Virginia Georgics, by Charles Carter Lee, Part II

Virginia Georgics,



AUGUST 6TH, 1858.



    In man’s allotted life how great the change!
Those live who knew our mountains’ sheets of range:
(I use the word range in the local sense,
Which means the growth of herbage, not the expanse:)
Oft have I heard a gray-haired mountaineer
Tell when through pea-vine he could track a deer,
And how clear were the streams when first he knew them.
And how far salmon trout he could see through them.
    But man came with his cow, the range grew worse.
Consumed by civilization’s four-legged nurse—
And wilderness and game fell further back,
As onward followed that portentous track,
Announcing as it went the axe’s sound,
And that of forests falling to the ground,
And of the limbs of those the elements pelt,
Erect in death from the axe-girdled belt.
    Thence, now no more the mountains wild and strange.
Around Burke’s Garden hang in sheets of range;
No more the broken pea-vine shows where ran
A doe along the meadows of the Dan;
And of their salmon treasures almost void
Are half the sparkling streams of beauteous Floyd.
    Yet full of blessings is the realm you far see,
Linking its mountain chains from Lee to Hardy;
Game still abounds, though not so plenteous now
As when their pastures never knew the cow,
And fish of crimson spots or silver scales
Enrich the rivers of the wooded vales,
And flocks and herds there feeding like the deer,
With a game flavour please the mountaineer.
And O, the milk and the potatoes there!
Well might the Frenchman call these pommes de terre,
For in perfection there, among the fruits
Of earth ’tis fitlier classed than with its roots.
But of all spots the shores of our great rivers
Were the most genial to the highest livers.
Besides all that the forest could supply,
There was the field, and there the river nigh—
Deer, partridges, wild turkies, hare and pheasant,
Fish of all sorts, and wild fowl—0, how pleasant!
The seine on every summer’s day would pour
The river’s glittering treasures on its shore,
And through the winter scarce a dinner lack,
The table’s richest treat, the canvass-back—
Though rivalled by the fish of shells, not fins,
Soft crabs, and O, salt-water terrapins!
Oysters, of course, for breakfast, dinner, supper,
Both cooked and raw, with vinegar and pepper.
    Now of all these the superabundance ’s gone,
And so, alas! of timber and of corn;
But for our losses more perhaps is gained,
The land is cleared, the government’s ordained—
And for the virgin treasures of the soil,
’Tis larded o’er with drops of glorious toil.
    O think, what precious dust Virginia owns!
More than all that of Europe’s crumbled thrones,
And Asia’s, and the kings who sat thereon!
It owns the dust of great George Washington,
And his co-labourers in peace and war,
Who set in Hope’s horizon a new star,
Nigh kin to that which led the wise of old
The Saviour in His manger to behold;
For this reveals to earth from its new zone,
More fully that for which the other shone—
The right of private judgment, of free thought
On all the revelation th’ other brought,
That every one should bear with every other,
And cherish, love, respect him as a brother.
If from the earth we’ve ravished her supplies,
We’ve brought to bless her, maxims from the skies;
And this fair realm to which we owe our duty,
Between the Atlantic wave and “River of Beauty,”
If not on earth the richest or the best,
Expands to temperate skies a generous breast,
Teeming within and glorious to behold,
And full of treasures precious as its gold.
“Make me another world,” (I say outright,)
“Of one entire and perfect crysolite,
I’ld not exchange her for it.” I have tried
Places where interest prompted to reside;
In the Empire City had a happy station,
And in the virgin wild of the Chickasaw Nation,
And thus tried both ends of our civilization:
The old world in New York the new one meets,
And their united pleasures crown her streets.
An Indian song says that “the Chickasaw Nation
Is far the finest place in the whole creation;”
And that “a great big wife and little plantation”
Make a paradise in the Chickasaw Nation.
But in both these extremes content did I miss,
And found it true in medio tutissimus ibis:
And after all, at least for us born in here,
The best of realms would be our own Virginia,
If for what all our ancestors have done
To make her of all lands the noblest one,
We who of their high toils such fruits have tasted,
Should to the soil restore what they have wasted.
    Some rules for this I heretofore have rhymed,
With the round world’s experience fully chimed;
With these neglected nothing else avails,
To serve to carry them out I now give some details.
    He farms his land the best, there ’s no doubt of it,
Who puts the most into, and gets most out of it,
And he the very worst, whose land receives
The least return for the amount it gives.
This truth engraved forever in the mind,
To act it out we must the methods find
Best suited to the climate and the soil,
And our resources as to cash and toil.
I’ll take a common case with very good fellows,
The case of lands and owners out at the elbows—
Half waiters upon Providence, looking about
For something to turn up ere they turn out.
    Reduce the area of your cultivation,
And add a * sixth field to the present rotation;
The pasture thus enlarged you can increase
The stock that gives the milk and yields the fleece,
And from the dairy’s buttery overflow
In greater numbers fatter pigs may grow;
And what is more important, all the while
You are adding to the fertilizing pile.
That is the magnum opus, the great task,
Stick but to that, the rest will come at last.
    The sixth field in the plan I’d now make known,
Comes after corn, at its last ploughing sown
Broad-cast in peas, of such as will keep sound
Throughout the winter on the naked ground;
There may be many such, and, may-be, finer
Than the old black pea of North Carolina—
A sister State indeed, old Rip Van Winkle,
Whose agricultural stars, like ours, twinkle—
Whose Aries, Taurus, and her Crab and Fishes,
Much as our own, fill her successive dishes.
If there be better than this black pea, sow it,
If not, sow this, ’twill answer well, I know it.
When the corn’s gathered, turn in all your stock,
The lowing herd, the swine, the fleecy flock,
And the hard-working team, on days of rest,
Would find them in this plenteous pasture blest;
The vines consumed, the larger stock remove,
But sheep and swine, long as they last will love,
When snows allow, and sunny hours please,
To nibble through the winter on the peas.
By this means the exhaustion from the corn
Is to the ground returned when winter ’s gone.
Then all the fertilizers you can rake,
And scrape, and purchase, to this same field take:
On the foulest part all from your stables throw,
For your tobacco, if the weed you grow,
If not, for spring root crops the pile bestow,
For carrots, mangel-wurzel, sugar beet,
To feed the stock that yields us wool and meat,
And food for the starved land, to cover over
Her naked hills with golden coats and clover,
The balance sow in oats—remove the best
Parts from the land, and on it feed the rest.
Where the keen scythe has swept the oats away,
Sow ruta-bagas—guano’d well, they’ll pay;
And on the stubble this crop does not cover,
Just run your sheep and cow-pens lightly over,
Littering well as you can, and thus repay
More than the crop of oats has taken away.
Then, in the fall, sow the whole field in wheat,
With guano, or without, as may be meet,
And ere the winter’s frost is fully over,
Sow liberally the whole in clean red clover.

