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1  on Pitcairn's Island or in the pristine Indian summers; likewise the two or three tales of horror and the supernatural, in which he succeeded so poorly. But he arrived soon enough to contribute his own influence to the nineteenth-century poetry of nature.He came to himself early, for one who had so many years in which to change, if he would change or could. The first volume, the forty-four pages of 1821, contains most, the second, 1832, certainly contains all, of the essential Bryant, the essential as to what he cared for in nature and human life, as to how he envisaged it in imagination and dwelt with it in intellect and character, and as to how he gave it expression. In the later years there is more of Bryant's playful fancy, perhaps more of ethical thinking and mood, a slight shift of emphasis, new constructions, not new materials. His world and his speech were already his: there is no new revelation and no new instrument in any one of the several succeeding issues of his verse (though there are many new, many high poems), as there are new revelations and new instruments in Byron, Tennyson, and Browning; indeed, Keats in the three years between the volumes of 1817 and 1820 lived a much longer, a more diversified life of steadily increasing vision and voice. It need hardly be remarked, then, that he experienced no intellectual and moral crisis,--neither from without, as did Wordsworth when his country took up arms against Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality and when shortly Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality danced, like the Weird Sisters, around the cauldron of horror; nor from within, like the expatriated husband and father Byron, and the political idealist Dante, and even the flaneur who wrote The ballad of reading gaol. He came, likewise, early to his fame. He was first and alone. The little world of the lovers of good things on the North Atlantic seaboard in those days, trained as it was in the English and ancient classics, quickly set the young man apart; Bryant became established, fortunately, somewhat before American literary criticism had become self-consciously patriotic, indiscriminate, vulgar. England, too, long so important an influence on American judgments of American products, early accorded him a measure of honour and thanks. It is well known that Washington Irving secured the English reprinting of the volume
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