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The heritage of American humor. We have many sources of worthwhile after all influence our outlook on life from the early days comes a unique heritage for the 20th century American heritage enhanced by being shared by. The University of North Dakota broadcasting service presents 15 dramatized essays on the American humor found in newspapers books and anthologies old and new from these the 20th century American can obtain a perspective on the intelligences attitudes styles and sensibilities of the American outlook as it concerns himself and his world neighbors. The heritage of American humor is produced by the University of North Dakota under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. The writer narrator is Professor
Joseph F. Smeal of the University of North Dakota Department of English program tend the Urbanite pastoral. Since the beginnings of our culture there have been men who have amused themselves with the contrasts between town and country. Usually these men believe deeply and firmly that a city is the only place to live but a city no matter how pressing or dirty or insolent is a superior location of superior people. But when these men have lived too long and too tightly in their city where they dream up a contrast country were. Which we have learned to call the pastoral world. Theocritus who was a Greek in the ancient city of Alexandria invented this pastoral world in its basic forms. In it shepherd's pipe.
Shepherdesses dance and Dryads and considers snort in it. Cheese and wine cupped in carved Olive would sustain an ever running song contest. It is an artificial world for the shepherds never have sheep to bother them. It is a simplified way simplified by men who are complex to the core. Who are courtiers and men of affairs. And in it simplified artificial ality. It is a highly polished world and it would be one. This pastoral world is a mirror image of the urban world. If in the urban world business occupies minds to the exclusion of love in the pastoral world love occupies minds to the exclusion of business. Or so it is hoped by the sophisticated professional creators of the place but the shepherdesses nevertheless seem mechanical. It's for tired business men and the shepherds gigolos for their tired waves in the pastoral world. Love is a game that takes place in a dude ranch
excursion steamer paper doll sort of way and the mood of the Urbanite pastoral is a dude ranch paper doll sort of mood a two faced sad witty sort of mood that can justin jibe at the expense of the town or at the expense of the country that feels sentimental nostalgia has about the days of childhood about the old farm about the golden age but then gives a brittle laugh at its own sentimentality. The Muse of the Urbanite pastoral. Is the mockingbird and he sonnet from Antebellum Charleston brings out the double mood this sad with a soft brittle cunt. This part of our heritage. May I read you this sonnet to the mockingbird gentleman by Richard Henry Wild Wing a mimic of the woods who want to reduce crime than ever ready you know to ridicule pursue with our fellows. Still with
jest and jibe with softest songster Yorick a sportive satirist of nature school to the gaffing we have arch marker and abit of Misrule for such thou art. Thou poorest and as if thou didst in this life. Like to the melancholy JQ complained musing on falsehood folly by and in sighing for the pastoral cold again. And when the bi modal songs of the Mockingbird echo under the moon from the walls of the town then urbanite poets in their rooms right there said with a soft brittle poems that seek our smiles. I find your Parker Willis for example of the Knickerbocker tradition left us these lines and the contrast between town
and country. These words are in rhyme to stanzas gentleman and they are about love in a cottage. They may talk of love in a cottage in bowers of the vine of nature bewitchingly simple. They may talk of the pleasure of sleeping in the shade of a spreading tree and a walk in the fields in the morning by the side of a foot step free. But give me a sly flirtation by the light of the chandelier with music to play in the pauses and nobody very near or a seat on a silken sofa with a glass of wine and mamma too blind to discover the small white hand in mine. Your love in a cottage is hungry for flies. Your milk made shocks the graces and simplicity talks of you lie down to your number and wake with a bug and your damsel that walks in the morning like a Mountain Ear.
