Monday, February 20, 2017

Fragments from a Writing Desk: The approaching conclusion of a long project, THE ...

Fragments from a Writing Desk: The approaching conclusion of a long project, THE ...: Alma MacDougall has bundled up all the final volume of the Northwestern-Newberry THE WRITINGS OF HERMAN MELVILLE and shipped it off to Nor...

Melville in Joseph Gostwick's 1856 Handbook of American Literature

The reader who is wearied by sentimental fiction, may find relief in turning to the tales of adventure by Dr Mayo, Lieutenant Wise, and Hermann Melville. To write a grave critique on these books, would be ridiculous; and to make any protest against the extravagances of the writer last named, would be useless; for it would never be read by those who find delight in the pages of Mardi, Kaloolah, and similar tales. It must not be supposed that we deny the peculiar merits of these romances: we intend only to shew the impossibility of giving any critical account of them. They must be received as reports of the fluent, careless, and often brilliant talk of imaginative travellers, or dreamers of travel, who have written without any care for rules of art, or fear of critics. The passion for reading of the class to which we refer, is a curious feature in recent years. It prevails in England and Germany as in America. As practical life becomes tame and monotonous, the youthful imagination goes back to barbarism and the wildness of nature, to find excitement. Tales of adventure by land and sea, in the forests, or on the prairies of the far west, or highly coloured pictures of sensuous and luxurious life in the islands of the South Seas—these supply the intellectual refreshment of numerous young readers, and lure away their minds from the study of realities. The wildness of Melville's stories—Typee, Omoo, Mardi, and others—seems to be infectious; for in a review of Mardi, we find a critic writing in the following style:—'Reading this wild book, we can imagine ourselves mounted upon some Tartar steed, golden caparisons clank around our person, ostrich plumes of driven whiteness hang over our brow, and cloud our vision with dancing snow. . . . . Away, away, along the sandy plain!' &c. This is perhaps our most concise mode of indicating the rhapsodical style of the book itself. Typee, the first of Melville's books, tells the story of two sailors who escaped from their ship, and landed on an island of the Pacific, where they were received by the Typee natives, with whom they lived luxuriously, feasting on sucking-pigs and breadfruit, and enjoying all the licence of a primitive state of society. Mardi intermingles with its voluptuous scenery a dreamy philosophy of which we can give no clear account. --Joseph Gostwick, Handbook of American Literature
Joseph Gostwick (1814-1887) compiled well-received surveys of  German Literature, and also wrote influentially on The spirit of German poetry and English Poets.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Israel Potter in Akron, Ohio


From the Summit County Beacon [Akron, Ohio], April 4, 1855:
Israel Potter; His Fifty years of Exile, By Herman Melville. For sale by BERBE, ELKINS & CO.
The readers of Putnam's Magazine, will hear with pleasure that this deeply interesting narrative is at length complated, and given to the country in book from. Long before we guessed at the authorship, we found ourselves absorbed in the narrative; and now that the author stands revealed, we are no longer surprised at the beauty of the sketch. Melville has never written anything more readable than "Israel Potter;" and the country owes him a debt of gratitude for depicting so faithfully the chequered history of the Exiled hero.

Melville at Brentano's on Christmas Eve, 1891--with Clement C. Moore and others

via The New York Public Library Digital Collections
Even if they never met in real life, Herman Melville did get to hear Clement C. Moore recite "A Visit from St. Nicholas" on Christmas Eve, 1891--in the imagination of their living mutual acquaintance, A. Oakey Hall. In A Christmas Eve at Brentano's, published in the January 1892 issue of Book Chat, Hall describes a dream vision populated by the ghosts of famous authors. Hall's departed literati are attending a holiday party conducted by another ghost, that of famed bookseller August Brentano
"... every Christmas Eve I hold a symposium of dead and gone authors and authoresses and a merry making here from the mysterious recesses where dwell what you mortals call 'the Majority.'"
Nathaniel Parker Willis meets up with Disraeli and Bulwer. Thomas Hood and Edgar Allan Poe compare new editions. Likewise Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Felicia Hemans are found "examining choicely bound volumes of their poems." Shakespeare and Bacon laugh "heartily" together over The Great Cryptogram by Ignatius Donnelly. The late Herman Melville (who had died September 28, 1891) joins British authors Owen Meredith and Lawrence Oliphant, "all recent recruits to 'the Majority'" and now "pleasantly occupied" at the festive gathering. August Brentano personally requests the recital by Clement C. Moore, who gets introduced by Santa Claus himself:
But before I had time to stow further guests of the banqueting literate in my perplexed memory there was a bustle at the head of the table, and for the first time on this occasion of the fairy like feast I heard a voice—that of Santa Claus—saying: "by request of our great book-selling Host, Clement C. Moore will now recite his celebrated ode beginning—'Twas the night before Christmas when,' etc."

This the old Knickerbocker bard gave ore rotundo with spirited emphasis from his seat next to General Geo. P. Morris: while Santa Claus, with eloquent eyebrows, picturesque shaking beard, and suggestive gestures gave strange effect to the timely lines. 
--A. Oakey Hall, "A Christmas Eve at Brentano's" in Book Chat, Volume 7.
 

Earlier in 1891, A. Oakey Hall had separately mentioned both Moore and Melville (living yet) in published reminiscences of Poe and "Literati of New York Forty Years Ago." In the retrospective that appeared in the New York Weekly Press on February 25, 1891 under the main heading "Poe as Man and Poet," Hall's inventory of writers whom he had met before the Civil War included
"Clement C. Moore, whose song of Santa Claus has cheered four generations of Christmas children"
and
Herman Melville, whom Stevenson has seemed to take as his model; the Duyckinck brothers, the daintiest critics of their day; Cornelius Mathews, the American Dickens, whom Lowell so excoriated in his "Fable for the Critics"… 
--New York Weekly Press, February 25, 1891

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Evert A. Duyckinck on Clement C. Moore: "one of the best of men"