Thus you will have two fields in wheat, and two
In clover, (one its clover to renew,
Turned in to feed the cereal sown thereon,
And one for pasture,) one in Indian corn,
Succeeding pasture, and the sixth, the field,
The life of all, the mighty crop to yield
And to receive, the staff of vegetation—
I name as in manure, in this rotation,
For all from last fall’s peas to this fall’s cereal
Was grown to increase the fertilizing material,
Directly strown on it, or to be ta’en
Away to be returned increased again.
    From this sixth field the farmer’s strength is known,
Here lies his secret, his philosopher’s stone.
Cleared by two spring crops coming in succession,
And then to wheat and clover given possession,
Few noxious weeds the harvest will infest,
And scarce a briar rankle in its breast,
But all its strength be employed to mantle over
Itself with golden grain and purple clover.
    Well here’s a start; and this revolved rotation
Will in due time restore the waste plantation;
The savage galls will yield to civil men,
And what is broom-straw now be clover then.
    But to this process greater speed to give,
To abridge the wretched space in debt to live,
Soonest to see that happiest morrow’s sun,
That which ne’er looks on an unwelcome dun,
There are great rules of great economy’s practice,
For leading maxims in the farmer’s tactics.
    Yes, great Economy! The Almighty One,
The Maker of the earth, and moon, and sun,
And all the stars, and all that all inherit,
Proclaims through all his works this virtue’s merit.
All things in his eternal scheme embraced,
Create and save without a drop of waste;
But man, poor perishable biggar boy,
Feels privileged to scatter and destroy.
Take care of the pence and all the pounds you’ll have,
No minute lose, the hours themselves will save—
Preserve the waste of kitchen, house and dairy,
Of ashes, soap-suds, wood-pile earth be chary;
From every garden weed its value draw,
Nor give to total loss one blade of straw,
And you’ll add much more than you think you are able
To the great treasures of the pen and stable.
    Deem you this a small business? Think what God
Does to preserve the wealth of every clod,
Of every thing that dies and springs up after,
Of every grain of sand and drop of water!
A single drop, the learned say, gives birth
To creatures more than there are men on earth,
And relatively in size, in this small house,
They differ more than elephant and mouse.
And for what are these little sentinels placed
In inconceivable numbers? To save waste,
To seize on every fugitive that passes
From organized existence to the gasses,
And press it in some shape new life to wear,
Instead of wandering wasted into air.
    If the great God in His great works delight
Agents to use too small for naked sight,
How stupid in poor little man to despise
Appointed means apparent to his eyes!
    God, who regards not things as large or as small,
Is wondrous alike in the infinite and infinitessmal;
But man, with mind so dark and strength so brittle,
Fails in great things because he spurns the little.
    Then recollect, in farming, all the schools
Teach nothing better than economy’s rules—
By these be guided in whate’er you do,
Manuring, cultivating, breeding too.
Waste no manure, your labour, save it all,
And breed such stocks as have the offal small.
Purchase no implement at fancy cost,
Nor those in working which there’s labour lost;
But make your money and your labour go
Far as they can to make your profits grow.
    On the Potomac doth a mansion * stand
Whose walls were built of brick from old England;
Eight chimneys formed two summer houses’ pillars,
From which were seen Potomac’s sea-like billows:
Tall Lombardy poplars in lengthened row,
Far o’er the woods a dwelling’s signal show,
A pillar of cloud by day to guide the stranger
To a generous board, and his horse to a good manger.
This was the old seat of the Lees, renowned
For what none else can boast of on the ground—
For being the birth place of two of the signers
Of the Declaration of Independence. Mine was
There too, a circumstance to others worthless,
But much to me, for I’m fond of my birth-place,
And glad the sun first greeted me on earth
Where the mover of Independence had his birth.
    I think there was a mile of solid wall,
Surrounding offices, garden, stables and all,
And on the eastern side of the garden one,
Pomegranates ripened in the morning sun;
And further off, yet sheltered by it, grew
