II. minor poets
- Richard Henry Dana the elder. -- James Kirke Paulding. -- James Gates Percival. -- Samuel Woodworth. -- George P. -- Morris. -- Charles Fenno Hoffman. -- Nathaniel Parker Willis. -- Joseph Rodman Drake. -- the Culprit Fay. -- Fitz-Green Halleck
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.