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The Washington times. (Washington [D.C.]) 1901-1902, October 05, 1902, Editorials The Drama And Society, Image 26

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ICupyright 1902 by George M Payne
FIRST met Walt Whitman In the
winter of 1S6G at tho old Washington
ington House corner of Pennsyl
vania Avenue find Third Street
A number of Big Injun chiefs
were holding a reception in the parlors
of the hotel and were dressed out in
all the wild fantastic war gear of the
plains and mountains of the boundless
A notable gathering of private and
putillc citizens bad assembled to shake
the red hand of the noble savage and
hear the grunt and chuckle of blazing
warriors who had lifted the scalps of
many white settlers and left their lone
ly cabins in ashes Senator Henry Wil
son of Massachusetts Introduced me
to several noted men Anson Burlin
game Ben Wade John A Bingham
James Buffington Henry Winter Davis
Charles Sumner Thaddeus Stevens and
last but not least Walt Whitman
To me Walt Whitman then only a re
tired army nurse and Government clerk
seemed the biggest man In the crowd
because hie high broad brow luminous
eye shambling Independent gait and
epigrammatic expressions showed a su
perior Boul He wore long straggling
bslr over a massive brow a kind of San
ta Glaus that everybody recognized as
a Mend He was so mild simple and
unajBsumtng that he was great par
ticularly In sympathy for the wounded
and oppressed The brain may be bril
liant and lofty demanding admiration
but It Is tho true and tender pulsations
of the heart that Impress mankind and
spread the Derfume of life lasting be
yond the grave and growing greener
with the lapse of ages
Whitman had a great heart that ever
beat responsive to the cry of the poor
and fallen and his whole life was a sac
rifice to duty While he was not a
poet in tho rhythmic sense ho was a
chunk logic philosopher sending his
broadax of thought through the tim
bers of literature that still echo In
the whispering Leaves of Grass in
dependent shots from the soul of can-
dor love and truth As army nurse
during the civil war he was the philan
thropist to both blue and gray Whit
man soared away in the sky of truth far
above creeds fashion and policy and
while he was dismissed from a clerkship
in the Interior Department for writing
an immoral book and using bllnt
language the Secretary who wTeaked a
short lived religious vengeance on the
grand old army nurse is forgotten or
only remembered by his bigoted tyranny
over a genius in literature
Whitmans Varied Career
Whitman was born In West Hills N
T May 31 1819 and died in Camden
X J March 26 1892 He worked in a
lawyers and doctors office after quit
ting school afterward taught school
learned thp printers trade owned news
papers ard was editorial writer on the
Brooklyn New York and Xew Orleans
His first venture in literature was in
1853 when he launched his unorthodox
Leaves of Grass that has beon re
vamped and enlarged until it has run
into twelve editions
Drum Beats Autobiography and
3tem hiSa agSSsu
magazlnc articles have sailed on the set
of literature all bearing the imprint of
Whitmans strong elephantine strides
like his African prototype rushing
through the jungles of sophistry hy
pocrisy and tearing away the tangled
brush of scholastic philosophy
I frequently roamed around Washing
ton with Whitman riding through rain
and shine on the old street cars talking
with drivers and conductors and pass
ing early morning and twilight evenings
in confab with the common run of hu
man chubs suckers and sharks blend
ing our Ideals with the web and woof of
working life where truth is mostly
The Social Ladder
The higher you climb the ladder of
society the more frigid become tho in
habitants and the more disgusted an
honest man becomes with pelf and po
litical people who live by a system of
financial chicanery join parties and
combinations rob according to law en
dowing churches hospitals and libra
ries and then go down to an honored
Wnat has become of Reuben Where
are to be seen his lank visage fringed
with scrubby beard bis suspenders tied
with twine his carpetsack and linen
You loiter along the crowded down
town thoroughfares and watch in vain
for the wiry framed irAiocenl cyed fig
ure Not one of the hurrying throng
carries a carpetsack Xot one cranes his
neck In an effort to read the signs on
the steenth story windows
Has Reuben been so warned that he
-will not leave the farm Xo for every
incoming trains bring Reuben to town
Ho comes to give his wife a good time
on her semi annual shopping trip to
attend a thrashermens convention
or to see about subdividing some acres
he used to work near the city limits
He wears a coat that If not in the
