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whose hands were taught from infancy to fly open to every generous and charitable appeal, and whose minds were inured to all self-respect and toleration, and whose strong brains were sudden death to humbuggery, all the isms, and the whole family of mean and pestilential fanaticism.
The Negroes.-There is also a great change at hand for the negro. Who that knew him as a contented, well-treated slave, did not learn to love and admire the negro character? I, for one, confess to almost an enthusiasm on the subject. The cheerful ring of their songs at their daily tasks, their love for their masters and their families, their politeness and good manners, their easily bought but sincere gratitude, their deep-seated aristocracy-for your genuine negro was a terrible aristocrat,—their pride in their own and their master's dignity, together with their overflowing and never-failing animal spirits, both during hours of labor and leisure, altogether, made up an aggregation of joyous simplicity and fidelity-when not perverted by harsh treatment that to me was irresistible!
A remembrance of the seasons spent among them will perish only with life. From the time of the ingathering of the crops, until after the ushering in of the new year, was wont to be with them a season of greater joy and festivity than with any other people on earth, of whom it has been my lot to hear. In the glorious November nights of our beneficent clime, after the first frosts had given a bracing sharpness and a ringing clearness to the air, and lent that transparent blue to the heavens through which the stars gleam like globes of sapphire, when I have seen a hundred or more of them around the swelling piles of corn, and heard their tuneful voices ringing with the chorus of some wild refrain, I have thought I would rather far listen to them than to any music ever sung to mortal ears; for it
was the outpouring of the hearts of happy and contented men, rejoicing over the abundance which rewarded the labor of the closing year! And the listening, too, has many a time and oft filled my bosom with emotions, and opened my heart with charity and love toward this subject and dependent race, such as no oratory, no rhetoric or minstrelsy in all this wide earth could impart!
Nature ceased almost to feel fatigue in the joyous scenes which followed. The fiddle and the banjo, animated as it would seem like living things, literally knew no rest, night or day; while Terpichore covered her face in absolute despair in the presence of that famous double-shuffle with which the long nights and "master's shoes" were worn away together!
Who can forget the cook by whom his youthful appetite was fed? The fussy, consequential old lady to whom I now refer, has often, during my vagrant inroads into her rightful domains, boxed my infant jaws, with an imperious, "Bress de Lord, git out of de way: dat chile never kin git enuff": and as often relenting at sight of my hungry tears, has fairly bribed me into her love again with the very choicest bits of the savory messes of her art. She was haughty as Juno, and aristocratic as though her naked ancestors had come over with the Conqueror, or "drawn a good bow at Hastings," and yet her pride invariably melted at the sight of certain surreptitious quantities of tobacco, with which I made my court to this high priestess of the region sacred to the stomach.
And there, too, plainest of all, I can see the fat and chubby form of my dear old nurse, whose encircling arms of love fondled and supported me from the time whereof the memory of this man runneth not to the contrary. All the strong love of her simple and faithful nature seemed bestowed on
her mistress' children, which she was not permitted to give to her own, long, long ago left behind and dead in "ole Varginney." Oh! the wonderful and touching stories of them, and a hundred other things, which she has poured into my infant ears! How well do I remember the marvellous story of the manner in which she obtained religion, of her many and sore conflicts with the powers of darkness, and of her first dawning hopes in that blessed gospel whose richest glory is, that it is preached to the poor, such as she was! From her lips, too, I heard my first ghost-story! Think of that! None of your feeble make-believes of a ghost-story either, carrying infidelity on its face; but a real bona-fide narrative, witnessed by herself, and told with the earnestness of truth itself. How my knees smote together, and my hair stood on end, "so called "—as I stared and startled, and declared again and again with quite a sickly manhood indeed, that I wasn't scared a bit!
Perhaps the proudest day of my boyhood was when I was able to present her with a large and flaming red cotton handkerchief, wherewith in turban style she adorned her head. And my satisfaction was complete when my profound erudition enabled me to read for her on Sabbath afternoons that most wonderful of all stories, the Pilgrim's Progress. Nor was it uninstructive, or a slight tribute to the genius of the immortal tinker-could I but have appreciated it-to observe the varied emotions excited within her breast by the recital of those fearful conflicts by the way, and of the unspeakable glories of the celestial City, within whose portals of pearl I trust her faithful soul has long since entered!
Hymns to the Gods.
Prose Sketches and Poems.
ALBERT PIKE was born in Boston, but second year made his home in the South. at Harvard and taught for a while; in Arkansas, walking, it is said, five hundred miles of the way, as his horse had run away in a storm.
after his twentyHe was a student 1831, he went to
He became an editor and then a lawyer, cultivating letters at the same time, and wrote the "Hymns to the Gods." He served in the Mexican and Civil War with rank in the latter of Brigadier-General in the Confederate army. He afterwards made his home in Washington City, where he at first practised his profession, but later gave his attention mostly to literature and Freemasonry.
Reports of Cases in the Supreme Court of Arkansas.
Works on Freemasonry.
Nugae, (including Hymns to the Gods).
The following poem is one of the best on that wonderfui bird whose song almost all Southern poets have celebrated. It has a classic ring and reminds one of Keats' Odes on the Nightingale and on a Grecian Urn.
TO THE MOCKING-BIRD.
Thou glorious mocker of the world! I hear
Thy many voices ringing through the glooms
And floods the heart. Over the spherèd tombs
Of vanished nations rolls thy music-tide;
No light from History's starlit page illumes
O'er me, perhaps, as now thy clear notes ring Over their bones by whom thou once wast deified.
Glad scorner of all cities! Thou dost leave
The world's mad turmoil and incessant din, Where none in other's honesty believe, Where the old sigh, the young turn gray
and grieve, Where misery gnaws the maiden's heart within: Thou fleest far into the dark green woods,
Where, with thy flood of music, thou canst win
No discord on thy melodies. Oh, where,
Ha! what a burst was that! The Eolian strain
Of glassy music under echoing trees,
I cannot love the man who doth not love,
As men love light, the song of happy birds; For the first visions that my boy-heart wove To fill its sleep with, were that I did rove
Through the fresh woods, what time the snowy herds Of morning clouds shrunk from the advancing sun
Into the depths of Heaven's blue heart, as words
And vanish in the human heart; and then
With noon-heat overwrought, the music-gush was done.