The Literary Maiden

A compendium of obscure 19th century writing.

“The Passions” by Joseph Merrifield

The Passions
By Joseph Merrifield
From Godey’s Magazine, September 1853, pg. 264

MEMORY.
How sweet, how soothing the relief,
To hearts oppressed with present grief,
In Memory’s retrospect to view
Those flowery scenes that once we knew!

FRIENDSHIP.
The cord invisible that binds
In sympathy two kindred minds;
Where heart to heart responsive thrills,
Partaking mutual joys and ills.

JEALOUSY.
The keenest shaft that Envy shoots—
A thought that Candor oft refutes—
A self-inflicted wound, we feel
That woman’s smile alone can heal.

HOPE.
Through memory oft a solace brings,
Recalling past and pleasant things,
Still memory’s pleasures ne’er can cope
With life’s sweet balmy soother—HOPE.

LOVE.
If ‘mongst the passions of the heart
LOVE held not much the greater part,
What would the other passions be?
A fleet of ships without a sea!

REVENGE.
The darkest passion of the heart,
Where Rage and Hatred claim a part,
And deaf to Mercy’s pleading voice,
O’er prostrate Innocence rejoice!

DESPAIR.
The utmost depths of human woe
That mortal man can ever know—
By blighted hopes to madness driven,
He flies from earth, and forfeits heaven!

“My Mother’s Miniature” by Isa L. Jenkins

My Mother’s Miniature
By Isa L. Jenkins
From Godey’s Magazine, July, 1853, pg. 61

Faint picture, far more dear to me
Than all the treasures earth can give,
Since she, my all, hath ceased to be,
For whom it was my life to live.

Here I behold that faded cheek,
That calm, smooth brow and flowing hair,
The lips that spoke in tones so meek,
And breathed to heaven their fervent prayer.

Oh, she who ceaseless vigils kept
Above my path in faded years,
And o’er my waywardness hath wept,
Now soars beyond this vale of tears.

Yes, she who sought my heart to mould
For brighter climes and purer skies,
Now dwells where countless suns hath rolled,
Unmarked by years or centuries.

Yon moon, whose track the milky way,
Whose light still glimmers on the wave,
Through months hath cast its mellow ray
Upon her lone and dreary grave.

Thou sweet memento of the past,
A priceless treasure now thou art;
Through years to come, while life shall last,
I’ll keep and wear thee next my heart.

“Ambition” by John Neal

Here’s a poem, “Ambition,” penned by 19th-century author, poet, and all-around charismatic American ruffian John Neal. You will find two versions of the poem. The first one appears in an 1842 volume of poetry, whereas the second one is an earlier version dating to 1817. In both versions I find the last sentence of the last stanza to be of particular interest, as I think the different lines uniquely shape the conclusion of the poem. To me, the earlier version clarifies what he’s attempting to illustrate in the later version. You will find other noticeable differences throughout, especially in stanza two. 

Ambition
By John Neal
From The Poets and Poetry of America, 1842, ed. Rufus W. Griswold

I loved to hear the war-horn cry,
And panted at the drum’s deep roll;
And held my breath, when—flaming high—
I saw our starry banners fly,
As challenging the haughty sky;
They went like battle o’er my soul:
For I was so ambitious then,
I burn’d to be a slave—of men.

I stood and saw the morning light,
A standard swaying far and free;
And loved it like the conquering flight
Of angels floating wide and bright,
Above the stars, above the fight
Where nations warr’d for liberty:
And though I heard the battle-cry
Of trumpets in the hollow sky.

I sail’d upon the dark-blue deep,
And shouted to the eagle soaring;
And hung me from a rocking steep,
When all but spirits were asleep;
And, O, my very soul would leap
To hear the gallant waters roaring;
For every sound and shape of strife
To me was but the breath of life.

But I am strangely alter’d now,—
I love no more the bugle’s voice—
The rushing wave—the plunging prow—
The mountain, with his clouded brow—
The thunder, when his blue skies bow,
And all the sons of God rejoice,—
I love to dream of tears and sighs,
And shadowy hair, and half-shut eyes.

Song
N.
From The Portico, Volume 3, pp. 252-253

I’ve loved to hear the war-horns cry,
And panted at the drums deep roll,
And held my breath, when flaming high,
I saw our starry banners fly,
As challenging the haughty sky.
They talk’d of battle to my soul;
For I was so advent’rous then
I burn’d to be—the slave of men.

I’ve look’d upon the morning light,
Flushing its standard far and free,
And seen it struggle with the night,
And loved it—for it told of fight,
And every flash that triumph’d bright,
Seem’d glance of glorious Liberty.
For I was fanciful and wild
As youthful Freedoms freest child.

I’ve sail’d upon the dark blue deep,
I’ve shouted to the eaglet soaring,
And hung me from a rocking steep,
When all but my spirits were asleep;
And oh! my very soul would leap
To hear its gallant waters roaring.
For every sound that told of life,
To me, was but the breath of strife.

But I am strangely alter’d now,
I love no more the bugles voice—
The rushing wave—the plunging prow—
The mountains tempest clouded brow—
The daring—the exulting flow
Of all that made me once rejoice.
I’ve learn’d to talk of tears and sights—
And locks of gold—and dying eyes.

Kenneth (Kent) Reed Quivorley-Weel II

Kent Reed Quivorley-Weel II, otherwise known as Kenneth Quivorley, was a 19th century poet, primarily published in the Knickerbocker Magazine and the American Monthly Magazine between 1833-1836. He was a pretty obscure literary figure, but here’s what I’ve managed to find about him. I’m proud to say this is the first time this name has appeared anywhere on the internet, so I take great pride in talking about this erratic character.

