Lines On The Portrait Of A Celebrated Publisher

A pleasant print to peddle out

In lands of rice and cotton;

The model of that face in dough

Would make the artist's fortune.

For Fame to thee has come unsought,

While others vainly woo her,

In proof how mean a thing can make

A great man of its doer.

To whom shall men thyself compare,

Since common models fail 'em,

Save classic goose of ancient Rome,

Or sacred ass of Balaam?

The gabble of that wakeful goose

Saved Rome from sack of Brennus;

The braying of the prophet's ass

Betrayed the angel's menace!

So when Guy Fawkes, in petticoats,

And azure-tinted hose oil,

Was twisting from thy love-lorn sheets

The slow-match of explosion--

An earthquake blast that would have tossed

The Union as a feather,

Thy instinct saved a perilled land

And perilled purse together.

Just think of Carolina's sage

Sent whirling like a Dervis,

Of Quattlebum in middle air

Performing strange drill-service!

Doomed like Assyria's lord of old,

Who fell before the Jewess,

Or sad Abimelech, to sigh,

"Alas! a woman slew us!"

Thou saw'st beneath a fair disguise

The danger darkly lurking,

And maiden bodice dreaded more

Than warrior's steel-wrought jerkin.

How keen to scent the hidden plot!

How prompt wert thou to balk it,

With patriot zeal and pedler thrift,

For country and for pocket!

Thy likeness here is doubtless well,

But higher honor's due it;

On auction-block and negro-jail

Admiring eyes should view it.

Or, hung aloft, it well might grace

The nation's senate-chamber--

A greedy Northern bottle-fly

Preserved in Slavery's amber!


Lines From A Letter To A Young Clerical Friend Little Brown Baby facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail