Thursday, October 26, 2017

Extract in the New York Evening Post from Melville's "Hawthorne and His Mosses"

Found on

The New York Evening Post gave a portion of the "elaborate article" on Hawthorne in The Literary World for August 17, 1850 without venturing to guess the name of the author, identified in the original article as "a Virginian Spending July in Vermont." The second part of Melville's now famous review essay would be published in the Literary World on Saturday, August 24, 1850.

The Evening Post printed "frollicking rudeness" where Melville had written "rollicking rudeness."

From the New York Evening Post, August 21, 1850:
HAWTHORNE.-- A writer in the Literary World, in an elaborate article on Hawthorne's "Mosses from an Old Manse," says:

"Stretched on that new-mown clover, the hill-side breeze blowing over me through the wide barn door, and soothed by the hum of the bees in the meadows around, how magically stole over me this Mossy Man! and how amply, how bountifully, did he redeem that delicious promise to his guests in the Old Manse, of whom it is written--"Others could give them pleasure, or amusement, or instruction--these could be picked up anywhere--but it was for me to give them rest. Rest, in a life of trouble! What better could be done for weary and world-worn spirits? What better could be done for anybody, who came within our magic circle, than to throw the spell of a magic spirit over him?" So all that day, half buried in the new clover, I watched this Hawthorne's 'Assyrian dawn, and Paphian sunset and moonrise, from the summit of our Eastern Hill.'

"The soft ravishments of the man spun me round in a web of dreams, and when the book was closed, when the spell was over, this wizard 'dismissed me with but misty reminiscences, as if I had been dreaming of him.'

"What a mild moonlight of contemplative humor bathes that Old Manse!--the rich and rare distilment of a spicy and slowly-oozing heart. No frollicking rudeness, no gross fun fed on fat dinners, and bred in the lees of wine,--but a humor so spiritually gentle, so high, so deep, and yet so richly relishable, that it were hardly inappropriate in an angel. It is the very religion of mirth; for nothing so human but it may be advanced to that. The orchard of the Old Manse seems the visible type of the fine mind that has described it--those twisted and contorted old trees, 'that stretch out their crooked branches, and take such hold of the imagination, that we remember them as humorists and odd-fellows.' And then, as surrounded by these grotesque forms, and hushed in the noon-day repose of this Hawthorne's spell, how aptly might the still fall of his ruddy thoughts into your soul be symbolized by 'the thump of a great apple, in the stillest afternoon, falling without a breath of wind, from the mere necessity of perfect ripeness!' For no less ripe than ruddy are the apples of the thoughts and fancies in this sweet Man of Mosses--
"Buds and Bird-voices."--
"What a delicious thing is that! 'Will the world ever be so decayed, that Spring may not renew its greenness?' And the 'Fire-Worship.' Was ever the hearth so glorified into an altar before? The mere title of that piece is better than any common work in fifty folio volumes. How exquisite is this: 'Nor did it lessen the charm of his soft, familiar courtesy and helpfulness, that the mighty spirit, were opportunity offered him, would run riot through the peaceful house, wrap its inmates in his terrible embrace, and leave nothing of them save their whitened bones. This possibility of mad destruction only made his domestic kindness the more beautiful and touching. It was so sweet of him, being endowed with such power, to dwell, day after day, and one long, lonesome night after another, on the dusky hearth, only now and then betraying his wild nature, by thrusting his red tongue out of the chimney-top! True, he had done much mischief in the world, and was pretty certain to do more, but his warm heart atoned for all; He was kindly to the race of man.'
"But he has still other apples, not quite so ruddy, though full as ripe; apples, that have been left to wither on the tree, after the pleasant autumn gathering is past. The sketch of 'The Old Apple Dealer' is conceived in the subtlest spirit of sadness; he whose 'subdued and nerveless boyhood prefigured his abortive prime, which, likewise, contained within itself the prophecy and image of his lean and torpid age.' Such touches as are in this piece can not proceed from any common heart. They argue such a depth of tenderness, such a boundless sympathy with all forms of being, such an omnipresent love, that we must needs say, that this Hawthorne is here almost alone in his generation, at least, in the artistic manifestation of these things. Still more. Such touches as these, and many, very many similar ones, all through his chapters, furnish clues, whereby we enter a little way into the intricate, profound heart where they originated."

