Monday, April 24, 2017

Hudson on Weaver

Another danger is, or was, that he might become the esoteric possession of a few, a group of self-styled "Melvilleans," who would exchange cryptic passwords from their first editions and resent intrusion of the vulgar. Worst of all, Melville might become just another American author, another photogravure to put up beside Bryant and Longfellow, every hair of his beard numbered, every fault forgotten, every platitude quoted. Mr. Weaver's book insures a different future for Herman Melville. Given this biography and Melville's works, we have the man, vigorous, observant, eloquent, but torn by unending speculations, baffled by sad defeats. To him all those will turn who love the tingle and tang of life yet who do not fear to think.
--Hoyt H. Hudson, "God's Plenty About Melville" in The Nation, January 4, 1922

Jim A. Kuypers pays a marvelous tribute to Hoyt H. Hudson as "An Ignored Giant" in the Summer 2003 issue of ACJ, the American Communication Journal.
Speech was a humane study for Hudson, not scientific. He made the argument for the centrality and importance of rhetoric at the heart of a liberal arts education--rhetoric was not to devolve into a specialized type of training. As Hudson’s essays demonstrate, rhetoric, not techniques for studying oral language, was at the heart of the new profession. Although Hudson is all but ignored today, his work is crucial for understanding the development of rhetorical studies: it removed rhetoric from the realm of composition studies and literary criticism, forcefully argued for understanding rhetoric as an art, and made the case for rhetoric as an independent disciplinary study.  
--Meet Your Footnote: Hoyt Hopewell Hudson–An Ignored Giant

Friday, April 21, 2017

Another Melville reference by John W. Overall in the New Orleans Sunday Delta

Today's search on for Melville notices in newspapers added there within the past month yields another reference to Typee by Virginia-born journalist and poet John Wilford Overall. This Melville notice appears in Overall's regular "Paragraphs for the Times" column, as published in the New Orleans Sunday Delta on January 24, 1858. 

Found on
Nevertheless, the romantic reader should not yearn for Simla, like the infatuated youth who fell in love with the Marquesas Islands, and went thither to find Melville's beautiful Typee Fayaway, with her liquid eyes, streaming locks, and girdle and robe of colored tappa, standing in the tabooed boat in the lake of the "Happy Valley." Paradises of the Simla and Typee order give not heart-happiness. Somebody said—we believe it was Wordsworth—that
"Heaven lies about us in our infancy."  
True enough; only it continues as long as humanity will permit it to lie about us. Heaven is within us, around us and above us, if we will have it so. That is all. 
--John W. Overall, "Paragraphs for the Times" in The Sunday Delta, January 24, 1858
Related posts

Dunder and Blixen, 1825

"A Visit from St. Nicholas" appeared on December 31, 1825 in the Berks and Schuylkill Journal [Reading, Pennsylvania], reprinted from the Troy Sentinel but giving "Blixen" where the 1823 Sentinel version read "Blixem."
Berks and Schuylkill Journal [Reading, PA]
December 31, 1825
The reading "Blixen" also appears in David McClure's reprinting of "Visit" in the United States National Almanac (Philadelphia, 1825). In December 1825 the Charleston Mercury likewise printed "Blixen," and the Mercury version with "Blixen" was copied by numerous other newspapers including the Washington National Intelligencer (January 2, 1826). Some version of "Christmas Times" with "nested" for "nestled" supplied the copy-text for the February 1826 reprinting in the Philadelphia Casket.

Washington [D. C.] National Intelligencer
January 2, 1826
Crediting the Troy Sentinel, The Arkansas Gazette on December 25, 1827 printed "Dundor and Blixem." As Pat Pflieger observes at
"Many early reprints included the introduction written by the editor of the Troy Sentinel when it first published the poem in 1823. No reprint, however, reproduced the poem exactly as it was originally published."
Found on

Thursday, April 13, 2017

More great "toy books" for children

The Butterfly's Ball and The Peacock at Home inspired a wave of illustrated books for children. In various forms these popular English books were soon available in America, too. The shorter text of William Roscoe's "The Butterfly's Ball" was reprinted early and widely in American newspapers and magazines. For one early instance, "Butterfly's Ball, and the Grasshopper's Feast" was reprinted on February 4, 1807 in the New York Weekly Museum. Roscoe's poem appeared frequently thereafter, for example in the Albany Balance and Columbian Repository on February 24, 1807; and the New York Weekly Inspector for August 15, 1807. In March 1808, New York printer and publisher David Longworth issued the first number of The Substitute with "The Peacock at Home" and "The Butterfly's Ball."
In Annapolis, the Maryland Gazette reprinted "The Butterfly's Ball" on April 23, 1812:

All of the popular English "toy books" shown below, courtesy of the fabulous Internet Archive, were advertised for sale in America by 1813.

