At An Extrumpery Caucus In State Street, Reported By Mr. H. Biglow
No? Hez he? He haint, though? Wut? Voted agin him?
Ef the bird of our country could ketch him, she’d skin him;
I seem ‘s though I see her, with wrath in each quill,
Like a chancery lawyer, afilin’ her bill,
An’ grindin’ her talents ez sharp ez all nater,
To pounce like a writ on the back o’ the traitor.
Forgive me, my friends, ef I seem to be het,
But a crisis like this must with vigor be met;
Wen an Arnold the star-spangled banner bestains,
Holl Fourth o’ Julys seem to bile in my veins.
Who ever’d ha’ thought sech a pisonous rig
Would be run by a chap thet wuz chose fer a Wig?
‘We knowed wut his princerples wuz ‘fore we sent him’?
Wut wuz there in them from this vote to prevent him?
A marciful Providunce fashioned us holler
O’ purpose thet we might our princerples swaller;
It can hold any quantity on ’em, the belly can,
An’ bring ’em up ready fer use like the pelican,
Or more like the kangaroo, who (wich is stranger)
Puts her family into her pouch wen there’s danger.
Aint princerple precious? then, who’s goin’ to use it
Wen there’s resk o’ some chap’s gittin’ up to abuse it?
I can’t tell the wy on ‘t, but nothin’ is so sure
Ez thet princerple kind o’ gits spiled by exposure;
A man that lets all sorts o’ folks git a sight on ‘t
Ough’ to hev it all took right away, every mite on ‘t;
Ef he cant keep it all to himself wen it’s wise to,
He aint one it’s fit to trust nothin’ so nice to.
Besides, ther’s a wonderful power in latitude
To shift a man’s morril relations an’ attitude;
Some flossifers think thet a fakkilty’s granted
The minnit it’s proved to be thoroughly wanted,
Thet a change o’ demand makes a change o’ condition,
An’ thet everythin’ ‘s nothin’ except by position;
Ez, for instance, thet rubber-trees fust begun bearin’
Wen p’litikle conshunces come into wearin’,
Thet the fears of a monkey, whose holt chanced to fail,
Drawed the vertibry out to a prehensile tail;
So, wen one’s chose to Congriss, ez soon ez he’s in it,
A collar grows right round his neck in a minnit,
An’ sartin it is thet a man cannot be strict
In bein’ himself, when he gits to the Deestrict,
Fer a coat thet sets wal here in ole Massachusetts,
Wen it gits on to Washinton, somehow askew sets.
Resolves, do you say, o’ the Springfield Convention?
Thet’s precisely the pint I was goin’ to mention;
Resolves air a thing we most gen’ally keep ill,
They’re a cheap kind o’ dust fer the eyes o’ the people;
A parcel o’ delligits jest git together
An’ chat fer a spell o’ the crops an’ the weather,
Then, comin’ to order, they squabble awile
An’ let off the speeches they’re ferful’ll spile;
Then–Resolve,–Thet we wunt hev an inch o’ slave territory;
Thet President Polk’s holl perceedins air very tory;
Thet the war is a damned war, an’ them thet enlist in it
Should hev a cravat with a dreffle tight twist in it;
Thet the war is a war fer the spreadin’ o’ slavery;
Thet our army desarves our best thanks fer their bravery;
Thet we’re the original friends o’ the nation,
All the rest air a paltry an’ base fabrication;
Thet we highly respect Messrs. A, B, an’ C,
An’ ez deeply despise Messrs. E, F, an’ G.
In this way they go to the eend o’ the chapter,
An’ then they bust out in a kind of a raptur
About their own vartoo, an’ folks’s stone-blindness
To the men thet ‘ould actilly do ’em a kindness,–
The American eagle,–the Pilgrims thet landed,–
Till on ole Plymouth Rock they git finally stranded.
Wal, the people they listen an’ say, ‘Thet’s the ticket;
Ez fer Mexico, ‘taint no great glory to lick it,
But ‘twould be a darned shame to go pullin’ o’ triggers
To extend the aree of abusin’ the niggers.’
