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I would, sweet bird, that I might live with thee,
Of human life until existence fades
The brilliance of thy heart; but I must wear,
Yet why complain? What though fond hopes deferred
To welcome me within my humble home;
Then why complain? When Death shall cast his blight
Beneath these trees; and, from thy swelling breast,
WILLIAM TAPPAN THOMPSON.
WILLIAM TAPPAN THOMPSON was a native of Ravenna, Ohio, the first white child born in the Western Reserve. He removed to Georgia in 1835, and became with Judge A. B. Longstreet editor of the "States Rights Sentinel" at Augusta. He was subsequently editor of several other papers, in one of which, the "Miscellany," appeared his famous humorous "Letters of Major Jones."
From 1845 to 1850 he lived in Baltimore, editor with Park Benjamin of the "Western Continent;" but he returned to
Georgia and established in Savannah the "Morning News" with which he was connected till his death.
He served in the Confederate cause as aide to Gov. Joseph E. Brown, and later as a volunteer in the ranks.
Major Jones's Courtship.
Major Jones's Chronicles of Pineville.
The Live Indian: a Farce.
John's Alive, and other Sketches, edited by his daughter.
Dramatized The Vicar of Wakefield,
The titles of these books describe their contents, and the following extract gives their style. The scenes are laid in Georgia; and even when Major Jones travels, he remains a Georgian still.
MAJOR JONES'S CHRISTMAS PRESENT TO MARY STALLINGS. (From Major Jones's Courtship.*)
They all agreed they would hang up a bag for me to put Miss Mary's Crismus present in, on the back porch; and about ten o'clock I told 'em good-evenin' and went home.
I sot up till midnight, and when they wos all gone to bed, I went softly into the back gate, and went up to the porch, and thar, shore enough, was a great big meal-bag hangin' to the jice. It was monstrous unhandy to git to it, but I was termined not to back out. So I sot some chairs on top of a bench, and got hold of the rope, and let myself down into the bag; but jist as I was gittin in, it swung agin the chairs, and down they went with a terrible racket; but nobody din't wake up but Miss Stallinses old cur dog, and here he come rippin and tearin through the yard like rath, and round and round he went, tryin to find out what was the matter. I scrooch'd down in the bag, and didn't breathe
* By permission of T. B. Peterson and Brothers, Philadelphia.
louder nor a kitten, for fear he'd find me out; and after a while he quit barkin.
The wind begun to blow bominable cold, and the old bag kept turnin round and swingin so it made me sea-sick as the mischief. I was afraid to move for fear the rope would break and let me fall, and thar I sot with my teeth rattlin like I had a ager. It seemed like it would never come daylight, and I do believe if I didn't love Miss Mary so powerful I would froze to death; for my heart was the only spot that felt warm, and it didn't beat more'n two licks a minit, only when I thought how she would be supprised in the mornin, and then it went in a canter. Bimeby the cussed old dog came up on the porch and begun to smell about the bag, and then he barked like he thought he'd treed something.
"Bow! wow! wow!" ses he. Then he'd smell agin, and try to git up to the bag. "Git out!" ses I, very low, for fear the galls mought hear me. "Bow! wow!" ses he. Begone! you bominable fool!" ses I, and I felt all over in spots, for I spected every minit he'd nip me, and what made it worse, I didn't know wharabouts he'd take hold. "Bow! wow! wow!" Then I tried coaxin-"Come here, good feller," ses I, and whistled a little to him, but it wasn't no use. Thar he stood, and kep up his everlastin barkin and whinin, all night. I couldn't tell when daylight was breakin, only by the chickens crowin, and I was monstrous glad to hear 'em, for if I'd had to stay thar one hour more, I don't believe I'd ever got out of that bag alive.
Old Miss Stallins come out fust, and as soon as she seed the bag, ses she: "What upon yeath has Joseph went and put in that bag for Mary? I'll lay it's a yearlin or some live animal, or Bruin wouldn't bark at it so."
She went in to call the galls, and I sot thar, shiverin all over so I couldn't hardly speak if I tried to,—but I didn't say nothin. Bimeby they all come runnin out on the porch.
"My goodness! what is it?" ses Miss Mary.
"Oh, it's alive!" ses Miss Kesiah. "I seed it move." "Call Cato, and make him cut the rope," ses Miss Carline, "and let's see what it is. Come here, Cato, and get this bag down."
"Don't hurt it for the world," ses Miss Mary.
Cato untied the rope that was round the jice, and let the bag down easy on the floor, and I tumbled out, all covered with corn-meal from head to foot.
"Goodness gracious!" ses Miss Mary, "if it ain't the Majer himself!"
"Yes," ses I, "and you know you promised to keep my Crismus present as long as you lived."
The galls laughed themselves almost to death, and went to brushin off the meal as fast as they could, sayin they was gwine to hang that bag up every Crismus till they got husbands too. Miss Mary-bless her bright eyes!—she blushed as beautiful as a mornin-glory, and sed she'd stick to her word. I do believe if I was froze stiff, one look at her sweet face, as she stood thar lookin down to the floor with her roguish eyes, and her bright curls fallin all over her snowy neck, would have fotched me to. I tell you what, it was worth hangin in a meal bag from one Crismus to another to feel as happy as I have ever sense.
JAMES BARRON HOPE.
JAMES BARRON HOPE was born near Norfolk, Virginia, educated at William and Mary College, and began the practice of law at Hampton. In 1857 he wrote the poem for the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the settle
ment of Jamestown, and in 1858 an Ode for the dedication of the Washington Monument at Richmond. He also wrote poems for the "Southern Literary Messenger," as Henry Ellen. In 1861 he entered the Confederate service and fought through the war as captain. Afterwards he settled in Norfolk to the practice of his profession. His best poems are considered to be "Arms and the Man,” and "Memorial Ode," the latter written for the laying of the corner-stone of the Lee Monument in Richmond, 1887, just before his death.
Leoni di Monota, [poems].
Under the Empire, [novel].
Arms and the Man, and other Poems.
THE VICTORY AT YORKTOWN.
(From Arms and the Man.*)
A Metrical Address recited on the one hundredth anniversary of the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, on invitation of the United States Congress, October 19, 1881.
Full-burnished through the long-revolving years
Runs peaceful furrows where a crop of Spears
And we, like those who on the Trojan plain
The battle-cry of Gods;
We now, this splendid scene before us spread
* By permission of Mrs. Jane Barron Hope Marr.