Figs such as those Alcinous’ garden knew,
And owned, when they increased my childhood’s blisses,
By him who was called the American * Ulysses.
    Yet at the end of this long wall, where played
So often in the soft pomegranate’s shade
Phil, Tom, Dick, Henry, Francis Lightfoot Lee,
William and Arthur in their childhood’s glee,
Destined, at length, to be such famous men,
Was formed of the same structure, a pig pen,
Perhaps its best description is, ’twas one
End of the wall shaped to an octagon.
    There from the garden’s offal pigs were fed,
The weeds they would not eat composed their bed,
And pusley, wire-grass, hog-weed, cabbage-stalks,
And outside leaves and grass cleared from the walks,
Yea, allthe garden’s offal they would pour
Into that pen for food or for manure.
    I, at my Windsor, (how unlike the retreats,
At once the Monarch’s and the Muses’ seats,
Pope celebrated,) have by experiment that showed
To neighbours, what my childhood learned at Stratford,
That from the offal of the gardener’s work,
There may be made five hundred weight of pork,
And a good dressing, one time carried o’er
The garden, of the very best manure.
    In the old time old folks did not despise,
E’en if pound foolish to be penny wise;
And penny wisdom, as ’tis plain to see,
Makes the great income of economy.
’Tis this same wisdom the mechanics show
Who make the plough with least resistance go,
Who make the winnowing engines easiest turn,
And labour with least loss its profits earn.
    O, glorious race of the contriving brain,
And skillful hand to make contrivance gain
If Vulcan won from his forge divinity,
O, what must Watt and what must Fulton be!
What the inventors of our great horse powers,
Portable mills and threshers, reapers and mowers,
And the under-draining pipes and implements,
And the thousand things which that great brain invents?
Remember, all ye tillers of the soil,
That there is a great brotherhood of toil,—
Who by their mutual labours live and grow,
As I sung in my Clay song years ago.
    But the most precious thing that God bestows
On man, next to his life, is time, it flows
For all His perishable creatures to be
A measured stream from his eternity,
And in that, as improved or as neglected,
Comes all that is perverted or perfected.
    The great Napoleon, when his Marshals, tasked
Too highly as they thought, for more time asked
To make their vital movements in, replied—
Time is not mine to give—ask aught beside
Within this world, and you may hope to receive it—
But as for time, ’tis not for me to give it.
And the great cause of his triumphant race,
Was that at the right time, and proper place,
He had his forces properly displayed,
With proper tools all properly arrayed,
Directed properly to hit the joint
Of the whole grand campaign, the turning point.
It was by this that, save Britannia’s Isle,
All Europe bowed before him for awhile;
By this from the Old Pyramids he bore
Such laurels as Sesostris never wore—
Though Pharmeses the Great, the Egyptians called him,
The Little Corporal had easily mauled him.
    ’Tis by such tactics in their greater battle,
The farmers wage for food for men and cattle,
’Gainst briars, broom-straw, gullies, and the unseen
Causes that make the earth so rude and lean,
That they must conquer. They must never throw
An hour away in which a plant should grow,
Before they give its seed to soil and rain,
Nor leave a weed an hour upon the plain,
When of its food it robs the precious grain,
But all their force at the right time bestow
In the right place, to make their products grow—
Armed with the properest implements for the toil,
Which wins their blessed victories from the soil.
    Another rule is, save what you have made—
Trust not to chance, of Fortune be afraid,
The storms and floods come when we least expect,
And the year’s toil is lost by a day’s neglect.
    The fruits of punctuality are more charming
In none of human calling than in farming,
Nor grass, nor root, nor any cereal grows,
Save in the allotted time that God bestows;
Then ’tis the part of the good husbandman
To give it all the time to grow he can;
Thence the best rule, (and farmers best pursue it,)
Is, sow and plant soon, as ’tis safe to do it.
    ’Tis for the punctuality it produces
That firming by the moon has its good uses—
Sow that whose fruit above the surface shows
While the fair moon to its full splendour grows,
But that whose precious growth the soil contains,
