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American Antiquities.
Extracts from the Anarchiad, Book 12

IN this book the Anarch, on the first success of his mobs in demolishing the Courts of justice, institutes heroic games, after the ancient Epic manner. Among other extraordinary contests a prize is proposed to those of his Heroes, who would see farthest into total darkness, and shut their eyes longest to clear light of day. Wronghead is the sole conqueror in this game, and is thereupon rewarded by the Anarch with a pair of spectacles, which showed every object inverted, and wrapt in a mist of darkness. On this occasion Tweedle, a poet, reared under the patronage of Copper, and now principal Bard of his chaotic Majesty, filled with the Poetic Flatus, bursts forth into an Eulogium on the Victor.

Oh thou, whatever title please thine ear,
Judge, General, Delegate or Register,
Whether thou chuse the high Comptroller's air,
Or frown more grimly in they Council-chair,
Catch some new salary from each opening job,
At Congress rail or vindicate the Mob;
Thou Mil'eped of Office, hear my lays,
And aid the Bard that sings they welcome praise!

Oh for a muse of fire! sublime to draw
The Judge unfetter'd by the rules of law;
The self-taught General, valiant to controul
The dangerous passions of the daring Soul;
In Compo's scene, whose Christian spirit shone,
Spa'd the fo's lives and gladly skreen'd his own,
Or sing in strains unus'd to mortal ear,
Th' un etter'd Statesman and Anarchian seer,
Thine the dread talk, on thy immortal plan,
From foederal ties to guard the rights of man,
At power's deep root to lay the patriot ax,
Oppose the impost and prevent the tax,
Bid depreciation pay the public debt,
And teach the noblest art, that art to cheat;
Thro' all the States thy dark'ning mists to spread,
And shroud their senses in chaotic shade,
O'er their true Interest close the curtain draw,
Hide them from light and cover them from law,
With jealous arts misguide the wayward throng,
Supremely blind, and obstinately wrong!
With insect ken to local views confin'd
Display thy pigmy penury of mind;
To other shores bid wealthy commerce pass,
" The State surrounding with they wall of brass,"
Bid insurrections claim thy noblest praise,
O'er WASHINGTON exalt thy darling Shays*,
With thy contagion embrio Mobs inspire,
And blow to tenfold rage the kindling fire:
Till the wider relam to discord bow the Knee,
And hold true faith in Anarch and in thee.
Still may'st thou thus support th' unfoederal cause,
The scourge of Congress and the dread of laws:
May never age, pain, sickness or despair,
Attack thy life with unsuccessful War:
Or late, when all the race of same is run,
All parts accomplish'd and all duties done,
Proud Rulers cross'd by the supreme decree;
Our Governor, Council, Judges, men like thee;
Our debts all cancel'd in one-sav'ring hour,
And Congress bare'd of every plume of power;
Their Requisitions, by they bold attack,
Sunk in the whirlpool of the gen'ral wreck;
From dreadful arts of Cincinnati free,
Foil'd by the breath of Wimble and of thee;
All souls redu'd, that 'er presum'd to shine,
To one just level and the rank of thine;
This world forsaking, fairly may'st thou rise
Above the Earth and pointing to the skies;
While the great finisher of mortal strife,
Shall close thy glories with the line of life;
Where Seraphs, then, in brighter regions burn;
Go thou a glowing Seraph in thy turn;
With souls congenial in those realms that dwell,
Receive the meed you long deserv'd so well;
Ther draw they comrades, in the closing striug.
And glad those Regions with the sons you bring;
And in thy Patriot-bosom yield a room,
For all the race Wrongheads yet to come.

* A certain great Patriot lately declared in public company that he look'd upon Shays as the greatest Military character that America ever produced. The same gentleman has asserted that the good people of Massachusetts were wholly unable to pay their taxes, and laboured under intolerable grievances by the impositions of Government.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The "Anarchiad" was published in the New Haven Gazette and Connecticut Magazine as a series. The first poem was published on October 26, 1786, and the last on September 13, 1787. It is a satirical, mock-epic poem, authored by David Humphreys, Joel Barlow, John Trumbell and Lemuel Hopkins, although at publication they were anonymous. The subtitle of the poem is "A Poem on the Restoration of Chaos and Substantial Night" which, along with the title, refers to the premise that there is a state of anarchy or lawlessness and disorder due to the absence of governmental authority. The poem is decidedly pro-federal government. In this issue, the Anarch has had success with his mobs preventing the sitting of the courts. Preventing taxes is equated with learning the "noblest art, that art to cheat." It also implies that men are praising Daniel Shays and his actions more highly than George Washington. The whole poem was reprinted in book form with a forward and appendixes in 1861. It was edited by Luther G. Riggs.


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Poem on Shays' Rebellion from The New-Haven Gazette and The Connecticut Magazine newspaper

publisher   New-Haven Gazette and Connecticut Magazine
date   Mar 15, 1787
location   New Haven, Connecticut
height   11.0"
width   2.25"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L07.051

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See Also...

"A Crostick" poem published in the Hampshire Gazette

Multiple articles from The New-Haven Gazette and The Connecticut Magazine newspaper regarding Shays' Rebellion

"Pegasus of Apollo" from "The Worcester Magazine"

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