In the posthumously published article for Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly (June 1884) titled "Life in New York City in its Later Colonial Days," Herman Melville's friend Evert Duyckinck remembered Clement C. Moore as "one of the best of men" and extensively quoted Moore's "exquisite rhymes" on St. Nicholas:
Besides, has not Weir painted the scene? and has it not been described by one of the best of men in most exquisite rhymes? --Evert A. Duyckinck
There were several national or religious festivals kept by the Dutch in New Amsterdam: Christmas, New Year's Day, Paas or Easter, Pinxter at Whitsuntide, and Santa Claus or St. Nicholas Day. Some of the peculiar Dutch honors of the last have been transferred to Christmas; particularly the visit of St. Nicholas, who, to the wondering children of Manhattan, on the eve of the sacred day, still, as of yore, a burly, benevolent figure, clad in his ancient furry habiliments, a pipe in his month, a capacious, well-filled hamper of toys on his back, rides in his airy sleigh, swiftly borne by his reindeer-team, over the roofs of the houses, descending, spite of narrow flues and modern contracted chimneys, to fill the stockings suspended, in expectation of his gifts, at the mantel-corner. The faith in the old legend of St. Nicholas, patron of the Manhattoes, would, with other superstitions of the past, doubtless have died out long ago were it not invigorated by these perennial gifts and bounties. There is practically no discrediting a belief which is backed by such unfailing beneficence. We, "children of a larger growth," hoodwink our perceptions and act upon it every day in our intercourse with society and estimate of character, feigning to believe in more doubtful virtues than those of the boy-saint. Besides, has not Weir painted the scene? and has it not been described by one of the best of men in most exquisite rhymes?—
"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.
* * * *
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
Tho 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 peddler 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 of 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 bowlfull of jelly." *
 This, is the children's saint of the Manhattoes, fixed in his great lineaments for all time.
* Poems by Clement C. Moore, LL. D: 1844, pp. 125-6
 --Evert A. Duyckinck; also incorporated in "The Origin of the New York Churches," Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine (March 1886).
In their 1855 Cyclopædia of American Literature, co-editors Evert A. Duyckinck and his brother George L. Duyckinck had accorded Moore a similarly generous treatment, likewise informed by some personal knowledge of the man being described:
Professor Moore has lightened his learned labors in the seminary by the composition of numerous poems from time to time, chiefly expressions of home thoughts and affections, with a turn for humor as well as sentiment, the reflections of a genial, amiable nature. They were collected by the author in a volume in 1844, which be dedicated to his children. Though occasional compositions they are polished in style....
--Cyclopædia of American Literature
Even more expansively, the updated National Cyclopedia of American Biography praises the same admirable traits of character in Clement C. Moore:
He was a man of rare beauty and simplicity of character, kindly disposed and generous to a fault. Upon his death, the faculty of the seminary he had so faithfully served passed resolutions declaring, "We recognize in him one whom God has blessed with selected gifts; warmhearted in friendship, genial in society, kindly and considerate to all; possessed of fine literary tastes, poetic instincts and expressiveness, and of cheerful humor withal; at the same time well accomplished in severer studies and resolute for more laborious undertakings, as his learned works in Hebrew grammar and lexicography distinctly testify."
Related posts:

Battle-Pieces in New Orleans

We are indebted to HARPER & BROTHERS, New York, for a very handsomely printed and bound volume, entitled Battle Pieces and Aspects of the War, embracing a collection of fugitive pieces written during the conflict, by Herman Mellville. The writer, though he gave in to the general sentiment of the North in regard to the necessity of "crushing out the rebellion" by any and all means, seems often to have had a secret misgiving, as to whether much that was done, was in reality justified by the laws of humanity which rise higher than those of war. Hence, when the conflict is over he ranges himself on the side of the Conservatives and peace. The lines entitled "Lee in the Capital," evidence this mind. He makes the hero say without disapproval:
"These noble spirits are yet yours to win.
Shall the great North go Sylla's way?
Proscribe—prolong the evil day?
Confirm the curse? Infix the hate?
In Union's name forever alienate?
               . . . Unless you shun
To copy Europe in her worst estate—
Avoid the tyranny you reprobate."
--DeBow's Review - November 1866

Melville as "poetical trimmer" in Battle-Pieces

From the New York Christian Advocate, September 6, 1866:
BATTLE PIECES AND ASPECTS OF THE WAR, By Herman Melville. New York: Harper & Brothers.

The excitements and events of the war of rebellion (for so we must name it, though the term may grate harshly on such sensitive ears as Mr. Melville's) have proved the occasion of a great deal of poetizing—some good, some very poor, and very much neither good nor bad. The author of this volume—a voluminous and much read writer of other days—here gives poetical remembrances of many of the chief military affairs of the war. These "battle pieces" have but little enthusiasm about them, for evidently his heart was on both sides of the conflict, and his appended notes, and especially the supplement to the volume, still more clearly evince his sympathy with the South. These pieces, while not specially remarkable, possess some real poetical merit, but in thought, they are only of the most superficial kind. There is throughout a sad lack of all deep and strong sentiments in favor of the right and the true. He is indeed the laureate of that class of men who sought to conduct the late so-called "Union" convention at Philadelphia, but who found themselves to be mere puppets in the hands of men of more decided and positive convictions; men whose outspoken sympathies with the South during the rebellion would not permit them to float away with the current of patriotism that the war aroused and sent through the land. Mr. Melville here presents himself as a poetical trimmer, nominally favoring the Union cause, but much more careful of the rebellious South than of the loyal and patriotic Unionists of all portions of the country.
Published in New York, the Christian Advocate in 1866 was edited by Daniel Curry and William Harrison De Puy.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Toronto reader protests slander of the Duke of Wellington in Moby-Dick

via Regency History
In this 1851 letter to the editor of The Albion signed "Fair Play," one early reader of Moby-Dick writes from Toronto to protest Melville's satirical treatment of the Duke of Wellington in the "Heads or Tails" chapter. The disposition of commas in the longer quotation (setting off the clause "if for the future") actually matches the punctuation in the British rather than American edition. If he had only the British version, Melville's Canadian critic would have missed the boldest and most objectionable of all Melville's digs at Arthur Wellesley, deleted from The Whale:
Is this the still militant old man, standing at the corners of the three kingdoms, on all hands coercing alms of beggars? --Moby-Dick
From The Albion: A Journal of News, Politics and Literature, December 13, 1851:
MOBY DICK, THE DOVER FISHERMEN, AND "THE DUKE"
TO THE EDITOR OF "THE ALBION"
Toronto, December 7, 1851

SIR,—Moby-Dick is a great character, and Herman Melville may be as smart a whale-man as he is certainly a fine writer, and, therefore justly to be admired by all of Saxon breed; but when from under the lee of Moby-Dick, he takes upon him to dart a malicious lance at that grand old warrior of the Anglo-Saxons, whose name is never spoken throughout the British empire but with reverence, it behoves to look keenly if that lance has struck true.

He begins his story with a high-flown description of the poor fishermen of Dover giving hard chase to a whale, and after their much toil being set upon by a stony-hearted agent of the Warden's to surrender their hard-earned prize, as much to their astonishment as disgust. Now, Sir, if my recollection of the circumstance is correct, the whale in question was a stranded one. But to let that pass, it is not true that the whole of the whale so caught belongs to the Warden; his share amounts in general to about one-fifth part, and in this particular case, when the author sets down the value of the fish as £150, the Warden's share was only £25. Of course the fishermen are all well aware beforehand of the Warden's claim; and the astonishment and remonstrances with the agent, so pathetically described by the author, are altogether to be set down to that vivid fancy, which has made gods out of savages, and turned man-eating Typee into a paradise.

The author goes on thus:—"In a word, the whale was seized and sold, and his Grace the Duke of Wellington received the money. (This as I have shewn, cannot be true.) Thinking, that viewed in some particular lights, the case might by a bare possibility in some small degree be deemed, under the circumstances, a rather hard one, an honest clergyman of the town respectfully addressed a note to his Grace, begging him to take the case of those unfortunate mariners into full consideration. To which my Lord Duke in substance replied, (both letters were published) that he had already done so, and received the money, and would be obliged to the reverend gentleman, if for the future, he (the reverend gentleman) would decline meddling with other people's business."

It might be remarked on this, that after all, law is law, and good or bad, until altered, it must be obeyed, as none have been more obstinate in enforcing than the Americans themselves—witness the Fugitive Slave Law; but "mark how plain a tale will set him down." In the first place, it was not an "honest clergyman" who wrote, and who might have been excused as having the welfare of his parishoners at heart, but a meddling busy-body of a surgeon, who had no more to do with the matter than Moby-Dick himself, unless may-be he wanted the Duke's autograph. Secondly, the letter was by no means respectful, but on the contrary, decidedly impertinent. Lastly,—a circumstance which takes the last sting out of this low piece of slander, and which, for his own sake, I hope Melville was ignorant of, is that, after a short time, the Duke returned the money.
I am, Sir, &c.,

FAIR PLAY.

