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 Hasty Pudding is a mock-heroic of the conventional eighteenth-century type, in four hundred lines of heroic couplets. Its three cantos describe the making of the famous New England dish, the eating of it, and the traits that render it delectable and worthy of eulogy. The pastoral scenes are native, not imitated, the diction is simple and natural, and the humour, though rather thin, is sufficiently amusing. Barlow rendered valuable service to his native land in 1795, when he went to Algiers and secured the release of American prisoners; and again in 1798 when he helped to avert war between France and America. He returned home in 1805, and two years later published his Columbiad. He again served his country well in 8 II, when he was sent by President Madison as an envoy to Europe; but in journeying to meet Napoleon he was caught in the retreat from Moscow, and died and was buried in Poland. Though democrats in America celebrated his memory, he perhaps has never had justice done him as a patriot and typical American. When The vision of Columbus was published in 1787 it suited the taste of the time, and its author was hailed as a genius, not only by his fellow Hartford Wits but also by the public at large. Its subject and style gave it a reputation that it could not have attained even a decade later. Barlow was misled by his temporary success into the fatal error of expanding the 4700 lines into the 8350 lines of The Columbiad. But when the latter appeared in 1807, it failed to please the very public that had welcomed its predecessor. Its failure was due less to the changes in the poem than to the development of public taste during the poet's absence in Europe. Pope's dominance had been successfully contested, and the long philosophic poem itself was in its decline. Barlow's failure was all the more striking on account of his very audacity. His Vision of Columbus was simply a philosophic poem; his Columbiad was avowedly an epic, meant to have a vaster theme, a more refined style, and a higher moral purpose than Homer's. The Columbiad, however, remains merely a “geographical, historical, political, and philosophical disquisition.” To Columbus, as he lies sick and in prison, there appears Hesper, the genius of the western world, and, with the purpose of setting forth all that Columbus and America have contributed
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