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R. PETERSON was born in Philadelphia, December 7, 1818, and has lived in that city and its vicinity all his life. He was early bred to business pursuits, for which training he is thankful; the knowledge thus acquired being very useful not only in the practical affairs of life, but in the consideration of important social theories.
At about the age of thirty he became half proprietor and sole editor of the Saturday Evening Post, which, under the joint management of Edmund Deacon and himself, was very successful, attaining a circulation of 80,000 copies. When, however, the anti-slavery agitation became the ruling question of the day, Mr. Peterson was so disgusted with the subserviency of the North to the slave power, that he wrote from time to time, during several years, certain editorials, which resulted in the loss of a very large portion of his subscription list. This was done with a full knowledge of what the effect would be, Mr. Deacon, his partner, concurring in the opinion that the cause of truth and freedom required the sacrifice.
Mr. Peterson had joined the anti-slavery movement when a boy of fifteen, and remained identified with it until the society took decided ground in favor of a dissolution of the Union. He never had much sympathy with the violent language and ultra principles of Mr. Garrison, but always His favored moderate methods and measures. opinion remains unchanged to this day, that Mr. Garrison was an unwise, intolerant and mischievous leader.
Mr. Peterson has written a number of novels, stories, dramas, essays, lectures, etc., some of which have been published. Among the novels is "Pemberton," of which "Helen; or, One Hundred Years Ago," is a partial dramatization. This drama was played at the Chestnut Street Theater, in Philadelphia, in April, 1876, with great success. In his published drama of “Cæsar,” that great man is pictured from the democratic point of view, as given by Mommsen and other late historians, in contrast with the aristocratic, as seen in Shakespeare.
Mr. Peterson has published two volumes of poems and has another ready for publication. He considers "The Modern Job," with an unpublished poem, "Deus in Natura" (some selections from which have been published), as his most noticeable productions, embracing, as they do, original views of some of the greatest problems of our existence. S. W. P.
ELOHIM (THE GODS).
PERHAPS the Book is wiser than men read;
Such beings must exist, if we believe
The hallowed records of the ancient past; Such beings must exist, if we conceive What reason teaches of creation vast.
And such, existing, would not lounge supine
They, too, must be creators, strong of hand.
For their development as well as ours,
Not free from interfering plague and blight
He dwelt not then in dark abodes of flame.
Even the "Sons of God" must work and pray; See their plans baffled by an adverse host; Lose in the night what they have gained by day; Hear the good wailing and the wicked boast.
The One Almighty rules the eternal years!
They have dominion also in their spheres,
How else should they develop, also grow
To mightier wisdom, in their endless range? Not only here the winds of evil blow;
Not only here are constant flaw and change.
I say not this is certain; what I write
For me, I seek but Truth; the mind of man,
THE CLOVER LEAF.
THEY wandered in the meadow,
Oh! sweeter than red clover,
The leaf which bears a heart! The green leaf of the cloverFit gift when love runs overThe leaf that bears a heart!
ODE FOR DECORATION DAY.
Of lilacs, and of roses white and red,
When they, who sleep beneath,
The fortunes of the land,
The pride and power and safety of the North!
It seems but yesterday
The long and proud array
But yesterday, when ev'n the solid rock
As North and South, like two huge icebergs, ground
Against each other with convulsive bound,
To view the mighty war,
And hear the thunderous roar,
While sheeted lightnings wrapped each plain and hill.
Alas! how few came back,
From battle and from wrack!
Alas! how many lie
Beneath a Southern sky,
Who never heard the fearful fight was done,
Sweeter, I think, their sleep,
Could they but know their wounds were not in vain,
Could they but hear the grand triumphal strain,
And see their homes unmarred by hostile tread.
We mourn for all, but each doth think of one
Who came not back, or, coming, sank and died.-
"He fell 'fore Richmond, in the 'seven long days When battle raged from morn till blood-dewed eve,
And lies there," one pale, widowed mourner says,
Oh! gallant brothers of the generous South,
Your vines and flowers learned long since to forgive,
Shall reach the Northland with each summer bird,
And ye, O Northmen! be ye not outdone
We all do need forgiveness, every one;
And they that give shall find it in their need. Spare of your flowers to deck the stranger's grave, Who died for a lost cause
A soul more daring, resolute and brave
A brave man's hatred pauses at the tomb.
For him some Southern home was robed in gloom, Some wife or mother looked with longing eyes Through the sad days and nights with tears and sighs,
Hope slowly hardening into gaunt Despair.
Then let your foeman's grave remembrance share; Pity a higher charm to Valor lends,
And in the realins of Sorrow all are friends.
Yes, bring fresh flowers and strew the soldier's
Whether he proudly lies
Beneath our Northern skies,
Or where the Southern palms their branches
Let the bells toll and wild war-music swell,
Come back and haunt us with its mighty spell.
And strew with fragrant rain
Of lilacs, and of roses white and red,
SING, bird, on green Missouri's plain,
Uprose serene the August sun
Now broken and now blended,
And rank with rank contended.
Four thousand men, as brave and true
They feared not death-men bless the field
Fair Freedom's cause was sword and shield,
Their leader's troubled soul looked forth
Had pressed out all its lightness.
"General, come lead us!" loud the cry
Another day I wore that jewel strange
Upon my sleeve; the sky was bright and clear. "Ah," cried my friend, "you've made a fitting change;
This Opal wears the light of God's own sphere."
And here I wear the Opal of my soul
And that whole nothing, save as God gives light.
I HAVE no tears to shed upon thy grave,
I saw thee first in youth, with eyes of light,
And heart all eager for the world before thee: I marked thy upward course from height to height, Where thy strong will and gift of genius bore thee.
Then came the hour when, rising in her pride,
And sages gathered gladly to thy side,
To add their laurels to thy wreath of glory.
Finished at last thy work beneath the sun, Ripened the fruit for which this life is given, I can not weep, thy course so nobly run, Thou takest a still higher flight to heaven.
TO ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
SONNET AND ACROSTIC.
A MAN raised up by Heaven, Oh Chief! art thou
Long centuries hence thy name shall shine as one No blame can cloud—our second Washington! 1862.
"Be good and you'll be happy!" endless chimes