Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 1.djvu/177

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Ch. 6.

money, and the liberality with which they used it, were marked even then, in comparison with the ordi­nary European habit. Europeans saw such contra­dictions, but made no attempt to reconcile them. No foreigner of that day—neither poet, painter, nor philosopher—could detect in American life anything higher than vulgarity; for it was something beyond the range of their experience, which education and culture had not framed a formula to express. Moore came to Washington, and found there no loftier inspi­ration than any Federalist rhymester of Dennie's school.

"Take Christians, Mohawks, democrats and all,
From the rude wigwam to the Congress hall,
­From man the savage, whether slaved or free,
To man the civilized, less tame than he:
'T is one dull chaos, one unfertile strife
Betwixt half-polished and half-barbarous life;
Where every ill the ancient world can brew
Is mixed with every grossness of the new;
Where all corrupts, though little can entice,
And nothing's known of luxury but vice."

Moore's two small volumes of Epistles, printed in 1807, contained much more so-called poetry of the same tone,—poetry more polished and less respect­able than that of Barlow and Dwight; while, as though to prove that the Old World knew what gross­ness was, he embalmed in his lines the slanders which the Scotch libeller Callender invented against Jefferson:—