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´╗┐Title: History of American Literature
Author: Halleck, Reuben Post
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of American Literature" ***

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The wide use of the author's _History of English Literature_, the favor
with which it has been received in all parts of the United States, and the
number of earnest requests for a _History of American Literature_ on the
same plan, have led to the writing of this book. It has not appeared sooner
because the author has followed his rule of making a careful first-hand
study, not only of all the matter discussed, but also of a far greater
amount, which, although it must be omitted from a condensed textbook, is,
nevertheless, necessary as a background for judgment and selection.

The following chapters describe the greatest achievements in American
literature from the earliest times until the present. Many pupils fail to
obtain a clear idea of great American authors and literary movements
because textbook writers and teachers ignore the element of truth in the
old adage, "The half is greater than the whole," and dwell too much on
minor authors and details, which could reasonably be expected to interest
only a specialist. In the following pages especial attention has been paid,
not only to the individual work of great authors, but also to literary
movements, ideals, and animating principles, and to the relation of all
these to English literature.

The author has further aimed to make this work both interesting and
suggestive. He has endeavored to present the subject in a way that
necessitates the comparison of authors and movements, and leads to
stimulating thinking. He has tried to communicate enough of the spirit of
our literature to make students eager for a first-hand acquaintance with
it, to cause them to investigate for themselves this remarkable American
record of spirituality, initiative, and democratic accomplishment. As a
guide to such study, there have been placed at the end of each chapter
_Suggested Readings_ and still further hints, called _Questions and
Suggestions_. In _A Glance Backward_, the author emphasizes in brief
compass the most important truths that American literature teaches, truths
that have resulted in raising the ideals of Americans and in arousing them
to greater activity.

Any one who makes an original study of American literature will not be a
mere apologist for it. He will marvel at the greatness of the moral
lesson, at the fidelity of the presentation of the thought which has
molded this nation, and at the peculiar aptness which its great authors
have displayed in ministering to the special needs and aspirations of
Americans. He will realize that the youth who stops with the indispensable
study of English literature is not prepared for American citizenship,
because our literature is needed to present the ideals of American life.
There may be greater literatures, but none of them can possibly take the
place of ours for citizens of this democracy.

The moral element, the most impressive quality in American literature, is
continuous from the earliest colonial days until the present. Teachers
should be careful not to obscure this quality. As the English scientist,
John Tyndall, has shown in the case of Emerson, this moral stimulus is
capable of adding immeasurably to the achievement of the young.

The temptation to slight the colonial period should be resisted. It has
too often been the fashion to ask, Why should the student not begin the
study of American literature with Washington Irving, the first author
read for pure pleasure? The answer is that the student would not then
comprehend the stages of growth of the new world ideals, that he would
not view our later literature through the proper atmosphere, and that he
would lack certain elements necessary for a sympathetic comprehension of
the subject.

The seven years employed in the preparation of this work would have been
insufficient, had not the author been assisted by his wife, to whom he is
indebted not only for invaluable criticism but also for the direct
authorship of some of the best matter in this book.

R. P. H.









       *       *       *       *       *



[Transcriber's note:
Index not included in this electronic version.]




RELATION TO ENGLISH LITERATURE.--The literature produced in that part of
America known as the United States did not begin as an independent
literature. The early colonists were Englishmen who brought with them their
own language, books, and modes of thought. England had a world-famous
literature before her sons established a permanent settlement across the
Atlantic. Shakespeare had died four years before the Pilgrims landed at
Plymouth. When an American goes to Paris he can neither read the books, nor
converse with the citizens, if he knows no language but his own. Let him
cross to London, and he will find that, although more than three hundred
years have elapsed since the first colonists came to America, he
immediately feels at home, so far as the language and literature are

For nearly two hundred years after the first English settlements in
America, the majority of the works read there were written by English
authors. The hard struggle necessary to obtain a foothold in a wilderness
is not favorable to the early development of a literature. Those who
remained in England could not clear away the forest, till the soil, and
conquer the Indians, but they could write the books and send them across
the ocean. The early settlers were for the most part content to allow
English authors to do this. For these reasons it would be surprising if
early American literature could vie with that produced in England during
the same period.

When Americans began to write in larger numbers, there was at first close
adherence to English models. For a while it seemed as if American
literature would be only a feeble imitation of these models, but a change
finally came, as will be shown in later chapters. It is to be hoped,
however, that American writers of the future will never cease to learn from
Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Bunyan, and Wordsworth.

AMERICAN LITERATURE AN IMPORTANT STUDY.--We should not begin the study of
American literature in an apologetic spirit. There should be no attempt to
minimize the debt that America owes to English literature, nor to conceal
the fact that American literature is young and has not had time to produce
as many masterpieces as England gave to the world during a thousand years.
However, it is now time also to record the fact that the literature of
England gained something from America. Cultivated Englishmen to-day
willingly admit that without a study of Cooper, Poe, and Hawthorne no one
could give an adequate account of the landmarks of achievement in fiction,
written in our common tongue. French critics have even gone so far as to
canonize Poe. In a certain field he and Hawthorne occupy a unique place in
the world's achievement. Again, men like Bret Harte and Mark Twain are not
common in any literature. Foreigners have had American books translated
into all the leading languages of the world. It is now more than one
hundred years since Franklin, the great American philosopher of the
practical, died, and yet several European nations reprint nearly every year
some of his sayings, which continue to influence the masses. English
critics, like John Addington Symonds, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Edward
Dowden, have testified to the power of the democratic element in our
literature and have given the dictum that it cannot be neglected.

Some of the reasons why American literature developed along original lines
and thus conveyed a message of its own to the world are to be found in the
changed environment and the varying problems and ideals of American life.
Even more important than the changed ways of earning a living and the
difference in climate, animals, and scenery were the struggles leading to
the Revolutionary War, the formation and guidance of the Republic, and the
Civil War. All these combined to give individuality to American thought and

Taken as a whole, American literature has accomplished more than might
reasonably have been expected. Its study is especially important for us,
since the deeds associated with our birthplace must mean more to us than
more remarkable achievements of men born under other skies. Our literature,
even in its humble beginnings, contains a lesson that no American can
afford to miss. Unless we know its ideals and moral aims and are swayed by
them, we cannot keep our heritage.

WHY VIRGINIA WAS COLONIZED.--In 1607 the first permanent English colony
within the present limits of the United States was planted at Jamestown in
Virginia. The colony was founded for commercial reasons by the London
Company, an organization formed to secure profits from colonization. The
colonists and the company that furnished their ship and outfit expected
large profits from the gold mines and the precious stones which were
believed to await discovery. Of course, the adventurers were also
influenced by the honor and the romantic interest which they thought would
result from a successful settlement.

When the expedition sailed from England in December, 1606, Michael Drayton,
an Elizabethan poet, wrote verses dedicated "To the Virginian Voyage."
These stanzas show the reason for sending the colonizers to Virginia:--

  "You brave heroic minds,
   Worthy your country's name,
   That honor still pursue,
   Whilst loit'ring hinds
   Lurk here at home with shame,
   Go and subdue.
       *       *       *       *       *
   And cheerfully at sea,
   Success you still entice,
   To get the pearl and gold;
   And ours to hold
   Earth's only paradise."

The majority of the early Virginian colonists were unfit for their task.
Contemporary accounts tell of the "many unruly gallants, packed hither by
their friends to escape ill destinies." Beggars, vagabonds, indentured
servants, kidnapped girls, even convicts, were sent to Jamestown and became
the ancestors of some of the "poor white trash" of the South. After the
execution of Charles I. in 1649, and the setting up of the Puritan
Commonwealth, many of the royalists, or Cavaliers, as they were called,
came to Virginia to escape the obnoxious Puritan rule. They became the
ancestors of Presidents and statesmen, and of many of the aristocratic
families of the South.

The ideals expressed by Captain John Smith, the leader and preserver of the
Jamestown colony, are worthy to rank beside those of the colonizers of New
England. Looking back at his achievement in Virginia, he wrote, "Then
seeing we are not born for ourselves but each to help other ... Seeing
honor is our lives' ambition ... and seeing by no means would we be abated
of the dignities and glories of our predecessors; let us imitate their
virtues to be worthily their successors."

WHY THE PURITANS COLONIZED NEW ENGLAND.--During the period from 1620 to
1640, large numbers of Englishmen migrated to that part of America now
known as New England. These emigrants were not impelled by hope of wealth,
or ease, or pleasure. They were called Puritans because they wished to
purify the Church of England from what seemed to them great abuses; and the
purpose of these men in emigrating to America was to lay the foundations of
a state built upon their religious principles. These people came for an
intangible something--liberty of conscience, a fuller life of the
spirit--which has never commanded a price on any stock exchange in the
world. They looked beyond

  "Things done that took the eye and had the price;
     O'er which, from level stand,
     The low world laid its hand,
   Found straightway to its mind, could value in a trice."

These Puritans had been more than one century in the making. We hear of
them in the time of Wycliffe (1324-1384). Their religion was a constant
command to put the unseen above the seen, the eternal above the temporal,
to satisfy the aspiration of the spirit. James I. (reign, 1603-1625) told
them that he would harry them out of the kingdom unless they conformed to
the rites of the Established Church. His son and successor Charles I.
(reign, 1625-1649) called to his aid Archbishop Laud (1573-1645), a bigoted
official of that church. Laud hunted the dissenting clergy like wild
beasts, threw them into prison, whipped them in the pillory, branded them,
slit their nostrils, and mutilated their ears. JOHN COTTON, pastor of the
church of Boston, England, was told that if he had been guilty only of an
infraction of certain of the Ten Commandments, he might have been pardoned,
but since his crime was Puritanism, he must suffer. He had great trouble in
escaping on a ship bound for the New England Boston.

[Illustration: JOHN COTTON]

Professor Tyler says: "New England has perhaps never quite appreciated its
great obligations to Archbishop Laud. It was his overmastering hate of
nonconformity, it was the vigilance and vigor and consecrated cruelty with
which he scoured his own diocese and afterward all England, and hunted down
and hunted out the ministers who were committing the unpardonable sin of
dissent, that conferred upon the principal colonies of New England their
ablest and noblest men."

It should be noted that the Puritan colonization of New England took place
in a comparatively brief space of time, during the twenty years from 1620
to 1640. Until 1640 persecution drove the Puritans to New England in
multitudes, but in that year they suddenly stopped coming. "During the one
hundred and twenty-five years following that date, more persons, it is
supposed, went back from the New to the Old England than came from the Old
England to the New," says Professor Tyler. The year 1640 marks the
assembling of the Long Parliament, which finally brought to the block both
Archbishop Laud (1645) and King Charles I. (1649), and chose the great
Puritan, Oliver Cromwell, to lead the Commonwealth.

ELIZABETHAN TRAITS.--The leading men in the colonization of Virginia and
New England were born in the reign of Queen Elizabeth (1558-1603), and they
and their descendants showed on this side of the Atlantic those
characteristics which made the Elizabethan age preeminent.

In the first place, the Elizabethans possessed initiative. This power
consists, first, in having ideas, and secondly, in passing from the ideas
to the suggested action. Some people merely dream. The Elizabethans dreamed
glorious dreams, which they translated into action. They defeated the
Spanish Armada; they circumnavigated the globe; they made it possible for
Shakespeare's pen to mold the thought and to influence the actions of the

If we except those indentured servants and apprentices who came to America
merely because others brought them, we shall find not only that the first
colonists were born in an age distinguished for its initiative, but also
that they came because they possessed this characteristic in a greater
degree than those who remained behind. It was easier for the majority to
stay with their friends; hence England was not depopulated. The few came,
those who had sufficient initiative to cross three thousand miles of
unknown sea, who had the power to dream dreams of a new commonwealth, and
the will to embody those dreams in action.

In the second place, the Elizabethans were ingenious, that is, they were
imaginative and resourceful. Impelled by the mighty forces of the
Reformation and the Revival of Learning which the England of Elizabeth
alone felt at one and the same time, the Elizabethans craved and obtained
variety of experience, which kept the fountainhead of ingenuity filled. It
is instructive to follow the lives of Elizabethans as different as Sir
Philip Sidney, William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Raleigh, Captain John Smith,
and John Winthrop, and to note the varied experiences of each. Yankee
ingenuity had an Elizabethan ancestry. The hard conditions of the New World
merely gave an opportunity to exercise to the utmost an ingenuity which the
colonists brought with them.

In the third place, the Elizabethans were unusually democratic; that is,
the different classes mingled together in a marked degree, more than in
modern England, more even than in the United States to-day. This
intermingling was due in part to increased travel, to the desire born of
the New Learning to live as varied and as complete a life as possible, and
to the absence of overspecialization among individuals. This chance for
varied experience with all sorts and conditions of men enabled Shakespeare
to speak to all humanity. All England was represented in his plays. When
the Rev. Thomas Hooker, born in the last half of Elizabeth's reign, was
made pastor at Hartford, Connecticut, he suggested to his flock a
democratic form of government much like that under which we now live.

Let us remember that American life and literature owe their most
interesting traits to these three Elizabethan qualities--initiative,
ingenuity, and democracy. Let us not forget that the Cambridge University
graduate, the cooper, cloth-maker, printer, and blacksmith had the
initiative to set out for the New World, the ingenuity to deal with its
varied exigencies, and the democratic spirit that enabled them to work side
by side, no matter how diverse their former trades, modes of life, and
social condition.


[Illustration: JOHN SMITH]

The hero of the Jamestown colony, and its savior during the first two
years, was Captain John Smith, born in Willoughby, Lincolnshire, in 1579,
twenty-four years before the death of Elizabeth and thirty-seven before the
death of Shakespeare. Smith was a man of Elizabethan stamp,--active,
ingenious, imaginative, craving new experiences. While a mere boy, he could
not stand the tediousness of ordinary life, and so betook himself to the
forest where he could hunt and play knight.

In the first part of his young manhood he crossed the Channel, voyaged in
the Mediterranean, fought the Turks, killing three of them in single
combat, was taken prisoner and enslaved by the Tartars, killed his inhuman
master, escaped into Russia, went thence through Europe to Africa, was in
desperate naval battles, returned to England, sailing thence for Virginia,
which he reached at the age of twenty-eight.

He soon became president of the Jamestown colony and labored strenuously
for its preservation. The first product of his pen in America was _A True
Relation of Virginia_, written in 1608, the year in which John Milton was
born. The last work written by Smith in America is entitled: _A Map of
Virginia, with a Description of the Country, the Commodities, People,
Government, and Religion_. His description of the Indians shows his
capacity for quickly noting their traits:--

  "They are inconstant in everything, but what fear constraineth them to
  keep. Crafty, timorous, quick of apprehension and very ingenious. Some
  are of disposition fearful, some bold, most cautious, all savage.
  Generally covetous of copper, beads, and such like trash. They are soon
  moved to anger, and so malicious that they seldom forget an injury: they
  seldom steal one from another, lest their conjurors should reveal it, and
  so they be pursued and punished. That they are thus feared is certain,
  but that any can reveal their offences by conjuration I am doubtful."

Smith has often been accused of boasting, and some have said that he was
guilty of great exaggeration or something worse, but it is certain that he
repeatedly braved hardships, extreme dangers, and captivity among the
Indians to provide food for the colony and to survey Virginia. After
carefully editing _Captain John Smith's Works_ in a volume of 983 pages,
Professor Edwin Arber says: "For [our] own part, beginning with
doubtfulness and wariness we have gradually come to the unhesitating
conviction, not only of Smith's truthfulness, but also that, in regard to
all personal matters, he systematically understates rather than exaggerates
anything he did."

Although by far the greater part of Smith's literary work was done after he
returned to England, yet his two booklets written in America entitle him to
a place in colonial literature. He had the Elizabethan love of achievement,
and he records his admiration for those whose 'pens writ what their swords
did.' He was not an artist with his pen, but our early colonial literature
is the richer for his rough narrative and for the description of Virginia
and the Indians.

In one sense he gave the Indian to literature, and that is his greatest
achievement in literary history. Who has not heard the story of his capture
by the Indians, of his rescue from torture and death, by the beautiful
Indian maiden, Pocahontas, of her risking her life to save him a second
time from Indian treachery, of her bringing corn and preserving the colony
from famine, of her visit to England in 1616, a few weeks after the death
of Shakespeare, of her royal reception as a princess, the daughter of an
Indian king, of Smith's meeting her again in London, where their romantic
story aroused the admiration of the court and the citizens for the
brown-eyed princess? It would be difficult to say how many tales of Indian
adventure this romantic story of Pocahontas has suggested. It has the honor
of being the first of its kind written in the English tongue.

Did Pocahontas actually rescue Captain Smith? In his account of his
adventures, written in Virginia in 1608, he does not mention this rescue,
but in his later writings he relates it as an actual occurrence. When
Pocahontas visited London, this story was current, and there is no evidence
that she denied it. Professor Arber says, "To deny the truth of the
Pocahontas incident is to create more difficulties than are involved in its
acceptance." But literature does not need to ask whether the story of
Hamlet or of Pocahontas is true. If this unique story of American adventure
is a product of Captain Smith's creative imagination, the literary critic
must admit the captain's superior ability in producing a tale of such
vitality. If the story is true, then our literature does well to remember
whose pen made this truth one of the most persistent of our early romantic
heritages. He is as well known for the story of Pocahontas as for all of
his other achievements. The man who saved the Virginia colony and who first
suggested a new field to the writer of American romance is rightly
considered one of the most striking figures in our early history, even if
he did return to England in less than three years and end his days there in


contemporary of Shakespeare and secretary of the Virginian colony, wrote at
Jamestown and sent to London in 1610 the manuscript of _A True Repertory of
the Wrack and Redemption of Sir Thomas Gates, Kt., upon and from the
Islands of the Bermudas_. This is a story of shipwreck on the Bermudas and
of escape in small boats. The book is memorable for the description of a
storm at sea, and it is possible that it may even have furnished
suggestions to Shakespeare for _The Tempest_. If so, it is interesting to
compare these with what they produced in Shakespeare's mind. Strachey tells
how "the sea swelled above the clouds and gave battle unto heaven." He
speaks of "an apparition of a little round light, like a faint star,
trembling and streaming along with a sparkling blaze, half the height upon
the main mast, and shooting sometimes from shroud to shroud." Ariel says to

  "I boarded the king's ship; now on the beak,
   Now in the waist, the deck, in every cabin,
   I flam'd amazement: Sometimes I'ld divide,
   And burn in many places; on the topmast,
   The yards, and bowsprit, would I flame distinctly,
   Then meet and join."

Strachey voices the current belief that the Bermudas were harassed by
tempests, devils, wicked spirits, and other fearful objects. Shakespeare
has Ferdinand with fewer words intensify Strachey's picture:--

  "Hell is empty,
   And all the devils are here."

The possibility that incidents arising out of Virginian colonization may
have turned Shakespeare's attention to "the still vex'd Bermoothes" and
given him suggestions for one of his great plays lends added interest to
Strachey's True Repertory. But, aside from Shakespeare, this has an
interest of its own. It has the Anglo-Saxon touch in depicting the wrath of
the sea, and it shows the character of the early American colonists who
braved a wrath like this.

[Illustration: GEORGE SANDYS]

stay in the colony as its treasurer, translated ten books of Ovid's
_Metamorphoses_, sometimes working by the light of a pine knot. This work
is rescued from the class of mere translation by its literary art and
imaginative interpretation, and it possesses for us an additional interest
because of its nativity amid such surroundings. Two lines telling how

  "Took down a flitch of bacon with a prung,
   That long had in the smoky chimney hung,"

show that his environment aided him somewhat in the translation. He himself
says of this version that it was "bred in the new world, whereof it cannot
but participate, especially having wars and tumults to bring it to light,
instead of the muses." He was read by both Dryden and Pope in their
boyhood, and the form of their verse shows his influence.

The only original poem which merits our attention in the early Virginian
colony was found soon after the Revolutionary War in a collection of
manuscripts, known as the _Burwell Papers_. This poem is an elegy on the
death of Nathaniel Bacon (1676), a young Virginian patriot and military
hero, who resisted the despotic governor, Sir William Berkeley. It was
popularly believed that Bacon's mysterious death was due to poison. An
unknown friend wrote the elegy in defense of Bacon and his rebellion. These
lines from that elegy show a strength unusual in colonial poetry:--

                             "Virginia's foes,
  To whom, for secret crimes, just vengeance owes
  Deserved plagues, dreading their just desert,
  Corrupted death by Paracelsian art,
  Him to destroy . . .
  Our arms, though ne'er so strong,
  Will want the aid of his commanding tongue,
  Which conquered more than Caesar."

Virginia, published in London in 1705 a _History and Present State of
Virginia_. This is today a readable account of the colony and its people in
the first part of the eighteenth century. This selection shows that in
those early days Virginians were noted for what has come to be known as
southern hospitality:--

  "The inhabitants are very courteous to travellers, who need no other
  recommendation, but the being human creatures. A stranger has no more to
  do, but to inquire upon the road where any gentleman or good housekeeper
  lives, and there he may depend upon being received with hospitality. This
  good nature is so general among their people, that the gentry, when they
  go abroad, order their principal servant to entertain all visitors with
  everything the plantation affords. And the poor planters who have but one
  bed, will very often sit up, or lie upon a form or couch all night, to
  make room for a weary traveller to repose himself after his journey."

[Illustration: WILLIAM BYRD]

COLONEL WILLIAM BYRD (1674-1744), a wealthy Virginian, wrote a _History of
the Dividing Line run in the Year 1728_. He was commissioned by the
Virginian colony to run a line between it and North Carolina. This book is
a record of personal experiences, and is as interesting as its title is
forbidding. This selection describes the Dismal Swamp, through which the
line ran:--

  "Since the surveyors had entered the Dismal they had laid eyes on no
  living creature; neither bird nor beast, insect nor reptile came in view.
  Doubtless the eternal shade that broods over this mighty bog and hinders
  the sunbeams from blessing the ground, makes it an uncomfortable
  habitation for anything that has life. Not so much as a Zealand frog
  could endure so aguish a situation. It had one beauty, however, that
  delighted the eye, though at the expense of all the other senses: the
  moisture of the soil preserves a continual verdure, and makes every plant
  an evergreen, but at the same time the foul damps ascend without ceasing,
  corrupt the air, and render it unfit for respiration. Not even a turkey
  buzzard will venture to fly over it, no more than the Italian vultures
  will fly over the filthy lake Avernus or the birds in the Holy Land over
  the salt sea where Sodom and Gomorrah formerly stood.

  "In these sad circumstances the kindest thing we could do for our
  suffering friends was to give them a place in the Litany. Our chaplain
  for his part did his office and rubbed us up with a seasonable sermon.
  This was quite a new thing to our brethren of North Carolina, who live in
  a climate where no clergyman can breathe, any more than spiders in

These two selections show that American literature, even before the
Revolution, came to be something more than an imitation of English
literature. They are the product of our soil, and no critic could say that
they might as well have been written in London as in Virginia. They also
show how much eighteenth-century prose had improved in form. Even in
England, modern prose may almost be said to begin with John Dryden, who
died at the beginning of the eighteenth century. In addition to improvement
in form, we may note the appearance of a new quality--humor. Our earliest
writers have few traces of humor because colonization was a serious life
and death affair to them.

back more than a hundred years to the founding of the Plymouth colony in
1620, we may note that Virginia and New England developed along different
lines. We shall find more dwellers in towns, more democracy and mingling of
all classes, more popular education, and more literature in New England.
The ruling classes of Virginia were mostly descendants of the Cavaliers who
had sympathized with monarchy, while the Puritans had fought the Stuart
kings and had approved a Commonwealth. In Virginia a wealthy class of
landed gentry came to be an increasing power in the political history of
the country. The ancestors of George Washington and many others who did
inestimable service to the nation were among this class. It was long the
fashion for this aristocracy to send their children to England to be
educated, while the Puritans trained theirs at home.


New England started a printing press, and was printing books by 1640. In
1671 Sir William Berkeley, governor of Virginia, wrote, "I thank God there
are no free schools, nor printing, and I hope we shall not have these
hundred years; for learning has brought disobedience and heresy and sects
into the world, and printing has developed them."

Producers of literature need the stimulus of town life. The South was
chiefly agricultural. The plantations were large, and the people lived in
far greater isolation than in New England, where not only the town, but
more especially the church, developed a close social unit.

One other reason served to make it difficult for a poet of the plowman
type, like Robert Burns, or for an author from the general working class,
like Benjamin Franklin, to arise in the South. Labor was thought degrading,
and the laborer did not find the same chance as at the North to learn from
close association with the intelligent class.

The reason for this is given by Colonel William Byrd, from whom we have
quoted in the preceding section. He wrote in 1736 of the leading men of the

  "They import so many negroes hither, that I fear this Colony will some
  time or other be confirmed by the name of New Guinea. I am sensible of
  many bad consequences of multiplying these Ethiopians amongst us. They
  blow up the pride and ruin the industry of our white people, who seeing a
  rank of poor creatures below them, detest work, for fear it should make
  them look like slaves."


William Bradford was born in 1590 in the Pilgrim district of England, in
the Yorkshire village of Austerfield, two miles north of Scrooby. While a
child, he attended the religious meetings of the Puritans. At the age of
eighteen he gave up a good position in the post service of England, and
crossed to Holland to escape religious persecution. His _History of
Plymouth Plantation_ is not a record of the Puritans as a whole, but only
of that branch known as the Pilgrims, who left England for Holland in 1607
and 1608, and who, after remaining there for nearly twelve years, had the
initiative to be the first of their band to come to the New World, and to
settle at Plymouth in 1620.

For more than thirty years he was governor of the Plymouth colony, and he
managed its affairs with the discretion of a Washington and the zeal of a
Cromwell. His _History_ tells the story of the Pilgrim Fathers from the
time of the formation of their two congregations in England, until 1647.


In 1897 the United States for the first time came into possession of the
manuscript of this famous _History of Plymouth Plantation_, which had in
some mysterious manner been taken from Boston in colonial times and had
found its way into the library of the Lord Bishop of London. Few of the
English seem to have read it. Even its custodian miscalled it The Log of
the Mayflower, although after the ship finally cleared from England, only
five incidents of the voyage are briefly mentioned: the death of a young
seaman who cursed the Pilgrims on the voyage and made sport of their
misery; the cracking of one of the main beams of the ship; the washing
overboard in a storm of a good young man who was providentially saved; the
death of a servant; and the sight of Cape Cod. On petition, the Lord Bishop
of London generously gave this manuscript of 270 pages to the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts. In a speech at the time of its formal reception, Senator
Hoar eloquently summed up the subject matter of the volume as follows:--

  "I do not think many Americans will gaze upon it without a little
  trembling of the lips and a little gathering of mist in the eyes, as they
  think of the story of suffering, of sorrow, of peril, of exile, of death,
  and of lofty triumph which that book tells,--which the hand of the great
  leader and founder of America has traced on those pages. There is nothing
  like it in human annals since the story of Bethlehem. These Englishmen
  and English women going out from their homes in beautiful Lincoln and
  York, wife separated from husband and mother from child in that hurried
  embarkation for Holland, pursued to the beach by English horsemen; the
  thirteen years of exile; the life at Amsterdam, 'in alley foul and lane
  obscure'; the dwelling at Leyden; the embarkation at Delfthaven; the
  farewell of Robinson; the terrible voyage across the Atlantic; the
  compact in the harbor; the landing on the rock; the dreadful first
  winter; the death roll of more than half the number; the days of
  suffering and of famine; the wakeful night, listening for the yell of
  wild beast and the war whoop of the savage; the building of the State on
  those sure foundations which no wave or tempest has ever shaken; the
  breaking of the new light; the dawning of the new day; the beginning of
  the new life; the enjoyment of peace with liberty,--of all these things
  this is the original record by the hand of our beloved father and

In addition to giving matter of unique historical importance, Bradford
entertains his readers with an account of Squanto, the Pilgrims' tame
Indian, of Miles Standish capturing the "lord of misrule" at Merrymount,
and of the failure of an experiment in tilling the soil in common. Bradford
says that there was immediate improvement when each family received the
full returns from working its own individual plot of ground. He thus
philosophizes about this social experiment of the Pilgrims:--

  "The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried
  sundry years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the
  vanity of that conceit of Plato's and other ancients, applauded by some
  of later times;----that the taking away of property and bringing in
  community into a common wealth would make them happy and flourishing....
  Let none object this is men's corruption, and nothing to the course
  itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in his
  wisdom saw another course fitter for them."

America need not be ashamed of either the form or the subject matter of her
early colonial prose in comparison with that produced in England at the
same time.

JOHN WINTHROP, 1588-1649

[Illustration: JOHN WINTHROP]

On March 29, 1630, John Winthrop made the first entry in his _Journal_ on
board the ship Arbella, before she left the Isle of Wight for Massachusetts
Bay. This _Journal_ was to continue until a few months before his death in
1649, and was in after times to receive the dignified name of _History of
New England_, although it might more properly still be called his
_Journal_, as its latest editor does indeed style it.

John Winthrop was born in the County of Suffolk, England, in 1588, the year
of the defeat of the Spanish Armada. He was a wealthy, well-educated
Puritan, the owner of broad estates. As he paced the deck of the _Arbella_,
the night before he sailed for Massachusetts, he knew that he was leaving
comfort, home, friends, position, all for liberty of conscience. Few men
have ever voluntarily abandoned more than Winthrop, or clung more
tenaciously to their ideals.

After a voyage lasting more than two months, he settled with a large number
of Puritans on the site of modern Boston. For the principal part of the
time from his arrival in 1630 until his death in 1649, he served as
governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Not many civil leaders of any age
have shown more sagacity, patriotism, and tireless devotion to duty than
John Winthrop.

His _Journal_ is a record of contemporaneous events from 1630 to 1648.
The early part of this work might with some justice have been called the
_Log of the Arbella_.



