Pg. 202: fall to short for fall to
work, to begin working (OED)
Pg. 202: Half-mourning During the 19th
and early 20th century, Americans followed English customs for
mourning the deaths of family members or loved ones. These customs
involved wearing heavy, concealing, black clothing. Mourning
had different stages; in half-mourning relatives could begin
wearing grey and lavender colored clothing again.
Pg. 202: buried a "payrent"
The landlady's daughter's mispronunciation of parent.
Pg. 202: Refers to the poem "Maud Muller"
by John Greenleaf Whittier. The poem tells the story of Maud,
a country maiden, and a passerby judge. The judge and Maud instantly
connect, but neither voice their feelings because of social class
differences. They both unhappily marry, and years later Maud
thinks back to the day of their meeting and says "It might
have been!" In referencing the poem, the Autocrat shows
that he is interested in the schoolmistress, but that believes
it too late for anything to happen between them.
Pg. 203: crooked red streak The crooked
red streak that the Autocrat is referring to is a sprite. Sprites
are large scale electrical discharges that occur high above regular
thunder storm clouds. (Wikipedia: Sprites) Here the Autocrat
is saying that he had the briefest glimpse of a separate life;
one that appeared and flashed away just as quickly as lightning
in the night sky.
Pg. 203: the creese of a Malay Creese is and old spelling
of kris, a dagger with a wavy blade that originates from Malaysia.
Pg. 203: Male and female created He them
"Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and
called their name Adam, in the day when they were created,"
From Genesis 5:2. In this chapter, the genealogy of Adam and
Eve is discussed. In quoting it the Autocrat reveals his desire
to marry and start a family (King James Bible 1611).
Pg. 203: transparency Transparencies
were used with overhead projectors to display images. A Transparency
is a thin sheet of transparent flexible material, onto which
figures can be drawn. When the light from the projector goes
through the transparency it also goes through a lens, and it
projects forward an outline of the figure drawn. When the light
was turned off the image would disappear with it. The Autocrat
is saying the image that was illuminated in his mind, disappeared
just as quickly. (Wikipedia)
Pg. 204: Calvin's "Institutes"
Refers to John Calvin's The Institutes of the Christian Religion,
a book that called for the reformation Christianity. In it Calvin
argued his theory on Predestination the belief that since
God is all-knowing he already knows who is going to Heaven or
Hell, thereby nullifying the concept of free-will. He also discussed
the concept of Total Depravity the belief that as a result
of the Fall of Man, all men and women are born with sin and can
only find salvation if God has predestined it. (Wikipedia
The Institutes of the Christian Religion)
The Autocrat's following description on the superstitious character
of children provides a parallel for his views on Calvinism.
Pg. 204: the central doctrine The may
refer to the doctrine of Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
This is the belief that when taking the Eucharist, Christ is
physically present in the bread and wine. It is a literal interpretation
of his words during the last supper: "This is body that
is given to you," in reference to the bread that he breaks
and distributes, and "This is my blood of the covenant,
which is poured out for many," in reference to the wine
he pours (Wikipedia: The Last Supper"). As this was and
is a controversial belief, when the Autocrat was younger he may
have overheard a debate about this and mistaken it for actual
cannibalism. Thus resulting in his confusion.
Pg. 204: Raphael and Michelangelo: Raffaello
Sanzio da Urbino and Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
were two of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance.
Both Artists were commissioned to paint for the Vatican; as a
result many of their most famous works include depictions of
angels and other religious beings. For example, Michelangelo
painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with a scene portraying
the "Creation of Adam" (Wikipedia). The young Autocrat,
constantly hearing these two names in association with depictions
of angels, mistook them for "superhuman beings."
Pg. 204: the central doctrine
Pg. 204: pudency Modesty, bashfulness,
or reticence; embarrassment; an instance or expression of this.
Pg. 204: make a cache A hiding place,
esp. of goods, treasure, etc. (OED).
Pg. 205: sloops A relatively small
ship-of-war, carrying guns on the upper deck only. Short for
Pg. 205: schooners A small sea-going
fore-and-aft rigged vessel with three or four masts, carrying
one or more topsails. (OED) It was the most important type of
North American ship by the end of the 18th century. (Encyclopedia
Pg. 205: porringer A small bowl or
basin, typically with a handle, used for soup, stews, or similar
Pg. 205: Roman soothsayer A soothsayer
is: One who claims or pretends to possess the power of foretelling
future events; a predictor, prognosticator (OED). Ancient Romans
believed in augurs and haruspices, priests that used omens to
predict what would happen in the future. Augurs would study the
flight patterns of birds to determine the will of the gods while
haruspices used the entrails of animal sacrifices. (Wikipedia:
Pg. 205: Sibylline leaves The Ancient
Greek word "sibylla" translates to "prophetess."
Of the ten that were said to exist, three were particularly famous:
the Delphic, the Erythraean and the Cumaean Sibyls. The Erythraen
Sybil's prophesies were written on leaves (Wikipedia: Eythraean
Sibyl). Leaves in this case refer to: One of a number of folds
(each containing two pages) which compose a book or manuscript
(OED). In drawing a parallel between his childhood and the "Sibylline
leaves," here the Autocrat is emphasizing how superstitious
he was during the early stages of his life. The rest of the paragraph
delineates examples of superstitious behavior that the Autocrat
Pg. 205: Dr. Johnson's weakness From
James Boswell's The Life of Samuel Johnson: "He had another
particularity, of which none of his friends ever ventured to
ask an explanation. It appeared to me some superstitious habit,
which he had contracted early, and from which he had never called
upon his reason to disentangle him. This was his anxious care
to go out or in at a door or passage by a certain number of steps
from a certain point, or at least so as that either his right
or his left foot (I am not certain which) should constantly make
the first actual movement when he came close to the door or passage.