True love is at home on a carpet and mightily like. True love. Is wing is the Phantom Zone invisible and his shot from a silver strait. A bi modal inspiration of the Mockingbird leads some writers of the Urbanite pastoral into poetic dialogues a little witty Ebates between town and country between the pleasures of each. John Godfrey sex for example reports a dialogue that occurred late in August on the platform of a country rail station where the mocking bird was singing. The debate between two gentleman gentleman one is called Covert and he's the country farmer. The other is called Black Tom and he's the city lawyer partner in the firm of blacktop and concrete. In the quiet warmth of late August while the two of them wait for Black Ops train overtops is I've heard Cousin
blacktop It's extremely clear that you are August here. Don't bring it. Once your wife and children down and quit the noisy dusty town and leaning back against the station from his vacation. Simple Swain this sort of life may do it in summer Aaron hibernate in winter like a bear. Here we have water pure virgin gold and milk from cows that can attack with bovine pride and new laid eggs whose praises sung by Paula with their morning lay. In the brook good water from the well and other blessings more than I can tell there are simple. We have nightly plays an operatic music. Charming ways of spending time and money lots of fun. The Central Park when they get it done Barnum's Museum full of things erotic Jerry years airy and aquatic. Here we have Rosie Reedy and romping girls with lips of rubies and with
teeth of pearls. I dare not mention half their witching charms but the wrong ness of their arms and polished shoulders they display bending or tabs upon a washing day. There we have ladies most suburban made by fine artists who understand their trade who dance the German. Flirt a graceful fan and speak such French as no Parisian GAM who sing much louder than your country. Russia's and where things fail and far more brilliant clashes here both for blacktop we have flowery walks where you may stroll and whole delightful talks no saucy placard frowning as you pass $10 fine for walking on the grass. The moonlight had groves where love's delicious words are breathed to music of melodious birds their silly clover that bells we need Sweden with the silken robes the dusty street may gaze into their faces as they pass beneath the rays of dimly burning gas or standing by a crossing when it rains
may see some pretty angles for our pain. Here you may angle for the speckled trout. Play him awhile with a gentle hand about them like a sportsman. Pull the fellow out there to his vision. Quiet is good I ween where careless gaping poor fish off the scene. Rich is young pastor and almost as green. Here you may see the meadows grassy plain ripe luscious fruits and shocks of golden grain and view luxuriant in a hundred fields the gorgeous wealth that nature yield. There you may see trades wondrous strength and pride where margins may be strong on every side and you collected in the nation's Mart alike the wealth of nature and the art. See. Camera cept. I love these quiet knocks her one or two or if you wish or gentle love to green and used by her babbling stream babbling my Rover. Your getting
Gary last time to stop. I love the city and the city smoke the smell of gas the dust the coal and coke the sound of bells the tramp of hurrying feet the side of the street the grass. How the never ceasing. Fire and the exciting scene of heroes running with the food. I think I could even breathe. So long. Goodbye. The coming train don't fail to call whenever you come to town. We'll do the city boy I am doing. Really have to bomb again another year. There can also be dialogues in a verse about the golden past about things simpler healthier and stronger than the rushing nervous present about the
sad destruction the time works on the wonders of childhood on the old farm or the wonders of pioneer days or the wonders of the springtime of the nation. In these dialogues there is much of the carpet theme of the wit that faces the inevitable passing of time. This gentleman is a logical story of the Deacon's masterpiece The wonderful one. It was written by Oliver Wendell Holmes to point out the effects of passing time. It begins with a question. Have you heard of the wonderful one horse Shay that was built in such a logical way it ran a hundred years to a day and then of a sudden it all but stay. We'll tell you what happened without delay scaring the parson into fits frightening people out of their wits. Have you heard of that. Seventeen hundred and fifty five daughters six fundus was then alive snuffy
old drone from the German hive that was the year when Lisbon town saw the earth open and gulp her down in Braddock's army was done so Brown left without a scalp to its crown. It was on the terrible earthquake day that the Deacon finished the one. Now in the building of shares I tell you what. There is always somewhere or weakest spot. In hub fellow in spring or in panel or in this boat lurking still find it somewhere you must and will above or below or without and that is the reason beyond a doubt. That iShares breaks down but doesn't wear out. But the Deakin school is deacons do with an I do more and I try you he would build one shade to be the town in the county in the country around. It should be so built that it couldn't break down or said the deacon does Marty playing at the weakest
place must stand the strain in the way to fix and maintain is only just to make that places draw the red so the deacon inquired of the village folk where he could find the strongest fact couldn't be split nor bend nor broke. That was for spokes then flows and he sent for lance wood to make the theos. The cough bars were ash from the straightest trees the panels the white wood the Black Keys about last black eye and for things like these the hubs of logs from the settlers. Last of its timber they couldn't sallam never had seen the chips and the wedges flew from between their lips their blunt ends frazzled like celery tips. Step then prop I own both in the screw spring axle an inch been two steel of the finest bright and blue. There are brave spies in skin thick and wide blue top and dash from tough old hide found in the pit
where the tanner died that was the way he put it through there said the deacon. Now do do I tell you. I rather guess he was a wonder and nothing less. Cold horses beards turn gray Deacon Deaconess trucked away children and grand children well well there but there stood the stout old one hoss shay as fresh as on Lisbon earthquake day. Eighteen hundred came and found the deacon's M.P. strong and sound. Eighteen hundred increased by ten handsome carriage as they called it then eighteen hundred and twenty came running as usual much the same thirty and forty at last arrive and then comes the man fifty five. Literal overall we value here awakes on the moan of its 100th year without both feeling and looking. Back there is nothing that keeps its you so far as I know but a tree.
