Report of the U. B. Society
by Jacob Lyman Greene
The poem which follows, written in the same metre as Longfellow's
"Hiawatha," was prepared by Jacob Lyman Greene when he was attending the
Academy in Bethel, Maine (now Gould Academy). In 1855-6, Jacob is listed
as a member of the "United Brothers Society," a student organization
that held debates, among other things. The original from which this is
typed was found among some old papers belonging to Jacob's brother, George
Frye Greene, by George's son, Edward Leon Greene. It was first typed by
Ruth Kathryn Greene, daughter of Edward L. Greene, on April 9, 1927, exactly
71 years after the original poem was written. At the time, Edward added
this note: "It is with pleasure that I am sending you this poem, which
portrays a little of the boyhood days of two of my uncles which I held
in the highest esteem, and I trust you will have as much pleasure in reading
it as I did in puzzling it out from the original."
Note that while the "Report" is signed by both William Warren
Greene and Jacob Lyman Greene, at the time it was written, William was
in medical school in Michigan. I'm at a loss to explain William's signature.
In retyping this on November 16th, 1999, I have deleted
the paragraph breaks of the earlier transcription since they do not appear
in the original, handwritten manuscript. I have also adjusted spelling
and punctuation to approximate that of the original manuscript.
- Stanley E. Malcolm
Sample page from the
Report of the U. B. Society
For the week ending April 9, 1856
Should you ask me whence the stories,
Whence these legends and traditions,
Respecting the United Brothers
And their councils and their acting,
How they all were well united
How they councilled and considered.
Speaking much and much contriving
That the tribes of men might prosper
That the people might be wiser?
I should answer I should tell you
I repeat them as I heard them
I narrate them as I saw them
In the councils of the brothers
I repeat them as I hear them
Lightly floating, on the west wind
Or as Shawondasee fat and lazy,
Breathed them forth upon the south wind
Coming o'er the frozen Northland.
For so great their deeds and mighty,
That the winds delight to listen.
And then rising, bear them onward
Over Praire, Forest, Meadow,
Bear the fame of the good brothers.
And the Opechee, the robin
Or the Owaisa, the bluebird
Singing in the leafy maple,
Loves in song so mock heroic
Forth to utter all their councils
All the doings of the brothers.
Should you ask me fathers saying
Who are these brothers so united?
Who so much together council,
For the good of all the people
I should answer, I should tell you
In the lovely town of Bethel.
In the county of old Oxford,
By the river Androscoggen
Lived a certain King Nathaniel
In the land of peace and plenty
Of young men and handsome maidens
Lived a certain King Nathaniel.
Teacher he of all the people
To him all young men and maidens
Came with great desire for learning
To be taught in all his wisdom.
Now Nathaniel straight commanded
The young men of might and talent
Looking on them with all mildness
With a face of love, and kindness
And unto them spake in this wise.
Listen unto me, your teacher
Let the words sink deep within you
Let my councils ever guide you
Assemble ye yourselves together
Form yourselves into a body
Acting all as one together
That the better ye may counsel
For the good of all the people
The prosperity of nations.
Choose a leader who shall guide you
Give good words of counsel to you
Be as a wise father to you
Then among yourselves consider
How ye every one may prosper
How ye may increase in knowledge.
Be there ever peace among you;
Let no wranglings or dissentions
Private fueds, or open discords
In your hearts be ever cherished
But as brothers live united.
Then the students met together
In the temple of Nathaniel
Straightway met as he commanded
In the councils of the brothers
And in harmony together
Dwelt the students of the great King
Bound as by the bond of brothers
By the common bond of brothers
On the second day of April
In the merry moon of bright night
Which precedes the moon of green leaves
When the wild and rushing river
Swiftly glides unto the ocean
When the Opechee, the robin
Sings among the boughs and branches
Met the students of Nathaniel
Some with jest and laugh conversing
Others seated, sad and sober
Others yet, with anxious visage
Bent upon the work before them
On the business, now before them
Then uprose the mighty ruler
Full of grace and haughty gesture
As the pine tree, of the forest
As the King of trees, the Oak tree
And commanding peace among them
He demanded their attention
To the business of the council.