Our correspondent is thanked for not abusing us, that we did not take up the cudgels on behalf of the Duke; but libels on great men may very well be left to themselves. If "Fair Play" desire another subject for his indignation, he will find one in Mr. Horace Greeley's "Glances at Europe," lately published here. That author, in allusion to intemperance, gravely states that the aristocracy of England "drink, almost to a man"!!

Moby-Dick in Zion's Herald and Wesleyan Journal

Published in Boston, the important Methodist newspaper Zion's Herald was edited from 1840 until 1852 by Abel Stevens (1815-1897). Daniel Wise took over in 1852. In 1856, future Northwestern president Erastus Otis Haven replaced Wise as editor of Zion's Herald.

From Zion's Herald and Wesleyan Journal, November 26, 1851:
MESSRS. HARPERS have issued another work from the pen of Herman Melville, entitled Moby-Dick, or The Whale; it relates to marine life as connected with whaling, and abounds in the well known qualities of the author. The London Athenaeum says that it cannot recall another sketcher who has given the poetry of the ship, her voyages and her crew in a manner at all resembling his. He is not only thoroughly original, but combines a great variety of rare excellences. We take exception to some of his moral views, but acknowledge his attractive talents. Few books are more readable than his.—Mussey & Co., Boston.
Transcribed below from the same newspaper, notices of White-Jacket and The Confidence-Man:

1850
WHITE JACKET, or the World in a Man-of-War, by Melville, has been issued by the Harpers. Like all Mr. Melville's works there is a remarkable air of veri-similitude about this narrative; and we learn from a note on the fly-leaf, that he spent more than a year as an ordinary seaman on board of an American man-of-war. There are irresistably attractive pictures of marine life and adventure in the volume. Mr. Melville has the art of giving life-like interest to his characters, without apparent effort or exaggeration. He comes the nearest to De Foe of any of our later authors.—Mussey, Boston
--Zion's Herald
and Wesleyan Journal, April 10, 1850
1857
THE CONFIDENCE MAN: His Masquerade. By Herman Melville, author of "Piazza Tales," "Omoo," "Typee," &c.—This is a quietly humorous book, conveying some good lessons in a quaint, strange style. The author has had many readers, and though this book does not promise such adventure as the former publications of the author, it exhibits the same descriptive talent and power.—Dix, Edwards & Co., New York: Whittemore, Niles & Hall, Boston--Zion's Herald and Wesleyan Journal, April 22, 1857

Notice of Moby-Dick in the Louisville Daily Journal

From the Louisville Daily Journal, December 13, 1851:
NEW WORKS.—Moby-Dick, or the Whale.— By Herman Melville. New York: Harper & Brothers, publishers.—This is a strange, wild book, in which there are many features of extraordinary interest and many others that might have been profitably omitted. It is a singular compound of what is true in relation to whaling and what is utterly false, and yet the volume will be eagerly read, as all the volumes of Mr. Melville have been. We hope that Mr. Melville, as he has attained to great perfection in mingling fact and fiction together, will now be satisfied with his achievements in that direction, and give us books in some other departments of literature, such as his great and various talents eminently qualify him to produce.
Earlier Melville notices in the same newspaper:

TypeeA Peep at Polynesian Life—This is a new and revised edition of Melville's first and eminently successful work. Typee has been greatly praised both in Europe and this country, and is certainly one of the most fascinating books in the language. If any of our readers have not become acquainted with Mr. Melville's works, let them read Typee, and they cannot afterwards resist the temptation to read those charming books, Omoo and Mardi. --Louisville Daily Journal, July 19, 1849
RedburnHis First Voyage.—Herman Mellville, the author of this book attained great popularity by the production of his first work, "Typee." Since then, each book that he has written has been eagerly sought for by a very large circle of admirers. Redburn, though inferior in interest to Typee, is yet very decidedly interesting, and will amply repay perusal. --Louisville Daily Journal, December 5, 1849

Clement C. Moore's "Prometheus" in the Port-Folio, 1805

When I argued for including verse translations in the data set of Clement C. Moore's poetry, I had not yet seen the original preface that Moore wrote when submitting his lines on "Prometheus" to The Port-Folio, over the pseudonym "Hermes":
"I have taken such liberties, that, by a squeamish critic, it would hardly be considered as a translation."  --Clement C. Moore, 1805
Along with the prose introduction, Moore's lines from Aeschylus were first published, in the Port Folio on May 4, 1805. In 1806, the Prometheus verses appeared again with other of Moore's poems (credited to "L.") at the end of A new translation with notes of the Third Satire of Juvenal. Much later, "Prometheus" was collected in Moore's 1844 Poems. Interesting revisions in the 1844 volume include pruning of commas and exclamation marks, restoration of the 1805 reading "feverish brain" (1806: fever'd brain), and in the last stanza, keeping the 1806 revision of the 1805 end-rhyme rung/sung to more standard preterite forms, rang/sang.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.

MR. OLDSCHOOL,

I submit to your judgment the following translation of one of the choruses in the Prometheus of Aeschylus; though I have taken such liberties, that, by a squeamish critic, it would hardly be considered as a translation. Prometheus is supposed to be seen chained to a rock, by the command of Jupiter, for having conveyed fire from heaven for the use of man; and for having instructed mortals in many useful arts, of which it had been decreed that they should remain ignorant. The chorus is composed of Sea Nymphs, one of whom addresses Prometheus as follows.
Oh, may no thought of mine e'er move
The vengeance of almighty Jove!
Ne'er shall my incense cease to rise,
Due to the Powers, who rule the skies,
From all the watery domains
O'er which my Father Ocean reigns.
And till his towering billows cease
To roll, lull'd in eternal peace,
Ne'er shall an impious word of mine
Irreverence mark to power divine.
How lightly flew my former days,
With not a cloud to dim the rays
Of hope, which promis'd peace to send,
And golden pleasures without end!
But what a blast now mars my bliss,
Prometheus, at a scene like this!
While thus thy tortures I behold,
I shudder at the thoughts, so bold,
Which could impel thee to withstand,
For mortal man, Jove's dread command.

Where's now the aid from mortals due
For all thy deeds of love so true?
Alas! their shadowy strength is vain
As dreams which haunt the feverish brain.


How then can fleeting shades like these
Oppose the Thunderer's decrees?
Such thoughts will rise; such strains will flow,
Prometheus, at thy bitter woe.

How different were the strains we sung,
When the blest bridal chamber rung
With voices of the choral throng,
Who pour'd the Hymeneal song
To thee, and to thy joy, thy pride,
Hesione, thy blooming bride!

