previous next


II. minor poets

When Bryant, pioneer and patriarch, was laid away on that bright June afternoon of 1878 in the cemetery at Roslyn, Long Island, his oldest and dearest friend was still alive. Richard Henry Dana (1787-1879), one of the founders of The North American review2 and of the serious tradition in our literary criticism, is remembered, if at all, as verse-writer mainly through Bryant's praise, as Mason is remembered through Gray's. How remote the short jerky stanzas of The Buccaneer (1827), an ambitious tale of pirate and spectre, were from the talents and temper of the Bostonian descendant of the Puritan Anne Bradstreet, one may realize who reflects what Coleridge would have done with the spell and the uncanny, and what Byron with the crime and the movement — the two poets whom Dana was obviously emulating. But there are some good lines on the sea in The Buccaneer, and Dana's lyric, The little Beach Bird, gets a traditional honourable mention in the manuals.

The other minor poets about Bryant lived in or near New York. James Kirke Paulding, humorist and proseman of no mean reputation,3 and collaborator with Bryant in prose stories,4 deserves mention here as an early representative of a conscious movement to make poetry out of American materials, convinced that

Thrice happy he who first shall strike the lyre,
With homebred feeling, and with homebred fire.

1 [278] our tradition; not to us today so much for his hand in the founding of two political parties, nor for his counsels by personal letter and speech that Lincoln, the Statesman of our tradition, heard with such grave respect, nor for his civic activities in art, charity, and reform; but for that Mosaic massive head, those deep, peering, brooding eyes, those white shaggy brows, and the great beard over the old man's cloak that, in the engraving after Sarony's photograph, has been now for a generation familiar in so many homes of our land.

2 See Book II, Chap. XX.

3 See also Book II, Chaps. I, III, IV, and VII.

4 Tales of the Glauber Spa (1832).

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Roslyn (New York, United States) (1)
Long Island City (New York, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1879 AD (1)
1878 AD (1)
1832 AD (1)
1827 AD (1)
1787 AD (1)
June (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: