previous next


In the following year Miss Emily V. Mason of Virginia edited The Southern poems of the Civil War. She had from the beginning of the war conceived the design of ‘collecting and preserving the various war poems which (born of the excited state of the public mind) then inundated our public newspapers.’ With her collection, supplemented by those of her friends, she made an edition of 247 poems, not only as a memorial to the lost cause, but ‘to aid the education of the daughters of our desolate land’ and especially to fit a certain number to be teachers. The volume proved popular, for by 1869 a third and enlarged edition was published, consisting of 288 poems. The first edition is notable for the large number of women writers selected from, 71 in all, the only noteworthy one being Mrs. Preston. There are thirteen poems on Stonewall Jackson, only two poems by Timrod, an indiscriminate list by Randall, and many anonymous poems. In the third edition we have eight by Timrod, four by Father Ryan, and good, though not the best, selections by Lucas, McCabe, Flash, and others.

The improvement in this edition may doubtless be attributed to William Gilmore Simms's War poetry of the South (1866). It was a noble task undertaken by this ‘weary old Titan’ of Southern letters to preserve the writings of the younger poets, many of whom had been inspired by his friendship or by his lifelong devotion to Southern letters. The spirit in which he made the book is indicated in the following words from the preface:

Though sectional in its character, and indicative of a temper and a feeling which were in conflict with nationality, yet, now that the States of the Union have been resolved into one nation, this collection is essentially as much the property of the whole as are the captured cannon which were employed against it during the progress of the late war. It belongs to the national literature, and will hereafter be regarded as constituting a proper part of it, just as legitimately to be recognized by the nation as are the rival ballads of the cavaliers and roundheads by the English in the great civil conflict of their country.

Not much can be said for the critical standards which allowed Simms to publish so much unworthy poetry, none more so than the seven poems from his own pen. His desire to give

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.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
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.
1869 AD (1)
1866 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: