From Bay State Monthly
New England Manners And Customs
By Mrs. H. G. Rowe.
Time Of Bryant's Early Life.
Ninety-One years ago, in the little town of Cummington, Mass., was born a child, who was destined, in after years, to be the first of
a grand line of American poets, who have made this, the second century of our Republic, famous by their genius and originality.
Not long since, in looking over an old magazine, published in
Philadelphia in 1809, I came across quite an extended review of Campbell's, then just issued, poem, "Gertrude of Wyoming," and was not a little amused at the closing comments.
After a little mild praise, and a good deal of equally mild criticism, of the Scotch poet, the editor goes on to say:—
"But, after all, although lesser poets are constantly rising above the literary horizon, challenging the admiration of the reading world for a few short months, — possibly years, — and then sinking into the obscurity of a forgotten past, the sun of English poetry has set forever. With Pope, Milton, and Dryden, England lost her last true poets. Henceforth, all who claim that title must be more or less skilful imitators merely of the great masters who have gone before them.
"As for America," he continues, with the most unpatriotic candor, "there is not the smallest chance of her ever producing a real poet. Ingenious scribblers she may have, without doubt, but the typical American never had or will have one grain of poetry in his hard, shrewd, matter-of-fact nature."
This was the verdict of a Philadelphia editor seventy-six years ago. To-day the bust of our own Longfellow stands in Westminster Abbey, side by side with a Chaucer and a Shakspere, while not only the English-speaking world on both sides of the ocean, but the dwellers in sunny Italy, upon the frozen steppes of Russia, and in far-off Japan and India, sing and repeat, each in his own tongue, the stirring battle-hymns and sweet home-songs of the gifted singers of our Western World.
We are often reminded that a writer's environments have much
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