So they march in percession, an’ git up hooraws,
An’ tramp thru the mud far the good o’ the cause,
An’ think they’re a kind o’ fulfillin’ the prophecies,
Wen they’re on’y jest changin’ the holders of offices;
Ware A sot afore, B is comf’tably seated,
One humbug’s victor’ous an’ t’ other defeated,
Each honnable doughface gits jest wut he axes,
An’ the people,–their annooal soft-sodder an’ taxes.
Now, to keep unimpaired all these glorious feeturs
Thet characterize morril an’ reasonin’ creeturs,
Thet give every paytriot all he can cram,
Thet oust the untrustworthy Presidunt Flam,
An’ stick honest Presidunt Sham in his place,
To the manifest gain o’ the holl human race,
An’ to some indervidgewals on ‘t in partickler,
Who love Public Opinion an’ know how to tickle her,–
I say thet a party with gret aims like these
Must stick jest ez close ez a hive full o’ bees.
I’m willin’ a man should go tollable strong
Agin wrong in the abstract, fer thet kind o’ wrong
Is ollers unpop’lar an’ never gits pitied,
Because it’s a crime no one never committed;
But he mus’n’t be hard on partickler sins,
Coz then he’ll be kickin’ the people’s own shins;
On’y look at the Demmercrats, see wut they’ve done
Jest simply by stickin’ together like fun;
They’ve sucked us right into a mis’able war
Thet no one on airth aint responsible for;
They’ve run us a hundred cool millions in debt
(An’ fer Demmercrat Horners there’s good plums left yet);
They talk agin tayriffs, but act fer a high one,
An’ so coax all parties to build up their Zion;
To the people they’re ollers ez slick ez molasses,
An’ butter their bread on both sides with The Masses,
Half o’ whom they’ve persuaded, by way of a joke,
Thet Washinton’s mantlepiece fell upon Polk.
Now all o’ these blessin’s the Wigs might enjoy,
Ef they’d gumption enough the right means to imploy;
Fer the silver spoon born in Dermoc’acy’s mouth
Is a kind of a scringe thet they hev to the South;
Their masters can cuss ’em an’ kick ’em an’ wale ’em.
An’ they notice it less ‘an the ass did to Balaam;
In this way they screw into second-rate offices
Wich the slaveholder thinks ‘ould substract too much off his ease;
The file-leaders, I mean, du, fer they, by their wiles,
Unlike the old viper, grow fat on their files.
Wal, the Wigs hev been tryin’ to grab all this prey frum ’em
An’ to hook this nice spoon o’ good fortin’ away frum ’em,
An’ they might ha’ succeeded, ez likely ez not,
In lickin’ the Demmercrats all round the lot,
Ef it warn’t thet, wile all faithful Wigs were their knees on,
Some stuffy old codger would holler out,–‘Treason!
You must keep a sharp eye on a dog thet hez bit you once,
An’ _I_ aint agoin’ to cheat my constitoounts,’–
Wen every fool knows thet a man represents
Not the fellers thet sent him, but them on the fence,–
Impartially ready to jump either side
An’ make the fust use of a turn o’ the tide,–
The waiters on Providunce here in the city,
Who compose wut they call a State Centerl Committy,
Constitoounts air hendy to help a man in,
But arterwards don’t weigh the heft of a pin,
Wy, the people can’t all live on Uncle Sam’s pus,
So they’ve nothin’ to du with ‘t fer better or wus;
It’s the folks thet air kind o’ brought up to depend on ‘t
Thet hev any consarn in ‘t, an’ thet is the end on ‘t.
Now here wuz New England ahevin’ the honor
Of a chance at the Speakership showered upon her;–
Do you say, ‘She don’t want no more Speakers, but fewer;
She’s hed plenty o’ them, wut she wants is a _doer’_?
Fer the matter o’ thet, it’s notorous in town
Thet her own representatives du her quite brown.
But thet’s nothin’ to du with it; wut right hed Palfrey
To mix himself up with fanatical small fry?
Warn’t we gittin’ on prime with our hot an’ cold blowin’,
Acondemnin’ the war wilst we kep’ it agoin’?
We’d assumed with gret skill a commandin’ position.
On this side or thet, no one couldn’t tell wich one,
So, wutever side wipped, we’d a chance at the plunder
An’ could sue fer infringin’ our paytented thunder;
We were ready to vote fer whoever wuz eligible,
Ef on all pints at issoo he’d stay unintelligible.
Wal, sposin’ we hed to gulp down our perfessions.
