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I. HISTORY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE
ABERNATHY, J. W.: American Literature.
tures of the World.") TYLER, M. C.: A History of American Literature During the
Colonial Time. 1607-1765. 2 vols.
The Literary History of the American Revolution. 1763–1783. WENDELL, B.: A Literary History of America. WHITCOMB, S. L.: Chronological Outlines of American Litera
II. SPECIMENS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE
BREWER, D. J.: The World's Best Orations.
American.) CAIRNS, W. B.: Selections from Early American Writers. 1607
1800. CARPENTER, G. R.: American Prose.
DENNEY, JOSEPH V.: American Public Addresses.
ture. GILDER, JEANETTE L.: Masterpieces of the World's Best Litera
ture. (British and American.)
Songs and Ballads of the American Revolution. O'CONNELL, J. M.: Southern Orators-Speeches and Orations. PAGE, C. H.: The Chief American Poets.
Songs and Lyrics.
The Home Book of Verse. (British and American.)
1607-1775. 3 vols. WARNER, C. D.: Library of the World's Best Literature. WEBER, W. F.: Selections from the Southern Poets.
THE PRELIMINARY PERIOD
THE COLONIAL EPOCH
The truism that the literature of a people must reflect the life, both objective and subjective, of that people is well illustrated by the writings of the early settlers of America. They were Englishmen, living out of England. Their ideas and ideals were brought over from the mother country. Life in the colonies was pioneer on the one hand and religious on the other; the writers were, roughly speaking, either adventurers or ministers. Hence the literary records of the time took the form of chronicles or diaries and religious homilies or sermons. The following selections are typical.
1. Captain John Smith (1580-1631), gentleman adventurer and soldier of fortune, was one of the founders of Jamestown and became the mainstay of the Virginia colony. The dramatic story of Pocahontas keeps his memory green. Though plain and blunt, his style is picturesque and graphic. His True Relation of such occurrences and accidents of note, as hath happened in Virginia since the first planting of that colony etc. was the first English book produced in America. It was published in London in 1608.
(From John Smith's True Relation) Powhatan understanding we detained certaine Salvages, sent his Daughter, a child of tenne yeares old, which not
only for feature, countenance, and proportion, much exceedeth any of the rest of his people, but for wit, and spirit, the only Nonpariel of his Country: this hee sent by his most trustie messenger, called Rawhunt, as much exceeding in deformitie of person, but of a subtill wit, and crafty understanding, he with a long circumstance, told mee, how well Powhatan, loved and respected mee, and in that I should not doubt any way of his kindnesse, he had sent his child, which he most esteemed, to see me, a Deere, and bread, besides for a present..
Opechankanough, sent also unto us, that for his sake, we would release two that were his friends, and for a token sent me his shooting Glove, and Bracer, which the day our men was taken upon, separating himselfe from the rest a long time, intreated to speak with me. . . . In the afternoone ... we guarded them as before to the Church, and after prayer, gave them to Pocahuntas, the Kings Daughter, in regard of her fathers kindnesse in sending her: after having well fed them, as all the time of their imprisonment, we gave them their bowes, arrowes, or what else they had, and with much content, sent them packing. Pocahuntas, also we requited, with such trifles as contented her, to tel that we had used the Paspaheyans very kindly in so releasing them ... two daies after, a Paspaheyan, came to shew us a glistering Minerall stone: and with signes demonstrating it to be in great aboundance, like unto Rockes, with some dozen more, I was sent to seeke to digge some quantitie, and the Indian to conduct me: but suspecting this some trick to delude us, for to get some Copper of us, or with some ambuscado to betray us, seeing him falter in his tale, beeing two miles on our way, led him ashore, where abusing us from place to place, and so seeking either to have drawne us with him into the woods, or to have given us the slippe; I shewed him Copper, which I promised to have given him, if he had performed his promise, but for his scoffing and abusing us, I gave twentie lashes with a Rope, and his bowes and arrowes, bidding him shoote if he durst, and so let him goe.
In all this time, our men being all or the most part well
recovered, and we not willing to trifle away more time then necessitie enforced us unto, we thought good for the better content of the adventurers, in some reasonable sort to fraight home Maister Nelson with Cedar wood, about which, our men going with willing minds, was in very good time effected, and the ship sent for England; wee now remaining being in good health, all our men wel contented, free from mutinies, in love one with another, and as we hope in a continuall peace with the Indians, where we doubt not but by God's gracious assistance,—to see our Nation to enioy a Country, not onely exceeding pleasant for habitation, but also very profitable for comerce in generall, no doubt pleasing to almightie God, honourable to our gracious Soveraigne, and commodious generally to the whole Kingdome.
William Strachey, an English gentleman who died about 1617, gives us an account of his perilous voyage to Jamestown, which is interesting because Shakespeare was probably influenced by it in his description of the wreck in The Tempest.
A STORM OFF THE BERMUDAS (From A True Reportory of the Wracke and Redemption of Sir
Thomas Gates. 1610) On St. James his day, July 24, being Monday (preparing for no less all the black night before) the clouds gathering thick upon us, and the winds singing and whistling most unusually, a dreadful storm and hideous began to blow from out the Northeast, which, swelling and roaring as it were by fits, some hours with more violence than others, at length did beat all light from heaven, which like an hell of darkness, turned black upon us. . .
For four and twenty hours the storm, in a restless tumult, had blown so exceedingly, as we could not apprehend in our imaginations any possibility of greater violence, yet did we still find it, not only more terrible, but more constant, fury added to fury, ... nothing heard that could give comfort, nothing seen that might encourage hope.
Our sails, wound up, lay without their use, and