Seriously, because of this poem, wheelbarrows can no longer be considered ordinary farm things — we know them to be way cooler. And it has a lot to say, or, rather, it has a lot of questions to ask. The poem describes a red wheelbarrow in the rain. But it is about so much more!
From the Zanesville Express, Nov. The Prophet and Pilgrims: I have thought proper to forward you the following, which is about all of the information in my possession respecting them.
On their first arriving in town a meeting was notified at the Court House, at this place, where an exportation was given by on of their party, Mr. Holmes, the only man of any considerable talents among them, who has been a Methodist preacher about twelve years in Vermont.
Holmes preached as he called it without a text, and wandered without system, upon various subjects, yet he made use of many pithy, common place expressions, which would have been well received by the community at large, had they not visited the Prophet and his group, at home when it is presumed no person possessing a mediocrity of talent, could retain five minutes in suspense relative to the sincerity of Ballard, the Prophet, who wears every feature and gesture of a consummated scoundrel He has frequent paroxisms in which he utters the most unmeaning gibberish, which he calls an unknown tongue, in which he pretends to converse with the Diety, which is composed at most, if not more than four sounds, which he will successively repeat from two to five minutes, which length of time he has more than once been known to occupy in the reiteration of Bab-Wab alone.
The discerning mind may easily behold in this pretended Prophet the sum of his wishes to destroy all civil establishments, disannul marriage under the spurious pretence that Jesus Christ is the bridegroom, and all his followers are the bride, and consequently need no civil restrictions to govern their passions, but that those passions in them, and their gratifications are without sin, all being conducted with an eye "single to the glory of God" -- that they cannot sin as long as they are followers of the Prophet.
They say that the spirit of God has directed them to make a settlement in the town of Pike, on Derby Creek, whither they are bound. We would advise the inhabitants of Pike, to beware; that in proportion as they value morality and religion, or revere the laws of civilization to be cautious how they admit an enemy into their houses, to steal away their brains.
From all we can gather from this slothful, dirty group, we are disposed to say that they practice indiscriminated cohabitatation, openly profess the power and gift of Prophecy, pretend to heal the sick by various incantations, and that they are fast progressing to such perfectability, through the instrumentability of fasting and prayer, as to be soon able to raise the dead, who to use their own expressions die in the Lord.
Some of them have stated, since they have been in this place, that from scripture, they thought they could draw strong proof that they should never die; and went to quote several texts, which have strict reference to spiritual death. The writer of this has spent much time with them foolishly to satisfy his mind relative to their doctrine their motives, etc.
He has found them generally aloof to conversation; and if at any time they attempted to answer his enquiries, it has been in an evasive way, introducing a different subject with the answer. Never did a young pedagogue command more obsequiousances from his pupils in a country school, than does this Prophet from his followers; they groan when he groans, shout when he shouts, and ape him in his every monkey trick; flying at his command with such servile agility, that a bystander might well conclude that they verily believed that the keys of heaven and hell were suspended upon his bear skin girdle.
In this sect we see a striking proof of the awful strides which mankind have made in every instance, who have left the church of Christ and its cannons, handed down by the Apostles and their immediate successors, and taught for doctrines, the command of men.
Upon their entrance into town the old Prophet led the way, carrying a long crooked head staff.
It was a shepherd's staff, and as he walked he would bring it down every time he stepped from his right foot, at the same time muttering something to himself, his converts, male and female, following, in single file, in a half circle, and all keeping time with the Prophet.
The wagons, containing the children and invalids, brought up the rear. They attracted a large crowd of men and boys. After pitching their tents and partaking of dinner, a meeting was called in front of the Court House, where a Mr. Holmes, formerly a Methodist minister, delivered an exhortation.
At these meetings the women would occasionally exhort. The writer, when a boy, with others, would often visit their camping ground, curiousity prompting the desire to see them go through their devotional exercises.
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They seemed to be very devoted to their peculiar mode of worship, the women frequently lying face downward, and making all manner of gestures, the old Prophet at the same time going through with his gibberage, something he didn't understand, nor anybody else.
The boys, at that time, called it "Hog Latin. When any person joined their sect they termed it "a taking of the girdle. They were a queer looking set, and as they went about the streets the boys would recite the following: Hark, hark, the dogs do bark.
The Pilgrims have come to town. Some in rags and some in tags. And some in dirty gowns. It annoyed them considerably.
It is said that had some of the women and girls been decently attired, they would have made rather a handsome appearance. The Prophet, Ballard, with his long beard, dirty gown, and bearskin girdle, looked like one of the Patriarchs of old. The pilgrims had two or three songs which they would sometimes sing in going about the town.
One convert was the result of their labors in Zanesville. He started away with them. His two brother-in-laws followed, and persuaded him to return. He was a well meaning man, but was carried away with the name of Pilgrim and the promised land.
Upon their arrival there the citizens would not allow them to stoop, and they continued to wander around, from one place to another for several weeks. Griffith, a resident of Underwood street, informed the writer that at this time he was living with his father on the Darby Plains, and had met the Pilgrims many times in traveling from place to place, the old Prophet always in the lead.
John Dulty, still living, told the writer that in the spring ofas he was crossing the mountains for stock, near Greensburg, east of Pittsburgh, he overtook a woman, walking and carrying a bundle. He thought he had seen her in Zanesville, and inquired if she was not one of the Pilgrims.
She answered that she was, and informed him that the Pilgrims, after being warned away from the Darby Plains they traveled from place to place, and finally started for the Promised land in the Arkansas canebrakes, to build up a settlement there by sending out missionaries.The Poetry of Robert Burns - Despite his later fame as the greatest Scottish poet, Robert Burns had humble origins.
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