As the hush before the tempest
As if nature stood with trembling
Thus still, was this great assembly
All the noise and tumult ceasing
Then as echoes, in the distance
Of the thunder, on the mountains
Spoke again this mighty ruler
And unto them, spoke in this wise
Listen unto me, O brothers
We have met here for some purpose
To contrive, and to consider
How we may advance in learning
How our intellects may prosper
Let us now as first in order
Listen to our scribe, the writer
While he speaks of our last meeting
All our councils and our doings
In the meetings of the brothers
Then erect the scribe the writer
Rose and stood before the people
Very straight and handsome was he
As he stood in the assembly
In the light of tallow candles
And his curling mass of tresses
Black as night or wing of raven
Downward fell upon his shoulders
Like the spring floods from the mountain
And his vice as soft as flute note
Or the warbling birds in summer
Fell upon their ears, like music
As the dew upon the meadows
Then of their acts in council
Of the doings of the brothers
In their former peaceful meetings
Read the scribe the ready writer
Now when he his words had ended
The president the mighty ruler
Called on one, who was reporter.
Saying, Read unto the people
All the things which you have written
That the time may be more pleasant
And the brothers more contented.
Then arose the young reporter
Read the things, which he had written
Many things both sage and funny
Of all things that week, had happened
For the pleasure of the brothers.
When he his report had finished
And sat down among the people
Uprose one so tall of stature
That the mama the woodpecker
Building in the stub of pine tree
In the lofty stub of pine tree
Could not hide her nestlings from him
Very wise and good was this one
And his words unto the people
Were as sunshine to the flowers
As the rain and sunshine to them
So were his words to the people.
Full of strength, and full of wisdom.
Then in council all the brothers
Spake and thought with much contriving
How they might be freed from habit
How they might be ruled by reason
And with many words persuading
They instructed all the people
That if they would greatly prosper
And progress, in human wisdom
They should leave their evil habits
Be obedient unto reason.
Then with voices all assenting
They gave the vote, on side of reason
Then the ruler of the council
With a voice all full of sweetness
Like the wild and far off echoes
Of the wind the Miniwawa
Dancing in and out the fir trees
With his eyes on one Helena
Said now read to us the paper
That it may delight the brothers.
As the pure white rose of summer
Or the slender water lily
So was she, in grace and beauty
As the lakes among the mountains
In the bosom of the vallies;
Or as fountains in the summer
Playing in the sunny gardens
Sparkling, laughing, with all gladness;
So were her bright eyes and beaming.
Fairest she of all the maidens
In the land of handsome women
And the Gem - shall I describe it?
Tell of all its brilliant pages
Of its sentiments so noble
Of its wit so bright and flashing?
But it is enough to tell you
That its name is as its nature.
Gem, it is, among all jewels.
Brightest fairest best and greatest.
Now as freshets in the springtime,
When the sun is mild, and pleasant
Or like Kabibonnika, the North wind
In the chilly moon of snowshoes
Driving snowflakes from the Northland
O'er the praires or the meadows
Through the gloomy fir tree forests
When the ruler of the Nations
Gitche manite the Mighty
Calls them forth to do his bidding.
Or as Ishkoodah the comet
Rushes from its home in heaven.
Not less swiftly rushed the ladies
Rushed forth all the handsome maidens,
From the councils of the brothers
From the temple of Nathaniel.
As a bow unstrung, and broken
So is man without the women.
Thus, the young men said and reasoned
As they started from the temple
Traveling homeward to their lodgings
Carrying hearts, so sad and gloomy
And their faces so like storm clouds
That the sky around was blackened
And the sound of their upbraidings,
Came like murmurs, hoarse and teary.
From the sound of far off waters
And like whizzing of the arrows
Flying through the leafy forest
So the sound of all their coattails
As they rushed through air at midnight
Now the ruler of the council
The great leader of the brothers
Issued forth his mighty mandate
That they all should meet together
To consider weighty matters
For the special good of brothers
Members came with rolls of paper
Long as Missisippi river
Full of rules for all the council
Some with faces long, and lengthening
To the meeting of the brothers.
Now of all their deeds and actings
Our good scribe the ready writer
Read from records,of the brothers.
But they acted well and wisely
For the good of all the brothers
Making many rules for guiding
Them in their deliberations
That the better they might prosper.
May the brothers ever prosper
And increase in human wisdom
Be the Gem their only jewel.
When the icy hand of Parguk
Leads them westward, o'er the marshes
To the home of the Great Spirit
Then may all United Brothers
And the weaker ones their sisters
Meet in one unbroken circle
In the land of the Ponemah
In the land of the Hereafter
William Warren Greene
Jacob Lyman Greene