                               "ANNO DOMINI 1630, MARCH 29, MONDAY.

  "Riding at the Cowes, near the Isle of Wight, in the _Arbella_,
  a ship of 350 tons, whereof Capt. Peter Milborne was master, being
  manned with 52 seamen, and 28 pieces of ordnance, (the wind coming to
  the N. by W. the evening before,) in the morning there came aboard us
  Mr. Cradock, the late governor, and the masters of his 2 ships, Capt.
  John Lowe, master of the _Ambrose_, and Mr. Nicholas Hurlston,
  master of the _Jewel_, and Mr. Thomas Beecher, master of the

The entry for Monday, April 12, 1630, is:--

  "The wind more large to the N. a stiff gale, with fair weather. In the
  afternoon less wind, and our people began to grow well again. Our
  children and others, that were sick and lay groaning in the cabins, we
  fetched out, and having stretched a rope from the steerage to the
  main-mast, we made them stand, some of one side and some of the other,
  and sway it up and down till they were warm, and by this means they soon
  grew well and merry."

The following entry for June 5, 1644, reflects an interesting side light on
the government of Harvard, our first American college:--

  "Two of our ministers' sons, being students in the college, robbed two
  dwelling houses in the night of some fifteen pounds. Being found out,
  they were ordered by the governors of the college to be there whipped,
  which was performed by the president himself--yet they were about twenty
  years of age; and after they were brought into the court and ordered to
  twofold satisfaction, or to serve so long for it. We had yet no
  particular punishment for burglary."

Another entry for 1644 tells of one William Franklin, condemned for causing
the death of his apprentice:--

  "The case was this. He had taken to apprentice one Nathaniel Sewell, one
  of those children sent over the last year for the country; the boy had
  the scurvy and was withal very noisome, and otherwise ill disposed. His
  master used him with continual rigour and unmerciful correction, and
  exposed him many times to much cold and wet in the winter season, and
  used divers acts of rigour towards him, as hanging him in the chimney,
  etc., and the boy being very poor and weak, he tied him upon an horse and
  so brought him (sometimes sitting and sometimes hanging down) to Boston,
  being five miles off, to the magistrates, and by the way the boy calling
  much for water, would give him none, though he came close by it, so as
  the boy was near dead when he came to Boston, and died within a few hours

Winthrop relates how Franklin appealed the case when he was found guilty,
and how the Puritans inflicted the death penalty on him after searching the
_Bible_ for a rule on which to base their decision. The most noticeable
qualities of this terrible story are its simplicity, its repression, its
lack of striving after effect. Winthrop, Bradford, and Bunyan had learned
from the 1611 version of the _Bible_ to be content to present any situation
as simply as possible and to rely on the facts themselves to secure the

Winthrop's finest piece of prose, _Concerning Liberty,_ appears in an entry
for the year 1645. He defines liberty as the power "to do that which is
good, just, and honest. This liberty you are to stand for, with the hazard,
not only of your goods, but of your lives, if need be." Winthrop saw
clearly what many since his day have failed to see, that a government
conducted by the people could not endure, if liberty meant more than this.

Winthrop's _Journal_ records almost anything which seemed important to the
colonists. Thus, he tells about storms, fires, peculiar deaths of animals,
crimes, trials, Indians, labor troubles, arrival of ships, trading
expeditions, troubles with England about the charter, politics, church
matters, events that would point a moral, like the selfish refusal of the
authorities to loan a quantity of gunpowder to the Plymouth colony and the
subsequent destruction of that same powder by an explosion, or the drowning
of a child in the well while the parents were visiting on Sunday. In short,
this _Journal_ gives valuable information about the civil, religious, and
domestic life of the early days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The art of
modern prose writing was known neither in England nor in America in
Winthrop's time. The wonder is that he told the story of this colony in
such good form and that he still holds the interest of the reader so well.


William Bradford and John Winthrop were governors of two religious
commonwealths. We must not forget that the Puritans came to America to
secure a higher form of spiritual life. In the reign of Elizabeth, it was
thought that the Revival of Learning would cure all ills and unlock the
gates of happiness. This hope had met with disappointment. Then Puritanism
came, and ushered in a new era of spiritual aspiration for something
better, nobler, and more satisfying than mere intellectual attainments or
wealth or earthly power had been able to secure.

The Puritans chose the _Bible_ as the guidebook to their Promised Land. The
long sermons to which they listened were chiefly biblical expositions. The
Puritans considered the saving of the soul the most important matter, and
they neglected whatever form of culture did not directly tend toward that
result. They thought that entertaining reading and other forms of amusement
were contrivances of the devil to turn the soul's attention away from the
_Bible_. Even beauty and art were considered handmaids of the Evil One. The
_Bible_ was read, reread, and constantly studied, and it took the place of
secular poetry and prose.

The New England Puritan believed in the theology of John Calvin, who died
in 1564. His creed, known as Calvinism, emphasized the importance of the
individual, of life's continuous moral struggle, which would land each soul
in heaven or hell for all eternity. In the _New England Primer_, the
children were taught the first article of belief, as they learned the
letter A:--


  "In Adam's fall,
   We sinned all."

Calvinism stressed the doctrine of foreordination, that certain ones, "the
elect," had been foreordained to be saved. THOMAS SHEPHARD (1605-1649), one
of the great Puritan clergy, fixed the mathematical ratio of the damned to
the elect as "a thousand to one." On the physical side, scientists have
pointed out a close correspondence between Calvin's creed and the theory of
evolution, which emphasizes the desperate struggle resulting from the
survival of the fittest. The "fittest" are the "elect"; those who perish in
the contest, the "damned." In the evolutionary struggle, only the few
survive, while untold numbers of the unfit, no matter whether seeds of
plants, eggs of fish, human beings, or any other form of life, go to the

In spite of the apparent contradiction between free will and
foreordination, each individual felt himself fully responsible for the
saving of his soul. A firm belief in this tremendous responsibility made
each one rise the stronger to meet the other responsibilities of life.
Civil responsibility seemed easier to one reared in this school. The
initiative bequeathed by Elizabethan times was increased by the Puritans'

Although there were probably as many university men in proportion to the
population in early colonial Massachusetts as in England, the strength and
direction of their religious ideals helped to turn their energy into
activities outside the field of pure literature. In course of time,
however, Nathaniel Hawthorne appeared to give lasting literary expression
to this life.

THE NEW ENGLAND CLERGY.--The clergy occupied a leading place in both the
civil and religious life of New England. They were men of energy and
ability, who could lead their congregations to Holland or to the wilds of
New England. For the purpose in hand the world has never seen superior
leaders. Many of them were graduates of Cambridge University, England.
Their great authority was based on character, education, and natural
ability. A contemporary historian said of John Cotton, who came as pastor
from the old to the new Boston in 1633, that whatever he "delivered in the
pulpit was soon put into an order of court ... or set up as a practice in
the church."

The sermons, from two to four hours long, took the place of magazines,
newspapers, and modern musical and theatrical entertainments. The church
members were accustomed to hard thinking and they enjoyed it as a mental
exercise. Their minds had not been rendered flabby by such a diet of
miscellaneous trash or sensational matter as confronts modern readers. Many
of the congregation went with notebooks to record the different heads and
the most striking thoughts in the sermon, such, for instance, as the
following on the dangers of idleness:--

  "Whilst the stream keeps running, it keeps clear; but let it stand still,
  it breeds frogs and toads and all manner of filth. So while you keep
  going, you keep clear."

The sermons were often doctrinal, metaphysical, and extremely dry, but it
is a mistake to conclude that the clergy did not speak on topics of current
interest. Winthrop in his _Journal_ for 1639 relates how the Rev. John
Cotton discussed whether a certain shopkeeper, who had been arraigned
before the court for extortion, for having taken "in some small things,
above two for one," was guilty of sin and should be excommunicated from the
church, or only publicly admonished. Cotton prescribed admonition and he
laid down a code of ethics for the guidance of sellers.

With the exception of Roger Williams (1604?-1683), who had the modern point
of view in insisting on complete "soul liberty," on the right of every man
to think as he pleased on matters of religion, the Puritan clergy were not
tolerant of other forms of worship. They said that they came to New England
in order to worship God as they pleased. They never made the slightest
pretense of establishing a commonwealth where another could worship as he
pleased, because they feared that such a privilege might lead to a return
of the persecution from which they had fled. If those came who thought
differently about religion, they were told that there was sufficient room
elsewhere, in Rhode Island, for instance, whither Roger Williams went after
he was banished from Salem. The history of the Puritan clergy would have
been more pleasing had they been more tolerant, less narrow, more modern,
like Roger Williams. Yet perhaps it is best not to complain overmuch of the
strange and somewhat repellent architecture of the bridge which bore us
over the stream dividing the desert of royal and ecclesiastical tyranny
from the Promised Land of our Republic. Let us not forget that the clergy
insisted on popular education; that wherever there was a clergyman, there
was almost certain to be a school, even if he had to teach it himself, and
that the clergy generally spoke and acted as if they would rather be "free
among the dead than slaves among the living."


The trend of Puritan theology and the hard conditions of life did not
encourage the production of poetry. The Puritans even wondered if singing
in church was not an exercise which turned the mind from God. The Rev. John
Cotton investigated the question carefully under four main heads and six
subheads, and he cited scriptural authority to show that Paul and Silas
(_Acts_, xvi., 25) had sung a _Psalm_ in the prison. Cotton therefore
concluded that the _Psalms_ might be sung in church.


BAY PSALM BOOK.--"The divines in the country" joined to translate "into
English metre" the whole book of _Psalms_ from the original Hebrew, and
they probably made the worst metrical translation in existence. In their
preface to this work, known as the _Bay Psalm Book_ (1640), the first book
of verse printed in the British American colonies, they explained that they
did not strive for a more poetic translation because "God's altar needs not
our polishings." The following verses from _Psalm_ cxxxvii. are a sample of
the so-called metrical translation which the Puritans sang:--

  "1. The rivers on of Babilon
        there-when wee did sit downe:
      yea even then wee mourned, when
        wee remembred Sion.

  "2. Our Harps wee did it hang amid,
        upon the willow tree.

  "3. Because there they that us away
        led in captivitee,
      Requir'd of us a song, & thus
        askt mirth: us waste who laid,
      sing us among a Sion's song,
        unto us then they said."

MICHAEL WIGGLESWORTH (1631-1705).--This Harvard graduate and Puritan
preacher published in 1662 a poem setting forth some of the tenets of
Calvinistic theology. This poem, entitled _The Day of Doom, or a Poetical
Description of the Great and Last Judgment_, had the largest circulation of
any colonial poem. The following lines represent a throng of infants at the
left hand of the final Judge, pleading against the sentence of infant

  "'Not we, but he ate of the tree,
      whose fruit was interdicted;
    Yet on us all of his sad fall
      the punishment's inflicted.
    How could we sin that had not been,
      or how is his sin our,
    Without consent, which to prevent
      we never had the pow'r?'"

Wigglesworth represents the Almighty as replying:--

  "'You sinners are, and such a share
      as sinners may expect;
    Such you shall have, for I do save
      none but mine own Elect.
    Yet to compare your sin with their
      who liv'd a longer time,
    I do confess yours is much less,
      though every sin's a crime.

  "'A crime it is, therefore in bliss
      you may not hope to dwell;
    But unto you I shall allow
      the easiest room in Hell.'"

When we read verse like this, we realize how fortunate the Puritanism of
Old England was to have one great poet schooled in the love of both
morality and beauty. John Milton's poetry shows not only his sublimity and
high ideals, but also his admiration for beauty, music, and art.
Wigglesworth's verse is inferior to much of the ballad doggerel, but it has
a swing and a directness fitted to catch the popular ear and to lodge in
the memory. While some of his work seems humorous to us, it would not have
made that impression on the early Puritans. At the same time, we must not
rely on verse like this for our understanding of their outlook on life and
death. Beside Wigglesworth's lines we should place the epitaph, "Reserved
for a Glorious Resurrection," composed by the great orthodox Puritan
clergyman, Cotton Mather (p. 46), for his own infant, which died unbaptized
when four days old. It is well to remember that both the Puritans and their
clergy had a quiet way of believing that God had reserved to himself the
final interpretation of his own word.

ANNE BRADSTREET (1612-1672).--Colonial New England's best poet, or "The
Tenth Muse," as she was called by her friends, was a daughter of the
Puritan governor, Thomas Dudley, and became the wife of another Puritan
governor, Simon Bradstreet, with whom she came to New England in 1630.
Although she was born before the death of Shakespeare, she seems never to
have studied the works of that great dramatist. Her models were what Milton
called the "fantastics," a school of poets who mistook for manifestations
of poetic power, far-fetched and strained metaphors, oddities of
expression, remote comparisons, conceits, and strange groupings of thought.
She had especially studied Sylvester's paraphrase of _The Divine Weeks and
Works_ of the French poet Du Bartas, and probably also the works of poets
like George Herbert (1593-1633), of the English fantastic school. This
paraphrase of Du Bartas was published in a folio of 1215 pages, a few years
before Mrs. Bradstreet came to America. This book shows the taste which
prevailed in England in the latter part of the first third of the
seventeenth century, before Milton came into the ascendency. The fantastic
comparison between the "Spirit Eternal," brooding upon chaos, and a hen, is
shown in these lines from Du Bartas:--

  "Or as a Hen that fain would hatch a brood
   (Some of her own, some of adoptive blood)
   Sits close thereon, and with her lively heat,
   Of yellow-white balls, doth live birds beget:
   Even in such sort seemed the Spirit Eternal
   To brood upon this Gulf with care paternal."

A contemporary critic thought that he was giving her early work high praise
when he called her "a right Du Bartas girl." One of her early poems is _The
Four Elements_, where Fire, Air, Earth, and Water

     "... did contest
  Which was the strongest, noblest, and the best,
  Who was of greatest use and mightiest force."

Such a debate could never be decided, but the subject was well suited to
the fantastic school of poets because it afforded an opportunity for much
ingenuity of argument and for far-fetched comparisons, which led nowhere.

Late in life, in her poem, _Contemplations_, she wrote some genuine poetry,
little marred by imitation of the fantastic school. Spenser seems to have
become her master in later years. No one without genuine poetic ability
could have written such lines as:--

  "I heard the merry grasshopper then sing,
     The black-clad cricket bear a second part,
   They kept one tune, and played on the same string,
     Seeming to glory in their little art."

These lines show both poetic ease and power:--

  "The mariner that on smooth waves doth glide
     Sings merrily, and steers his bark with ease,
   As if he had command of wind and tide,
     And now become great master of the seas."

The comparative excellence of her work in such an atmosphere and amid the
domestic cares incident to rearing eight children is remarkable.

NATHANIEL WARD, 1578?-1652


In 1647 Nathaniel Ward, who had been educated for the law, but who
afterward became a clergyman, published a strange work known as _The Simple
Cobbler of Agawam, in America_ "willing," as the sub-title continues, "to
help mend his native country, lamentably tattered, both in the upper
leather and sole, with all the honest stitches he can take." He had been
assistant pastor at Agawam (Ipswich) until ill health caused him to resign.
He then busied himself in compiling a code of laws and in other writing
before he returned to England in 1647. The following two sentences from his
unique book show two points of the religious faith of the Puritans: (1) the
belief in a personal devil always actively seeking the destruction of
mankind, and (2) the assumption that the vitals of the "elect" are safe
from the mortal sting of sin.

  "Satan is now in his passions, he feels his passion approaching, he loves
  to fish in roiled waters. Though that dragon cannot sting the vitals of
  the elect mortally, yet that Beelzebub can fly-blow their intellectuals

He is often a bitter satirist, a sort of colonial Carlyle, as this attack
on woman shows:--

  "I honor the woman that can honor herself with her attire; a good text
  always deserves a fair margent; I am not much offended if I see a trim
  far trimmer than she that wears it. In a word, whatever Christianity or
  civility will allow, I can afford with London measure: but when I hear a
  nugiperous gentledame inquire what dress the Queen is in this week: what
  the nudiustertian fashion of the Court; I mean the very newest; with egg
  to be in it in all haste, whatever it be; I look at her as the very
  gizzard of a trifle, the product of a quarter of a cipher, the epitome of
  nothing, fitter to be kicked, if she were of a kickable substance, than
  either honored or humored."

He does not hesitate to coin a word. The preceding short selection
introduces us to "nugiperous" and "nudiustertian." Next, he calls the
women's tailor-made gowns "the very pettitoes of infirmity, the giblets of
perquisquilian toys."

The spirit of a reformer always sees work to be done, and Ward emphasized
three remedies for mid-seventeenth-century ills: (1) Stop toleration of
departure from religious truth; (2) banish the frivolities of women and
men; and (3) bring the civil war in England to a just end. In proportion to
the population, his _Simple Cobbler_, designed to mend human ways, was
probably as widely read as Carlyle's _Sartor Resartus_ in later days.

In criticism, Ward deserves to be remembered for these two lines:--

  "Poetry's a gift wherein but few excel;
   He doth very ill that doth not passing well."

SAMUEL SEWALL, 1652-1730

There was born in 1652 at Bishopstoke, Hampshire, England, a boy who sailed
for New England when he was nine years old, and who became our greatest
colonial diarist. This was Samuel Sewall, who graduated from Harvard in
1671 and finally became chief justice of Massachusetts.

[Illustration: SAMUEL SEWALL]

His _Diary_ runs with some breaks from 1673 to 1729, the year before his
death. Good diaries are scarce in any literature. Those who keep them
seldom commit to writing many of the most interesting events and secrets of
their lives. This failing makes the majority of diaries and memoirs very
dry, but this fault cannot be found with Samuel Sewall. His _Diary_ will
more and more prove a mine of wealth to the future writers of our
literature, to our dramatists, novelists, poets, as well as to our
historians. The early chronicles and stories on which Shakespeare founded
many of his plays were no more serviceable to him than this _Diary_ may
prove to a coming American writer with a genius like Hawthorne's.

In Sewall's _Diary_ we at once feel that we are close to life. The
following entry brings us face to face with the children in a Puritan

  "Nov. 6, 1692. Joseph threw a knop of brass and hit his sister Betty on
  the forehead so as to make it bleed and swell; upon which, and for his
  playing at Prayer-time, and eating when Return Thanks, I whipped him
  pretty smartly. When I first went in (called by his Grandmother) he
  sought to shadow and hide himself from me behind the head of the cradle:
  which gave me the sorrowful remembrance of Adam's carriage."

Sewall was one of the seven judges who sentenced nineteen persons to be put
to death for witchcraft at Salem. After this terrible delusion had passed,
he had the manliness to rise in church before all the members, and after
acknowledging "the blame and shame of his decision," call for "prayers that
God who has an unlimited authority would pardon that sin."

Sewall's _Diary_ is best known for its faithful chronicle of his courtship
of Mrs. Catharine Winthrop. Both had been married twice before, and both
had grown children. He was sixty-nine and she fifty-six. No record of any
other Puritan courtship so unique as this has been given to the world. He
began his formal courtship of Mrs. Winthrop, October 1, 1720. His _Diary_
contains records of each visit, of what they said to each other, of the
Sermons, cake, and gingerbread that he gave her, of the healths that he
drank to her, the lump of sugar that she gave him, of how they "went into
the best room, and clos'd the shutters."

  "Nov. 2. Gave her about 1/2 pound of sugar almonds, cost 3 shillings per
  [pound]. Carried them on Monday. She seem'd pleas'd with them, ask'd what
  they cost. Spake of giving her a hundred pounds per annum if I died
  before her. Ask'd her what sum she would give me, if she should die

  "Monday, Nov. 7. I went to Mad. Winthrop; found her rocking her little
  Katy in the cradle. I excused my coming so late (near eight). She set me
  an arm'd chair and cushion; and so the cradle was between her arm'd chair
  and mine. Gave her the remnant of my almonds. She did not eat of them as
  before.... The fire was come to one short brand besides the block, which
  brand was set up in end; at last it fell to pieces and no recruit was
  made.... Took leave of her.... Her dress was not so clean as sometime it
  had been. Jehovah jireh!"

Acute men have written essays to account for the aristocratic Mrs.
Winthrop's refusal of Chief-Justice Sewall. Some have said that it was due
to his aversion to slavery and to his refusal to allow her to keep her
slaves. This episode is only a small part of a rich storehouse. The greater
part of the _Diary_ contains only the raw materials of literature, yet some
of it is real literature, and it ranks among the great diaries of the

COTTON MATHER, 1663-1728

[Illustration: COTTON MATHER]

LIFE AND PERSONALITY.--Cotton Mather, grandson of the Rev. John Cotton (p.
14), and the most distinguished of the old type of Puritan clergymen, was
born in Boston and died in his native city, without ever having traveled a
hundred miles from it. He entered Harvard at the age of eleven, and took
the bachelor's degree at fifteen. His life shows such an overemphasis of
certain Puritan traits as almost to presage the coming decline of clerical
influence. He says that at the age of only seven or eight he not only
composed forms of prayer for his schoolmates, but also obliged them to
pray, although some of them cuffed him for his pains. At fourteen he began
a series of fasts to crucify the flesh, increase his holiness, and bring
him nearer to God.

He endeavored never to waste a minute. In his study, where he often worked
sixteen hours a day, he had in large letters the sign, "BE SHORT," to greet
the eyes of visitors. The amount of writing which he did almost baffles
belief. His published works, numbering about four hundred, include sermons,
essays, and books. During all of his adult life, he also preached in the
North Church of Boston.

He was a religious "fantastic" (p. 40), that is, he made far-fetched
applications of religious truth. A tall man suggested to him high
attainments in Christianity; washing his hands, the desirability of a clean

Although Cotton Mather became the most famous clergyman of colonial New
England, he was disappointed in two of his life's ambitions. He failed to
become president of Harvard and to bring New England back in religious
matters to the first halcyon days of the colony. On the contrary, he lived
to see Puritan theocracy suffer a great decline. His fantastic and strained
application of religious truth, his overemphasis of many things, and
especially his conduct in zealously aiding and abetting the Salem
witchcraft murders, were no mean factors in causing that decline.

His intentions were certainly good. He was an apostle of altruism, and he
tried to improve each opportunity for doing good in everyday life. He
trained his children to do acts of kindness for other children. His _Essays
to Do Good_ were a powerful influence on the life of Benjamin Franklin.
Cotton Mather would not have lived in vain if he had done nothing else
except to help mold Franklin for the service of his country; but this is
only one of Mather's achievements. We must next pass to his great work in

THE MAGNALIA.--This "prose epic of New England Puritanism," the most famous
of Mather's many works, is a large folio volume entitled _Magnalia Christi
Americana: or the Ecclesiastical History of New England_. It was published
in London in 1702, two years after Dryden's death.

The book is a remarkable compound of whatever seemed to the author most
striking in early New England history. His point of view was of course
religious. The work contains a rich store of biography of the early clergy,
magistrates, and governors, of the lives of eleven of the clerical
graduates of Harvard, of the faith, discipline, and government of the New
England churches, of remarkable manifestations of the divine providence,
and of the "Way of the Lord" among the churches and the Indians.

We may to-day turn to the _Magnalia_ for vivid accounts of early New
England life. Mather has a way of selecting and expressing facts in such a
way as to cause them to lodge in the memory. These two facts about John
Cotton give us a vivid impression of the influence of the early clergy:--

  "The keeper of the inn where he did use to lodge, when he came to Derby,
  would profanely say to his companions, that he wished Mr. Cotton were
  gone out of his house, for he was not able to swear while that man was
  under his roof....

  "The Sabbath he began the evening before, for which keeping of the
  Sabbath from evening to evening he wrote arguments before his coming to
  New England; and I suppose 'twas from his reason and practice that the
  Christians of New England have generally done so too."

We read that the daily vocation of Thomas Shepard, the first pastor at
Cambridge, Massachusetts, was, to quote Mather's noble phrase, "_A
Trembling Walk with God_" He speaks of the choleric disposition of Thomas
Hooker, the great Hartford clergyman, and says it was "useful unto him,"
because "he had ordinarily as much government of his choler as a man has of
a mastiff dog in a chain; he 'could let out his dog, and pull in his dog,
as he pleased.'" Some of Mather's prose causes modern readers to wonder if
he was not a humorist. He says that a fire in the college buildings in some
mysterious way influenced the President of Harvard to shorten one of his
long prayers, and gravely adds, "that if the devotions had held three
minutes longer, the Colledge had been irrecoverably laid in ashes." One
does not feel sure that Mather saw the humor in this demonstration of
practical religion. It is also doubtful whether he is intentionally
humorous in his most fantastic prose, such, for instance, as his likening
the Rev. Mr. Partridge to the bird of that name, who, because he "had no
defence neither of beak nor claw," took "a flight over the ocean" to escape
his ecclesiastical hunters, and finally "took wing to become a bird of
paradise, along with the winged seraphim of heaven."

Such fantastic conceits, which for a period blighted the literature of the
leading European nations, had their last great exponent in Cotton Mather.
Minor writers still indulge in these conceits, and find willing readers
among the uneducated, the tired, and those who are bored when they are
required to do more than skim the surface of things. John Seccomb, a
Harvard graduate of 1728, the year in which Mather died, then gained fame
from such lines as:--

  "A furrowed brow,
   Where corn might grow,"

but the best prose and poetry have for a long time won their readers for
other qualities. Even the taste of the next generation showed a change, for
Cotton Mather's son, Samuel, noted as a blemish his father's "straining for
far-fetched and dear-bought hints." Cotton Mather's most repellent habit to
modern readers is his overloading his pages with quotations in foreign
languages, especially in Latin. He thus makes a pedantic display of his
wide reading.

He is not always accurate in his presentation of historical or biographical
matter, but in spite of all that can be said against the _Magnalia_, it is
a vigorous presentation of much that we should not willingly let die. In
fact, when we read the early history of New England, we are frequently
getting from the _Magnalia_ many things in changed form without ever
suspecting the source.


LIFE AND WRITINGS.--Jonathan Edwards, who ranks among the world's greatest
theologians and metaphysicians, was born in 1703 in East Windsor,
Connecticut. Like Cotton Mather, Edwards was precocious, entering Yale
before he was thirteen. The year previous to his going to college, he wrote
a paper on spiders, showing careful scientific observation and argument.
This paper has been called "one of the rarest specimens of precocious
scientific genius on record." At fourteen, he read Locke's _Essay on the
Human Understanding_, receiving from it, he says, higher pleasure "than the
most greedy miser finds when gathering up handfuls of silver and gold from
some newly discovered treasure." Before he was seventeen, he had graduated
from Yale, and he had become a tutor there before he was twenty-one.

Like Dante, he had a Beatrice. Thinking of her, he wrote this prose hymn of
a maiden's love for the Divine Power:--

  "They say there is a young lady in New Haven who is beloved of that great
  Being who made and rules the world, and there are certain seasons in
  which this great Being, in some way or other invisible, comes to her and
  fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight, and that she hardly cares
  for anything except to meditate on Him, that she expects after a while to
  be received up where He is, to be raised up out of the world and caught
  up into heaven, being assured that He loves her too well to let her
  remain at a distance from Him always. She will sometimes go about from
  place to place singing sweetly, and seems to be always full of joy and
  pleasure, and no one knows for what. She loves to be alone, walking in
  the fields and groves, and seems to have some one invisible always
  conversing with her"

(First Church, Northampton, Mass)]

Jonathan Edwards thus places before us Sarah Pierrepont, a New England
Puritan maiden. To note the similarity of thought between the Old Puritan
England and the New, let us turn to the maiden in Milton's Comus:--

  "A thousand liveried angels lackey her,
   Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt,
   And in clear dream and solemn vision,
   Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear,
   Till oft converse with heav'nly habitants
   Begin to cast a beam on th'outward shape,
   The unpolluted temple of the mind,
   And turns it by degrees to the soul's essence,
   Till all be made immortal."

Unlike Dante, Edwards married his Beatrice at the age of seventeen. In
1727, the year of his marriage, he became pastor of the church in
Northampton, Massachusetts. With the aid of his wife, he inaugurated the
greatest religious revival of the century, known as the "Great Awakening,"
which spread to other colonial churches, crossed the ocean, and stimulated
Wesley to call sinners to repentance.

Early in life, Edwards formed a series of resolutions, three of which

"To live with all my might, while I do live."

"Never to do anything, which, if I should see in another, I should count a
just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of

"Never, henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but
entirely and altogether God's."

He earnestly tried to keep these resolutions until the end. After a
successful pastorate of twenty-three years at Northampton, the church
dismissed him for no fault of his own.

Like Dante, he was driven into exile, and he went from Northampton to the
frontier town of Stockbridge, where he remained for seven years as a
missionary to the Indians. His wife and daughters did their utmost to add
to the family income, and some contributions were sent him from Scotland,
but he was so poor that he wrote his books on the backs of letters and on
the blank margins cut from newspapers. His fame was not swallowed up in the
wilderness. Princeton College called him to its presidency in 1757. He died
in that office in 1758, after less than three months' service in his new
position. His wife was still in Stockbridge when he passed away. "Tell
her," he said to his daughter, "that the uncommon union which has so long
subsisted between us has been of such a nature as I trust is spiritual, and
therefore will continue forever." In September of the same year she came to
lie beside him in the graveyard at Princeton.

In 1900, the church that had dismissed him one hundred and fifty years
before placed on its walls a bronze tablet in his memory, with the noble
inscription from _Malachi_ ii., 6.

As a writer, Jonathan Edwards won fame in three fields. He is (1) America's
greatest metaphysician, (2) her greatest theologian, and (3) a unique
poetic interpreter of the universe as a manifestation of the divine love.

