[Editorial Note: Thomas Nast (1840-1902) is often considered
America's leading political cartoonist. He is especially known
for his withering portraits of William Marcy ("Boss")
Tweed and the members of his "Ring" of Tammany Hall
politicians who ruled New York City in the late 1860s. Nast is
also notorious for his anti-Catholic cartoons which contributed
to a renewed wave of anti-immigrant sentiment in the 1870s. Nast's
Almanac was very popular and the 1871 volume contained
humorist G. P. Webster's poem, "A Dream of the Period"
with Nast's illustrations. Together the poem and the drawings
say a good deal about conventional notions of gender and gender
P.57]A dream I dreamt and 'twas not all a dream--
I saw her proud, majestic, free from faults;
I saw men using powder lily white,
[P.59]I saw a cruel husband instigating
His wife to bloody deeds, she hesitating--
Just as that proud and bloody man, Macbeth,
Drove his poor wife to murder and to death.
Othello killed his wife! Oh, no good fellow!
'Twas cruel Desdemona killed Othello--
Married him first and took him from his mother,
And then her gentle husband she did smother.
|A spirit whispered, "Let your heart
In man's soft melody." His tuneful voice
Yields sweeter strains and softer to the ear
Than blue birds' notes, when blooming spring is near.
Alone and sorrowful, day after day,
At home, I passed my time, my wife away--
Made business all her care, while, weeping, I
Was left alone to suffer and to sigh.
I mildly said, "My dear come early home;
I fear, my love, you are inclined to roam.
What kept you out last night?" She answered , "Bah!"
I stopped a moment at the opera.
And Jewett, Wright, and Kennedy were there,
Worn down by toil; it is no more than fair
That we should have a little recreation!
Now, don't get mad and call it dissipation.
|I saw a woman to her loved one kneeling,
Telling her love, and to his heart appealing;
He blushed, and answered "No," and then relenting,
Smiled, sighed, and answered Yes," at last consenting.
And still I dreamed--imagine what my feeling,
Roused by her rappings loud and furious ringing--
|Affairs of state seemed greatly to depress her;
The wrongs of women too did much distress her.
Said she, "You only have the grief you borrow,
While I must share a suffering people's sorrow."