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When Treason, spawned by avarice and fraud,
Turn we from these sad scenes to contemplate
Did nature's hidden mysteries unroll,
Stemming the tide despite the opposing gale,
Along its course, without or oar, or sail,
Sublime proboscis! like the famous "tower
Of Lebanon, which towards Damascus looks,"
Thou art of wondrous beauty, strength and power.
These classic scenes o'er which, in dreams, I tread.
Thine annals, relic of a mightier race!
For, like the unfledged bird which strives to spring
To Heaven, and backward falls with wearied wing,
And baffled, downward droops when proudly it should soar.
E. B. O.
ORIGINAL OF THE NATIONAL MELODY, "YANKEE DOODLE."
BY PORSON JUNIOR.
[The interesting discovery of our learned correspondent, as disclosed in the following communication, will equally delight the patriot and surprise the scholar. We are pleased to see literary zcal directed to such important and useful researches; and the name of our erudite and ingenious friend will, no doubt, be added to the illustrious catalogue which contains the names of Annius of Viterbo, William Henry Ireland, and George Psalmanaazaar.]
To the United States Magazine and Democratic Review:
The experience of every year more fully discloses the wonderful treasures of Grecian literature, and the comparative poverty of modern geuius. Originality has long been extinct; the most celebrated literary productions of the present day consist of the wisdom and wit of antiquity, bedecked in the tinsel of modern languages. This age produces nothing which a little research may not find, already much better expressed in the golden pages of classic lore:
"Nil novum, nil quod non semel audisse, sufficiat."
It was remarked by Boileau, with equal wit and truth, that the ancients must, indeed, once have been moderns, though it is by no means equally certain that the moderns will ever be ancients.
All the writers in the modern tongues appears to have done little else than remodel the thoughts of a former age, and they not unfrequently palm off, as original, that which is directly translated from the more rare productions of antiquity. Lauder professed to have discovered the original Latin poem from which Milton translated his "Paradise Lost." It is little to the purpose to reply, that Lauder was an impostor; the moderns are not candid judges in the premises; and a generation who have regarded with distrust the antiquarian labors of a McPherson and Chatterton may, it is not unlikely, look with incredulity on the discovery about to be disclosed in this communication. So late as 1794, Joseph Vella could not convince his invidious contemporaries of the genuineness of his copy of the seventeen lost books of Livy, (though he actually published one book, consisting, to be sure, of but two pages, and those had unluckily been stolen by Florus, )—and not only was his ancient Arabic
History of Sicily suppressed, but he was imprisoned, as an impostor, for attempting to publish it!
That Shakspeare borrowed as largely as Milton, there can be no reasonable doubt; and notwithstanding the pretence that he was ignorant of Greek, yet I shrewdly suspect that if the lost plays of Euripides and Aristophanes should ever come to light, the originals of his best productions would be found among them.
When I consider these monstrous frauds, I am scarcely less skeptical with regard to modern erudition, than was Father Hardouin with regard to the ancients. He showed, with immense erudition, that except the Bible and Homer, Herodotus, Plautus, Pliny the Elder, with fragments of Cicero, Virgil, and Horace, all the pretended remains of antiquity are forgeries.
In matters of science, the moderns are but reviving the learning of the ancients; as I propose on some future occasion more fully to demonstrate. I shall, at present, adduce but one example. Phren ology is among the most recent of the pretended discoveries of modern times. It is the general belief that the foundations of this science were first laid by Dr. Gall. Now, one of the cardinal doctrines of Phrenology is the conexion between the passion of love and the occipital portion of the head. The discovery of this connexion is claimed for Dr. Gall; and no position in the philosophy of Phrenology is more strikingly true, or confirmed by more extensive observation. It will occasion a surprise, by no means agreeable, the admirers of the learned German, when I announce that among this interesting and cardinal truth in the science he founded was well known to the ancients, at least as far back as the era of Apollonius of Rhodes. The passage which proves this, is to be found in the Argonautics, and describes the effects of Medea's falling violently in love with Jason.
แ Δακρυ δ' απ' οφθαλμων ελεω ρεεν· ενδοθι δ' αιει
Τειρ' οδυνη σμυχουσα δια χροος, αμφι τ' αραιας
“ Ινας, και κεφαλης υπο νειατον ινιον αχρις,
“ Ενθ' αλεγεινότατον δυνει αχος, οπποτ'ανιας
Ακαμάτοι πραπιδεσσιν ενισκίμψωσιν Έρωτες.”
