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  The research archive of Gary W. Ewer regarding the history of the daguerreotype

I wish you all a Happy New Year! Today (rather than February) seemed the appropriate day for this text which is from "The Photographic and Fine Art Journal" (February 1854) page 51-52. As M. A. Root often featured a few lines of poetry in his newspaper advertisements for his galleries, I am supposing that this was written for placement in a New York newspaper and then later submitted to the PFAJ. - - - - - - - - - - T H E P O E T R Y O F D A G U E R R E O T Y P I N G . Mr. ROOT, of New York, shows his talent for poesy as well as for daguerreotyping, in the following, which he presents to his patron's as a New- Year's offering:-- FIFTY-THREE AND FIFTY-FOUR. Ring out the bells and shout with glee, This glorious New-Year's morn; Away with care and misery! To-day a year is born. So ever let our New-Years be, As they have been of yore, And as we sang in Fifty-three, We'll sing in Fifty-four. We will not be too grave of face, Though Time be flying fast; 'Tis not the hour, 'tis not the place, Sad horoscopes to case; Nor yet too thoughtless may we be, but sometimes ponder o'er The woes we felt in Fifty-three, and may in Fifty-four. The heart that's warm or soul that's true Avoids the fierce extreme-- Has truth, and truth alone in view; And is what it doth seem; No false pretense shall ever be Laid justly at its door-- For as it was in Fifty-three, It is in Fifty-four. Then be not sad, nor over gay,-- Let Reason rule the hour, Her temperate commands obey, And own her genial power; What though we toss on Passion's sea, Where furious tempests roar! Hope steered us safe through Fifty-three, and will through Fifty-four. Last night, as Evening's curtain rolled Adown the darkening West, And hid those floating isles of gold That watch the sun to rest, I chanced in a fair hall to be, Where Art had heaped her store,-- Her home in Fifty-four. 'Twas there the fair Enchantress Art, Sole Empress; reigned supreme; There wrote the language of the heart, With Sol's translucent beam; There dwelt she in her majesty, And proud her sceptre bore, All through the year of Fifty-three, And will through Fifty-four. There thronged a mighty multitude: Old Age with silver hair; The Man that like the gnarled oak stood; The maid so wondrous fair; The laughing eyes of infancy; The look that Manhood wore; All gathered there in Fifty-three, And will in Fifty-four. There too I saw the "Old Arm Chair," And thoughts of sadness stole, Like, the soft light that lingered there, Down through my dreaming soul; For then the past came back to me-- The dear old days of yore-- Long ere the dawn of Fifty-three, Yet fresh in Fifty-four. There, too, I saw the bold and brave, Whose names have graced the age; Though slumbering in the silent grave, Safe through life's pilgrimage, As real seemed they there to me, As, some short time before, I saw alive in Fifty-three, The dead of Fifty-four. And many wondrous things I saw; But, chief of all the throng, I bowed myself in humble awe Where Jordan rolled along-- For there my wondering eyes did see, And long did ponder o'er The Palestine of Fifty-three, Shown here in Fifty-four. Upon the mount of Olives then I seemed in truth to stand, And gazed o'er Kedron's lonely glen, Where strayed the chosen band; Jerusalem and Gallilee Spread all the eye before, As erst they lay in Fifty-three, And will in Fifty-four. There Nazareth and Bethlehem, And Zion's Mountain rose,-- Sad Landmarks, for they spoke of HIM, The man of many woes, Who through long years of poverty Oft trod their pathways o'er, For all who were in Fifty-three, Or are in Fifty-four. Then turned me to our own fair land, For Art hath lingered here, And at her self enforced command A thousand scenes appear; For here her dwelling-place will be-- Her home for evermore-- The glorious Queen of Fifty-three, Supreme in Fifty-four. The Grecian Artist's pencil drew Such wondrous counterfeit, That birds upon the canvass flew, And strove the fruit to eat; But wonders greater still we see Upon our native shore, Where Art has strayed in Fifty-three, And will in Fifty-four. For art and nature here have joined As partners with the Sun, And in one ROOT have all combined, And now they work as one; Of what they do, 'tis not for me More closely to explore; You saw it all in Fifty-three Or may in Fifty-four. 'Tis time to end this rambling rhyme, Kind reader, Au revoir! I'll call again another time, and tell what more I saw, As in Broadway, three sixty-three, I strayed an hour or more-- As you have done in Fifty-three, Or will in Fifty-four. There pictures that may challenge all That Art hath ever done, Since Father Adam's direful fall, To all the world are shown! And though they won the victory Full many a time of yore, The choicest gems of Fifty-three Are beat by Fifty-four. There go, and while you rove at will As through a gay parterre, Forget not, though you may be still All young and strong and fair, Another year there may not be For you or yours in store; For what was bright in Fifty-three May fade in Fifty-four. Improve the present--Time and Death Go hand in hand for aye; The flower that blushed in morning's breath May wither with the day; Trust not the Future--none can see Beyond its gloomy dour; But seize the shade of Fifty-three E'er barred by Fifty-four. Once more, Farewell! May Love and Peace, Long Life and sweet Content, Keep even with the year's increase-- By favoring Heaven sent; In Fifty-five I hope to be Your dutiful once more, To sing; as now of Fifty-three, A song of Fifty-four. -------------------------------------------------------------- 01-01-98

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