Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 15: No 2) >> New Simms Poem >> Page 22

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Page 22

Poetry | 1863-12-23
Transcription New Simms Poem



James Everett Kibler



The following poem has been identified as by Simms. It appeared in
the Charleston Mercury (23 December 1863). Although unsigned there,
Simms included it on a jotted list of his poems in a manuscript in "Printed
Poetry Box," P 1540, Manuscripts Collection, South Caroliniana Library, Univ
of SC. Simms did not collect it in his War Poetry of the South (New York:
1866), and it is not listed in James Kibler, The Poetry of William Gilmore
Simms: An Introduction and Bibliography (Columbia: 1979).
The Ape of the poem is no doubt Abraham Lincoln, whose
unattractive person was frequently satirized as such both North and South and
abroad. Simms sees the Fox, Wolf, and Ape as attacking out of greed and
hunger; but they are getting more than they bargained for, since Southern
Sheep and Geese have turned into Lion and Eagle. The poem's satire, while
gentler and not as rapier sharp, is akin to Simms's Hudibrastic satire The
Father Abolitionist.
The poem is published here from a photo duplication.


THE SYNOD OF THE BEASTS
I.
Arts, passion, talents, all Have mortal lawn,
That limit flight of wing and legnth of claws,
And gauge the lust by measure of the jaws!
If the Ape governs--if the Wolf, in power,
Call in the Fox to use his cunning paws,
And these, united the poor Geese, devour,--
'Tis law ! 'Tis law !
But there's an end, some day,
And other laws will claim to share the sway,
And Ape, and Fox, and Wolf must needs give way ;---
Claw, jaw, and paw, and maw,
Submitting, though ungraciously, to Law!

II.
The Wolf and Fox are not the comeliest Beasts,
And, in their several herdings, when they meet,
To celebrate and fatten, at love feasts,
The Tiger, too, may something have to say,
Which shall be found more spicy, far, than sweet :--
At, all events, he's pious--comes to prey!--
He knows the Wolf a coward---knows the Fox
A rogue; and, having borne a hundred knocks,
While Ape, and wolf, and Fox eschewed all shocks,

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