Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 7: No 2) >> Some Selected Simms Reviews in the Southern Quarterly Review 1849-1850 >> Page 24

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Page 24

Reviews/Essays | 1999
Transcription It is false! She's a Poet! I see, as I write,
Along the far railroad the steam-snake glide white,
The cataract-throb of her mill-hearts I hear,
The swift strokes of triphammers weary my ear,
Sledges ring upon anvils, logs logs the saw screams,
Sledges Blocks swing up to their place, beetles drive home the beams.
It is songs such as these that she croons to the din
of her fast-flying shuttles, year out and year in,
While from earth's farthest corner there comes not a breeze
But 1vaf is her the hum of her gold-gleaning bees:
What though those horn hands have as yet found small time
For painting and sculpture and music and rhyme ;
These will come in due order ; the need that pressed sQreFt
Was to vatle;uish the seasons, the ocean, the forest,
To bridle and harness the rivers, the steam,
Making that whirl her mill-wheels, this tug in her team,
To vassalize old tyrant Winter, and make
IItrip delve surlily for her on river anti lake;----
Wh.'n this New World was parted, she strove not to shirk
Ilk lot in the heirdlc,:a,--the tough, silent work,
The hero share ever, from I-lerakles down
To Odin, the Earth's iron sceptre and crown ;
Yes, thou dear, noble Mother ! if ever men's praise
Could be claimed for creating heroical lays,
Thou bast won it ; if ever the laurel divine
Crowned the Maker and IThi'cier, that glory is thine!
Thy songs are right epic, they tell how this rude
Hock-rib of our Eartl here was tamed and subdued;
Thou least written them plain on the face of the planet
In brave, deathless letters of iron and granite ;
Thou bast printed them deep for all lime ; they are set
From the same runic type-fount and alphabet
With thy stout Berkshire hills and the arms of thy Bay,
They are staves from the burly old Mayflower lay.
If the drones of the Old World, in querulous ease,
Ask thy Art and thy Letters, point proudly to these,
Or, if they deny these are Lettt.rs and Art,
Toil on with the same old invincible heart ;
Thou art rearing the pedestal broad-based and grand
Whereon the (air shapes of the Artist shall stand,
And creating, through labors undaunted and long,
The true theme for all Sculpture and Painting and Song !"
With a single farther word, we must dismiss this performance. It
is disfigured by frequent reflections upon the slave institutions of the
South, some of which are exceedingly brutal, exhibiting in the author
a bad, malicious heart; and a temper that scruples not at a falsehood
in the expression of a prejudice. We take for granted that the South-
ern reader will reject with indignation every such publication, while
we counsel the publisher to be wary in perilling his interests in lend-
ing himself to the purposes of fanaticism and hate.

(October 1849), pp. 239-242.