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The prison mirror. [volume] (Stillwater, Minn.) 1887-1894, January 04, 1894, Image 1

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86063465/1894-01-04/ed-1/seq-1/

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Vol. VII.—No. 22.
Wrrtten for The Prison Mirror
By Shorn I’okt.
The night was cold; all through the day
The sun chased not the frost away;
Each window-pane, a frosty heart
Throbbed weird-like in fantastic art;
By magic hands of etching power,
«4rew outlines of the nodiling-flower.
The tiny limbs of fern and brake,
A fairy arbor seemed to make.
And life on wings did there uprise
rtf bumble-bees and butterflies—
A humming-bird, whose tendril tongue
To sparkling beads of honey clung—
And children grouped, of dew congealed
In clusters thronged an argent field.
A mitriform displayed itself.
A lyrate leaf, a monadelph:
Far-reaching from the window-sill.
In hold relief, a daffodil
Attracting from a river, thawed.
A nautilus and heteropod.
Oigantic dills upreared tlteir heads,
Near oozy swamps and sea-marsh beds
Ignoble, in their rights defied.
By sea encroachments at hightide;
Though barren, worn and isolate,
They spoke of scenes of distant date—
Of olden days, and vanished art.
When Doric skill supplied the mart.
There, massive works in ruins lay.
Ancient, moresque, grand in decay;
Where once a castle seemed to be
High-walled in rustic masonry,
A gargoyled-pillar proudly stands;
A groined arch with trefoil bands,
And volutes carved, where could be seen
A miter-jointed baldachin;
Four chamfered shafts, modillion-traced,
A turret o’er a battlement placed.
Those battered eliffs showed traces yet
Of barbacau and minaret,
Corinthian, beyond deface.
In mortised-holds from top to base—
Like warders on tlie boundaries
Stood stern-browed oaks, and beech-nut trees
Portcullis and chevaux-de-frise;
A jewelled sword, a rampart gun,
A breast plate, shield and morion.
Ax-Lochaber and gabion.
All these intaglios deep and plain
Were pictured on the window-pane.
The hour was late, though warmer grown.
The firelight on the carvings shone;
Through all the hours, the moon-beams played
With nereids in ambuscade.
And. where a lancet window gleamed—
Balcony-set and silver-beamed.
Illumined sparks flew up in flame.
And in four letters, blazed a name—
Euterpe from the ruins sprung.
Dancing, she moved the nymphs among:
Nor stayed she. till of veil she bared
A maid blue-eyed, and golden-hair’d.
Melpomene with Erato
In Clio's myrtle-wreaths did glow;
And Calliopa. sweet in song.
Chimed with Thalia in the throng.
The mingled tones at Satyrs’ call.
In frozen echoes scaled the wall,
Dissolving, shone;—tuned all the air.
With home, sweet home, resplendent there.
Pendant, then in argent light
Sought refuge on a mountain’s height;
And dazzling more, again, arrayed,
The muses and the blue-eyed maid.
A wand’ring knight, lost to the road.
Long rested where the summit glowed;
As one in doubt which path to take—
(Less for his own. than others’ sake)—
The brilliant scene his limbs did shake.
He pondered deep, oft would upstart.
And blear-eyed glances seemed to dart
Upon that wild, cragg’d mountain part.
His head firm-set, gray hairs besprent,
Pushed forward with resolves intent.
Huge bowlders in his pathway glared.
And three-faced Furies at him stared;
Opposing him. their lips they lent
In ambidexter argument.
He struggled on. bold crags he gained.
His eyes upon the maid remained—
Who trembled that a step he miss;
For near Him yawned a precipice.
And, as the last portcullis fell.
Abound'. A leap! A solemn spell!
The knight—the maid, their frosted-train—
Had melted from the window-pane!
One of our Contributors Voices his Sen-
timents on the Purity of the Press
Perhaps one who has no voice in poli
tics, should idly scan the doings of the
various political parties without com
ment . The temporary loss of citizen
ship does not, however, imply that one
must needs abandon all interest in
wordly altairs, or cease to form opinions
upon the questions of the day. Hence,
1 take the liberty of advancing my hum
ble sentiments upon that subject, which
seems to me, to be of the most vital
importance. The question with which
I deal, is the unjust manner in which
official acts of our leading public men
■are criticised. Petty party mud-slinging
is resorted to in order to* prove and up
hold the alleged veracity and wisdom
of political measures, platform planks,
reform bills and the like. Party leaders
are ridiculed and slanderd and in many
instances their personal character has
been assailed and made the butt of silly,
crack-brained jokes.
