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It was Charles Dickens who desired his friends, after his death, in editing his works to strike out here and there a phrase, so as to remove the rhythm and poetic motion of his prose compositions. If that editor of the Yale News who described "Eighty-four's Promenade," should leave such unlimited power to his biographers, we fear that the revised edition of his recent four-column article would suffer severe abridgment. That article is overflowing with poetic sentiments; the rich metaphors of Tom Moore are nowhere in comparison with this brilliant effusion of verbal pyrotechnics. Think, for instance, of a "top gallery, separated from the world below by a light cloud of blue muslin, from whence floated the music of Wheeler and Wilson's" - sewing machine, we read it first, but it turned out to be a band, - presumably a full brass band. The "elite" and "chaperones," we are told, were all present, and, almost in the same breath, are mentioned the hackmen, florists, and opera-house and hotel managers. These stood outside the gate and "rubbed their hands with glee as the lucre rolled in." What depth of expression and of insight into human nature is here expressed. A poor, common-place mortal would have supposed those hackmen were rubbing their hands to keep warm, but the poetic soul of this Yale editor saw that the motion displayed "glee as the lucre rolled in." Just where or into what the lucre rolled he neglects to tell us.
But for true imagery his description of the dancer is supreme. Byron speaks of the "maid of the ever twinkling feet," but Byron never could have told about "the nervous movements and demonstrations which indicated the bewitching power of the music to which the Terphsichoreans glided across the floor below." The scene, we are told, "was one from fairy land," with "generous bowls of lemonade" scattered around, (could the ordinary mortal imagine such a fitting drink for fairies as lemonade?) while above this domain of fays hung the Yale crew's shell, which "looked down upon the people below, recalling the time when it had looked upon eelgrass and had felt sadder." Who could have thought of such a brilliant compliment to the young ladies of New Haven? Who would have thought they reminded one of "eel-grass?"
How cleverly does this writer dispel with a sweep of the pen all the arguments of the ministry against dancing. "If the Rev. Mr. Harris," he says, "who so grossly insulted all devotees of dancing at his church in this city last Sunday night, would lower himself enough to look down upon one such scene as this, he would at least be compelled to confess that the human form is capable of more poetry than can be found at the average gossipy tea drinks." And then with a grand burst of philosophical sentiment he exclaims, "And does a creating Divinity forbid his humanity's making the most of the powers he has given to it to make itself beautiful in form and happy? and movement?" No! we emphatically reply, no! A creating Divinity never forbade his humanity's making itself beautiful in form and happy, never forbade its making itself "movement!"
Such a grand poetic scene could not be viewed by the dancers without something giving way. In this case it was not, as with Uncle Josh, the "gallus," which burst, but it was a beam of sunshine "bursting" from so many fair faces. Whether the explosion hurt anyone or not, the News dosen't say. The temperature of the hall, the radiant faces of our fair sympathizers, the brilliancy of New Haven gas, the continuous maze impelled simply by the light music, and the bad words uttered when some unfortunate wight stumbled over a lady's train, - not one of these interesting and thrilling accompaniments of the ball go unmentioned.
In short, Yale has concealed in her bosom a poet whose fame should be heralded abroad. Where he came from we do not know, - poets, they say, are born, not made, but this poet, we think, must, like the semi-heroine of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," never have been born at all, but merely "growed." Where he is going to, can, perhaps, be easier told. He will write one more effusion, and, then - well, if he lived in Massachusetts, Danvers would then claim its own.
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