His best known metaphysical work is _The Freedom of the Will_ (1754). The
central point of this work is that the will is determined by the strongest
motive, that it is "repugnant to reason that one act of the will should
come into existence without a cause." He boldly says that God is free to do
only what is right. Edwards emphasizes the higher freedom, gained through
repeated acts of the right kind, until both the inclination and the power
to do wrong disappear.

As a theologian, America has not yet produced his superior. His _Treatise
concerning the Religious Affections_, his account of the Great Awakening,
called _Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God_, and _Thoughts on
the Revival_, as well as his more distinctly technical theological works,
show his ability in this field. Unfortunately, he did not rise superior to
the Puritan custom of preaching about hell fire. He delivered on that
subject a sermon which causes modern readers to shudder; but this, although
the most often quoted, is the least typical of the man and his writings.
Those in search of really typical statements of his theology will find them
in such specimens as, "God and real existence is the same. God is and there
is nothing else." He was a theological idealist, believing that all the
varied phenomena of the universe are "constantly proceeding from God, as
light from the sun." Such statements suggest Shelley's lines, which tell

  "... the one Spirit's plastic stress
   Sweeps through the dull dense world compelling there
   All new successions to the forms they wear."

Dr. Allen, Edwards's biographer and critic, and a careful student of his
unpublished, as well as of his published, writings, says, "He was at his
best and greatest, most original and creative, when he described the divine
love." Such passages as the following, and also the one quoted on page 51,
show this quality:--

  "When we behold the fragrant rose and lily, we see His love and purity.
  So the green trees and fields and singing of birds are the emanations of
  His infinite joy and benignity. The easiness and naturalness of trees and
  vines are shadows of His beauty and loveliness."

His favorite text was, "I am the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the
valleys," and his favorite words were "sweet and bright."


The great English writers between the colonization of Jamestown in 1607 and
the outbreak of the French and Indian War in 1754 are: (1) JOHN MILTON
(1608-1674), the great poetic spokesman of Puritan England, whose _Comus_
is addressed to those, who:--

  "... by due steps aspire
   To lay their just hands on that golden key
   That opes the palace of eternity,"

whose _Sonnets_ breathe a purposeful prayer to live this life as ever in
his great Taskmaster's eye, and whose _Paradise Lost_ is the colossal epic
of the loss of Eden through sin; (2) JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688), whose
_Pilgrim's Progress_ addressed itself in simple, earnest English to each
individual human being, telling him what he must do to escape the City of
Destruction and to reach the City of All Delight; (3) JOHN DRYDEN
(1631-1700), a master in the field of satiric and didactic verse and one of
the pioneers in the field of modern prose criticism; (4) ALEXANDER POPE
(1688-1744), another poet of the satiric and didactic school, who exalted
form above matter, and wrote polished couplets which have been models for
so many inferior poets; (5) the essayists, RICHARD STEELE (1672-1729) and
JOSEPH ADDISON (1672-1719), the latter being especially noted for the easy,
flowing prose of his papers in the _Spectator_; (6) JONATHAN SWIFT
(1667-1745), a master of prose satire, whose _Gulliver's Travels_ has not
lost its fascination; (7) DANIEL DEFOE (1661?-1731) whose _Robinson Crusoe_
continues to increase in popularity; (8) SAMUEL RICHARDSON (1689-1761), and
HENRY FIELDING (1707-1754), the two great mid-eighteenth-century novelists.

The colonial literature of this period was influenced only in a very minor
degree by the work of these men, for a generation usually passed before the
influence of contemporary English authors appeared in American literature.
In the next chapter, we shall see evidences of the influence of Pope.
Benjamin Franklin will tell us how Bunyan and Addison were his teachers,
and the early fiction will show its indebtedness to the work of Samuel


Virginia and Massachusetts produced the most of our colonial literature.
There were, however, thirteen colonies stretched along the seaboard from
Georgia (1733), the last to be founded, to Canada. Although these colonies
were established under different grants or charters, and although some had
more liberty and suffered less from the interference of England than
others, it is nevertheless true that every colony was a school for a
self-governing democracy. No colonies elsewhere in the world had the same
amount of liberty. This period was a necessary preparation for the coming

We must not suppose that there was complete liberty in those days. Such a
state has not been reached even in the twentieth century. The early
government of Virginia was largely aristocratic; that of Massachusetts,
theocratic. Virginia persecuted the Puritans. The early settlers of
Massachusetts drove out Roger Williams and hanged Quakers. New York
persecuted those who did not join the Church of England. The central truth,
however, is that these thirteen colonies were making the greatest of all
world experiments in democracy and liberty.

The important colony of New Netherland (New York) was settled by the Dutch
early in the seventeenth century. They established an aristocracy with
great landed estates along the Hudson. The student of literature is
specially interested in this colony because Washington Irving (p. 112) has
invested it with a halo of romance. He shows us the sturdy Knickerbockers,
the Van Cortlands, the Van Dycks, the Van Wycks, and other chivalrous Dutch
burghers, sitting in perfect silence, puffing their pipes, and thinking of
nothing for hours together in those "days of simplicity and sunshine." For
literary reasons it is well that this was not made an English colony until
the Duke of York took possession of it in 1664.

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the colonists in the middle and
northern part of the country divided their energies almost equally between
trade and agriculture. At the South, agriculture was the chief occupation
and tobacco and rice were the two leading staples. These were produced
principally by the labor of negro slaves. There were also many indentured
servants at the South, where the dividing lines between the different
classes were most strongly marked.

Up to 1700 the history of each colony is practically that of a separate
unit. Almost all the colonies had trouble with Indians and royal governors.
Pirates, rapacious politicians, religious matters, or witchcraft were
sometimes sources of disturbance. All knew the hard labor and the
privations involved in subduing the wilderness and making permanent
settlements in a new land. History tells of the abandonment of many other
colonies and of the subjugation of many other races, but no difficulty and
no foe daunted this Anglo-Saxon stock.

In 1700 the population of New England was estimated at about one hundred
and ten thousand. In 1754, the beginning of the French and Indian War,
Connecticut alone had that number, while all New England probably had at
this time nearly four hundred thousand. The middle colonies began the
eighteenth century with about fifty-nine thousand and grew by the middle of
the century to about three hundred and fifty-five thousand. During the same
period, the southern group increased from about ninety thousand to six
hundred thousand. By 1750 the thirteen colonies probably had a total
population of nearly fourteen hundred thousand. Since no census was taken
until 1790, these figures are only approximately correct.

Such development serves to show the trend of coming events. This remarkable
increase in population soon caused numbers to go farther west. This
movement resulted in collision with the French, who were at this time
holding the central part of the country, from the Gulf into Canada. One
other result followed. The colonies began to seem valuable to England
because they furnished a market for English manufactures and a carrying
trade for English ships. The previous comparative insignificance of the
colonies and the trouble in England had served to protect them, but their
trade had now assumed a proportion that made the mother country realize
what a valuable commercial asset she would have if she regulated the
colonies in her own interest.


In this chapter we have traced the history of American colonial literature
from the foundation of the Jamestown Colony until 1754. Before 1607
Chaucer, Spenser, and Shakespeare had written, and before 1620 the King
James version of the _Bible_ had been produced. England had, therefore, a
wonderful literature before her colonies came to America. They were the
heirs of all that the English race had previously accomplished; and they
brought to these shores an Elizabethan initiative, ingenuity, and
democratic spirit.

The Virginia colony was founded, as colonies usually are, for a commercial
reason. The Virginians and the other southern colonists lived more by
agriculture, were more widely scattered, had fewer schools, more slaves,
and less town life than the New Englanders. Under the influence of a
commanding clergy, common schools, and the stimulus of town life, the New
England colony produced more literature.

The chief early writers of Virginia are: (1) Captain John Smith, who
described the country and the Indians, and gave to literature the story of
Pocahontas, thereby disclosing a new world to the imagination of writers;
(2) William Strachey, who outranks contemporary colonial writers in
describing the wrath of the sea, and who may even have furnished a
suggestion to Shakespeare for _The Tempest_; (3) two poets, (a) George
Sandys, who translated part of Ovid, and (b) the unknown author of the
elegy on Nathaniel Bacon; and (4) Robert Beverly and William Byrd, who gave
interesting descriptions of early Virginia.

The chief colonial writers of New England are: (1) William Bradford, whose
_History of Plymouth Plantation_ tells the story of the first Pilgrim
colony; (2) John Winthrop, who wrote in his _Journal_ the early history of
the Massachusetts Bay Colony; (3) the poets, including (a) the translators
of the _Bay Psalm Book_, the first volume of so-called verse printed in the
British American colonies, (b) Wigglesworth, whose _Day of Doom_, was a
poetic exposition of Calvinistic theology, (c) Anne Bradstreet, who wrote a
small amount of genuine poetry, after she had passed from the influence of
the "fantastic" school of poets; (4) Nathaniel Ward, the author of _The
Simple Cobbler of Agawam_, an attempt to mend human ways; (5) Samuel
Sewall, New England's greatest colonial diarist; (6) Cotton Mather, the
most famous clerical writer, whose _Magnalia_ is a compound of early
colonial history and biography, sometimes written in a "fantastic" style;
(7) Jonathan Edwards, America's greatest metaphysician and theologian, who
maintained that the action of the human will is determined by the strongest
motive, that the substance of this universe is nothing but "the divine
Idea," communicated to human consciousness, and who could invest spiritual
truth with the beauty of the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the valleys.

The New England colonist came to America because of religious feeling. His
religion was to him a matter of eternal life or eternal death. From the
modern point of view, this religion may seem too inflexibly stern, too
little illumined by the spirit of love, too much darkened by the shadow of
eternal punishment, but unless that religion had communicated something of
its own dominating inflexibility to the colonist, he would never have
braved the ocean, the wilderness, the Indians; he would never have flung
the gauntlet down to tyranny at Lexington and Concord.

The greatest lesson taught by colonial literature, by men like Bradford,
Winthrop, Edwards, and the New England clergy in general, is moral heroism,
the determination to follow the shining path of the Eternal over the wave
and through the forest to a new temple of human liberty. Their aspiration,
endeavor, suffering, accomplishment, should strengthen our faith in the
worth of those spiritual realities which are not quoted in the markets of
the world, but which alone possess imperishable value.



ENGLISH HISTORY.--In either Gardiner's _Students' History of England_,
Walker's _Essentials in English History_, Andrews's _History of England_,
or Cheney's _Short History of England_, read the chapters dealing with the
time of Elizabeth, James I., Charles I., the Commonwealth, Charles II.,
James II., William and Mary, Anne, George I. and II. A work like Halleck's
_History of English Literature_, covering these periods, should be read.

AMERICAN HISTORY.--Read the account from the earliest times to the outbreak
of the French and Indian War in any of the following:--

Thwaites's _The Colonists_, 1492-1750.

Fisher's _Colonial Era_.

Lodge's _A Short History of the English Colonies in America_.

Doyle's _The English in America_.

Hart's _Essentials in American History_.

Channing's _A Students' History of the United States_.

Eggleston's _A Larger History of the United States of America_.

James and Sanford's _American History_.

For an account of special colonies, consult the volumes in _American
Commonwealths_ series, and also,

Fiske's _Beginnings of New England_, _The Dutch and Quaker Colonies in
America_, _Old Virginia and Her Neighbors_.


Tyler's _A History of American Literature during the Colonial Time_, 2

Otis's _American Verse_, 1625-1807.

Richardson's _American Literature_, 2 vols.

Trent's _A History of American Literature_, 1607-1865.

Wendell's _History of Literature in America_.

_Narratives of Early Virginia_, edited by Tyler.

Bradford's _History of Plymouth Plantation_. New edition, edited by Davis.
(Scribner, 1908.)

Winthrop's _Journal_ ("History of New England"). New edition, edited by
Hosmer, 2 vols., (Scribner, 1908.)

Chamberlain's _Samuel Sewall and the World He Lived in_.

Lodge's "A Puritan Pepys" (Sewall) in _Studies in History_.

Campbell's _Anne Bradstreet and her Time_.

Twichell's _John Winthrop_.

Walker's _Thomas Hooker_.

Wendell's _Life of Cotton Mather_.

Allen's _Life of Jonathan Edwards_.

Gardiner's _Jonathan Edwards, a Retrospect_.


The following volumes of selections from American Literature will be
referred to either by the last name of the author, or, if there are more
authors than one, by the initials of the last names:--

Cairns's _Selections from Early American Writers_, 1607-1800. (Macmillan.)

Trent and Wells's _Colonial Prose and Poetry_, 3 vols., 1607-1775.

Stedman and Hutchinson's _A Library of American Literature_, 1608-1890, 11
vols. (Benjamin.)

Carpenter's _American Prose Selections_. (Macmillan.)

Trent's _Southern Writers: Selections in Prose and Verse_. (Macmillan.)

At least one of the selections indicated for each author should be read.

JOHN SMITH.--The Beginnings of Jamestown (from _A True Relation of
Virginia_, 1608); The Religious Observances of the Indians (from _A Map of
Virginia_, published in 1612), Cairns, pp. 2-4, 10-14; The Romance of
Pocahontas (from _The General History of Virginia_, 1624), S. & H., Vol.
I., pp. 10-17; T. & W., Vol. I., pp. 12-22.

WILLIAM STRACHEY.--Read the selection from _A True Repertory of the Wrack
and Redemption of Sir Thomas Gates_, in Cairns, 19-26.

POETRY IN THE VIRGINIA COLONY.--For George Sandys, see pp. 51-58 in Vol. I.
of Tyler's _A History of American Literature during the Colonial Time_.

For the elegy on the death of Nathaniel Bacon, see Tyler, Vol. I., 78, 79;
Cairns, 185-188; T. & W., II., 166-169; S. & H., I., 456-458; Trent, 12-14.

DESCRIPTIONS OF VIRGINIA.--The best selection from Beverly's _History and
Present State of Virginia_ may be found in T. & W., II., 354-360. See also
Trent, 16-18; S. & H., II., 270-272.

For selections from Byrd's _History of the Dividing Line_, see Cairns,
_passim_, 259-272; Trent, 19-22; T. & W., III., 23-32; S. & H., II.,

WILLIAM BRADFORD.--The Voyage of the Mayflower, Cairns, 31-35; Early
Difficulties of the Pilgrim Fathers, T. & W., I., 42-45; The Communal
System Abandoned, T. & W., I., 46-49; The Landing of the Pilgrims and their
Settlement at Plymouth, S. & H., L, 124-130.

JOHN WINTHROP.--Twenty-five entries from his _Journal_ or _History of New
England_ are given in Cairns, 44-48, and fourteen in T. & W., I., 99-105.

His famous speech on _Liberty_ may be found in T. & W., I., 106-116; in S.
& H., I., 302-303; and in Cairns, 50-53.

EARLY NEW ENGLAND VERSE.--The selection in the text (p. 38) from the _Bay
Psalm Book_ is sufficient.

For Wigglesworth's _Day of Doom_, see Cairns, 166-177; T. & W., II., 54-60;
S. & H., _passim_, II., 3-16.

Anne Bradstreet's best poem, _Contemplations_, may be found in Cairns,
154-162; T. & W., I., 280-283; S. & H., I., 314, 315.

WARD'S SIMPLE COBBLER OF AGAWAM.--His view of religious toleration is given
in Cairns, 113-118, and T. & W., I., 253-259. For the satiric essay on
women's fashions, see Cairns, 119-124; T. & W., I., 260-266; S. & H. I.,

SAMUEL SEWALL.--Cairns, 240-243, gives from the _Diary_ the events of a
month. Notes on the Witchcraft Persecution and his prayer of repentance for
"the blame and shame of it" may be found in T. & W., II., 294-296. The
record of his courtship of Madam Winthrop is given in Cairns, 245-249; T. &
W., II., 304-319; and S. & H., II., 192-200. For his early anti-slavery
tract, see T. & W., II., 320-326; S. & H., II., 189-192.

COTTON MATHER.--His fantastic life of Mr. Ralph Partridge from the
_Magnalia_ is given in Cairns, 228, 229. The interesting story of the New
England argonaut, Sir William Phips, may be found in T. & W., II., 257-266,
and in S. & H., II., 143-149. One of his best biographies is that of Thomas
Hooker, S. & H., II., 149-156.

JONATHAN EDWARDS.--For a specimen of an almost poetic exposition of the
divine love, read the selection in Cairns, 280, 281; T. & W., III., 148,
149; S. & H., II., 374; and Carpenter, 16, 17, beginning, "I am the Rose of
Sharon and the Lily of the valleys." Selections from his _Freedom of the
Will_ are given in Cairns. 291-294; T. & W., III., 185-187; and S. & H.,
II., 404-407 (the best).


Is Captain John Smith more remarkable for chronicling what passed before
his senses or for explaining what he saw? How does his account of the
Indians (p. 18 of this text) compare with modern accounts? Is he apparently
a novice, or somewhat skilled in writing prose? Does he seem to you to be a
romancer or a narrator of a plain unvarnished tale?

Compare Strachey's storm at sea with _Act I._ of Shakespeare's _Tempest_.
In what part of this _Act_ and under what circumstances does he mention
"the still-vex'd Bermoothes"?

Compare the ability of the three great early colonizers, Smith, Bradford,
and Winthrop, in writing narrative prose. Smith's story of Pocahontas is
easily accessible. Those who can find the complete works of Bradford and
Winthrop may select from Bradford for comparison his story of Squanto, the
Pilgrims' tame Indian. Winthrop's _Journal_ contains many specimens of
brief narrative, such as the story of the voyage across the Atlantic from
March 29 to June 14, 1630; of Winthrop's losing himself in the wood,
October 11, 1631; of shipwreck on the Isle of Shoals, August 16, 1635; of
an indentured servant, March 8, 1636; of an adventure with Indians, July
20-30, August 24, and October 8, 1636. Those without opportunity to consult
the works of Bradford and Winthrop will find in the books of selections
sufficient material for comparison.

Is brevity or prolixity a quality of these early narrators? What English
prose written before 1640 is superior to the work of these three men? Why
is it especially important for Americans to know something of their
writings? What advance in prose narrative do you find in Beverly and Byrd?

What characteristic of a famous English prose writer of the nineteenth
century is noticeable in Ward's essay on fashions?

Why could fine poetry not be reasonably expected in early Virginia and New
England? What are some of the Calvinistic tenets expounded in
Wigglesworth's _Day of Doom?_ Choose the best two short selections of
colonial poetry.

What are some of the qualifications of a good diarist? Which of these do
you find in the _Diary_ of Samuel Sewall?

Point out some of the fantastic prose expressions of Cotton Mather. Compare
his narrative of Captain Phips with the work of Smith, Bradford, and
Winthrop, on the one hand, and of Beverly and Byrd, on the other.

Compare the theology in Edwards's "Rose of Sharon" selection (p. 54) with
that in Wigglesworth's _Day of Doom._ Why may this selection from Edwards
be called a "poetic exposition of the divine love"? What is his view of the
freedom of the will?



PROGRESS TOWARD NATIONALITY.--The French and Indian War, which began in
1754, served its purpose in making the colonists feel that they were one
people. At this time most of them were living on the seacoast from Georgia
to Maine, and had not yet even crossed the great Appalachian range of
mountains. The chief men of one colony knew little of the leaders in the
other colonies. This war made George Washington known outside of Virginia.
There was not much interchange of literature between the two leading
colonies, Virginia and Massachusetts. Prior to this time, the other
colonies had not produced much that had literary value. No national
literature could be written until the colonists were welded together.

The French and Indian War, which decided whether France or England was to
be supreme in America, exposed the colonists to a common danger. They
fought side by side against the French and Indians, and learned that the
defeat of one was the defeat of all. After a desperate struggle France
lost, and the Anglo-Saxon race was dominant on the new continent. By the
treaty of Paris, signed in 1763, England became the possessor of Canada and
the land east of the Mississippi River.

THE REVOLUTION.--All of the colonies had been under English rule, although
they had in large part managed in one way or another to govern
themselves. At the close of the French and Indian War, the colonists had
not thought of breaking away from England, although they had learned the
lesson of union against a common foe. George III. came to the throne in
1760. By temperament he was unusually adapted to play his part in
changing the New World's history. He was determined to rule according to
his own personal inclinations. He dominated his cabinet and controlled
Parliament by bribery. He decided that the American colonies should feel
the weight of his authority, and in 1763 his prime minister, George
Grenville, undertook to execute measures in restraint of colonial trade.
Numbers of commodities, like tobacco, for instance, could not be traded
with France or Spain or Holland, but must be sent to England. If there
was any profit to be made in selling goods to foreign nations, England
would make that profit. He also planned to tax the colonists and to
quarter British troops among them. These measures aroused the colonies
to armed resistance and led to the Revolutionary War, which began in

Freneau (p. 96), a poet of the Revolution, thus expresses in verse some of
these events:--

  "When a certain great king, whose initial is G,
   Shall force stamps upon paper and folks to drink tea;
   When these folks burn his tea and stampt paper like stubble,
   You may guess that this king is then coming to trouble."


The pen helped to prepare the way for the sword and to arouse and prolong
the enthusiasm of those who had taken arms. Before the battle of Lexington
(1775), writers were busy on both sides of the dispute, for no great
movement begins without opposition. Many colonists did not favor resistance
to England. Even at the time of the first battle, comparatively few wished
absolute separation from the mother country.

THOMAS PAINE (1737-1809) was an Englishman who came to America in 1774 and
speedily made himself master of colonial thought and feeling. Early in 1776
he published a pamphlet entitled _Common Sense,_ which advocated complete
political independence of England. The sledge hammer blows which he struck
hastened the _Declaration of Independence._ Note the energy, the
directness, and the employment of the concrete method in the following:--

[Illustration: THOMAS PAINE]

  "But Britain is the parent country, say some. Then the more shame upon
  her conduct. Even brutes do not devour their young, nor savages make war
  upon their families; wherefore, the assertion, if true, turns to her
  reproach.... This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted
  lovers of civil and religious liberty from _every part_ of Europe. Hither
  have they fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the
  cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same
  tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their
  descendants still."

In the latter part of 1776 Washington wrote, "If every nerve is not
strained to recruit the new army with all possible expedition, I think the
game is pretty nearly up." In those gloomy days, sharing the privations of
the army, Thomas Paine wrote the first number of an irregularly issued
periodical, known as the _Crisis_, beginning:--

  "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the
  sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his
  country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man
  and woman."

Some have said that the pen of Thomas Paine was worth more to the cause of
liberty than twenty thousand men. In the darkest hours he inspired the
colonists with hope and enthusiasm. Whenever the times seemed to demand
another number of the _Crisis_, it was forthcoming. Sixteen of these
appeared during the progress of the struggle for liberty. He had an almost
Shakespearean intuition of what would appeal to the exigencies of each
case. After the Americans had triumphed, he went abroad to aid the French,
saying, "Where Liberty is not, there is my home." He died in America in
1809. He is unfortunately more remembered for his skeptical _Age of Reason_
than for his splendid services to the cause of liberty.

[Illustration: THOMAS JEFFERSON]

THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), the third President of the United States,
wrote much political prose and many letters, which have been gathered into
ten large volumes. Ignoring these, he left directions that the words,
"Author of the Declaration of American Independence," should immediately
follow his name on his monument. No other American prose writer has, in an
equal number of words, yet surpassed this _Declaration of Independence_.
Its influence has encircled the world and modified the opinions of nations
as widely separated as the French and the Japanese.

Jefferson may have borrowed some of his ideas from _Magna Charta_
(1215) and the _Petition of Right_ (1628); he may have incorporated
in this _Declaration_ the yearnings that thousands of human souls had
already felt, but he voiced those yearnings so well that his utterances
have become classic. It has been said that he "poured the soul of the
continent" into that _Declaration_, but he did more than that. He poured
into it the soul of all freedom-loving humanity, and he was accepted as the
spokesman of the dweller on the Seine as enthusiastically as of the
revolutionists in America. Those who have misconstrued the meaning of his
famous expression, "All men are created equal" have been met with the
adequate reply, "No intelligent man has ever misconstrued it except

America has no _Beowulf_ celebrating the slaying of land-devastating
monsters, but she has in this _Declaration_ a deathless battle song against
the monsters that would throttle Liberty. Outside of Holy Writ, what words
are more familiar to our ears than these?--

  "We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal;
  that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights;
  that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That,
  to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving
  their just powers from the consent of the governed."

Every student will find his comprehension of American literature aided by a
careful study of this _Declaration_. This trumpet-tongued declaration of
the fact that every man has an equal right with every other man to his own
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness has served as an ideal to
inspire some of the best things in our literature. This ideal has not yet
been completely reached, but it is finding expression in every effort for
the social and moral improvements of our population. Jefferson went a step
beyond the old Puritans in maintaining that happiness is a worthy object of
pursuit. Modern altruists are also working on this line, demanding a fuller
moral and industrial liberty, and endeavoring to develop a more widespread
capacity for happiness.

ALEXANDER HAMILTON (1757-1804), because of his wonderful youthful
precocity, reminds us of Jonathan Edwards (p. 50). In 1774, at the age of
seventeen, Hamilton wrote in answer to a Tory who maintained that England
had given New York no charter of rights, and that she could not complain
that her rights had been taken away:--

  "The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old
  parchments or musty records. They are written as with a sunbeam, in the
  whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the Divinity itself, and can
  never be erased or obscured by mortal power."


A profound student of American constitutional history says of Hamilton's
pamphlets: "They show great maturity, a more remarkable maturity than has
ever been exhibited by any other person, at so early an age, in the same
department of thought."

After the Americans were victorious in the war, Hamilton suggested that a
constitutional convention be called. For seven years this suggestion was
not followed, but in 1787 delegates met from various states and framed a
federal constitution to be submitted to the states for ratification.
Hamilton was one of the leading delegates. After the convention had
completed its work, it seemed probable that the states would reject the
proposed constitution. To win its acceptance, Hamilton, in collaboration
with JAMES MADISON (1751-1836) and JOHN JAY (1745-1829), wrote the famous
_Federalist_ papers. There were eighty-five of these, but Hamilton wrote
more than both of his associates together. These papers have been collected
into a volume, and to this day they form a standard commentary on our
Constitution. This work and Hamilton's eloquence before the New York
convention for ratification helped to carry the day for the Constitution
and to terminate a period of dissension which was tending toward anarchy.


There are times in the history of a nation when there is unusual need for
the orator to persuade, to arouse, and to encourage his countrymen. Many
influential colonists disapproved of the Revolution; they wrote against it
and talked against it. When the war progressed slowly, entailing not only
severe pecuniary loss but also actual suffering to the revolutionists, many
lost their former enthusiasm and were willing to have peace at any price.
At this period in our history the orator was as necessary as the soldier.
Orators helped to launch the Revolution, to continue the war, and, after it
was finished, to give the country united constitutional government. It will
be instructive to make the acquaintance of some of these orators and to
learn the secret of their power.

JAMES OTIS (1725-1783) was born in Massachusetts and educated at Harvard.
He studied literature for two years after he graduated and then became a
lawyer. He was appointed to the position of king's advocate-general, a
high-salaried office. There came an order from England, allowing the king's
officers to search the houses of Americans at any time on mere suspicion of
the concealment of smuggled goods. Otis resigned his office and took the
side of the colonists, attacking the constitutionality of a law that
allowed the right of unlimited search and that was really designed to
curtail the trade of the colonies. He had the advantage of many modern
orators in having something to say on his subject, in feeling deeply
interested in it, and in talking to people who were also interested in the
same thing. Without these three essentials, there cannot be oratory of the
highest kind. We can imagine the voice of Otis trembling with feeling as he
said in 1761:--

[Illustration: JAMES OTIS]

  "Now one of the most essential branches of English liberty is the freedom
  of one's house. A man's house is his castle; and whilst he is quiet, he
  is as well guarded as a prince in his castle. This writ, if it should be
  declared legal, would totally annihilate this privilege. Custom-house
  officers may enter our houses, when they please; we are commanded to
  permit their entry. Their menial servants may enter, may break locks,
  bars, and everything in their way; and whether they break through malice
  or revenge, no man, no court, can inquire."

We may to-day be more interested in other things than in the homes and
unrestricted trade of our colonial ancestors, but Otis was willing to give
up a lucrative office to speak for the rights of the humblest cottager. He,
like the majority of the orators of the Revolution, also possessed another
quality, often foreign to the modern orator. What this quality is will
appear in this quotation from his speech:--

  "Let the consequences be what they will, I am determined to proceed. The
  only principles of public conduct that are worthy of a gentleman or a man
  are to sacrifice estate, ease, health, and applause, and even life, to
  the sacred calls of his country. These manly sentiments, in private life,
  make the good citizen; in public life, the patriot and the hero."

John Adams, who became the second President of the United States, listened
to this speech for five hours, and called Otis "a flame of fire." "Then and
there," said Adams, with pardonable exaggeration, "the child Independence
was born."

PATRICK HENRY (1736-1799), a young Virginia lawyer, stood before the First
Continental Congress, in 1774, saying:--

[Illustration: PATRICK HENRY]

  "Where are your landmarks, your boundaries of Colonies? The distinctions
  between Virginians, New Yorkers, and New Englanders are no more. I am not
  a Virginian, but an American."

These words had electrical effect on the minds of his listeners, and helped
to weld the colonies together. In 1775 we can hear him again speaking
before a Virginian Convention of Delegates:--

  "Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope.
  We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the
  song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts....

  "I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of
  experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past.
  And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the
  conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years, to justify those
  hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the
  House? ...

  "Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they
  have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price
  of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course
  others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death."

It is hardly too much to say that these words have communicated to the
entire American nation an intenser desire for liberty, that their effect
has not yet passed away, and that they may during the coming centuries
serve to awaken Americans in many a crisis.

