LETTER FROM PARDON JONES.
We find the following letter, addressed to us by the celebrated Colonel Jones, of the Bay State Militia, in the Picayune. The Colonel's essay at the "divine art" would, alone, sufficiently prove that the "lyre and sword" is not an impossible union in this land of trade, did not brilliant evidences of the fact already exist.
UP THE COST, LUZYANNY,
August the 10th, 1844.
To Phazma, up to St. Lewis :
My dear friend Phazma, I take my pen in hand
Tu let you know that I'm still in the land
Of the livin, but layin abed in pain distressin,
And hope these few lines'll find you enjoyin the same God's blessin.
What did you go off to Saint Lewis for, friend Phazma ?
I guess it must a bin to 'scape the miasma
Of New Orleens ; where folks is sure to have the yaller fever
Without they stop drinkin licker, or start and leave her
In the summer time. But I know you didn't use to drink ;
And what made you go off I can't contrive to think.
What's the reason you didn't write me a letter afore you started ?
It would a showed you to be a good deal better hearted ;
And I'd a gin you a letter of reckermendation,
To help you along in your new speckelation,
If you'd a ax'd me ; but you went off without it ;
And now if you bust up you'll be sorry nuff about it
Dod rot this poetry ! I never could make more'n three or four inches of poetry to a time to save my life, afore I'd git stuck. When I was courtin Jerushy, and hadn't seen her in a good while, I could sometimes set down and make five or six varses right off, as glib as could be ; but them days is over. When I feel poeticle, now, I ginerally go'n and set down side of Jerushy and play with the baby, and tell her how purty 'tis, and how much it looks like her, and so on ; and it soon wears off, and I feel a good deel better arter it. I don't bleeve in poetry enny how ; I don't bleeve it's nat'ral, for nobody can't write it when he's right down happy. A feller ither has to be luv-sick, or in debt, or a leetle fuddl'd, or half crazy, or home-sick, or suthin or nother the matter with him, afore he can larn to twist straight forrard English round into poeticle rime, and measure it off jest as he would red-ferretin. I wouldn't give a red copper cent for a man that is allers a stringin together a lot of nonsense about silfs, and elfs, and sighs, and fairies, and cupids, and pollygods, and so on, but I like to see old mades tryin their hands at it, 'cause it keeps 'em out of other mischief. But when a man has got injynuity nuff to make fust rate judymots, as you can du, and does it jest out of the love of fun, and to make folks laff, then he's some account, and it's his duty to rite poetry and judymots. What I call poetry is suthin that's got sense or fun in it, or injynuity ; and not that tiresome stuff that allers makes a man more sadder, and gives a wal man the dry heartburn. That is cussed nonsense ; and it's wuss for me to swaller than soft soap and gourd-bowels mixed together, a darned sight. Now I begun my letter in poetry, ra'al plane spoken, inderpendent poetry, but I'll bet some folks'll crittysize it, and say 't I hain't cut it off into the right length, and all that sort of thing, but sensible men will see different, and if I could only keep up steam long nuff to finish off what the French calls my sheffdoovrer, (and I'll try it some time,) I guess you'd see a new ery in poetry, putty soon.
But where the Old Harry did I leave off when I stopped writin poetry and begin to talk about it? Oh, 'twas 'bout your goin off up into that little village in the woods, there, so fur, without so much as telling on me good bye. I didn't like that at all. I shouldn't a known what had become on you, if I hadn't a got into a scrape on your account, t'other day, and I'll tell you how 'twas. A meddlesome old made, that's as ugly as Satan, but is putty good natered, got holt of your newspaper, one day last week, and in one of your judymots, called, " A Sonnet to Lizzy," she found the follerin words, to wit, namely :
"But when we saw Lizzy, there came o'er us stealing
A sort of a--kind of a--singular feeling.
We asked Pardon Jones his opinion, and his is,
That every where there are plenty of Lizzies."
She pricked up her ears, when she read that, and said, "she knowed he was a libertine ever sense she fust sot eyes on him, and she'd kept a vail on her face, every time she seed him, (blast her ugly picter !) and Miss Jones ort to know it, and should know it tu !" She went and told all round the nayberhood that she'd seen it in the papers that I had sed that every woman was like Elizabeth Jenkins, and added a good deal more tu it ; and at last she come and begin tu talk tu Jerushy 'bout it, tellin on her that I was a dangerous feller 'mong the women, and that she knew I had been putty thick with Elizabeth Jenkins ! Jerushy told her she didn't 'bleve a word on't, and even went so fur as tu tell her not to cum here no more ; but it hurt her feelings terribly, and it was some time afore she would stop cryin and sayin, " Oh, if I did think that was all true, Parding !" But she larfs at it now, sense she's cum tu think and remember what a life I've led ; but she says she hopes you won't put me into no more of your judymots, without you call me "the Joseph of the age," or suthin of that sort.
I'm expectin tu get an office from President Tyler putty soon. I wish you'd write and tell me what chance he was up there of bein elected agin. If he don't stan much chance, mebby I'd better wait a leetle while, till Clay or Polk gits it. Your lovin friend,
Curnel of the Bay State melishy.
Clocks first made in England, 1564.
Notes: St. Louis Weekly Reveille 1.8 (2 September 1844): 61. (Interlibrary loan through Boatwright Library.)
Erin Bartels prepared this typescript.
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