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lar strain, and little, if at all, inferior to it. They are both happy specimens of a humorous, satirical vein, reminding the reader of the poet's great prototype, Butler. Contemporary with Trumbull, and associated with him in literary pursuits, and in the aim to promote a taste for elegant letters in the college of which they were members, was TIMOTHY DWIGHT (17521817), a native of Massachusetts, and for many years, President of Yale College. In native genius and splendour of intellect, few men in the United States have equalled Dr. Dwight. He may be considered, perhaps, more than any other person, the father of American poetry of the higher order, so far as his example and influence, and the quantity which he wrote, are concerned. His poetry generally cannot rank with the best specimens of English verse, nor is it equal to some which has been produced since by his countrymen; yet it rises in merit above the average level of poetry, in the language. Its characteristics are splendour, smoothness, and gravity. He shows an exuberant fancy, and ready command of language. He fails, however, at times, in distinctness of grouping, and transparency of style. His Conquest of Canaan, a regular epic poem, is his longest production. It was finished in his twenty-third year although it was not published until ten years afterwards. It is altogether a remarkable production for one so young. Its faults, which are those of youth and the want of practice in the art, have consigned it to a neglect which it by no means deserves. Greenfield Hill, a later poem, has always been held in higher repute. It is a didactic poem, or rather a collection of didactic poems, of various forms and metres, written expressly after the manner of several popular British bards. We give an extract from it in a part which is modelled after the Minstrel of Beattie, as a specimen of American poetry at this time.*



« O’er these sweet fields, so lovely now, and gay,
Where modest nature finds each want supplied,
Where home-born happiness delights to play,
And counts her little flock, with household pride,
Long frowned, from age to age, a forest wide:
Here hung the slumbering bat; the serpent dire
Nested his brood, and drank the impoisoned tide;




Wolves peal'd, the dark drear night in hideous choir,
Nor shrank the unmeasured howl from Sol's terrific fire.

No charming cot imbank'd the pebbly stream;
No mansion tower'd, nor garden teem'd with good;
No lawn expanded to the April beam;
Nor mellow harvest hung its bending load;
Nor science dawn'd; nor life with beauty glow'd ;
Nor temple whiten d, in the enchanting dell;
In clusters wild, the sluggish wigwam stood;

And, borne in snaky paths the Indian fell,
Now aim'd the death unseen, now scream'd the tiger-yell.

E'en now, perhaps, on human dust I tread,
Pondering with solemn pause the wrecks of time;
Here sleeps, perchance, among the vulgar dead,
Some chief, the lofty theme of Indian rhyme,
Who lov'd ambition's cloudy steep to climb,
And smiled, death, dangers, rivals, to engage;
Who roused his followers' souls to deeds sublime,

Kindling to furnace heat vindictive rage,
And soared Cæsarean heights, the Phenix of his age.

In yon small field, that dimly steals from sight,
(From yon small field these meditations grow,)
Turning the sluggish soil from morn to night
The plodding hind, laborious, drives his plough,
Nor dreams a nation sleeps his foot below.
There undisturbed by the roaring wave,
Released from war, and far from deadly soe,

Lies down in endless rest, a nation brave,
And trains in tempests born, there find a quiet grave.”

David HUMPHREYS (1753–1818), born in Connecticut, was a friend of Dwight and Trumbull in college, and some years afterwards was associated with Trumbull, Barlow, and Hopkins at Hartford in literary and political writings. He wrote several poems of considerable merit, but the similarity of their subjects, and style of execution, render them less pleasing than would otherwise have been the fact. His first piece, written in 1782, entitled Address to the Armies of the United States, was highly popular at the time. General Humphreys spent a great part of his life in camps and courts, yet he found leisure to cultivate polite literature, and to improve his literary taste. LEMUEL HOPKINS (1750– 1801), a native of Connecticut, was associated with Richard Alsop, Theodore Dwight, and a number of others at Hartford in the production of the Echo, the Political Greenhouse, and many satirical poems of that class. The Echo is one of the cleverest series of satires ever produced in the United States. Hopkins had a principal share, also, in writing the Anarchiad, a political satire having respect to the disturbed and almost distracted condition of the country immediately previous to the adoption of the federal constitution. It was a piece of some vigour. His associates in it were Trumbull and JOEL Barlow. This last named poet (1755-1812), also born in Connecticut, was more known out of his native country, by his poetical pieces, than any of his brother bards. His long residence in Europe, and the public functions with which he was intrusted, account for this fact. Ilis genius for song was, however, hardly equal to that of his distinguished contemporaries, and has certainly been eclipsed since. It was, on the whole, unfortunate for the reputation of American poetry, that almost he only was known abroad as a poet of the United States. The imperfections of his Columbiad, , an epic and his principal work, were severely criticised, and American genius for poetry was made to pay the forfeiture.