SAMUEL ADAMS (1722-1803), a Bostonian and graduate of Harvard, probably
gave his time in fuller measure to the cause of independence than any other
writer or speaker. For nine years he was a member of the Continental
Congress. When there was talk of peace between the colonies and the mother
country, he had the distinction of being one of two Americans for whom
England proclaimed in advance that there would be no amnesty granted. We
can seem to hear him in 1776 in the Philadelphia State House, replying to
the argument that the colonists should obey England, since they were her

[Illustration: SAMUEL ADAMS]

  "Who among you, my countrymen, that is a father, would claim authority to
  make your child a slave because you had nourished him in his infancy?"

After he had signed the _Declaration of Independence,_ he spoke to the
Pennsylvanians like a Puritan of old:--

  "We have explored the temple of royalty, and found that the idol we have
  bowed down to has eyes which see not, ears that hear not our prayer, and
  a heart like the nether millstone. We have this day restored the
  Sovereign, to whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven,
  and with a propitious eye beholds His subjects assuming that freedom of
  thought and dignity of self-direction which He bestowed on them."

These sentences plainly show the influence of biblical thought and diction.
A century before, this compound of patriot, politician, orator, and
statesman would also have been a clergyman.

An examination of these three typical orators of the Revolution will show
that they gained their power (1) from intense interest in their subject
matter, (2) from masterful knowledge of that matter, due either to
first-hand acquaintance with it or to liberal culture or to both, (3) from
the fact that the subject of their orations appealed forcibly to the
interest of that special time, (4) from their character and personality.
Most of what they said makes dry reading to-day, but we shall occasionally
find passages, like Patrick Henry's apotheosis of liberty, which speak to
the ear of all time and which have in them something of a Homeric or
Miltonic ring.

of the Revolution was a clergyman. The power of the clergy in political
affairs was declining, while the legal profession was becoming more and
more influential. James Otis, Patrick Henry, Alexander Hamilton, and John
Jay (p. 71) were lawyers. Life was becoming more diversified, and there
were avenues other than theology attractive to the educated man. At the
same time, we must remember that the clergy have never ceased to be a
mighty power in American life. They were not silent or uninfluential during
the Revolution. Soon after the battle of Bunker Hill, John Adams wrote from
Philadelphia to his wife in Boston, asking, "Does Mr. Wibird preach against
oppression and other cardinal vices of the time? Tell him the clergy here
of every denomination, not excepting the Episcopalian, thunder and lighten
every Sabbath."



AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND LIFE.--Franklin's _Autobiography_ stands first among
works of its kind in American literature. The young person who does not
read it misses both profit and entertainment. Some critics have called it
"the equal of Robinson Crusoe, one of the few everlasting books in the
English language." In this small volume, begun in 1771, Franklin tells us
that he was born in Boston in 1706, one of the seventeen children of a poor
tallow chandler, that his branch of the Franklin family had lived for three
hundred years or more in the village of Ecton, Northamptonshire, where the
head of the family, in Queen Mary's reign, read from an English _Bible_
concealed under a stool, while a child watched for the coming of the
officers. He relates how he attended school from the age of eight to ten,
when he had to leave to help his father mold and wick candles. His meager
schooling was in striking contrast to the Harvard education of Cotton
Mather and the Yale training of Jonathan Edwards, who was only three years
Franklin's senior. But no man reaches Franklin's fame without an education.
His early efforts to secure this are worth giving in his own language:--

  "From a child I was fond of reading, and all the little money that came
  into my hands was ever laid out in books. Pleased with the _Pilgrim's
  Progress_, my first collection was of John Bunyan's works in separate
  little volumes.... Plutarch's _Lives_ there was in which I read
  abundantly, and I still think that time spent to great advantage. There
  was also a book of De Foe's, called an _Essay on Projects_, and another
  of Dr. Mather's, called _Essays to do Good_, which perhaps gave me a turn
  of thinking that had an influence on some of the principal future events
  of my life.... Often I sat up in my room reading the greatest part of the

He relates how he taught himself to write by reading and reproducing in his
own language the papers from Addison's _Spectator_. Franklin says that the
"little ability" in writing, developed through his self-imposed tasks, was
a principal means of his advancement in after life.

He learned the printer's trade in Boston, and ran away at the age of
seventeen to Philadelphia, where he worked at the same trade. Keith, the
proprietary governor, took satanic pleasure in offering to purchase a
printing outfit for the eighteen-year-old boy, to make him independent.
Keith sent the boy to London to purchase this outfit, assuring him that the
proper letters to defray the cost would be sent on the same ship. No such
letters were ever written, and the boy found himself without money three
thousand miles from home. By working at the printer's trade he supported
himself for eighteen months in London. He relates how his companions at the
press drank six pints of strong beer a day, while he proved that the
"Water-American," as he was called, was stronger than any of them. The
workmen insisted that he should contribute to the general fund for drink.
He refused, but so many things happened to his type whenever he left the
room that he came to the following conclusion: "Notwithstanding the
master's protection, I found myself oblig'd to comply and pay the money,
convinc'd of the folly of being on ill terms with those one is to live with
continually." Such comments on the best ways of dealing with human nature
are frequent in the _Autobiography_.

At the age of twenty, he returned to Philadelphia, much wiser for his
experience. Here he soon had a printing establishment of his own. By
remarkable industry he had at the age of forty-two made sufficient money to
be able to retire from the active administration of this business. He
defined leisure as "time for doing something useful." When he secured this
leisure, he used it principally for the benefit of others. For this reason,
he could write in his _Autobiography_ at the age of seventy-six:--

  "... were it offered to my choice, I should have no objection to a
  repetition of the same life from its beginning, only asking the
  advantages authors have in a second edition, to correct some faults of
  the first. So I might, besides correcting the faults, change some
  sinister accidents and events of it for others more favorable. But though
  this were denied, I should still accept the offer. Since such a
  repetition is not to be expected, the next thing like living one's life
  over again seems to be a recollection of that life."

The twentieth century shows an awakened sense of civic responsibility, and
yet it would be difficult to name a man who has done more for his
commonwealth than Franklin. He started the first subscription library,
organized the first fire department, improved the postal service, helped to
pave and clean the streets, invented the Franklin stove, for which he
refused to take out a patent, took decided steps toward improving education
and founding the University of Pennsylvania, and helped establish a needed
public hospital. The _Autobiography_ shows his pleasure at being told that
there was no such thing as carrying through a public-spirited project
unless he was concerned in it.

His electrical discoveries, especially his identification of lightning with
electricity, gained him world-wide fame. Harvard and Yale gave him honorary
degrees. England made him a Fellow of the Royal Society and awarded him the
Copley Medal. The foremost scientists in France gave him enthusiastic

The _Autobiography_, ending with 1757, does not tell how he won his fame as
a statesman. In 1764 he went to England as colonial agent to protest
against the passage of the Stamp Act. All but two and one half of the next
twenty years he spent abroad, in England and France. The report of his
examination in the English House of Commons, relative to the repeal of the
Stamp Act, impressed both Europe and America with his wonderful capacity.
Never before had an American given Europe such an exhibition of knowledge,
powers of argument, and shrewdness, tempered with tact and good humor. In
1773 he increased his reputation as a writer and threw more light on
English colonial affairs by publishing, in London, _Rules for Reducing a
Great Empire to a Small One_, and _An Edict by the King of Prussia_.

In 1776, at the age of seventy, he became commissioner to the court of
France, where he remained until 1785. Every student of American history
knows the part he played there in popularizing the American Revolution,
until France aided us with her money and her navy. It is doubtful if any
man has ever been more popular away from home than Franklin was in France.
The French regarded him as "the personification of the rights of man." They
followed him on the streets, gave him almost frantic applause when he
appeared in public, put his portrait in nearly every house and on almost
every snuff box, and bought a Franklin stove for their houses.

He returned to Philadelphia in 1785, revered by his country. He was the
only man who had signed four of the most famous documents in American
history: the Declaration of Independence, the treaty of alliance with
France, the treaty of peace with England at the close of the Revolution,
and the Constitution of the United States. He had also become, as he
remains to-day, America's most widely read colonial writer. When he died in
1790, the American Congress and the National Assembly of France went into


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.--As an author, Franklin is best known for his
philosophy of the practical and the useful. Jonathan Edwards turned his
attention to the next world; Franklin, to this world. The gulf is as vast
between these two men as if they had lived on different planets. To the end
of his life, Franklin's energies were bent toward improving the conditions
of this mundane existence. He advises honesty, not because an eternal
spiritual law commands it, but because it is the best policy. He needs to
be supplemented by the great spiritual teachers. He must not be despised
for this reason, for the great spiritual forces fail when they neglect the
material foundations imposed on mortals. Franklin was as necessary as
Jonathan Edwards. Franklin knew the importance of those foundation habits,
without which higher morality is not possible. He impressed on men the
necessity of being regular, temperate, industrious, saving, of curbing
desire, and of avoiding vice. The very foundations of character rest on
regularity, on good habits so inflexibly formed that it is painful to break
them. Franklin's success in laying these foundations was phenomenal. His
_Poor Richard's Almanac_, begun in 1733, was one of his chief agencies in
reaching the common people. They read, reread, and acted on such proverbs
as the following, which he published in this _Almanac_ from year to year:--

[Footnote: The figures in parenthesis indicate the year of publication.]

"He has changed his one ey'd horse for a blind one" (1733).

"Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead" (1735).

"Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it" (1736).

"Fly pleasures and they'll follow you" (1738).

"Have you somewhat to do to-morrow; do it to-day" (1742).

"Tart words make no friends: a spoonful of honey will catch more flies than
a gallon of vinegar" (1744).

In 1757 Franklin gathered together what seemed to him the most striking of
these proverbs and published them as a preface to the _Almanac_ for 1758.
This preface, the most widely read of all his writings, has since been
known as _The Way to Wealth_. It had been translated into nearly all
European languages before the end of the nineteenth century. It is still
reprinted in whole or part almost every year by savings banks and societies
in France and England, as well as in the United States. "Dost thou love
life?" asks Poor Richard in _The Way to Wealth_. "Then," he continues, "do
not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of." Franklin modestly
disclaimed much originality in the selection of these proverbs, but it is
true that he made many of them more definite, incisive, and apt to lodge in
the memory. He has influenced, and he still continues to influence, the
industry and thrift of untold numbers. In one of our large cities, a branch
library, frequented by the humble and unlearned, reports that in one year
his _Autobiography_ was called for four hundred times, and a life of him,
containing many of Poor Richard's sayings, was asked for more than one
thousand times.

He is the first American writer to show a keen sense of humor. There may be
traces of humor in _The Simple Cobbler of Agawam_ (p. 41) and in Cotton
Mather (p. 46), but Franklin has a rich vein. He used this with fine effect
when he was colonial agent in England. He determined to make England see
herself from the American point of view, and so he published anonymously in
a newspaper _An Edict of the King of Prussia_. This _Edict_ proclaimed that
it was a matter of common knowledge that Britain had been settled by
Hengist and Horsa and other German colonists, and that, in consequence of
this fact, the King of Prussia had the right to regulate the commerce,
manufactures, taxes, and laws of the English. Franklin gave in this _Edict_
the same reasons and embodied the same restrictions, which seemed so
sensible to George III. and the Tories. Franklin was the guest of an
English Lord, when a man burst into the room with the newspaper containing
the _Edict_, saying, "Here's news for ye! Here's the King of Prussia
claiming a right to this kingdom!"

In writing English prose, Franklin was fortunate in receiving instruction
from Bunyan and Addison. The pleasure of reading Franklin's _Autobiography_
is increased by his simple, easy, natural way of relating events.
Simplicity, practicality, suggestiveness, common sense, were his leading
attributes. His sense of humor kept him from being tiresome and made him
realize that the half may be greater than the whole. The two people most
useful to the age in which they lived were George Washington and Benjamin

JOHN WOOLMAN, 1720-1772

A GREAT ALTRUIST.--This Quaker supplements Franklin in teaching that the
great aim in life should be to grow more capable of seeing those spiritual
realities which were before invisible. Life's most beautiful realities can
never be seen with the physical eye. The _Journal_ of John Woolman will
help one to increase his range of vision for what is best worth seeing. It
will broaden the reader's sympathies and develop a keener sense of
responsibility for lessening the misery of the world and for protecting
even the sparrow from falling. It will cultivate precisely that side of
human nature which stands most in need of development. To emphasize these
points, Charles Lamb said, "Get the writings of John Woolman by heart," and
Whittier wrote of Woolman's _Journal_, which he edited and made easily
accessible, "I have been awed and solemnized by the presence of a serene
and beautiful spirit redeemed of the Lord from all selfishness, and I have
been made thankful for the ability to recognize and the disposition to love

John Woolman was born of Quaker parentage in Northampton, New Jersey. He
never received much education. Early in life he became a shopkeeper's clerk
and then a tailor. This lack of early training and broad experience affects
his writings, which are not remarkable for ease of expression or for
imaginative reach; but their moral beauty and intensity more than
counterbalance such deficiencies.

A part of his time he spent traveling as an itinerant preacher. He tried to
get Quakers to give up their slaves, and he refused to write wills that
bequeathed slaves. He pleaded for compassion for overworked oxen and
horses. He journeyed among the Indians, and endeavored to improve their
condition. It cut him to the quick to see traders try to intoxicate them so
as to get their skins and furs for almost nothing. He took passage for
England in the steerage, and learned the troubles of the sailors. From this
voyage he never returned, but died in York in 1772.

In the year of his death, he made in his _Journal_ the following entry,
which is typical of his gentle, loving spirit:

  "So great is the hurry in the spirit of this world, that in aiming to do
  business quickly and to gain wealth, the creation at this day doth loudly

When a former president of Harvard issued a list of books for actual
reading, he put Franklin's _Autobiography_ first and John Woolman's
_Journal_ second. Franklin looked steadily at this world, Woolman at the
next. Each record is supplementary to the other.


THE FIRST ATTEMPTS.--MRS. SARAH MORTON published in Boston in 1789 a novel
entitled _The Power of Sympathy_. This is probably the first American novel
to appear in print. The reason for such a late appearance of native fiction
may be ascribed to the religious character of the early colonists and to
the ascendency of the clergy, who would not have tolerated novel reading by
members of their flocks. Jonathan Edwards complained that some of his
congregation were reading forbidden books, and he gave from the pulpit the
names of the guilty parties. These books were probably English novels. Sir
Leslie Stephen thinks that Richardson's _Pamela_ (1740) may have been one
of the books under the ban. There is little doubt that a Puritan church
member would have been disciplined if he had been known to be a reader of
some of Fielding's works, like _Joseph Andrews_ (1742). The Puritan clergy,
even at a later period, would not sanction the reading of novels unless
they were of the dry, vapid type, like the earliest Sunday school books.
Jonathan Edwards wrote the story of one of his youthful experiences, but it
was "the story of a spiritual experience so little involved with the earth,
that one might fancy it the story of a soul that had missed being born."

Timothy Dwight (p. 92), who became president of Yale in 1795, said that
there is a great gulf fixed between novels and the _Bible_. Even later than
1800 there was a widespread feeling that the reading of novels imperiled
the salvation of the soul. To-day we know that certain novels are as
dangerous to the soul as leprosy to the body, but we have become more
discriminating. We have learned that the right type of fiction, read in
moderation, cultivates the imagination, broadens the sympathetic powers,
and opens up a new, interesting, and easily accessible land of enjoyment.

A quarter of a century before the _Declaration of Independence_, the great
eighteenth-century English writers of fiction had given a new creation to
the literature of England. Samuel Richardson (1689-1761) had published
_Pamela_ in 1740 and _Clarissa Harlowe_ in 1748. Henry Fielding (1707-1754)
had given his immortal _Tom Jones_ to the world in 1749.

Mrs. Morton's _Power of Sympathy_, a novel written with a moral purpose, is
a poorly constructed story of characters whom we fortunately do not meet
outside of books. One of these characters, looking at some flowers
embroidered by the absent object of his affections, says, "It shall yield
more fragrance to my soul than all the bouquets in the universe."

The majority of the early novels, in aiming to teach some lesson, show
the influence of Samuel Richardson, the father of English fiction. This
didactic spirit appears in sober statement of the most self-evident
truths. "Death, my dear Maria, is a serious event," says the heroine of
one of these novels. Another characteristic is tepid or exaggerated
sentimentality. The heroine of _The Power of Sympathy_ dies of a broken
heart "in a lingering graceful manner."

At least twenty-two American novels had been published between 1789 and the
appearance of Charles Brockden Brown's _Wieland_ 1798. Only an antiquary
need linger over these. We must next study the causes that led to a
pronounced change in fiction.

fiction will show a breaking away from the classic or didactic school of
Samuel Richardson and a turning toward the new Gothic or romantic school.
To understand these terms, we must know something of the English influences
that led to this change.

For the first two thirds of the eighteenth century, English literature
shows the dominating influence of the classic school. Alexander Pope
(1688-1744) in poetry and Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) in prose were the most
influential of this school. They are called _classicists_ because they
looked to the old classic authors for their guiding rules. Horace, more
than any other classic writer, set the standard for poetry. Pope and his
followers cared more for the excellence of form than for the worth of the
thought. Their keynote was:--

  "True Wit is Nature to advantage dress'd,
   What oft was thought, but ne'er so well expressed."

[Footnote: Pope's _Essay on Criticism_, lines 297-8.]

In poetry the favorite form was a couplet, that is, two lines which rhymed
and usually made complete sense. This was not inaptly termed "rocking horse
meter." The prose writers loved the balanced antithetical sentences used by
Dr. Johnson in his comparison of Pope and Dryden:--

  "If the flights of Dryden, therefore, are higher, Pope continues longer
  on the wing.... Dryden is read with frequent astonishment and Pope with
  perpetual delight."

Such overemphasis placed on mere form tended to draw the attention of the
writer away from the matter. The American poetry of this period suffered
more than the prose from this formal influence.

Since the motto of the classicists was polished regularity, they avoided
the romantic, irregular, and improbable, and condemned the _Arabian
Nights_, _A Midsummer Night's Dream_, _The Tempest_, and other "monstrous
irregularities of Shakespeare." This school loved to teach and to point out
shortcomings, hence the terms "didactic" and "satiric" are often applied to

The last part of the eighteenth century showed a revolt against the
classicists. Victory came to the new romantic school, which included
authors like Wordsworth (1770-1850), Coleridge (1772-1834), Shelley
(1792-1822), and Keats (1795-1821). The terms "romantic" and "imaginative"
were at first in great measure synonymous. The romanticists maintained that
a reality of the imagination might be as satisfying and as important as a
reality of the prosaic reason, since the human mind had the power of
imagining as well as of thinking.

The term "Gothic" was first applied to fiction by Horace Walpole
(1717-1797), who gave to his famous romance the title of "_The Castle of
Otranto: A Gothic Romance_" (1764). "Gothic" is here used in the same sense
as "romantic." Gothic architecture seemed highly imaginative and
overwrought in comparison with the severe classic order. In attempting to
avoid the old classic monotony, the Gothic school of fiction was soon noted
for its lavish use of the unusual, the mysterious, and the terrible.
Improbability, or the necessity for calling in the supernatural to untie
some knot, did not seriously disturb this school. The standard definition
of "Gothic" in fiction soon came to include an element of strangeness added
to terror. When the taste for the extreme Gothic declined, there ensued a
period of modified romanticism, which demanded the unusual and occasionally
the impossible. This influence persisted in the fiction of the greatest
writers, until the coming of the realistic school (p. 367). We are now
better prepared to understand the work of Charles Brockden Brown, the first
great American writer of romance, and to pass from him to Cooper,
Hawthorne, and Poe.



Philadelphia has the honor of being the birthplace of Brown, who was the
first professional man of letters in America. Franklin is a more famous
writer than Brown, but, unlike Brown, he did not make literature the
business of his life. Descended from ancestors who came over on the ship
with William Penn, Brown at the age of ten had read, with Quaker
seriousness, every book that he could find. He did not go to college, but
studied law, which he soon gave up for literature as a profession.

Depression from ill health and the consciousness that he would probably die
young colored all his romances. He has the hero of one of his tales say,
"We are exposed, in common with the rest of mankind, to innumerable
casualties; but, if these be shunned, we are unalterably fated to die of
consumption." In 1810, before he had reached forty, he fell a victim to
that disease. Near the end of his days, he told his wife that he had not
known what health was longer than a half hour at a time.

Brown deserves a place in the history of American literature for his four
romances: _Wieland_, _Ormond_, _Arthur Mervyn_, and _Edgar Huntly_. These
were all published within the space of three years from 1798, the date of
the publication of _Wieland_. These romances show a striking change from
the American fiction which had preceded them. They are no longer didactic
and sentimental, but Gothic or romantic. Working under English influence,
Brown gave to America her first great Gothic romances. The English romance
which influenced him the most was _Caleb Williams_ (1794), the work of
William Godwin (1756-1836), the father-in-law of the poet Shelley.

_Wieland_ is considered the strongest of Brown's Gothic romances, but it
does not use as distinctively American materials as his three other stories
of this type, _Ormond_, _Arthur Mervyn_, or _Memoirs of the Year 1793_, and
_Edgar Huntly_. The results of his own experience with the yellow fever
plague in Philadelphia give an American touch to _Ormond_ and _Arthur
Mervyn_, and at the same time add the Gothic element of weirdness and
horror. _Arthur Mervyn_ is far the better of the two.

_Edgar Huntly, or Memoirs of a Sleep Walker_, shows a Gothic characteristic
in its very title. This book is noteworthy in the evolution of American
fiction, not because of the strange actions of the sleep walker, but for
the reason that Brown here deliberately determines, as he states in his
prefatory note _To the Public_ to give the romance an American flavor, by
using "the incidents of Indian hostility and the perils of the Western
wilderness." If we assume that John Smith's story of Pocahontas is not
fiction, then to Brown belongs the honor of first recognizing in the Indian
a valuable literary asset from the Gothic romancer's point of view. In
Chapter XVI., he reverses Captain Smith's story and has Edgar Huntly rescue
a young girl from torture and kill an Indian. In the next two chapters, the
hero kills four Indians. The English recognized this introduction of a new
element of strangeness added to terror and gave Brown the credit of
developing an "Americanized" Gothic. He disclosed to future writers of
fiction, like James Fenimore Cooper (p. 125), a new mine of American
materials. This romance has a second distinguishing characteristic, for
Brown surpassed contemporary British novelists in taking his readers into
the open air, which forms the stage setting for the adventures of _Edgar
Huntly_. The hero of that story loves to observe the birds, the squirrels,
and the old Indian woman "plucking the weeds from among her corn, bruising
the grain between two stones, and setting her snares for rabbits and
opossums." He takes us where we can feel the exhilaration from "a wild
heath, whistled over by October blasts meagerly adorned with the dry stalks
of scented shrubs and the bald heads of the sapless mullein."

Brown's place in the history of fiction is due to the fact that he
introduced the Gothic romance to American literature. He loved to subject
the weird, the morbid, the terrible, to a psychological analysis. In this
respect he suggests Hawthorne, although there are more points of difference
than of likeness between him and the great New England romancer. In weird
subject matter, but not in artistic ability, he reminds us of Poe. Brown
could devise striking incidents, but he lacked the power to weave them
together in a well-constructed plot. He sometimes forgot that important
incidents needed further elaboration or reference, and he occasionally left
them suspended in mid-air. His lack of humor was too often responsible for
his imposing too much analysis and explanation on his readers. Although he
did not hesitate to use the marvelous in his plots, his realistic mind
frequently impelled him to try to explain the wonderful occurrences. He
thus attempted to bring in ventriloquism to account for the mysterious
voices which drove Wieland to kill his wife and children.

It is, however, not difficult for a modern reader to become so much
interested in the first volume of _Arthur Mervyn_ as to be unwilling to
leave it unfinished. Brown will probably be longest remembered for his
strong pictures of the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, his use of
the Indian in romance, and his introduction of the outdoor world of the
wilderness and the forest.


The Americans were slow to learn that political independence could be far
more quickly gained than literary independence. A group of poets, sometimes
known as the Hartford Wits, determined to take the kingdom of poetry by
violence. The chief of these were three Yale graduates, Timothy Dwight,
Joel Barlow, and John Trumbull.

TIMOTHY DWIGHT (1752-1817).--Before he became president of Yale, Dwight
determined to immortalize himself by an epic poem. He accordingly wrote the
_Conquest of Canaan_ in 9671 lines, beginning:--

  "The Chief, whose arms to Israel's chosen band
   Gave the fair empire of the promis'd land,
   Ordain'd by Heaven to hold the sacred sway,
   Demands my voice, and animates the lay."

[Illustration: TIMOTHY DWIGHT]

This poem is written in the rocking horse couplets of Pope, and it is
well-nigh unreadable to-day. It is doubtful if twenty-five people in our
times have ever read it through. Even where the author essays fine writing,
as in the lines:--

  "On spicy shores, where beauteous morning reigns,
   Or Evening lingers o'er her favorite plains,"

there is nothing to awaken a single definite image, nothing but glittering
generalities. Dwight's best known poetry is found in his song, _Columbia_,
composed while he was a chaplain in the Revolutionary War:--

  "Columbia, Columbia, to glory arise,
   The queen of the world, and the child of the skies."

JOEL BARLOW (1755-1812) was, like Dwight, a chaplain in the war, but he
became later a financier and diplomat, as well as a poet. He determined in
_The Vision of Columbus_ (1787), afterwards expanded into the ponderous
_Columbiad_, to surpass Homer and all preceding epics. Barlow's classical
couplets thus present a general in the Revolution, ordering a cannonade:--

  "When at his word the carbon cloud shall rise,
   And well-aim'd thunders rock the shores and skies."

[Illustration: JOEL BARLOW]

Hawthorne ironically suggested that the _Columbiad_ should be dramatized
and set to the accompaniment of cannon and thunder and lightning. Barlow,
like many others, certainly did not understand that bigness is not
necessarily greatness. He is best known by some lines from his less
ambitious _Hasty Pudding_:--

  "E'en in thy native regions, how I blush
   To hear the Pennsylvanians call thee _Mush!_"

JOHN TRUMBULL (1750-1831).--The greatest of the Hartford wits was John
Trumbull. His father, a Congregational clergyman living at Waterbury,
Connecticut, prepared boys for college. In 1757 he sent two candidates to
Yale to be examined, one pupil of nineteen, the other of seven. Commenting
on this, the _Connecticut Gazette_ of September 24, 1757, says, "the Son of
Rev'd. Mr. Trumble of Waterbury ... passed a good Examination, altho but
little more than seven years of age; but on account of his Youth his father
does not intend he shall at present continue at College." This boy waited
until he was thirteen to enter Yale, where he graduated in due course.
After teaching for two years in that college, he became a lawyer by
profession. Although he did not die until 1831, the literary work by which
he is known was finished early.

Trumbull occupied the front rank of the satiric writers of that age. Early
in his twenties he satirized in classical couplets the education of the
day, telling how the students:--

  "Read ancient authors o'er in vain,
   Nor taste one beauty they contain,
   And plodding on in one dull tone,
   Gain ancient tongues and lose their own."

[Illustration: JOHN TRUMBULL]

His masterpiece was a satire on British sympathizers. He called this poem
_M'Fingal_, after a Scotch Tory. The first part was published in 1775 and
it gave a powerful impetus to the Continental cause. It has been said that
the poem "is to be considered as one of the forces of the Revolution,
because as a satire on the Tories it penetrated into every farmhouse, and
sent the rustic volunteers laughing into the ranks of Washington and

One cannot help thinking of Butler's _Hudibras_ (1663), when reading
_M'Fingal_. Of course the satiric aim is different in the two poems. Butler
ridiculed the Puritans and upheld the Royalists, while Trumbull discharged
his venomed shafts at the adherents of the king. In _M'Fingal_, a Tory bent
on destroying a liberty pole drew his sword on a Whig, who had no arms
except a spade. The Whig, however, employed his weapon with such good
effect on the Tory that:--

  "His bent knee fail'd, and void of strength,
   Stretch'd on the ground his manly length.
   Like ancient oak, o'erturn'd, he lay,
   Or tower to tempests fall'n a prey,
   Or mountain sunk with all his pines,
   Or flow'r the plough to dust consigns,
   And more things else--but all men know 'em,
   If slightly versed in epic poem."

Some of the incisive lines from _M'Fingal_ have been wrongly ascribed to
Butler's _Hudibras_. The following are instances:--

  "No man e'er felt the halter draw
   With good opinion of the law."

  "For any man with half an eye
   What stands before him may espy;
   But optics sharp it needs, I ween,
   To see what is not to be seen."

Trumbull's _M'Fingal_ is a worthy predecessor of Lowell's _Biglow Papers_.
Trumbull wrote his poem as a "weapon of warfare." The first part of
_M'Fingal_ passed through some forty editions, many of them printed without
the author's consent. This fact is said to have led Connecticut to pass a
copyright law in 1783, and to have thus constituted a landmark in American
literary history.


[Illustration: PHILIP FRENEAU]

New York City was the birthplace of Freneau, the greatest poet born in
America before the Revolutionary War. He graduated at Princeton in 1771,
and became a school teacher, sea captain, poet, and editor.

The Revolution broke out when he was a young man, and he was moved to write
satiric poetry against the British. Tyler says that "a running commentary
on his Revolutionary satires would be an almost complete commentary on the
whole Revolutionary struggle; nearly every important emergency and phase of
which are photographed in his keen, merciless, and often brilliant lines."
In one of these satires Freneau represents Jove investigating the records
of Fate:--

  "And first on the top of a column he read--
   Of a king with a mighty soft place in his head,
   Who should join in his temper the ass and the mule,
   The Third of his name and by far the worst fool."