He was born in New York City in 1796 to a prominent lawyer, Kent Reed Quivorley Weel, and his second wife, Malina (pronounced Mah-line-ah), who was a socialite during the late 18th-early 19th century. Following his father’s footsteps, he entered law school at the age of 15, outshining his half-siblings and full blooded brother who were also in the profession. Enjoying law school thoroughly, Mr. Quivorley-Weel II (I’ll refer to him as Kenneth from here on out) started his own law firm and managed to secure a position in the 9th circuit court of the New York City legal system. While there, he also managed to gain a position at the Philadelphia custom house, where he would spend his weekends. It seems he truly enjoyed his time at the custom house, as he befriended many key historical figures who passed through for business such as Edgar A. Perry, a gentleman named Ludwig, Frank Forester, etc. (Quivorley’s Journal, 367).

During his time as a lawyer, he worked with other notable figures, such as Duer, Cass, Inman, Herbert, and Percival.* Although Kenneth enjoyed lawyering, he felt his true calling was to be an editor; thus, he juggled his law career alongside editing the now incredibly obscure and undetectable Sartman Graham’s United States Monthly Magazine of Literature, Art, Music, Photography, Sports, Dance, Theatre, etc. It is important to note that he thereafter left his custom house job, complaining that the heat had gotten to him. (Note: I’m in the works of procuring a copy of the magazine mentioned to transcribe for the blog, but we’ll see how that goes.)

Unfortunately, the journal was a flop and survived for only three issues, not even fulfilling the typical Victorian 6 or 12 month volume. Devastated, he sought side work elsewhere once more and landed a job at the newly opened Kirkbride Asylum in town—this was about 1820-something, and Kirkbride’s system was not very well known at this point. It was while working here that he came across several well known poets of the day who urged Kenneth to write. Amongst these poets were Natty Morris and George Willis. And so it began.

Kenneth, according to my sources, would work tirelessly, only sleeping about 3 hours average every night, caught up between his law job, writing poetry, working for the asylum as an assistant, and partaking in smoking, drinking, and hiking when he could. Finally, around 1833, his big break came in the poetry realm, and he cut ties with his law career and asylum career to write poetry full-time. Below you will find one of his four poems featured under his name, of the ones that I’ve been able to find.

While reading his poetry I took note of the nuances in his writing in order to search for other poems. However, I quickly became frustrated because his poems seemed to be so reminiscent of the poet Thomas Moore, I could not detect which gentleman had written which poem. I suspect plagiarism on Quivorley-Weel’s part, but I’ll revisit that at another time. That being said, unless I find other poems under this name, I will only be able to post the four poems and will have to call it quits there.

Unfortunately, Mr. Quivorley-Weel’s poetry career only lasted about three years, as the American Monthly Magazine for 1836 explains that a poem published in their magazine was written by the late Kenneth Quivorley. It’s truly a shame. I feel if he had continued writing, he could have gone on to produce incredible works, such as Wild Scenes in the Forest and Prairie and several other poems including “Sparkling and Bright” and “Monterey.” For now, the late Kenneth Quivorley’s legacy lives on through my blog, and I truly hope you enjoy this poem.

*More can be found in the following text:

NOTE. All of the above that you’ve read is 100% false. While researching the poet and author Charles Fenno Hoffman I happened upon a pseudonym of his, Kenneth Quivorley. The above account is balderdash and should never be referenced outside of this blog. It would be embarrassing. But what is true is that Hoffman, as suggested in my previous statement, wrote under that pseudonym in both 1833 (in the Knickerbocker) and 1836 (in the American Monthly Magazine). The late Kenneth does make his last appearance, so far as I can tell, in the latter. I found it humorous that Hoffman essentially killed off his character, possibly to rid himself of the “burden” of carrying around an alter-ego (or something like that). Anyway, sorry for leading you astray, it won’t happen again.

Here’s a real poem by the real Charles Fenno Hoffman, presented under the pseudonym “Kenneth Quivorley” in the January issue of the Knickerbocker for 1833.

SONG.

I know thou dost love me—ay! Frown as thou wilt,
And curl that beautiful lip,
Which I never can gaze on without the guilt
Of burning its dew to sip;
I know that my heart is reflected in thine,
And like flowers which over a brook incline,
They toward each other dip.

Though thou lookest so cold in these halls of light,
Mid the careless, proud, and gay,
I will steal like a thief in thy heart at night,
And pilfer its thoughts away;
I will come in thy dreams at the midnight hour,
And thy soul in secret shall own the power
It dares too mock by day.

“Awake, My Lyre” by James Gates Percival

Awake, My Lyre
By James Gates Percival
From The Dream of a Day, and Other Poems by James Gates Percival, pp. 168-169

AWAKE, my lyre, awake!
Breathe aloud the choral strain;
From thy heavy slumber break;
Wake to life and joy again.

Hark! how on thy trembling strings
Songs of hope and love rebound;
Brushed as by an angel’s wings,
How the vocal chords resound.

Now thy long deep sleep has flown;
Spirit burns along thy wire:
How the swelling peals roll on,
Full, instinct with living fire.

O! be silent never more;
Soar to day’s eternal blue;
Through the solemn midnight pour
Notes that fall like starry dew.

As on eagle’s pinions, take
High to heaven thy sweep again;
Light and music o’er us shake,
Like a shower of golden rain—
Awake, my lyre, awake!
Breathe aloud the choral strain.