Thus I conjecture: For I have, upon innumerable occasions, observed
him suddenly stop, and then seem to count his steps with a deep
earnestness; and when he had neglected or gone wrong in this
sort of magical movement, I have seen him go back again, put
himself in a proper posture to begin the ceremony, and, having
gone through it, break from his abstraction, walk briskly on,
and join his companion." (James Boswell's The Life of Samuel
Pg. 206: Navy Yard A mostly North American
term for a government dockyard (OED)
Pg. 206: sloop-of-war the Wasp Referring to the fifth
US Navy ship to carry the name, the Wasp was commissioned in
1814 to serve during the War of 1812 against the British. After
destroying numerous British war ships throughout the year and
capturing the eight-gun brig the Atlanta on September 21st, the
Wasp disappeared. It was last seen by a Swedish Merchantman three
weeks after the Atlanta capture. (Dictionary of American Naval
Pg. 206: Captain Blakely Johnston Blakeley
was Master Commandant of the Wasp, and the most successful Navy
Officer during the war of 1812. (North Carolina History Project
Pg. 206: the Reindeer The HMS Reindeer
was a 21-gun sloop-of-war that was destroyed by the Wasp after
it was defeated in a 19 minute battle. The Reindeer's crew was
taken prisoner. (Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships)
Pg. 206: the Avon The HMS Avon was
an 18-gun, 477-ton brig also destroyed by the Wasp. As the Wasp
prepared to take the Avon crew prisoner, the arrival of other
British brigs prevented it from doing so, and the Wasp was forced
to retreat. The Avon none the less suffered significant damage
and sank after its crew was rescued by the newly arrived brigs.
(Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships)
Pg. 206: dumb whisper
Pg. 207: old pocket-books A pocket-sized
folding case for holding banknotes, papers, etc.; a wallet. (OED)
Pg. 207: bank-bills A promissory note
given by a banker payable to bearer on demand, and intended to
circulate as money. (OED)
Pg. 207: O.T. Most likely a country
boy working in the Holmes' home. (Professor I couldn't find the
book on this.)
Pg. 207: martin-house Birdhouse for
martins. Here the Autocrat is emphasizing the boy's rural accent.
The word should be pronounced with as little emphasis on the
"I" as possible, as "martn" (OED).
Pg. 207: the cars A wheeled, usually
horse-drawn conveyance; a carriage, cart, or wagon. (OED)
Pg. 208: black bombazine A twilled
or corded dress-material, composed of silk and worsted; sometimes
also of cotton and worsted, or of worsted alone (OED). It was
commonly produced in black because it was primarily used as clothing
for mourners or persons in religious orders (Encyclopedia Britannica).
Pg. 209: the unmelting snows -- The white
hair of age (OED). The Autocrat is asking if the readers have
any such recollections in their aging heads.
Pg. 210: milk-teeth Any of a first,
temporary, set of teeth in young mammals, which are later replaced
by the permanent teeth; a deciduous tooth. (OED)
Pg. 210: bull's-eye watch An old-fashioned
type of watch, with the case partly enclosing the glass. (OED)
Pg. 211: the watch-paper A disc of paper, silk, or other
material, inscribed or painted with an ornamental design, a picture,
rhyme, or other device, inserted as a lining or pad in the outer
case of an old-fashioned watch (OED). The watch-paper had been
given to the old man by a sweetheart he had when he was younger.
It is inscribed with the date she gave it to him. Although he
received the paper before he was even thirteen, he still carries
it around to this day.
Pg. 212: the Lucretian luxury Titus
Lucretius Carus was a Latin Poet and Philosopher best known for
his work "De rerum natura" (On the Nature of Things).
(Encyclopedia Britannica) T relevant passage follows:
'Tis sweet, when, down the mighty main, the winds
Roll up its waste of waters, from the land
To watch another's labouring anguish far,
Not that we joyously delight that man
Should thus be smitten, but because 'tis sweet
To mark what evils we ourselves be spared;
'Tis sweet, again, to view the mighty strife
Of armies embattled yonder o'er the plains,
Ourselves no sharers in the peril;
Lucretius is describing a scene in which witnessing the misfortunes
of others makes people grateful for their own good fortune. When
the young Autocrat used to hear the wood sleds carrying loads
into the city, he was satisfied that he at least was comfortable
Pg. 212: Byron Lord George Gordon Byron
was an English Romantic poet and satirist. Byron was a sort of
celebrity figure in the early 1800s due to the popularity of
his work "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage." Byron was a
Baron in England, but permanently left his home country in 1816.
He left to escape the moral indignation targeted towards him
as a result of his controversial sexual exploits. (Encyclopedia
Pg. 212: "who hath no friend, no brother
there." A quote from Lord Byron's narrative poem
"Childe Harold's Pilgrimage."
Pg. 212: the Puritan "Sabbath"
The Lord's Day, recreational activities are forbidden. Based
on the idea that the Ten Commandments are natural laws that must
be followed. (Wikipedia: Puritan Sabbatarianism)
Pg. 212: batrachian hymns Batrachian:
of or pertaining to the Batrachia, especially frogs and toads
(OED). This is the croaking of frogs from the swamp.
Pg. 213: Cantabridge Cantabrigia is
Latin for Cambridge (Cassell's New Latin Dictionary). Holme's
here is making fun of the suggestion that anyone could hear the
beach from ten miles inland.
Pg. 213: marrowy creatures Creature
full of Marrow. Marrow is literally the soft, fatty material
contained in the cavities of bones, but it also figuratively
used to represent a nourishing richness (OED). Here the Autocrat
is saying that there is a shortage of people who possess appeasing
voices that have a real depth. Instead what is normally heard,
are weak voices forcefully projecting themselves.
Pg. 213: acidulous enough to produce effervescence
with alkalis Acids are generally liquids that have a sharp,
sour taste. They have a pH of less than 7. Alkalis are liquids
with a pH greater than 7, and they tend to have an acrid or caustic
taste. When an acid and alkali are combined a chemical reaction
occurs. Depending on the strengths of the acid and base involved,
certain amounts of energy will be released. Hear the Autocrat
is saying that the voices are acidic (or sharp and unpleasant)
enough to make an alkali solution effervesce, or bubble up as
if it were being boiled. (OED)
Pg. 214: stridulous enough to sing duets with
the katydids Katydids, are large longhorn grasshoppers
whose name is an onomatopoeia for the sound they make. The very
process by which katydids make this sound is called stridulation.
Stridulate means to make a harsh, grating, shrill noise. The
Autocrat is again detailing how unpleasant the voices are.
Pg. 214: hand round daguerreotypes
Daguerreotypes were the first commercially successful photographic
process. It involved producing direct positive images on silver
coated copper plates. Daguerreotypes were immensely popular in
the 1800s. In 1953 alone, over 3million were produce in the US.
