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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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night, and there in the big sitting room with Mapother, Martin,
traveller Butler &c. &c.    gazing out o window at the grandest, most
awful storm it hath been my fortune to witness.    Broad and constant
sheets of violet hued lightnings lighting up each surrounding object most vividly,
rain drops sparkling like jewels; driving, drenching sheets of water
and howling wind and long loud bellowing thunder reverberations. Talk
of electricity, of galvanism, of soul and pineal gland &c.  /     Our
knowledge of the detail of cause and effect vulgarizes and renders
common all things, grand though they may be.    The Pagan of the
old world in a storm saw Zeus incensed, darting his lightning-messengers
of anger on impious and ungrateful men below,   now it is but the
meeting and combustion of gales.     Oh the old Greek world, making
poetry of each days detail of life, all beauty and no horror in creed;
gods sympathetic and human!   is this Mammon ruled Nineteenth
Century after All better?   What a life of dollar-hunting is this,
striving for that you at once desire and despise.         Oh to have been
a shepherd on Parnassus, believing that the Great God Apollo haunted 
its temple and leafy laurelled shade. To have loved, and piped
and lain neath trees, and tended sheep, and when boughs stirred
knowing some kindly Faun was peeping through them   to have
believed and lived, thought and acted poetry! Ah me!
				I d rather be
	A Pagan suckled in a creed out worn
	So might I, standing on this pleasant lea
	Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn
	Have sight of Proteus coming from the sea
	Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume One: page one hundred and seventy-one
Description:Muses on what it would be like to live in a Pagan world.
Date:1850-09-27
Subject:Butler; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Mapother, Dillon; Martin; Mythology, Greek; Poetry; Religion; Thunderstorms
Coverage (City/State):[New York, New York]
Scan Date:2011-02-07

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume One
Description:Details Gunn's first year living in the United States, including his experiences with boarding house living in Jersey City and New York City, looking for work as an artist and a writer, publishing his first book ""Mose Among the Britishers"" and brief visits to Philadelphia and Boston.
Subject:Boardinghouses; Books and reading; Drawing; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Publishers and publishing; Theater; Travel
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Jersey City, New Jersey; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Boston, Massachusetts
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-two volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2011 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.