Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 15: No 2) >> Important Simms Book Review >> Page 21

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Page 21

Reviews/Essays | 1849-10
Transcription 21? A Fable for Critics•. [Oct,

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, through logs the saw screams,
Blocks swing up to their place, beetles drive home the beams.—
It is songs such as these that she croons to the dire
Of her fast-flying shuttles, year out and year in,
While from earths fathest corner there cOmes not a breeze
But wafts her the hum of her gold-gleaning bees:
What though those thorn 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 sorest
Was to vanquish 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
Him delve surlily for her on river and lake ;----
When this New world was parted, she strove not to shirk
Her lot in the heirdom,--the tough, silent work,
The hero share ever, from Herkales 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 hast won it ; if ever the laurel divine
Crowned the Maker and Builder, that glory IS thine!
Thy songs are right epic, they tell how this rude
Rock-rib of our Earth here was tamed and subdued;
Thou hast written them plain on the face of the planet
In brave, deathless letters of iron and granite ;
Thou hast printed them deep for all time ; 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 querelous ease,
Ask thy Art and they Letters, point proudly to these,
Or, if they deny these are Letters and Art,
Toil on with the same old invincible heart ;
Thou art rearing the pedestal broad-based and grand
Whereupon the fair shapes of the Artist shall stand,
And creating, through labors undaunted and long,
The true theme fbr 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 perilhng his interests in lend-

ing himself to the purposes of fanaticism and hate.