Pg. 214: old Enemy The word Satan, is an English translation
of a Hebrew word for "adversary." So here the "old
Enemy" refers to the Devil. (Encyclopedia Britannica)
Pg. 214: St. Anthony Refers to Saint
Anthony of Egypt who is considered the founder and father of
organized Christian monasticism. After 15 years of practicing
an ascetic life, Anthony withdrew to a mountain by the Nile called
Pispir during the year 286. There he lived in absolute solitude
for 19 years. It is during the course of this retreat that Anthony
is believed to have begun his life long battle against the devil.
It is believed that the devil would come to Anthony in the form
of various tempting visions. An example of such visions would
include Anthony seeing the apparition of a monk bearing food
while he was on one of his fasts. Or it would involve visions
of attractive women. Here the Autocrat is saying that one of
these women would not have made a tempting vision of allurement
Pg. 214: jaws of Erebus In Greek mythology
Erebus refers to the region of the underworld through which the
dead had to pass immediately after dying (Wikipedia: Erebus).
The Autocrat is saying that he was so bewitched by the voices
that he imagined himself leaving his life behind and following
the voices even into death.
Pg. 215: Ulysses and the Sirens Ulysses
is derived from Ulixes. It is the Latin name for Odysseus, who
is the eponymous hero in Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Here
the Autocrat is referring to a famous scene in which Odysseus
has his men tie him to the mast of their ship so that he may
hear the Sirens' song without being lured to his death. Sirens
were beautiful mythical creatures that lived on a rock in the
sea. They would entice sailors to their island with their bewitching
song that was impossible for any mortal to resist. However, when
the sailors would set for the sirens' island they would inevitably
crash into the rocks, their ship would be destroyed, and they
would die. Odysseus' crew avoided this fate by filling their
ears with wax. Odysseus, wanting to hear the song, instead had
himself securely tied to the mast. While listening to the sirens'
song, Odysseus lost all sense of reason and struggled to break
loose of his bond. Fortunately his crew would not let him, and
the whole group escaped the adventure unharmed. The Autocrat
refers to this scene in order to demonstrate the incredible power
that sounds can have over men.
Pg. 215: Mario Although the identity
of Mario is not certain, it is most likely that of the operatic
tenor Giovanni Matteo De Candia. De Candia was born in 1810 to
a royal Sardinian family, but assumed the name of Mario upon
his decision to pursue a musical career. Descriptions of his
striking good looks, grace, charm, and musical talent, make it
very likely that he is indeed the Mario that the Autocrat refers
to. At the time of the Holmes' writing this passage, Mario had
just toured America (Encyclopedia Britannica). As a result the
image of him and the "poor lady" would have been one
that was fresh in minds of readers, unlike the story of Ulysses
and the Sirens which was not only fictional , but was also set
centuries earlier. Unfortunately the exact incident and the identity
of the "poor women" are unknown, although it is likely
that the Autocrat is referring to an admirer who had become too
engrossed with the singer.
Pg. 215: the marble Clytie Clytie was
a water nymph who turned into the turnsole plant after being
abandoned by Helios. She is popularly depicted in marble busts
Pg. 215: this Teutonic maiden Displaying
the characteristics attributed to Germans. (OED)
Pg. 215: asphyxia The condition of
suspended animation produced by a deficiency of oxygen in the
blood; suffocation. (OED)
Pg. 215: mésalliance A union
between two people that is thought to be unsuitable or inappropriate;
especially in regards to a marriage with a person of a lower
social position. (OED) The Autocrat is saying that it is better
to drown and die quickly, than to engage oneself in an ill-fated
Pg. 215: square roots and cube roots
Here the Autocrat is making a pun on the word root. He is referring
to roots as in the roots of a family tree, and as factors of
exponential growth. He is saying that marrying wrongly would
not only affect his life, but also the future lives of all of
his offspring to come.
Pg. 215: De Champignons or the De la Morues Since William
the Conqueror took England in the Norman Invasion, a great deal
of England's noble families have claimed to have an ancestor
that "came over" with him. (The Aristocracy of Norman
England by Judith A. Green) Here the Autocrat is parodying such
claims amongst common people. Champignon means mushrooms and
morues means fish in French.
Pg. 216: muliebrity, as well as femineity Mulier in Latin
means "a woman" or "wife." Femina means "one
that bears young, a female" (Cassell's New Latin Dictionary).
The distinction the Autocrat makes here is between a woman in
the role of a wife and a woman in the role of a mother. He is
saying that the voice was nurturing in both regards; it was the
voice of a complete woman.
Pg. 216: Germans of Tacitus Refers
to the book Germania by Gaius Cornelius Tacitus written in 98
A.D. Tacitus was a Senator and historian during the Roman Empire,
he is the best source of information on the Germans who later
invaded the Empire. Beyond describing all Germans as having large
bodies, Tacitus also write the following lines that are reminiscent
of the Autocrats words about femineity and muliebrity:
Thus, they take one husband as one body and one life; that no
thought, no desire, may extend beyond him; and he may be loved
not only as their husband, but as their marriage. To limit the
increase of children, or put to death any of the later progeny
is accounted infamous: and good habits have there more influence
than good laws elsewhere.
Pg. 217: C'est tout comme un serin French for: "Exactly
like a canary bird."
Pg.217: the twelve gates of pearl From
The Book of Revelation 21:21: The twelve gates were twelve pearls,
each gate being made from a single pearl. This is referring to
the gateway to Heaven which was guarded by Saint Paul. You were
either allowed access in or were rejected and sent to Hell.
Pg. 217: aerolites Meteorite (OED).
The Autocrat is saying there must be more in the skies than just
stones and minerals.
Pg. 217: pre-Adamitic cataclysm This
refers to the theory of Gap Creationism, which became popular
in the early 1800s. The theory delves into the possibility of
a large gap existing after the 6th day of the earth's creation
before the creation of Adam. This theory was developed in the
1700s to help account for the fact that the earth is much older
than the years the Bible accounts for. The theory also helps
to allow for the creation and existence of other beings (like
dinosaurs) before the creation of Adam. Versions of the theory
also allow for the existence and survival of pre-Adamite men.
The concept is grounded in the idea that the world may have been
created, destroyed, and made over again multiple times in the
period between the 6th day and the day Adam was created (Wikipedia:
Pg. 217: some grave theologians This
may refer to theologians who believed in the continued survival
of pre-Adamite men. (There was an American theologian in the
late 1800s who believed that pre-Adamite men had not only existed,
but that they had survived a "pre-Adamitic cataclysm."
