‘  education, and they did not wish to inspire him with hopes which might never be fulfilled. . . . We endeavored to speak cheeringly of the prospects of their son; we dwelt upon the impolicy of warring against nature, of striving to quench the first kindlings of a flame which might burn like a star in our literary horizon—and we spoke too of fame— “Sir,” replied his father, with an emotion which went home to our bosom like an electric shock, “poetry will not give him bread.” What could we say? The fate of Chatterton, Otway, and the whole catalogue of those who had perished by neglect, rushed upon our memory, and—we were silent.’The mischief was done, however, and the youthful poet (whose eldest sister had sent ‘The Exile's Departure’ to the Free Press office without his knowledge), having now seen his own verses in print, and received warm encouragement from the editor, contributed thereafter to almost every number of the paper so long as Mr. Garrison retained control of it. Two weeks after the publication of Whittier's first poem, a second, in blank verse, entitled ‘The Deity,’ appeared, with an editorial1 paragraph declaring that his poetry bore the stamp of true poetic genius, which, if carefully cultivated, would rank him among the bards of his country. Other pieces followed, on such themes as ‘The Vale of the Merrimack,’ ‘The Death of Alexander,’ ‘The Voice of Time,’ ‘The Burial of the Princess Charlotte of Wales,’ ‘To the Memory of William Penn,’ ‘The Shipwreck,’ ‘Paulowna,’ ‘Memory,’ ‘Benevolence,’ etc., but they are so little above mediocrity that it is not easy to see wherein Mr. Garrison so instantly discovered the stamp of genius and the presage of future distinction as a poet; and Mr. Whittier has never deemed them worth including in his collected poems. The copy of the Free Press containing his first poem was flung to the boy Whittier by the carrier or postrider, one day, while he was helping his uncle Moses repair a stone wall by the roadside; and, stopping for a moment to open and glance at it, he was so dazed and bewildered by seeing his lines in print, that he stared at
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
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.