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Kansas Historical Quarterly - Ironquill's "The Washerwoman's Song"

by James C. Malin

Autumn 1959 (Vol. 25, No. 3), pages 257 to 282
Transcribed by Marilyn Payne; HTML composition by Tod Roberts;
digitized with permission of the Kansas Historical Society.
NOTE: The numbers in brackets refer to endnotes for this text.

 

THE WASHERWOMAN'S SONG

In a very humble cot,
In a rather quiet spot,
In the suds and in the soap,
Worked a woman full of hope;
Working, singing, all alone,
In a sort of under tone:
"With a Savior for a friend,
He will keep me to the end."

Sometimes happening along,
I had heard the semi-song,
And I often used to smile,
More in sympathy than guile;
But I never said a word
In regard to what I heard,
As she sang about her friend
Who would keep her to the end.

Not in sorrow nor in glee
Working all day long was she,
As her children, three or four;
Played around her on the floor;
But in monotones the song
She was humming all day long:
"With a Savior for a friend,
He will keep me to the end."

It's a song I do not sing,
For I scarce believe a thing
Of the stories that are told
Of the miracles of old;
But I know that her belief
Is the anodyne of grief,
And will always be a friend
That will keep her to the end.

Just a trifle lonesome she,
Just as poor as poor could be;
But her spirits always rose,
Like the bubbles in the clothes,
And, though widowed and alone,
Cheered her with the monotone,
Of a Savior and a friend
Who would keep her to the end.

I have seen her rub and rub, [1]
On the washboard in the tub,
While the baby, sopped in suds,
Rolled and tumbled in the duds;
Or was paddling in the pools,
With old scissors stuck in spools;
She still humming of her friend
Who would keep her to the end.

Human hopes and human creeds
Have their roots in human needs;
And I should not wish to strip
From that washerwoman's lip
Any song that she can sing,
Any hope that songs can bring;
For the woman has a friend
That will keep her to the end.

Eugene Fitch Ware, 1841-1911

Eugene Fitch Ware (1841-1911)
Fort Scott author, lawyer, and legislator, about 1881

THE PUBLICATION OF THE POEM AND THE RESPONSE

ON Sunday morning, January 9, 1876, the Fort Scott Daily Monitor printed, without any explanation, Eugene F. Ware's poem, "The Washerwoman's Song," in the form given above. [2] The printing of poetry in the Monitor was not unusual, some being reprints of well known and obscure poets identified by name, some unidentified and on occasion unquestionably local, and some signed pieces by local aspirants to literary recognition identified by name, by initials, or by a pen name. Ware's poem was designated as written for the Monitor and was signed by his pen name "Ironquill," which was already known in a modest way in Kansas. If the editors were impressed by this poem as being any different from their customary poetic contributions, no hint was given, not even a distinctive position or typographical display. The reading public, both local and state, allowed no room for doubt, however, registering immediately and with enthusiasm a hearty approval, even when disagreeing in part with some of the ideas expressed.

At Leavenworth, the Times and the Commercial, January 12, the Anthony morning and evening papers at the moment, commented in identical editorials: "The Fort Scott Monitor has an original poem by 'Ironquill,' entitled 'The Washerwoman's Song,' which possesses much more than ordinary merit, and deserves to take rank with Hood's 'Song of the Shirt.'" [3] The poem was printed in both papers a few days later, with the comment that it was "a beautiful little poem by Eugene Ware." [4]

The Topeka Daily Commonwealth, January 16, 1876, the Sunday issue, admonished its readers: "Don't fail to read the poetry on the third page, written by Eugene Ware of Fort Scott. It is worth any sermon you will hear today." Two days later, in calling attention to the approval given the poem by the Leavenworth Times, the Commonwealth added its bit of praise: "Eugene never wrote anything better."

Whatever the Monitor's private views may have been on Sunday morning, January 9, when "The Washerwoman's Song" was first printed, the editors purred in the reflected sunlight of such praise like kittens who had just licked up a saucer of cream. On January 14 they acknowledged Anthony's approval and added their own first recorded verdict: "It is one of the best poems Mr. Ware has ever written." To be sure, that was a guarded commitment -- "one of the best." Four days later, the Monitor reported the printing of the poem in the Times and the Commonwealth on Sunday, January 16, and the comments. But, in the locals column appeared the following wry verdict -- bluntly practical and materialistic -- "The Washerwoman's Friend -- The person who pays his wash-bill promptly." In another two days, the exchanges received led the Monitor to another self-satisfied acknowledgment: "Eugene Ware's last poem, 'The Washerwoman's Friend,' is going the rounds of the press. Most of our exchanges have published it, and many of them highly complimented it." [5] Again, February 2, the Monitor noticed that it was "going the rounds" having been reprinted in the Leavenworth Times, the Topeka Commonwealth, the Sedalia Bazoo, the Girard Press, and the Columbus Courier, the Humboldt Union, and the Manhattan Industrialist -- "It is one of the most popular of Mr. Ware's productions."

"The Washerwoman's Song" was indeed printed widely in Kansas by the weekly press, and the news service that printed "Patent Outsides" and "Insides" thought well enough of it to print it and promptly. [6] The Paola Spirit was among those that commented, not only on the poem, but upon Ironquill's stature as a literary man:

Mr. Ware makes no pretension to poetical genius, yet he has already achieved an enviable reputation in the literary circles of the West as a writer of brilliance, not only on the poetical line, but in prose, and the field of wit. The Spirit is only too glad to be able to "pick up" anything written by the gifted and talented gentleman, Eugene Ware -- "Ironquill." He will make his mark.

This was reprinted by the Parsons Sun, February 19, 1876, along with the news that Ware had accepted an invitation to read a poem at the Parsons pioneer celebration, March 8. [7]

THE NICHOL POETRY EPISODE

On home ground the reception of Ware's poem was remarkable and significant. Among the items recorded, the first in the sequence was the publication, in the Daily Monitor, January 18, or nine days after the historic Sunday of January 9, of a "poem" signed "Leon Love" (Thomas M. Nichol):

THE WASHERWOMAN'S FRIEND

"With a Savior for a friend
He will keep me to the end."
Thus the washerwoman sings
And bright hope within her springs,
That the words are truth, she knows
And she rubs and rubs the clothes,
Trusting in her Savior friend
Who will keep her to the end.

As she washes all day long,
And keeps humming at her song,
It is not the song she sings
To her bosom hope that brings;
But she rather sings the song,
Knowing well 'twill not be long
Till her Savior friend will come
And will take her to her home.