Evangelist R.A. Torrey had believed in gap creationism, and he
also believed that local floods may have preceded the creation
of Adam; floods that would have destroyed a large portion of
the population, but not everyone. This concept fits in beautifully
with what the Autocrat says about mankind being "shipwrecked
survivors of some pre-Adamitic cataclysm set adrift in these
little boats of humanity to make one more trial to reach shore."
I believe this also fit with the succeeding quote from Keats.
Unfortunately, the theologian in question was born as the Autocrat
papers were coming out. This means, that the Autocrat was not
referring to Torrey specifically, but it leads me to believe
that Torrey would have had predecessors that the Autocrat was
aware of. The reason the theologians are considered grave is
because it is a rather harsh thought to think a race of men perpetually
living through one heavenly catastrophe after another, perpetually
being tested in a sense.) (Wikipedia: pre-Adamite men).
Pg. 217: "die into life"
From the poem "Hyperion" by John Keats. "Hyperion"
was an unfinished work in which the succession of Apollo as the
god of light is seen, as Hyperion (the original god of light)
and the other Titans are forced out of power.
Pg. 217: Keats John Keats was an English
Romantic poet that died at the unfortunate age of 25. Although
Keats was not popular during his time, he gained a great deal
of recognition after his death and is now considered a great
poet. He is best known for his work "Ode to a Grecian Urn."
His poetry is marked for its vivid sensory descriptions, and
its use of classical mythology to convey philosophical ideas
Pg. 219: smashed up To become penniless
(A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English by Paul Beale)
Pg. 219: M. de Buffon Refers to George Louis Leclerc,
Comte de Buffon who wrote Discours sur le Style (Discourse on
Style). In it M. de Buffon presents the above passage: Le style
c'est l'homme meme. (Wikipedia: Comte de Buffon)
Pg. 219: the sturdy English moralist
This again refers to essayist Samuel Johnson. Although Johnson
was not known for particularly hating any one individual, he
is famously known for having said: "I hate mankind, for
I think myself one of the best of them, and I know how bad I
am." (Boswell's Life of Johnson)
Pg. 219: the stout American tragedian
This may refer to actor Junius Brutus Booth who was one of the
leading actors of the early 19th century. Posthumously inducted
into the American Theatre Hall of Fame, Booth's rise to stardom
began with his performance in the title role of William Shakespeare's
Richard III. However along with being talented, Booth was also
an alcoholic with extremely erratic behavior and a bad temper.
In 1935, Booth wrote a letter to President Andrew Jackson that
contained a death threat. Booth's fame as a tragedian combined
with his aggressive behavior give reason to suspect that he is
the "stout American" that the Autocrat is referring
to (Wikipedia: Junius Brutus Booth).
Pg. 220: prima-facie Latin for "at
first sight." In law, it is a case that is supported by
sufficient evidence for it to be taken as proved in the absence
of evidence to the contrary (OED).
Pg. 220: old black-letter law-books
Black-letter law refers to the areas of technical legal rules
that have been so well-established that they are no longer subject
to reasonable dispute. The term stemmed from the fact that law
books continued to be printed in blackletter type long after
most other printed works were produced in roman and Italic text.
(Wikipedia: Black Letter Law)
Pg. 220: blackamoor A black African;
any dark-skinned person (OED)
Pg. 220: silk, gold and other materials
Reminiscent of scene from Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter:
She decided, moreover, that he had a right to her utmost aid.
Little accustomed, in her long seclusion from society, to measure
her ideas of right and wrong by any standard external to herself,
Hester sawor seemed to seethat there lay a responsibility
upon her, in reference to the clergyman, which she owed to no
other, nor to the whole world besides. The links that united
her to the rest of human kindlinks of flowers, or silk,
or gold, or whatever the materialhad all been broken. Here
was the iron link of mutual crime, which neither he nor she could
break. Like all other ties, it brought with it its obligations.
In the above passage Hester is questioning whether or not to
tell Dimmesdale about Chillingworth's true identity. Both passages
discuss duty, love, and clo
1. 221: then the man pleadeth his special incapacity
for instance impecuniosity- the incapacity a man is trying to
convince others that is the cause for his inability to love any
one particular woman is impecuniosity being that he possesses
"the quality or condition of being impecunious; lack of
money" (OED) which solely is an excuse
or that he is of mean figure, or small capacity-
these qualities are also attributed to why a man claims he cannot
love one particular and must love all women. He is of mean figure
meaning, "of a person, a person's character, etc.: lacking
moral dignity, ignoble; small-minded". Small capacity refers
to the lack thereof intelligence and other talents that would
be considered unlovable.
3. 221: picture as big as a copper, or a "nickel"-
the picture that a man will see of a woman, when falling in love
at first sight is as small as a "copper" or a penny,
or a very small image of what she is actually like, which he
would not be able to know until he gets to know her better and
grows to love her. An example would be if you took a look at
a penny from above and you would only be able to make out a vague
outline of the figures or (if possible) the writing on the coin.
This is the small indistinguishable speck perception that a man
would have of a woman "knows about a woman whom he looks
4. 221: at the bottom of his eye- a man would only be able to
get to know one specific woman when gazed down on from above
as opposed to being at the same eye level which eludes to the
Autocrat saying that men will see what they would on the surface
first at a "bird's eye view", looking down at her (as
if looking down at a penny or looking down from a tall building
onto pedestrians on the sidewalk; you would not be able to tell
who these people were unless you came face to face with them).
5. 221: they are painted- this is the beginning of the Autocrat's
camera obscura. When light shines in through a window onto an
inanimate object say, against a wall, the object's shape is then
etched into the wall by a darkened pigment brought to light by
the sunlight. For example, a bookcase you have had up against
a wall near the window in the family room. After a while the
paint on the wall will lighten around the bookcase. When you
then move said bookcase away from the wall you will be able to
see the outline of where the paint used to be darkened behind
the bookcase that was not exposed to light. The Autocrat is beginning
to explain that all of our portraits, or darkened etchings made
by sunlight, cannot possibly be seen upon a wall all at once
because everything will blur into one image. In replacing the
bookcase above you have put a shapely china cabinet, after some
time once you remove this china cabinet you will then be able
to see the darkened spots of the bookcase and the china cabinet.
"All of the are painted on each spot, and each other on
the same surface, and many other objects at the same time, no
one is seen as a picture". As you come to move your furniture
about slowly but surely the memory of that bookcase will fade
away, as will the "first sight" images of the thousands
of women that men see all the time preventing love.