Plant while the moon from her round circles wanes.
That’s very well, for it makes folk precise
In conduct where ’tis wisdom to be nice;
But when from that they ask of night’s sweet maid
When fences shall be built or hogs be slaved,
Or whether it is best to make your cider
When her bright crescent’s slenderer or wider,
Their teachings only serve to make us merry, as
In bright astronomy slid Father O’Leary’s:
    “You say, my boy, that Father O’Leary teaches
Science as high as e’en astronomy reaches?”
“Faith, sir, he does.” “What of the sun does he say?”
“That ’Tts the greater light to rule the day.”
“What of the moon? for as to the sun he is right.”
“Why that’s the lesser light to rule the night.”
“And for the stars what does he give as reasons?”
“They are for signs of days, and years, and seasons.”
“All very true indeed! What does he say
Of that pale splendour called the Milky Way?”
“Why, sir, he says that is the place on high,
Where the ould moons are all spread out to dry.”
So when the moon-ruled cultivators vary
From truth’s record, they are wild as Fattier O’Leary.
    It is, too, under economy’s rules we battle
In the delightful task of raising cattle.
Man’s pride a frown may gather to his brow
When told of his dependence on the cow;
But yet the history shows of every nation
Without the cow there is no civilization,
Save where the Scythians, ’mid equestrian cares,
Were pleased to live upon the milk of mares—
And notwithstanding were, as Homer says,
“Renowned for justice and for length of days.”
So, too, in some tempestuous mountain ilk,
Where cows can’t live, the natives use goat’s milk,
And battle against want’s and winter’s ravages
So nobly, that we cannot call them savages.
Yet these are but the exceptions, which the schools
Say only prove the truth of general rules.
    Hence the Egyptians worshipped cows, for Apis
Was joined in divine rites with Serapis,
And through all India nothing more can grieve her
Than to maltreat her sacred bulls of Seva.
    In our own land there was a patriarch known,
Who in the forest held a rural throne,
Whose greatest joy was through the night to hear
The growls of bears and frolics of the deer—
Who in the wilderness, by sun and moon
Alike his tribute levied, Daniel Boone.
His sign to move in the forest farther back,
Was in his hunting grounds a milch cow’s track,
For well he knew of civilization’s fine
March onward, the cow’s track was the true sign.
    But why, through proofs inferior far, thus scan
Dependence on his flocks and herds by man.
God made a garden for him, O, how sweet!
And He himself did His new creatures meet
In the dear shades lie planted for them; Oh,
How strange that beings in this world below,
Should risk the loss, for a poor serpent’s sputtering,
Of the intense beatitude, past uttering,
Shed from the face of the Spirit of Love Divine,
Crowned with the power that bade the stars to shine,
That man for any pleasure on this clod
Would loose the rapture of the presence of God!
Yet in some sort each day such sight affords
In those whose way diverges from the Lord’s!
    Yet in our fallen state, under our drear Nemesis,
’Tis sweet to turn to the book of Genesis;
For from the Lord God’s lips e’en condemnation
Was mixed with tenderness, telling of salvation,
For He, in proof of his paternal care
Made us, from skins of animals, clothes to wear—
Away from Paradise his justice spurned us,
But to the rule of all His creatures turned us;
Giving us the dominion of the earth,
And of all beings that therein had birth.
    And Abel was a shepherd—Abraham drew
His wealth from flocks and herds, and Jacob too;
And that sweet Psalmist of Israel, he whose sling
Was powerful to slay, as his harp-string
Was to enchant and soothe; for one healed Saul,
While from the other Goliath had his fall—
E’en he, when Samuel went to Bethlehem
To judge of Jesse’s sons, and seven of them
Rejected passed before him, then did keep
Upon his father’s farm his flock of sheep—
And Samuel from the fold the youth did bring,
And then anointed him as Israel’s king.
    Our modern manners it would rather shock
To choose for rulers those who tend the flock;
But through all time, whate’er mankind avow,
Great luxury is the king to which they bow,
And through all time too, luxury avows
Its cream is from the udder of the cows.
Hence the cow claims a homage in our clime,
Almost as from the Egyptians of old time,
For who for dainty dishes rules can utter,
