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wife, my good wife joins me in a hearty New-Year's blessing.
Ever cordially yours, J. SPAULDING.
Letter from Dr. Cheever to Mr. Spaulding.
MY DEAR BROTHER SPAULDING:
If I'm not a sailor, I'm sure you are one ;
A pair of such sea-legs don't drop from the sun :
From keelson to topmast, aloft or alow,
Like a squirrel or cat in the rigging you'd go;
And without any rigging, or rope-yarn at all,
You'd hold by the life-lines, whatever the squall.
Your brogue of the ocean, as salt as the spray,
A son of old Neptune at once would betray, (score,
Through the days of your years, more than five and four
You have stuck to your text, like Jonah of yore;
When even a whale thought the prophet a bore,
And was glad to deliver him safe on the shore.
The cause of your Master in earnest pursuit,
The compass you'd box, and the helmsman to boot ;
And be ready a mutinous crew so to shoot.
You know all that's down in the bills of your lading,
What's good for domestic or wild foreign trading;
And all things for getting your ship under weigh,
And when to haul taut and how to belay;
For you know all the odds twixt the anchor and cable,
You know all that I do, and very much more;
All the signs of a calm or a hurricane roar;
And could whistle a gale, is the winds were unable,
To keep you from running upon a lee shore !
Letter from Mr. Longfellow to Dr. Cheever.
CAMB., Feb. 7, 1876. MY DEAR CHEEVER: I ought to have answered your letter sooner, and should have done so but for a thousand and one things that have prevented. I spare you the catalogue of them. You must know from your own experience what they are. Your photograph, the front face, is excellent. I like it extremely, and have had it lying on my desk ever since it came, looking at it at intervals, and studying its expression. It not only resembles you, but two other persons whom one may not be ashamed to resemble, namely, Dr. Channing and Mr. Ruskin. The same outline of face; the same expression.
I hope you may be as well satisfied with the enclosed. My supply falling short, I was obliged to send to England, which will account for this long delay. Is Sawtelle your neighbor? He also lives at Englewood ; and when you meet him please say that I have received his letter and will reply soon.
With kind regards to Mrs. Cheever, and thanks for her cordial invitation,
Always affectionately yours,
HENRY W. LONGFELLOW.
Dr. Cheever's Humorous and Satirical Poem entitled
“ The Horse-Gospel of Evolution."
O what a world by Evolution wrought !
Man from the monkey to the Angel brought !
The mighty power of vast unthinking thought.
Eternal force of nothing! Throne sublime ;
The infinite environment of Time :
Each moment but the music and the rhyme
To keep the waltzers of the midnight dance
Whirled on the skirts of Everlasting Chance !
Keep then what your surroundings all command,
And you are safe from harm at Nature's hand.
All you have been is Nature's, not your own ;
All you might be, beyond your reach was thrown.
And you, the growth of Nature's laws, your birth unknown,
With dreams of Paradise shall sleep, unconscious and alone.
Annihilation, from Existence free,
Solves the dark riddle of Eternity.
But if your Consciousness should still abide,
You may to heaven on the HORSE-GOSPEL Ride.
THE HORSE-GOSPEL OF EVOLUTION.
Night is the prophecy of Morn,
The Evening Star predicts the Dawn;
The longest night but goes before,
And Darkness is of Light the door.
When evening into darkness dies,
Then from the tomb new days arise;
But at the glory of the Day
The morning stars shall fade away.
Here, then, we have, as clear as mud, How Light from earth, like Topsy, “grow'd ;" Motion came first, the steed bestowed, And then the Light on Motion rode; The slave of Force being thus set free, Would ride to all eternity ; Being never more and never less, But always Nature's first Express, To tell the scientific wittiest Her Law, Survival of the Fittest,
But when our Scientists are ask'd,
Motion of what, that goes so fast,
Or what existed to be moved,
By which such motion could be proved,
Your antique Lecturer has forgot
At the beginning he was not ;
Yet now, with Modern Science bright,
Knows all the causes of the Light,
Which every Scientist can utter,
And make it plain as Bread and Butter.