6. 221: darken a chamber- continuation of the camera obscura
description; in order to create a portrait or landscape, or a
more distinguishable etching on the wall, you must darken the
room and only let in a small ray of light in order to be able
to make out one image instead of letting in so much light that
you are blinded by all of the obstructions outside. This is what
a man must do in order to fall in love with one woman.
7. 222: mental camera- obscura- the process of a camera obscura
is described above however a true definition of this is an optical
device that projects an image of its surroundings on a screen
or a wall. The Autocrat is trying to say that, "we never
all in love with a woman in distinction from women, until we
can get an image of her through a pin-hole; and then we can see
nothing else" because nothing is obstructing her from being
imprinted in that man's mind in his mental camera obscura.
8. 222: fontanelle- the attendants of the anniversaries, or annual
celebratory parties commemorating particular remarkable day,
possibly celebrating love in this context, torment the poet to
give speeches or speak songs to entertain the celebration. This
coercion from the attendants puts pressure on the part of the
head that has, "an artificial ulcer or a natural issue for
the discharge of humours from the body". The Autocrat is
creating a play on this by having the "humours discharge"
as verses from the Poet.
9. 222: clutch up a handful of what grows there, - weeds and
violets together- this refers to when the admirers of the Poet
ask him to provide them with some of his verses or a "post-
prandial (after dinner) performance" during one of these
anniversaries and he is not as prepared as he would like so he
rushes outside to his garden of thoughts to pull out verses but
pleasant and unpleasant to filter through on the spot for these
peoples' satisfaction. The way that he must improvise with what
he has the Autocrat is comparing the Poet to a person attending
a party and asked to bring a bouquet but forgets and is forces
to pull weeds and violets alike out of the ground.
10. 222: names there on the plates- at formal dinners, names
of the diners were put on the plates and assigned to them to
particular seats; the Autocrat means to demonstrate the formality
of the occasion.
11. 222: guest a kind-hearted, modest, genial, hopeful poet-
the guest referred to is Charles Mackay a Scots poet who was
on this particular occasion being bid a farewell on May 18, 1885.
This is the event that is taking place during the Autocrat's
12. 223: Ayrshire's peasant- this allusion within the poem is
referring to Robert Burns, the greatest Scots poet, references
as the national poet. He was born in Ayrshire, Scotland he was
celebrated for his influence in the Romantic movement and after
his death was inspiration for both liberalism and socialism.
He is famous for writing songs such as "Auld Land Syne"
and the unofficial national anthem of Scotland "Scots Wha
Hae". The Poet, at the beginning of the poem "A Good
Time Going!" is summoning the influences of the "brave
singer", the "sweet minstrel" "crowned"
with the "noblest wreath of rhyme" and "the holly
leaf of the Ayrshire's peasant". Burns wrote a poem that
reads, "green, slender, leaf-clad holly boughs"/ Were
twisted, gracefu', round her brows;/ I took her for some Scottish
Muse, / By that same token;/ And come to stop those reckless
vows, / Would soon been broken." In the Celtic tradition,
holly- leaves were considered good luck. In turn, the Poet is
summoning the same "good luck" that Burns had.
13. 225: feast of reason and a regular "freshet" of
soul- this is the Autocrat's play on Alexander Pope's "there
St. John mingles with my friendly Bowl, /The Feast of Reason
and Flow of the Soul". He changes the word Flow to "freshet"
meaning a small stream of fresh water but the fact that he writes
in quotation marks plays on the alcoholic persuasion of the interlude
after dinner, "which had lasted two or three hours"
before the Professor "read his verses".
14. 225: meeting of the Massachusetts Medical Society- found
in the footnotes, this poem was read for a particular audience.
In context of the poem, one of the "armies" is composed
of the physicians who fight disease and the other army consists
of the diseases themselves whose "duty is to slay"
15. 226: the bloodless stabber- this is also another name for
the fatal disease that kills its victims without leaving a mark
drawing blood outside of the body and claims the patient in the
16. 227: a couple of damasks- the Schoolmistress has blushed
colored cheeks when she returns from her early walk, "she
has brought back two others (roses), - one on each cheek".
After the Autocrat tells her that she is blushing, "in some
such pretty phrase", "those two blush- roses"
(her cheeks) "turned into a couple of damasks". [Damasks-
a species or variety of rose with semi- double pink or light
red (rarely white) flowers.] This definition shows that the Schoolmistress
was initially blushing for the Autocrat but then once he pointed
this fact out to her she grew darker in her color on her cheeks.
17. 227: Houyhnhnms- allusion Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels;
this is a fictional race of rational horses encountered by Gulliver
in the 4th journey book. Gulliver comes across these reason dependent
quadrupeds and sees that the savage humanoids or Yahoos are representative
of all that are bad. This reasonability causes the Houyhnhnms
to lack emotion and humanity therefore engulfing both the good
and bad side of the rationality approach of living. The Autocrat
is referring to the "Houyhnhnm Gazette" which is a
fictional publication explaining what would've happened if he
was caught in this foreign land.
18. 227: Rareyry- the action or practice of using Rarey's methods
to break in a horse. (OED) This technique consisted of traumatizing
the horse's legs with a strap so that the horse could not stand
on it. When the horse could not stand it would lie on its side
and Rarey would make it feel "safe" by touching and
stroking it to demonstrate that it was protected in the care
of humans. The Autocrat references this technique to show the
parallels between the man- tamer and a horse- tamer
19. 227: distinguished man-tamer- these rational horses have
"man-tamers" similar to the way that men have "horse-
tamers". The "Gazette" is establishing that he
is distinguished, "possessing distinction; marked by conspicuous
excellence or eminence; remarkable, eminent; famous, renowned,
celebrated; of high standing (social, scientific, or other).
(Formerly of actions, occasions, reputation, etc.; now almost
always of persons.)" (OED). This shows that there have been
many captures of men before on this land.
20. 228: shoulder- hitting and foot- striking- this is the way
that Houyhnhnms refer to the way that a man punches and kicks
because they do not know the terms actually used considering
they are four-legged and do not have the means to engage in these
21. 228: a measure of corn- "corn" here is meant to
signify "grain" which was the way that people used
to symbolize a unit of mass. "Corn" or "grain"
was the legal foundation of traditional English weight systems.
22. 228: floral pater-noster- "pater-noster" signifies
the Lord's Prayer (the central prayer in Christianity) in Latin.
