Authors

Philander Chase

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Description

Philander shares an excerpt of a poem by Robert Bloomsfield. He is grateful to hear from Dudley after Dudley's perilous journey. He misses his son, George, and New York.

Date

5-29-1801

Keywords

George Chase; Olivea; Polly; Fishkill, NY; The Seasons; Thomson; Farmer's Boy; Robert Bloomfield; George III; Mary Chase

Transcript

Poughkeepsie May 29th 1801

Dear Brother Dudley,

I never have been more highly delighted than when reading a Poem lately published in England, entitled The Farmer’s Boy. It is written by a Mr. Robert Bloomfield - who was for some time a waiting-Boy to his Brother, George Bloomfield and some other shoe-makers in a poor dirty garret in London. Afterwards the little Hero was taken by his uncle into the Country to be Lackey for the dairy and farmyard. There, in this latter place he learnt from real nature and actual experience how to give the natural and beautiful tints which now adorn his little charming Poem. He has divided his work, after the Manner of Thomson, into 4 seasons. But so far from being a copyist, that I am astonished that a person who was so fond of The Seasons as we are informed Mr. Bloomfield was, should have been so originally independent of what Mr. Thomson has written, when dwelling on a part of the same subject of unadulterated nature. But it seems that the fund from which real genius draws her treasures, is inexhaustible. Perhaps I have been more delighted with the Poem by reason of its treating altogether upon such things as have from the beginning been my delight; and upon such actions as I myself have over & over again performed, with a very little variance of manners and times. If, when I was very young, servant and Port-Boy to all in my father’s family, any one had attempted with equal ability to describe the scenes [?] which I scrabbled he would have not have done it more perfectly than it is already delineated in the character of Giles. The poor fellow (for in this character Mr. Bloomfield has given a faithful sketch of his own life) [?] many a difficulty, without murmur or complaint, the [?] of Ridicule and [?] among them all.

It seems that it was his study to go some distance from [?] house every day during the fore-[?] of the season to see that no birds beasts had molested the wheatfield. After doing this part of duty and returning home to the farm-yard, and dairy- he thus most elegantly depicts his situation and in [?] attending it.

“This simple errand done, he homeward flies;

Another instantly his place supplies.

The clattering Dairy Maid, immers’d in steam,

Singing and scrubbing ‘midst her milk and cream,

Balls out “God fetch the Cows”!! Giles hears no more

For pigs and ducks and turkies, throng the door,

And sitting hens for constant war prepar’d

A concert strange to that which late he heard.#

Straight to the meadows then he whistling goes

With well-known hellos calls his [lazy] cows

Down the rich pasture heedlessly they graze

Or hear the summons with an idle gaze

For well they know the cowyard yields no more

Its tempting fragrance nor its wintry store.

#The singing of all sorts of Bird, beautifully described as he went to the Wheatfield.

I have not selected these lines as being peculiarly beautiful; there is hardly a line in the whole poem which is inferior to these. The strangest part of the business is that the author (who had returned from the country and became a shoemaker in London composed, corrected, and committed the Poem all to memory before he wrote a single word of it on paper; and this while at work on his seat against the noise laugh and [?] of a whole garret of shoemakers!!!!! This properly and [?] attested in the Book.

While reading this little work I wished a thousand times that there was some way of surprising you with the [?] of so rich a Prize. But this for want of all mode of conveyance was denied me.

Dear Brother, I do not sincerely wish you to send to New York to get this little Book it will be the most delicious [?] you ever tasted.

Your wife’s letter gave us much satisfaction and comfort. Besides relieving us all, the whole town -- all our neighbours at Fishkill [?], from the most horrible and dreadful apprehension with which we were ever afflicted; apprehensions that increased with the lapse of time and with the innumerable times they were [?] repeated between all my neighbors every time they met for 6 months upon the [?].

[?] that you were all cast away upon the [?] drowned in the River, or had gone to the Buggs!!!

I had not crooked my elbows against the best semblance of a falsehood I should have told my neighbours - they folks, who were so high by delighted with your company that I had from you, merely to spare myself the pain of thinking and saying that a Brother had forgotten, after so perilous a journey to to tell me whether he was dead or alive!

We mourn for little George -- not that we doubt your goodness -- no -- our hearts overflow with gratitude unfeigned to you continually. But the thoughts of his being our son and still away from us causes many a bitter sigh! However since Mrs. Chase has become the mother of a third her attention seems diverted from George. But from my mind the little fellow is scarcely ever absent. Philander still grows, and if one of the [?] children of his age in the County of D[?]. We are still undetermined what to call our George the Third -- he however deserves a good name for a finer Boy never [?] his parents. If you will write in season you shall have the honour of naming him

I have taken two young Boys, sons of a Rich Gentleman in New York -- they are some trouble but, still I am glad to keep them for the things [?] for [?]. I have 100 pounds per year, for keeping them -- at the same price, are expected soon. Mrs. Chase grows better every day - for you must she has been very sick again, with the [?] after a discharge of some blood at her mouth. Thank God [she] recovered. I am very healthy myself - afflict[ed by] nothing but [?] of my old [?] the head-ache. My affairs I think are going better, our Churches increase, over which I am [?] and others are building up in the neighbouring town by the means of my exertions. Still why do I long to go back to New Y? I can give no better reason than that I have nobody here but my poor wife to wear mourning for me when I die. I do believe there is some among my kin who would serve me on some other notice than that of getting my money, which concerning the people here I can hardly say.

Good Brother Fare-well - Our best love to Olivea, kiss George a [?] times for his Parents. Mrs. Chase will answer O’s letter as soon as she gets well enough -- You do not know how much Polly was comforted by the Reception of your wife’s epistle. My love to all Brothers Sisters and Friends,

Philander Chase

Letter to Dudley Chase

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