For when from Milk the Cream is brought,
Then Butter from the Cream is wrought,
By being stirred within a churn,
Which any girl of twelve can learn.
And then you have your nice white bread, Or brown, just as you please, and spread Over the same a sheet of gold, Of nutty flavor, sweet and cold ; And by such steps at length you know The final causes of the Cow.
By the same steps you know, of course,
The final causes of the Horse.
O list, while I relate the story
In all its scientific glory.
At first he had a single hoof,
But afterward the engraven proof,
Of three or other separate toes,
As Evolution doth disclose,
Of horses' patterns, such as camels,
Amid the necessary trammels
For sandy wildernesses reared,
And o'er salt deserts to be steered,
And saddles to be safely rode ;
So Nature's Mother-care bestowed,
A Horse-existence like the fairies,
For Indians of our Western Prairies.
But as those Centaurs did die out,
The Hippo species put about,
Returning to the old Medallion
Of Nature in the primal stallion.
Since no succeeding fossil shows
Existence of the Horse with toes,
Why should this path of Evolution
Stop with a half-way revolution ?
Our specimens for ages seen,
Are few, and very far between ;
But which came first, as Nature grows,
The single hoof, or hoof with toes?
Doubtless, Professor Huxley knows,
How out of natural force it rose.
And thus our Western Science, rich
With spoils redeemed from Nature's ditch,
Of bones in antique deserts tethered,
And now in Colorado gathered,
To Huxley and his second fiddle
Must leave the solving of this riddle;
And, though it were as dark as night,
Till Marsh's fossils hove in sight,
At evening-tide there shall be light.
Those once beguiled by Moses' word,
To our Yale Museum now referred,
Our British Commentator shows
How the Creation's forms arose,
Beyond the reach of Moses' lore,
At the beginning and before,
And under lock and key laid up,
Divine Shechinah of our hope,
Excluding faith, rejecting prayer,
We learn what saves us from despair;
And this Horse-Gospel doth declare,
Survival of the fittest there,
Where all that err to pasture pass,
As Babel's monarch went to grass,
A winged and five-fingered steed
For every halting Jacob's need
Natural Selection will provide
Whenever serves both time and tide,
Careering through Celestial spheres,
For those who are the natural heirs,
By force from gelatine set free,
Of Life and Immortality.
The atavistic Centaurs, then,
Evolved from plain pedestrian men,
As Eden's owners will be seen,
With rainbows crowned, and regal mien,
And, ere the Hippo cycle tires,
Rapt in supreme angelic fires.
Throw, then, your Bibles to the wind,
And never fear for having sinned ;
But thrust in Nature as the Spring
That doth immortal glory bring,
And her Selecting Force admire
That saves you from Gehenna's fire !
Letter from Mrs. Charles Smith to the Publishers, received as the Volume was going to Press.
40 West TWELFTH STREET,
New York. Dec. I, 1890. DEAR SIRS: I have seen it announced that the “Memorabilia" of Dr. George B. Cheever will soon be published by you. There is one interesting incident of his life that impressed me very strongly in my early childhood, and possibly it may not have been known to the compiler of those reminiscences.
When Mr. Cheever (he can hardly then have been D.D.) was sentenced to thirty days in the Salem jail for writing the article entitled “Inquire at Amos Giles's Distillery," my father was the sheriff of Essex County, and from that time dates a much-valued acquaintance. A carpet for the cell-floor and books were sent to Mr. Cheever by my mother, and my father obtained permission for him to chop wood in the passage-way, that his health might not suffer from the confinement and lack of exercise. So many friends called to see him that he was obliged to name reception-hours. At the expiration of the thirty days, wishing to avoid a scene, my father went down at midnight to release the man who had become a personal friend.
It was a bright, clear night, and as Mr. Cheever came out and looked up at the stars, his heart glowed within