The Advertiser [Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania] - October 22, 1813
Flora's Gala:

Fishes Grand Gala, Part I:

Horses Levee:

The Butterfly's Ball and The Peacock at Home received extensive attention and praise in The British Critic for November 1807. The reviewer especially liked Peacock "as a specimen of playful wit conducted by genius, judgment, and taste." Soon enough, however, the same critic would lament the glut of imitations, satirized in The Congress of Crowned Heads.

Related post:

The mean side of Henry Noble MacCracken

Henry Noble MacCracken, c. 1940
Henry Noble MacCracken via Wikimedia Commons
Academia is no place for crybabies. Nevertheless, I can't remember reading anything so overtly cruel in academic prose (however informal) as Henry Noble MacCracken's mockery of Clement C. Moore in Blithe Dutchess. In print, the retired Vassar president goes way out of his way to criticize Moore for loving his wife too much. Then he jeers at Moore's lyrical expression of grief in the poem "To Southey," written after the deaths of Moore's wife and two children. Is hostility to Moore a rule at Vassar, mandated by the Code of Conduct or something?
Professor Moore begot nine children in eleven years (1815-1826), a somewhat uxorious rate, even in those years of large families. His wife died in 1830, and the Doctor bewailed her in lines of self-pity addressed to Robert Southey, his favorite poet.
"A strange relief the mourner's bosom knows
In clinging close and closer to its woes.
In unheard plaints it consolation finds,
And weeps and murmurs to the heedless winds."
It would have been instructive to learn whether Dr. Moore wrote this after listening to an alley cat, of the famous New York breed. No other animal is known to have a weeping bosom. --Henry Noble MacCracken, Blithe Dutchess, 388-389.
In the Dedication to A Tale of Paraguay, Southey recalls the death of his infant daughter. Moore addressed Southey not merely as "his favorite poet," but as a fellow mourner, one who knew firsthand the grief of losing a child. Moore's wife Eliza died in April 1830. Before that, his and Eliza's daughter Emily died in 1828 at the age of six. Another daughter named Charity, age 14, died in December of 1830. Moore grieves for all three in his lines "To Southey" that were "never sent to him," as the headnote explains. MacCracken chose not to quote the most vivid illustration in "To Southey" of very human heartache:
I saw my wife, then, to the grave descend,
Beloved of my heart, my bosom friend.
So interwoven were our joys, our pains
That, as I weeping followed her remains,
I thought to tell her of the mournful scene—
I could not realize the gulph between. --To Southey
Equally mean, or maybe meaner in its Orwellian attempt to rewrite a man out of documented history, is the scrubbing of Clement C. Moore's name from the story of Lorenzo Da Ponte in New York City.
"Lacking a patron, he had at last sought refuge in New York, where Gulian Verplanck befriended him..."
"Da Ponte initiated Italian studies in America, for the self-appointed ambassador to the American people had added a library and a school to his grandiose plans for an endowed Italian opera in New York. Gulian Verplanck secured a post for him at Columbia."
"... the protegé of Gulian Verplanck...." --Blithe Dutchess, 113.
Everybody else credits Clement C. Moore as the earliest New York patron of Lorenzo Da Ponte. Everybody, including Da Ponte. In his memoirs, Da Ponte himself calls Clement Moore "my guardian angel."
"I went to pay my first call on Mr. Charles [sic] Clement Moore, as the person who held (and he will always hold) the first place among my pupils and benefactors...."
--Memoirs by Lorenzo Da Ponte
Much later in his autobiography, Da Ponte remembers also his former boarding student Congressman "Julian" Verplanck with gratitude for arranging the sale of some expensive Italian books to the Library of Congress. At Da Ponte's funeral his old pupils Moore and Verplanck both served as pall-bearers. But the name of Moore comes first in every version but MacCracken's.

Ex-President MacCracken alludes knowingly to Da Ponte's memoir, but fails to mention the effusive praise therein for Clement C. Moore:
Pray allow me, Mr. Clement Moore, to adorn this part of my Memoirs with your dear and respected name! Pray allow my grateful heart, mindful of the honor, the graciousness, the kindness, received of you, and your never interrupted favor, and mindful no less, of the advantages and the glory shed by that same favor upon the sublimest geniuses of Italy, upon Italy herself and upon me—pray allow me, I say, to seize this occasion to make a public testimonial of my proper gratitude, and solemnly protest that if the language of Italy, if her noblest authors, are known and loved in New York not only, but in the most cultured cities of america, if, finally, I am enabled to make the glorious boast of having, I alone, introduced them, I alone, spread their fame, their practice, their light in America, the principal merit belongs to you...." Memoirs - Lorenzo Da Ponte
In 1940, Columbia librarian Milton Halsey Thomas recalled that Da Ponte's professorship in Italian came "largely through Moore's influence." In 1958, MacCracken's revised history in Blithe Dutchess blithely erased Moore and replaced him with Verplanck. The alteration does not read like a careless mistake, or oversight--which is too bad.

