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[163] even his very subject-matter. Among imitations of The Deserted village may be mentioned Thomas Coombe's Peasant of Auburn (1775), which contains lines fine enough to save it from oblivion. Imitations of Thomson's Seasons began to appear soon after the first American edition was published in 1777, increased in number with the five successive editions up to 1792, and continued through at least the first decade of the nineteenth century. To read one of these is to know all, with their very fair verse, and their conventional and generalized descriptions of scenery that might as well be English as American. It is interesting to note, however, that the native element in our descriptive verse grows more pronounced in the decade preceding the first work of Bryant. The form is still that of Thomson, but the poet has at last opened his eyes to the distinctive beauty of American nature. In his Descriptive poems (1802) John D. McKinnon wrote of the Hudson and the Mohawk Rivers and our own October landscape, as well as of

tha illimitable plain
Depastured by erratic buffaloes;

and some “Untaught Bard,” writing under the influence of both Thomson and Young, in his Spring clearly foretells the coming of Thanatopsis. John Hayes, professor at Dickinson College, in the 2500 lines of blank verse of his Rural poems (1807) celebrates American birds and flowers in spite of his imitation of Milton and Thomson. Still more interesting in this respect is The Foresters (1804) of the ornithologist Alexander Wilson, a poem in 2200 lines of heroic couplets which tell the story of a journey through New York and Pennsylvania to Niagara Falls. Wilson is a scientist rather than a poet, but he sees nature sympathetically and gives what he sees in a simple and direct style. At last the poet writes with his eye on American nature and not on conventional descriptions by English poets.

The one poem that sums up all the direct imitations of Goldsmith, and Thomson, and of Denham, Milton, Pope, and Beattie as well, is Greenfield Hill. Timothy Dwight (1752-1817), a grandson of Jonathan Edwards, at the age of nineteen graduated from Yale, where he then became a tutor. In 1777-1778 he served as chaplain in the army, and varied his duties by

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