We can imagine the patriotic colonists singing as a refrain:--

  "... said Jove with a smile,
   Columbia shall never be ruled by an isle,"

or this:--

  "The face of the Lion shall then become pale,
   He shall yield fifteen teeth and be sheared of his tail,"

but Freneau's satiric verse is not his best, however important it may be to

His best poems are a few short lyrics, remarkable for their simplicity,
sincerity, and love of nature. His lines:--

  "A hermit's house beside a stream
   With forests planted round,"

are suggestive of the romantic school of Wordsworth and Coleridge, as is
also _The Wild Honeysuckle_, which begins as follows:--

  "Fair flower, that dost so comely grow,
     Hid in this silent, dull retreat,
   Untouched thy honied blossoms blow,
     Unseen thy little branches greet.

  "By Nature's self in white arrayed,
     She bade thee shun the vulgar eye,
   And planted here the guardian shade,
     And sent soft waters murmuring by."

Although Freneau's best poems are few and short, no preceding American poet
had equaled them. The following will repay careful reading: _The Wild
Honeysuckle_, _The Indian Burying Ground_, and _To a Honey Bee_.

He died in 1832, and was buried near his home at Mount Pleasant, Monmouth
County, New Jersey.


The great prose representatives of the first half of the eighteenth
century, Swift, Addison, Steele, and Defoe, had passed away before the
middle of the century. The creators of the novel, Samuel Richardson and
Henry Fielding, had done their best work by 1750.

The prose writers of the last half of the century were OLIVER GOLDSMITH
(1728-1774), who published the _Vicar of Wakefield_ in 1766; EDWARD GIBBON
(1737-1794), who wrote _The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire_; EDMUND BURKE (1729-1797), best known to-day for his _Speech on
Conciliation with America_; and SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709-1784), whose _Lives of
the Poets_ is the best specimen of eighteenth-century classical criticism.

The most noteworthy achievement of the century was the victory of
romanticism (p. 88) over classicism. Pope's polished satiric and didactic
verse, neglecting the primrose by the river's brim, lacking deep feeling,
high ideals, and heaven-climbing imagination, had long been the model that
inspired cold intellectual poetry. In the latter part of the century,
romantic feeling and imagination won their battle and came into their own
heritage in literature. ROBERT BURNS (1759-1796) wrote poetry that touched
the heart. A classicist like Dr. Johnson preferred the town to the most
beautiful country scenes, but WILLIAM COWPER (1731-1800) says:--

  "God made the country, and man made the town."

Romantic poetry culminated in the work of WILLIAM WORDSWORTH and SAMUEL
TAYLOR COLERIDGE, whose _Lyrical Ballads_ (1798) included the wonderful
romantic poem of _The Ancient Mariner_, and poems by Wordsworth, which
brought to thousands of human souls a new sense of companionship with
nature, a new feeling

  "... that every flower
   Enjoys the air it breathes,"

and that all nature is anxious to share its joy with man and to introduce
him to a new world. The American poets of this age, save Freneau in a few
short lyrics, felt but little of this great impulse; but in the next period
we shall see that William Cullen Bryant heard the call and sang:--

  "Scarce less the cleft-born wild-flower seems to enjoy
   Existence than the winged plunderer
   That sucks its sweets."

The romantic prose was not of as high an order as the poetry. Writers of
romances like WALPOLE'S _Castle of Otranto_ and GODWIN'S _Caleb Williams_
did not allow their imaginations to be fettered by either the probable or
the possible. In America the romances of Charles Brockden Brown show the
direct influence of this school.


The French and Indian War accomplished two great results. In the first
place, it made the Anglo-Saxon race dominant in North America. Had the
French won, this book would have been chiefly a history of French
literature. In the second place, the isolated colonies learned to know one
another and their combined strength.

Soon after the conclusion of this war, the English began active
interference with colonial imports and exports, laid taxes on certain
commodities, passed the Stamp Act, and endeavored to make the colonists
feel that they were henceforth to be governed in fact as well as in name by
England. The most independent men that the world has ever produced came to
America to escape tyranny at home. The descendants of these men started the
American Revolution, signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and,
led by George Washington (1732-1799), one of the greatest heroes of the
ages, won their independence. They had the assistance of the French, and it
was natural that the treaty of peace with England should be signed at Paris
in 1783.

Then followed a period nearly as trying as that of the Revolution, an era
called by John Fiske "The Critical Period of American History, 1783-1789."
Because of the jealousy of the separate states and the fear that tyranny at
home might threaten liberty, there was no central government vested with
adequate power. Sometimes there was a condition closely bordering on
anarchy. The wisest men feared that the independence so dearly bought would
be lost. Finally, the separate states adopted a Constitution which united
them, and in 1789 they chose Washington as the president of this Union. His
_Farewell Address_, issued to the American people toward the end of his
administration, breathes the prayer "that your union and brotherly
affection may be perpetual; that the free constitution which is the work of
your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every
part may be stamped with wisdom and virtue." A leading thought from this
great _Address_ shows that the Virginian agreed with the New Englander in
regard to the chief cornerstone of this Republic:--

  "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity,
  Religion and Morality are indispensable supports."

The student of political rather than of literary history is interested in
the administrations of John Adams (1797-1801), Thomas Jefferson
(1801-1809), and James Madison (1809-1817). The acquisition in 1803 of the
vast central territory, known as the Louisiana Purchase, affected the
entire subsequent development of the country and its literature. Thomas
Jefferson still exerts an influence on our literature and institutions; for
he championed the democratic, as opposed to the aristocratic, principle of
government. His belief in the capacity of the common people for progress
and self-government still helps to mold public opinion.

Next in importance to the victorious struggle of the Revolution and the
adoption of the Constitution, is the wonderful pioneer movement toward the
West. Francis A. Walker, in his _Making of the Nation, 1783-1817_, says:--

  "During the period of thirty-four years covered by this narrative, a
  movement had been in continuous progress for the westward extension of
  population, which far transcended the limits of any of the great
  migrations of mankind upon the older continents.... From 1790 to 1800,
  the mean population of the period being about four and a half millions,
  sixty-five thousand square miles were brought within the limits of
  settlement; crossed with rude roads and bridges; built up with rude
  houses and barns; much of it, also, cleared of primeval forests.

  "In the next ten years, the mean population of the decade being about six
  and a half millions, the people of the United States extended settlement
  over one hundred and two thousand square miles of absolutely new
  territory.... No other people could have done this. No: nor the half of
  it. Any other of the great migratory races--Tartar, Slav, or
  German--would have broken hopelessly down in an effort to compass such a
  field in such a term of years."


The early essays of the period, Paine's _Common Sense_ and the _Crisis_,
Jefferson's _Declaration of Independence_, Hamilton's pamphlets and papers,
all champion human liberty and show the influence of the Revolution. The
orators, James Otis, Patrick Henry, and Samuel Adams, were inspired by the
same cause. The words of Patrick Henry, "Give me liberty or give me death,"
have in them the essence of immortality because they voice the supreme
feeling of one of the critical ages in the world's history.

Benjamin Franklin was the greatest writer of the period. His
_Autobiography_ has a value possessed by no other work of the kind. This
and his _Poor Richard's Almanac_ have taught generations of Americans the
duty of self-culture, self-reliance, thrift, and the value of practical
common sense. He was the first of our writers to show a balanced sense of
humor and to use it as an agent in impressing truth on unwilling listeners.
He is an equally great apostle of the practical and the altruistic,
although he lacked the higher spirituality of the old Puritans and of the
Quaker, John Woolman. This age is marked by a comparative decline in the
influence of the clergy. Not a single clerical name appears on the list of
the most prominent writers.

This period shows the beginning of American fiction, dominated by English
writers, like Samuel Richardson. The early novels, like Mrs. Morton's _The
Power of Sympathy_, were usually prosy, didactic, and as dull as the Sunday
school books of three quarters of a century ago. The victory of the English
school of romanticists influenced Charles Brockden Brown, the first
professional American author, to throw off the yoke of classical
didacticism and regularity and to write a group of Gothic romances, in
which the imagination was given a freer rein than the intellect. While he
freely employed the imported Gothic elements of "strangeness added to
terror," he nevertheless managed to give a distinctively American coloring
to his work by showing the romantic use to which the Indian and the forest
could be put.

Authors struggled intensely to write poetry. "The Hartford Wits," Dwight,
Barlow, and Trumbull, wrote a vast quantity of verse. The most of this is
artificial, and reveals the influence of the classical school of Alexander
Pope. Freneau wrote a few short lyrics which suggest the romantic school of

The American literature of this period shows in the main the influence of
the older English classical school. America produced no authors who can
rank with the contemporary school of English writers, such as Burns,
Wordsworth, and Coleridge. Of all the writers of this age, Franklin alone
shows an undiminished popularity with readers of the twentieth century.

Three events in the history of the period are epoch-making in the world's
history; (_a_) the securing of independence through the Revolutionary War,
(_b_) the adoption of a constitution and the formation of a republic, and
(_c_) the magnitude of the work of the pioneer settlers, who advanced
steadily west from the coast, and founded commonwealths beyond the



The course of English events (reign of George III.) may be traced in any of
the English histories mentioned on p. 60. For the English literature of the
period; see the author's _History of English Literature_.

Valuable works dealing with special periods of the American history of the
time are:--

Hart's _Formation of the Union_.

Parkman's _Half Century of Conflict_ and _Montcalm and Wolfe_, 2 vols.
(French and Indian War.)

Fiske's _American Revolution_, 2 vols.

Fiske's _Critical Period of American History_.

Walker's _The Making of the Nation_.

Johnston's _History of American Politics_.

Schouler's _History of the United States of America under the
Constitution_, 6 vols.

The works by Hart, Channing, and James and Sanford, referred to on p. 61,
will give the leading events in brief compass. An account of much of the
history of the period is given in the biographies of Washington by Lodge,
of Franklin by Morse, of Hamilton by Lodge, and of Jefferson by Morse.
(_American Statesmen Series_.)


Tyler's _The Literary History of the American Revolution_, 2 vols.

Richardson's _American Literature_, 2 vols.

Wendell's _Literary History of America_.

Trent's _A History of American Literature_.

McMaster's _Benjamin Franklin_.

Ford's _The Many-Sided Franklin_.

Erskine's _Leading American Novelists_, pp. 3-49, on Charles Brockden

Loshe's _The Early American Novel_.


The Essayists.--Selections from Thomas Paine's _Common Sense_,--Cairns,
[Footnote: For full titles see p. 62.] 344-347; Carpenter, 66-70; S. & H.,
III., 219-221. From the _Crisis_,--Cairns, 347-352; Carpenter, 70, 71; S. &
H., III., 222-225.

_Jefferson's Declaration of Independence_--which may be found in Carpenter,
79-83; S. & H., III, 286-289; and in almost all the histories of the United
States--should be read several times until the very atmosphere or spirit of
those days comes to the reader.

Selections from Alexander Hamilton, including a paper from the
_Federalist_, may be found in Cairns, 363-369; S. & H., IV., 113-116.

THE ORATORS.--A short selection from Otis is given in this work, p. 72. A
longer selection may be found in Vol. I. of Johnston's _American Orations_,
11-17. For Patrick Henry's most famous speech, see Cairns, 335-338; S. &
H., III., 214-218; Johnston, I., 18-23. The speech of Samuel Adams on
American Independence is given in Johnston, I., 24-38, and in Moore's
_American Eloquence_, Vol. I.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.--Every one should read his _Autobiography_. Selections
may be found in Carpenter, 31-36; Cairns, 322-332; T. & W., III., 192-201;
S. & H., III., 3-13.

Read his _Way to Wealth_ either in the various editions of _Poor Richard's
Almanac_ or in Cairns, 315-319; Carpenter, 36-43; T. & W., III., 202-213;
S. & H., III., 17-21.

JOHN WOOLMAN.--Cairns, 307-313; S. & H., III., 78-80, 82-85.

CHARLES BROCKDEN BROWN.--The first volume of _Arthur Mervyn_ with its
account of the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia is not uninteresting
reading. Chaps. XVI., XVII., and XVIII. of _Edgar Huntly_ show the hero of
that romance rescuing a girl from torture and killing Indians. These and
the following chapters, especially XIX., XX., and XXI, give some vigorous
out-of-door life.

Selections giving incidents of the yellow fever plague may be found in
Cairns, 482-488; Carpenter, 97-100. For Indian adventures or out-of-door
life in Edgar Huntly, see Cairns, 488-493; Carpenter, 89-97; S. & H., IV.,

POETRY.--Selections from Dwight, Barlow, and Trumbull may be found in
Cairns, 395-430; S. & H., III., 403-413, 426-429, IV., 47-55. For Freneau's
best lyrics, see Cairns, 440, 441, 447; S. & H., III., 452, 453, 456;
Stedman, An American Anthology, 4, 7, 8.


PROSE.--After reading some of the papers of Thomas Paine, state why they
were unusually well suited to the occasion. Why is the _Declaration of
Independence_ likened to the old battle songs of the Anglo-Saxon race? What
is remarkable about Jefferson's power of expression? In the orations of
Otis, Patrick Henry, and Samuel Adams, what do you find to account for
their influence? To what must an orator owe his power?

Contrast the writings of Benjamin Franklin with those of Jonathan Edwards
and John Woolman. What are some of the most useful suggestions and records
of experience to be found in Franklin's _Autobiography_? In what ways are
his writings still useful to humanity? Select the best four maxims from
_The Way to Wealth_. What are some of the qualities of Franklin's style?
Compare it with Woolman's style.

Why are Brown's romances called "Gothic"? What was the general type of
American fiction preceding him? Specify three strong or unusual incidents
in the selections read from Brown. What does he introduce to give an
American color to his work?

POETRY.--In the selections read from Dwight, Barlow, and Trumbull, what
general characteristics impress you? Do these poets belong to the classic
or the romantic school? What English influences are manifest? What
qualities in Freneau's lyrics show a distinct advance in American poetry?



A NEW LITERARY CENTER.--We have seen that Massachusetts supplied the
majority of the colonial writers before the French and Indian War. During
the next period, Philadelphia came to the front with Benjamin Franklin and
Charles Brockden Brown. In this third period, New York forged ahead, both
in population and in the number of her literary men. Although in 1810 she
was smaller than Philadelphia, by 1820 she had a population of 123,706,
which was 15,590 more than Philadelphia, and 80,408 more than Boston.

This increase in urban population rapidly multiplied the number of readers
of varied tastes and developed a desire for literary entertainment, as well
as for instruction. Works like those of Irving and Cooper gained wide
circulation only because of the new demands, due to the increasing
population, to the decline in colonial provincialism, and to the growth of
the new national spirit. Probably no one would have been inspired,
twenty-five years earlier, to write a work like Irving's _Knickerbocker's
History of New York_. Even if it had been produced earlier, the country
would not have been ready to receive it. This remarkable book was published
in New York in 1809, and more than a quarter of a century had passed before
Massachusetts could produce anything to equal that work.

In the New York group there were three great writers whom we shall discuss
separately: Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, and William Cullen
Bryant. Before we begin to study them, however, we may glance at two of the
minor writers, who show some of the characteristics of the age.



Two friends, who in their early youth styled themselves "The Croakers,"
were Joseph Rodman Drake (1795-1820) and Fitz-Greene Halleck (1790-1867),
"the Damon and Pythias of American poets." Drake was born in New York City
in the same year as the English poet, John Keats, in London. Both Drake and
Keats studied medicine, and both died of consumption at the age of
twenty-five. Halleck was born in Guilford, Connecticut, but moved to New
York in early youth, where he became a special accountant for John Jacob
Astor. Although Halleck outlived Drake forty-seven years, trade seems to
have sterilized Halleck's poetic power in his later life.

The early joint productions of Drake and Halleck were poems known as _The
Croakers_, published in 1819, in the New York _Evening Post_. This stanza
from _The Croakers_ will show the character of the verse and its avowed

  "There's fun in everything we meet,
     The greatest, worst, and best;
   Existence is a merry treat,
     And every speech a jest:
   Be't ours to watch the crowds that pass
     Where Mirth's gay banner waves;
   To show fools through a quizzing-glass
     And bastinade the knaves."

This was written by Drake, but he and Halleck together "croaked" the
following lines, which show that New York life at the beginning of the
nineteenth century had something of the variety of London in the time of
Queen Anne, at the beginning of the eighteenth century:--

  "The horse that twice a week I ride
   At Mother Dawson's eats his fill;
   My books at Goodrich's abide,
   My country seat is Weehawk hill;
   My morning lounge is Eastburn's shop,
   At Poppleton's I take my lunch,
   Niblo prepares my mutton chop,
   And Jennings makes my whiskey punch."


Such work indicates not only a diversified circle of readers, who were not
subject to the religious and political stress of earlier days, but it also
shows a desire to be entertained, which would have been promptly
discouraged in Puritan New England. We should not be surprised to find that
the literature of this period was swayed by the new demands, that it was
planned to entertain as well as to instruct, and that all the writers of
this group, with the exception of Bryant, frequently placed the chief
emphasis on the power to entertain.

Fortunately instruction often accompanies entertainment, as the following
lines from _The Croakers_ show:--

  "The man who frets at worldly strife
     Grows sallow, sour, and thin;
   Give us the lad whose happy life
     Is one perpetual grin,
   He, Midas-like, turns all to gold."

Drake's best poem, which is entirely his own work, is _The Culprit Fay_,
written in 1816 when he was twenty-one years of age. This shows the
influence of the English romantic school, and peoples the Hudson River with
fairies. Before the appearance of this poem, nothing like these lines could
have been found in American verse:--

  "The winds are whist, and the owl is still,
     The bat in the shelvy rock is hid;
   And naught is heard on the lonely hill
   But the cricket's chirp and the answer shrill
     Of the gauze-winged katydid;
   And the plaint of the wailing whip-poor-will,
     Who moans unseen, and ceaseless sings,
   Ever a note of wail and woe,
     Till morning spreads her rosy wings
   And earth and sky in her glances glow."

Although _The Culprit Fay_ shows the influence of Coleridge's _Christabel_,
yet this American poem could not have been written by an English poet.
Drake did not sing the praises of the English lark and the nightingale; but
chose instead an American bird, the whippoorwill, and a native insect, the
katydid, and in writing of them showed the enjoyment of a true poet.

Drake's best known poem, _The American Flag_, which was signed "Croaker &
Co.," because Halleck wrote the last four lines, is a good specimen of
rhetorical verse, but lacks the poetic feeling of _The Culprit Fay_.
Fitz-Greene Halleck's best known poem is _Marco Bozzaris_ (1827), an elegy
on the death of a Grecian leader, killed in 1823. America's sympathies went
out to Greece in her struggles for independence against the Turks. In
celebrating the heroic death of Bozzaris, Halleck chose a subject that was
naturally fitted to appeal to all whose liberties were threatened. This
poem has been honored with a place in almost all American anthologies.
Middle-aged people can still remember the frequency with which the poem was
declaimed. At one time these lines were perhaps as often heard as any in
American verse:--

  "Strike--till the last armed foe expires;
   Strike--for your altars and your fires;
   Strike--for the green graves of your sires;
   God--and your native land!"

Fifty years ago the readers of this poem would have been surprised to be
told that interest in it would ever wane, but it was fitted to arouse the
enthusiasm, not of all time, but of an age,--an age that knew from
first-hand experience the meaning of a struggle for hearth fires and
freedom. Most critics to-day prefer Halleck's lines _On the Death of Joseph
Rodman Drake_:--

  "Green be the turf above thee,
   Friend of my better days!
   None knew thee but to love thee,
   Nor named thee but to praise."

This poem is simpler, less rhetorical, and the vehicle of more genuine
feeling than _Marco Bozzaris_.

The work of Drake and Halleck shows an advance in technique and imaginative
power. Their verse, unlike the satires of Freneau and Trumbull, does not
use the maiming cudgel, nor is it ponderous like Barlow's _Columbiad_ or
Dwight's _Conquest of Canaan_.



LIFE.--Irving was born in New York City in 1783, the year in which Benjamin
Franklin signed at Paris the treaty of peace with England after the
Revolutionary War. Irving's father, a Scotchman from the Orkney Islands,
was descended from De Irwyn, armor bearer to Robert Bruce. Irving's mother
was born in England, and the English have thought sufficiently well of her
son to claim that he belonged to England as much as to America. In fact, he
sometimes seemed to them to be more English than American, especially after
he had written something unusually good.

When Irving was a boy, the greater part of what is now New York City was
picturesque country. He mingled with the descendants of the Dutch, passed
daily by their old-style houses, and had excellent opportunities for
hearing the traditions and learning the peculiarities of Manhattan's early
settlers, whom he was afterwards to immortalize in American literature. On
his way to school he looked at the stocks and the whipping post, which had
a salaried official to attend to the duties connected with it. He could
have noticed two prisons, one for criminals and the other for debtors. He
could scarcely have failed to see the gallows, in frequent use for offenses
for which the law to-day prescribes only a short term of imprisonment.
Notwithstanding the twenty-two churches, the pious complained that the town
was so godless as to allow the theaters to be open on Saturday night.

Instead of going to bed after the family prayers, Irving sometimes climbed
through a window, gained the alley, and went to the theater. In school he
devoured as many travels and tales as possible, and he acquired much early
skill in writing compositions for boys in return for their assistance in
solving his arithmetical problems--a task that he detested.

At the age of fifteen he was allowed to take his gun and explore the Sleepy
Hollow region, which became the scene of one of his world-famous stories.
When he was seventeen, he sailed slowly up the Hudson River on his own
voyage of discovery. Hendrick Hudson's exploration of this river gave it
temporarily to the Dutch; but Irving annexed it for all time to the realm
of the romantic imagination. The singers and weavers of legends were more
than a thousand years in giving to the Rhine its high position in that
realm; but Irving in a little more than a decade made the Hudson almost its


In such unique environment, Irving passed his boyhood. Unlike his brothers,
he did not go to Columbia College, but like Charles Brockden Brown studied
law, and like him never seriously practiced the profession. Under the pen
name of "Jonathan Oldstyle," he was writing, at the age of nineteen,
newspaper letters, modeled closely after Addison's _Spectator_. Ill health
drove Irving at twenty-one to take a European trip, which lasted two years.
His next appearance in literature after his return was in connection with
his brother, William Irving, and James K. Paulding. The three started a
semi-monthly periodical called _Salmagundi_, fashioned after Addison's
_Spectator_ and Goldsmith's _Citizen of the World_. The first number was
published January 24, 1807, and the twentieth and last, January 25, 1808.
"In Irving's contributions to it," says his biographer, "may be traced the
germs of nearly everything he did afterwards."

The year 1809 was the most important in Irving's young life. In that year
Matilda Hoffman, to whom he was engaged, died in her eighteenth year.
Although he outlived her fifty years, he remained a bachelor, and he
carried her _Bible_ with him wherever he traveled in Europe or America. In
the same year he finished one of his masterpieces, Diedrich Knickerbocker's
_History of New York_. Even at this time he had not decided to follow
literature as a profession.

In 1815 he went to England to visit his brother, who was in business there.
It was not, however, until the failure of his brother's firm in 1818 that
Irving determined to make literature his life work. While in London he
wrote the _Sketch Book_ (1819), which added to his fame on both sides of
the Atlantic. This visit abroad lasted seventeen years. Before he returned,
in 1832, he had finished the greater part of the literary work of his life.
Besides the _Sketch Book_, he had written _Bracebridge Hall_, _Tales of a
Traveller_, _Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus_, _The Conquest of
Granada_, _The Companions of Columbus_, and _The Alhambra_. He had been
secretary of the American legation at Madrid and at London. He had actually
lived in the Alhambra.

Soon after his return, he purchased a home at Tarrytown (now Irvington) in
the Sleepy Hollow district on the Hudson. He named his new home
"Sunnyside." With the exception of four years (1842-1846), when he served
as minister to Spain, Irving lived here, engaged in literary work, for the
remainder of his life. When he died in 1859, he was buried in the Sleepy
Hollow cemetery, near his home.

Long before his death he was known on both sides of the Atlantic as
America's greatest author. Englishmen who visited this country expressed a
desire to see its two wonders, Niagara Falls and Irving. His English
publishers alone paid him over $60,000 for copyright sales of his books in
England. Before he died, he had earned more than $200,000 with his pen.

Irving's personality won him friends wherever he went. He was genial and
kindly, and his biographer adds that it was never Irving's habit to stroke
the world the wrong way. One of his maxims was, "When I cannot get a dinner
to suit my taste, I endeavor to get a taste to suit my dinner."


December 28, 1809, said: "This work was found in the chamber of Mr.
Diedrich Knickerbocker, the old gentleman whose sudden and mysterious
disappearance has been noticed. It is published in order to discharge
certain debts he has left behind." This disguise, however, was too thin to
deceive the public, and the work was soon popularly called Irving's
_Knickerbocker's History of New York_.

Two hundred years before its publication, Hendrick Hudson, an explorer in
the service of Holland, had sailed into New York Bay and discovered
Manhattan Island and the Hudson River for the Dutch. They founded the city
of New Amsterdam and held it until the English captured it in 1664. Irving
wrote the history of this settlement during the Dutch occupation. He was
led to choose this subject, because, as he tells us, few of his fellow
citizens were aware that New York had ever been called New Amsterdam, and
because the subject, "poetic from its very obscurity," was especially
available for an American author, since it gave him a chance to adorn it
with legend and fable. He states that his object was "to embody the
traditions of our city in an amusing form" and to invest it "with those
imaginative and whimsical associations so seldom met with in our country,
but which live like charms and spells about the cities of the old world."


[Illustration: A ONE-PIPE JOURNEY]

Irving achieved his object and produced an entertaining compound of
historical fact, romantic sentiment, exaggeration, and humor. He shows us
the contemplative Dutchmen on their first voyage in the _Half Moon_,
sailing into New York Bay, prohibited by Hudson "from wearing more than
five jackets and six pair of breeches." We see the scrupulously "honest"
Dutch traders buying furs from the Indians, using an invariable scale of
avoirdupois weights, a Dutchman's hand in the scale opposite the furs
weighing one pound, his foot two pounds. We watch the puzzled Indians
trying to account for the fact that the largest bundle of furs never
weighed more than two pounds. We attend a council of burghers at
Communipaw, called to devise means to protect their town from an English
expedition. While they are thoughtfully smoking, the English sail by
without seeing the smoke-enveloped town. Irving shows us the Dutchmen
estimating their distances and time by the period consumed in smoking a
pipe,--Hartford, Connecticut, being two hundred pipes distant. He allows us
to watch a housewife emptying her pocket in her search for a wooden ladle
and filling two corn baskets with the contents. He takes us to a tea party
attended by "the higher classes or noblesse, that is to say such as kept
their own cows and drove their own wagons," where we can see the damsels
knitting their own woolen stockings and the vrouws serving big apple pies,
bushels of doughnuts, and pouring tea out of a fat Delft teapot. He draws
this picture of Wouter Van Twiller, Governor of New Amsterdam:--

  "The person of this illustrious old gentleman was formed and proportioned
  as though it had been moulded by the hands of some cunning Dutch
  statuary, as a model of majesty and lordly grandeur. He was exactly five
  feet six inches in height, and six feet five inches in circumference. His
  head was a perfect sphere....

  "His habits were as regular as his person. He daily took his four stated
  meals, appropriating exactly an hour to each; he smoked and doubted eight
  hours, and he slept the remaining twelve of the four-and-twenty."

[Illustration: WOUTER VAN TWILLER]

THE SKETCH BOOK GROUP.--The only one of his productions to which Irving
gave the name of _The Sketch Book_ was finished in 1820, the year in which
Scott's _Ivanhoe_, Keats's _Eve of St. Agnes_, and Shelley's _Prometheus
Unbound_ appeared. Of the same general order as _The Sketch Book_ are
Irving's _Bracebridge Hall_ (1822) and _Tales of a Traveller_ (1824). These
volumes all contain short stories, essays, or sketches, many of which are
suggestive of Addison's _Spectator_. _The Sketch Book_ is the most famous
of Irving's works of this class. While it contains some excellent essays or
descriptions, such as those entitled _Westminster Abbey_ and
_Stratford-on-Avon_, the book lives to-day because of two short stories,
_Rip Van Winkle_ and _The Legend of Sleepy Hollow_. These were not equaled
by Addison, and they have not been surpassed by any English writers of the
nineteenth century. Both stories take their rise from the "Knickerbocker
Legend," and they are thoroughly American in coloring and flavor, even if
they did happen to be written in England. No story in our literature is
better known than that of Rip Van Winkle watching Hendrick Hudson and his
ghostly crew playing ninepins in the Catskill Mountains and quaffing the
magic liquor which caused him to sleep for twenty years.

[Illustration: ICHABOD CRANE]

For nearly one hundred years Ichabod Crane's courtship of Katrina Van
Tassel, in _The Legend of Sleepy Hollow_, has continued to amuse its
readers. The Indian summer haze is still resting on Sleepy Hollow, our
American Utopia, where we can hear the quail whistling, see the brook
bubbling along among alders and dwarf willows, over which amber clouds
float forever in the sky; where the fragrant buckwheat fields breathe the
odor of the beehive; where the slapjacks are "well buttered and garnished
with honey or treacle, by the delicate little dimpled hand of Katrina Van
Tassel," where a greeting awaits us from the sucking pigs already roasted
and stuffed with pudding; where the very tea tables of the Dutch housewives
welcome us with loads of crisp crumbling crullers, honey cakes, and "the
whole family of cakes," surrounded by pies, preserves, roast chicken, bowls
of cream, all invested with a halo from the spout of the motherly Dutch

_The Alhambra_, a book of tales of the old Moorish palace in Granada,
Spain, has been aptly termed "The Spanish Sketch Book." This has preserved
the romance of departed Moorish glory almost as effectively as the
Knickerbocker sketches and stories have invested the early Dutch settlers
of New York with something like Homeric immortality. A traveler in Spain
writes of _The Alhambra_: "Not Ford, nor Murray, nor Hare has been able to
replace it. The tourist reads it within the walls it commemorates as
conscientiously as the devout read Ruskin in Florence." [Footnote:
Introduction to Pennell's illustrated edition of _The Alhambra_.]