Fortunately, correctives are easy to find. One good one is by the late Jack Beeson, distinguished Professor of Music at Columbia. Professor Beeson's chapter in Living Legacies at Columbia properly acknowledges the early role of Clement C. Moore in promoting Lorenzo Da Ponte:
A chance meeting in a bookstore with the recent Columbia College alumnus Clement Clarke Moore led to private teaching and to meeting Moore's father, Benjamin, who was Bishop of the Anglican Church. (Benjamin was also President of Columbia College, and his son was a Columbia Trustee.)....

At the suggestion of the younger Moore, he returned to New York City and opened a bookstore and a rooming house, both frequented by Columbia College students, who savored the sophisticated talk about the arts, the Mozart years, and the Italian cooking. It was not long before Moore, by that time the author of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," suggested a professorship in Italian, and Da Ponte was forthwith appointed.
Professor Beeson's fine biographical essay on Da Ponte, MacDowell, [Douglas] Moore, and Lang is also available online via the Columbia Magazine - Living Legacies series.

Later: Another victim of MacCracken's revisionism in Blithe Dutchess is Frances Laight Cottenet, whom Lorenzo Da Ponte affectionately honored as
"without doubt the brightest jewel in my Tuscan crown."
--Memoirs of Lorenzo Da Ponte
As Da Ponte explains, his "Tuscan crown" refers to "my New York pupils." Da Ponte means New York City pupils, not the Livingston daughters he lectured one fine summer and left behind in Staatsburg. MacCracken coolly cuts the exceptionally gifted Mrs. Cottenet out of Da Ponte's narrative and replaces her with Cornelia Livingston.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Butterfly's Ball, Peacock at Home, Lion's Masquerade

"... some lines, describing a visit from St. Nicholas, which I wrote many years ago, I think somewhere between 1823 and 1824, not for publication, but to amuse my children." --Clement C. Moore
When Clement C. Moore turned St. Nicholas into a jolly old fairy for the entertainment of his children, the best nineteenth-century models for what Hartley Coleridge called "the "true spirit of Faery poesy" were children's books by William Roscoe and Catherine Ann Turner Dorset. Drayton's Nymphidia influenced the naming of Santa's reindeer, as Ruth K. MacDonald shows, but Roscoe and Dorset were the real Dr. Seusses of Moore's day.
"Then the Grasshopper came with a Jerk and a Spring...."

A very popular and anonymous set of nursery volumes was started into being by William Roscoe in 1806. The first was The Butterfly's Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast, which he wrote for the amusement of his son, Robert. By some occult means it attracted the attention of the King and Queen, by whose order it was set to music by Sir George Smart for the Princess Mary. Its first appearance in print was in the November, 1806, number of the Gentleman's Magazine, and it was published separately in the following January, the text and pictures being engraved together on copper plates. A crowd of imitators at once buzzed into life. The first that came out was The Peacock at Home, written by a Lady, and Illustrated with Elegant Engravings, which are usually attributed to Mulready. The next of them, The Lion's Masquerade, was also "by a lady," and it again was "illustrated with elegant engravings," by the same hand. The authorship of the last two was soon assigned to Mrs. Dorset, a younger sister of the unhappy Charlotte Smith, and the Peacock at Home has often been reprinted with and without her name. The Lion's Masquerade had a companion in The Lioness's Rout, also by Mrs. Dorset, and Roscoe followed up his Butterfly's Ball with another little work, The Butterfly's Birthday, 1809.
The Butterfly's Funeral is said to have been written by Beau Brummell. Three thousand copies of it are said to have been sold. A kindred piece, The Elephant's Ball and Grand Fete Champetre, 1807, bore the initials of an unknown W. B. and was also "illustrated with elegant engravings," by Mulready. Lastly may be mentioned, The Peacock and Parrot in their Tour to Discover the Author of the "Peacock at Home," which was written in 1807, but not published until 1816. Hartley Coleridge wrote of Roscoe's original production, The Butterfly's Ball, that it possessed " the true spirit of Faery poesy and reminds one of the best things in Herrick."  --The Secrets of our National Literature
"And, with hearts beating light as the plumage that grew
On their merry-thought bosoms, away they all flew...."

"And now at the door was a terrible clatter,
The beasts all about wonder'd what was the matter."