Of fish, fowl, vegetables, without butter?
And whence of fresh meats comes the daily stock,
Save from the lowing herd or fleecy flock?
Since then to pastoral cares primeval law
And luxury’s self and sweet religion draw,
The farmer’s deaf to nature and wisdom’s words,
If not devoted to his flocks and herds.
These are the fairest ornaments of his field,
To painters these their pastoral pictures yield,
And fathers of the fold and herd have long
Stalked with its heroes in high epic song.
    But more than rural poetry or beauty
The farmer must esteem his graver duty;
Yet every point of duty he will meet,
’Tis said, who with the useful blends the sweet;
And earth’s great Maker shows how well it suits,
From charming bloom to elaborate charming fruits,
That’s the divine example—all the while
The blessings ripen as the heavens smile—
Thus good embraces good from earth to sky,
And blessings kissing blessings multiply.
    * There was an English yeoman, Bakewell named,
For breeding sheep and cattle widely famed;
In his log house round his huge fireplace met
Of French and German Dukes a royal set,
With Russian princes and with English peers,
And all the various tribes of sight-seers.
From his last pipe when he the ashes knocked,
Bed was the word and conversation stopped,
And mighty ones, round mighty thrones the powers,
Would there enjoy the charm of early hours.
    Wherefore this princely pilgrimage to one
Seated at eve before his rude hearth-stone,
Smoking his pipe when his day’s work was done?
The conversation these great ones were heeding
So studiously, was all of cattle breeding;
And the great maxim, the result of all
Their converse was, to “breed the offal small.
Put flesh on loins and haunches where ’twill pay,
And not on shoulders throw it half away;
Nor upon legs and neck, and bone and horn,
Waste hay and turnips, clover, grass and corn,
But taking from economy’s book a leaf,
Make shilling instead of six-pence mutton and beef.
Appreciate well Earl Leicester’s toast, then shall you
“Here’s to the small in size and great in value!”
A toast, which when ’twas given, (as you are aware,)
Made the great graziers of Old England stare,
And that whole breed of breeders still it shocks,
Who give a premium to the tallest ox!
A thing which makes sortie laugh, some melancholy,
But most will now agree ’tis a tall folly.
    The stately cow did Virgil’s Muse resound
With spreading horns, and tail that swept the ground,
With lofty tread and long extended waist,
And ample neck with hanging dew-lap graced,
Tossing her armed forehead to the sky,
And sweeping o’er the plain in majesty.
    But now the shapes the thrifty breeder begs,
For cows are those that most resemble eggs
The horns so short and small they are scarcely seen,
The legs so too, and the neck thin and clean;
In short, the heifer’s praise doth brightest flash on,
Resemble belle’s when bustles were in fashion,
Fair amplitude in beauty’s line that true goes,
And quiet face and lustrous eyes like Juno’s;
For the bright queen of the Olympian skies
Was famed for charming Jove with ox-like eyes,
Since seldom her Homeric epithets vary
From white-armed, golden-throned Boopis Airai.
    On the same maxims choose and breed your sheep,
They will direct you too, what swine to keep;
But for their food if these must root and race,
The best perhaps is the old fiddle-face;
Those which the ambush of the rogue can clear,
And through the forest bound along like deer,
With plenty of new corn fine flesh they take on,
And after all make the best flavoured bacon.
So those who have an ample forest range
Had better not, perhaps, their old stock change,
For to shift for themselves in desert places,
There is no breed like the old fiddle-faces.
But if your hogs you feed and pasture, all
Should heed the maxim, “breed the offal small;”
You thus waste least, and a truth well to be known here,
Is, “optimum vectigal parsimonia,
Which truly teaches, in expense be nice,
Without descending into avarice,
For those sunk in that vice are blind and mulish,
And full of penny wisdom grow pound foolish.
But sheep have favourites been through all the ages,—
Job had his flocks, so, too, Chaldea’s sages;
These grouped and named the lights that shine on high,
And watched the planets wandering in the slay,
And from these cares, aloof from earthly jars,
Received the name of Shepherds of the Stars.
But not the flock on earth their care beneath is,
