Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 7: No 2) >> Some Selected Simms Reviews in the Southern Quarterly Review 1849-1850 >> Page 23

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Page 23

Reviews/Essays | 1999
Transcription stout quarter-staff men, would have shaken the very soul out of the
cockney's breeches, at a single bout of the cudgel. Of Theodore
Parker, we have a monstrous catalogue of comparisons, proving him
to be every-sort of a man, yet so much of a Jupiter Tonans in his way,
as to be no man at all. He, it appears, is a Socinian preacher, who is
too Socinian for the Socinians. Ile has beaten them at their own wea-
pons, and, where they teach to believe little, he teaches them to believe
nothing at all, unless himself. We have long been prepared to be-
lieve that Boston would come to this. They have a school of teachers,
possessing large popularity, intense self-esteem, and considerable in-
genuity, who, with new isms and ologies daily, will some day contrive
to throw down all their altars of belief. Were they a more inflamma-
ble race, with smaller bumps of caution, we might look for the advent
among them of a Goddess of Reason, and a Reign of Terror, not im-
perfectly modelled upon those of the French. Their safety lies in
their desire for the flesh-pots, and in the fact that they are already in
possession of too large a share of worldly goods to venture much in
dangerous experiments. Were they sans culottes, we should, in all
probability, very soon behold a Temple' of Reason in Boston, usurping
that of Jesus Christ.
With one more name we must dismiss the catalogue. Oliver Wen-
dell Holmes has written several spirited lyrics, and some small pieces
of a pleasant, and good-natured humor. It is probable that none of his
own calmly, truly judging friends would claim for him a higher degree of
credit than this. But here his songs are rated above Campbell's, and
the " New Timon," (ascribed to Bulwer,) which possesses one quality,
of invention—to which Holmes has no sort of pretension—and which is
very good verse besides, is sneered at as "a huckleberry to Holmes's
persimmon." This is a rare sort of fooling verily.
And now for a sample of this satire, in which the poet does honor to
his mother State. We may forgive to a dutiful son the expression of
an exaggerated tribute, particularly when this is a son of New-Eng-
land, with whom such exaggerations are habitual. But we smile, ne-
vertheless, when we find him appropriating, as peculiar, those posses-
sions which not only did not originate with her, but which are very far
from being confined to her territory. If her claims to poetry are to be
founded upon her sledge and trip hammers, her mills and machinery,
she may grind verses to all eternity, but will be suffered to set no one's
teeth on edge with them but her own. -

" Here,--' Forgive me Apollo,' I cried, ' while I pour
My heart out to my birth-place: 0, loved more and more
Dear Baystate, from whose rocky bosom thy sons
Should suck milk, strong will-giving, brave, such as runs
In the veins of old Graylock,—who is it that dares
Call thee pedlar, a soul wraps in bank-hooks and shares'I