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A Satire. A Humble Imitation.

Margaret Dixon McDougall 1826 (Belfast, ) – 1898 (Seattle, Washington, )

The rage for writing has spread far and wide,
Letters on letters now are multiplied,
And every mortal, who can hold a pen,
Aspires in haste to teach his fellow men.
Paper in wasted reams, and seas of ink.
Prove how they write who never learned to think;
Some who have talents--some who have not sense;
Some who to decency make no pretence;
But, skilled in arts which better men deceive,
They spread the slander which they don't believe.
A township turned to scribblers is a sight!
Venting their malice all in black and white,
And with, apparently, no other aim
Than merely to be foaming out their shame.
--My own, my beautiful, my pride,
I must lament where strangers will deride,
O'er thy degenerate sons whose strife and hate
Will make thee as a desert desolate
Men of gray hairs are not ashamed to strive
From house to house to keep the flame alive,
Whispering, inventing, without rest or pause,
With a "zeal worthy of a better cause."
Drilling low agents, teaching them to fly,
And spread on every fence the last new lie.
Oh that it were with us as in the past,
And that our peace had been ordained to last
When kindness reigned and angry passions slept,
E'er hatred's serpent to our Eden crept,
Are these the same or of a different race
From those who made this spot a pleasant place,
When cheerful toil, mingled with praise and prayer.
Wealth without pride and plenty without care,
When comely matrons wore the homespun suit,
And mocassons encased his worship's foot
No brawling then disturbed the quiet air,
No drunkard's ravings, and no swearer's prayer
The godly fathers all are passed away,
Gone to their rest before the evil day
The sons serve other gods, bow at their shrine,
Of the bright dollar or the gloomy pine
While envy, jealousy, and low purse pride
Those who were loving brethren now divide,
Like fabled pismires how the scrambling race,
For the small honours of a country place
And thou, who hast a spark of nature's fire,
What are thy aims son of a godly sire?
Thy good right hand, and calculating brain,
Have given thee wealth with honour in its train
Others may strive with anxious cares and fears,
Thou hast much goods laid up for many years,
Wilt thou forget the line from which thou'rt sprung?
Deem rich men always right and poor men wrong?
Forget thy early friends and bearing free?
When thou art angry have no charity?
Shall wealth, not worth and vulgar pomp and show,
Be the sum total of all good below?
Shall we, then, cease for innate worth to scan?
Look to the new made coat and not the man?
Those who are raised in such an atmosphere
Are they who have the ever-ready sneer
At honest poverty, and at the road
To competence which their own fathers trod
If men of worth will stoop among the vain,
We turn from them with sorrow and with pain
Man may repent, reform, his steps retrace,
But is there renovation for a place?
Will a community forego their strife,
Bury the tomahawk and scalping knife?
Will pride, and will self interest prevail,
Where reason and where revelation fail
Like cause makes like effect, abroad, at home--
In this small township as in Greece or Rome.
One motto is my moral, true and sad,
Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

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Margaret Dixon McDougall

Margaret Dixon McDougall (December 26, 1828 – October 22, 1899) was an Irish-born writer who lived in Canada and the United States. Her surname also appears as MacDougall. She sometimes wrote under the name Norah Pembroke. The daughter of William Henry Dixon and Eleanor West, she was born Margaret Moran Dixon in Belfast and came to Canada with her family while she was in her twenties. She married Alexander Dougald McDougal in 1852; the couple had six children. During the 1860s and 1870s, they lived in Pembroke and Clarence. McDougall published a book of poetry Verses and Rhymes by the Way in 1880. She wrote for various newspapers and then returned to Northern Ireland as a correspondent for the Montreal Witness and the New York Witness during the early 1880s. In 1882, she published The Letters of "Norah" on Her Tour Through Ireland, based on material published in her columns. In 1883, she published a novel Days of a Life set in Ireland. After her husband died in 1887, she became active in the American Baptist Home Mission Society in Michigan. In 1893, McDougall moved to Montesano, Washington where she worked for the church. She died in Seattle in 1899.  more…

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