While watching that on high with the golden fleeces,
And hence their souls embraced the ample round
Which sweeps the sky and rests upon the ground.
Their care above was the emblem of immensity,
Their care below the type of innocency:
Hence to the sages of the East Chaldeans
One of their shining flock sung the first peans
Of him divinely born in Bethlehem,
And to his worship safely guided them;
And they rejoiced as by its light they came,
And found the spot and bowed before the Lamb.
And who so fit as these first to be told
Of the Lamb to take away the sins of the world,
And what so fit to guide them as a star
Of the flock they had watched so long and off so far?
How harmony divine proves truth divine,
And in what keeping heavenly wonders shine!
    After these sweet and sacred associations,
’Tis stale and flat to refer to classic nations;
Yet many a page of Roman song and Greece is
Pictured with the fair flock that yields the fleeces,
And on our farms the eye no picture fills
Like flocks of sheep wreathed on the rounded hills.
    And then reflect what profits they bestow
Besides the wool and mutton; pastures grow
The better for their browsing; briar, bush, weed,
On which the cows and horses will not feed,
Nibbled by them to the sweet grasses yield,
And thus more stock can live upon the field;
Added to this the farmers’ best advisers
Pronounce none better than their fertilizers
A thousand sheep will every night manure
An acre of land, and make it rich from poor.
    Great praise is due to our State Society
For making known of sheep a large variety,
But greater to the liberal members of it,
Who brought their samples to its Fairs to prove it.
    To praise one’s friends is what we don’t admire,
But yet the labourer’s worthy of his hire—
And when the State such benefit receives
From French Merinocs, shall we not thank Rives,
Who, ’midst diplomacy’s absorbing courses,
Yet brought us them, and Cleveland Bay stock-horses?
And when at Cotswold’s fat and wool we stare,
Shall we forget the importer, Col. Ware?
And for the South-down sheep, the best of any
Brought to our shores, shall we not thank Dulany?
    Yes, let us thank them more than by words merely,
By aiding in improvements bought so dearly,
Then will their care and cost be well repaid,
Since for their country’s good it was outlaid.
    When Bishop Meade, who had to England travelled,
Was asked at what therein he chiefly marvelled,
He did not one in doubt a moment keep,
But answered, “Windsor Castle and Webb’s sheep;”
Almost the best of these Dulany bought,
And to the New the Old World’s wonders brought.
    But while bestowing thanks ’twere shame to flinch
From pouring ours out to gallant Lynch.
Who does not joy when he beholds a Kaisi
Stalk o’er the plain, to recollect the navy,
If as a bull, from Juno’s wrath to slip,
Jove for Europa played the part of a ship,
On which she sailed to the far shore, now famed
Above the world, and from Europa named,
Why should not Lynch’s precious gifts avail us
For fond mementoes of our gallant sailors.
The stripes and stars did a new glory gain
From Jordan and the Cities of the Plain,
Dissolved to the Dead Sea, whose sluggish waves
Gave up their secrets to our naval braves.
From sacred Palestine their Captain’s thought
For his own land a lasting blessing wrought;
What more appropriate? what could overspread
Her hills and valleys like the Kaisi’s tread?
And what could his Virginia prouder own
Than cattle whose full udders fed St. John?
    But to return to sheep; with those which take well
1 rank the old cross of Broad-tails and Bakewell.
And in the Marshall Manor have been put on
Saddles as good of these as any mutton—
Unless some South-downs from his wolf and bear lands,
Which we had during Christmas at Macfarland’s!
    Byron has said, (indeed ’twas said before,
But having his authority why add more?)
“The happiness of man, the hungry sinner,
Is very much dependent on his dinner,”
And even Dr. Johnson used to say
Dinner was the chief hour of the day.
I’ve told what other goods the sheep produces,
And who at dinner does not feel his uses?
Who to ride down his appetite can straddle
Any thing better than a South-down saddle?
Or a boiled leg with capers seasoned well?
Or good as either, chops au naturel?
    Thus if for beauty or for use you keep
Stock on your farm none’s better than the sheep,
And foreigners who roam our country through
Are struck that our plantations have so few.