The Autocrat in this particular instance is giving Nature a personification
and saying that she "never wearies over her floral pater-
noster". He is making a comparison of Nature to poets who
constantly write about flowers. He brings up the need of a poet
to be original and potentially leave out flowers from his poems
altogether however by preceding the pater-noster with "Why
should we be more shy of repeating ourselves than spring be tired
of blossoms or the night of stars?" He shows that Nature
cannot possibly tire of its own creed of a floral Lord's Prayer
just as a Christian does not tire of his or her pater- noster.
23. 228: crevices of Cyclopean walls- walls that are "Cyclopean"
in that they have crevices or holes in between the boulders that
they are made up of. Cyclopes were used to make these particular
walls as seen in the Polyphemus, the Cyclops, was big enough
to hurl boulders at Odysseus and his men. "When we were
a good way out to sea, I could not resist a taunt. I called out,
and Polyphemus came to the edge of the seaside cliff. In his
fury he tore up a huge boulder and flung it at us" (Book
9, The Odyssey). This particular type of masonry is seen particularly
in the limestone blocks and gaps of the walls of Mycenae and
Tiryns that are said to have been constructed by Cyclopes' strength.
These stones that make up the wall are made by Nature and assembled
without cutting or etching the blocks but fit into place, as
pieces would fit into a puzzle. The Autocrat mentions this technique
because a Cyclops uses Nature to create something beautiful as
a poet uses floral imagery throughout his poems. It also shows
that even the strongest of creatures cannot create something
as flawless as a flower in Nature because it still has crevices
that do not make a finished wall.
24. 229: the wreck of Nineveh- in the Bible Nineveh is first
sighted in Genesis 10:11 when Ashur builds it. The book of Jonah
depicts Nineveh as a "wicked city worthy of destruction"
and was the flourishing capital of the Assyrian Empire. According
to the Bible, the desolation of the city was God's doing because
of the pride of Assyria. This great city was destroyed and yet
flowers are still a prayer of Nature. Cities may come and go
in humanity but Nature is still consistent in creating flowers
as an Amen!
25. 229: the Babel- heap- also mentioned in the Book of Genesis,
the Tower of Babel, was built after the Great Flood. The tower
"whose top may reach unto heaven", is not directly
named the Tower of Babel in the Bible but mentioned as the city
and its tower. The people, who all spoke the same language and
created this city and tower said, "and let us make us a
name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole
earth". However when God saw this he realized that nothing
they sought would be out of their reach so he came down and separated
these people by different languages. "Come, let us go down,
and there confound their language, that they may not understand
one another's speech." He said (Genesis 11:1-9). Babel comes
from the Hebrew word, "to jumble" which was exactly
what God did to the people and their language. The Autocrat references
this in order to show that creatures and humans created these
structures alike and yet even when they are parted and destroyed
Nature still stands with her flowers growing rather than every
other structure resulting in destruction or imperfections.
26. 229: It is pleasant to be foolish- in Greek, foolish or fool
mean without mind. The divinity student says this phrase in a
"dead language" which could be either Greek, Latin
or another extinct language not spoken as often in 19th century
Boston. The saying in Latin is "dulce est desipere"
in Loco, according to Horace: 4 Odes, xii. 28, the quote continues
further to say, "It is delightful to play the fool occasionally;
it is nice to throw aside one's dignity and relax at the proper
time". (bartleby.com) Horace was a Roman lyrical poet during
the time of Augustus. It could have been possible that the divinity
student was attempting to quote one of his many works in attempts
to not only display his intellect of Horace and his "summer
reading" (229) to the Autocrat but to show that it is alright
for the Autocrat to slip superfluous anecdotes into his lectures
and relax from time to time at the breakfast table.
27. 230: the narrowing channel- channels were the main ways that
ships would get from one port to another when it came to trading
in that time period. Here, a countryman is attempting to sell
some huckleberries to the Autocrat and his handmaid accepts.
The "channel" here is the fruit seller's hand and it
is funneling the huckleberries into the "large tin pan"
beneath. It is "narrowing" because the fruit seller
is attempting to count them at the same time in order to price
how many he is giving to the handmaid making sure that he is
not giving her too many in order to sell them to other patrons.
28. 230: the "Anvil Chorus"- this is the English name
for the "Gypsy Chorus". A chorus from Giuseppe Verdi's
opera in 1853. The Autocrat is making a comparison to the way
that the "wholesome- looking countryman" is handling
the huckleberries to the gypsies singing in the opera. He says
"it has not more music for him".
29. 230: put my wedding- ring on- the Autocrat as well as Holmes
had a fascination with the trees in and surrounding Boston. He
would use a measuring tape and measure the girth of each tree
he found particularly large with his "thirty- foot tape
[He has] worn a tape almost out on the rough barks of our of
New England elms and other big trees" (230). He refers to
this act as putting a wedding ring around each of his "tree
wives". He claims that he "always trembles for a celebrated
tree when (he) approaches it for the first time" (233).
Talking of trees is "one of his specialties".
30. 230: Brigham Young- was an American leader who was a settler
of the Western United States. He founded Salt Lake City and was
the first governor of Utah territory. He had obtained the nickname
of "American Moses" because he led his Mormon followers
through desert to what they thought Utah to be, the promise land.
The practice of polygamy, literally meaning many married or when
a marriage includes more than two partners, was most advocated
and now mainly affiliated with Brigham Young. He is considered
the "Father of Mormon Polygamy". The Autocrat alludes
to Young because he claims that he has obtained "as many
tree wives as Brigham Young has human ones" (230).
31. 230: all Bloomers- Holmes has John making a pun in this situation
when he says, "They're all Bloomers". The obvious reason
he says this is that the Autocrat's tree wives bloom in spring
whereas during this time period a particular fashion statement
was being made by a group of feminists led by Amelia Jenks Bloomer.
Bloomer has been long affiliated with the reformed style of women
wearing "bloomers" which are loose trousers gathered
at the ankles. These were advocated by Bloomer because she supported
that, "The costume of women should be suited to her wants
and necessities. It should conduce at once to her health, comfort,
and usefulness; and while it should not fail also to conduce
to her personal adornment, it should make that end of secondary
importance" (Lewis, womenhistory.com). It could be possible
that John was making a comparison of the Autocrat's "tree
wives" to those affiliated with Bloomer's want for suffrage
and other women's rights. He calls John's comment a trifling
which is, "The action of the verb trifle v.1; jesting or
frivolous talk; fooling; idle, foolish, or frivolous conduct
or practice; frivolous delay or waste of time" (OED)
32. 231: Ulmus Americana- scientific name for the American elm;
a species native to eastern North America
33. 231: ciliated edges of its samara- samara is "the indehiscent
winged fruit of the elm, ash, sycamore (etc.)" the Autocrat
is specifically referencing a part of the American elm and the
fact that this "fruit of the elm" is ciliated, which
means "chiefly Bot. Of a part: fringed or surrounded with
hairs or fine bristles"(OED). He brings this up because
he wishes to address the scientific elements of the tree described
and show that it is silly to only pay attention to these matters
in order to appreciate trees.