latest cut is at least unobtrusive He
carries a bag that if guiltless of the
labels of tho traveled Is ihe conven
tional dress suit case as to shape He
has his Chicago banker and his Chicago
lawyer probably t school friends with
whom he lunches and dines apparently
undisturbed by the stir of lights and
But Reuben has vanished too from
tho country station the shady lanes
far from traveled roads from the farm
itself He has gone and taken his pic
turesque language with him
Country fair grounds are crowded
as ever but the talk ono hears while
quite as uncivilized is the barbarity
of the pavement and not of the dusty
road Slang whose picturcsquencss
depends on a background of alleys and
brick walls eems strangely out of
place among ihe elderberry thickets
bramble bushes and ragweed
Reuben no longer chews a bit of
timothy ns he leans against a pic
turesque fence nor hits aloft like an
admiral aboard his flagship as he goes
through billows of grain
Alas Reuben has indeed left us to
smile only In hollow mockery from the
pages of the so called funny papers
or to appear now and again In dreary
travesty upon the vaudeville boards
Chicago Evening Post
v -
Jsl JAiiKjfe
On Decoration Day May 30 1SCS at
Arlington Walt Whitman and myself
walked across the Aqueduct bridge
along the river road on the Virginia
side to the National Cemetery and lis
tened to the ceremonies tho first of
ficial memorial held in honor of the pa
triot dead
The day was bright and cool while
the waters of the shining Potomac
flashed and twinkled in the sun as va
grant zephyrs skipped across its placid
bosom The wild flowers peeped from
every nook along the roadside while a
sheet of daisies covered the fields and
hills like a garb of snow and Hitting
birds made music through the forest
Halt naked colored children and old
tottering uncles from the Freedmans
villages adjacent beset us for pennies
In exchange for bunches of daisies and
Wild flowers and It was as funny as a
circus to see Whitman empty his pocket
of pennies nickels dimes and quarters
and fling them in the dusty road while
the group of smoked Yankees scram
bled and tumbled for the filthy lucre
In climbing through the woods of Ar
lington wo passed through the dilapi
dated Confederate graveyard just out
side the red sandstone wall inclosing
t jW
VtS sT
i HV ItiiHS wtCSte
Heproduccd by the kind permission
of Mr David MtKuy of Philadelphia
the Union dead In our scramble up the
hill Whitman strolled ahead and when
I finally caught up with him he was
standing under a weeping willow beside
a rough headboard marked Frank
Gordon Company A First Georgia
reciting the following verse of poetry
Tlioe in their robing of glory
These in the gloom of defeat
All with the battle blood gory
In the iut of Kternity meet
KnJer ihe od and tin dew
Waiting the judgment day
Under the roses the Blue
tluler the willow the ray
This to me was a great generous pic
ture to behold Walt Whitman the loy
JAagy M ji jiCfeaifea iL J rsA ssnlfei22ii -
L 1aRsjk
alist and philosopher reciting love lit
lines over the remains of Confederate
soldiers -and an incident I shall never
forget- -Life is too short to hate each
other and love Is too sweet to barter
for vengeance Whitmans broad gen
erous nature went out to all mankind
like perfume from a field of new mown
hay and over the mouldering remains of
a late enemy his noble heart responded
to the dictates of charity that still
spreads a glow of living light over the
pathetic ashes of remembrance
When we arrived in front of the Ar
lington mansion the decoration ceremo
nies had bogun Gen N P Chfpmac
was chairman of the committee of ar
rangements and called the assembly tc
order Col W T Collins read General
Order Xo 1 establishing Decoratloc
Day signed b Gen John A Logan the
national commander of the Grand Army
of the Republic Dr Byron Sunderland
delivered the opening prayer Gen
James A Garfield delivered a most elo
quent and patriotic oration Col J C
Smith rendered an original poem Gen
Holbert E Paine read Lincolns Gettys
burg address and Dr C B Boynton de
livered the b nedlction at the tomb of
the Unknown The cannons thundered
a national salute and 20000 people
spread flowers over the graves of their
sacred dead
As the golden beams of sunset nestled
In the towering treo tops of Arling
ton the Good Gray Poet and myself
sauntered through the woods and by
paths to the historic Long Bridge and
passed over Its tottering timbers to
Washington where we bid good by for
the day as the flickering lamps ot om
nipotence sparkled In their eternal
Words That Live
Eighty three years have passed since
Whitman was born yet the words of
Bob Ingersoll ten years ago over his
pulseless clay speak the hope ot im
Over the grave bends Love sobbing
