« ZurückWeiter »
Than with cusses that load an' don't darst dror a
trigger ; They 're the wust wooden nutmegs the Yankees
perdooce, Shaky everywheres else, an' jes' sound on the
goose; They ain't wuth a cuss, an' I set nothin' by 'em, But we're in sech a fix thet I s'pose we mus' try
'em. I- But, Gennlemen, here 's a despatch jes' come
in Which shows thet the tide 's begun turnin' agin', Gret Cornfedrit success! C'lumbus eevacooated ! I mus' run down an' hev the thing properly stated, An' show wut a triumph it is, an' how lucky To fin'lly git red o’ thet cussed Kentucky, An' how, sence Fort Donelson, winnin' the day Consists in triumphantly gittin' away.
SPEECH OF HONOURABLE PRESERVED DOE
IN SECRET CAUCUS
TO THE EDITORS OF THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY
JAALAM, 12th April, 1862. GENTLEMEN, — As I cannot but hope that the ultimate, if not speedy, success of the national arms is now sufficiently ascertained, sure as I am of the righteousness of our cause and its consequent claim on the blessing of God, (for I would not show a faith inferior to that of the Pagan his torian with his Facile evenit quod Dis cordi est,) it seems to me a suitable occasion to withdraw our minds a moment from the confusing din of battle to objects of peaceful and permanent interest. Let us not neglect the monuments of preterite history because what shall be history is so diligently making under our eyes. Cras ingens iterabimus æquor ; tomorrow will be time enough for that stormy sea ; to-day let me engage the attention of your readers with the Runick inscription to whose fortunate discovery I have heretofore alluded. Well may we say with the poet, Multa renascuntur quæ jam cecidere. And I would premise, that, although I can no longer resist the evidence of my own senses from the stone before me to the ante-Columbian discovery of this continent by the Northmen, gens inclytissima, as they are called in a Palermitan inscription, written fortunately in a less debatable character than that which I am about to decipher, yet I would by no means be understood as wishing to vilipend the merits of the great Genoese, whose name will never be forgotten so long as the inspiring strains of “Hail Columbia" shall continue to be heard. Though he must be stripped also of whatever praise may belong to the experiment of the egg, which I find proverbially attributed by Castilian authors to a certain Juanito or Jack, (perhaps an offshoot of our giant-killing mythus,) his name will still remain one of the most illustrious of modern times. But the impartial historian owes a duty likewise to obscure merit, and my solicitude to render a tardy justice is perhaps quickened by my having known those who, had their own field of labour been less secluded, might have found a readier acceptance with the reading publick. I could give an example, but I forbear: forsitan nostris ex ossibus oritur ultor.
Touching Runick inscriptions, I find that they may be classed under three general heads : 1°. Those which are understood by the Danish Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries, and Professor Rafn, their Secretary; 2°. Those which are comprehensible only by Mr. Rafn; and 3o. Those which neither the Society, Mr. Rafn, nor anybody else can be said in any definite sense to understand, and which accordingly offer peculiar temptations to enucleating sagacity. These last are naturally deemed the most valuable by intelligent antiquaries, and to this class the stone now in my possession fortunately belongs. Such give a picturesque variety to ancient events, because susceptible oftentimes of as many interpretations as there are individual archæologists; and since facts are only the pulp in which the Idea or event-seed is softly imbedded till it ripen, it is of little consequence what colour or flavour we attribute to them, provided it be agreeable. Availing myself of the obliging assistance of Mr. Arphaxad Bowers, an ingenious photographick artist, whose house-onwheels has now stood for three years on our Meeting-House Green, with the somewhat contradictory inscription, our motto is onward,” I have sent accurate copies of my treasure to many learned men and societies, both native and European. I may hereafter communicate their different and (me judice) equally erroneous solutions. I solicit also, Messrs. Editors, your own acceptance of the copy herewith enclosed. I need only premise further, that the stone itself is a goodly block of metamorphick sandstone, and that the Runes resemble very nearly the ornithichnites or fossil bird-tracks of Dr. Hitchcock, but with less regularity or apparent design than is displayed by those remarkable geological monuments. These are rather the non bene junctarum discordia semina rerum. Resolved to leave no door open to cavil, I first of all attempted the elucidation of this remarkable example of lithick literature by the ordinary modes, but with no adequate return for my labour. I then considered myself amply justified in resorting to that heroick treatment the felicity of which, as applied by the great Bentley to Milton, had long ago enlisted my admiration. Indeed, I had already made up my mind, that, in case good fortune should throw any such invaluable record in my way, I would proceed with it in the following simple and satisfactory method. After a cursory examination, merely sufficing for an approximative estimate of its length, I would write down a hypothetical inscription based upon antecedent probabilities, and then proceed to extract from the characters engraven on the stone a meaning as nearly as possible conformed to this a priori product of my own ingenuity. The result more than justified my hopes, inasmuch as the two inscriptions were made without any great violence to tally in all essential particulars. I then proceeded, not without some anxiety, to my second test, which was, to read the Runick letters diagonally, and again with the same success.
With an excitement pardonable under the circumstances, yet tempered with thankful humility, I now applied my last and severest trial, my experimentum crucis. I turned the stone, now doubly precious in my eyes, with scrupulous exactness upside down. The physical exertion so far displaced my spectacles as to derange for a moment the focus of vision. I confess that it was with some tremulousness that I readjusted them upon my nose, and prepared my mind to bear with calmness any disappointment that might ensue. But, О albo dies notanda lapillo! what was my delight to find that the change of position had effected none in the sense of the writing, even by so much as a single letter! I was now, and justly, as I think, satisfied of the conscientious exactness of my interpretation. It is as follows:
FIRST DRANK CLOUD-BROTHER
that is, drew smoke through a reed stem. In other words, we have here a record of the first smoking of the herb Nicotiana Tabacum by an European on this continent. The probable results of this discovery are so vast as to bafile conjecture. If it be