Digital History>eXplorations>John Brown: Hero or Terrorist?>The Public Response>Mann Valentine

Mann Satterwhite Valentine, “The Mock Auction”

Source: Mann Satterwhite Valentine. The Mock Auction: Ossawatomie Sold, A Mock Heroic Poem (Richmond, Virginia, 1860), pp. 67 69, 154-155.

They stared into his swarthy face,
So destitute of every grace; for he looked like unearthly creature,
With phiz of malignant nature,
With gloating eyes of Boa Constrictor,
And beak for nose, like to vulture,
Mouth of insatiate glutton
Bound with leathery tortoise skin,
And head of bristling porcupine,
Poised on neck of wiry serpentine;
His long and lathy frame -remnant
Of famine, unutterably scant,
Yet, quick spirited and brawny,
When contrasted with the flabby
Figment of softest flesh and nerve
You might, in Craven Heart observe; . . .
The wild old Ossawatomie
Fairly embosomd with the Free,
Would drink his liquor with a vim,
And then draw the other two to him,
Saying—“My larks! we must be done
With this gibberish talking mum;
We should be laying out our toils,
I feel the urgent lack of spoils
This resting on one’s oars so long,
Is to my mind entirely wrong;
I, sirs! am ready primed for deeds,
To suit the cogency of needs;
I have stolen no horse for days,
I am getting rusty in my ways, -
With houses none to fire by me,
It seems I am purging deviltry.
Here by your proffers I've been kept
Wasting the virtues of adept,
Till, presently, I will forget
The means my appetite to whet;
For blood and rapine doth require
Dexterity as well as fire;
I must do murder, if tis you;
Haste! prepare me work, or you rue
The hour you sent, for such cattle,
To pitch into your slow battle;
I tell you, sirs, you have a Greek
In me! I want to hear you speak? . . ,
Here at home voting other's deeds,
As safe investment for your needs.
You are a gen'rous host, I ween,
Yourselves to forego the battle scene, Endowing me as substitute,
My family being destitute;
How great must be the exertion
Required, for this friendly diversion . . .
Wonders lie dormant in my nature,
Elements of marvellous creature,
The sledge hammer vim of Hercules,
The dogged apathy of Diogenes,
Conjoin'd to the powers of others,
Both heroes and philosophers."

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