North American Review,’ which was a great advance upon all that he had before published.
His previous papers had all been scholarly, but essentially academic.
They had all lain in the same general direction with Ticknor
's ‘History of Spanish Literature
,’ and had shared its dryness.
But when he wrote, at twenty-four, an article for ‘The North American Review’ of January, 1832,1
called ‘The Defence of Poetry,’ taking for his theme Sir Philip Sidney
's ‘Defence of Poesy,’ just then republished in the ‘Library of the Old English Prose Writers
,’ at Cambridge, Mass.
, it was in a manner a prediction of Emerson
's oration, ‘The American Scholar,’ five years later.
So truly stated were his premises that they are still valid and most important for consideration to-day, after seventy years have passed.
It is thus that his appeal begins—
. . ‘With us, the spirit of the age is clamorous for utility,—for visible, tangible utility, —for bare, brawny, muscular utility.
We would be roused to action by the voice of the populace, and the sounds of the crowded mart, and not “lulled to sleep in shady idleness with poet's pastimes.”
We are swallowed up in schemes for gain, and engrossed with contrivances for bodily enjoyments, as if this particle of dust ’