It is not the mere belief
That's the "anodyne of grief;"
Her Savior friend is real --
He's not a mere ideal.<

Though He's all unknown to you
He's a person, real, true,
And he is the woman's friend;
He will keep her to the end.

You may smile at what she sings,
And may scorn the hope that springs
From "the stories that are told
Of the miracles of old."
But the woman at her tubs,
As each day she rubs and rubs
Still will trust her Savior friend
Who will keep her to the end.

It might well be worth your while
Never more at her to smile,
In your sympathy or guile,
Till you've thought more of the things,
Of the song the woman sings.
You may be assured of this,
There's a world of purest bliss
Comes from knowing that dear friend
Who will keep her to the end.

And although for all her hope
She would scarcely give the soap
That she rubs upon the clothes
Yet, in all her wants and woes,
She is certain at the last
When all her wants and woes are past
That her Savior friend will come
And will take her to her home.

This is why the woman sings --
It's to tell herself the things --
The only things -- that cheer her,
And keep her Savior near her,
And he'll keep her -- thought sublime! --
To the end of endless time --
For he is her only friend
Who will keep her to the end. [8]

Nichol had been on the Monitor staff for a time, having resigned in December, [9] and was devoting himself to the promotion of the Kansas Clipper sulky and gang plows which he had invented. These plows had been awarded the first premium at the Kansas State Fair at Leavenworth, which opened September 7, 1874. The Kansas State Grange had been contracted with the Fort Scott Foundry to manufacture them, and this arrangement had brought Nichol from Humboldt to Fort Scott. He was born in Ohio, came to Kansas from Illinois, and in 1876 was 29 years of age. [10]

Anthony's papers, the Leavenworth Times and the Commercial, for January 20, ridiculed Nichol's effort at versification. "The fledglings are already attempting to ape Ware's song of the washerwoman. Leon Love's [Nichol's] doggerel in Tuesday's Monitor is the first. You will have to make stronger 'suds' than that, Love, if you expect your clothes to be 'fit to be seen'" In printing this blunt verdict by Anthony, the Monitor attempted, the next day, to draw somewhat the sting with the comment: "Rather rough on 'Leon Love.'" Then, on January 23 (Sunday), by request, the Monitor reprinted both poems, along with the admonition: "They are good Sunday reading."

The Fort Scott Pioneer, January 27, the Democratic weekly rival of the Monitor, edited by U. F. Sargent, could not pass up such an opportunity to deride the opposition. His barbed jibe, inspired by Anthony's ridicule, was: "Poor Nichol! His wishy-washy parody on Ware's 'Washerwoman's Song' finds but little favor." And in the same issue Sargent wrote a two-paragraph introduction to an anonymous "poem." Of course, it might have been his own brainchild, whose paternity he did not have the courage to acknowledge.

THE WASHERWOMAN'S SONG

By a matter-of-fact-man

I've read the short haired poet's song
Of the woman all forlorn,
Who took in washing by the day,
And never asked about her pay.

But continued working right along,
Singing a mythical sort of song,
All the long and weary day
While the children about her play.

Long and earnestly I have looked
Through our new directory book,
Hoping, trusting, I might find
One with confidence so sublime.

For the washer that I have had
Has kept me feeling very, very sad,
Whenever we have chanced to meet,
In the church or on the street,

By asking in a weary way
If I ever intend to pay;
If I don't she will put me through,
Then I beg her not to sue.

And then she tells it on the street
That I am a high-toned beat,
And if she had a friend,
Who would keep her to the end,

She would quickly find a way
Whereby I would promptly pay,
Or the end would quickly be
A case of assault and battery.

We met in the bank yesterday,
And she said, "Now you will pay,
For I have waited very long,
And I'm a widow all forlorn."

I asked her not to speak so loud,
For she was drawing quite a crowd;
But she didn't seem to care a cent,
And on mischief seemed intent.

So I gave her all I had,
Still she seemed exceeding mad;
And departing, wildly said,
"Oh! I wish that I was dead."

Had she the faith it would be
Better for her and for me,
Could she feel she had a friend
Who would pay her in the end.

This had been preceded in the Pioneer, January 20, by an article in which Sargent had noticed unfavorably the structure of Nichol's versification. Nichol defended himself at length. Though the Pioneer article is missing from the files, he quoted much of it. [11] In printing it the Monitor editor warned his readers in a local: " 'Leon Love' criticizes a critic this morning at great length. In a contest between giants the fur must fly." Also, at the top of the reply, the Monitor accommodated with the headline: "What a Critic! A Few Words About Poetry, Criticism, Ignorance, Stupidity and Meanness" [12]

Nichol began by quoting from the Pioneer editorial of January 20 entitled "What a Poet," which had ridiculed his rhyme and had characterized his effort as a "wishy-washy parody on Ware's Washerwoman's Song. . . " In defense Nichol showed a familiarity with a wide range of literature, but he took the ground that principle, not his own verses, was his concern. He condemned the tendency to greet new writers "with words not of welcome and encouragement, but of derision and ridicule."

The partisan verdict of the Monitor editor was that: "The worst used-up critic we ever saw, is the universal expression in regard to 'Leon Love' vs. Sargent." [13] Immediately, the Monitor printed another of Nichol's "poems," "The Sentry Boy" which indulged also in unusual "poetic forms," and later, one called "Seed Time and Harvest." [14] As he had asserted in his criticism of the critic, he was not easily crushed by ridicule.

As the recipient of such forthright castigation, Sargent would have had his readers believe that he was convinced of his error and was contrite, so he printed "Our Apology" in the Pioneer, February 3, which closed: "Then it follows that what we pronounced 'wishy washy,' 'doggerel' is in fact, poetry descended from the gods. Poet grant us pardon."

On February 17, while editor Sargent was absent, the Pioneer printed another "poem," inspired by, if not a "parody" of "The Washerwoman's Song." The author was not indicated but the title asserted: "I Do Not Like to Hear Him Pray." [15]

I do not like to hear him pray
"Let blessings on the widow be!"
Who never seeks her home to say
"If want o'er take you, come to me."
I hate the prayer so loud and long,
That's offered for the orphan's weal,
By him who sees him crushed by wrong,
And does not for his suffering feel.
I do not like to hear her pray
With jeweled ear and silken dress,
Whose washerwoman toils all day
And then is asked to "work for less."
Such pious shavers I despise;
With folded hands and face demure.
They lift to heaven their "angel eyes,"
And steal the earnings of the poor.