HERMES.
For his base-text, Moore takes the 2nd Choral Ode from lines 526-560 of Prometheus Bound.
526-560. Second Stasimon. The Chorus, deeply impressed with the intensity of Prometheus' sufferings, offer a fervent prayer that they may never come into conflict with the will of Zeus. It is good to live in peace. What profit is there in the aid of helpless mortals?  --The Prometheus Vinctus of Aeschylus


Confirming the point of the earlier melvilliana post Settle your brains, the word brain proves a good Moore-marker, distinctive to Moore's individual style and not merely a reflex of his Greek source. Compare Moore's four verse lines ending in "feverish brain" to alternative English translations:

Herbert Weir Smyth via Theoi:
Come, my friend, how mutual was your reciprocity? Tell me, what kind of help is there in creatures of a day? What aid? Did you not see the helpless infirmity, no better than a dream, in which the blind generation of men is shackled?
G. M. Cookson via Internet Classics Archive:
What prowess for thy bold essay
Shall champion thee from men of mortal race,
The petty insects of a passing day?
Saw'st not how puny is the strength they spend?
With few, faint steps walking as dreams and blind....
 G. Theodoridis via Poetry in Translation:
The mortals have given you no recompense, Prometheus, so what gain is there in your cunning for both, you and for the ephemeral creatures? Could you not foresee this? Was it just like a weak dream to you, where the blind race of men stay fettered for ever?
Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Gansevoort Melville as Broadway exquisite

View of Broadway via New York Public Library Digital Collections
From the Louisville Courier Journal, July 19, 1845:
GANSEVOORT MELVILLE.--The appointment of this Broadway exquisite and pink of modern Democracy, as the Secretary of Legation near her Britannic Majesty, does not meet with the approbation of the more respectable portion of the Democratic Press. The New York Evening Post thus notices the appointment:
ANOTHER APPOINTMENT.--The Union of Tuesday, makes the following announcement:
"We understand that Mr. Gansevoort Melville, of New York, is going out to London as Secretary of the Legation. It is not yet decided whether Mr. Melville will go with Mr. McLane on the 16th of July, or on the next steamer. The appointment was offered to him without solicitation for the office."
We think this a bad appointment. The person selected is scarcely qualified for the office, either by his abilities or his character.
What is a Broadway exquisite?
As in Paris, a great deal of New York life is spent out of doors. During summer, the oppressive heat drives people into the open air, particularly in the cool of the evening; and during winter they are tempted out to enjoy the pleasures of sleighing. At the close of a summer afternoon, Broadway, particularly between the Battery and the Park, is crowded with promenaders of both sexes, generally dressed in the newest cuts, and in the most showy manner; for the New Yorkers take their fashions direct from Paris, in which they come much nearer the Parisians than we do. It is impossible to meet with a more finished coxcomb than a Broadway exquisite, or a "Broadway swell," which is the designation attached to him on the spot. Whilst multitudes are promenading to and fro, there are generally groups of strangers, either seated in comfortable armchairs, disposed in dozens on the wide pavement, in front of the hotels, or standing upon the steps leading into them, picking their teeth, to indicate to the passers by that they have just risen from a champagne dinner.  --Alexander Mackay, The Western World
 Related post:

Ruth K. MacDonald on Moore's high style and influences

Back in 1847, William Alfred Jones perceived the "classical" element as the strongest and most essential feature of Clement C. Moore's poetry, appealingly complicated by "a mingled happy vein of delicate humor and pathetic sentiment."

Ruth K. MacDonald got to the heart of Moore's high classical style in her 1983 article, Santa Claus in America: The Influence of "The Night Before Christmas" which I unfortunately overlooked in the recent post here on Moore's facility with Homeric similes. Professor MacDonald provides the basic foundation for understanding Moore's poem as a literary effort, with specific and apparently still much-needed attention to its literary form, style, and antecedents:
... But Moore wrote in rhymed, closed couplets, as eighteenth-century poets had, and used many devices from classical poetry, such as epic simile—"As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly, / When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, / So, up to the housetop his coursers they flew. . ."—metonymy—"Mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, / Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap. . ."—and high diction, such as "More rapid than eagles his coursers they came." The description of St. Nick's physical appearance—"His eyes—how they twinkled!. . ."—reads like a catalog of the virtues of some Greek hero from the Iliad or the Odyssey.

Moore also incorporated many ideas from other writers into his poem. He may have borrowed the idea of reindeer from The Children's Friend: A New-Year's Present, to Little Ones from Five to Twelve which was published in New York in 1821, the first work to mention reindeer in connection with St. Nick. The names for the reindeer, first given in Moore's poem, may have been derived from this alliterative catalog of fairies in Michael Drayton's Nymphidia....  --Ruth K. MacDonald via Project MUSE
Professor MacDonald footnotes the counter-claim for Henry Livingston's authorship (investing it with unmerited legitimacy), citing Tristram Potter Coffin's The Book of Christmas Folklore.


Hop and Mop and Drop so clear, 
Pip and Trip and Skip that were 
To Mab, their sovereign, ever dear, 
      Her special maids of honour ; 
Fib and Tib and Pink and Pin, 
Tick and Quick and Jill and Jin, 
Tit and Nit and Wap and Win, 
      The train that wait upon her.  
--Michael Drayton. Nymphidia, The Court of Fairy

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

New York Review on the poetry of Clement C. Moore: "ripeness of feeling with an ease of versification"

Robert Walter Weir, Saint Nicholas

From the notice of the New-York Book of Poetry in the New York Review for October 1837:
A visit from St. Nicholas, by Clement C. Moore, is one of the most appropriate passages of the New-York Book.
THE SAINT OF MANNAHATTA.

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 laugh'd, 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.—p. 219.
These lines have lately been illustrated by Weir's painting of St. Nicholas, where we have the very impersonation, the second self, of the jolly Saint, with his happy Dutch visnomy, full of broad enjoyment, twinkling grey eyes, expanded mouth, and warm rubicund nose—a more lumbering Dutch Puck or Robin Goodfellow, just ascending the chimney after his humorsome labours, while the scripture tiles round the fireplace and rich oak mantel throw a ruddy light on this worthy representative of the Russian Calendar.

Not less pleasing, though in another way, a thoughtful melancholy mood, are the Lines 'To a Lady,' 'From a Father to his Children,' 'From a Husband to his Wife,' by the same hand. They combine a ripeness of feeling with an ease of versification that might profitably have been employed on wider subjects. With the Father's reverie from the last-mentioned of these poems we conclude our notice.
A HUSBAND TO HIS WIFE.

The dreams of Hope that round us play,
   And lead along our early youth,
How soon, alas! they fade away
   Before the sober rays of Truth.

And yet there are some joys in life
   That Fancy's pencil never drew;
For Fancy's self, my own dear wife,
   Ne'er dreamt the bliss I owe to you.
******
Hope comes, with balmy influence fraught,
   To heal the wound that rends my heart,
Whene'er it meets the dreadful thought
   That all our earthly ties must part.

Bless'd hope, beyond earth's narrow space,
   Within high Heaven's eternal bound,
Again to see your angel face,
   With all your cherubs clustering round.

Reflected images are seen
   Upon this transient stream of Time,
Through mists and shades that intervene,
   Of things eternal and subhme. 
Then let us rightly learn to know
   These heavenly messengers of love:
They teach us whence true pleasures flow,
   And win our thoughts to joys above.
 

Clement C. Moore's "To the Sisters of Charity" in the New York American

First published over the pseudonym "Silvio" in the New York American (April 10, 1834), Clement C. Moore's lines "To the Sisters of Charity" were revised and reprinted in The Churchman some months later. The poem circulated in other contemporary periodicals, most notably in Catholic newspapers and magazines, during the summer and fall of 1834. Ten years later, Moore reprinted it again in his 1844 Poems.