In his three works, _The Sketch Book_, _The Tales of a Traveller_, and _The
Alhambra_, Irving proved himself the first American master of the short
tale or sketch, yet he is not the father of the modern short story, which
aims to avoid every sentence unless it directly advances the narrative or
heightens the desired impression. His description and presentation of
incident do not usually tend to one definite goal, after the fashion
theoretically prescribed by the art of the modern short story. The author
of a modern short tale would need to feel the dire necessity of recording
the sage observation of a Dutch housewife, that "ducks and geese are
foolish things, and must be looked after, but girls can take care of
themselves." Irving, however, in _The Legend of Sleepy Hollow_, has
sufficient leisure to make this observation and to stop to listen to "the
pensive whistle of the quail," or to admire "great fields of Indian corn,
with its golden ears peeping from their leafy coverts, and holding out the
promise of cakes and hasty puddings."

Some have even proposed that his stories be called "narrative-essays," but
they show a step beyond Addison in the evolution of the short story because
they contain less essay and more story. It is true that Irving writes three
pages of essay before beginning the real story in _The Legend of Sleepy
Hollow_, but the most of this preliminary matter is very interesting
description. The quiet valley with its small brook, the tapping woodpecker,
the drowsy shade of the trees, the spots haunted by the headless
Hessian,--all fascinate us and provide an atmosphere which the modern
short-story teller too seldom secures. The novice in modern short-story
writing should know at the outset that it takes more genius to succeed with
a story like _The Legend of Sleepy Hollow_ than with a tale where the
writer relies on the more strait-laced narration of events to arouse

HISTORY AND BIOGRAPHY.--Of _The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus_
(1828), Irving said "it cost me more toil and trouble than all my other
productions." While the method of scientific historical study has
completely changed since his time, no dry-as-dust historian has yet equaled
Irving in presenting the human side of Columbus, his ideals, his dreams,
and his mastery of wind and wave and human nature in the greatest voyage of
the ages. Others have written of him as a man who once lived but who died
so very long ago that he now has no more life than the portraits of those
old masters who made all their figures look like paralytics. Irving did not
write this work as if he were imagining a romance. He searched for his
facts in all the musty records which he could find in Spain, but he then
remembered that they dealt with a living, enthusiastic human being,
sometimes weak, and sometimes invested with more than the strength of all
the generations that had died without discovering the New World. It was
this work which, more than any other, brought Irving the degree of D.C.L.
from Oxford University. And yet, when he appeared to take his degree, the
undergraduates of Oxford voiced the judgment of posterity by welcoming him
with shouts of "Diedrich Knickerbocker!" "Ichabod Crane!" "Rip Van Winkle!"

_The Conquest of Granada_ (1829) is a thrilling narrative of the
subjugation by Ferdinand and Isabella of the last kingdom of the Moors in
Spain. In this account, royal leaders, chivalrous knights, single-handed
conflicts, and romantic assaults make warfare seem like a carnival instead
of a tragedy.

The life of _Oliver Goldsmith_ (1849) ranks among the best biographies yet
written by an American, not because of its originality, but for its
exquisitely sympathetic portraiture of an English author with whom Irving
felt close kinship.

His longest work, the _Life of George Washington_ (1855-1859), lacks the
imaginative enthusiasm of youth, but it does justice to "the magnificent
patience, the courage to bear misconstruction, the unfailing patriotism,
the practical sagacity, the level balance of judgment combined with the
wisest toleration, the dignity of mind, and the lofty moral nature," which
made George Washington the one man capable of leading a forlorn army in the
Revolution, of presiding over the destinies of the young Republic, and of
taking a sure place among the few great heroes of all time. This work is
also an almost complete history of the Revolutionary War. It is unfortunate
that the great length of this _Life_ (eight volumes) has resulted in such a
narrowing of its circle of readers.

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.--Washington Irving is the earliest American whose
most popular works are read for pure pleasure and not for some historical
or educational significance. His most striking qualities are humor and
restrained sentiment. The work by which he will be longest known is his
creation of the "Knickerbocker Legend" in the _History of New York_ and his
two most famous short stories, _Rip Van Winkle_ and _The Legend of Sleepy
Hollow_. Although he is not the father of the modern short story, which
travels like an airship by the shortest line to its destination, he is yet
one of the great nineteenth-century story tellers. Some of his essays or
papers, like _Westminster Abbey_, _Stratford-on-Avon_, and _Christmas_ do
not suffer by comparison with Addison's writings.

Much of Irving's historical work and many of his essays do not show great
depth or striking originality. He did some hack writing, dealing with our
great West, but the work by which he is best known is so original that no
other American writers can for a moment compare with him in his special
field. He gave us our own Homeric age and peopled it with Knickerbockers,
who are as entertaining as Achilles, Priam, or Circe.


His best work is a product of the romantic imagination, but his romanticism
is of a finer type than that of Charles Brockden Brown and the English
Gothic school (p. 88), for Irving's fondness for Addison and Goldsmith, in
conjunction with his own keen sense of humor, taught him restraint,
balance, and the adaptation of means to ends.

Irving has an unusual power of investing his subjects with the proper
atmosphere. In this he resembles the greatest landscape painters. If he
writes of early settlers of New York, we are in a Dutch atmosphere. If he
tells the legends of the Alhambra, the atmosphere is Moorish. If he takes
us to the Hudson or the Catskills or Sleepy Hollow or Granada, he adds to
our artistic enjoyment by enveloping everything in its own peculiar

His clear, simple, smooth prose conceals its artistic finish so well and
serves as the vehicle for so much humor, that readers often pass a long
time in his company without experiencing fatigue. His style has been
criticized for lack of vigor and for resemblance to Goldsmith's. Irving's
style, however, is his own, and it is the style natural to a man of his
placid, artistic temperament.

America takes special pride in Washington Irving, because he was the first
author to invest her brief history with the enduring fascination of
romance. We shall the better appreciate our debt to him, if we imagine that
some wizard has the power to subtract from our literature the inimitable
Knickerbocker, Rip Van Winkle, Sleepy Hollow, and our national romantic
river, the storied Hudson.



YOUTH.--Cooper's place in American literature is chiefly based on his
romantic stories of the pioneer and the Indian. We have seen how Captain
John Smith won the ear of the world by his early story of Indian adventure,
how Charles Brockden Brown in _Edgar Huntly_ deliberately selected the
Indian and the life of the wilderness as good material for an American
writer of romance. Cooper chose these very materials and used them with a
success attained by no other writer. Let us see how his early life fitted
him to write of the Indian, the pioneer, the forest, and the sea.

He was born in Burlington, New Jersey, in 1789, the year made memorable by
the French Revolution. While he was still an infant, the Cooper family
moved to the southeastern shore of Otsego Lake and founded the village of
Cooperstown, at the point where the Susquehanna River furnishes an outlet
for the lake. In this romantic place he passed the most impressionable part
of his boyhood.

At the close of the eighteenth century, Cooperstown was one of the outposts
of civilization. Few clearings had been made in the vast mysterious
forests, which appealed so deeply to the boy's imagination, and which still
sheltered deer, bear, and Indians. The most vivid local story which his
young ears heard was the account of the Cherry Valley massacre, which had
taken place a few miles from Cooperstown only eleven years before he was
born. Cooper himself felt the fascination of the trackless forests before
he communicated it to his readers.

He entered Yale in 1802, but he did not succeed in eradicating his love of
outdoor life and of the unfettered habits of the pioneer, and did not
remain to graduate. The faculty dismissed him in his junior year. It was
unfortunate that he did not study more and submit to the restraints and
discipline of regular college life; for his prose often shows in its
carelessness of construction and lack of restraint his need for that formal
discipline which was for the moment so grievous to him.

After Cooper had left college, his father decided to have him prepare for
the navy. As there was no naval academy, he adopted the usual course of
having the boy serve a year on a merchant vessel. After this
apprenticeship, Cooper entered the navy as a midshipman. From such
experiences he gained sufficient knowledge of the ocean and ships to enable
him to become the author of some of our best tales of the sea. He resigned
from the navy, however, in 1811, when he married.

BECOMES AN AUTHOR.--Cooper had reached the age of thirty without even
attempting to write a book. In 1820 he remarked one day to his wife that he
thought he could write a better novel than the one which he was then
reading to her. She immediately challenged him to try, and he promptly
wrote the novel called _Precaution_. He chose to have this deal with
English life because the critics of his time considered American subjects
commonplace and uninteresting. As he knew nothing of English life at first
hand, he naturally could not make the pages of _Precaution_ vivid with
touches of local color.

This book was soon forgotten, and Cooper might never have written another,
had not some sensible friends insisted that it was his patriotic duty to
make American subjects fashionable. A friend related to him the story of a
spy of Westchester County, New York, who during the Revolution served the
American cause with rare fidelity and sagacity. Cooper was then living in
this very county, and, being attracted by the subject, he soon completed
the first volume of _The Spy_, which was at once printed. As he still
doubted, however, whether his countrymen would read "a book that treated of
their own familiar interests," he delayed writing the second volume for
several months. When he did start to write it, his publisher feared that it
might be too long to pay, so before Cooper had thought out the intervening
chapters, he wrote the last chapter and had it printed and paged to satisfy
the publisher. When _The Spy_ was published in 1821, it immediately sold
well in America, although such was the bondage to English standards of
criticism that many who read the book hesitated to express an opinion until
they had heard the verdict from England. When the English received the
book, however, they fairly devoured it, and it became one of the most
widely read tales of the early nineteenth century. Harvey Birch, the hero
of the story, is one of the great characters of our early fiction.


Cooper now adopted writing as a profession. In less than thirty years, he
wrote more than thirty romances, in most cases of two volumes each. When he
went to Europe in 1826, the year of the publication of _The Last of the
Mohicans_, he found that his work was as well known abroad as at home. Sir
Walter Scott, who met Cooper in Paris, mentions in his diary for November
6, 1826, a reception by a French princess, and adds the note, "Cooper was
there, so the American and Scotch lions took the field together."

LATER YEARS.--After Cooper's return from Europe in 1833, he spent the most
of the remaining seventeen years of his life in writing books at his early
home, known as Otsego Hall, in Cooperstown. Here in the summer of 1837
there occurred an unfortunate incident which embittered the rest of his
life and for a while made him the most unpopular of American authors. Some
of his townspeople cut down one of his valuable trees and otherwise misused
the picnic grounds on a part of his estate fronting the lake. When he
remonstrated, the public denounced him and ordered his books removed from
the local library. He then forbade the further use of his grounds by the
public. Many of the newspapers throughout the state misrepresented his
action, and he foolishly sued them for libel. From that time the press
persecuted him. He sued the Albany _Evening Journal_, edited by Thurlow
Weed, and received four hundred dollars damage. Weed thereupon wrote in the
New York _Tribune_:--

  "The value of Mr. Cooper's character has been judicially determined. It
  is worth exactly four hundred dollars."

Cooper promptly sued _The Tribune_, and was awarded two hundred dollars. In
the heat of this controversy Thurlow Weed incautiously opened Cooper's _The
Pathfinder_, which had just appeared, and sat up all night to finish the
book. During the progress of these suits, Cooper unfortunately wrote a
novel, _Home as Found_, satirizing, from a somewhat European point of view,
the faults of his countrymen. A friend, trying to dissuade him from
publishing such matter, wrote, "You lose hold on the American public by
rubbing down their shins with brickbats, as you do." Cooper, however,
published the book in 1838, and then there was a general rush to attack
him. A critic of his _History of the Navy of the United States of America_
(1839), a work which is still an authority for the time of which it treats,
abused the book and made reflections on Cooper's veracity. The author
brought suit for libel, and won his case in a famous trial in which he was
his own lawyer. These unfortunate incidents, which would have been avoided
by a man like Benjamin Franklin, diminished the circulation of Cooper's
books in America during the rest of his life.


Even on his deathbed he thought of the unjust criticism from which he had
suffered, and asked his family not to aid in the preparation of any account
of his life. He died in 1851 at the age of sixty-two, and was buried at
Cooperstown. Lounsbury thus concludes an excellent biography of this great
writer of romance:--

  "America has had among her representatives of the irritable race of
  writers many who have shown far more ability to get on pleasantly with
  their fellows than Cooper.... But she counts on the scanty roll of her
  men of letters the name of no one who acted from purer patriotism or
  loftier principle. She finds among them all no manlier nature and no more
  heroic soul."

GREATEST ROMANCES.--Cooper's greatest achievement is the series known as
_The Leatherstocking Tales_. These all have as their hero Leatherstocking,
a pioneer variously known as Hawkeye, _La Longue Carabine_ (The Long
Rifle), and Natty Bumppo. A statue of this great original creation of
American fiction now overlooks Otsego Lake. Leatherstocking embodies the
fearlessness, the energy, the rugged honesty, of the worthiest of our
pioneers, of those men who opened up our vast inland country and gave it to
us to enjoy. Ulysses is no more typically Grecian than Leatherstocking is

_The Leatherstocking Tales_ are five in number. The order in which they
should be read to follow the hero from youth to old age is as follows:--

[Footnote: The figures in parenthesis refer to the date of publication.]

_The Deerslayer; or The First War Path_ (1841).

_The Last of the Mohicans; a Narrative of 1757_ (1826).

_The Pathfinder; or the Inland Sea_ (1840).

_The Pioneers; or the Sources of the Susquehanna_ (1823).

_The Prairie; a Tale_ (1827)


This sequence may be easily remembered from the fact that the first chief
words in the titles, "Deerslayer," "Mohicans," "Pathfinder," "Pioneers,"
and "Prairie," are arranged in alphabetical order. These books are the
prose _Iliad_ and _Odyssey_ of the eighteenth-century American pioneer.
Instead of relating the fall of Ilium, Cooper tells of the conquest of the
wilderness. The wanderings or Leatherstocking in the forest and the
wilderness are substituted for those of Ulysses on the sea. This story
could not have been related with much of the vividness of an eye-witness of
the events, if it had been postponed beyond Cooper's day. Before that time
had forever passed, he fixed in living romance one remarkable phase of our
country's development. The persons of this romantic drama were the Pioneer
and the Indian; the stage was the trackless forest and the unbroken


_The Last of the Mohicans_ has been the favorite of the greatest number of
readers. In this story Chingachgook, the Indian, and Uncas, his son, share
with Hawkeye our warmest admiration. The American boy longs to enter the
fray to aid Uncas. Cooper knew that the Indian had good traits, and he
embodied them in these two red men. Scott took the same liberty of
presenting the finer aspects of chivalry and neglecting its darker side.
Cooper, however, does show an Indian fiend in Magua.

Cooper's work in this series brings us face to face with the activities of
nature and man in God's great out of doors. Cooper makes us realize that
the life of the pioneer was not without its elemental spirit of poetry. We
may feel something of this spirit in the reply of Leatherstocking to the
trembling Cora, when she asked him at midnight what caused a certain
fearful sound:--

  "'Lady,' returned the scout, solemnly, 'I have listened to all the sounds
  of the woods for thirty years, as a man will listen, whose life and death
  depend so often on the quickness of his ears. There is no whine of the
  panther, no whistle of the catbird, nor any invention of the devilish
  Mingos, that can cheat me. I have heard the forest moan like mortal men
  in their affliction; often and again have I listened to the wind playing
  its music in the branches of the girdled trees; and I have heard the
  lightning cracking in the air, like the snapping of blazing brush, as it
  spitted forth sparks and forked flames; but never have I thought that I
  heard more than the pleasure of him, who sported with the things of his
  hand. But neither the Mohicans, nor I, who am a white man without a
  cross, can explain the cry just heard.'"

In addition to the five _Leatherstocking Tales_, three other romances show
special power. They are:--

_The Spy; a Tale of the Neutral Ground_ (1821).

_The Pilot; a Tale of the Sea_ (1824).

_The Red Rover; a Tale_ (1828).

The last two show Cooper's mastery in telling stories of the sea. Tom
Coffin, in _The Pilot_, is a fine creation.

Some of the more than thirty works of fiction that Cooper wrote are almost
unreadable, and some appeal more to special students than to general
readers. _Satanstoe_ (1845), for instance, gives vivid pictures of
mid-eighteenth century colonial life in New York.

The English critic's query, "Who reads an American book?" could have
received the answer in 1820, "The English public is reading Irving." In
1833, Morse, the inventor of the electric telegraph, had another answer
ready--"Europe is reading Cooper." He said that as soon as Cooper's works
were finished they were published in thirty-four different places in
Europe. American literature was commanding attention for its original work.

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.--Cooper's best romances are masterpieces of action
and adventure in the forest and on the sea. No other writer has so well
told the story of the pioneer. He is not a successful novelist of the
drawing-room. His women are mediocre and conventional, of the type
described in the old Sunday school books. But when he leaves the haunts of
men and enters the forest, power comes naturally to his pen. His greatest
stage of action is the forest. He loved wild nature and the sea.

He often availed himself of the Gothic license of improbability, his
characters being frequently rescued from well-nigh impossible situations.
His plots were not carefully planned in advance; they often seem to have
been suggested by an inspiration of the moment. He wrote so rapidly that he
was careless about the construction of his sentences, which are sometimes
not even grammatical.

It is easy, however, to exaggerate Cooper's faults, which do not, after
all, seriously interfere with the enjoyment of his works. A teacher, who
was asked to edit critically _The Last of the Mohicans_, said that the
first time he read it, the narrative carried him forward with such a rush,
and bound him with such a spell, that he did not notice a single blemish in
plot or style. A boy reading the same book obeyed the order to retire at
eleven, but having reached the point where Uncas was taken prisoner by the
Hurons, found the suspense too great, and quietly got the book and read the
next four chapters in bed. Cooper has in a pre-eminent degree the first
absolutely necessary qualification of the writer of fiction--the power to
hold the interest. In some respects he resembles Scott, but although the
"Wizard of the North" has a far wider range of excellence, Leatherstocking
surpasses any single one of Scott's creations and remains a great original
character added to the literature of the world. These romances have strong
ethical influence over the young. They are as pure as mountain air, and
they teach a love for manly, noble, and brave deeds. "He fought for a
principle," says Cooper's biographer, "as desperately as other men fight
for life."



LIFE.-The early environment of each of the three great members of the New
York group determined to an unusual degree the special literary work for
which each became famous. Had Irving not been steeped in the legends of the
early Dutch settlers of Manhattan, hunted squirrels in Sleepy Hollow, and
voyaged up the Hudson past the Catskills, he would have had small chance of
becoming famous as the author of the "Knickerbocker Legend." Had Cooper not
spent his boyhood on the frontier, living in close touch with the forest
and the pioneer, we should probably not have had _The Leatherstocking
Tales_. Had it not been for Bryant's early Puritan training and his
association with a peculiar type of nature, he might have ended his days as
a lawyer.

Bryant was born in Cummington, among the hills of western Massachusetts. In
her diary, his mother thus records his birth:--

  "Nov. 3, 1794. Stormy, wind N. E. Churned. Seven in the evening a son

His poetry will be better understood, if we emphasize two main facts in his
early development. In the first place, he was descended from John and
Priscilla Alden of Mayflower stock and reared in strict Puritan fashion.
Bryant's religious training determined the general attitude of all his
poetry toward nature. His parents expected their children to know the
_Bible_ in a way that can scarcely be comprehended in the twentieth
century. Before completing his fourth year, his older brother "had read the
_Scriptures_ through from beginning to end." At the age of nine, the future
poet turned the first chapter of _Job_ into classical couplets,

  "Job, good and just, in Uz had sojourned long,
  He feared his God and shunned the way of wrong.
  Three were his daughters and his sons were seven,
  And large the wealth bestowed on him by heaven."

Another striking fact is that the prayers which he heard from the Puritan
clergy and from his father and grandfather in family worship gave him a
turn toward noble poetic expression. He said that these prayers were often
"poems from beginning to end," and he cited such expressions from them as,
"Let not our feet stumble on the dark mountains of eternal death." From the
Puritan point of view, the boy made in his own prayers one daring variation
from the petitions based on scriptural sanction. He prayed that he "might
receive the gift of poetic genius, and write verses that might endure." His
early religious training was responsible for investing his poetry with the
dignity, gravity, and simplicity of the Hebraic _Scriptures_.

[Illustration: BRYANT AS A YOUNG MAN]

In the second place, he passed his youth in the fine scenery of western
Massachusetts, which is in considerable measure the counterpart of the Lake
Country which bred Wordsworth. The glory of this region reappears in his
verse; the rock-ribbed hills, the vales stretching in pensive quietness
between them, the venerable woods of ash, beech, birch, hemlock, and maple,
the complaining brooks that make the valleys green, the rare May days:--

  "When beechen buds begin to swell,
   And woods the blue bird's warble know."

[Footnote: Bryant: _The Yellow Violet_.]

His association with such scenes determined the subject matter of his
poetry, and his Puritan training prescribed the form of treatment.

He had few educational advantages,--a little district schooling, some
private tutoring by a clergyman, seven month's stay in Williams College,
which at the time of his entrance in 1810 had a teaching staff of one
professor and two tutors, besides the president. Bryant left Williams,
intending to enter Yale; but his father, a poor country physician who had
to ride vast distances for small fees, was unable to give him any further
college training.

Bryant, at about the age of eighteen, soon after leaving Williams, wrote
_Thanatopsis_,--with the exception of the opening and the closing parts. He
had already written at the age of thirteen a satiric poem, _The Embargo_,
which had secured wide circulation in New England. Keenly disappointed at
not being able to continue his college education, he regretfully began the
study of law in order to earn his living as soon as possible. He celebrated
his admission to the bar by writing one of his greatest short poems, _To a
Waterfowl_ (1815). When he was a lawyer practicing in Great Barrington,
Massachusetts, he met Miss Fanny Fairchild, to whom he addressed the

  "O fairest of the rural maids!"


Religious in all things, he prepared this betrothal prayer, which they
repeated together before they were married in the following year--

  "May Almighty God mercifully take care of our happiness here and
  hereafter. May we ever continue constant to each other, and mindful of
  our mutual promises of attachment and truth. In due time, if it be the
  will of Providence, may we become more nearly connected with each other,
  and together may we lead a long, happy, and innocent life, without any
  diminution of affection till we die."

In 1821, the year in which Cooper published _The Spy_ and Shelley wrote his
_Adonais_ lamenting the death of Keats, Bryant issued the first volume of
his verse, which contained eight poems, _Thanatopsis_, _The Inscription for
Entrance to a Wood_, _To a Waterfowl_, _The Ages_, _The Fragment from
Simonides_, _The Yellow Violet_, _The Song_, and _Green River_. This was an
epoch-making volume for American poetry. Freneau's best lyrics were so few
that they had attracted little attention, but Bryant's 1821 volume of verse
furnished a new standard of excellence, below which poets who aspired to
the first rank could not fall. During the five years after its publication,
the sales of this volume netted him a profit of only $14.92, but a Boston
editor soon offered him two hundred dollars a year for an average of one
hundred lines of verse a month. Bryant accepted the offer, and wrote poetry
in connection with the practice of law.

Unlike Irving and Charles Brockden Brown, Bryant attended to his legal work
doggedly and conscientiously for nine years, but he never liked the law,
and he longed to be a professional author. In 1825 he abandoned the law and
went to New York City. Here he managed to secure a livelihood for awhile on
the editorial force of short-lived periodicals. In 1827, however, he became
assistant editor, and in 1829 editor-in-chief, of _The New York Evening
Post_--a position which he held for nearly fifty years, until his death.

The rest of his life is more political and journalistic than literary. He
made _The Evening Post_ a power in the development of the nation, but his
work as editor interfered with his poetry, although he occasionally wrote
verse to the end of his life.

In middle life he began a series of trips abroad, and wrote many letters
describing his travels. To occupy his attention after his wife died in
1866, he translated Homer's _Iliad_ and _Odyssey_, at the nearly uniform
rate of forty lines a day. This work still remains one of the standard
poetic translations of Homer.

[Illustration: BRYANT'S HOME, ROSLYN, L.I.]

As the years passed, he became New York's representative citizen, noted for
high ideals in journalism and for incorruptible integrity, as well as for
the excellence of his poetry. He died in 1878, at the age of eighty four,
and was buried at Roslyn, Long Island, beside his wife.

POETRY.--_Thanatopsis_, probably written in 1811, was first published in
1817 in _The North American Review_, a Boston periodical. One of the
editors said to an associate, "You have been imposed upon. No one on this
side of the Atlantic is capable of writing such verses." The associate
insisted that Dr. Bryant, the author, had left them at the office, and that
the Doctor was at that moment sitting in the State Senate, representing his
county. The editor at once dashed away to the State House, took a long look
at the Doctor, and reported, "It is a good head, but I do not see
_Thanatopsis_ in it." When the father was aware of the misunderstanding, he
corrected it, but there were for a long time doubts whether a boy could
have written a poem of this rank. In middle age the poet wrote the
following to answer a question in regard to the time of the composition of

  "It was written when I was seventeen or eighteen years old--I have not
  now at hand the memorandums which would enable me to be precise--and I
  believe it was composed in my solitary rambles in the woods. As it was
  first committed to paper, it began with the half line--'Yet a few days,
  and thee'--and ended with the beginning of another line with the
  words--'And make their bed with thee.' The rest of the poem--the
  introduction and the close--was added some years afterward, in 1821."

_Thanatopsis_ remains to-day Bryant's most famous production. It is a
stately poem upon death, and seems to come directly from the lips of

            "... from all around--
  Earth and her waters and the depth of air--
  Comes a still voice.--
             Yet a few days, and thee
  The all-beholding sun shall see no more ..."

No other poem presents "all-including death" on a scale of such vastness.
The majestic solemnity of the poem and the fine quality of its blank verse
may be felt in this selection:--

         "... The hills
  Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun,--the vales
  Stretching in pensive quietness between;
  The venerable woods--rivers that move
  In majesty, and the complaining brooks
  That make the meadows green; and, poured round all,
  Old Ocean's gray and melancholy waste,--
  Are but the solemn decorations all
  Of the great tomb of man."

_Thanatopsis_ shows the old Puritan tendency to brood on death, but the
_Inscription for Entrance to a Wood_, written in 1815 and published in the
same number of _The North American Review_ as his first great poem, takes
us where

              "... the thick roof
  Of green and stirring branches is alive
  And musical with birds."

The gladness of the soft winds, the blue sky, the rivulet, the mossy rocks,
the cleft-born wild-flower, the squirrels, and the insects,--all focus our
attention on the "deep content" to be found in "the haunts of Nature," and
suggest Wordsworth's philosophy of the conscious enjoyment of the flower,
the grass, the mountains, the bird, and the stream, voicing their "thousand
blended notes."

We may say of Bryant what was true of Cooper, that when he enters a forest,
power seems to come unbidden to his pen. Bryant's _Forest Hymn_ (1825)
finds God in those green temples:--

          "Thou art in the soft winds
  That run along the summit of these trees
    In music."

He points out the divinity that shapes our ends in:--

      "That delicate forest flower,
  With scented breath and look so like a smile."

No Puritan up to this time had represented God in a guise more pleasing
than the smile of a forest flower. This entire _Hymn_ seems like a great
prayer rooted deep in those earlier prayers to which the boy used to

Although Bryant lived to be eighty-four, he wrote less poetry than Keats,
who died at the age of twenty-five, and about one third as much as Shelley,
who was scarcely thirty when he was drowned. It is not length of days that
makes a poet. Had Bryant died in his thirtieth year, his excellence and
limitations would be fairly well shown in his work finished at that time.
At this age, in addition to the five poems in his 1821 volume (p. 139), he
had written _The Winter Piece_, _A Forest Hymn_, and _The Death of the
Flowers_. These and a number of other poems, written before he had finished
his thirtieth year, would have entitled him to approximately the same rank
that he now holds in the history of American poetry. It is true that if he
had then passed away, we should have missed his exquisite call to _The
Evening Wind_ (1829), and some of his other fine productions, such as _To
the Fringed Gentian_ (1829), _The Prairies_ (1832), _The Battle-Field_
(1837), with its lines which are a keynote to Bryant's thought and

  "Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again,
     Th' eternal years of God are hers."

We are thankful for the ideals voiced in _The Poet_ (1863), and we listen
respectfully to _The Flood of Years_ (1876), as the final utterance of a
poet who has had the experience of fourscore years.

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.--Bryant is the first great American poet. His
poetry is chiefly reflective and descriptive, and it is remarkable for its
elevation, simplicity, and moral earnestness. He lacks dramatic power and
skill in narration. Calmness and restraint, the lack of emotional
intensity, are also evident in his greatest work. His depths of space are
vast, but windless. In _The Poet_ he says that verse should embody:--

          "... feelings of calm power and mighty sweep,
  Like currents journeying through the windless deep."

His chosen field is describing and interpreting nature. He has been called
an American Wordsworth. In the following lines Bryant gives poetic
expression to his feeling that a certain maiden's heart and face reflected
the beauty of the natural scenes amid which she was reared:--

         "... all the beauty of the place
  Is in thy heart and on thy face.
  The twilight of the trees and rocks
  Is in the light shade of thy locks."

[Footnote: "O Fairest of the Rural Maids." (1820.)]

With these lines compare Wordsworth's _Three Years She Grew in Sun and
Shower_ (1799):--

          "... she shall lean her ear
    In many a secret place
  Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
  And beauty born of murmuring sound
    Shall pass into her face."

Bryant himself says that under the influence of Wordsworth, nature suddenly
changed "into a strange freshness and life." It is no discredit to him to
have been Wordsworth's pupil or to have failed to equal the magic of
England's greatest poet of nature.