True. This is a moral that round that large take it you're welcome no extra challenge. First of November the earthquake day there are traces of age in the one general flavor of mild decay but nothing local as one might say that couldn't be the deacon's OD had made it so alike in every pot that there wasn't a chance for one to stock for the wheels were just as strong as that there was when the floor was just as strong as a still when the panels were just as strong as the floor on the with the less normal and the back crossbar strong with a foreign spring an axle and core and yet has a hole in it is past all doubt. In another hour it will be worn out the. First of November 55 this morning the parson takes a drive now small boys get out of the way. Comes a wonderful one horse Shay drawn by a rat tail you never
cut up said the pastor. When. The parson was working his text had got to and stop at what the Moses was coming. Only the hose still close by the house on the Hill. Then something decided the possum was sitting on a rock. At half past nine by the clock. Just they out of the earthquake shop. What do you think. The possum. And he stared around. The pool and he found as if it had been to the mill and ground. You see of course if you're not a dunce. And nothing. Just does. And the wonder.
But half amused half serious verse about a past beyond recall it was simpler more perfect and more rustic than the industrial complex present time is not the only tune inspired by the Mockingbird in urban breasts. There is also a simple wish to escape into an ideal country not into one's past but into a far away country that is ideal by its contrast with the city as one urbanite puts it there is need occasionally for a day on Nature's heart. And when the urbanites bitterness and boredom are slight This need is no more than a need to go to a ball game or to go fishing for example. Here is an angler's wish gentlemen by a cultivated and genteel New Yorker Henry Van Dyke when tulips bloom in Union Square and timid brats of vernal era go wandering down the dusty town like children lost in Vanity Fair when every long unlovely roll of Westword houses stands a good will
and leads the eye toward sunset skies beyond the hills where the green trees grow old then weary seems the street parade and weary books and weary trade. I'm only wishing to go a fishing for this the month of May was made. Does not a proud desire of mine I ask for nothing super fine no heavy weight no salmon GREAT TO BREAK THE RECORD OR my line. I had a little stream Amber waters softly where I may wade through wood and shade and cast the fly and lo and dream only a trout or two dot from forming pools and crime I know I'm wishing old fashioned fishing and just a day on nature's high. But when urbanite bitterness and boredom are great the need to escape becomes a great need a compulsive need almost like the need of some men for alcohol or opiates. And when this happens some astringent dissonances appear in the melodies of the you're going to
stroke the inspiration of the Mockingbird then calls up the dissonant figure of the policeman who for a bid to escape into a pastoral world. Listen. There was an anonymous urbanite gentleman who expressed these things in a piece that we know as the Big Rock Candy Mountain. One evening as the sun went down in the jungle fires were burning down the track came a hobo humming and he said Boys I'm not turning I'm here. I'll see you coming in the Big Rock Candy Mountain in the Big Rock Candy Mountains there's a land that's fair and right where handouts grow on bushes and you sleep out every night. All are empty and the sun shines every day. All the birds and the bees and the cigarette trees the Rock Springs where the wind things in the Big Rock Candy. In the Big Rock Candy Mountains you never change your socks and little streams of alcohol come trickling
down the rocks. The farmer's trees are full of fruit and their barns are full of snow. Don't fall in the wind. Call in the Big Rock Candy Mountain. In the Big Rock Candy Mountains the jails are made of tin and you can bust right out again as soon as they put you in the railroad or blind the leg irons made of clay. So I'm going to stay where they boiled in oil the inventor of toil in the Big Rock Candy Mountains there's a lake of whiskey too and you can paddle around in a big candy. In the Big Rock Candy Mountain. What in the world where the said witty verse of pastoral poets finds a market. Freedom is much courage freedom distracts men from business. So where business is very important. Even the slight freedoms frighten up the dissonant image of the cop who removes immediately any hint of a
distraction. Listen again. Eugene Howell daily Columbia University class of 1894 wrote a short leash of verses with a pastoral title and era or ancient Greece had no police. I knew there was an archy who owned a Crystal Spring and there she'd wash McIntosh by gosh or anything. A youth there was in Arkadi who hunted near the Bronx. He would not told an overcoat but travelled on his will. The ancient Greek had no police the gods did as they taught her to keep them quiet from mortal fight. They change them to water the policeman who remove any hint of a distraction from the round of business also remove any intruders who propose substitutes for business or say that any other thing than money counts the intrusion of passion or business is carried on disturbs as
much as vacations liberties freedoms or escapes in the local cold dreams of tired business men of the upper echelons shepherdesses and flower girls and nymphs and dryads are properly playthings and any force that would make them the objects of fashion is removed by the police by the men in blue with their legal baton. It's a member of the New York Stock Exchange the following path. And he called Panama City today. Just front looks over great nations. Gentiles Mostar 2:59 portrayed in last quotations. Rates of gold out rival in the ears of people. The quarter chimes told from Trinity's undaunted steeple.