New York American for the Country - April 15, 1834

Found so far in:
  • The New York American, April 10, 1834
  • American Railroad Journal, April 12, 1834
  • New York American - For the Country, April 15, 1834 
  • Philadelphia Catholic Herald, August 28, 1834 [Here and elsewhere, Catholic editors credit the immediate Protestant source: "From the Churchman ! ! !"]
  • Cincinnati Catholic Telegraph, August 29, 1834
  • United States Catholic Miscellany, September 13, 1834
TO THE SISTERS OF CHARITY.

For you, ye heaven-sent Sisters, pure and meek,
No idle, flattering accents I intend--
I know, full well, no earthly meed you seek;
Above all mortal praise your thoughts ascend.
Undaunted intimates of death and pain!
You heed no minstrelsy of earth-strung lyre:
The softest siren notes would sound in vain
To ears impatient for the heavenly choir.

But who that treads life's rough and weary way,
If some fair prospect open on his sight,
Seeks not his fellow wanderers' step to stay,
And make them partners in his new delight?

Turn then, all ye who, with indignant mind,
Behold the vileness of this mortal state;
Where craft and guile on ev'ry hand you find,
With all the forms of selfishness and hate--

Here let your misanthropic brow unbend,
And warmest feelings of the heart expand;
For, if to earth some gleams of Heaven descend,
They sure must light upon this sacred band.

And ye who sport beneath the golden beams
That o'er youth's jocund morning shed their light,
To whom the downward path of life still seems
Immeasurably distant from the sight;

Oh! think me not a censor cold and stern,
A frowning foe to all that's bright and gay,
If, for a moment, I would have you turn
And see these Sisters tread their holy way.

I would not have fierce superstition's power
Bear down your minds, in sullen gloom to grope;
I would not overcloud one radiant hour,
Nor crush one rising bud of youthful hope:

Yet, stay awhile, nor all your moments waste
For joys inconstant as the vernal sky:
You here may deep, though silent, pleasure taste,
Whose impress on the soul shall never die.

For how can earth present a goodlier scene,
Or what can waken rapture more refin'd,
Than dauntless courage, silent and serene,
With maiden gentleness and love combin'd?

Behold in yon receptacle of wo,
Where victims of disease assembled lie,
That gliding form, with noiseless footstep go,
From couch to couch, her angel task to ply:

She dwells mid sounds and sights of pain and death;
The feeble plaint, the involuntary cry,
The fierce convulsive throw, the infectious breath,
The heaving groan, the deep-drawn burning sigh.

Oh! child of frolic, in whose giddy brain
Delusive fancy's ever on the wing,
Think you this gentle maid feels nought but pain?
That in her path no lovely flowrets spring?

Gay visions round your pillow nightly throng--
The morning ramble, and the evening dance,
The rout, the feast, the soul entrancing song,
The flatterer's whisper, and the lover's glance.

Around her couch no brilliant phantoms play;
No airy spectre of past pleasure flies;
But deeds of mercy which have mark'd the day
Give tranquil slumber to her tear-stain'd eyes.

They're precious gems, those tears that wet her cheek
Worth more than all that earth or ocean know:
The noblest language of the heart they speak;
From high and holy extasy they flow.

Her feelings ye alone can understand
Whose deeds have wak'd the sufferer's grateful prayer;
Who've felt the pressure of the dying hand,
The rich reward of all your pious care.

No sad or strange reverse her pleasures dread;
Of time and chance, they mock the strong control.
Her heaven-aspiring virtues ever shed
A cloudless light upon her peaceful soul.

The follies that command this world's esteem,
Within her spirit find no resting place;
Like idle motes that cross the solar beam,
They serve its bright and changeless way to trace.

Yes! such this sacred band, such peace is theirs;
Unchang'd when days shine bright, or tempests lower
Through life they pass, untainted by its cares;
When death draws near, they gladly hail his power.

And then, like birds that seek a better clime,
On swift untiring wing their spirits rise,
And gladly leave this turbid stream of Time,
To take their homeward progress thro' the skies.
SILVIO.

Clement C. Moore's poem "To a Lady" in the Port Folio

Clement C. Moore was 26 years old, almost, when he published the poem below in the Philadelphia Port Folio over the pseudonym "Simplicius." On December 21, 1805 The Port Folio published Moore's "Congratulatory lines addressed to the fashionable people of New-York" as "ORIGINAL POETRY," although these "Lines" ostensibly "By a Lady" had already appeared in the New York Evening Post, November 27, 1805. The following year, both Port Folio poems appeared with other of Moore's poems over the signature of "L.," in A new translation with notes of the Third Satire of Juvenal.

In 1837, Moore authorized publication of "To a Lady" (dated "1804") and three other poems including "A Visit From St. Nicholas" in The New-York Book of Poetry. In 1844, Moore included both 1805 Port Folio poems with his collected Poems, printed there under the title To a Lady and Lines....From a Veteran Belle.

Moore's 1844 volume deletes the original 1805 preface of "To a Lady" which explained the motive for the poem and identified its initial audience--not the poet's wife (Moore did not get married until 1813) but a young mother of his acquaintance. Among other interesting revisions (for example, deletion of "vermil cheek," revision of "tender mother" to "Fond Mother";  "rules the skies" changed to "thron'd above the skies"; and altering the surround/ground rhyme in the closing stanza to enshroud/cloud), Moore cut one whole stanza which does not appear in the 1837 New-York Book of Poetry and 1844 Poems:
Vain thought! the evening's firm resolve
We break, ere morning clouds dissolve;
   Then boast the life we'd lead,
Would heaven but infancy restore.
Thus o'er an idle dream we pore;
   But slight the waking deed.

The Port Folio, June 1, 1805
ORIGINAL POETRY.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.

[Verses, addressed to a lady, who maintains, that the pleasures of childhood, are not to be desired in comparison of those, which we enjoy at a more advanced period of life.]

Thy dimpled girls, and rosy boys,
Rekindle in thy heart the joys,
   Which bless'd thy tender years.
Unheeded, fleet the hours away;
For while thy cherubs round thee play,
   New life thy bosom cheers.

Once more, thou tell'st me, I may taste,
Ere envious Time this frame shall waste,
   My infant pleasures flown--
Ah! there's a ray of lustre mild,
Illumes the bosom of a child,
   To age, alas! scarce known.

Not for my infant pleasures past
I mourn; those joys, which flew so fast,
   They too, had many a stain.
But for the mind so pure and light,
Which made these joys so fair, so bright,
   I sigh; and sigh in vain.

Well I remember you, blest hours!
Your sun-beams bright, your transient showers,
Thoughtless, I saw you fly;
For distant ills then caus'd no dread;
Nor cared I for the moments fled;
For memory call'd no sigh.

My parents dear then rul'd each thought;
No blame I fear'd, no praise I sought,
   But what their love bestow'd.
Full soon I learnt each meaning look;
Nor e'er the angry glance mistook
   For that where rapture glow'd.

'Twas then, when evening call'd to rest,
I'd seek a father, to request
   His benediction mild.
A mother's love more loud would speak;
With kiss on kiss she'd print my cheek,
   And bless her darling child.

Thy lightest mists and clouds, sweet sleep!
Thy purest opiates thou dost keep,
   On infancy to shed.
No guilt there checks thy soft embrace;
And not e'en tears and sobs can chace
   Thee from an infant's bed.