We were ready to come out next mornin’ with fresh ones;
Besides, ef we did, ’twas our business alone,
Fer couldn’t we du wut we would with our own?
An’ ef a man can, wen pervisions hev riz so,
Eat up his own words, it’s a marcy it is so.
Wy, these chaps frum the North, with back-bones to ’em, darn ’em,
‘Ould be wuth more ‘an Gennle Tom Thumb is to Barnum:
Ther’s enough thet to office on this very plan grow,
By exhibitin’ how very small a man can grow;
But an M.C. frum here ollers hastens to state he
Belongs to the order called invertebraty,
Wence some gret filologists judge primy fashy
Thet M.C. is M.T. by paronomashy;
An’ these few exceptions air _loosus naytury_
Folks ‘ould put down their quarters to stare at, like fury.
It’s no use to open the door o’ success,
Ef a member can bolt so fer nothin’ or less;
Wy, all o’ them grand constitootional pillers
Our fore-fathers fetched with ’em over the billers,
Them pillers the people so soundly hev slep’ on,
Wile to slav’ry, invasion, an’ debt they were swep’ on,
Wile our Destiny higher an’ higher kep’ mountin’
(Though I guess folks’ll stare wen she hends her account in),
Ef members in this way go kickin’ agin ’em,
They wunt hev so much ez a feather left in ’em.
An’, ez fer this Palfrey, we thought wen we’d gut him in,
He’d go kindly in wutever harness we put him in;
Supposin’ we _did_ know thet he wuz a peace man?
Does he think he can be Uncle Sammle’s policeman,
An’ wen Sam gits tipsy an’ kicks up a riot,
Lead him off to the lockup to snooze till he’s quiet?
Wy, the war is a war thet true paytriots can bear, ef
It leads to the fat promised land of a tayriff;
_We_ don’t go an’ fight it, nor aint to be driv on,
Nor Demmercrats nuther, thet hev wut to live on;
Ef it aint jest the thing thet’s well pleasin’ to God,
It makes us thought highly on elsewhere abroad;
The Rooshian black eagle looks blue in his eerie
An’ shakes both his heads wen he hears o’ Monteery;
In the Tower Victory sets, all of a fluster,
An’ reads, with locked doors, how we won Cherry Buster;
An’ old Philip Lewis–thet come an’ kep’ school here
Fer the mere sake o’ scorin his ryalist ruler
On the tenderest part of our kings _in futuro_–
Hides his crown underneath an old shut in his bureau,
Breaks off in his brags to a suckle o’ merry kings,
How he often hed hided young native Amerrikins,
An’ turnin’ quite faint in the midst of his fooleries,
Sneaks down stairs to bolt the front door o’ the Tooleries.
You say, ‘We’d ha’ seared ’em by growin’ in peace,
A plaguy sight more then by bobberies like these’?
Who is it dares say thet our naytional eagle
Won’t much longer be classed with the birds thet air regal,
Coz theirn be hooked beaks, an’ she, arter this slaughter,
‘ll bring back a bill ten times longer ‘n she’d ough’ to?
Wut’s your name? Come, I see ye, you up-country feller,
You’ve put me out severil times with your beller;
Out with it! Wut? Biglow? I say nothin’ furder,
Thet feller would like nothin’ better ‘n a murder;
He’s a traiter, blasphemer, an’ wut ruther worse is,
He puts all his ath’ism in dreffle bad verses;
Socity aint safe till sech monsters air out on it,
Refer to the Post, ef you hev the least doubt on it;
Wy, he goes agin war, agin indirect taxes,
Agin sellin’ wild lands ‘cept to settlers with axes,
Agin holdin’ o’ slaves, though he knows it’s the corner
Our libbaty rests on, the mis’able scorner!
In short, he would wholly upset with his ravages
All thet keeps us above the brute critters an’ savages,
An’ pitch into all kinds o’ briles an’ confusions
The holl of our civerlized, free institutions;
He writes fer thet ruther unsafe print, the Courier,
An’ likely ez not hez a squintin’ to Foorier;
I’ll be—-, thet is, I mean I’ll be blest,
Ef I hark to a word frum so noted a pest;
I sha’nt talk with _him_, my religion’s too fervent.
Good mornin’, my friends, I’m your most humble servant.
(James Russell Lowell)
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