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song, written for one of those plays, will never be
And bis that music, to whose tone
is true of this song, and so it takes its place among the great poems, simple and slight as it is.
The same is true, to a less degree, in regard to “The Old Oaken Bucket," by Samuel Woodworth. Samuel He was a literary man all his life, edited various Woodworth,
1785-1842. papers and journals, published numberless articles, wrote historical and dramatic works, fiction, and poetry; but all have been forgotten except this one little song. Yet another "single famous” poem of this period is the “Carmen Bellicosum ” of Guy G. H. Humphreys McMaster, a spirited description of the McMaster
1829–1887. Revolutionary soldier, beginning,
In their ragged regimentals
Washington Allston is considered by many to be Washington
Allston, the greatest painter in the early history of American
born in art. He was a man of fine literary taste, and of South
Carolina, some power of expression. He has left poems and 1779; died essays and a romance. But he is to be remembered
setts, 1850. as an artist rather than as a poet. He published, in 1813, “The Sylphs of the Seasons ”; and in 1850 a volume of “Lectures on Art, and Poems" appeared
In Dramatic verse there is very little of interest during this period. It has been remarked that John Howard Payne wrote a number of plays which have for the most part been forgotten. “Home, Sweet Home” was originally sung in an operatic play called "Clari, the Maid of Milan.” In Stedman and Hutchinson's Library of American Literature will also be found extracts from “The Lancers, an Interlude"; and “Brutus, or the Fall of Tarquin, a Tragedy.” The latter is written in blank verse, and seems to show some ease in the management of that form of metre. There is a fragment of an attempt at Dramatic verse in the thin volume of poems by Edgar Allan Poe, called “Scenes from
Politian,' an unpublished Drama.' The Library of American Literature has also preserved for us a scene from “Metamora, a Tragedy," by John Augustus Stone. This was presented in New York, with Edwin Forrest in the title role; but it has never been published. It is interesting for the fact that the subject is distinctively American. It is written partly in blank verse and partly in prose.
QUESTIONS What is the Period of “The Early Nineteenth Century” ? What are some of its general characteristics? What types of Literature show advance upon the previous period? Give some account of the writings of Richard Henry Dana. When and where was Joseph Rodman Drake born? What are some of his characteristics ? In what verse is “ The Culprit Fay" written ? What are some of its excellences as a narrative poem? How does the extract given show original observation of nature ? How does the measure accord with the thought? Give some
account of the life and writings of Fitz-Greene Halleck. How does the form of the stanzas in the extract assist the expression of the thought? What references are there to Burns' poems? What lines state a test of great poetry? What special kind of verse is found frequently in the writings of Charles Sprague and Lydia Huntley Sigourney? Give some account of the writings of Frances Sargent Osgood and John Pierpont. Give a general account of the writings of James Gates Percival. What is the general effect of the poem on “Seneca Lake”? Point out the use of alliteration in this poem. Analyze the structure of Percival's Sonnet, showing the advance of thought at the beginning of the sestet. Show the use of vowel sounds in this sonnet. What was the character of the verse of Nathaniel Parker Willis? Mention other lyric poets of the period. Who were the authors of “Home, Sweet Home,” “ The Old Oaken Bucket,” and “Carmen Bellicosum”? What were some of the writings of Washington Allston? Give some account of the dramatic writings of John Howard Payne. What other dramatic writings were there during this period?
PERIOD OF THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY,
BRYANT AND POE
William Cullen Bryant, born in Massachusetts, 1794; died in New York, 1878.
It was said in the introductory remarks as to the writers of this period that there were two who reached a very high note in the poetic scale. To these two we now turn our attention. They were contrasted at every point, in character, career, and genius; and the study of the contrast will be helpful to the comprehension and appreciation of both.
William Cullen Bryant was born in Cummington, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, November 3, 1794. He was a frail child, with an abnormally large head, which his father, a physician with a turn for experiment, tried to reduce by dipping the baby every morning into a spring of cold water. It is not surprising, perhaps, that a child who could survive this should become a man who lived with generally good health to the ripe age of eighty-four years.
In his sixteenth year Bryant entered Williams College. He did not complete the course, but withdrew and began to study law. He had, like most intelligent boys, written some verses, which were not very different from the usual efforts of such youths. But, in his eighteenth year, he wrote the poem which is still his chief claim to distinction. “Thanatopsis” is