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is pretty national, and so are the subjects of all his noblest works, be they poems, or novels and romances by the author of “Waverley." Up to the era of Sir Walter, living people had some vague, general, indistinct notion about dead people mouldering away to nothing centuries ago, in regular kirk-yards and chance burial-places, “mang muirs and mosses many 0,” somewhere or other in that difficultly distinguished and very debateable district called the Borders. All at once he touched their tombs with a divining rod, and the turf streamed out ghosts. Some in woodman'e dresses—most in warrior's mail-green archers leaped fort with yew bows and quivers, and giants stalked, shaking spears. The gray chronicler smiled, and, taking up his pen, wrote in lines of light the annals of the chivalrous and heroic days of auld feudal Scotland. The nation then, for the first time, knew the character of its ancestors; for those were not spectres—not they, indeed-nor phantoms of the brain-but gaunt flesh and blood, or glad and glorious; baseborn cottage-churls of the olden time, because Scottish; became familiar to the love of the nation's heart, and so to its pride did the high-born lineage of palace kings. His themes in prose or numerous verse are still “knights, and lords, and mighty earls,” and their lady-loves-chiefly Scottishof kings that fought for fame or freedom-of fatal Flodden and bright Bannockburn-of the Deliverer. If that be not national to the teeth, Homer was no Ionian, Tyrtæus not sprung from Sparta, and Christopher North a Cockney. Let Abbotsford, then, he cognomened by those that choose ië, the Ariosto of the liorth-we shall continue to call him plain, simple, immortal Sir Walter.
There is a long catalogue of other poets, of more or less note, for an account of whom we can, with great pleasure, only refer to Chambers's “ History of English Literature,” from which we have freely selected and copied, in making out these sketches and se. lections. To the same work would we refer the student for satisfactory and able record of the Prose-writers of Great Britain, that have flourished since the beginning of English literature.
SECTION I. POETS OF OUR REVOLUTIONARY PERIOD. [It is suggested to teachers, in the use of the Seventh as well as the Sixth Part, to examine their pupils upon the characteristics of each author, and to require them to read, before their class, the specimens of each poei with a view to literary criticism.]
MR. Griswold, in his Collection of American Poetry, remarks that before the Revolution, before the time when the spirit of freedom began to influence the national character, very little verse worthy of preservation was produced in America, and that the POETRY OF THE COLONIES was without originality, energy, feeling, or correctness of diction.
(1.). Of the Revolutionary times Philip FRENEAU was the most distinguished poet-the room-mate, while in Princeton College, of James Madison.
(2.) JOHN TRUMBULL, LL.D., born in Connecticut, 1750, died in 1831, having distinguished himself as the author of M Fingal, a burlesque poem, directed against the enemies of American liberty. It is written in Hudibrastic strain, and is said to be the best imitation of the great satire of Butler that was ever written. was author of another poem written in the same style, entitled the “ Progress of Dullness," which was eagerly read during the Revolution. From his description of the fop of those days we extract the following lines ·
“ Then, lest religion he should need,
Of pious Hume he'll learn his creed ;
Or pleased a nicer art display
And fears nor Deity nor devil.”. (3.) Timothy Dwight, LL.D., D.D., born 1752, died 1817, has been pronounced the father of American poetry, of the higher order, though his poetry is inferior to the productions of the best English writers, and also of the best American poets that have follow ed him. The “Conquest of Canaan," and "Greenfield Hill," are his principal productions, exhibiting splendor, gravity, and an exuberant fancy.
(4.) Dr. LEMUEL HOPKINS, Colonel HUMPHREYS, and some others, acquired celebrity by satirical pieces composed during the war. Joel Barlow, also, is known, but not very favorably, as author of the “Columbiad.” He was more happy in his preparation of
Hasty Pudding,” and some other humorous pieces. It may gratify some to understand the origin of the name; he thus gives it :
“ Thee the soft nations round the warm Levant
But the smooth spoon just fitted to the lip,
A name, a sound, to every Yankee dear.” (5.) A few years later appeared William CLIFFTON, of Pennsylvania ; Robert Treat Paine, of Massachu. setts ; and Thomas G. Fessenden, of New-Hampshire. Their writings form what is called the transitive state of American poetry. Hitherto our poets had imitated too closely Dryden and Pope, but now began to pursue a more original and independent course. Their writings consist generally of short pieces, for the simple reason that poetry was not their business, but their recreation, their time being chiefly devoted to other pursuits. The period is approaching, however, when poems of a more elaborate and finished character may be expected.
SECTION II. (1.) James K. PAULDING, better known as a novelist than a poet, has, however, written some good pieces. Among his prose works the most popular have been Salmagundi, which was written by him in connection with Washington Irving ; John Bull and Brother Jonathan; The Dutchman's Fireside, and Westward Ho!
(2.) JOHN PIERPONT, of Boston, Massachusetts ; a charming writer. He has composed in almost every metre, and many of his hymns, odes, and other brief poems, are remarkable for melody and spirit. His earlier poems have generally been composed with more care than the later. Many of them relate to moral and religious enterprises of the present day, of which he has shown himself a most eloquent and powerful advocate. It would be gratifying to multiply extracts from this generous poet; but we must restrict our selves to a few. The first is from his “ Airs of Pales. tine,” the result of his observations while traveling abroad in 1835 and 1836 : “ Greece and her charms I leave for Palestine. There purer streams through happier valleys flow, And sweeter flowers on holier mountains blow
I love to breathe where Gilead sheds her balm;
NAPOLEON AT REST. “ His falchion flash'd along the Nile,
His hosts he led through Alpine snows; O'er Moscows tower's that blazed the while,
His eagle-flag unroll'd-and froze! Here sleeps he now, alone! not one
Of all the kings whom crowns he gave, Bends o'er his dust; nor wife nor son
Has ever seen or sought his grave. Alone he sleeps; the mountain cloud
That night hangs round him, and the breath Of morning scatters, is the shroud
That wraps the conqueror's clay in death. Pause here! The far-off world at last
Breathes free; the hand that shook its thrones, And to the earth its mitres cast,
Lies powerless now beneath these stones. Hark! Comes there from the Pyramids,
And from Siberia's wastes of snow, And Europe's hills, a voice that bids
The world be awed to mourn him? No;
That's heard there, is the sea-bird's cry
OBSEQUIES OF SPURZHEIM.
Many an eye with sorrow wet;
Who that knew thee can forget ?
Who, thine eye, that noble frame?
In the greatness of thy fame.
On the spot where thou shalt rest;
To thy mourning mother's breast.