Links to e-texts online:
Herman Melville's annotated copy of Hawthorne's Mosses from an Old Manse is digitized and available via Melville's Marginalia Online.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Arthur Cleveland Coxe on Clement C. Moore

Arthur Cleveland Coxe
Arthur Cleveland Coxe via Wikimedia Commons
In the first of a planned series of articles (uncompleted?) for The Churchman titled "Anecdotes of a Century in the American Church," the Rt. Rev. A. Cleveland Coxe (1818-1896), Bishop of Western New York, honored his former seminary teacher Clement C. Moore as
"one of the most accomplished laymen I have ever known."
From The Churchman - July 13, 1895:
Chelsea, where now stands the seminary, was a beautiful estate, as even I recall it; for there, while yet a little boy, I played with the grandsons of Bishop Moore. A grand old colonial dwelling was the bishop's house; venerable trees adorned the park-like gateway, and its garden extended to the river, on the other side. A home of saintly virtues it was under the venerable prelate who owned it; and not less so when his son succeeded him in the inheritance. Learning, poetry and taste, were also the endowments of this son, Clement Moore, one of the most accomplished laymen I have ever known, and of whom I may have more to say in due time. This delightful old homestead was the scene of his fanciful description of Christmas Eve, and the visit of St. Nicholas.
Bishop Coxe's poetical depiction of his father's Manhattan at the turn of the century, and his own reminiscences from the 1820's, will interest fans of Herman Melville, Coxe's contemporary and fellow poet as well as fellow New Yorker.

In Hawthorne studies, Coxe is famous for "hysterically" denouncing The Scarlet Letter in the January 1851 number of The Church Review and Ecclesiastical Register. Nevertheless, in "The Writings of Hawthorne" Coxe's indictment of book reviewing in 1851 is in much the same vein as Melville's satire, late in Pierre (1852), of the puffing system of book promotion.

Anticipating the author of Pierre in the chapter on Young America in Literature, Coxe regarded most contemporary literary journals as "repositories of sophomorical eulogy, or ribaldry, upon literary toys and trifles."

And, Coxe's idea that Hawthorne (like every "Bay School" transcendentalist) could use more "roast beef" in his diet was echoed by Melville, in a letter to Evert A. Duyckinck. Coxe longed to invite Hawthorne
"to a bit of roast beef and a bottle of brown stout, in a plain, family way, with a benevolent idea of invigorating his constitution in time to prevent the process of evaporative dissolution."

That was in January 1851. The next month, Melville wrote of Hawthorne:
"He does'nt patronise the butcher--he needs roast-beef, done rare."
--Letter to Evert A. Duyckinck, 12 February 1851; Northwestern-Newberry edition of Melville's Correspondence - page 181.
In the same letter, Melville's view that "Irving is a grasshopper" compared with Hawthorne reverses the judgment of Coxe in "The Writings of Hawthorne" that "Irving is the better artist."

Along with Arthur Cleveland Coxe, Frank Luther Mott names Clement C. Moore as one of the "leading contributors of literary criticism" to the Church Review. That association invites further study. No pieces of literary criticism later than Moore's 1806 introduction to A New Translation with Notes of the Third Satire of Juvenal are listed in "Appendix A, Writings of Clement Clarke Moore" in Samuel W. Patterson's biography, The Poet of Christmas Eve.


New York Herald obit of Clement C. Moore

New York Herald - August 19, 1863
via Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.


Death of Prof. Clement C. Moore, L. L. D.
Died, July 13 [July 10, 1863], at Newport, R. I., after a short illness,
CLEMENT C. MOORE, of this city, aged 84 years.

Thus was announced a few weeks ago the death of one whose name will live long after him in the minds of the young through many generations, as the writer of the Christmas poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas," and who will be long remembered among the learned of the land as a valuable translator and interpreter of Hebrew language, and a profound Biblical scholar.

Clement C. Moore, L.L. D., was a son of the Rt. Rev. Benjamin Moore, Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in New York, and was born at Newtown, Long Island, about the year 1778. In 1799 he graduated as bachelor of arts at Columbia College, and, applying himself to the study of Hebrew, he published in 1809, in two volumes, a Hebrew and English lexicon, with notes, a grammar, and a complete vocabulary of the Psalms. This work stamped him as a Hebrew scholar of the first order, and entitled him to be considered the pioneer in America of Hebrew lexicography. The publication of
this work led to a more general study and rendered more easy the cultivation of that ancient language and literature in our theological seminaries. But previous to the devoting himself to the prosecution of these higher and profounder studies Mr. Moore had contributed largely to the lighter literature of the day, through the columns of the Port-Folio and other periodicals; and, as a critic, his abilities were shown in a pungent reviewal of contemporary American poetry. On the establishment of a diocesan seminary in New York, Dr. Moore was appointed professor of Biblical learning, the department of interpretation being added, and on the union of the institution with the general theological seminary at New Haven, in 1821, under the name of the "General Protestant Episcopal Seminary," he was reappointed, with the title of Professor of Hebrew and Greek Literature, which was afterwards changed to "Oriental and Greek Literature." Of this institution  he was indeed himself one of the founders and principal benefactors. To it he made a grant from his family inheritance of the large plot of ground on which the building stands in the city of New York. A princely fortune had descended to him, consisting of land allotments in and about the Sixteenth ward, considerable portions of it lying from Nineteenth street to Twenty-third street, and between Ninth and Tenth avenues, now covered with the mansions of some of our wealthiest merchants and capitalists. From the rentals thus accruing, and from his inherited fortune, with the accumulations of a long life, Dr. Moore might be properly considered one of our wealthiest citizens. He retired from the institution with the title of Emeritus Professor, in June, 1850. His published works, apart from those of a scholastic character, consist of a collection of poems and "George Castrol [Castriot], surnamed Scanderberg, King of Albania." Several of the poems are of a lively character, while others are of a grave and meditative cast. One of the former character--his well known poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas"--will continue to be committed to memory by successive generations of young Americans, and will live therein, still to conjure up in after years the bright charms that once were theirs, but destined to be enjoyed by the young ones who succeed them as the beneficiaries of benevolent old Santa Claus. It is subjoined:--
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap--
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon, on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of midday to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:--
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch; to the top of the wall!
Now, dash away, dash away, dash away all!
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So, up to the housetop the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of  toys--and St. Nicholas too.
And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes, how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow;
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook, when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump; a right jolly old elf;
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings: then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle;
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"
In some lines written in 1823 [1832] to Mr. Southey, the English poet laureate, with whom he corresponded, Dr. Moore reveals a portion of his private history, which proves that the happiest condition is not exempt from the common ills of life. Throughout his long life, however, it appears that be passed his years very quietly, in the cultivation of learning and in intercourse with a few congenial friends, ultimately passing away after a short and not painful illness. --The New York Herald, August 19, 1863