and by her side stands Hope and whis
pers We shall meet again Before
all life is death nnd after all death is
life The falling lent touched with
the hectic that testifies of autumns
the mention of mental affections In the
lower animal is apt to excite incredulity
or even a smile But the occurrence ot
hysteria among them has long been
recognized In fact there is nothing odd
about this Many of the lower animals
are endowed with the most lively emo
tions and their disordered emotions
arc fruitful causes of various psyrhoses
The emotions of the dog cat and Uin
horsj are familiar to all
A French veterinary surgeon SI
iimry has just discoursed entertainingly
in La Nature on this sunjecl Fear
and joy according to Loplnary aro ih
two emotions which net most disas
trously upon the nervous system of ani
mals Tims a dog was separated from Its
luistress for several mentis of each
XtC r - oatSwcSask
-- iis4
death 13 in a subtle sense a prophecy oi
I lay this poetic spray upon the hon
ored grave of my old friend
In youth I knew the grand old man
Who lived upon the Cod like plan
Of doing daily every good
T lib human brotherhood
I roamed with him among the hills
And heard the music of the- rills
That echoed back the red birds call
Where leaped the sparkling waterfall
And giant oaks in rhythmic tune
Made music in the leafy June
We talked of flowers and birds and tree
While through our locks the balirjRbrreze
Went tripping on with joyous
The heir of every sun and sea
Whilp wood nymph with their wistful eye
Looked out with innocent surprise
And when we tried their realm to cass
Tney tangled up with Leave cf Grass
While lustful Pan through woods nnd weodl
Pursued fair Syrant to the reeds
i That still give forth their troubled tune
Amid the Bowers of May and June
Through rmstic gods the good gray seer
Invoked Dame Nature year by year
And from her breathing bosom brought
The richest gems of ripet thought
That down the agr shall endure
And keep hi memory gieen and pure
We saw Potomac roll away
Mid vales and hills of green and gray
Fr rcver running night and day
To plunge at last into the bay r
And mingle with the ocean spray
A patriot of purest mould
With heart and soul like virgin gold
He ever soothed the bed of pain
And never worked for greed or gain
Who knew no color race or creed
But put Ids words in doing deed
FUU knowirg well upon this sod
All men are equal with their God
We often roamed amid the mart
Where men contend with trade and ar
And heard the wrangling voice of gain
Discussing in the saow and rain
The price of trout ducks and collars
All or pVnce dimes and dollars
And then upon the rumbling car
Through street and lane wed ride afir
Until the burning setting sun
Went down on glorious Washington
And when the stars with magic light
Illumed the curtain of the night
Upon some rocky pyramid
- Wed listen to the -Italy-did
While far away amid the hills
The hooting owlt and rippling rill
Would echo back the poets sigh
Tlut fluttciNl through the evening sky
When Luna and her gorgeous train
Diffused their beams oer mount and mala
But now alone upon the stream
I drift at twilight in a dream
ct Whitman ghost like by my sua
Repeats his words that never died
lie true and kind to all you meet
In forest aisles or crowded street
And ever go with nilling feet
To help a comrade in retreat
The pathology of the lower animals
has been extensively studied both for
Its own sake and for the light which it
throws on the disease ot man It is per
bnps in the nervous system that tho
least advance has been made in com
parative especially In the
iomaln cf the psychoses At first thought
year when thp time for a reunion came
it was necessary to act with great cau
tion otherwise the excessive Joy of tho
animal caused a nervous crisis the ef
fects of which lasted several months 3f
Leplnary had n canary bird which
while singing in its cage was frightened
by a prowling cat The bird fell
Isclous nnd was revived with difficulty
complete aphonia resulted nnd lastea
for six weeks r this hysterical stigma
then disappeared suddenly Just as in
the human subject and the bird resumed
its singing A traumatic thock can causo
hysterical paraplegia in a cat as wn3
observed by Leplnary Tho animal wa
attacked and bitten by a dog and wa
left completely paraplegic dragging its
hind quarters as it tried to walk This
persisted for two month when the
unlmal wa3 suddenly cured by being
thrown from a window by a cruel ser
vant It jumped up and ran away
This subject has been studied by the
French and has not been neglected bj
Gllles do In Tourette in his treatise on
hysteria Philadelphia Medical Journal
WHITMAN IN WAR TIMES rhcto by Brady jH VO i B k WHITMAN AFTER THE WAR photo by Brady
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