Bryant's range was narrow for a great poet, and his later verse usually
repeated his earlier successes. As a rule, he presented the sky, forest,
flower, stream, animal, and the composite landscape, only as they served to
illumine the eternal verities, and the one verity toward which nature most
frequently pointed was death. His heart, unlike Wordsworth's, did not dance
with the daffodils waving in the breeze, for the mere pleasure of the

The blank verse of his _Thanatopsis_ has not been surpassed since Milton.
In everything that he did, Bryant was a careful workman. Painters have
noticed his skill in the use of his poetic canvas and his power to suggest
subjects to them, such as:--

  "... croft and garden and orchard,
   That bask in the mellow light."

Three vistas from _To a Waterfowl_,--"the plashy brink of weedy lake,"
"marge of river wide," and "the chafed ocean side,"--long ago furnished the
suggestion for three paintings.

Bryant's Puritan ancestry and training laid a heavy hand upon him. Thoughts
of "the last bitter hour" are constantly recurring in his verse. The third
line of even his poem _June_ brings us to the grave. His great poems are
often like a prayer accompanied by the subdued tones of a mighty organ.
Nothing foul or ignoble can be found in his verse. He has the lofty ideals
of the Puritans.


As we saw in the preceding chapter, WORDSWORTH and COLERIDGE at the close
of the last century began to exert a new influence on literature.
Wordsworth's new philosophy of nature (p. 99) can be traced in the work of
Bryant. The other poets of this age belong to the romantic school. BYRON
(1788-1824), the poet of revolt against the former world, shows the same
influences that manifest themselves in the American and the French
Revolution. He voices the complaints, and, to some extent, the aspirations
of Europe. He shows his influence in Fitz-Greene Halleck's _Marco
Bozzaris_. Shelley, who also belongs to the school of revolt, has a
peculiar position as a poet of ethereal, evanescent, and spirit-like
beauty. He is heard in the voice of the West Wind, the Cloud, the unseen
Skylark, the "Spirit of Night," and "the white radiance of Eternity."
Bryant's call in _The Evening Wind_ (1829) to

                    "... rouse
  The wide old wood from his majestic rest,
    Summoning from the innumerable boughs
  The strange, deep harmonies that haunt his breast,"

may even have been suggested by Shelley's _Ode to the West Wind_ (1819)

  "Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
    What if my leaves are falling like its own?
  The tumult of thy mighty harmonies
    Will take from both a deep autumnal tone."

In the early part of this period, Wordsworth and Shelley were both making
these harmonies of nature audible to ears which had hitherto not heard
them. KEATS (1795-1821) is the poet of beauty, and he makes more of an
appeal to the senses than Shelley. The favorite creed of Keats was:--

  "A thing of beauty is a joy forever."

His influence will gradually extend to later American verse.

SIR WALTER SCOTT was the great prose writer of the age preceding the
Victorian. The first of his series of _Waverley_ novels was published in
1814, and he continued until his death in 1832 to delight the world with
his genius as a writer of romances. His influence may be traced in Cooper's
work, although the American author occupies an original field. Readers are
still charmed with the exquisite flavor and humor in the essays of CHARLES
LAMB (1775-1834). The essays of DE QUINCEY (1785-1859) are remarkable for
precision, stateliness, and harmony.


During these forty years, the facts most important for the student of
literature are connected with the expansion and social ideals of the
country. Progress was specially manifest in two ways: in "the manufacture
of farms" and in the introduction and use of steam. At the time of the
inauguration of Washington in 1789, the center of population of the entire
country was thirty miles east of Baltimore. The progress of settlements
westward, which had already begun in the last period, became in an
increasing degree one of the remarkable events in the history of the world.

We may observe that the second war with England (1812) resulted in welding
the Union more closely together and in giving it more prestige abroad. We
should next note the unparalleled material development of the country; the
opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, the rapid extension of steamboats on
rivers, the trial of the first steam locomotive in 1828, the increased
westward movement of population, which reached California in 1849, several
hundred years ahead of schedule time, as those thought who prophesied
before the introduction of steam. The story of the material progress of the
country sounds like a new _Arabian Nights' Tale_.

The administration of Andrew Jackson (1829-1837) is really the beginning of
the modern history of the United States. The change during these years was
due more to steam than to any other single cause. At the beginning of his
administration, there were no steam railroads, but fifteen hundred miles
were in operation before the end of his second term. His predecessor in the
presidential chair was John Quincy Adams, a Harvard graduate and an
aristocrat. Jackson was illiterate, a man of the people. There was an
extension of the social democratic feeling.

All classes, the poor as well as the rich, spoke their minds more freely on
every subject. Even Jackson's messages relating to foreign nations were
sometimes not couched in very diplomatic terms. Every one felt that he was
as good as anybody else, and in the new settlements all mingled on terms of
equality. When Cooper came back to the United States in 1833, after an
absence of six years in Europe, he found that he had returned to a new
country, where "everybody was everywhere," and nobody was anywhere, and
where the chase for the dollar seemed to have grown more absorbing than
ever before.

Slavery had become one of the leading questions of the day. To keep the
balance between the North and the South, states were often admitted in
pairs, one free and one slave state. In 1845 there were in the Union
thirteen free and fourteen slave states. The decade between 1840 and 1850
witnessed the war with Mexico and the acquisition from her of our vast
southwestern territory,--Texas, California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New
Mexico, and some interior lands to the north of these. The South was
chiefly instrumental in bringing about this extension of our boundaries,
hoping that this additional territory would be open for the employment of
slaves and would tend to make more nearly even the influence of each
section in the national government.


With the publication of Irving's _Knickerbocker's History of New York_ in
1809, the literary center of the United States shifted to New York, then
the second city in the country. Drake and Halleck, two minor poets, calling
themselves "The Croakers," issued a series of poems with the principal
object of entertaining readers. Drake wrote a fine romantic poem called
_The Culprit Fay_. Halleck's best works are the poems on the death of Drake
and _Marco Bozzaris_.

Washington Irving's chief fame is based on his original creation of the
"Knickerbocker Legend" in his _History of New York_, _Rip Van Winkle_, and
_The Legend of Sleepy Hollow_. He is an unusually successful writer of
short stories, of essays like those in Addison's _Spectator_, and of
popular history and biography. He is the first American writer whose works
are still read for pure pleasure. Humor and restrained sentiment are two of
his pronounced qualities. While the subject matter of his best work is
romantic, in his treatment of that matter he shows the restraint of the
classical school. His style is simple and easy-flowing but not remarkable
for vigor.

James Fenimore Cooper's _Leatherstocking Tales_ recreate in a romantic way
the life of the pioneer in the forest and the wilderness. The Indian
figures more largely in these Tales than in those of any preceding writer.
Leatherstocking deserves a place in the world's temple of fame as a great
original character in fiction. Cooper is also our greatest writer of
stories of the sea. _The Pilot_ and _The Red Rover_ still fascinate readers
with the magic of the ocean. The scenes of all of his best stories are laid
out of doors. His style is often careless, and he sometimes does not take
the trouble to correct positive errors, but his power of arousing interest
is so great that these are seldom noticed. His romances are pure, and they
inspire a love for what is noble and manly. Irving was almost as popular in
England as in the United States, but Cooper was the first American author
to be read widely throughout Europe.

William Cullen Bryant is the first great American poet. He belongs to
Wordsworth's school of nature poets. Bryant's verse, chiefly reflective and
descriptive, is characterized by elevation, simplicity, and moral
earnestness. His range is narrow. His communion with nature often leads him
to the grave, but no other American poet invests it with as much majesty as
is found in _Thanatopsis_. His strict Puritan training causes him to
present the eternal verities in his poetry. Unlike Irving, Cooper, and the
minor writers, his object is not entertainment.

The influence of steam, the more rapid emigration westward, the increase of
the democratic spirit, and the beginning of the modern era with its
strenuous materialistic trend in the administration of Andrew Jackson
marked a great change in the development of the nation. The taking of our
vast southwest territory from Mexico was an event second only in importance
to the Louisiana Purchase.



In addition to the American and English histories suggested on pp. 60, 61,
the following may be consulted: Burgess's _The Middle Period_, 1817-1858;
Coman's _The Industrial History of the United States_, Chaps. VI. and VII.;
Bogart's _Economic History of the United States_, Chap. XIV; Sparks's _The
Expansion of the American People_.


Richardson's _American Literature_.

Trent's _A History of American Literature_.

Wendell's _History of Literature in America_.

Stanton's _A Manual of American Literature_.

Herford's _The Age of Wordsworth_.

Stedman's _Poets of America_. (Drake, Halleck, Bryant.)

_The Croakers_, pp. 255-385, in _The Poetical Writings of Fitz-Greene
Halleck_, edited by James Grant Wilson.

Wilson's _Fitz-Greene Halleck's Life and Letters_.

Irving's, Pierre M.: _Life and Letters of Washington Irving_, 4 vols.

Warner's _The Work of Washington Irving_ (60 pages, excellent).

Warner's _Washington Irving_ (304 pages, _American Men of Letters_).

Payne's _Leading American Essayists_, pp. 43-134. (Irving.)

Canby's _The Short Story in English_, pp. 218-226. (Irving.)

Lounsbury's _James Fenimore Cooper_. (_American Men of Letters_;

Clymer's _James Fenimore Cooper_. (_Beacon Biographies_.)

Brownell's _American Prose Masters_. (Cooper.)

Erskine's _Leading American Novelists_, pp. 51-129. (Cooper.)

Cooper's _Last of the Mohicans_, edited with _Introduction_ by Halleck.

Godwin's _A Biography of William Cullen Bryant, with Extracts from his
Private Correspondence_, 2 vols. (The standard authority.)

Godwin's _The Poetical Works of William Cullen Bryant_, 2 vols.

Bigelow's _William Cullen Bryant_. (_American Men of Letters_.)

Bradley's _William Cullen Bryant_. (_English Men of Letters, American

Chadwick's _The Origin of a Great Poem (Thanatopsis)_, _Harper's Magazine_,
September, 1894,


MINOR WRITERS.--_The Croakers_, in Wilson's edition of Halleck's _Poetical

Selections from the poetry of Drake and Halleck may be found in Stedman's
_American Anthology_, pp. 36-47, and in S. & H., Vol. V.

IRVING.--His _Knickerbocker's History of New York_ begins with somewhat
tiresome matter, condensed from chapters which he and his brother had
jointly written on a different plan. The first part may well be omitted,
but _Books III., V., VI., VII._ should at least be read.

Read his best two short stories, _Rip Van Winkle_ and _The Legend of Sleepy
Hollow_. Lovers of Irving will also wish to read some tales from _The
Alhambra_, and some of his essays: _e.g. Westminster Abbey_ and
_Stratford-on-Avon_. For selections from his various works, see Carpenter,
124-134; S. & H., V., 41-62.

COOPER.--One of his _Leather stocking Tales_ (p. 131), _e.g. The Last of
the Mohicans_, which is deservedly the most popular, should be read. If a
tale of the sea is desired, read either _The Pilot_ or _The Red Rover_.
Selections may be found in Carpenter, 124-134; S. & H., V., 138-183.

Bryant.--Read _Thanatopsis, To a Waterfowl, O Fairest of the Rural Maids, A
Forest Hymn, The Death of the Flowers, The Evening Wind, To the Fringed
Gentian_, and _The Poet_. All of these are accessible in Bryant's poetical
works, and almost all may be found in Page's _The Chief American Poets_.
Selections are given in Stedman's _American Anthology_; S. & H., Vol. V.;
and Long's _American Poems_, 1776-1900.


What are some of the chief qualities in the poetry of "The Croakers"? What
do these qualities indicate in the readers of contemporary New York? Do you
find a genuine romantic element in Drake's _Culprit Fay_? Compare Halleck's
_Marco Bozzaris_ with his lines on the death of Drake, and give reasons for
your preference.

Select what you consider the best three specimens of humor in Irving's
_Knickerbocker's History of New York_. How is the humorous effect secured?
Why does it not make us dislike the Dutch? Why is this _History_ an
original work? Why have _Rip Van Winkle_ and _The Legend of Sleepy Hollow_
been such general favorites? Compare these with any of Addison's _Sir Roger
de Coverley Papers_ and with any modern short story. Is Irving a romantic
writer? Compare his style with Addison's and with Goldsmith's in _The Vicar
of Wakefield._

Why does Cooper deserve to rank as an original American author? What is his
chosen field? In what does his special power consist? Who before him made
use of the Indian in literature? Can you find any point of similarity
between his work and _The Legend of Sleepy Hollow_? What are the most
striking points of dissimilarity? How does his use of the romantic element
differ from Irving's? What blemishes have you actually noticed in Cooper?

What lines in Bryant's _Thanatopsis_ are the keynote of the entire poem?
What are its general qualities? What are the finest thoughts in _A Forest
Hymn_? What do these suggest in regard to Bryant's early training and the
cast of his mind? Of all Bryant's poems indicated for reading, which do you
prefer? Which of his references to nature do you like best? Compare his
poem: _O fairest of the rural maids!_ with Wordsworth's: _Three years she
grew in sun and shower_. In Bryant's _The Poet_, what noteworthy poetical
ideals do you find?



CHANGE IN RELIGIOUS THOUGHT.--Since the death of Jonathan Edwards in the
middle of the seventeenth century, New England had done little to sustain
her former literary reputation. As the middle of the nineteenth century
approaches, however, we shall find a remarkable group of writers in Boston
and its vicinity. The causes of this wonderful literary awakening are in
some respects similar to those which produced the Elizabethan age. In the
sixteenth century the Reformation and the Revival of Learning exerted their
joint force on England. In the nineteenth century, New England also had its
religious reformation and intellectual awakening. We must remember that
"re-formation" strictly means "forming again" or "forming in a different
way." It is not the province of a history of literature to state whether a
change in religious belief is for the better or the worse, but it is
necessary to ascertain how such a change affects literature.

The old Puritan religion taught the total depravity of man, the eternal
damnation of the overwhelming majority, of all but the "elect." A man's
election to salvation depended on God's foreordination. If the man was not
elected, he was justly treated, for he merely received his deserts. Even
Jonathan Edwards, in spite of his sweet nature, felt bound to preach hell
fire in terms of the old Puritan theology. In one of his sermons, he

  "The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider,
  or some loathsome insect, over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully
  provoked; his wrath toward you burns like fire; he looks upon you as
  worthy of nothing else but to be cast into the fire."

This quotation was not given when we discussed the works of Edwards,
because it misrepresents his most often recurring idea of God. But the fact
that even he felt impelled to preach such a sermon shows most emphatically
that Puritan theology exerted its influence by presenting more vivid
pictures of God's wrath than of his love.

A tremendous reaction from such beliefs came in the first quarter of the
nineteenth century. William Ellery Channing (1780-1842), pastor of the
Federal Street Church in Boston and one of the greatest leaders of this
religious reform, wrote in 1809 of the old Puritan creed:--

  "A man of plain sense, whose spirit has not been broken to this creed by
  education or terror, will think that it is not necessary for us to travel
  to heathen countries, to learn how mournfully the human mind may
  misrepresent the Deity."

He maintained that human nature, made in the image of God, is not totally
depraved, that the current doctrine of original sin, election, and eternal
punishment "misrepresents the Deity" and makes him a monster. This view
was speedily adopted by the majority of cultivated people in and around
Boston. The Unitarian movement rapidly developed and soon became dominant
at Harvard College. Unitarianism was embraced by the majority of
Congregational churches in Boston, including the First Church, and the
Second Church, where the great John Cotton (see p. 14.) and Cotton Mather
(p. 46.) had preached the sternest Puritan theology. Nearly all of the
prominent writers mentioned in this chapter adopted liberal religious
views. The recoil had been violent, and in the long run recoil will
usually be found proportional to the strength of the repression. Dr.
Oliver Wendell Holmes even called the old theology largely "diabology."
The name of one of his poems is _Homesick in Heaven_. Had he in the early
days chosen such a title, he would either, like Roger Williams, have been
exiled, or, like the Quakers, have suffered a worse fate.

Many adopted more liberal religious beliefs without embracing Unitarianism.
Perhaps these three lines voice most briefly the central thought in man's
new creed and his changed attitude toward God:--

  "For Thou and I are next of kin;
   The pulses that are strong within,
   From the deep Infinite heart begin."

THE NEW ENGLAND RENAISSANCE.--The stern theology of the Puritans may have
been absolutely necessary to make them work with a singleness and an
inflexibility of purpose to lay the foundations of a mighty republic; but
this very singleness of aim had led to a narrowness of culture which had
starved the emotional and aesthetic nature. Art, music, literature, and the
love of beauty in general had seemed reprehensible because it was thought
that they took away the attention from a matter of far graver import, the
salvation of the immortal soul. Now there gradually developed the
conviction that these agencies not only helped to save the soul, but made
it more worth saving. People began to search for the beautiful and to enjoy
it in both nature and art. Emerson says:--

  "... if eyes were made for seeing,
   Then Beauty is its own excuse for being."

The first half of the nineteenth century saw the New Englanders engaged in
a systematic attempt at self-culture, to an extent never before witnessed
in America and rarely elsewhere. Many with an income barely sufficient for
comfortable living set aside a fund for purchasing books before anything
else. Emerson could even write to Carlyle that all the bright girls in New
England wanted something better than morning calls and evening parties, and
that a life of mere trade did not promise satisfaction to the boys.

In 1800 there were few foreign books in Boston, but the interest in them
developed to such an extent that Hawthorne's father-in-law and
sister-in-law, Dr. and Miss Peabody, started a foreign bookstore and
reading room. Longfellow made many beautiful translations from foreign
poetry. In 1840 Emerson said that he had read in the original fifty-five
volumes of Goethe. Emerson superintended the publication in America of
Carlyle's early writings, which together with some of Coleridge's works
introduced many to German philosophy and idealism.

In this era, New England's recovery from emotional and aesthetic starvation
was rapid. Her poets and prose writers produced a literature in which
beauty, power, and knowledge were often combined, and they found a
cultivated audience to furnish a welcome.

THE TRANSCENDENTAL PHILOSOPHY.--The literature and thought of New England
were profoundly modified by the transcendental philosophy. Ralph Waldo
Emerson (p. 178) was the most celebrated expounder of this school of
thought. The English philosopher, Locke, had maintained that intellectual
action is limited to the world of the senses. The German metaphysician,
Kant, claimed that the soul has ideas which are not due to the activity of
any of the senses: that every one has an idea of time and space although no
one has ever felt, tasted, seen, eaten, or smelled time or space. He called
such an idea an intuition or transcendental form.

The student of literature need not worry himself greatly about the
metaphysical significance of transcendentalism, but he must understand its
influence on literary thought. It is enough for him to realize that there
are two great classes of fact confronting every human being. There are the
ordinary phenomena of life, which are apparent to the senses and which are
the only things perceived by the majority of human beings. But behind all
these appearances are forces and realities which the senses do not
perceive. One with the bodily eye can see the living forms moving around
him, but not the meaning of life. It is something more than the bodily hand
that gropes in the darkness and touches God's hand. To commune with a
Divine Power, we must transcend the experience of the senses. We are now
prepared to understand what a transcendentalist like Thoreau means when he

  "I hear beyond the range of sound,
   I see beyond the range of sight."

The transcendentalists, therefore, endeavored to transcend, that is, to
pass beyond, the range of human sense and experience. We are all in a
measure transcendentalists when we try to pierce the unseen, to explain
existence, to build a foundation of meaning under the passing phenomena of
life. To the old Puritan, the unseen was always fraught with deeper meaning
than the seen. Sarah Pierrepont and Jonathan Edwards (p. 51) were in large
measure transcendentalists. The trouble was that the former Puritan
philosophy of the unseen was too rigid and limited to satisfy the widening
aspirations of the soul.

It should be noted that in this period the term "transcendentalist" is
extended beyond its usual meaning and loosely applied to those thinkers who
(1) preferred to rely on their own intuitions rather than on the authority
of any one, (2) exalted individuality, (3) frowned on imitation and
repetition, (4) broke with the past, (5) believed that a new social and
spiritual renaissance was necessary and forthcoming, (6) insisted on the
importance of culture, on "plain living and high thinking," and (7) loved
isolation and solitude. An excellent original exposition of much of this
philosophy may be found in Emerson's _Nature_ (1836) and in his lecture on
_The Transcendentalist_ (1842).

THE ECSTASY OF THE TRANSCENDENTALISTS.--Any age that accomplishes great
things is necessarily enthusiastic. According to Emerson, one of the
articles of the transcendental creed was a belief "in inspiration and
ecstasy." With this went an overmastering consciousness of newly discovered
power. "Do you think me the child of circumstances?" asked the
transcendentalist, and he answered in almost the same breath, "I make my

The feeling of ecstasy, due to the belief that he was really a part of an
infinite Divine Power, made Emerson say:--

  "I see the spectacle of morning from the hill-top over against my house,
  from daybreak to sunrise, with emotions which an angel might share. The
  long slender bars of cloud float like fishes in the sea of crimson light.
  From the earth, as a shore, I look out into that silent sea. I seem to
  partake its rapid transformations; the active enchantment reaches my
  dust, and I dilate and conspire with the morning wind."

The greatest of the women transcendentalists, MARGARET FULLER (1810-1850),
a distinguished early pleader for equal rights for her sex, believed that
when it was fashionable for women to bring to the home "food and fire for
the mind as well as for the body," an ecstatic "harmony of the spheres
would ensue."

To her, as to Emerson, Nature brought an inspiring message. On an early May
day she wrote:--

  "The trees were still bare, but the little birds care not for that; they
  revel and carol and wildly tell their hopes, while the gentle voluble
  south wind plays with the dry leaves, and the pine trees sigh with their
  soul-like sounds for June. It was beauteous; and care and routine fled
  away, and I was as if they had never been."

[Illustration: MARGARET FULLER]

The transcendentalist, while voicing his ecstasy over life, has put himself
on record as not wishing to do anything more than once. For him God has
enough new experiences, so that repetition is unnecessary. He dislikes
routine. "Everything," Emerson says, "admonishes us how needlessly long
life is," that is, if we walk with heroes and do not repeat. Let a machine
add figures while the soul moves on. He dislikes seeing any part of a
universe that he does not use. Shakespeare seemed to him to have lived a
thousand years as the guest of a great universe in which most of us never
pass beyond the antechamber.


Critics were not wanting to point out the absurdity of many transcendental
ecstasies. AMOS BRONSON ALCOTT (1799-1888), one of the leading
transcendentalists, wrote a peculiar poem called _The Seer's Rations_, in
which he speaks of

  "Bowls of sunrise for breakfast,
   Brimful of the East."

His neighbors said that this was the diet which he provided for his hungry
family. His daughter, Louisa May, the author of that fine juvenile work,
_Little Women_ (1868), had a sad struggle with poverty while her father was
living in the clouds. The extreme philosophy of the intangible was soon
called "transcendental moonshine." The tenets of Bronson Alcott's
transcendental philosophy required him to believe that human nature is
saturated with divinity. He therefore felt that a misbehaving child in
school would be most powerfully affected by seeing the suffering which his
wrongdoing brought to others. He accordingly used to shake a good child for
the bad deeds of others. Sometimes when the class had offended, he would
inflict corporal punishment on himself. His extreme applications of the new
principle show that lack of balance which many of this school displayed,
and yet his reliance on sympathy instead of on the omnipresent rod marks a
step forward in educational practice. Emerson was far-seeing enough to say
of those who carried the new philosophy to an extreme, "What if they eat
clouds and drink wind, they have not been without service to the race of


THE NEW VIEW OF NATURE.--To the old Puritan, nature seemed to groan under
the weight of sin and to bear the primal curse. To the transcendentalist,
nature was a part of divinity. The question was sometimes asked whether
nature had any real existence outside of God, whether it was not God's
thoughts. Emerson, being an idealist, doubted whether nature had any more
material existence than a thought.

The majority of the writers did not press this idealistic conception of
nature, but much of the nature literature of this group shows a belief in
the soul's mystic companionship with the bird, the flower, the cloud, the
ocean, and the stars. Emerson says:--

  "The greatest delight which the fields and woods minister is the
  suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I am not
  alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me, and I to them."

Hawthorne exclaims:--

  "O, that I could run wild!--that is, that I could put myself into a true
  relation with Nature, and be on friendly terms with all congenial

Thoreau (p. 194) often enters Nature's mystic shrine and dilates with a
sense of her companionship. Of the song of the wood thrush, he says:--

  "Whenever a man hears it, he is young, and Nature is in her spring.
  Whenever he hears it, it is a new world and a free country, and the gates
  of heaven are not shut against him.... It changes all hours to an eternal
  morning. It banishes all trivialness. It reinstates me in my dominion,
  makes me the lord of creation, is chief musician of my court. This
  minstrel sings in a time, a heroic age, with which no event in the
  village can be contemporary."

Thoreau could converse with the Concord River and hear the sound of the
rain in its "summer voice." Hiawatha talked with the reindeer, the beaver,
and the rabbit, as with his brothers. In dealing with nature, Whittier
caught something of Wordsworth's spirituality, and Lowell was impressed
with the yearnings of a clod of earth as it

  "Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers."

One of the chief glories of this age was the fuller recognition of the
companionship that man bears to every child of nature. This phase of the
literature has reacted on the ideals of the entire republic. Flowers,
trees, birds, domestic animals, and helpless human beings have received
more sympathetic treatment as a result. In what previous time have we heard
an American poet ask, as Emerson did in his poem _Forbearance_ (1842):--

  "Hast thou named all the birds without a gun?
   Loved the wood-rose, and left it on its stalk?"


THE DIAL.--Transcendentalism had for its organ a magazine called _The
Dial_, which was published quarterly for four years, from 1840 to 1844.
Margaret Fuller, its first editor, was a woman of wide reading and varied
culture, and she had all the enthusiasm of the Elizabethans. Carlyle said
of her, "Such a predetermination to eat this big Universe as her oyster or
her egg, and to be absolute empress of all height and glory in it that her
heart could conceive, I have not before seen in any human soul." She was
determined to do her part in ushering in a new social and spiritual world,
and it seemed to her that _The Dial_ would be a mighty lever in
accomplishing this result. She struggled for two years to make the magazine
a success. Then ill health and poverty compelled her to turn the editorship
over to Emerson, who continued the struggle for two years longer.

Some of Emerson's best poems were first published in _The Dial_, as were
his lecture on _The Transcendentalist_ and many other articles by him.
Thoreau wrote for almost every number. Some of the articles were dull, not
a few were vague, but many were an inspiration to the age, and their
resultant effect is still felt in our life and literature. Much of the
minor poetry was good and stimulating. William Channing (1818-1901)
published in _The Dial_ his _Thoughts_, in which we find lines that might
serve as an epitaph for a life approved by a transcendentalist:--

  "It flourished in pure willingness;
   Discovered strongest earnestness;
   Was fragrant for each lightest wind;
   Was of its own particular kind;--
   Nor knew a tone of discord sharp;
   Breathed alway like a silver harp;
   And went to immortality."

While turning the pages of _The Dial_, we shall often meet with sentiments
as full of meaning to us as to the people of that time. Among such we may

  "Rest is not quitting
     The busy career;
   Rest is the fitting
     Of self to its sphere."

Occasionally we shall find an expression fit to become a fireside motto:--

  "I slept, and dreamed that life was beauty;
   I woke, and found that life was duty."

The prose in _The Dial_ reflects the new spirit. In the first volume we may
note such expressions of imaginative enthusiasm as:--

  "The reason why Homer is to me like dewy morning is because I too lived
  while Troy was and sailed in the hollow ships of the Grecians.... And
  Shakespeare in _King John_ does but recall me to myself in the dress of
  another age, the sport of new accidents. I, who am Charles, was sometime
  Romeo. In _Hamlet_ I pondered and doubted. We forget that we have been
  drugged with the sleepy bowl of the Present."

In the same volume we find some of Alcott's famous _Orphic Sayings_, of
which the following is a sample:--

  "Engage in nothing that cripples or degrades you. Your first duty is
  self-culture, self-exaltation: you may not violate this high trust.
  Yourself is sacred, profane it not. Forge no chains wherewith to shackle
  your own members. Either subordinate your vocation to your life or quit
  it forever."

A writer on _Ideals of Every Day Life_ in _The Dial_ for January, 1841,
suggested a thought that is finding an echo in the twentieth century:--

  "No one has a right to live merely to get a living. And this is what is
  meant by drudgery."

Two lines in the last volume voice the new spirit of growth and action:--

  "I am never at anchor, I never shall be;
   I am sailing the glass of infinity's sea."

_The Dial_ afforded an outlet for the enthusiasms, the aspirations, the
ideals of life, during a critical period in New England's renaissance. No
other periodical during an equal time has exerted more influence on the
trend of American literature.

BROOK FARM.--In 1841 a number of people, headed by GEORGE RIPLEY
(1802-1880), a Unitarian clergyman, purchased a tract of land of about two
hundred acres at West Roxbury, nine miles from Boston. This was known as
Brook Farm, and it became the home of a group who wished to exemplify in
real life some of the principles that _The Dial_ and other agencies of
reform were advocating.

[Illustration: POOL AT BROOK FARM]

In _The Dial_ for January, 1842, we may find a statement of the aims of the
Brook Farm community. The members especially wanted "_leisure to live in
all the faculties of the soul_" and they determined to combine manual and
mental labor in such a way as to achieve this result. Probably the majority
of Americans are in sympathy with such an aim. Many have striven to find
sufficient release from their hard, unimproving routine work to enable them
to escape its dwarfing effects and to live a fuller life on a higher plane.