Or, literally, in English: "The tears flowed piteously from her eyes; and within, incessant distress, flushing her face, tormented her tender nerves, and her neck, deep within, where it joins the back part of the head-in which place the keenest pain is always felt, when invincible Love inflicts his pangs."
But to keep you no longer in suspense, I shall announce, without further preface, the immediate object of this communication, which is, to inform the world that I have discovered the GREEK ORIGINAL of our celebrated national ballad "YANKEE DOODLE!" In com
*Apoll. Rhod. Argonaut. Lib. III. vv. 761 et seq.; Ed. Brunck, Argentor. 1780, 8vo.
mon with the rest of the learned world, you will doubtless be curious to learn the history of this truly fortunate discovery. I had always been of the opinion that this sublime poem,-sublime when properly understood, but puerile in the extreme as usually recited,— was not the production of a modern age. Its Doric simplicity and Laconic brevity, its Attic wit and Ionian sweetness, all seemed to indicate that it emanated from a mind not debased by the effeminate associations of modern times. The conjecture has proved to be correct. Yankee Doodle is of classic origin. It was chaunted by the tuneful sons and daughters of Miletus, certainly in the days of Herodotus, and perhaps in those of Homer.
We are indebted for this precious relic to Athenæus, that learned Encyclopædist, who has transmitted to us so many other treasures of useful knowledge.
It has been said of the Institutes of Justiniam, that if all other Latin authors should become extinct, the classic language of Rome might be revived from that model of elegant composition. It may be said, with almost equal truth, that a complete knowledge of Grecian literature, philosophy, and art, might be derived from the Asvodoparai of Athenæus, were it not for the frequent and melancholy lacune which have been made in this wonderful work by the envious tooth of time.
The original of "Yankee Doodle," (or "Iankhe Doule," as I shall show it ought to be written, ) is contained in the fifteenth volume of Schweighaeuser's splendid edition of Athenæus, published in Greek and Latin, at Strasburgh, in 1807, pp. 1003, et seq. You will be gratified to learn how closely our popular American version adheres to the original, following even the evident false readings of some editions. I say American version, for I shall conclusively show, in the course of these remarks, that this relic has come down to us through some other channel than the literature of England.
But to postpone your curiosity no longer, I transcribe the original at once, according to the text as adopted by Schweighaeuser; from whose judgment, however, in one or two particulars regarding this poem, I shall in the course of my remarks be obliged to dissent.
'H TOY AOYAOY 'QAH.
Πατηρ κα'γω, συν λοχαγω, 1
Εις σταθμους ηλασαμεν,
Σιτου κορμος ψιλοειν,
'Αντιστροφη. Ιαγχε δουλε, ανδροειν! Ιαγχε δουλε,
How accurately the very spirit and language of the original have been preserved in the vernacular melody, will appear to the learned. by a critical comparison of the above with the following most correct and authentic text of the ode, as sung at the present day:
"Father an' I went down to camp,
Corn-stalks twist your hair,
Cart wheels surround ye,
Yankee Doodle, be a man!
The only word not properly found in the original is "Gooding,"
in the second line; an evident gloss which has crept into the text, or is introduced, ex necessitate, to rhyme with "pudding," a word of which may be said, almost as of the name of the town in Horace, "quod non est dicere versu." I think the words "Old Dragon," are substituted for some expression more pointed and direct in a more ancient copy; a change probably introduced by our forefathers, who were great admirers of this ode, but had a peculiar aversion to the direct use of the word which is most naturally suggested by Zaravãs. The last two lines of the antistrophe are surreptitious; they bear intrinsic marks of a later origin than the former parts of the poem, and as they are not contained in the original, little doubt can be entertained that they are the production of some scholiast who attempted to supply the hiatus valde deflendus in the text.
Time will not permit me to indulge in those reflections which are suggested by the discovery of this venerable fragment of antiquity. I trust, however, that public curiosity will be awakened, and will lead to further developements equally authentic and surprising. No department of literary labor promises a richer reward, or will more certainly secure the applause and benedictions of