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Silence Dogood essay 7
"Sir, It has been the Complaint of many Ingenious Foreigners ..."

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Give me the Muse, whose generous Force,
Impatient of the Reins,
Pursues an unattempted Course,
Breaks all the Criticks Iron Chains
.
Watts.

To the Author of the New-England Courant.

["[No VII" appears along right side of column. This number signifies this is the seventh Silence Dogood letter.]

SIR

It has been the Com-
plaint of many Ingeni-
ous Foreigners, who
have travell'd amongst
us, That good Poetry is
not to be expected in

New-England. I am
apt to Fancy, the Rea-
son is, not because our
Countreymen are alto-
gether void of a Poetical
Genius, nor yet because
we have not those Ad-
vantages of Education which other Countries have,
but purely because we do not afford that Praise and
Encouragement which is merited, when any thing
extraordinary of this Kind is produc'd among us:
Upon which Consideration I have determined, when I
meet with a Good Piece of New-England Poetry, to
give it a suitable Encomium, and thereby endeavour
to discover to the World some of its Beautys, in or-
der to encourage the Author to go on, and bless the
World with more, and more Excellent Productions.

THERE has lately appear'd among us a most Excel-
lent Piece of Poetry, entituled, An Elegy upon the much
Lamented Death of Mrs.
Mehitebell Kitel, Wife of Mr.
John Kitel of Salem, &c. It may justly be said in
its Praise, without Flattery to the Author, that it
is the most Extraordinary Piece that ever was wrote
in New-England. The Language is so soft and Easy,
the Expression so moving and pathetick, but above
all, the Verse and Numbers so Charming and Natural,
that it is almost beyond Comparison,

*The Muse disdains
Those Links and Chains,
Measures and Rules of vulgar Strains,
And o'er the Laws of Harmony a Sovereign Queen she reigns.

I FIND no English Author, Ancient or Modern,
whose Elegies may be compar'd with this, in respect
to the Elegance of Stile, or Smoothness of Rhime;
and for the affecting Part, I will leave your Readers
to judge, if ever they read any Lines, that would
sooner make them draw their Breath and Sigh, if not
shed Tears, than these following.

Come let us mourn, for we have lost a Wife, a Daugh-
ter, and a Sister,
Who has lately taken Flight, and greatly we have
mist her.

In another Place,

Some little Time before she yielded up her Breath,
She said, I ne'er shall hear one Sermon more on Earth.
She kist her Husband some little Time before she
expir'd,
Then lean'd her Head the Pillow on, just out of Breath
and tir'd
.

BUT the Threefold Appellation in the first Line

-- a Wife, a Daughter, and a Sister,

must not pass unobserved. That Line in the celebra-
ted Watts,

GUNSTON the Just, the Generous, and the Young,

is nothing Comparable to it. The latter only men-
tions three Qualifications of one Person who was de-
ceased, which therefore could raise Grief and Com-
passion but for One. Whereas the former, (our most
excellent Poet
) gives his Reader a Sort of an Idea of
the Death of Three Persons, viz.

-- a Wife, a Daughter, and a Sister,

which is Three Times as great a Loss as the Death of
One, and consequently must raise Three Times as much
Grief and Compassion in the Reader.

I should be very much straitned for Room, if
I should attempt to discover even half the Excellen-
cies of this Elegy which are obvious to me. Yet I
cannot omit one Observation, which is, that the Au-
thor has (to his Honour) invented a new Species of
Poetry, which wants a Name, and was never before
known. His Muse scorns to be confin'd to the old
Measures and Limits, or to observe the dull Rules of
Criticks;

Nor Rapin gives her Rules to fly, nor Purcell Notes
to Sing.
    Watts.

NOW 'tis Pity that such an Excellent Piece should
not be dignify'd with a particular Name; and seeing
it cannot justly be called, either Epic, Sapphic, Lyric,
or Pindaric, nor any other Name yet invented, I
presume it may, (in Honour and Remembrance of the
Dead) be called the KITELIC. Thus much in the
Praise of Kitelic Poetry.

IT is certain, that those Elegies which are of our
own Growth, (and our Soil seldom produces any o-
ther sort of Poetry) are by far the greatest part,
wretchedly Dull and Ridiculous. Now since it is
imagin'd by many, that our Poets are honest, well-
meaning Fellows, who do their best, and that if they
had but some Instructions how to govern Fancy with
Judgment, they would make indifferent good Elegies;
I shall here subjoin a Receipt for that purpose,
which was left me as a Legacy, (among other valu-
able Rarities) by my Reverend Husband. It is as
follows,

A RECEIPT to make a New-England
Funeral ELEGY.

For the Title of your Elegy. Of these you may
have enough ready made to your Hands; but if you should

chuse to make it your self, you must be sure not to omit the
Words
Aetatis Suae, which will Beautify it exceedingly.

For the Subject of your Elegy. Take one of your Neigh-
bours who has lately departed this Life; it is no great mat-
ter at what Age the Party dy'd, but it will be best if he went
away suddenly, being
Kill'd, Drown'd, or Froze to Death.

Having chose the Person, take all his Virtues, Excellencies, &c.
and if he have not enough, you may borrow some to make
up a sufficient Quantity: To these add his last Words, dying
Expressions, &c. if they are to be had; mix all these together,
and be sure you strain them well. Then season all with a
Handful or two of Melancholly Expressions, such as,
Dread-
ful, Deadly, cruel cold Death, unhappy Fate, weeping
Eyes, &c. Have mixed all these Ingredients well, put them
into the empty Scull of some young
Harvard; (but in Case
you have ne'er a One at Hand, you may use your own,) there
let them Ferment for the Space of a Fortnight, and by that
Time they will be incorporated into a Body, which take out,
and having prepared a sufficient Quantity of double Rhimes,
such as,
Power, Flower; Quiver, Shiver; Grieve us, Leave
us; tell you, excel you; Expeditions, Physicians; Fatigue
him, Intrigue him; &c. you must spread all upon Pa-
per, and if you can procure a Scrap of Latin to put at the End,
it will garnish it mightily; then having affixed your Name
at the Bottom, with a
Maestus Composuit, you will have an
Excellent Elegy.

N. B. This Receipt will serve when a Female is the Subject
of your Elegy, provided you borrow a greater Quantity of
Virtues, Excellencies, &c.

SIR,
Your Servant
,
SILENCE DOGOOD.

P. S. I shall make no other Answer to Hypercarpus's Cri-
ticism on my last Letter than this, Mater me genuit, peperit
mox filia matrem.

The New-England Courant, June 25, 1722


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