Even there I heard a strange wild strange sound modern. Above the cries of read and again the curbstone auctions ham. And sweet and music's Misty worries at me from all the strife for millionaires. We do some of the crew at Cecilia. And that is it doing enough for today. Rose and I saw the minister where he stood it easy against a door with one hand a droning organ playing the other held the pans fashioned like those of old two lips that made the reeds give out that. Pan who. Had wandered. Strolling through this sordid city. And piping to the civic year the prelude of some pastoral did. The demigod had crossed the seas from Hans O Shepherd nymph and Satyr and Syracuse in times to these far shores and twenty
six. Days later. A ragged cap was on his head. But here there was no doubting that with crispy lox spread his knowledge on where some with his club feet cased in rust issues were crossed as on some trees you see them and it was patched of divers who. Concealed his crooked Shanks beneath them. He filled the quivering reeds with sound and or his mouth their changes shifted. And with his goats. Looked around where the passing currents drifted and soon his own Trinny Korean heels the nymphs and herds man ran to hear him. Even now. The tradesman from their tills with clerks. And porters crowded together drew from the New Street. As just passed from everywhere did ballet. And random passes to list a box rather than airing this on his tryst with nine at the Brooklyn
ferry. A one eyed Cyclops hauled headlong in tattered cloak of Army pattern. And Galatea joined the throng a blousy Apple vending slattern while old Selina staggered out from some new fangled lunch house handy and bag the piper with a shout to strike up Yankee Doodle Dandy. A newsboy and a little poems began to caper his hair was a leg of a barren and still gathered and gave its Dion's uncrowded Naya minstrel blew his pipe unstuck. Oh heart of nature beating still with her vernal passion toward her. Even here as on the vine clad hill or by the Iraqi regime were. New forms many fold this. New lands arise within the oceans perhaps. But music will use eternal. Enchantress obvious. Thought I but among those charged a man with an illegal
baton and pushed him from. Doubting the cry. Great day. And people went away and clear and high. The quote I found deep. It's sad when a clogged just heard was written by Edmund Clarence Stedman and from his popular anthology of American poetry published near the beginning of the present century we have taken all our examples of the Urbanite pastoral except the Big Rock Candy Mountain. So we hope you have enjoyed them. Today's voices Dorothy Olson Barbara Lee both. Production by e Scott Bryce technical operation by John Buck quits.
Heritage of American humor
The urbanite pastoral
Producing Organization
University of North Dakota
KFJM (Radio Station : Grand Forks, N.D.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program, "The Urbanite Pastoral," looks at the pastoral fantasies concocted by frustrated urbanites.
Other Description
Dramatic essays on the history and nature of American humor. Written by J.F.S. Smeall, assistant professor of English at the University of North Dakota and editor of the North Dakota Quarterly.
Broadcast Date
Pastoral fiction
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Actor: Lee, Barbara
Actor: Olson, Dorothy
Narrator: Smeall, J.F.S.
Producing Organization: University of North Dakota
Producing Organization: KFJM (Radio Station : Grand Forks, N.D.)
Production Manager: Bryce, E. Scott
Writer: Smeall, J. F. S.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 61-4-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:30
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Chicago: “Heritage of American humor; The urbanite pastoral,” 1961-02-16, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 23, 2021,
MLA: “Heritage of American humor; The urbanite pastoral.” 1961-02-16. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 23, 2021. <>.
APA: Heritage of American humor; The urbanite pastoral. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from