Might I advise, I’d say, keep twice as many
As is habitual on the land of any:
“Gives not the haw-thorn bough a sweeter-shade,”
(As Shakespeare’s almost sacred verse hath said,)
“To Shepherd’s gazing on their silly sheep
Grazing tho vales, or on the hills asleep,
Than doth the rich embroidered canopy
To kings?” It doth, and still so may it be!
For greater numbers in the low are found,
And thence on earth its blessings more abound.
    To horse! To horse! O, what a stirring cry!
A horseman shares the Twins that mark the sky
As the gorgeous constellation, Gemini;
Brothers of Helen, “famed for martial force,
One great on foot and one renowned for horse.”
What were a king without the pageantry
Of chariot and horse, and dazzling cavalry?
O, what had been the glories of old war?
What had Achilles been without his car?
And “Zanthus and Balius of immortal breed,
Sprung from the wind and like the wind in speed.”
The conquerors of the world first dawned on us
In taming a wild horse, Bucephalus—
And what without his charger bold to be on,
Had been old England’s hero, Cœur de Lion?
What were from Richard’s half-broke dream the sounds?
“Give me another horse! bind up my wounds!”
And what as clouds came heaviest o’er his course?
“A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!”
    Although before from the great Pyramid’s crown
Four hundred centuries had in praise looked down,
Yet where the great Napoleon proudest sits
Is on his horse in the field of Austerlitz.
What old world monument of time’s long course
Is fairer than Aurelius on his horse?
What new world monument hath honor’s mead
Like ours of Washington upon his steed?
    Forgive if praise of the horse I too far carry,
For my own sire was famed as Light-horse Harry;
And our old Commonwealth hath no remorses,
In peace or war, connected with her horses.
    Nor can I be accused of boasting when
I say she hath none connected with her men.
O, No! I appeal to Massachusetts’ Bay,
When Liberty in her sweet cradle lay;
I appeal to our bright sister, South Carolina,
In those old times when nothing could out-shine her;
I appeal to all the beloved lands between,
To all the virtuous, glorious old Thirteen,
If in discharging duties owed within there
Any e’er beat their loving sister * Virginia?
O, then, why feel thus hostile to us now?
Love, brightest gem in the crown of the Christian’s brow,
Sweetest of all the ties that bind the heart!
But when thou blendest realms how grand thou art!
And when the United States as one you tie,
’Tis as the Constellations band the sky!
    We had one more than the signs of the Zodiac,
One more than the starred stages of earth’s track,
O, think of this as the beginning given
Of more on earth than erst portrayed in heaven,
And hope the promise to the chosen nation
Will be fulfilled in the Tolerant civilization;
That’s it—O, that is the thing upon this clod
Of earth most after the own heart of God.
    I’ve wandered from my theme, forgive, I pray it!
I hear such strange things of the Union’s fate
I’ve heard that people who have loved to bless
This land for Washington’s Farewell Address,
Who raise his monuments high in their skies,
Yet whisper death to his loved Union’s ties!
May they die first; O, yes, be theirs the death
Before this world is tainted with their breath;
And if their sin be in the next forgiven,
’Twill be the greatest pardon signed in heaven,
Unless at Mercy’s ever open door,
Judas Iscariot’s shall be signed before.
    To thoughts like these while my tossed soul expands,
How can I give instructions about lands?
When all the hopes of earth in my mind’s eye
Come trooping to her Fane of Liberty,
And I behold the inhabitants enjoying
The shelter they are wantonly destroying;
O what’s the use of labouring to give birth
To agricultural rules to till the earth?
    No! if the Union dies then let us die,
Defending its last ditch there let us lie!
Beneath no other flag let us wage wars
Save that emblazoned with the stripes and stars—
And let no twinkler of its azure sky
Pale from its field before it sees us die.
    It seems to me I could not alive remain
And see that glorious banner rent in twain!
But O, let me entreat, as from a brother,
Ye bannered stars smile sweet on one another,
For know, for all the world’s political fates,
Hope’s constellation is the United States;
And Hope’s antagonist feels no drop of dew on
Her fevered sleep, save in dreams of disunion.

