Phoenixiana: Or Sketches and Burlesques
George Horatio Derby (1823-1861) of Massachusetts graduated from West Point in 1846 and served in the Army Topographical Engineers at Vera Cruz and Cerro Gordo before being sent to California in 1856. He remained there for seven years, leading three exploring expeditions and winning a place as one of the state's first humorists with pieces published in the San Diego Herald and republished around the nation. Phoenixiana (1903) reprints a book originally published in 1855. It contains Derby's pieces as "Professor John Phoenixiana" and "Squibob," poking fun at such topics as military surveyors and explorers; contemporary travel accounts of the Mission Dolores, Benecia, Sonoma, San Francisco, and San Diego; literary societies and women's clubs; astronomy; and Army life.
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Page 21 - OLD Mother Hubbard Went to the cupboard, To get her poor dog a bone: But when she got there The cupboard was bare, And so the poor dog had none.
Page 34 - ... clearness of idea, that will leave little to be desired, and will, I modestly hope, immortalize my humble name as the promulgator of the truth and the benefactor of the human race. Before entering upon my system I will give you an account of its discovery, which, perhaps, I might with more modesty term an adaptation and enlargement of the idea of another, which will surprise you by its simplicity, and, like the method of standing eggs on end, of Columbus, the inventions of printing, gunpowder...
Page 232 - O Woman ! in our hours of ease, Uncertain, coy, and hard to please, And variable as the shade By the light quivering aspen made, When pain and anguish wring the brow, A ministering angel thou ! — Scarce were the piteous accents said, When, with the Baron's casque, the maid To the nigh streamlet ran.
Page 107 - How sharper than a serpent's thanks it is to have a toothless child," as Pope beautifully remarks in his Paradise Lost. One individual characterized my letter as "ad — d burlesque.
Page 54 - Followed by that touching recitative: "Shet up, or I will spank you !" To which succeeds a grand crescendo movement, representing the flight of the child with the pancake, the pursuit of the mother, and the final arrest and summary punishment of the former, represented by the rapid and successive strokes of the castanet. The turning in for the night follows; and the deep and stertorous breathing of the encampment is well given by the bassoon, while the sufferings and trials of an unhappy father with...
Page 52 - Gradually the sounds roll forth in a song" of rejoicing to the God of Day. " Of thy intensity And great immensity Now then we sing ; Beholding in gratitude Thee in this latitude, Curious thing.* Which swells out into " Hey Jim along, Jim along Josey," then decrescendo, mas o menos, poco pocita, dies away and dries up.
Page 79 - Moon was gazing down with an air of benevolence," or with " an air of complacency," or with " an air of calm superiority," are incorrect and objectionable, the fact being that the Moon has no air at all. The existence of the celebrated " Man in the Moon " has been frequently questioned by modern philosophers. The whole subject is involved in doubt and obscurity. The only authority we have for believing that such an individual exists, and has been seen and spoken with, is a fragment of an old poem...
Page 144 - Judge" down over the Press by our nose (which we had inserted between his teeth for that purpose), and while our hair was employed in holding one of his hands, we held the other in our left, and with the "sheep's foot" brandished above our head, shouted to him, "say Waldo,
Page 91 - Ligeia! Ligeia! My beautiful one! Whose harshest idea Will to melody run, O! is it thy will On the breezes to toss? Or, capriciously still, Like the lone Albatross, Incumbent on night (As she on the air) To keep watch with delight On the harmony there?
Page 284 - She had suffered terribly with the rheumatism, but after this occurrence never had a pain in her bones. The dentist kept them in a glass case. After this, the machine was sold to the contractor of the Boston Custom-House, and it was found that a child of three years of age could, by a single turn of the screw, raise a stone weighing twenty-three tons. Smaller ones were made, on the same principle, and sold to the keepers of hotels and restaurants. They were used for boning turkeys. There is no moral...