Monday, July 28, 2014

Two Additional Poems

Hello again, friends.  What an exciting time it is in Griswoldia.  I am very pleased to present yet more samples of my poetry, these ones written when I was in my very early twenties.  You will see that they display the burgeoning powers that would be more evident in my later works, already posted on this very blog.

We would like, again and always, to express our deepest gratitude to the brilliant and beautiful Ann Neilson of the Materialistic Maiden blog for her tireless efforts in uncovering these forgotten gems from my beloved pen. Were it not for her, these poems would still languish in obscurity.

My other poetry can be found here, here, here and here.

This first poem was printed in the August 1837 number of "The Ladies Companion and Literary Expositor":




‘Tis midnight, and the gentle air
   Comes through the open lattice now,
And waves aside the thin dark hair
   That mantles o’er my burning brow.
The midnight air! Oh, now it brings
Healing upon its dewy wings;

The garniture of pleasant hills—
   The vales in beauty spreading wide,
Along which play a thousand rills,
   Whose waters, as they onward glide,
To mingle with the flowing river,
Are filled with melody for ever;

The moon that looks upon the deep,
   Whose waves beneath its beams are bright
As cloudless skies in summer sleep
   When studded with the stars of night,
And every billow sending high
A rival glory to the sky;

The flowers, the rich and gorgeous flowers,
   Upon whose leaves the dews distil,
Amid a thousand fairy bowers,
   And earth and air with perfume fill,
And every bright and joyous thing
That to this pleasant world doth cling;

All, all, oh balmy air, in thee
   Seem sweetly blended, as e’en now
From vale and hill and moonlit sea,
   Though visitest my fevered brow;
And mingling with my fitful breath,
Thou seem’st a victor over death.

Rockaway Pavilion.

This next piece was printed in the same literary journal mentioned above, but in September of 1837.




                “It seems but yesterday,” said Dacre, “that we played our childish games together.  Now lie they in that tomb, and no memorial reminds those who are left, that such men ever lived.  Indeed, we do ‘fade as a leaf.”

HERE were they born, where now their ashes lie,
   From here went forth upon their pilgrimage,
And reaped earth’s pleasures, and returned to die.
   Such are men’s histories in every age:
Thus do they live, and thus they pass away.
   At morn they bud, and at meridian bloom,
And ere has passed from earth the sun’s last ray
   They sleep neglected in the mouldering tomb.
They rise, like shadows, on time’s tossing wave,
   They float, like bubbles, on her troubled stream,
And then they sink into oblivion’s grave,
   Their lives are fleeting as a summer’s dream.
And all are gone—the evil and the just—
Earth unto earth returns, and dust goes back to dust.

You are welcome...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

One Additional Poem

Following the avalanche of responses we have received since posting, only yesterday, a precious handful of my rediscovered verse, I am pleased to be able to publish this trifle from my pen, written when still a young bachelor.  Thanks again to Ann Neilson of the Materialistic Maiden blog for her invaluable support and assistance in the miraculous recovery of my poetry.

This was written when my debts were high and my income was low, or during what I like to call my Edgar Allan Poe years.  It was published in the Olean Advocate for August 27, 1836, exactly thirty one years to the day before my tragic demise.

'Tis true I've been improvident,
     'Tis true I've been unwise:
But then, to be forever dunned,
     My patience sorely tries.

Let others sing, in glowing strains
     The pains of being shunned,
But I am sure still to endure
     The torments of the dunned!

My coat is of the latest cut,
     My hat, the very ton:
My boots turn up their graceful toes--
     Alas, they're not my own.

Oh, how I wish the joys I knew,
     The joys of being of shunned--
But I am sure still to endure
     The torments of the dunned!

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Poetry of Rufus Griswold (PART THREE)

The Poetry of Rufus Griswold (PART THREE)
Hitherto I have published five fine specimens of my own original verse, and I had thought that those five were all that remained of my poetry.  However, thanks to the efforts of the lovely and talented Ann Neilson of The Materialistic Maiden blog, to whom I am eternally grateful, I am now able to exhibit four more poems from the pen of Rufus Griswold.

You can read more of my poetry here and here.


ALONE sat Hagar in the wild,
Alone, with Ishmael her child,
And through the sultry midday air
Sent up to Heaven her earnest prayer.
Oh, lovely Hagar! keen thy woe,
Thine agony that few may know;
Yet though forsaken and alone,
One star benignant on thee shone;
And, as thy gaze was turned on high,
Its light made all thy anguish fly.
Oh, lovely Hagar! keen thy woe,
But God forbade thy tears to flow!

Remember her example, JANE!
When comes, as come it will, the pain
Of broken faith and heart-felt wrong,
For these, alas! to life belong.
When dark thy sky, when woes assail,
Bend not before the chilling gale,
But upward turn thine eyes to Him,
Whose love nor change nor grief can dim.
However dark thy way may be,
The same bright star will shine on thee
That turned to joy the bitterness
Of Hagar in the wilderness. 

