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[160] at least in his younger days; and in his attention to contemporary English literature and his setting up of something approaching an aesthetic standard in verse, represents a definite change from the point of view of the generation before him. But the Puritan is still at work in him, however modern may be his style. His most ambitious poem, The Conflagration, a description of the physical phenomena of the last day, and a shorter poem, The Comet, are both in the spirit of Wigglesworth, for all their heroic couplets and artificial diction. His elegies are unadulterated Pope; and his hymns are in imitation of Watts.

One of the first volumes of miscellaneous verse published in America was the Poems by several hands (Boston, 1744). All the poems are anonymous; and aside from humorous ballads probably by Joseph Green, they merely echo Pope, with a plethora of “amorous swains” and “blushing charms.” Some were certainly written by Byles, and others are tributes to his genius. Indeed, the purpose of the volume was to extol Byles as a poet worthy to be mentioned with Homer and with his only modern rival, Pope. Already America was looking for its Homer, a search that was to continue with increasing assiduity throughout the century-and Boston found him in Byles.

More original and interesting than the poems of Byles are the humorous verses of his friend Joseph Green (1706-1780), a Boston distiller possessed of literary tastes, who ranked with Byles as a wit and social favourite. After the outbreak of the Revolution he too became a Tory, and finally found refuge in London, where he died. Though his poems seem to have been written for his own amusement and that of his friends, they are important as the first attempt to lighten the heavy Puritanism of early New England with some leaven of humour and wit. An entertainment for a winter's evening is perhaps the earliest piece of Hudibrastic verse written in America. We have travelled far from Puritan New England when a Bostonian can find amusement in the godless spectacle of a drunken parson and his tipsy companions, and can edify his fellow townsmen with a burlesque account of their nocturnal adventures.

Associated with Byles and Green in Poems by several hands was the Rev. John Adams, a young clergyman of Boston who died in 1740 at the age of thirty-five. Five years after his death his friends published his Poems on several occasions;

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