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[166] verbose, the poem contains purple passages which lift it to the level of the average eighteenth-century epic and which perhaps led Cowper to review it favourably. With a noble disregard of congruity, The Conquest of Canaan is, withal, distinctly patriotic, with its union of “Canaan and Connecticut” and its allusions to contemporary persons and events.

The third period of early American verse, which begins with 1765 and ends with 1808, is characterized by two remarkably coincident phenomena, one political, the other aesthetic. One of these is the beginning of the nationalism that produced our early patriotic poems and satires, and is marked by the passage of the Stamp Act. The other, also beginning about 1765, is the wholesale importation and reprinting of English poetry which worked with the growth of native culture to produce a great quantity of verse all more or less imitative of English models and largely independent of political conditions. All the poems of this period, whether springing from political or from purely aesthetic influences, are most conveniently treated under their various genres without regard to individual writers, though one poet, Philip Freneau, demands separate consideration.

The first ballad springing from American soil recounts a battle fought in 1725 between whites and Indians near Lovewell's Pond in Maine. Composed at the time of the event, it was for generations preserved only by word of mouth, and was not published for almost a century. Though unliterary, it tells its story with vigour and directness, and is of additional interest in that Longfellow in 1820 chose the same fight as the subject of his first poem, The battle of Lovell's Pond.

Many fugitive verses on the French and Indian War1 were published anonymously in the newspapers, the best of which are perhaps The song of Braddock's men, and the lines on Wolfe-

Thy merits, Wolfe, transcend all human praise.

Anti-British ballads began to appear immediately upon the

1 The French and Indian War gave birth to a curious volume of Miscellaneous poems on Divers occasions, chiefly to Animate and rouse the soldiers (1756), by Stephen Tilden, which, in spite of its wretched verse, is of some interest as the first of its kind in America.

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