He was, however, more fortunate in some of his other pieces, and his Hasty Pudding, a humorous, descriptive poem in heroic measure, is a happy production, and deserves all its fame. PHILIP FRENAU, who died a few years since, was contemporaneous with the poets above named. He graduated in 1771, but we have no account of the time of his birth. The principal part of his poetic effusions, about two hundred in number, were published in a volume in 1795. They are of unequal merit. On some subjects he wrote with a true poetic warmth and with a fine fancy. From some cause, perhaps his voluminousness, he has fallen into a degree of neglect.*

In the history of American poetry it is proper to state, that the school already noticed, was followed at an interval of some ten or fifteen years, by a few poets who appeared in somewhat of a different style of composition, but who cannot be well grouped together as a distinct class. WILLIAM CLIFFTON of Pennsylvania, a young man, wrote satirical poetry, which was greatly relished by his political friends at that period of high party warfare; but his reputation as a poet rests



*AM. ED.


227 on a few pieces which breathe a softer air. ROBERT TREAT Paine of Massachusetts, wrote a few popular pieces, but they were without any rich infusion of poetic spirit, and are likely soon to be forgotten. JOHN BLAIR LINN of Pennsylvania, was author of the Powers of Genius, a didactic poem, which, though deficient in several respects, shows some powers of genius in the writer. Then followed Thomas G. FESSENDEN, born in New Hampshire, who has succeeded best in his light and burlesque productions, the principal of which, Terrible Tractoration, was published about 1804. At the same period, a volume of his miscellaneous poems appeared, which was favourably noticed in England and in ihe United States. These works were published while the author resided in Great Britain. Democracy Unveiled soon followed, upon his return to his native country. After a long interval, another satirical work, as we understand, has lately proceeded from his pen. These were among the poets whose works, including of course only the earlier productions of Fessenden, constituted a sort of transition-state of poetry in the United States.*

We come now to a period when the new views respecting poetry which had prevailed in Great Britain, began to affect America. Her writers felt the impulse and stirrings of nature, and left the beaten track of the followers of Pope, striking out new paths in the regions of sentiment and fancy. In some instances, the popular poets of Great Britain have been imitated in the United States, but in general her poetry of this era has been distinguished by a good degree of independence and originality. Very few American writers, whether in prose or verse, it will be remembered, are authors by profession, or devote their whole time to composition. We may hence account for the fact, that the mass of their poetry consists of small detached pieces, and not of extended works, elaborately planned, and finished with studious toil. There are many single efforts of moderate length, distinguished by their energy or grace, and equal to any thing of their kind in the language ; but there are few great, continuous poems. The condition of the country is, however, rapidly changing, and such encouragement is now afforded to literature, that authors, and even poets among the rest, begin to look for the means of

*AM. ED.

permanent support in the cultivation of letters.*

In 1808, WILLIAM C. BRYANT published a volume of poems with the title of The Embargo, or Sketches of the Times. Although he was at that time but fourteen years old, the book was well received, and passed to a second edition. Several years afterwards (1821) appeared the volume containing The Ages, Thanatopsis, and other effusions. Besides these, many of the poetical articles in the United States Literary Gazette were from his pen. Bryant is an elegant poet, distinguished by correctness and delicacy, and by an even flow of thought and expression. In style and manner he is among the most classical of the poets of the United States. He describes nature with a simple and affecting beauty, showing that he is master of the philosophy of the heart. A writer remarks that he condenses his thoughts with great power over language, by having clear views of his subject.' This is the true classical grace, and always excites the admiration of the discerning reader. A short poem, the title of which is To the Evening Wind, is presented as a specimen of the manner of this poet_*

Spirit that breathest through my lattice, thou

That cool'st the twilight of the sultry day,
Gratefully flows thy freshness round my brow;

Thou hast been out upon the deep at play,
Riding all day the wild blue waves till now,

Roughening their crests, and scattering high their spray,
And swelling the white sail. I welcome thee
To the scorched land, thou wanderer of the sea.
Nor I alone-a thousand bosoms round

Inhale thee in the fulness of delight;
And languid forms rise up, and pulses bound

Livelier, at coming of the wind at night; And, languishing to hear thy grateful sound,

Lies the vast inland stretched beyond the sight. Go forth into the gathering shade; go forth, God's blessing breathed upon the fainting earth! Go, rock the little wood-bird in his nest,

Curl the still waters, bright with stars, and rouse The wide old wood from his majestic rest,

Summoning from the innumerable boughs
The strange, deep harmonies that haunt his breast;
Pleasant shall be thy way where meekly bows

*AM. ED.

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