Happily the Internet Archive also has the 1807 companion piece by "W. B.," The Elephant's Ball:

Related post:

Commonplace rhymes in A Burlesque Translation of Homer by Thomas Bridges, and elsewhere

It's hard to find hoofs on roofs outside of Clement C. Moore and the Coen brothers.

Except for a magical few involving reindeer and old St. Nick, the rhymes in Clement C. Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas" aka "The Night Before Christmas" are commonplace; a dozen of them occur in the first volume of A Burlesque Translation of Homer by Thomas Bridges. Possibly the bawdy verse influenced Moore, if he ever read it. Otherwise rhymes so ordinary as belly/jelly; clatter/matter; and elf/myself are merely coincidental, with no bearing on authorship. Bridges died in 1775, forty-eight years before "A Visit from St. Nicholas" was first published in the Troy Sentinel on December 23, 1823.

Examples below are from A Burlesque Translation of Homer - Volume 1 by Thomas Bridges, with links to the digitized Princeton volume in the Hathi Trust Digital Library.


And threw a stick, which bruis'd the belly
Of Farmer Amphius to a jelly
--Fifth Book - Vol. 1 page 225 
And treading on my back and belly,
Work all my ribs and guts to jelly.
--Fifth Book - Vol 1. page 244
And running through the sea full clatter
Popp'd up and cried, Zoons, what's the matter?
--First Book - Vo1. 1. page 38
Now therefore, without further clatter
Pray go and tell him all the matter.
--Third Book - Vol. 1 page 107
Nor shall the red nos'd surly elf
Drub me with arms I made myself:
--Third Book - Vol. 1 page 107
Because he found the prating elf
Could chatter faster than himself
--Second Book - Argument - page 56
Anchises, like a cunning elf,
Brought mares to cover for himself
--Fifth Book - Vol. 1 page 202
That did you hear each prating elf
I'm pretty sure you'd hang yourself
--Sixth Book - Vol. 1 page 293
Whilst she was naked he fell to work
And got these younkers at a jerk
--Sixth Book Vol. 1 page 250
 For usage of "with a jerk":
Have ply'd their broomsticks with a jerk,
And knocked folks down, just like Macquirk
--Sixth Book Vol. 1 page 293
When born, tho' smaller than a mouse
She'll quickly touch the top o' th' house
--Fourth Book - Vol. 1 page 175
What way he came they little care,
But jump'd for joy to find him there
--Fifth Book - Vol. 1 page 219
For every god had bed and bedding,
And a good house to put his head in.
--First Book - Vol. 1 page 55
But whilst I don my coat and cap,
Do you sit still, or take a nap
Sixth Book-Vol. 1 -page 279
Thus Phoebus from the Trojan wall
Reviv'd their courage one and all
--Fourth Book Vol. 1 page 180
She with the lad, and nurse, and all
Was got upon a pigstye wall
--Sixth Book Vol. 1 page 282
They mount; the nimble horses fly,
And in a twinkling reach the sky
--Fifth Book - Vol. 1 page 209
That came incumber'd with a pack,
To rest his load, and rub his back
--Fifth Book Vol. 1 page 220
But like a pedlar with his pack,
Lugg'd his great potlid on his back
--Sixth Book - Vol. 1 page 257
To strike the foe with still more dread,
She hung a lawyer's chuckle head
--Second Book - Vol. 1 page 94

The 1820 Tour of Doctor Syntax through London has bed/head and jelly/belly

 and matter/clatter

and house/mouse; and came/name; and around/bound; and fly/sky; and pack/back; and rose/nose; and sight/night.

William Combe's The Tour of Doctor Syntax: In Search of the Picturesque, a Poem repeatedly rhymes "elf" with "himself" and "yourself," for example:

But I must say, you silly elf,
You merit to be flogged yourself...
 Once Combe rhymes "elf" and "myself," as in Moore's "Visit":

When I read Falstaff to myself,
I laugh like any merry elf....
Also in Combe's 1812 Tour of Doctor Syntax: care/there; beds/heads; came/name; fly/sky; bound/around; and cap/nap.

Another, shorter poem that shares a cluster of commonplace rhymes with "The Night Before Christmas" is "The Force of Imagination / A Pindaric Tale." "Force of Imagination" was published in the Philadelphia Tickler for August 25, 1812, over the signature of "Pegasus."
And but this very morning while at work
He gave my liver a tremendous jerk...
Now all was ready as before was said;
Snug under lock and key the cobbler laid,
Still as a mouse
While solemn show of deep mysterious knowledge
Was made by every fellow of the college,
And all the house
Was nothing but a din and clatter
Waiting the upshot of the matter.  --Philadelphia Tickler, August 25, 1812
The Tickler - August 25, 1812
Found in the Historical Newspapers at Genealogy Bank