The trickling tears, which flow'd at night,
Oft' hast thou stayed, till morning light
   Dispell'd my little woes.
So fly before the sunbeam's power
The remnants of the evening shower,
   Which wet the early rose.

Farewel, bless'd hours! full fast ye flew;
And that which made your bliss so true,
   Ye would not leave behind.
The glow of youth ye could not leave;
But why, why cruelly bereave
   Me of my artless mind?

The fair unwrinkled front of youth,
The vermil cheek, the smile of truth
   Deep lines of care soon mark.
But can now power preserve the soul,
Unwarp'd by pleasure's soft controul;
   Unmov'd by passions dark?

These changes, which o'ertake our frame,
Alas! are emblems of the same,
   Which on the mind attend.
Yet, who reviews the course he's run,
But thinks, were life once more begun,
   Unspotted it should end?

Vain thought! the evening's firm resolve
We break, ere morning clouds dissolve;
   Then boast the life we'd lead,
Would heaven but infancy restore.
Thus o'er an idle dream we pore;
   But slight the waking deed.

Thou tender mother! hope thy bosom warms,
That on the pratler in thine arms
   Heaven's choicest gifts will flow.
Thus let thy prayer incessant rise;
Content, if he who rules the skies,
   But half the boon bestow.

"Oh thou! whose view is ne'er estrang'd
"From innocence; preserve unchang'd
   "Through life my darling's mind.
"Unchang'd its truth and purity;
"Still fearless of futurity;
   "Still artless, though refin'd.

"As oft' his anxious nurse hath caught,
"And sav'd his little hand that sought
   "The bright, but treach'rous blaze;
"So, may fair wisdom keep him sure
"From glittering vices, which allure
   "Through life's delusive maze!

"Oh! may the ills which man surround,
"Like passing shadows on the ground,
   "Obscure, not stain, my boy.
"Then, may he gently drop to rest,
"Calm as a child by sleep oppres'd;
   "And wake to endless joy!

SIMPLICIUS



Monday, February 13, 2017

Two Homeric similes

A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too. --Poems by Clement C. Moore
In addition to the prime example of Homeric or epic simile in "A Visit from St. Nicholas," the poetical device is exemplified (albeit for mock-heroic effect) Moore's "Lines Addressed to the Young Ladies who Attended Mr. Chilton's Lectures in Natural Philosophy, Anno 1804-5":

MR. CHILTON'S LECTURES
For, as a fluid vainly strives to save
A heavier mass from sinking in its wave,
So, in the mind made up of trifles light,
All weighty truths, o'erwhelm'd sink out of sight--Mr. Chilton's Lectures
The trigram "out of sight" occurs also in Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas." Speaking of trigrams, I notice that MacDonald P. Jackson undercounts Moore's, in part by not including "Charles Elphinstone" in the Moore data set. Jackson reports that "to the skies" occurs 3x but a quick search at Mary Van Deusen's Searchable Text for Moore poems yields 5 hits for "to the skies":
May thy glad spirit to the skies ascend  --Jeanette / New Year
He mounts in spirit to the skies.  --The Organist
The zephyrs bore me to the skies:  --To the Nymphs of Mount Harmony
On soaring pinions to the skies.  --Old Dobbin
She follow'd, soon, her brother to the skies.  --Charles Elphinstone
Also, the trigram "not a word" occurs twice in Moore's poetry--not once as Jackson reports, failing to  include one instance in "Charles Elphinstone":
"She utter'd not a word; but such a flush..."  --Charles Elphinstone
Notice the larger parallel structure here, in which the pronoun + past-tense verb "utter'd" grammatically matches "he spoke" in "A Visit from St Nicholas."

Jackson credits Henry Livingston, Jr. only with the shared trigram of "the top of," ignoring two instances in Moore's manuscript poem "Irish Valentine":
"The top of the morn to ye! this blessed day,"  --Irish Valentine
"And I thought it was best, at the top of my letter,"  --Irish Valentine
So here's something else that merits further investigation with an improved methodology, testing to see if Moore's manuscript poems including "Charles Elphinstone" and Biography of the heart of Clement C. Moore exhibit any other trigrams shared with "A Visit from St. Nicholas."

Bingo! got one: "in a moment." Another: "the breast of," 2x. Yet another in Elphinstone: "of his eye." And another! but not in "Charles Elphinstone," this one features a SIMILE AND TRIGRAM that Jackson missed somehow in the last of Moore's lovely "Lines Written after a Snow-Storm": "transient as the snow). In Moore's The Pig and the Rooster, Jackson either missed or wrongly excluded the trigram "turn'd with a"; Moore's Pig "turn'd [turned] with a grunt" like Moore's Santa "turned with a jerk." With more complete and accurate counts, the evidence of trigrams overwhelmingly supports Moore's authorship of "A Visit from St. Nicholas."

But getting back to similes. A Visit from St. Nicholas brings a sackful, 11 similes in 56 lines:
  1.  "I flew like a flash"
  2. coursers "More rapid than eagles"
  3. "As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly... [Homeric or epic simile]
  4. "And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack."
  5. "his cheeks were like roses"
  6. "his nose like a cherry"
  7.  mouth "drawn up like a bow"
  8. "the beard of his chin was as white as the snow"
  9. "the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath"
  10. "like a bowlful of jelly"
  11.  "And away they all flew like the down of a thistle."
Generally sparing with similes, Henry Livingston, Jr. tends to employ figurative language without using "like" or "as." When they do occur in his Rebuses and elsewhere, similes are often cliched: quick as lightning (As on a summer's fervid day); "high as the stars" (Monarchs Rebus); "keen as the thorn yet as sweet as the rose" in War Rebus; and again sweet as roses in "To Miss ----- -----." Delightful exceptions are the fashionable hair-do that "swells like a knoll" in "Acknowledgment,"and Aunt Amy's leaping "like an otter" into his brother's arms, as Livingston conceives the scene in his verse "letter to my brother Beekman." Another one worth noting is the arithmetical simile using "than," where Livingston wishes master Timmy Dwight the fractionally bigger lunch: "More than Ben's as five to three." The profusion of similes in The writing of Hezekiah seems unusual for Livingston and possibly indicates a different writer.

The use of similes by Moore and Livingston invites statistical analysis for relative rates of frequency. Frequency rates for the use of similes could supply an interesting and valuable kind of internal evidence of their different poetical styles. The raw counts for the word like in Mary Van Deusen's Searchable Text for Moore and Searchable Text for Livingston are spectacularly revealing of the essential difference, even allowing for Moore's larger corpus of work and inevitable deductions from both totals for non-comparative usages.
"LIKE" raw count
Moore = 140  [excluding by my count 5 instances = 135]
Livingston = 18  [excluding 1 =  17, + 23 for Henry Plus = 40 absolute max]
(Henry Plus = 23)
The extended simile, a characteristic feature of Moore's narrative verse, is not in Livingston's repertoire of poetical devices. Nothing in Livingston's entire body of known poetry suggests that he could have written the Homeric simile in "A Visit from St Nicholas," comparing the upward flight of Santa's "coursers" (Moore's word in A Trip to Saratoga, used nowhere by Livingston) to the natural phenomenon of windblown leaves.

