Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 5: No 2) >> An Essential Simms Essay — ''Look at Home'' >> Page 8

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Page 8

Reviews/Essays | 1997
Transcription well as life, are thickset in every land"---that is, provided a people properly know
and value place, the genius loci, and all its associations, and learn to trust in "the
genius of their people" in that place. That a war-desolated place, his own burned
plantation, and the burned city around him, did not shake his beliefs, is made quite
clear in this essay. If anything, he is even more certain of the validity of his ideas.
It is significant that of all the topics he might have chosen in a time of grave crisis
he decided upon this one. This fact should indicate how essential he felt this truth
to be.
"Look at Home" is thus a very significant essay which has lain buried for
over a century in the one known copy of the Phoenix. It is perhaps Simms's last
pronouncement on several themes that he had been voicing throughout his career.
Although it is unsigned, the piece is without question from his pen; and its content
proves it to be of recent composition. The reference to the soldier has the ring of
truth through experience: "Faith in one another is...that feel and touch of the elbow
which, in an army, makes the soldier confident of his strength, assured that he will
have support from a thousand noble comrades when engaged in the shock of battle
and the trials of danger."
Here follows the complete text of the essay taken from the badly foxed,
unique original:


Look at Home
It is in proof os the very vulgar mind
that it is not willing to look at home for its
resources, either of pride or pleasure. It
wanders off or yearns perpetually after
the foreign and remote. It fails to find
attraction in the familiar. With such
minds, it is "distance leands enchantment
to the view," and the local association
takes from all the chamrs in the prospect.
This leads to absenteeism--to the neglect
of all domestic improvements--to a per-