Related post:

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Clement C. Moore, 1863 obit by Frank W. Ballard

Clement C. Moore
via The New York Public Library Digital Collections
Transcribed below is a fine memorial of Clement C. Moore by the New York correspondent of the Boston Post who signed himself "Nor'wester." The death notice and tribute from "Nor'wester" first appeared in the Post on August 17, 1863 and was reprinted anonymously thereafter in other newspapers, for example in the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser on August 29, 1863.

Nor'wester was the pseudonym of New York insurance underwriter and journalist Frank W. Ballard (1827-1887), according to an article in the New York Evening Post titled "The People Who Write for the Papers" (reprinted in American Publishers' Circular and Literary Gazette, Volume 6).


As shown in a previous post on mid nineteenth-century newspaper correspondents, the same article that identified Ballard as "Nor'wester" also revealed that Melville's friend Henry T. Tuckerman "does up New York literature for the Boston Transcript."


Correspondence of the Boston Post.
NEW YORK, AUGUST 16, 1863.

During that terrible period of excitement, which for years to come will be memorable as the riot week, there appeared one morning, in some of our journals, an announcement of the death at Newport, of one of our wealthiest and once one of our most respected citizens. So far as my knowledge goes not an obituary notice nor the least reference to his death has appeared, and, whether crowded out by the pressure of riot-news, or omitted for other reasons nothing but the bare mention of CLEMENT C. MOORE'S decease has found its way into any of our papers. Thus silently has been permitted to drop out from among us one who was the pioneer, in this country, of Hebrew Lexicography, by the publication in 1809 of a Hebrew and English Lexicon which paved the way literally for the general cultivation of that ancient language and literature in the Theological seminaries of the United States. In 1821, Mr. Moore was appointed "Professor of Biblical Learning" in the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church. Subsequently his professorship became that of "Oriental and Greek Literature." A princely fortune had descended to him, by inheritance, consisting of plats of land by the acre in and about the Sixteenth ward of this city, and much of it lying from Nineteenth street to Twenty-third street between the Ninth and Tenth avenues--now covered with brown stone palaces or business structures erected by capitalists who pay a liberal rent for the ground. While connected with the Theological Seminary, Professor Moore bestowed upon the institution an entire block of this valuable ground. Mr. Moore, (or Dr. Moore, for he was an L. L. D.) was also somewhat celebrated as the author of several lively poems, among which was one which has been mouthed by every schoolboy of the last two generations and annually reproduced in thousands of our papers about Christmas time. This was "A Visit from St. Nicholas," commencing,
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
Few specimens of American poetry have had so long continued popularity as this Christmas poem. All the "Speakers" have included it in their tables of contents and in one form or another it has been published and republished until every line has become as familiar as a household word. During the last holiday season an edition of the poem was brought out by James G. Gregory of this city in luxurious style--the paper, type, illustrations, and tout ensemble displaying a rare combination of good judgment and good taste. Since 1850 Dr. Moore has lived a retired life, but, for what he had previously accomplished, his death, after four score years of usefulness, should not have been suffered to pass unnoticed....
--"Nor'wester" [Frank W. Ballard] in the Boston Post, August 17, 1863.

Boston Post - August 17, 1863 - 1 of 2
Boston Post - August 17, 1863 - 2 of 2
Moore died July 10, 1863 in Newport, Rhode Island. On August 19, 1863, two days after Ballard's letter appeared in the Boston Post, The New York Herald at last featured a substantial obituary headed "Death of Prof. Clement C. Moore, L. L. D."

Ballard's tribute to the late Clement C. Moore was reprinted in the Newport Mercury (Newport, Rhode Island) on August 22, 1863; and in the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser on August 29, 1863.

Found on