    Adieu: on nothing else now can I dwell—
Some other day some other things to tell,
Perhaps it may be meet—but now Farewell!


NOTE 1.—”And add a sixth field,” &c.

A very able article contributed by Mr. Edmund Ruffin to our valuable SOUTHERN PLANTER a few years ago, gave me the first suggestion of a sixth field rotation. I wish I could lay my hands on the article that I might add a few extracts from it. I think it contains some of the most valuable hints which even Mr. Ruffin has given to our farmers, extensive, zealous, persevering and valuable as his labours in the cause of agriculture have been, and for which I am happy in this opportunity of returning him my sincere thanks.

NOTE 2.—An account and engraving of this mansion may be seen in Bishop Meade’s most interesting and valuable History of the Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia. The engraving, however, does not show the filling up between the chimneys which formerly (made of Venetian blinds) contributed to the formation of the summer houses, nor the balustrade which connected them—they having decayed and been removed before this engraving was taken.

To confirm my recollection of hearing that the complimentary designation bestowed of Col. Lee of the Legion, I refer to page 509 of the Campaign of ’81 in the Carolinas, where it is mentioned that Col. Howard “styled him the Ulysses of the Southern army,” an orthodox sponsor at a military baptism.

NOTE 3.—For the facts just stated, see the London Quarterly Review for January, 1858, page 110, column 2nd, and especially the extracts from Professor Owen, a tutor, I think, to the present Prince of Wales.

NOTE 4.—For the statements concerning Mr. Bakewell and Earl Leicester’s toast, see a very interesting article in the London Quarterly Review, entitled “The Progress of English Agriculture.” I commend the whole article to the particular attention of our farmers.

NOTE 5.—The following extracts are from the Campaign of ’81 in the Carolinas, by H. Lee:

Between the last of October, 1780, and the middle of March, 1781, Virginia was invaded by near 8000 effectives in three successive divisions, under Generals Leslie, Arnold and Phillips, and when Lord Cornwallis joined the army of the last at Petersburg, he found it more than 5300 strong.* At the siege of Charleston, she lost more than 1000 men, one fifth at least of the garrison. She furnished one third of the army under Gates, at Camden; about the same proportion, and the leader, of the conquerors of King’s Mountain; the commander, and a full contingent, at the Cowpens, and more than half the army at Guildford; and of these different contributions, the greater part were militia and volunteers. *   *

But the unanimity of Virginia—firm against repeated and destructive incursions of the British; against Indian hostilities, which pierced and agonized her naked frontier—empowered her to continue contributions to the Northern Army, to conquer, and to bestow the seats of future empire in the West, and still to remain “the fountain of Southern resistance.” For even while making the great exertion, which eventuated in the acknowledgment of our independence, we find her true to her federal duties, furnishing one third of the troops who liberated Carolina at the battle of Eutaw.  *   *   *   *  While these heroes (Sumter, Marion and Pickens) contended chiefly for the independence of their native State, and often against their neighbours, the sons of Virginia, unanimous and ardent on the side of Liberty, were found in arms wherever her standards flew—on the ramparts of Quebec—on the shores of the Hudson—on the sands of Carolina.

* Sir H. Clinton to Earl Cornwallis, June 11th, 1781.

The modesty of this estimate of Virginia’s services in the Revolutionary War will be acknowledged, when it is recollected that the Commander-in-chief is no further mentioned than as embraced in her contributions to the Northern army.

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