Who came off victor in this literary exchange is probably immaterial, but this "contest between giants" made an impression, at least temporarily, upon the community.

THE POEM OUTSIDE FORT SCOTT -- PERSPECTIVE

Lest the reader conclude that all this has been taken too seriously, the following, in lighter vein, by some unknown "Goosequill" appeared in the Topeka Daily Commonwealth, April 2 (not All Fools day), 1876:

 THE BABY'S SONG

She pushed a baby wagon,
As she passed along the street --
While her curly head was hatless,
And no shoes were on her feet --
Yet she sang a childish song,
As she gaily tripped along,
And the baby crowed in concert
On the seat --

She smiled a cordial greeting,
As I bid her kind good-day --
While the baby's blue eyes twinkled,
And she lisped in childish way --
"I wuz zing, too, iz I could,
For I zink ze world iz good,
"Cause my sister takes me ridin
Evvy day!"

An Anchorite, while dreaming
Of the buffetings of time --
Caught an echo of the child song,
And both wrought it into rhyme --
Homely though the picture be
"Twas a pleasing one to see --
. . . . . . . . . . .
"I would sing, too, if I could,
For I think the world is good -- "
. . . . . . . . . . .
And the child caught up the strain
With a blithesome, glad refrain
Like the blended rhythm of bell notes
In a chime --

An Eastern reader did take "The Washerwoman's Song" too seriously, however, and sent a ten dollar bill to Mr. Manlove, editor of the Monitor, accompanied by a note:

Tell me, Mr. Manlove, do you know "Ironquill?" If so, was that tender, touching little song the simple image of the mind, or does the subject of his song actually live and toil in the by-ways of your city. If so hand "Ironquill" the enclosed ten dollars that when he wanders that lonely way he may leave it at the "humble cot" with my hope that an hundred hearts may beat in unison, with his, and cheer with solid sympathy the widow's bleeding heart. A lay so limpid and so soft could only flow from a pure and benevolent fountain.

This letter elicited from Ware the only contemporary hint found thus far about the origin of "The Washerwoman's Song." To be sure it was negative, but that in itself eliminated a whole class of conjectural origins. Under the date February 29, 1876, Ware wrote:

I regret that I cannot apply your friend's $10 bill to any one as indicated in the letter. The washerwoman is a myth and the character and scene wholly ideal. [16]

There is a positive side to this negative assertion, and it issues a challenge to the historian to discover, if possible, the circumstances out of which such an "ideal" might have emerged.

In the 1890's David Leahy ran a story in the Wichita Eagle [17] about "How Ware wrote it." Without specific dating, Leahy's story was that in reply to a direct question Ware related the details. In Leahy's words: "One dull day Mr. Ware was in his office and his thoughts were turned to religion by hearing a church bell ring. The following two lines flashed across his brain":

"Human hopes and human creeds
Have their root in human needs."

Using this as a focus, supposedly the poem was written backwards. In December, Leahy says, when Ware and the postmaster, a man of literary interests, sat on the steps of the Catholic church. Ware read the poem. His friend was silent. Ware was discouraged and stuck the poem into a pigeonhole in his desk where it rested until some time later a Monitor reporter wanted something for his column and Ware dug it out. Leahy's account included the story of the ten dollars, but with the wrong name attached and some improbable glosses. With modifications and without the more exaggerated details, a similar story was told in the Tribune-Monitor obituary notice about Ware, July 3, 1911. A kernel of truth may be involved in these tales, which serve as human-interest stories, but they do not explain anything.

THE REAL

On January 8, 1876, the day before the unheralded publication of "The Washerwoman's Song," the local editor of the Daily Monitor, under the title "The Last Resort" explained apologetically to his readers:

Local news is so scarce that probably a few items like the following will have to be written up occasionally: "We are very sorry indeed to be called on at this juncture to announce that Mr. So-and-So's little pussy, in an attempt to get into the safe [cupboard] and try a piece of chicken, fell with a thud upon the floor and hurt its little back. …

Suffice it to say no such drastic measures were necessary. Besides the argument over poetry stirred up by Nichol's efforts at versification, the fundamental issues involved in "The Washerwoman's Song" were discussed in lectures and sermons, and were the subject of public debates immediately after the publication of the poem.

Two traveling lecturers appeared in Fort Scott, advertised to discuss Spiritualism. One called himself Prof. S. S. Baldwin, "Exposer of Spiritualism," and the other, W. F. Jamieson, Spiritualist. The latter attacked Christianity in the name of science and challenged any clergyman to engage in public debate. No minister accommodated Jamieson in his publicity stunt. Apparently, however, there was some demand that Christianity be defended, and that a dull winter be enlivened. Although some difference of opinion developed about how it happened, Thomas M. Nichol found himself nominated to make the sacrifice. Nichol had delivered one of the "home talent" lectures in the series arranged the preceding winter. His subject had been theological, but as a Universalist, he insisted that in the current instance he was not qualified to speak in the name of orthodox Christianity. Altogether, the debate ran through three nights, with partisans of each side claiming victory. It turned out to be good "entertainment," but there was a serious side, and unless the press reports were quite misleading, that aspect was uppermost. [18]

Ware was silent throughout the period in which his poem was the favorite topic of discussion. His mind was neither unobservant nor fallow, however, and April 2, 1876, the editor of the Daily Monitor, this time, with an air of pride, made an announcement: "A beautiful little poem from the pen of the "Philosopher of Paint Creek" is printed in the MONITOR this morning." Again the poem was signed "Ironquill:"

THE REAL

They say
A flower, that blooms I know not whither, Perhaps in sunnier skies,
Is called the Amaranth. It will not wither, It never dies.
 

I never saw one.
 

They say
A bird of foreign lands, the Condor,
Never alights,
But through the air unceasingly doth wander, In long aerial flights.
 

I never saw one.
 

They say<
That in Egyptian deserts, massive,
Half buried in the sands,
Swept by the hot sirocco, grandly impassive, The statue of colossal Memnon stands.

I never saw it.

They say<
A land faultless, far off, and fairy --
A summer land, with woods and glens and glades Is seen, where palms rise feathery and airy And from whose lawns the sunlight never fades.

I never saw it.

They say
The stars make melody sonorous
While whirling on their poles.
They say through space this planetary chorus Magnificently rolls.

I never heard it.

Now what
Care I for Amaranth or Condor
Collossal Memnon, or the Fairy Land,
Or for the songs of planets as they wander Through arcs superlatively grand.