34. 231: anserine individual the Autocrat is mocking those
who only see the scientific discourse of trees and calls them
anserine, which means "of, pertaining to, or of the nature
of a goose or as the goose is conventionally (though erroneously)
a type of unintelligence: Stupid, silly" (OED). He says
this because he claims that there is more to the beauty and love
of trees then simple facts that can be regurgitated by a scientist.
35. 231: Dental Formula- the Autocrat lists this formula after
a few other scientific terms in order to show the monotony and
ridiculousness of interest in the scientific elements of trees.
The elements shown below the title are as follows: i= the number
of incisors, c= the number of canines, p= the number of premolars,
and m= the number of molars. If you were to work out the equation
that the Autocrat gives on the page it equates to 0 for all categories
therefore showing that the scientific means of figuring out trees
is superfluous and unnecessary because it does not demonstrate
anything productive or lucrative of appreciation for the arbors.
36. 231: Daddy Gilpin- William Gilpin is the "Daddy"
alluded to here by the Autocrat. He writes that Gilpin is, "slowest
yet delicious in his slowness
Gilpin was best known for his original idea of the "picturesque".
This was an aesthetic ideal in his "Three Essays: On Picturesque
Beauty; On Picturesque Travel; and on Sketching Landscape"
He says is the beginning of the essays that, "I have several
times been surprised at finding us represented, as supposing,
all beauty to consist in picturesque beauty- and the face of
nature to be examined only by the rules of painting. Whereas,
in fact, we always speak a different language. We speak of the
grand scenes of nature, tho uninteresting in a picturesque light,
as having a strong effect on the imagination- often a stronger,
than when they are properly disposed for the pencil. We every
where make a distinction between scenes, that are beautiful,
and amusing; and scenes that are picturesque" (Gilpin, ii-iii).
William Gilpin had a unique style of writing in that he described
everything he saw in profound detail because he knew that the
picturesque varied between objects and the spectator. The Autocrat
takes note of Gilpin's style, knowing that the artist liked to
take his time in writing scenes and describing the objects thoroughly
in a beautiful, "delicious" way.
37. 231: "Dr. Syntax"- William Combe was an author
in 1809 for Poetical Magazine in which he wrote The Tour of Dr
Syntax in search of the Picturesque. Within these publications,
or epic poems, was a character Dr. Syntax who would embark on
different comical journeys in combination with caricatures drawn
by Thomas Rowlandson. Combe, the author, took Daddy Gilpin's
picturesque strategy and applied it to the everyday journeys
of Dr. Syntax. The Autocrat makes an observation that he used
to think that these stories were written as a joke however he
knows that Combe was using what Gilpin had founded. "Père
[Father in French] Gilpin had the kind of science I like in the
study of Nature- a little less observation
and a little
more poetry (232)"
38. 232: long f f- up to the end of the 18th century, medial
"s"- an "s" that came in the middle of the
word- was printed as a "long s" or f , which is similar
to our "f" without the large crossbar in the middle
of the letter. This is seen throughout the writings of Gilpin.
39. 232: White of Selborne- Gilbert White was a "parson-
naturalist" meaning that he was a priest or parson who saw
that the study of science as an extension of his religious work.
He wanted to understand all creations because they were Creations
made by God. He is regarded as England's first ecologist and
one of the founders of modern respect for nature. The Autocrat
lists White as the observer of Nature.
40. 232: mother- idea- each type of tree has characteristic associations
or over- arching traits that apply to every tree within that
classification; this is what the Autocrat is referring to. An
example of a mother- idea would be the stoutness in an oak tree.
41. 232: the Linneaean system- this system includes the biological
classification set of classes, orders, families, genus and species
of all organisms as set up by Carl Linnaeus. The Autocrat is
still refuting the scientific classification of trees with this
allusion by saying that no one cares about the systematic groupings
involving the number of stamens or pistils a flower has.
42. 232: the American elm- this tree differs from the English
elm because it is "hermaphroditic", having flowers
with both male and female parts and therefore capable of self-
pollination. This is why the Autocrat says that this tree, "betrays
something of both; yet sometimes
puts on a certain resemblance
to its sturdier neighbor". He is saying that although the
elms (English and American) are similar in some aspects the American
betrays "organization" of Nature by having "perfect
43. 233: tarrying with him- tarrying means delaying (OED)
44. 233: granite obelisk- an obelisk is a tapering, four-sided,
usually monolithic pillar or column of stone with a pyramidal
apex, set up as a monument or landmark (originally in ancient
Egypt). (OED) and this particular obelisk is a granular crystalline
rock consisting essentially of quartz, orthoclase-feldspar, and
mica, much used in building (OED). The Autocrat makes this reference
to a man who is chopping down a poplar to make room for his new
house. The Autocrat is saying that human life is preferred to
vegetable existence. The Autocrat is mocking those who say that
it is easy to tare down this beautiful tree or "the living
cone" but the hard part is building a monument, house, building,
or "granite obelisk" which in his eyes is absurd.
45. 233: in the neighborhood of Pawtucket- Pawtucket was a major
contributor of cotton textiles during the American Industrial
Revolution, near Rhode Island. The Autocrat seems t be making
a joke about how he was able to see the great Johnston elm in
such a heavily polluted area during that time period.
46. 233: physiognomy- "The general appearance or external
features of a material object; esp. the contour or configuration
of a location, landscape, etc." (OED)
47. 233: Providence Plantations- the first permanent European
American settlement in present- day Rhode Island (one of the
original 13 colonies established in the United States); established
in 1636 by Roger Williams. He was exiled from the religious persecution
in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and he and his fellow settlers
named the colony Providence Plantation believe that God had brought
him and his followers there. The Autocrat went there to study
the landscapes and appearances of the country
233: the great Johnston elm- "the Johnston Elm was noted
for its size. In 1858 its measurement was taken when its girth
was one foot from the ground was 40 feet, six feet from the ground
28 feet, and the girth of its two branches, respectively, 14
½ and 14 feet. On the Angell farm, near the sire of this
elm, are several springs"48.
