Recently, deep in the bowels of the Brownell Library in Essex Junction, a discovery was made. Uncovered was an 1848 book of poetry written by noted newspaperman Charles Eastman, who, with others, was affiliated with the Vermont (Barre) Patriot. Said paper was well-received in its day; here is an advertisement from the September 15, 1850 edition for the Boston Museum.

Eastman's book of poetry, published in Montpelier, is full of gems, including this wonderful offering.


The days we've so long dreaded,
The days of frost and snow,
Of winds that sweep the frozen street,
And whistle as they go-
The days of fickle temperament,
A smile and then a blow!
Of mud and mire and dirtiness,
Again, are ' here below !'

We sit and sneeze and cough in rooms
Insufferably hot,
And tumble over old accounts
Were never worth a groat!
And looking from the window,
Into our neighbor's lot,
We really argue if 'twere best
To steal his sheep or not!

The vines, frost-bitten, from the eaves
Hang blackening in the rain,
And trickling drops, like silent tears,
All day the windows stain;
The leaves are gone, the dead weed-stalks
Grow black upon the plain,
And herds are lowing in the fields
Where stood the gathered grain.

All day you hear the noisy crow
Upon the hemlock high-
In flocks, about the mountain ash,
The chirping robins fly;
The rustling leaves and yellow, drive
In mimic whirlwinds by,
Or on the wet and muddy walks,
In heaps, together lie.

The dripping of the rain is heard
Upon the roof all night,
And dark and heavy clouds obscure
The early morning's light;
We gape and stretch and feel as dull
As our grandmother's sight,
' Some ' older than Methuselah,
And cross enough to bite!

That summer's gone, and gone for good,
'Tis useless to protest,
When all the hills that you can see
In snowy caps are dressed;
When fogs upon the valley
From morn till evening rest,
And in his journey scarce the sun
Is seen from east to west.

Alas! these days of dumps and of
Interminable rains,
Of overcoats and overshoes,
And 'pothecary grains-
Of drops for coughs, and slops for colds,
From catnip tea to Swayne's,
Make the effort to survive appear
A questionable pains!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recommend you get the December 7th issue of National Review. Mark Steyn has a devastating piece on the decline of the "Gray Mountain State." He says the same things I've been saying for years but, of course, more lucidly.

Hippies, liberals, wacko environmentalists have turned the state into one big asylum for old people because young people, like myself, flee because they can't get a decent job.

I hope Vt. newspapers pick up on this column because it states a harsh truth about the Green Mountain.

A Former Vermonter

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