They are not real.

Hope's idle
Dreams the Real vainly follows,
Facts stay as fadeless as the Parthenon While Fancies like the summer tinted Swallows Flit gaily mid its ruins and are gone. [19]

At the elemental folk level, but in its way as disconcerting as a child's direct reaction, was a letter from one of those people who are no doubt well-meaning, but distressingly literal minded:

Right here in Southern Kansas, Mr. Ware, in almost any little garden [the Amaranth does grow]. It is unfading and perennial; blooms as well amid January snows as it does in June and July, and when hung up and dried for six months, looks as fresh and beautiful as ever. The Amaranth is a veritable flower, and no creature of imagination. [20]

Of course, it was. Amaranth was a common name applicable to an order and to a genus of plants. Within the genus were many species and in some cases distinctive varieties within a species. The common garden names for those treated in gardens as flowers, are the Red Amaranths, including cockscomb or Crested Amaranth, prince's feather (princess feather) or Jacob's coat, and love-lies-bleeding. Within the genus also were such plants as Pigweed (Green Amaranth) and Tumbleweed (White Amaranth). [21] The dictionaries all agree, however, that the primary literary meaning, chiefly in poetry, was an imaginary flower that was supposed never to fade. The historical dictionaries cite usage in English literature from the early 17th century onward. Thus in Milton's Paradise Lost (iii, 353):

Immortal amarant, a flower which once
In Paradise, fast by the tree of life,
Began to bloom; but soon for man's offence<
To Heaven removed, where first it grew.

The title and substance of "The Real" should have made Ware's meaning clear even to the most obtuse. He sought to compare in the sharpest contrast possible, and by varied examples, "The Ideal" and "The Real." And he did it most effectively, emphasized by the off-beat final line in each stanza -- in the original printing, set off for added stress by a black line.

Although not so recognized at the time, and no one since has made a serious study of Ware, the publication of "The Real" at this time may be viewed in the perspective here presented, as Ware's rejoinder to the religious debates of the preceding weeks. He was unrepentant. He was agnostic toward both Christianity and Spiritualism -- all intangibles that must be accepted on faith. The position of the agnostic must be differentiated, however, from that of the infidel -- the agnostic doubted, but he did not deny. It is one thing to render the Scotch verdict "not proven" but quite another to declare categorically that a thing is false, or does not even exist. Ware's position -- at any rate his ostensible attitude -- was that of practical pragmatist -- only tangible facts were real and provided a sense of certainty and security. Ware's was a Pragmatism, as was the case of so many other so-called practical-minded Americans of his generation, without a philosophical rationalization. That, however, was already, but unknown to Ware, being supplied by Charles S. Pierce, followed by William James, John Dewey, and others. [22]

The conclusions embodied in "The Real" had not always represented Ware's position. No longer ago than 1872 he had taken the opposite side of identically the same issues and in language and ideology that were in many respects an earlier version of the same poem. At that time he had called it "The Song," arranged in rhymed prose form, and published in the Daily Monitor, October 13, 1872. It was signed Ironquill, and was among the first poetic pieces to appear over that pen name. In the Rhymes of Ironquill, it was reprinted, arranged in verse form, but scarcely changed in wording, and named "The Bird Song":

THE SONG

In the night air I heard the woodland ringing; I heard it ring with wild and thrilling song. Hidden, the bird whose strange, inspiring singing, seems yet to float in liquid waves along.

Seems yet to float with many a quirk and quaver, -- with quirks and quavers and exultant notes, as though the air with sympathetic waver, down through the song the falling starlight floats.

Speaking, I said: O bird, with songs sonorous, O, bird, with songs of such sonorous glee, sing me a note of Joy; and in the chorus -- in the same chorus -- I will join with thee.

The songs that others sing seem but to sadden; they seem to sadden -- those that I have heard. Sing me a song whose gleesome notes will gladden. Sing me a song of joy. Then sang the bird:

"There is a land where blossoming exotic, the amaranths with fadeless colors glow; where notes of birds with melodies chaotic, in tangled songs forever come and go.

"There skies serene and bland will bend above us, and from them blessings like the rain will fall; there those fond friends that have loved shall love us;--in that bright land, those friends shall love us all."

The singer ceased--the melody sonorous, no more through star-lit woodland floats along; and as it ceased my heart refused the chorus--refused to join the chorus of the song.

Talk not, I said, thou bird in branches hidden. Hope's garlands bright, Grief's fingers slowly weave--Grief slowly weaves from blooms that spring unbidden, that spring perennial when the heart doth grieve.

Grief present now proves naught of life eternal; grief proves no future with proud blessings rife -- with blessings rife and futures blandly vernal. Facts show no logic in a future life.

And then I said, false is thy song, sonorous; thy song that floats from starlit woodland dim. When we are gone and flowers are blooming o'er us--when man hath gone, there endeth all with him.

Resang the bird: "There skies shall bend above us, and sprinkle blessings like the rains that fall; and those we loved -- who loved us not -- shall love us, in that bright land, shall love us best of all."

Then came a song-burst of bewildering splendor, that rolled in waves through forest corridors; -- up soared the bird, fain did my hopes attend her; and hopes and songs were lost amid the stars.

Now all day long upon my mind intruding, there comes the echo of that last night's song; -- Grief claims the wrecks on which my mind is brooding; Hope claims the facts which logic claimed so long.

Who cares, O, bird, for skies that bend above us? Who cares if blessings like the rains shall fall? If only those who loved us not shall love us -- in that bright future -- love us best of all.

Let logic marshal ranks of facts well stated; it leads them on in brave though vain attacks; -- for looking down from bastions crenelated. Hope smiles derision at assaulting facts.

Because the Ware poems have never before been dated, and no one has formerly undertaken to make Ware's philosophy and its background a subject of serious historical study, the relationship of these poems and their significance in terms of relations have been ignored. Although Kansans and some others have visited upon Ware an inordinate amount of highly sentimental admiration and eulogy, their adulation was too superficial for them to feel obliged to search for the structure of his thought or even to assume that it had a structure. For reasons that are not known, Ware himself, purposely or accidentally, contributed to this chaotic situation by the rule of complete irrelevance that seemed to govern the arrangement of the book versions of the Rhymes. The unpredictable manner in which contrasting types of poems rubbed elbows with each other gave an impression that the sublime and the ridiculous were never far apart, possibly only the reverse sides of the same thing. Even if, perchance, that or some other deliberately selected principle actually did govern at that time, a study of Ware according to the historical principle is long overdue.

