Authors

George Chase

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George expresses how much he misses his friend Intrepid; he relates a poem written recently by Philander in a letter to himself

Date

8-25-1815

Keywords

Yale college; poetry; Dudley Chase; Philander Chase, Jr.

Transcript

New Haven Yale College, Aug 25. 1815

My Dearest Friend.

I am heartily tired of making excuses for not answering your epistles—but this once, and I hope I have done forever. Your welcome letter, was not directed to George Chase Student of Yale College. On this account, the Penny Post did not bring me the epistle, as he usually does all other, but it remained in the Post Office 10 or 12 days. I saw the Post pass day after day, with nothing for me—my heart sunk within me—and the dread that you had neglected me—or that you were on the bed of Sickness, alternately predominated in my bosom. Well—you are now I suppose in Fairfield diving into musty lore: and roused at break of day by some vile bell. Remember the olden time! Those were happy days, compared with the present. The then “Blythe as the lark, that each day hails the moon, Look’d forward with hope for Tomorrow.” Reflection and experience, have taught us a different lesson. Reflection has but added to our knowledge of human failings; & experience has but added to our tears, for the loss of that purity, we once p[?]ed. Poets (youthful poets) have feigned perfect bliss here on earth. Beauty in a retired cottage—the purity of angels—and every thing that lifts a man to regions of the skies. If these things are not so—if they are all, mere phantoms of the brain—is it not cruel to delude mankind, with expectations they can never realize. Let us hang these Poets,—these novelists all at once. Don’t you think it would be for our benefit?I beg of you not to think me actually crazy. No—no such thing. I rise betimes, and go to prayers. Recite my lessons—like the rest of my class. Study a little, read a little, and withal conduct myself pretty soberly, ex. Now and then some one is startled by some odd expression of mine—which I can not possibly help—but they soon forget it and I have, thank fortune, thus far escaped the straitjacket. How long I shall remain in this enviable state of independence it is impossible for me to determine. Aug. 27th 1815. Sunday Evening. Immediately after Examination, which commences a week from Tomorrow, I shall go home, and as soon as possible, set out for Vermont. My stay there, [I] expect will continue six weeks through the vacation. A journal of all proceedings & conversations shall be kept, and duly transmitted to you. My dear Aunt, is in a very low state of health, occasioned by her affliction for the death of little Dudley—My Uncle has written to me & from the style of his epistles, I should imagine, that the mania Politics, which seemed to have seized our relations in that quarter of the Country, thus almost subsided. He speaks of past days and past pleasures, as if he fondly cherished their remembrance. When I reflect upon their condition—with none but political friends heartless as they are contemptible—with no children—the loss of little Dudley to add to their misfortune—and every thing desolate around them, I feel what I can not express. My life—my every thing shall be at their disposal if it can afford them comfort. They nourished me in infancy—watched over me and loved me as their own! I anticipate much pleasure in the projected visit—every body, every thing, even the rocks hills and vallies, are endeared to me by the recollections of youth. My daily and nightly dreams, are filled with them. But perhaps I am tiring you with reflections, with with I am enamoured, but which will not have the same weight with you. Forgive me and I will write about what? I can hardly tell, my head is so full of this visit. Are you serious, I [?], when you tell me that you never have trodden the boards of Drury Lane? Is it—can it be true? I laughed at, though I pitied your situation. A cold, batchelor—taken for a over disappointed by some [?] ‘lady fair’—and an actor!—verily I must exclaim with you, “was ever man so persecuted since the days of the title man in Black”—Diedrick would “not hold a candle to you.” The Fall of Beauty—I had seen before and with you admired it very much. The same thought, applied to man, or rather scene was described in a piece of mine published in the Boston Spectator. I would you any thing that I would lothe my thoughts in the same [?] that the authors of the Hunting of Bad[?] has done with his.

I read your short account of a visit to Cornish, with interest. I believe I can ‘conceive’ what must have been your feelings under the circumstance you describe. The duties of administering comforts to your parent in distress, must have been “pleasant yet mournful to the soul.” Do not say, my dear Friend that we are doomed to see each others face no more below. I hope and trust we shall—if Death does not snatch one or both of us away within a few years, I am sure. If it were not for the Duty I owe to Uncle and Aunt, I believe I should see you this Fall.—There is a beautiful star which forms a part of the Great Bear, & which (do not smile) seems in the same direction of your residence. I have a fair view of it from my window and I have always connected it with the remembrance of you. Perhaps you will think I am fanciful but I confess I enjoy more satisfaction in viewing this star than with all the frivolous amusements of the day—when the evenings are as unclouded as this.