[He urged to the end upon his fellow prisoners the duty of waging unending war against the treacherous and oppressive whites.    Daily paper.]

HA! the wild and scorching pains,
Shooting through my throbbing veins,
And the dimness on my sight,
Turning the broad noon to night,
And the fires within the soul,
Which no longer brook control,
Tell me that my hour is come—
I must hasten to my home!

Who with me before have bowed
Round our sacred council fires—
Hither, ere your chief expires!
Here renew the vow again
Ne’er to wear the white man’s chain,
And while GOD shall give you life,
Ne’er to sheathe th’ avenger’s knife!

Wife! oh wife! come near to me,
Vail thy face and bend thy knee:
Swear by the ALMIGHTY’S arm,
Who will chide thee not, nor harm,
Ne’er to let thy hatred cease
Of the scourges of thy race,
Ne’er to yield, except to might,
Up the red man’s sacred right!

Teach thy daughter, teach thy son,
How his race their father run;
And may each of them inherit
His free soul, his fearless spirit!
May each scorn the white man’s frown,
Who would tread the red man down!
May they each their freedom cherish,
And defend it till they perish!

May thy son be as a brand
Thrown from the ALMIGHTY’S hand
‘Mid the councils of the braves,
Till around their fathers’ graves,
From each mountain and each valley,
Old and young for strife shall rally—
Till GOD’S anger sleeps no more,
And the oppressor’s reign is o’er!

GOD! breathe o’er the stormy floods,
‘Mid the dark and gloomy woods,
Breathe into the red man’s soul
Till he spurn the base control
Of the tyrants who would bind
With their fetters limb and mind—
GOD of Earth and Sea and Air,
Hear the red man’s dying prayer!

Now, O things of earth, farewell!
Broke forever is thy spell!
Hopes that cheered my better days,
Voices of rebuke and praise,
Fields of strife with blood made gory,
Hopes of freedom and of glory,
Ye have left me now alone—

A GENTLE breeze from her high brow
Throws back her raven hair;
Oh, gladness has no longer now
Her wonted empire there!
That brow with clouds is overcast,
That cheek is wan and paled—
What spell has o’er her spirit passed,
And what her heart assailed?

Another gaze: a tear is there—
The effort was in vain;
When sorrow is too deep to bear,
Who shall its tears restrain?
Now the deep fountain is unsealed,
The gushing waters rise,
Her agony is all revealed
In those o’erflowing eyes!

Upon her hand a diamond rare
Reflects the setting sun;
But where is he who placed it there
When their young hearts were one?
Oh, in that word the secret lies,
For they are one no more!
Joy in the faithful bosom dies
When Love’s sweet dream is o’er.
[From American Melodies.]

*Alternatively called "The Deserted", as seen in this issue of The New-Yorker.


AND I look up to Heaven in supplication;
With passionate prayers along the pathway starred
I send my soul to CHRIST for an oblation,
But find the entrance to his[*] presence barred.
To Love Supreme, upon their pearly hinges
The golden gates of Paradise unfold,
As after night and storm their blazing fringes
The clouds lift up, and glory is unrolled,
So beautiful and grand, upon the mountains,
That we see not the valleys, nearer lying,
Nor even hear the musical play of fountains,
Nor the earthlife that gives it glad replying.
To Love Supreme! but ah! my heart is buried
There in her coffin; and the prayer I’m breathing
Is for her smile, on flowers I there have carried,
Her gentle smile, on flowers I there was wreathing—
With more of fear than love, as to a teacher
Comes the young child to ask his mate for playing,
And, as he speaks, lets go his soul to reach her
Ere he has heard the voice of his own praying. 

You can not come, you can not even hear me,
The gates are closed while I without am calling,
I look around, no more I see you near me,
Upon my lifted face are arrows falling.
Because I love you more than I love Heaven
Heaven has no mercy. All my heart’s fond caring
Was for your eyes’ sweet light, that now is riven,
And I grope on in darkness and despairing.
Hear me, oh GOD! if there await no morrow,
If, for our severed hearts, there is no meeting,
If still must fall in tempests all this sorrow,
(No sorrow whiles I held you from its beating!)
Then let the hills, in avalanches turning,
Engulf me in their centres; with her features,
Dear, though so cold, on mine, into that burning
I would go down, with all the meaner creatures,
Calmly into extinction; but desiring
That as I bore what was her form, in blindness,
She would in it relive, for my expiring,
And thrill my panting, sinking soul, with kindness.