In 1872, when "The Song" was first published, Ware was in the midst of the closing hysteria of the presidential campaign. As a Greeley Liberal, and editor of the Daily Monitor, he was grinding out daily the lowest form of partisan political drivel, such as was considered necessary to win a political campaign. Whether or not "The Song" was written at this time, these were the circumstances under which it was published. Even in that context, Eugene Ware's two selves were involved; the self that was writing daily partisan political trash, which no one would be stupid enough to assume that he believed, and this other self, the poetic, the philosophical, the idealist self, who made his own decision to publish "The Song" at this particular time, even though it might have been written earlier. Indeed, the sublime and the ridiculous were in this case merely the reverse sides of Ware's two selves.

But in 1872 as contrasted with 1876, what was Ware saying? What were his philosophical and theological commitments? "Hope smiles derision at assaulting facts." Apparently, then Ware was still an orthodox Congregationalist, or near to it, and substantially in accord with his father's conservatism. In "The Real," the terms Ideal and Real had been substituted for Hopes and Facts, but with the Ideal no longer paramount to the Real, Ware had reversed his basic commitments.

And what about Ware's political commitments? In 1872 he was editing a liberal newspaper, though seemingly a conservative in philosophy and theology. In 1875, he published "Text," which appeared in the book version of the Rhymes under the title "The Granger's Text." This poem was a practical application of his mother's philosophy: "Smooth it over and let it go": the future, not the past, is important:

THE TEXT [23]

Long the Topeka convention wrangled;
"Good men for office" got into a balk;
Grange nominations were hopelessly tangled;
Sargent got up and gave them a talk;
Said to the delegates quarreling so --
"Smooth it over and let it go."

Many a time I have thought of the quarrel That "good men for office" so often reach, Many a time I have thought that a moral Shone like a lantern in Sargent's speech; Look for my text in the line below, "Smooth it over and let it go."

When a fierce editor boiling with fury
Paints you with hot editorial tar;
Don't start a libel suit, don't hire a jury, Don't seek redress from the bench or the Bar; Lies sometimes vanish, facts always grow; "Smooth it over and let it go."

When you consent to be placed on a ticket, When you have made up your mind to run, Leg it your best -- the political thicket Tears off your clothes, but makes lots of fun, If you are minus a vote or so, "Smooth it over and let it go."

Efforts and hopes may be lighter or graver Either in politics, business, or fame, Things may go crooked, and friendships may waver, Nevertheless, the rule is the same; Facts will be facts, when you find it so, "Smooth it over and let it go."

In the record of 1875-1876, Ware was considered a political conservative, also a reversal from the position of 1872, but associated with philosophical and theological liberalism. In one or another, all the ferments of the years 1869-1876 had involved the peace of mind of many people in the Fort Scott neighborhood. A number of them have been identified by name in association with the particular ideas to which they were committed. Each fitted into his unique niche in the culture complex of Fort Scott, of Kansas, and of the United States of the 1870's. [24]

But this Fort Scott of 1869-1876, with all its ambitions and inconsistencies, its dreams and disillusionments, was the background of Eugene Ware, and his poem "The Washerwoman's Song," and for that matter, of all his poetry. In the "scientific" language of the day, contemporaries might have said: the product of "the development theory." In a way, the conflict in the community was a mirror of the confusion and uncertainty troubling the minds of many of its citizens confronted with the new science of the middle years of the 19th century.

THE McFARLAND EPISODE, 1883

A period of quiet followed the flurry of 1876 over "The Washerwoman's Song." Although not forgotten, and reprinted again and again, a revival of interest of some magnitude occurred in 1883 in association with "An Open Letter to Hon. Eugene F. Ware," written by N. C. McFarland, commissioner of the General Land Office at Washington, D. C., a lawyer of repute from Kansas. The "Open Letter" was published first in the Topeka Daily Capital, November 18, and Ware's reply, November 25, 1883, a poem without a title other than the salutation: "To Hon. N. C. McFarland, Washington, D. C." and introduced by a short note to the editor. A name was not assigned to the poem, apparently, until it appeared in the first edition of Rhymes of Ironquill, in 1885, as "Kriterion." [25] Thus far the exact set of circumstances have not been determined which stimulated McFarland to write his letter, nor which explain the remarkable response to the letter and to Ware's reply, along with the original "Washerwoman's Song." The casual but appreciative comment upon the "Song" over the intervening years, 1877 to 1882, was one thing, but the enthusiasm of 1883 was quite another.

When, on November 18, the Sunday Capital printed the "Open Letter," it was done without fanfare: "The Washerwoman's Song" was printed at the top of the column, the letter occupying about one and one half columns. [26] McFarland's letter is rather long to print here in its entirety, but these are the most pertinent parts:

DEAR SIR: -- I have read again and again with indescribable pleasure and sadness, your "Washerwoman's Song," -- pleasure because it is really beautiful, and voices correctly the joy of Christ's poor ones; sadness because you say you are shut out from a hope, which, though not always so bright and cheerful, is worth more than all else this world affords. You will pardon me for addressing you in this public manner, for I know that many men of intellect and culture occupy positions not dissimilar to your own, and I hope in this way to make some suggestions which will reach both you and them, and not be inappropriate to the subject, whether they shall prove valuable or useless. Reading between the lines, I think I can see a thoughtful interest, a sort of inquiry, a desire to possess a hope like, or at least equal, to the heroine of your song. If this were not so, I could scarcely interest myself sufficiently to write you, for I confess I have but little patience with that class of criticisms that flippantly brushes aside the motives of God, Christ and immortality, as fit only for the contemplation of "women and children." To me these mysteries are the profoundest depths. I have no plummet heavy enough, nor line long enough to reach the bottom. I may push them aside for a time, while other things engross me, but they come unbidden again and again across my path. Is it so with you. . . .

What is God? … I have doubted whether he was "God manifested in the flesh," but I never disbelieved it. …

I have written thus far so as to be able to say, that when you write, "I scarce believe a thing" your true position is, that you doubt whether the woman has a real foundation upon which to build her song. And if I am right in this, then further to suggest that there is nothing unusual or unreasonable in such doubt. Nay more, when reason, judgment and all other faculties and means for arriving at truth are imperfect, it seems to me that a perfect faith is unattainable, and doubt becomes a necessity; of questions like these and many others, there is no absolute demonstration here and now.