Indeed, Livingston seldom works in a straightforward narrative mode. He is more typically a poet of emblematic situations and conceits. Most characteristically, Livingston gravitates to allegory, apostrophe, and personification. Along with his country humor, Livingston's poetical letters (to my brother Beekman; to master Timmy Dwight") exhibit a kind of prosopopeia, representing speech or action by an absent or imaginary person. Elsewhere, too, Livingston favors the rhetorical device of personification, especially allegorical personification (for example, "Lux'ry and her sister Folly" in "An Invitation to the Country"; "Hilarity danc'd" in "To a gentleman on his leaving Pakepsy"). Livingston's metaphors very often support a central governing conceit, as in the allegory of the vine and oak, and the moral fable of birds, beasts and bat.

When Livingston does offer a simile, his impulse characteristically is to change rather than extend it. Thus, in the 1787 Carrier Address, Livingston pictures duelists "bold and bluff as Hector." Rather than continue in the Homeric vein, with further allusions to the Trojan war, Livingston immediately (and anachronistically) gives his modern Hectors "pistols" to brandish "Like lions."

Clement C. Moore regularly employs similes and extends them at will, particularly in his longer narrative efforts. Below are additional examples of extended similes from other poems by Clement C. Moore including "A Trip to Saratoga" and "Charles Elphinstone."

SARATOGA
 [On attractive yet morally grounded belles:]
They're like the plaything children call a Witch;
Made of a weight attach'd to somewhat light.
Howe'er you twist or twirl it, toss or twitch,
It has a saving power that brings it right.  --A Trip to Saratoga 50
Men of deep learning, or of sterling worth,
Were in the crowd conceal'd and to be sought;
Just as the finer metals, deep in earth 
Are mostly found, ere to the view they're brought.
Perchance some careless genius might be told
By flashes he unconscious threw around,
That seem'd like grains of sparkling virgin gold
Strewn by the hand of Nature o'er the ground.  A Trip to Saratoga 52-3
While rapid motion, as the carriage flies,
Stirs up new life and spirit in the soul,
Just as the mantling foam and bubbles rise
In generous wine that's dash'd into the bowl  --A Trip to Saratoga 42-3
Such pleasure 'twas to dwell upon the thought,
They almost wish'd the motion to restrain.
Just as we see a child delay to taste
Some ripe and tempting fruit 'tis wont to prize;
Nor will it to the dainty pleasure haste;
But still puts off the feast, and fondly eyes.  --A Trip to Saratoga 60
FROM A VETERAN BELLE
Society is like a running wheel.... From a Veteran Belle 142-3
CHARLES ELPHINSTONE
The hell-engender'd harpy flitting round,
Like to a web-wing'd bat, in sultry climes,
That darts its noiseless flight round lighted hall
And sheds a horror o'er th' assembled throng.
This sight th' infernal swarm could ne'er abide;
But shrank, like midnight thieves who unawares
Find sudden light break on their stealthy steps,
And watchful guardians set to oppose their way.

"We graft a devil on that tender plant,
"With it to grow and be with it but one,
"And make it yield, in time, the fruits of hell,
"Till, like unto a worthless canker'd branch,
"It be pluck'd off and cast into the flame.

Yet was there naught of sullen discontent
To cloud her pallid cheek and brow serene;
For, e'en when gushing tears betray'd her woe,
A placid smile would from her features beam,
Like sunshine breaking through a gentle rain.

With this last breath his trembling soul came forth;
And Cosmocrator rush'd to bear it off.
But, from the host of heaven a spirit came,
And snatch'd it from his grasp - and George was sav'd!
A bird, thus, floating on a rapid stream,
Whose violence forbids it to take wing,
Just as it rushes o'er the cataract's brow
To meet destruction in the roaring gulph,
Is caught and borne upon the viewless air,
And, circling, wings its joyous flight aloft.*

* This is said to happen with water fowl on the rapids of Niagara.
 Related post:

Friday, February 10, 2017

Happy Christmas; or, don't get me started on Dunder and Blixem

...the then extremely rare “Happy Christmas” rather than “Merry Christmas”
--Response by MacDonald P. Jackson
"Happy Christmas" always sounded British to me, and even now makes me think of John and Yoko. The earliest examples below might have influenced any American anglophile. My favorite has to be Machiavel's--what, Irish drinking song?
happy Christmas, and a merry New Year, your Cellars full of Money, and your Pockets full of Beer....
The regular choice of "happy" over "merry" in many texts by clergymen and other pious writers is neatly explained below, in the 1752 letter to his wife by John Newton (published in 1810). While still active in the African slave trade (twenty years before he composed the words to "Amazing Grace"), Newton distinguishes mirth and happiness, in his mind "two very different things." Our Anglican moralists seem to prefer "happy" over "merry" because for them, "merry" implies inebriation. A happy Christmas, as opposed to a merry one, means a sober Christmas. Clergymen and missionaries in particular do not want to encourage holiday drunkenness and debauchery, or anything like the carnival rites that Clement C. Moore (as brilliantly demonstrated by Stephen Nissenbaum in The Battle for Christmas) aimed to tame in "A Visit from St. Nicholas." Say now. Perhaps with Santa's parting "Happy Christmas to all," Moore the sturdy Episcopalian and inveterate moralizer has managed to slip a little didactic pill in with the sugar-plums, when we weren't looking.

Plenty more where these came from. Perhaps I will expand the inventory, further on up the road....

