transition, to group his principal characters in solemn conclave, and to display their abilities in high debate. I am sorry I have not been able to cleanse that part of the manuscript, which contains their speeches, from filth and obscurity, so as to make it entirely legible. I do not yet despair of success; and the courteous reader is only requested to suspend the gratification of his curiosity to a future occasion. In the interim, I have found, by that part of the manuscript which is still legible, that the poet progresses, agreeably to the rules of his art, in unfolding the catastrophe, by predicting that a majority should be persuaded, by the power of intrigues and sophistry, to refuse a compliance with the requisitions of Congressthat a determination should be formed, and announced to the world, that we will not pay the interest on our foreign or domestic debtsthat we should furnish nothing for the support of the federal governmentthat we should withdraw ourselves from the Unionthat all government should be prostrated in the dustthat mobs, conventions, and anarchy, should prevail for a limited time, and then . . . . But I draw the curtain; the picture is too melancholy to be viewed by a patriot eye without prompting the tear of sensibility, and forcing the sigh of sorrow, that THE GLORIOUS TEMPLE OF LIBERTY and happiness which had been erected in these ends of the earth, for an asylum to suffering humanity, should so soon be dissolved, and,
" Like the baseless fabric of a vision,
Leave not a wreck behind."
I am, &c.,
. P. S.The printers in the State of Connecticut are desired to republish the preceding account of AMERICAN ANTIQUITIES, for the benefit of their kind customers, who are also informed that the men who are to be considered as the authors of any future Revolution, are most clearly pointed out in another part of the before-mentioned Vision.
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