This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 later he might have contributed more permanently to our poetry. The poems of his friend and editor the Rev. Nathaniel Evans (1742-1767), also of Philadelphia, were issued five years after his death in a volume entitled Poems on several occasions which contains a number of unimportant occasional poems, and others imitative of Milton, Cowley, Prior, Gray, and Collins. Evans's most ambitious effort is his Ode on the prospect of peace; but more interesting is his tribute to Benjamin Franklin in praise of physical science. On the whole his poems show less native ability than Godfrey's and are equally imitative; but the work of both is significant as the beginning of our more purely lyrical verse. Had not the Revolution interfered,1 the publication of volumes of miscellaneous poems would probably have continued unbroken. When about 1790 it began again, to continue indefinitely, the awakening of national consciousness had produced no change in the matter and style of the short poem; it was still an echo. And Philadephia was still the centre for writing and publication. But new influences-such as Mrs. Radcliffe, Ossian, and the contemporary romantic ballads — are often apparent in the last decade of the century. The sentimental, the mysterious, the horrible, environed with appropriate scenery, appear here and there in the work of such poets as William Moore Smith (1759-1821), of Philadelphia, who gives evidence of this imported “romanticism” in The Wizard of the rock, a blend of Parnell, Percy, and Goldsmith; and Maria's grave, which is placed amid the romantic scenery pictured by the poet's originals across the Atlantic. Most distinguished personally of the Philadelphia poets was Judge Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791),2 signer of the Declaration of Independence, whose many occasional poems are merely as good as the average of their kind, but whose songs, some of which are suggestive of Gay and Prior, are distinctly musical and pleasing. The Rev. John Blair Linn (1777-1804), who, like Godfrey and Evans, died young and left his work unfinished, wrote odes to solitude
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.