Ah! from that verge of Death’s dark boundless ocean,
As I the cliffs from life and hope descended,
Could I look back and know that your devotion
Not with your glory or my gloom is ended —
Hear the old tones, see in the eyes old feelings,
While, for one moment, on my own the pressing
Of your dear lips: O HEAVEN! those wild revealings
Should turn this blast to an immortal blessing.
Then, O ye surges, that are now entombing
The ever-dying in your caverns dreary,
Then I could hear all unappalled your booming,
Nor of your crowding horrors ever weary —
With the last effort of each sense receiving
The truth that should be foil against your powers,
Brave your strange boiling, roaring, and upheaving,
Leap to your horrors as to seas of flowers!

*Note: the "H" in "his" is lowercased, although it should be capitalized (as is the grammatical rule when using this pronoun to describe God and/or Jesus.) This may imply I was very, very angry with God at the time and thus did not feel He deserved to have the "h" capitalized. I was angsty. 

Rufus Griswold Reviews Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass".

An unconsidered letter of introduction has oftentimes procured the admittance of a scurvy fellow into good society, and our apology for permitting any allusion to the above volume in our columns is, that it has been unworthily recommended by a gentleman of wide repute, and might, on that account, obtain access to respectable people, unless its real character were exposed.

Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson either recognises and accepts these 'leaves,' as the gratifying results of his own peculiar doctrines, or else he has hastily endorsed them, after a partial and superficial reading. If it is of any importance, he may extricate himself from the dilemma. We, however, believe that this book does express the bolder results of a certain transcendental kind of thinking, which some have styled philosophy.
As to the volume itself, we have only to remark, that it strongly fortifies the doctrines of the Metempsychosists, for it is impossible to imagine how any man's fancy could have conceived such a mass of stupid filth, unless he were possessed of the soul of a sentimental donkey that had died of disappointed love. This poet (?) without wit, but with a certain vagrant wildness, just serves to show the energy which natural imbecility is occasionally capable of under strong excitement.

There are too many persons, who imagine they demonstrate their superiority to their fellows, by disregarding all the politenesses and decencies of life, and, therefore, justify themselves in indulging the vilest imaginings and shamefullest license. But nature, abhorring the abuse of the capacities she has given to man, retaliates upon him, by rendering extravagant indulgence in any direction followed by an insatiable, ever-consuming, and never to be appeased passion.

Thus, to these pitiful beings, virtue and honor are but names. Bloated with self-conceit, they strut abroad unabashed in the daylight, and expose to the world the festering sores that overlay them like a garment. Unless we admit this exhibition to be beautiful, we are at once set down for non-progressive conservatives, destitute of the "inner light," the far-seeingness which, of course, characterize those gifted individuals. Now, any one who has noticed the tendency of thought in these later years, must be aware that a quantity of this kind of nonsense is being constantly displayed. The immodesty of presumption exhibited by these seers; their arrogant pretentiousness; the complacent smile with which they listen to the echo of their own braying, should be, and we believe is, enough to disgust the great majority of sensible folks; but, unfortunately, there is a class that, mistaking sound for sense, attach some importance to all this rant and cant. These candid, these ingenuous, these honest "progressionists;" these human diamonds without flaws; these men that have come, detest furiously all shams; "to the pure, all things are pure;" they are pure, and, consequently, must thrust their reeking presence under every man's nose.

They seem to think that man has no instinctive delicacy; is not imbued with a conservative and preservative modesty, that acts as a restraint upon the violence of passions, which, for a wise purpose, have been made so strong. No! these fellows have no secrets, no disguises; no, indeed! But they do have, conceal it by whatever language they choose, a degrading, beastly sensuality, that is fast rotting the healthy core of all the social virtues.

There was a time when licentiousness laughed at reproval; now it writes essays and delivers lectures. Once it shunned the light; now it courts attention, writes books showing how grand and pure it is, and prophesies from its lecherous lips its own ultimate triumph.

Shall we argue with such men? Shall we admit them into our houses, that they may leave a foul odor, contaminate the pure, healthful air? Or shall they be placed in the same category with the comparatively innocent slave of poverty, ignorance and passion, that skulks along in the shadows of by-ways; even in her deep degradation possessing some sparks of the Divine light, the germ of good that reveals itself by a sense of shame?

Thus, then, we leave this gathering of muck to the laws which, certainly, if they fulfil their intent, must have power to suppress such gross obscenity. As it is entirely destitute of wit, there is no probability that any one would, after this exposure, read it in the hope of finding that; and we trust no one will require further evidence - for, indeed, we do not believe there is a newspaper so vile that would print confirmatory extracts.

In our allusions to this book, we have found it impossible to convey any, even the most faint idea of its style and contents, and of our disgust and detestation of them, without employing language that cannot be pleasing to ears polite; but it does seem that some one should, under circumstances like these, undertake a most disagreeable, yet stern duty. The records of crime show that many monsters have gone on in impunity, because the exposure of their vileness was attended with too great indelicacy. "Peccatum illud horribile, inter Christianos non nominandum."