Did it ever occur to you that the woman did not always have that serene faith which you ascribe to her? Do you not know that she often wondered, and wondering, doubted, not, perhaps, whether there is a God, but whether He is merciful, or even just? Do you not know that to her it is an unsolved problem why she was left alone to support four children at one dollar a day, when you could make twenty dollars a day at work less burdensome and exhaustive? If she had called on you, when passing her door, to explain this problem to her understanding, what could you have said? She probably knew that it was as inexplicable to you as to her, and therefore did not ask. There is an answer, but neither you nor I occupy a plane sufficiently exalted to fully comprehend and speak it -- "even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight."

There are two classes of people who may never have doubts; the one who sees through these mysteries at a glance, or think they do; and the other, "who never had a dozen thoughts in all their lives." The washerwoman sung away most of hers in her beautiful song; and shall we, who cannot sing, linger about Doubting Castle until Old Giant Despair entices us into his gloomy prison house? No, . . .

The Daily Monitor, November 20, in Ware's home town wrote proudly:

The open letter addressed to Hon. E. F. Ware by Mr. N. C. McFarland, published this morning, adds new interest to the "Washerwoman's Song," which is considered by many to be Ware's best composition. There can be no higher evidence of the merit of a poem than the fact that it arouses and calls into active being such eloquent and burning thoughts as those contained in Mr. McFarland's letter . . . . 

D. W. Wilder's editorial on McFarland's letter stated that the purpose was to give the poet faith in God and to remove his doubts; that the spirit embodied in the letter was as pure as that expressed in the poem. It does not have an "I-am-better-than-thou" tone, and in reference to the purpose it says that perhaps the poet could tell if the letter fulfilled its mission. "Noble letters between two true men would set an example to theological disputants -- who always fight and who are not Christ-like." [27]

Another communication on the poem and McFarland's letter was by D. P. Peffley, of Fort Scott, dated November 25, and printed in the Daily Monitor, November 28, the day before Thanksgiving. It contained much of the same thoughtfulness and expression, and was nearer to earth:

I have found much to interest me in reading the letter of Mr. McFarland, reprinted in your last issue, discussing Mr. Ware's poem. After the mad whirl of personal politics, which periodically seems to swallow up everything of such a nature, it is indeed gratifying to those whose sentiments and affections cling to the little circle lighted by the domestic lamp to be allowed a comer in the indispensable and all visiting newspaper. The poem I have read before. I have also seen beauty in it; not the Miltonic beauty of grand imaginative flights, soaring into the loftiest empyrean, where ordinary minds dare not follow; not the giantlike grasp of intellect that seizes something abstract, unreal, and tortures it till it gives out its essence in labored metrical lengths, its beauty lost to untrained intellects in its incomprehensibleness, but the simple beauty of naturalness, of truthfulness. One hears the very "rub" of the washboard in its meter. It requires not the genius of a Gustave Doré to picture to oneself the home it describes, the hopeful sad face of the woman bending over the tub, set perhaps on an upturned chair, the splashed child, the miscellaneous heap of "duds." Alas! the scene too often naturalizes for us.

But the burden of the song: who shall say that the woman realizes its weight? Let us assume that she does, since otherwise our interest must at once fall lifeless. We cannot make an individual case, but must apply this one generally. Mr. McFarland places his stress on the existence of Christian faith.

. . . I have long thought, thought seriously, thought honestly, on the same subject. Like him, I have doubted; have questioned; have asked nature; have examined ostensible revelation. But none offer an unchallenged ultimate basis.

Like him, I have never disbelieved entirely, for the same reason that I have offered for not having shared the common faith-lack of sufficient proofs to warrant it. But that immortality is to be inferred from the unsatisfactoriness of this life, I no more believe. For it is not necessarily unsatisfactory. Man makes it so himself. If the average of human life be but a score and a half, man's violations of laws, determinate and known to be inexorable, is the cause of it. In proof of this we need but point to the hoary age and unimpaired powers of some of the famous men of our time, of time but recently past. These men were observant of laws whose penalties they knew to be certain of execution. Does he believe that Bryant went to his grave filled with regrets for the unsatisfactoriness of life? That he went "as the galley slave," and not as one "who wraps the draperies of his couch about him and lies down to pleasant dreams?" That Longfellow yearned for life a second time on earth? Or Franklin, Washington, John Adams? Or further back, Copernicus, the heathen Socrates? The average of life's duration is known to be capable of being raised by proper observance of the common law of hygiene. At the same time it is admitted that we cannot compel universal observance of them [laws]; consequently many of those who find the satisfactoriness of life to consist in the mere fact of existence will continue to be disappointed.

Yet this faith, to those who have it, what a treasure! How it has upheld the desolate heart! How it has bended over the couch of death, cheering the ebbing spirit of life! … It has made the tortures of the rack, the stake, of the cross itself become as if they were not. Should we, then, who cannot accept it implicitly, seek, by scoffs and vulgar jeers, as some do, to drive it

from those who may have little else? Spirit of compassion, forbid it! Let the untaught washerwoman sing, and believe as she sings, that she has "a Savior for a friend, That will keep her to the end."

Among other things, these two letters show how greatly times have changed. People took more time then, in writing such comments and in contemplating poetry in this profound sense. What now seems somewhat wordy and beside the point served as recreation as well as literary art, and when a series of events such as this developed, it was like the serial on the inside of the back page, except that anyone could offer something to the growth of the train of letters. Also, discussions close to the hearts of the people were carried on through the newspapers, often in a literary and informative fashion, taking the place of modern "canned" amusement.

An editorial in the Sunday Capital, November 25, 1883, was headed, "The New Poem of Hon. Eugene Ware":

It will be unnecessary for us to call the attention of our readers to the beautiful poem from Hon. Eugene Ware, of Fort Scott, addressed to Hon. N. C. McFarland in reply to his letter which appeared in the Capital last Sunday. The letter of Judge McFarland has been widely copied in the weekly press of Kansas. The poem is rich in pure, deep and reverential feeling, delicate and most beautiful in expression [,] a most appropriate reply to Judge McFarland's thoughtful letter.

In another column of the same page. Ware's contribution was printed with the heading "Hon. Eugene Ware to Hon. N. C. McFarland":

TO THE EDITOR OF THE CAPITAL:

FORT SCOTT, KAN., November 21. -- I have just seen in your excellent paper of Sunday an open letter addressed to me by the Hon. N. C. McFarland of Washington, D. C. I assure you that I feel honored that my "Washerwoman's Song" should be noticed by one who to high official position adds a recognized standing as a lawyer and a cultivated gentleman. The kindness of the criticism leads me to venture a reply, which I ask you to publish.