 1676
"I Send You this to express my hearty Wishes, That You may enjoy a Happy Christmass and New-Year." --George Wheeler, An account of the churches, or places of assembly, of the primitive Christians
MY wishes to your lad[yshi]p] and Community, are of a most happy Christmasse... I present you with The voice of Truth, the Angel of peace who giving himself unto us, gave us the first happy Christ-masse.... --F. G., The voyce of truth or The high way leading to true peace composed in Latine by M.G. and translated into Inglish by F.G.
1684
"it hath been no holy nor happy Christmass, if it hath not prevailed with us to resolve to be better men...." --Denis Grenville, The compleat conformist, or, Seasonable advice concerning strict conformity
1687
Merry song fit to be sung at Christmas. The Tune, Oh Mother Roger.
Now, now this happy Christmas Season,
I present you with Delight;
[...]nce it is no more than Reason,
For to pass away each Night....--Chaucer, Junior - Canterbury Tales
1693
"O the happy Christmas this will prove to us, in case we can but resolve to practice Humility and Charity!" --La Mothe, Two discourses concerning the divinity of Our Saviour
1707
"I wish you a happy Christmas and New Year."
--Mrs. Frances Shaftoe's Narrative
1712
26th. I was to wish the duke of Ormond a happy Christmas, and give half a crown to his porter. It will cost me a dozen half crowns among such fellows.  --Letters, written by Jonathan Swift
1749
"Please permit me to wish all your senatorical Rank, happy Christmas, and a merry New Year, your Cellars full of Money, and your Pockets full of Beer a l' Irelandoite." --Machiavel's Letter to the Lords and Commons
 January 3, 1750
"Most people would think it too late, to wish you a happy Christmas." --Original Letters of the Rev. James Hervey; also in Herveiana (London, 1823)
1771
I hope you have had a happy Christmas at Leeds. We have kept holidays here indeed. --Works of the Reverend George Whitefield, M. A. Vol. 2 (London, 1771)
1799
"To conclude: Do your duty to God and men; enjoy the company of your friends and neighbors; eat and drink with strict temperance and sobriety; and then you will not fail to have, what I heartily wish you, a COMFORTABLE AND AN HAPPY CHRISTMAS." --Admonitions for Sunday-Schools (London, 1799)
 1800
"[we] are coming down to the vicarage to keep the Christmas:--and a happy Christmas 'tis likely to be for honest folks: as for they that are not honest, it is not for them to expect to be happy, at Christmas or any other time." --Maria Edgeworth, The Parent's Assistant 3rd edition (London, 1800)
1807
An Advent spent in a devout and penitential manner, cannot fail of conducting thee to a happy Christmas.  --Richard Challoner, Meditations or Considerations upon Christian Truths and Duties
1808
 "One happy Christmas laid upon the shelf " --Poem "A Chapter on Logic." Collected in The Spirit of the Public Journals for 1808; and frequently reprinted, for example in the Philadelphia Mirror of Taste and Dramatic Censor, May 1, 1810; and the Cortland Village Museum, October 9, 1820
1809
"... we were looking forward to a happy Christmas time last December, when one of them said, ' Will anybody think of the little sick children at the Union ?' "--Emma Sheppard, Sunshine in the Workhouse
1810
I wish you, my dear friend, a very happy Christmas; may the blessed Jesus himself "bring you good tidings of great joy!" --George Russell, Letters, Essays and Poems on Religious Subjects
"I NOW sit down to wish you a happy Christmas; a merry one, is a frequent phrase, but that falls far short of my desire. For I have often found mirth and happiness to be two very different things...  --Works of the Rev. John Newton
1811
Here, and in the neighbouring villages, I spent my Christmas, and a happy Christmas too. --"Mode of celebrating Christmas in Yorkshire" in The Gentleman's Magazine
"After spending a very happy Christmas with his family, he set off again for Charlestown [South Carolina], where he arrived January 3, 1741; and on the 16th, went on board for England.  --Memoirs of the Life and Character of the Late Rev. George Whitefield
Saturday 25, we had a happy Christmas-day.  --Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine
1813
"I wish you both a happy christmas, and that your holidays, may be days of the Son of man...."--Gleanings of the Vintage
1815
a drunkard who, to the great joy of his wife and family, is reformed, having learned how much his temporal comfort is improved by his new habits, consoles himself by anticipating the superior happiness he shall enjoy this Christmas, compared to the riot and intoxication of the last festival season.... this will be the best way of enjoying a happy Christmas. --Thomas Pole, A History of the Origin and Progress of Adult Schools

1820
"You have now, my dear children," continued he, "enjoyed a merry and a happy Christmas, have you not?"  --The Welcome Visitor, or, The Good Uncle
1822
Never did I spend a more happy Christmas. --Missionary Register, January 1, 1822
"Christmas. To us this has been a happy Christmas, by the arrival of letters from America...."  --Religious Intelligencer, July 6, 1822
"... here I found a letter from home, wishing me a happy Christmas."  --Thomas Rees, A Journal of Voyages and Travels
1823
"I hope you have spent a happy Christmas." --Christian Repository, January 31, 1823
1824
"We have celebrated a very happy Christmas and entrance into the New Year."  --Hans Peter Hallbeck, United Brethren's Missionary Intelligencer, 4th Qtr 1824
"We return the compliment of a happy Christmas to the writer."  --London Courier and Evening Gazette, December 27, 1824
1825
"Wishing our numerous friends, a cheerful and happy Christmas...." --The Lady's Monthly Museum
... wishing our fair readers, from our hearts, a very merry and happy Christmas, with the simplicity which always accompanies truth. --New York Mirror, December 24, 1825
1826
CHRISTMAS BOX DAY. / The Watchmen's Petition
...
Thus, whether Male or Female, Old or Young,
Or Wed or Single, be this burden sung:
Long may you live to hear, and we to call,
"A Happy Christmas, and New Year to all!"
--Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal, December 26, 1826
"It will be a happy Christmas for me, if I learn to think more about Jesus Christ..." --The Child's Companion or Sunday Scholar's Reward, December 1, 1826
1827
 "We exclaim'd, "O, tell me, is it
Long to happy CHRISTMAS-DAY? --Christmas and the New Year (London, 1827)
The Holidays.--The season of presents, cakes, and hilarity, has arrived again, and we issue this number in the very midst of it. The throngs of happy children that we encounter in the streets, whose little smiling faces look almost blue with the cold, but whom wind and weather cannot restrain from sallying out, to spend their holiday finances in the nearest toyshop; the greeting of "a happy Christmas to you," that salutes our ears, into whatever house we step, and for saying which the urchins expect a return--but not in kind; and the peculiar nature of the amusements and sports around the evening fireside, where a sort of moral sunshine diffuses itself, bright in proportion to the bleak and disagreeable state of external nature, all are but so many evidences of the undecaying spirit with which this festival spirit of the year is still observed.
--The New York Mirror, December 29, 1827
1828
The season is near at hand, when the silver voices of the merry and gay-hearted little urchins will be heard in the usual greeting "a happy Christmas to you!" and what a delightful sensation it must afford a benevolent heart thus addressed, to return the salutation with a Christmas Box, or a Casket, such as we have just been rifling for the entertainment of our readers. --The Critic, December 13, 1828
1829
"A HAPPY Christmas and a merry new year!" How many million times will this good natured salutation be interchanged, wherever the English language is spoken….
--New York Mirror, December 26, 1829
1829?
A NEW CAROL TO THE TUNE OF "God rest ye, Merry Gentlemen."

Now may the ruler of this house,
These great glad tidings know;
And many a happy Christmas
May he have here below;
And to his friends and kindred,
The Saviour's mercy show;
Glad tidings of comfort and joy.  --Broadside printed in London by A. Applegate and E. Cowper; in 1810-1840 Radical Politics and the Working Man in England Set 41. British Library.
1830
"And wishing Happy Christmas all, beg leave to make my bow, Sir.
Bow, wow, &c." 
--"Marvellous Times / A Christmas Carol for the year 1830"; in the Chester Chronicle and Cheshire and North Wales General Advertiser, December 31, 1830.
1832
"A happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year to all our Readers! "
--Bury and Norwich Post, December 26, 1832

Moby-Dick in the Cleveland Daily Herald

First published in the October 1851 issue of Harper's New Monthly Magazine, "The Town-Ho's Story" by Herman Melville was reprinted over two days in the Cleveland Daily Herald, starting on October 23, 1851 and concluding on October 24, 1851. In November the Cleveland Daily Herald briefly noticed the whole book:
Moby Dick, or the Whale, by HERMAN MELLVILLE, New York, Harper & Bros. A fortnight since we published from this work a most readable extract called the "Town-Ho's Story," which was a fair specimen of the matter which fills a volume of more than six hundred pages. MELLVILLE is a rapid and pleasing writer. Much that emanates from his pen is worthy of preservation and much is ill considered and lacks point. As a whole any work he has yet written, save perhaps "Marde," will well repay the lover of light literature for its perusal. -- Cleveland Daily Herald, November 20, 1851:
The following item appeared two days later:
Melville's Remedy.

While sitting at home to-day, and waiting that seraphic sound, the ding of the dinner bell, we read the following from Moby Dick. If the present weather continues until Monday, we expect to see all Cleveland preparing for a sea voyage. But hear what Mellville says:

"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off--then I account it high time to get to sea as soon as possible. This is my substitute for pistol and ball." --Cleveland Daily Herald, November 22, 1851
Found in Artemis Primary Sources: Artemis Primary Sources - Document