It is to be remembered that Bryant
had previously published in book form, in 1821, his earliest poems, and the ‘Literary Gazette’ itself, in its very first number, had pronounced him the first ‘original poet formed on this side of the Atlantic
‘Our pleasure was equalled by our surprise,’ it says, ‘when we took up Bryant
's poems, listened to the uncommon melody of the versification, wondered at the writer's perfect command of language, and found that they were American poems.’
‘Though the English
critics say of him,’ it continues, ‘that their poets must look to their laurels now that such a competitor has entered the ring, yet, let him remember that a few jousts in the ring never established the reputation of a knight.’1
It is a curious fact that the difference in actual quantity of poetic production between the older and younger poets should thus have been unconsciously suggested by the editor when Longfellow
was but seventeen.
, it would therefore seem, the permanent poetic literature of the nation began.
‘The Rivulet’ and ‘The Hymn of the Moravian Nuns
’ appeared in the ‘Gazette’ collection, and have never disappeared from the poetic cyclopedias.
The volume included fourteen of Longfellow
's youthful effusions,