To HON. N. C. MCFARLAND, Washington, D. C.

I see the spire,
I see the throng,
I hear the choir,
I hear the song;
I listen to the anthem, while
It pours its volume down the aisle;
I listen to the splendid rhyme
That, with a melody sublime,
Tells of some far-off, fadeless clime --
Of man and his finality
Of hope and Immortality.

Oh, theme of themes!
Are men distraught?
And hopes like dreams
To come to naught?

Is all the beautiful and good
Delusive and misunderstood?
And has a soul no forward reach?
And do indeed the facts impeach
The theories the teachers teach?
And is this Immortality
Delusive unreality?

What Hope reveals
Mind tried to clasp,
But soon it reels
With broken grasp.
No chain yet forged on anvil's brink
Was stronger than its weakest link;
And do not arguments maintain
That many a link along the chain
Can not resist a reason strain?
And is not Immortality
The child of Ideality?

And yet -- at times
We get advice
That seems like chimes
From Paradise;
The soul doth sometimes seem to be
In sunshine which it cannot see;
At times the spirit seems to roam
Beyond the land, above the foam,
Back to some half-forgotten home.
Perhaps -- this immortality
May be indeed reality. [28]

In reprinting the "Reply," the Junction City Union, December 1, 1883, commented: "The letter and the two poems constitute a cheerful oasis in the slush the newspaper man is called upon to deal with." The lack of a name for the poem, besides the term "Reply" was a handicap, but a temporary title was supplied; one of more logical significance by the Emporia News in its Holiday edition [December 25], 1883: "It May Be Reality." The Manhattan Nationalist, November 23, 1883, put Ware "at the head of Kansas poets," and suggested, "if he would cultivate his talents in this direction, might secure a national fame." [29]

One of the most remarkable aspects of both the Ware episodes, 1876 and 1883, is the absence of personal hostility toward Ware, or ridicule of his verse or of his ideas. With due regard to the allowances that properly belong to any attempt at generalization, the dictum of "FSM," in 1876, about Western people and religion may again apply -- respect for sincere faith even when agnostic toward it. [30]

In Ware's reply to McFarland, which will be referred to henceforth by the later name "Kriterion," what was his position on religious orthodoxy? In "The Washerwoman's Song" Ware had assumed the position of doubt, softened by tolerant compassion. In "The Real" he had stood his ground, but in "Kriterion" he appeared to hedge Perhaps -- this immortality May be indeed reality.

In order to appreciate more accurately and adequately what had happened to Ware's thinking and feeling, it is well to go still farther back into the record. On October 23, 1870, the Daily Monitor had printed a poem over the initials "EFW," the first of his poems found there with so explicit an identification. This represented orthodox theological certainty. "The Washerwoman's Song" revealed Ware at the other extreme, a confessed agnostic, but also certain he had found truth. The text of "The Palace," of 1870, which Ware never saw fit to revive or revise for book publication in the Rhymes of Ironquill, follows:

THE PALACE

Father, lay aside your paper --
See the house that I have builded,
With the blocks which uncle gave me
Christmas day,
See! it's got a dozen windows,
On the sides and on the gables,
And it's made so you can see out every way.
Then it's got a little 'zervatory
Rising from the comer,
Where a person stands and looks out at the sky. And its roof is very pointed,
And it's made of gilded shingles,
And it rises in the middle very high.
And it's got a lot of porticos
And balconies and arches,
And great big flights of back steps made of stone; And inside there are galleries,
And staircases and parlors --
And that's the kind of house that I will own.
Father, lay aside your paper --
There! Why didn't you look sooner! --
Its too late now -- you should have looked before, For the wind came through the doorway, And it tilted up the carpet,
And it wrecked my little palace on the floor.
That's the way it always happens --
When I've got my house finished,
There is always something sure to happen then; And there is no use of trying,
For they crumble to the carpet,
Though I build them over time and time again.

Ah, my curly headed builder,
You have learned the lesson early,
That there's something always ruining our schemes; Happiness is but a palace,
Built of hopes and aspirations,
With its spires and domes and minarets of dreams.
Ah, my little blue-eyed schemer --
Many palaces I'VE builded,
But the gales and storms would come
with angry strife;
First the spires and domes and minarets, And then after that the palace
Would be wrecked upon the carpet of my life.
You will build them -- they will crumble,
And the higher up, the sooner;
And as often as you build them -- o'er and o'er, When they're finished, through the doorway Comes the wind that tilts the carpet,
And the palace crumbles downward to the floor.
But, my curly headed dreamer --
In the sky there is a palace,
And its builded there for those who
love the truth;
And its changeless and uncrumbling,
And the splendor of its beauty,
Far outrivals all the wildest dreams of youth.

The contrast between the texts of "The Palace" and of the "Kriterion" is made the more sharp by the titles supplied for the latter by the Emporia News, "It May Be Reality." Ware had reversed himself once, and had gone part way apparently in a return, but had not completed the cycle. Yet, candor must insist upon sticking to the record, although a good case could be made for the view that privately Ware had not abandoned the position of 1876 on "The Washerwoman's Song," and "The Real," but purely as a matter of expediency, had made a concession to what "FSM" had insisted Western People demanded in "fair play" on matters of difference in religion -- a sincere respect for a genuine religious character, though not necessarily acceptance of religious form. Unknown is the reason why Ware selected, apparently belatedly, the title "Kriterion," both the idea and the Greek spelling. Yet the public accepted the name without any question about the meaning or about orthography.

THE KRITERION HOAX

All this was written prior to a full realization by the present author of the fact that there was a private view of the "Kriterion" episode quite different from the public view -- in fact, a contradiction of both the main facts and the interpretation just given them. In order to reconstruct history as a whole, the private view must now be stated. The "Kriterion" was not a new poem, and it was not written in reply to Judge McFarland. Already it had been published under its proper title, "Kriterion," and over his pen name Ironquill, in the Daily Monitor, August 16, 1874, or nearly nine years prior to McFarland's "Open letter." That was long enough before the episode of 1883 that those who may have once known of the earlier printing had long since forgotten. Besides, in 1874, so far as can be discovered, the poem did not attract any attention either at home or abroad. Why should it have created so remarkable a flurry in 1883? Why did Ware misrepresent it; offer it without its title, and as a reply to the open letter? Surely after the remarkable experience with "The Washerwoman's Song" he was aware that he was in the presence of an occasion that might involve portentous responses. Even though unprepared to answer with a new production, and like the preacher who turned his sermon barrel upside down to select off the bottom, he must have weighed the choice with care. Why did he perpetuate the hoax in the book publication of the Rhymes of Ironquill, in 1885, and in the many editions thereafter, by printing the McFarland Open Letter as the link between "The Washerwoman's Song" and "Kriterion?"

But more important than this physical manipulation of tangible facts, is the violence which Ware committed upon himself; upon his private intellectual and religious integrity. As pointed out already, if "Kriterion" had been written in response to McFarland, it meant a retreat in thought. In its true chronology, however, it was a waystation along a straight-line transition from the orthodoxy of "The Palace," through "Kriterion," to the agnosticism of "The Washerwoman's Song." Already, the suggestion has been made that possibly it was a concession to his public, an act of expediency, without necessarily being a private reversal. That view now becomes more insistent, but for a quite different reason. Henceforth the student of Ware's poetry, and admirers of "The Washerwoman's Song," or of "Kriterion" as individual poems must keep in mind these two views, the private and the public, and their irreconcilability. Viewed as a whole, truth is complex and challenging.

Notes

DR. JAMES C. MALIN, associate editor of The Kansas Historical Quarterly and author of several books relating to Kansas and the West, is professor of history at the University of Kansas, Lawrence.

1. The wording used here is essentially that of the original printing in the Fort Scott Daily Monitor, January 9, 1876, but the punctuation follows that of the third edition of the Rhymes of Ironquill, 1892.
2. The date given by D. W. Wilder, Annals of Kansas (1886), p. 698, is an error. He printed it in the original wording.
3. At this particular time most of the first column of the editorial page was identical in both papers, and was printed from the same type. Later in the year the Commercial was discontinued.
4. Daily Times, January 16; Daily Commercial, January 17, 1876.
5. Is it unkind to call attention to the newspaper's error in the title of the poem?
6. Parsons Sun, January 22; Oswego Independent, February 5, 1876, both "patent outsides."
7. Later Ware found it necessary to cancel this engagement. Parsons Sun, March 4, 1876; Daily Monitor, February 19, March 7, 1876.
8. In the sixth line of stanzas one and four, the words "rubs and rubs" were a reflection of Ware's original version of "The Washerwoman's Song," which used them in the sixth stanza, line one, instead of "rubs and scrubs," used in the book printings.
9. Daily Monitor, December 23, 1875.
10. Kansas state census, 1875 (Ms.), v. 5, Bourbon county. City of Fort Scott, p. 55; his name appeared a second time, p. 91, with an age of 30, in 1875; State Board of Agriculture, The Third Annual Report . . ., 1874, p. 75; Daily Monitor, August 28, December 3, 9, 1874, February 26, March 6, 1875. He was later to have a remarkable career elsewhere.
11. Monitor, January 30 (Sunday), 1876.
12. The authorship of the headline is not clear; if the origin was Nichol, at least, the editor accommodated by not "killing" it.
13. Daily Monitor, February 1, 1876.
14. Ibid., February 3, 15, 1876.
15. The Mirror and Newsletter, Olathe, February 24, 1876; the Arkansas City Traveler, March 29, 1876, were among those printing this "poem."
16. Fort Scott Daily Monitor, March 1, 1876.
17. Reprinted in the Topeka State Journal, January 10, 1898.
18. The episode can be followed, in the local papers, the Daily Monitor, and the Pioneer, for the two weeks' period beginning January 31. 1876.
19. The reading of the poem printed here, except for the correction of a typographical error, is the original version as given in the Daily Monitor, April 2, 1876. In the selected poems published later in book form under the title (with variations) Rhymes of Ironquill (1885 and later) substantial changes in wording were introduced.
20. Parsons Eclipse, April 13, 1876, reprinted in the Fort Scott Pioneer, April 27, 1876.
21. Asa Gray, Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States. … Sixth Edition by Sereno Watson and John M. Coulter (New York, 1889); Harlan P. Kelsey and William A. Dayton, editors. Standardized Plant Names, Second Edition (Harrisburg, Pa., (1942); The Oxford English Dictionary, Being a Reissue … of a New English Dictionary on Historical Principles … (Oxford, 1933); The Century Dictionary: An Encyclopedic Lexicon of the English Language (New York, First Edition, 1891, Revised, (1913); Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition, Unabridged (Springfield, 1950). The common spelling is Amaranth, but the correct form is Amarant.
22. James C. Malin, "Notes on the Writing of General Histories of Kansas: Part One, The Setting of the Stage," Kansas Historical Quarterly, v, 21 (Autumn, 1954), pp. 192-202; On the Nature of History (Lawrence, The Author, 1954), ch. 3, especially p. 77; The Contriving Brain and the Skillful Hand (Lawrence, The author, 1955), pp. 348-353.
23. Daily Monitor, May 16, 187S, by "The Philosopher of Paint Creek." The version given here is that printed in the Monitor. At this time Ware was using two pen names; each for a different kind of rhymes. To be discussed elsewhere.
24. See the present author's articles dealing with Fort Scott philosophers, Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. 24 (1958), pp. 168-197, 314-350.
25. If an earlier use was made of that name between 1883 and 1885, the present writer has not found it.
26. The first line of the sixth stanza read "rub and scrub," instead of the original "rub and rub."
27. Hiawatha World, November 22, 1883.
28. The wording and arrangement of the lines is that of the poem as published in the Capital. The punctuation, however, follows that of the third edition of the Rhymes of Ironquill (1892). In that edition, for the first time, changes were introduced including the lines seven, eight, and nine of the third stanza which were revised to read:

"And are there not along this chain
Imperfect links that snap in twain
When caught in logic's tensile strain?"

29. In its issue of November 29, 1883, the Lyndon Journal, contrasted McFarland and Sen. John J. Ingalls to the disadvantage of the latter as a sceptic. In his Troy Kansas Chief, December 13, 1883, Sol Miller blundered in his reading of the Journal's comment, and attributed to it a comparison of Ware and Ingalls; Ware the Christian and Ingalls the sceptic. Miller preferred Ingall's brains to Ware's piety. This is one of the few unkind Kansas reactions to Ware's poetry, and both its error and its animus were evident. If Ware was a candidate for the United States senate, Miller suggested, then, "perhaps there is a necessity for starting a religious boom in his favor."
30. Topeka Commonwealth, April 9, 1876.