The Family at home, are very well I believe at present, though they have been almost all of them sick, especially my mother. She is much taken up with the instruction of her wards—I am [?][?] Mary with Sheldon Clarke from New Orleans. My father burys himself in his Study, which he has lately replenished with a great quantity of books from England. His garden employs every leisure moment, and which he has rendered the best in town. Orin Pay has gone into a wholesale store around by Sigourney Hayden & Co.—thus we are scrambling—he for money and your humble servt for fame. Philander my dear brother whom I [?]e more than ever is teaching a private school in East Windsor. That he has considerably altered from the ha-ha-ing boisterous fellow he used to be the following extract from a late letter of his, I think will sufficiently show. “I had climbed a neighbouring hill. I saw the last tints of the expiring rays of the sun, and sat down to contemplate the scene. The heat of the preceding day, being now changed for the refreshing breeze of the evening, and the solemn stillness which surrounded me inviting repose, I imperceptibly fell into a sleep and was immediately entertained with a dream which I here present to you transformed into rhyme.

Song

Methought I saw the angel forms,

Of those I dearly love,

The troop angelic gather’d round,

And towards me, then did move.

Methought I saw them all array’d

In robes of purest white,

That loosely flowed about their arms,

And seem’d like the other light.

I was then my Rev’rend Father came,

Around my mossy bed,

And with his outstrech’d arms he perer’d,

His blessing on my head.

“God bless, and keep thee, O my son,

Preserve thee safe from harm,

And ever lead thee here below,

By his Almighty arm.”

Methought my mother then approach’d

And knelt beside me there,

And thus unto the God she lov’d

Pour’d out her pious prayer.

“Great God look down from heav’n above,

Behold and bless my child,

Grant him to walk, in thy commands

And ne’er by sin beguil’d”

Twas then I thought my brother came,

And standing near my head,

He stoop’d and whispering in my ear,

In lowly accents said.

“My brother dear, be not cast down

But be it thine to know,

There is a high and hev’nly cure

For ev’ry mortal woe.”

That said, whom still my heart holds dear

Advancing next I see

The passing shil’d and smiling sigh’d

And said, “Remember me”

Twas then I thought, the rest came up,

And as they gather’d round,

I heard them ing this chorus sweet

In notes of heav’nly sound.

“Sleep Friend Belov’d and sleep in peace,

And only wake to joy,

May ever happiness be thine,

Thou knows of no alloy.”

The foregoing [?] of Philander, though full of inaccuracies, Exhibits I think considerable talent.

Philander, unlike yourself a staunch old batchelor and myself who have sobered down to a deadly womanthrope, still loves and loves and ever will love on. His Elisa, though I am afraid an arrant jilt after all, swiles and beckons him on. You will now I suppose expect a full and summary account of my proceedings—my situation &c &c. I room at the house of a staunch Churchman (Mr. Atwaters) but a devoted admirer of the British and an old Tory. But thus far we have got along smoothly enough, except a spat this morning concerning politics. By the bye, I profess Republicanism—am not fond of tilted [?], but wish every one to rise by merit not by birth. I have young Huntington of Hartford for a roommate. He is a pretty clever sort of a fellow, and we have fived the last term together without a word of difficulty. But he is a Presbyterian!!—I have this moment told him what I have written, but he does not like the last expression. I can’t help it. My Room faces the North. The following is a plan of the view.

This Plan of the College (if plan it can be called) I send to you, thinking it can afford a better idea [?] than I could possibly give in words. I recite 3 times a day Morning Noon & Night. (I am very much ashamed to have a letter go-away thus blotted, but it was done by the woeful upset of an inkstand & pen a moment since.) My proceedings have been nothing at all. I see nobody because I visit nobody. My acquaintances among the Students are very few and except one very indifferent. Phi. one hies in the same street with myself. He is of all persons I have ever seen, the most extraordinary. He takes the liberty of telling me the just what he thinks of my conduct, without any regard to my feelings. He is a tall pale-faced fellow; cause by his intense study. He is the best Student in College. His name is Newton. My dear Friend. Nothing gives your dear Friend, greater pleasure than your final determination for Life. The Ministry must afford great satisfaction to any one who thinks himself capable of discharging its duties. He knows that he is labouring in the vineyard that will bring forth abundantly for him and that he is laying up a treasure for the Great Day of Judgment. My Prayers for your success you should always have. I have not the least doubt but that you will succeed to to the satisfaction of every one. My Father would be very glad to recieve a letter from you in answer to his, which he says was written in great haste. I expect a letter from you at Hartford by the 18. October when I shall have returned from [?]. May God bless and preserve you is the earnest prayer of George.

Letter to Intrepid Morse

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