The press, being the voice of the peo
ple, has a perfect right, and is in duty
bound, to criticise the official acts of
the people's servants; but when it (le
cends to calumny as a means to advance
party interests, it oversteps its bounds
of reason and justice, and thrusts a
bomb of injury upon the course of liber
ty. The press has a right to cinsure and
condemn any wrong which it may detect
in the adminstration of state or nation
al affairs; but it tramples its freedom
in the dust when it puts forth mislead
ing statements as a means to influence
voters and further party ends. Slander
has never won an argument nor secured
a victory. Logical persuasion, whether
right or wrong, more often accomplishes
the desired end.
Good government is necessary. With
out which, chaos would reign supreme.
In order to maintain the supremacy of
good government, the dignity of office
must be maintained. In a republic
where all power is vested in the people,
they, and they alone, have the right to
place or reject their servants, wherever
and whenever they deem it necessary
for the public welfare; and any agency
which strives to mislead and deceive
the people by voicing sentiments which
are opposed to truth, is political treason,
and a direct blow at the fountain head of
liberty. The people, growing accus
tomed to hearing their official servants
spoken of disparagingly, will, sooner or
later, become indifferent to the dignity
of office, and begin to tear down instead
of adding strengih and beauty to their
temple of freedom, which was so dearly
bought and established by the blood of
our nation's heroes. Purity of the press
means good government and the main
taining and building up of our national
dignity and honor. 0. C.
Faults of Culture
Perhaps a number of your many
readers will term it heresy, when I say
that there is no pursuit more selfish
than that of culture for its own sake.
Any competent observer cannot fail to
have noticed that the seeking of that
which is admirable in intellectual at
tainment and progress, simply for the
purpose of holding it in possession, a
petty power, has the same degrading
effect upon the soul that comes to the
miser who hoards his gold. It is safe
to declare that all men and women who
pursue culture as an end, failing to de
vote it to any purpose that involves
self-surrender'are mean, like the hoard
ing miser. So it happens, as men grow
more learned by study, more nicely ad
justed and finished in their power, more
delicate and exact in their taste, they
lose sympathy with the world in com
mon, and become fastidious, and cold;
warming only in the presence of those
who praise them or set value on then
possessions. I have often noticed, as
culture comes in, faith goes out, instead
of grow ing vigorous and far-reaching.
Is it the ignorant who have faith in
mankind, and must man surrender his
divinest possesion w-hen culture enters
in ? He must, if culture is pursued as
and end in itself; but, if pursued to fur
ther the ends of benevolence, it strength
ens faith. Culture which ends in self,
is infidel; it makes a God of itself.
When culture is selfish, all sympathies
are clannish; such culture has no broad
aims except selfish onetf. Whatever it
does is done for the few, it never con
tributes to the many, it is too proud to
be useful, it refuses to come dow r n to
the dusty ways of life to point the way
upward and help nien bear their bur
dens. The world might go to the dogs,
or the devil for all selfish culture would
do to prevent it. The noble w r ork is
done by those who have faith in man
kind; by the humble, who have some
thing better than culture, or by those
who place culture under the law of love.
The florist can show- us a rose whose
beauty has been won by culture, but
at the cost of its fragrance. There may
be much to admire in selfish culture,
but like the rose, there is nothing to in
hale. We are obliged to go near'to see
that which should come to us on the
wings of the wind. Brighax.
A Happy People.
‘Where ignorance is bliss
’Tis folly to be wise.’'
The happiest people 1 have ever seen
was in Mexico, twenty years ago. For
four years I lived in the city of Tuxpam.
In that portion of Mexico the inhabi
tants have no horses or farm imple
ments and the average farmer culti
vates about one acre of land, raising
two crops of corn and beans each year.
Every variety of tropical fruits grow
spontaneously, or need but little care or
attention. The corn is planted by jab
bing a sharp stick into the ground, and
dropping the corn into the hole thus
made. Xo cultivation was necessary,
and crops thus planted would yield fifty
bushels per acre, each crop, or one hun
dred bushels annually. In an hours
time, enough fish could be harpooned to
last a month. Which, with all kinds of
fruits, this fare is all the native wishes.
His clothes are made of a thin domestic
cloth, and his feet are protected by san
dals. His expenses for a family of six
or seven would probably be five dollars
per annum. At no time in his existence
does he posses more than two dollars
in money, and one hour's work, divided
by long intervals of rest, weekly, is
the amount of time consumed by labor.
Sitting in the dense shade of the mango
or some other tropical tree, he would
while away his time drinking rum that
had been distilled by his wife from cane
juice, and smoking cigarettes manu
factured by himself. His knowledge
of the world consisted of the way to the
nearest town, where he would repair
Saturdays with a bunch or two of ban
anas or some other fruit, which he ex
changes for clothing. Books and news
papers never invade his household.
