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In a department of table-talk, appearing with every issue, and fancifully named "Limon," are many interesting anecdotes and old-fashioned witticisms. "The usual time of the year in which the Roman youth assumed the toga virilis, or man's apparel," says the writer, "was when they first attended the feasts of Bacchus. Do the youth of modern days never attend the feasts of Bacchus before they have assumed the Toga Virilis?" An apothegm on "Hasty Writers" (transformed by some malicious reader before me to "Hasty-Pudding Writers!") is quoted here: "Little writers compose books apace; for naturalists observe that the less the insect is the oftener it lays, and the faster it propagates; but then their brood is very short-lived."
The inauguration of President Kirkland is described on page 239. I select a sentence or two for quotation: "The friends of classical literature were highly gratified that His Excellency the Governour for his inductive address made an election of the Latin language. We cannot forbear thanking him [Dr. Thacher] for his well-timed defence of the character of his college, against the barefaced charges and insinuated imputations, which disappointed rivalry may well account for, but which nothing can palliate, and for which profound penitence only can atone . . A Latin and Greek ode in the Commons-Hall gave a classical air to the festivity of the entertainment; and a brilliant illumination and pleasant ball in the evening, closed the duties and the enjoyments of a day, which for its immediate interest and consequent effects will never be forgotten in the walls of Harvard."
"Mary," a poem by Frothingham, ends thus:
"May heaven, whose choicest care is spread
Around the guiltless, virtuous head,
Its richest blessings ever shed
Here the same vandal hand I have noticed before has pencilled (in the library's copy of the Lyceum) these words: "Je dorme ici, moi."
A series of articles on "Oxford and English Education" well illustrates the traditional Harvard partiality for that ancient mother of scholars. A learned and enthusiastic vindication of classical studies is combined with this glorification of Oxford. Indeed, the enthusiasm for the classical literature of Greece, Rome and England displayed in this volume by the Harvard students of 1810, strikes the modern reader as altogether unique - a matter for wonder and admiration in these days of laborious learning and little literature. Indeed, one may find in this early Harvard literature evidence that that revival in letters which was progressing so actively in England at that time - in the younger days of Byron and Wordsworth - had made its influence felt in America also, and was bringing about intellectually the same new renascence which occurred in England in the first half of this century. But the literary style of the eighteenth century still lingered about our college, and traces of the pedantic influence of its scholarship are observable throughout the volume. I find the French Revolution here spoken of several times with a sense of nearness that is strange to us, but always with an expression of that same horror that was so deeply impressed upon the English nation by its bloody scenes.
A long satirical poem, curiously called "The Ad," which runs throughout the volume and which is credited to Everett, is conducted with much spirit through its long course. I cannot describe it; it is rambling and incoherent and professedly a local satire. It is in heroic couplets, and Mr. J. Lowbard is its titular author. To display its character I need only quote parts of the argument of one book, which treats of "The arts of rising in the world - Marriage - Poetry - Dolphins - Geese - British Cruisers - Spithead - Aphorisms of two kinds, sharp and flat."
The editors conclude their paper with a bitter address containing an instructive homily on things in general and college journalism in particular. They say: "The deficiency of our subscription list has made it convenient to our publisher, that the present number be the last of the HARVARD LYCEUM . . .After the laborious exertions of nine months, such a conclusion is a mortifying recompense for the devotion of time, and the pains of composition." They make complaint also of the opposition they have met from envious associates and say: "In a place too where the bad passions should never come, in the sacred groves of Academus, we have witnessed the ineffectual and contemptible emotions of an envious spirit, which has shown itself a foe to its literary seniours." (The Lyceum was published by members of the senior class.) And they continue: "Such has been the treatment which we have received, undeservedly, we trust, from those of the sons of Alma Mater, who, standing in immediate proximity to us, should have been a force on the right hand and on the left of their brothers to protect their reputation and assert their merit." "Harvard indifference" again, we hear Snodkins whisper! They truly claim, I think, "that the poetico-bombastick style of newspaper eloquence, which has been often and liberally ascribed to college, is as little the defect of our execution, as the object of our ambition." Very bitterly they continue: "The world without cares for nothing but politicks and commerce and news; it is a money-making, quarrelsome world of vandals; it cannot understand our Latin nor our Greek, and it thinks our English not worth reading; it scorns our literature, and, if it have any regard for our science, it is because it teaches to steer ships and to print newspapers." A miserable world truly; and let us rail on Lady Fortune in good terms, in good set terms, my poor Jaques. An important statement given here reads: "This is the first paper that ever was attempted by the students of Harvard." And then added in bitterness of spirit I find: "If it is not the last, it shall not be for want of our admonition."
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