234: Report upon the Trees and Shrubs of Massachusetts- a zoological
and botanical survey of the State of Massachusetts "to promote
the agricultural benefit of the Commonwealth" by George
Barrell Emerson; September 19, 1846
49. 235: Berkshire County- Oliver Wendell Homes was a summer
resident in Pittsfield for a number of years
235: the "great tree" on Boston Common- the reason
that the words "great tree" are in quotation marks
is because this tree was so "great" there was a book
written by J. C. Warren M.D (The President of the Boston Society
of Natural History) in 1855 about it. The Autocrat says that
this is the "second rank". This goes to show how enormously
popular this tree was and how much more the Autocrat loved the
236: Cohasset- town in Boston first seen in 1614 where a large
tree was found that the Autocrat measured and graced the title
of "tree wife" upon.
51. 236: Newburyport- a small coastal city in Massachusetts,
northeast of Boston; what is now known as "Maudslay State
Park" in a legal battle Frederick Strong Moseley and Martha
Brookes Hutcheson created agricultural fields on the land in
Newburyport including gardens and specimen trees.
52. 236: SYLVA NOVANGLICA- this is an Autocrat original creation
in hopes that someone will created a "bush", which
is Sylva in Latin, novanglica. There is already a flora novanglica,
which studies the specimens of flora and plants. The Autocrat
would like to expand this to all possible vegetation and especially
to "New England Elms and other Trees"
236: our friend, who has given us so many interesting figures
identification of this "friend" who wrote "Trees
of America" is D.J. Browne in 1846 in New York53.
236: "Trees of America"- is a publication of trees
"native and foreign, pictorially and botanically delineated
and scientifically and popularly described, illustrated by numerous
engravings". This work does exactly what its title spells
out. The Autocrat is alluding to this book in admiration wishing
that he too could photograph another dozen series of English
trees for the world to view on the same scale of Browne's works.
237: la piñata umana- in Italian this phrase means "the
human plant"; Vittorio Alfieri, describes, in his autobiography
"Vita scritta da esso" ("Life Written By It")
"an organic pattern of human growth". The Autocrat
brings this up when speaking about the differences between development
of men and societies of Old World versus New World. 54.
237: Alfieri- Vittorio Alfieri was considered the "founder
of Italian tragedy"; he was a well renowned Italian dramatist
and poet. He broke his life down in his autobiography to specifics
regarding age, thought processes, and his own experiences and
55. 237: Mr. Hutchinson- Jonathan Hutchinson was an English surgeon,
ophthalmologist (studied the eyes and their diseases), dermatologist
(studied skin and its diseases), venereologist (studied sexually
transmitted diseases), and pathologist (studied diagnosis of
disease). His accomplishments and studies advanced many aspects
of the natural science world. He was the first to describe treatments
for several diseases and wrote countless articles about his findings.
He has "given us some excellent English data to begin with"
to start a comparison of national physiognomies.
56. 237: animus of Nature- animus signifies "breath"
or "life force" and "soul". Here, the Autocrat
is attempting to personify Nature and give it life in order to
have its "soul" studied as opposed to how a naturalist
would observe Nature and simply list scientific facts about it
instead of making its "life force" "a subject
of elaborate study"
57. 237: the English elm- one of the largest and fastest- growing
deciduous, or "falling off at maturity" trees in Europe.
"Falling off at maturity" means that these trees lose
their leaves seasonally and shed other plant structures as well
such as petals after flowering when the fruit is ripe and this
means that it is done with its purpose
58. 237: a complete flora and fauna- flora is the term used for
all plant life in a given region and fauna is all of the animal
life in a particular region or time. The Autocrat is saying that
each country has its own set of these two things and may have
similarities and differences that need to be studied and could
lead to modifications and expanse in inventions.
59. 238: if not kept up by fresh supplies- Dr. Robert Knox was
a Scottish surgeon, anatomist, and zoologist (most popular in
Edinburgh) but most famous for "body snatching". There
was a shortage of corpses for anatomical purposes in the UK before
the Anatomy Act of 1832. The main legal supplies of corpses were
those that were condemned to death or dissection by the courts.
Dr. Knox knew this and was running out of bodies to dissect and
study. Therefore he resulted to body- snatching and would dig
up graves after corpses were buried in order to take them and
dissect them. This is applicable to what the Autocrat is saying
because "without fresh supplies" no one will be able
to find out new information about things such as, Anglo-Saxons
not being able to live here because of their anatomical makeup.
60. 238: one of our literary celebrities- this could potentially
be a reference to Ralph Waldo Emerson and his work, English Traits.
61. 238: half-mourning- (see earlier note for p. 202)
239: poor Benjamin's grave- (identified as Benjamin Woodbridge
in further reading)- Benjamin Woodbridge was a 19 year old boy
stabbed to death by rapier, a long, thin, sharp-pointed sword
designed chiefly for thrusting (OED), in a duel with Henry Phillips
in July of 1728. Many said that a "woman is at he bottom
of it" and some said that "cards and wine" were
to blame; no one really knows the exact truth. "He had a
small stab, under the right arm, but what prov'd fatal to him
was a thrust he received, under his right breast, which came
out at the small of his back".62.
240: Day of Judgment- the Apocalypse, when the dead rise from
their graves and account themselves to God; the Autocrat references
this because he is saying that this day is the only day that
the remains of the people below those corresponding headstones
will be known to no one other than God because of the headstone-moving-
63. 240: selectmen of an African kraal- village- the Autocrat
is attempting to make a joke in this instance at the expense
of the New England town officials at the time called "selectmen";
a kraal is a village of Southern or Central African native peoples,
consisting of a collection of huts surrounded by a fence or stockade,
and often having a central space for cattle, etc. Also transf.
the community of such a village (OED). These higher up officials
of these poor villages, Holmes is saying, would have had more
respect for their ancestors than the "selectmen" of
an educated Boston who are herding their dead like the kraal
would do to cattle.
64. 240: "Here lies"- this is the Autocrat making a
pun about the grave site in question; "lies" is mean
who is "lying" beneath the particular gravestone as
well as the "lies" told about who is actually underneath
the corresponding stone because after moving the graves around
in order to create symmetry within the cemetery.