Contentment is universal. The country
is well supplied with watercourses and
the lakes and rivers are abundantly
supplied with fish and oysters. The
height of the native’s ambition is to pro
claim a revolution which never amounts
to as much as a ward fight in one of our
cities on an election day. The trials
and perplexities of financial embarrass
ment are unknown to him, and he cares
nothing for transpiring events outside
of his family. Ignorance there, reigns
supreme, and appears to be the bliss of
contentment. Texas. Xo.. 2.
Why Should I Write for the Mirror?
First you should write for it because
it is your own paper and you have just
as good a right to contribute to its col
umns as anyone. You should have a
personal interest in its usefulness and
success, and endeavor in every way pos
sible to make it a success, and benefit
to your fellow prisoners. Again, it will
be beneficial to yourself to contribute
to its columns no matter how well in
formed you may be, or how much you
may need information. There are
many well-read men wdio possess abun
dant information on many difficult and
important subjects, and yet they lack
the ability to express themselves intelli
gently in writing. It is not all of a
true education to fill one's mind with
knowledge; to be able to draw out that
knowledge and present it to the public,
either through the press or orally, is as
much of a true education as it is to pos
ess the same. If you have never writ
ten for Tiie Mirror, then you should
commence at once and feel that it is a
privilege, and that you can soon make it
beneficial to yourself.
If you are a beginner, I am sure the
editor will take you by the hand and
kindly lead you on—that he will correct
your errors, so that in a short. time, it
will be a pleasure to you to assist him
with a regular weekly contribution.
A. B. M,
Tcduo. ' * l - 00 year, in advance
i tKMb. ) six Months 60 Cents.
Keep Your Resolutions.
New -Year's day has long been the
chosen time when men have resolved
to turn over a new leaf. It is a day
that naturally stands as a mile stone
upon the pathway of life. It is a van
tage point from which to review the
past and look the future squarely in
the face. Those habits which have led
to failure or a retrograde to our ex
istence should be reformed. The man
whose extravagance has embarrassed
his financial success should adopt the
lesson of economy. The man who has
neglected business for pleasure should
gird on his armor and move forward to
his proper sphere in the rapid race of
life. The drunkard, a sad disappoint
ment to himself and his friends, should
bravely put the tempter behind him
and not only abandon his besetting sin
but do works meet for repentauee.
The debauchee should live more closely
to the laws of health and decency. The
young man who is wasting his time
should devote himself to mental, moral,
and intellectual improvement. Aside
from adherence to pure and honest con
victions, nothing can do more to make
life pleasant and successful than good
books and good associations. Stick to
your New Year’s resolutions. Time
past is irrevocable and your one hope
lies in the proper improvement of
opportunities as they present them
selves. Have the courage of your con
victions and stick to vour resolutions.
C. E.
My Letters
'['here are few persons even outside of
prison walls, who do not appreciate the
receiving of a letter; there is something
extremely fascinating about the very
prospect. In returning to my cell from
the shops. I am delighted to espy a little
white-winged messenger of love lying
upon my cot, (already opened; awaiting
my perusal, or I am sorely disappointed
at its absence. In returning to my cell
after the labor of the day is done; I
often try to pursuade myself that there
is not the slightest probability of my
receiving a letter at that time; thus as
it were, striving to deceive myself, that
I might the more fully enjoy the pre
cious token. What a great blessing it
is to have some loved one or friend who
do not forget nor forsake us in our hour
of sorrow and trouble, and thus by
cheerful and loving messages.
“They scatter fragrant flowers
Upon a thorny path,
Bringing many pleasant hours
To a life e'en worse than death
A Modern Solomon
There is in Hungary a religious society
calling themselves Nazarenes. Some
time ago they appeared in a body before
one of the county judges, whom they
informed that they were about to cru
cify their leader, whom they claimed to
believe was the Messiah, and who in
accordance with their belief and doc
trine must be crucified. The judge
pondered over the matter for a moment,
and then said: “My friends, I will not
interfere with you in the discharge of
your religious obligations, if your
Messiah approves of crucirixion, then
let him prepare to die; but if your
Messiah does not arise again on the
third day, and appear among us, 1 will
have you all tried and hanged for mur
der.” After considering for a brief time
the judge's words, they concluded to let
their Messiah live. * P. L.
Sam Does It
Texas, No. 2, in his article on Sam
Jones, in a recent issue of The Mirror
says: “I firmly believe that the man
has converted more sinners than any
man living.” I have always believed
that man was only an instrument in the
hands of God, in the conversion of a
sinner; and that the real work was
done by a higher power. It may be,
however, that Sam does his own con
verting. A. A. W.
s. w

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