The Newspaper

To a Venetian coin, the first Gazetta
            For its generic title became debtor.

Whither excursive Fancy tends thy Flight?
Like Eastern Caliph masking thee at night,
By Vezier memory attended still,
Thou pertly pryest in each domicil.
Woe! to the Caitiff then who in his cups,
Unconscious with sublimity he sups,
Shall vow in Bacchanalian truth or fun
Thou art not kindred to the glorious sun!
I fear thee not, clandestine ambulator!
Thou most sophistical and specious traitor
To Truth and Reason, those imperial twins
Whose Empire with thy Martyrdom begins.
What is thy drift in brandishing a flag,
Whose motto is a metamorphosed rag!
As by those motley streaks of white and jet,
I trace that aboriginal Gazette,
The British prototype of ’65
From which all modern journals we derive.
At first confined to faction’s revelations,
Mere politics, or plodding speculations.
Now to a semi-cyclopedia risen
Which the assembled arts, delight to dizen.
Its grand mosaic ground work ever graced
With polished gems of miscellaneous taste.
Philosophy his portico regains
In columns where profoundest science reigns.
While in relief a neighboring sphere discloses
Clio’s with Nature’s kind exotic roses.
A curious melange of mental food
In fragments thus promiscuously strewed;
Rising Aeronauts, and sinking funds,
Fearful phenomena of stars or suns.
Men in the stocks, uneasy as old Kent,
Others appalled by fluctuating rent.
New ministers to preach, and spirit lamps,
Foreign intelligence from Courts and Camps
Don-Pedro – and a fresh supply of leeches
A ball that blackens, and a wash that bleaches,
Here, Hymen’s herald to the world declares
When Love triumphant at his shrine appears.
There, tenderness bereaved, its tribute brings
And Hope’s crushed odours on Death’s altar flings.
Advertisements of various commodities,   
And anecdotes of Irish whims and oddities.
Bills of mortality, and Board of Health,
A fine green turtle – and a miser’s wealth.
The prices current – a cheap hasty pudding,
Detected fallacies – and falcon-hooding,
Arrivals and departures – births and deaths,
A dreadful Storm – and artificial wreaths,
One fugitive forsakes the Cotton pod,
In terror of the Supervisor’s rod.
Another dreading critic castigation,
Flies from the fields of rich imagination.
Thus from discordant interests Genius hurled
The elements that form this typic world.

Source: She Wields a Pen: American Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century (University of Iowa Press, 1997)