Daguerreian Society

I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Today (rather than February) seemed the appropriate day for this text which
is from "The Photographic and Fine Art Journal" (February 1854) page 51-52.
As M. A. Root often featured a few lines of poetry in his newspaper
advertisements for his galleries, I am supposing that this was written for
placement in a New York newspaper and then later submitted to the PFAJ.
- - - - - - - - - -

     T H E   P O E T R Y   O F   D A G U E R R E O T Y P I N G .

  Mr. ROOT, of New York, shows his talent for poesy as well as for 
daguerreotyping, in the following, which he presents to his patron's as a New-
Year's offering:--


     Ring out the bells and shout with glee,
       This glorious New-Year's morn;
     Away with care and misery!
       To-day a year is born.
     So ever let our New-Years be,
       As they have been of yore,
     And as we sang in Fifty-three,
       We'll sing in Fifty-four.

     We will not be too grave of face,
       Though Time be flying fast;
     'Tis not the hour, 'tis not the place,
       Sad horoscopes to case;
     Nor yet too thoughtless may we be,
       but sometimes ponder o'er
     The woes we felt in Fifty-three,
       and may in Fifty-four.

     The heart that's warm or soul that's true
       Avoids the fierce extreme--
     Has truth, and truth alone in view;
       And is what it doth seem;
     No false pretense shall ever be
       Laid justly at its door--
     For as it was in Fifty-three,
       It is in Fifty-four.

     Then be not sad, nor over gay,--
       Let Reason rule the hour,
     Her temperate commands obey,
       And own her genial power;
     What though we toss on Passion's sea,
       Where furious tempests roar!
     Hope steered us safe through Fifty-three,
       and will through Fifty-four.

     Last night, as Evening's curtain rolled
       Adown the darkening West,
     And hid those floating isles of gold
       That watch the sun to rest,
     I chanced in a fair hall to be,
       Where Art had heaped her store,--
       Her home in Fifty-four.

     'Twas there the fair Enchantress Art,
       Sole Empress; reigned supreme;
     There wrote the language of the heart,
       With Sol's translucent beam;
     There dwelt she in her majesty,
       And proud her sceptre bore,
     All through the year of Fifty-three,
       And will through Fifty-four.

     There thronged a mighty multitude:
       Old Age with silver hair;
     The Man that like the gnarled oak stood;
       The maid so wondrous fair;
     The laughing eyes of infancy;
       The look that Manhood wore;
     All gathered there in Fifty-three,
       And will in Fifty-four.

     There too I saw the "Old Arm Chair,"
       And thoughts of sadness stole,
     Like, the soft light that lingered there,
       Down through my dreaming soul;
     For then the past came back to me--
       The dear old days of yore--
     Long ere the dawn of Fifty-three,
       Yet fresh in Fifty-four.

     There, too, I saw the bold and brave,
       Whose names have graced the age;
     Though slumbering in the silent grave,
       Safe through life's pilgrimage,
     As real seemed they there to me,
       As, some short time before,
     I saw alive in Fifty-three,
       The dead of Fifty-four.

     And many wondrous things I saw;
       But, chief of all the throng,
     I bowed myself in humble awe
       Where Jordan rolled along--
     For there my wondering eyes did see,
       And long did ponder o'er
     The Palestine of Fifty-three,
       Shown here in Fifty-four.

     Upon the mount of Olives then
       I seemed in truth to stand,
     And gazed o'er Kedron's lonely glen,
       Where strayed the chosen band;
     Jerusalem and Gallilee
       Spread all the eye before,
     As erst they lay in Fifty-three,
       And will in Fifty-four.

     There Nazareth and Bethlehem,
       And Zion's Mountain rose,--
     Sad Landmarks, for they spoke of HIM,
       The man of many woes,
     Who through long years of poverty
       Oft trod their pathways o'er,
     For all who were in Fifty-three,
       Or are in Fifty-four.

     Then turned me to our own fair land,
       For Art hath lingered here,
     And at her self enforced command
       A thousand scenes appear;
     For here her dwelling-place will be--
       Her home for evermore--
     The glorious Queen of Fifty-three,
       Supreme in Fifty-four.

     The Grecian Artist's pencil drew
       Such wondrous counterfeit,
     That birds upon the canvass flew,
       And strove the fruit to eat;
     But wonders greater still we see
       Upon our native shore,
     Where Art has strayed in Fifty-three,
       And will in Fifty-four.

     For art and nature here have joined
       As partners with the Sun,
     And in one ROOT have all combined,
       And now they work as one;
     Of what they do, 'tis not for me
       More closely to explore;
     You saw it all in Fifty-three
       Or may in Fifty-four.

     'Tis time to end this rambling rhyme,
       Kind reader, Au revoir!
     I'll call again another time,
       and tell what more I saw,
     As in Broadway, three sixty-three,
       I strayed an hour or more--
     As you have done in Fifty-three,
       Or will in Fifty-four.

     There pictures that may challenge all
       That Art hath ever done,
     Since Father Adam's direful fall,
       To all the world are shown!
     And though they won the victory
       Full many a time of yore,
     The choicest gems of Fifty-three
       Are beat by Fifty-four.

     There go, and while you rove at will
       As through a gay parterre,
     Forget not, though you may be still
       All young and strong and fair,
     Another year there may not be
       For you or yours in store;
     For what was bright in Fifty-three
       May fade in Fifty-four.

     Improve the present--Time and Death
       Go hand in hand for aye;
     The flower that blushed in morning's breath
       May wither with the day;
     Trust not the Future--none can see
       Beyond its gloomy dour;
     But seize the shade of Fifty-three
       E'er barred by Fifty-four.

     Once more, Farewell!  May Love and Peace,
       Long Life and sweet Content,
     Keep even with the year's increase--
       By favoring Heaven sent;
     In Fifty-five I hope to be
       Your dutiful once more,
     To sing; as now of Fifty-three,
       A song of Fifty-four.

Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     

Return to: DagNews 1998

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