The Brook Farm settlement included such people as Nathaniel Hawthorne,
Charles A. Dana (1819-1897), afterward editor of the New York _Sun_, George
Ripley, in later times distinguished as the literary critic of the New York
_Tribune_, and GEORGE WILLIAM CURTIS (1824-1892), who became a well-known
essayist, magazine editor, and civil service reformer. The original
pioneers numbered about twenty; but the membership increased to nearly one
hundred and fifty. Brook Farm had an influence, however, that could not be
measured by the number of its inmates. In one year more than four thousand
visitors came to see this new social settlement.

Hawthorne, the most famous literary member of the Brook Farm group, has
recorded many of his experiences during his residence there in 1841:--

  "April 13. I have not yet taken my first lesson in agriculture, except
  that I went to see our cows foddered, yesterday afternoon. We have eight
  of our own; and the number is now increased by a transcendental heifer
  belonging to Miss Margaret Fuller. She is very fractious, I believe, and
  apt to kick over the milk pail.... April 16. I have milked a cow!!! ...
  May 3. The whole fraternity eat together, and such a delectable way of
  life has never been seen on earth since the days of the early
  Christians.... May 4.... there is nothing so unseemly and disagreeable in
  this sort of toil as you could think. It defiles the hands, indeed, but
  not the soul."

Unfortunately, in order to earn a living, it was found necessary to work
ten hours a day in the summer time, and this toil was so fatiguing that the
mind could not work clearly at the end of the day. We find Hawthorne
writing on June 1 of the same year:--

  "It is my opinion that a man's soul may be buried and perish ... in a
  furrow of the field, just as well as under a pile of money."

On August 12, he asks:--

  "Is it a praiseworthy matter that I have spent five golden months in
  providing food for cows and horses? It is not so."

On October 9, he says:--

  "Our household, being composed in great measure of children and young
  people, is generally a cheerful one enough, even in gloomy weather.... It
  would be difficult to conceive beforehand how much can be added to the
  enjoyment of a household by mere sunniness of temper and liveliness of

Hawthorne remained at Brook Farm for only one of the six years of its
existence. An important building, on which there was no insurance, burned
in 1846, and the next year the association was forced for financial reasons
to disband. This was probably the most ideal of a series of social
settlements, every one of which failed. The problem of securing sufficient
leisure to live in all the faculties of the soul has not yet been solved,
but attempts toward a satisfactory solution have not yet been abandoned.

The influence of Brook Farm on our literature survives in Hawthorne's
_Blithedale Romance_ (p. 219), in his _American Note Books_, in Emerson's
miscellaneous writings, and in many books and hundreds of articles by less
well-known people. Almost all of those who participated in this social
experiment spoke of it in after years with strong affection.

IDEALS OF THE NEW ENGLAND AUTHORS.--When we examine with closest scrutiny
the lives of the chief New England authors, of Emerson and Thoreau,
Longfellow and Whittier, Holmes and Lowell, we find that all were men of
the highest ideals and character. Not one could be accused of double
dealing and intentional misrepresentation, like Alexander Pope; not one was
intemperate, like Robert Burns or Edgar Allan Poe; not one was dissolute,
like Byron; not one uttered anything base, like many a modern novelist and

The mission of all the great New England writers of this age was to make
individuals freer, more cultivated, more self-reliant, more kindly, more
spiritual. Puritan energy and spirituality spoke through them all. Nearly
all could trace their descent from the early Puritans. It is not an
infusion of new blood that has given America her greatest writers, but an
infusion of new ideals. Some of these ideals were illusions, but a noble
illusion has frequently led humanity upward. The transcendentalists could
not fathom the unknowable, but their attempts in this direction enabled
them to penetrate deeper into spiritual realities.

The New Englander demanded a cultivated intellect as the servant of the
spirit. He still looked at the world from the moral point of view. For the
most part he did not aim to produce a literature of pleasure, but of
spiritual power, which he knew would incidentally bring pleasure of the
highest type. Even Holmes, the genial humorist, wished to be known to
posterity by his trumpet call to the soul to build itself more stately

THE INFLUENCE OF SLAVERY.--The question of human slavery profoundly
modified the thought and literature of the nation. In these days we often
make the mistake of thinking that all of the people of New England
disapproved of slavery at the end of the first half of the nineteenth
century. The truth is that many of the most influential people in that
section agreed with the South on the question of slavery. Not a few of the
most cultivated people at the North thought that an antislavery movement
would lead to an attack on other forms of property and that anarchy would
be the inevitable result.

Opposition to slavery developed naturally as a result of the new spirit in
religion and human philosophy. This distinctly affirmed the right of the
individual to develop free from any trammels. _The Dial_ and Brook Farm
were both steps toward fuller individuality and more varied life and both
were really protests against all kinds of slavery. This new feeling in the
air speedily passed beyond the color line, and extended to the animals.

One of the earliest to advocate the abolition of slavery was WILLIAM LLOYD
GARRISON (1805-1879), a printer at Newburyport, Massachusetts. In 1831 he
founded _The Liberator_, which became the official organ of the New England
abolitionists. He influenced the Quaker poet Whittier to devote the best
years of his life to furthering the cause of abolition. Emerson and Thoreau
spoke forcibly against slavery. Lowell attacked it with his keenest poetic

HARRIET BEECHER STOWE (1811-1896).--It was, however, left for the daughter
of an orthodox Congregational clergyman of New England to surpass every
other antislavery champion in fanning into a flame the sentiment against
enslaving human beings. Harriet Beecher, the sister of Henry Ward Beecher,
the greatest pulpit orator of anti-slavery days, was born in Litchfield,
Connecticut. When she was twenty-one, she went with her father, Lyman
Beecher, to Cincinnati. Her new home was on the borderland of slavery, and
she often saw fugitive slaves and heard their stories at first hand. In
1833 she made a visit to a slave plantation in Kentucky and obtained
additional material for her most noted work.


In 1836 she married Calvin E. Stowe, a colleague of her father in the Lane
Theological Seminary in Cincinnati. During the next twelve years she had
six children to rear.

In 1850 Professor Stowe and his family moved to Bowdoin College, in
Brunswick, Maine. This year saw the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act,
which required the citizens of free states to aid in catching and returning
escaped slaves. This Act roused Mrs. Stowe, and she began _Uncle Tom's
Cabin_, which was published in book form in 1852.

Perhaps no other American book of note has been written under so great a
handicap. When Mrs. Stowe began this work, one of her large family of
children was not a year old, and the others were a constant care.
Nevertheless, she persevered with her epoch-making story. One of her
friends has given us a picture of the difficulties in her way, the baby on
her knee, the new hired girl asking whether the pork should be put on top
of the beans, and whether the gingerbread should stay longer in the oven.

In _Uncle Tom's Cabin_ Mrs. Stowe endeavored to translate into concrete
form certain phases of the institution of slavery, which had been merely an
abstraction to the North. Of Senator John Bird, who believed in stringent
laws for the apprehension of fugitive slaves, she wrote:--

  "... his idea of a fugitive was only an idea of the letters that spell
  the word,--or, at the most, the image of a little newspaper picture of a
  man with a stick and bundle, with 'Ran away from the subscriber' under
  it. The magic of the real presence of distress,--the imploring human
  eye, the frail, trembling human hand, the despairing appeal of helpless
  agony,--these he had never tried. He had never thought that a fugitive
  might be a hapless mother, a defenceless child...."

In chapters of intense dramatic power, Mrs. Stowe shows a slave mother and
her child escaping on the floating ice across the Ohio. They come for
refuge to the home of Senator Bird.

  "'Were you a slave?' said Mr. Bird.

  "'Yes, sir; I belonged to a man in Kentucky.'

  "'Was he unkind to you?'

  "'No, sir; he was a good master.'

  "'And was your mistress unkind to you?'

  "'No, sir,--no! my mistress was always good to me.'"

Senator Bird learned that the master and mistress were in debt, and that a
creditor had a claim which could be discharged only by the sale of the
child. "Then it was," said the slave mother, "I took him and left my home
and came away."

Mrs. Stowe's knowledge of psychological values is shown in the means taken
to make it appear to Senator John Bird that it would be the natural thing
for him to defeat his own law, by driving the woman and her child seven
miles in the dead of night to a place of greater safety.

All sections of the country do not agree in regard to whether _Uncle Tom's
Cabin_ gives a fairly representative picture of slavery. This is a question
for the historian, not for the literary critic. We study _Macbeth_ for its
psychology, its revelation of human nature, its ethics, more than for its
accurate exposition of the Scottish history of the time. We read _Uncle
Tom's Cabin_ to find out how the pen of one woman proved stronger than the
fugitive slave laws of the United States, how it helped to render of no
avail the decrees of the courts, and to usher in a four years' war. We
decide that she achieved this result because the pictures, whether
representative or not, which she chose to throw on her screen, were such as
appealed to the most elemental principles of human nature, such as the
mother could not forget when she heard her own children say their evening
prayer, such as led her to consent to send her firstborn to the war, such
as to make _Uncle Tom's Cabin_ outsell every other book written by an
American, to cause it to be translated into more than thirty foreign
languages, to lead a lady of the Siamese court to free all her slaves in
1867, and to say that Mrs. Stowe "had taught her as even Buddha had taught
kings to respect the rights of her fellow creatures."

It may be noted in this connection that Mark Twain, who was of southern
descent and whose parents and relatives owned slaves, introduces in his
greatest work, _Huckleberry Finn_ (1884), a fugitive slave to arouse our
sympathies. The plot of _Pudd'nhead Wilson_ (1894) turns on one of Mrs.
Stowe's points of emphasis, the fear of the mother that her child would be
sold and taken away from her, down the river.

The story of _Uncle Tom's Cabin_ is intensely dramatic, and it accomplished
its author's purpose far beyond her expectations. When we study it merely
as a literary performance, we shall notice the effect of the handicap under
which Mrs. Stowe labored at the time of composition, as well as her
imperfect conception of the art technique of the modern novel. There are
faults of plot, style, and characterization. Modern fiction would call for
more differentiation in the dialogue of the different characters and for
more unity of structure, and yet there are stories with all these technical
excellencies which do not live a year. We may say with W. P. Trent, a
Virginian by birth, and a critic who has the southern point of view:
"_Uncle Tom's Cabin_ is alive with emotion, and the book that is alive with
emotion after the lapse of fifty years is a great book. The critic of today
cannot do better than to imitate George Sand when she reviewed the story on
its first appearance--waive its faults and affirm its almost unrivaled
emotional sincerity and strength."

ORATORY.--The orators of this period made their strongest speeches on
questions connected with human liberty and the preservation of the Union.
Most public speeches die with the success or the failure of the reforms
that they champion or the causes that they plead. A little more than half a
century ago, schoolboys declaimed the speeches of EDWARD EVERETT
(1794-1865), CHARLES SUMNER (1811-1874), and WENDELL PHILLIPS (1811-1884),
all born in Massachusetts, and all graduates of Harvard. But even the best
speeches of these men are gradually being forgotten, although a stray
sentence or paragraph may still occasionally be heard, such as Wendell
Phillips's reply to those who hissed his antislavery sentiments, "Truth
dropped into the pit of hell would make a noise just like that," or Edward
Everett's apostrophe to "that one solitary adventurous vessel, the
_Mayflower_ of a forlorn hope, freighted with the prospects of a future
state and bound across the unknown sea."

DANIEL WEBSTER (1782-1852).--New England furnished in Daniel Webster one of
the world's great orators. He was born in Salisbury, New Hampshire, and
educated at Dartmouth College. It was said half humorously that no one
could really be as great as he looked. Whittier called him

  "New England's stateliest type of man,
   In port and speech Olympian;
   Whom no one met, at first, but took
   A second awed and wondering look."

Before his death he was known as the best lawyer, the most noted statesman,
and the greatest orator in the country. He is still considered America's
greatest orator.

[Illustration: DANIEL WEBSTER]

A study of the way in which Webster schooled himself to become a speaker
will repay every one who wishes to use our spoken language effectively. In
Webster's youth, a stilted, unnatural style was popular for set speeches.
He was himself influenced by the prevailing fashion, and we find him
writing to a friend:--

  "In my melancholy moments I presage the most dire calamities. I already
  see in my imagination the time when the banner of civil war shall be
  unfurled; when Discord's hydra form shall set up her hideous yell, and
  from her hundred mouths shall howl destruction through our empire."

Such unnatural prose impresses us to-day as merely an insincere play with
words, but in those days many thought a stilted, ornate style as necessary
for an impressive occasion as Sunday clothes for church. An _Oratorical
Dictionary_ for the use of public speakers, was actually published in the
first part of the nineteenth century. This contained a liberal amount of
sonorous words derived from the Latin, such as "campestral," "lapidescent,"
"obnubilate," and "adventitious." Such words were supposed to give dignity
to spoken utterance.

Edward Everett, the most finished classical speaker of the time, loved to
introduce the "Muses of Hellas," and to make allusions to the fleets "of
Tyre, of Carthage, of Rome," and to Hannibal's slaughtering the Romans
"till the Aufidus ran blood." He painted Warren "moving resplendent over
the field of honor, with the rose of Heaven upon his cheek, and the fire of
liberty in his eye."

Webster was cured of such tendencies by an older lawyer, Jeremiah Mason,
who graduated at Yale about the time Webster was born. Mason, who was
frequently Webster's opponent, took pleasure in ridiculing all ornate
efforts and in pricking rhetorical bubbles. Webster says that Mason talked
to the jury "in a plain conversational way, in short sentences, and using
no word that was not level to the comprehension of the least educated man
on the panel. This led me to examine my own style, and I set about
reforming it altogether." Note the simplicity in the following sentences
from Webster's speech on _The Murder of Captain Joseph White_:--

  "Deep sleep had fallen on the destined victim, and on all beneath his
  roof. A healthful old man, to whom sleep was sweet, and the first sound
  slumbers of the night held him in their soft but strong embrace.... The
  face of the innocent sleeper is turned from the murderer, and the beams
  of the moon, resting on the gray locks of his aged temple, show him where
  to strike."

In his speech on _The Completion of the Bunker Hill Monument_, we find the
following paragraph, containing two sentences which present in simple
language one of the great facts in human history:--

  "America has furnished to the world the character of Washington! And if
  our American institutions had done nothing else, that alone would have
  entitled them to the respect of mankind."

He knew when illustrations and figures of rhetoric could be used to
advantage to impress his hearers. In discussing the claim made by Senator
Calhoun of South Carolina that a state could nullify a national law,
Webster said:--

  "To begin with nullification, with the avowed intent, nevertheless, not
  to proceed to secession, dismemberment, and general revolution, is as if
  one were to take the plunge of Niagara, and cry out that he would stop
  half way down."

To show the moral bravery of our forefathers and the comparative greatness
of England, at that time, he said:--

  "On this question of principle, while actual suffering was yet afar off,
  they raised their flag against a power, to which, for purposes of foreign
  conquest and subjugation, Rome, in the height of her glory, is not to be
  compared; a power which has dotted over the surface of the whole globe
  with her possessions and military posts, whose morning drumbeat,
  following the sun, and keeping company with the hours, circles the earth
  with one continuous and unbroken strain of the martial airs of England."

For nearly a generation prior to the Civil War, schoolboys had been
declaiming the peroration of his greatest speech, his _Reply to Hayne_

  "When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time the sun in
  heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments
  of a once glorious Union; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent;
  on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal

This peroration brought Webster as an invisible presence into thousands of
homes in the North. The hearts of the listeners would beat faster as the
declaimer continued:--

  "Let their last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous
  ensign of the republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still
  full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original
  luster, not a stripe erased or polluted, nor a single star obscured...."

When the irrepressible conflict came, it would be difficult to estimate how
many this great oration influenced to join the army to save the Union. The
closing words of that speech, "Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and
inseparable!" kept sounding like the voice of many thunders in the ear of
the young men, until they shouldered their muskets. His _Seventh of March
Speech_ (1850), which seemed to the North to make compromises with slavery,
put him under a cloud for awhile, but nothing could stop youth from
declaiming his _Reply to Hayne_.

Although the majority of orators famous in their day are usually forgotten
by the next generation, it is not improbable that three American orations
will be quoted hundreds of years hence. So long as the American retains his
present characteristics, we cannot imagine a time when he will forget
Patrick Henry's speech in 1775, or Daniel Webster's peroration in his
_Reply to Hayne_, or Abraham Lincoln's _Gettysburg Address_ (p. 344),
entrusting the American people with the task of seeing "that government of
the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the



LIFE.--Ralph Waldo Emerson, the most distinguished of New England
transcendentalists, came from a family of clergy. Peter Bulkeley, his
ancestor, was the first pastor of Concord in 1635. William Emerson, his
grandfather, was pastor in Concord at the opening of the Revolutionary War
and witnessed the fight of Concord Bridge from the window of the Old Manse,
that famous house which he had built and which Hawthorne afterwards
occupied. By that Bridge there stands a monument, commemorating the heroic
services of the men who there made the world-famous stand for freedom. On
the base of this monument are Ralph Waldo Emerson's lines:--

  "By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
     Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
   Here once the embattled farmers stood,
     And fired the shot heard round the world."

Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston in 1803. His father, who was pastor
of the First Church in Boston, died when Ralph Waldo was eight years old,
leaving in poverty a widow with six children under ten years of age. His
church promptly voted to pay his widow five hundred dollars a year, for
seven years, but even with this help the family was so poor that in cold
weather it was noticed that Ralph and his brother went to school on
alternate days. The boys divined the reason, and were cruel enough to call
out, "Whose turn is it to wear the coat to-day?" But the mother struggled
heroically with poverty, and gave her sons a good education. Ralph Waldo
entered Harvard in 1817. He saved the cost of his lodging by being
appointed "President's Freshman," as the official message bearer was
called, and earned most of his board by waiting on the table at the college

Emerson was descended from such a long line of clergymen that it was
natural for him to decide to be a minister. After graduating at Harvard and
taking a course in theology, he received a call from Cotton Mather's (p.
46) church and preached there for a short time; but he soon resigned
because he could not conscientiously conform to some of the customs of the
church. Although he occasionally occupied pulpits for a few years after
this, the greater part of his time for the rest of his life was spent in
writing and lecturing.

When he was temporarily preaching in Concord, New Hampshire, in 1827, he
met Miss Ellen Tucker, then sixteen years old. This meeting was for two
reasons a noteworthy event in his life. In the first place, her inspiration
aided in the development of his poetical powers. He seemed to hear the
children of Nature say to her:--

  "Thou shalt command us all,--
     April's cowslip, summer's clover,
   To the gentian in the fall,
     Blue-eyed pet of blue-eyed lover."

[Illustration: ELLEN TUCKER]

His verses tell how the flower and leaf and berry and rosebud ripening into
rose had seemed to copy her. He married her in 1829 and wrote the
magnificent prophecy of their future happiness in the poem beginning:--

  "And Ellen, when the graybeard years,"

a poem which he could not bear to have published in his lifetime, for Mrs.
Emerson lived but a few years after their marriage. In the second place, in
addition to stimulating his poetical activity, his wife's help did not end
with her death; for she left him a yearly income of twelve hundred dollars,
without which he might never have secured the leisure necessary to enable
him "to live in all the faculties of his soul" and to become famous in
American literature.

In the fall of 1833 he sailed for Europe, going by way of the
Mediterranean. Returning by way of England, he met Coleridge, Wordsworth,
and Carlyle, whose influence he had already felt. His visit to Carlyle led
to a lifelong friendship. Emerson helped to bring out an American edition
of the _Sartor Resartus_ (1836) before it was published in England.

[Illustration: EMERSON'S STUDY]

After returning from Europe, Emerson permanently settled at Concord,
Massachusetts, the most famous literary town of its size in the United
States. The appreciation of the Concord people for their home is shown by
the naive story, told by a member of Emerson's family, of a fellow townsman
who read of the rapidly rising price of building lots in Chicago, and
remarked, "Can't hardly believe that any lands can be worth so much money,
so far off." After Henry D. Thoreau (p. 194) had received a medal at school
for proficiency in geography, he went home and asked his mother if Boston
was located in Concord. It was to Concord that Emerson brought his second
wife, Lidian Jackson Emerson, whom he married in 1835. In Concord he wrote
his most famous _Essays_, and from there he set out on his various
lecturing tours. There he could talk daily to celebrities like Nathaniel
Hawthorne, Henry Thoreau, and Bronson Alcott. Louisa May Alcott relates
that when eight years old she was sent to the Emerson home to inquire about
the health of his oldest son, a boy of five. Emerson answered her knock,
and replied, "Child, he is dead!" Years later she wrote, "I never have
forgotten the anguish that made a familiar face so tragical, and gave those
few words more pathos than the sweet lamentation of the _Threnody_" Like
Milton and Tennyson, Emerson voiced his grief in an elegy, to which he gave
the title _Threnody_. In this poem the great teacher of optimism wrote:--

  "For this losing is true dying;
   This is lordly man's down-lying,
   This his slow but sure reclining,
   Star by star his world resigning."

Aside from domestic incidents, his life at Concord was uneventful. As he
was by nature averse to contests, he never took an extreme part in the
antislavery movement, although he voiced his feelings against slavery, even
giving antislavery lectures, when he thought the occasion required such
action. His gentleness and tenderness were inborn qualities. Oliver Wendell
Holmes said that Emerson removed men's "idols from their pedestals so
tenderly that it seemed like an act of worship."

He widened his influence by substituting the platform for the pulpit, and
year after year he enlarged his circle of hearers. He lectured in New
England, the South, and the West. Sometimes these lecture tours kept him
away from home the entire winter. In 1847 he lectured in England and
Scotland. He visited Carlyle again, and for four days listened to "the
great and constant stream" of his talk. On this second trip abroad, Emerson
met men like De Quincey, Macaulay, Thackeray, and Tennyson. Emerson gained
such fame in the mother country that, long after he had returned, he was
nominated for the Lord Rectorship of Glasgow University and received five
hundred votes against seven hundred for Disraeli, one of England's best
known statesmen.

Something of his character and personality may be learned from the accounts
of contemporary writers. James Russell Lowell, who used to go again and
again to hear him, even when the subject was familiar, said, "We do not go
to hear what Emerson says so much as to hear Emerson." Hawthorne wrote, "It
was good to meet him in the wood paths or sometimes in our avenue with that
pure intellectual gleam diffusing about his presence like the garment of a
shining one." Carlyle speaks of seeing him "vanish like an angel" from his
lonely Scotch home.

Emerson died in 1882 and was buried near Hawthorne, in Sleepy Hollow
cemetery at Concord, on the "hilltop hearsed with pines." Years before he
had said, "I have scarce a daydream on which the breath of the pines has
not blown and their shadow waved." The pines divide with an unhewn granite
boulder the honor of being his monument.

EARLY PROSE.--Before he was thirty-five, Emerson had produced some prose
which, so far as America is concerned, might be considered epoch-making in
two respects: (1) in a new philosophy of nature, not new to the world, but
new in the works of our authors and fraught with new inspiration to
Americans; and (2) in a new doctrine of self-reliance and intellectual
independence for the New World.


In 1836 he published a small volume entitled _Nature_, containing fewer
than a hundred printed pages, but giving in embryo almost all the peculiar,
idealistic philosophy that he afterwards elaborated. By "Nature" he
sometimes means everything that is not his own soul, but he also uses the
word in its common significance, and talks of the beauty in cloud, river,
forest, and flower. Although _Nature_ is written in prose, it is evident
that the author is a poet. He says:--

  "How does Nature deify us with a few and cheap elements! Give me
  health and a day, and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous.
  The dawn is my Assyria; the sunset and moonrise my Paphos, and
  unimaginable realms of faerie; broad noon shall be my England of the
  senses and the understanding; the night shall be my Germany of
  mystic philosophy and dreams."

Emerson tried to make men feel that the beauty of the universe is the
property of every individual, but that the many divest themselves of their
heritage. When he undertook to tell Americans how to secure a warranty deed
to the beauties of nature, he specially emphasized the moral element in the
process. The student who fails to perceive that Emerson is one of the great
moral teachers has studied him to little purpose. To him all the processes
of nature "hint or thunder to man the laws of right and wrong, and echo the
Ten Commandments." In _Nature_, he says:--

  "All things with which we deal, preach to us. What is a farm but a
  mute gospel? The chaff and the wheat, weeds and plants, blight,
  rain, insects, sun,--it is a sacred emblem from the first furrow of
  spring to the last stack which the snow of winter overtakes in the

In _Nature_, Emerson sets forth his idealistic philosophy. "Idealism sees
the world in God" is with him an axiom. This philosophy seems to him to
free human beings from the tyranny of materialism, to enable them to use
matter as a mere symbol in the solution of the soul's problems, and to make
the world conformable to thought. His famous sentence in this connection
is, "The sensual man conforms thoughts to things; the poet conforms things
to his thoughts."

In _The American Scholar_, an address delivered at Cambridge in 1837,
Emerson announced what Oliver Wendell Holmes calls "our intellectual
Declaration of Independence." Tocqueville, a gifted Frenchman who visited
America in 1831, wrote: "I know no country in which there is so little
independence of opinion and freedom of discussion as in America.... If
great writers have not existed in America, the reason is very simply given
in the fact that there can be no literary genius without freedom of
opinion, and freedom of opinion does not exist in America." Harriet
Martineau, an English woman, who came to America in 1830, thought that the
subservience to opinion in and around Boston amounted to a sort of mania.
We have already seen how Cooper in his early days deferred to English taste
(p. 127), and how Andrew Jackson in his rough way proved something of a
corrective (p. 148).

Emerson proceeded to deal such subserviency a staggering blow. He denounced
this "timid, imitative, tame spirit," emphasized the new importance given
to the single person, and asked, "Is it not the chief disgrace in the world
not to be a unit;--not to be reckoned one character;--not to yield that
peculiar fruit which each man was created to bear; but to be reckoned in
the gross, in the hundred, or the thousand, of the party, the section, to
which we belong, and our opinion predicted geographically, as the North, or
the South?" Then followed his famous declaration to Americans, "We will
walk on our own feet; we will work with our own hands; we will speak our
own minds."

No American author has done more to exalt the individual, to inspire him to
act according to his own intuitions and to mold the world by his own will.
Young Americans especially listened to his call, "O friend, never strike
sail to a fear! Come into port greatly, or sail with God the seas."

ESSAYS.--The bulk of Emerson's work consists of essays, made up in large
part from lectures. In 1841 he published a volume, known as _Essays, First
Series_, and in 1844, another volume, called _Essays, Second Series_. Other
volumes followed from time to time, such as _Miscellanies_ (1849),
_Representative Men_ (1850), _English Traits_ (1856), _The Conduct of Life_
(1860), _Society and Solitude_ (1870). While the _First Series_ of these
_Essays_ is the most popular, one may find profitable reading and even
inspiring passages scattered through almost all of his works, which
continued to appear for more than forty years.

When we examine his _Essays, First Series_, we find that the volume is
composed of short essays on such subjects as _History_, _Self-Reliance_,
_Friendship_, _Heroism_, and the _Over-Soul_. If we choose to read
_Self-Reliance_, one of his most typical essays, we shall find that the
sentences, or the clauses which take the place of sentences, are short,
vigorous, and intended to reach the attention through the ear. For
instance, he says in this essay:--

  "There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the
  conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that
  he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion."

Before we have finished _Self-Reliance_, he has made us feel that, with the
exercise of self-trust, new powers will appear; that a man should not
postpone his life, but live now; that a man is weak if he expects aid from
others; that discontent is want of self-reliance.

We pick up another volume of essays, _Society and Solitude_, and wonder
whether we shall read _Success_, or _Books_, or _Civilization_, or any one
of nine others. While we are turning the pages, we see this sentence:--

  "Hitch your wagon to a star,"

and we decide to read _Civilization_.

  "Now that is the wisdom of a man, in every instance of his labor, to
  hitch his wagon to a star, and see his chore done by the gods
  themselves. ... We cannot bring the heavenly powers to us, but, if
  we will only choose our jobs in directions in which they travel,
  they will undertake them with the greatest pleasure.... Let us not
  lie and steal. No god will help. We shall find all their teams going
  the other way."

The youth is to be pitied if this does not quicken his determination to
choose his work in the direction in which the aiding forces of the universe
are traveling.

Some of Emerson's best social philosophy may be found in the essay,
_Considerations by the Way_, published in the volume called _The Conduct of
Life_. His _English Traits_ records in a vigorous, interesting,
common-sense way his impressions from his travels in the mother country.
The English find in this volume some famous sentences, which they love to
quote, such as,--

  "That which lures a solitary American in the woods with the wish to
  see England, is the moral peculiarity of the Saxon race,--its
  commanding sense of right and wrong,--the love and devotion to
  that,--this is the imperial trait which arms them with the sceptre
  of the globe."

POETRY.--Emerson's verse is noteworthy for its exposition (1) of nature and
(2) of his transcendental philosophy. He produced a comparatively small
amount of poetry, but much more than he is popularly supposed to have
written. Some of his verse is of a high degree of excellence; in fact, his
nature poetry deserves to be ranked with the best that America has
produced. Like Bryant, Emerson loves the forest. He says:--

  "I go to the god of the wood
   To fetch his word to men."

In _The Poet_, we see how great he thought the poet's debt to communion
with nature:--

  "The gods talk in the breath of the woods,
     They talk in the shaken pine,
   And fill the long reach of the old seashore
     With dialogue divine;
   And the poet who overhears
     Some random word they say
   Is the fated man of men
     Whom the ages must obey."

Hawthorne saw Emerson one August day, wandering in Sleepy Hollow near
Concord, and wrote, "He appeared to have had a pleasant time; for he said
there were Muses in the woods to-day and whispers to be heard in the
breezes." When Emerson was twenty-four years old, he wrote the following
lines, which show the new feeling of mystic companionship with nature:--

  "These trees and stones are audible to me,
   These idle flowers, that tremble in the wind,
   I understand their faery syllables."

His verses make us feel how nature enriches human life, increases its joys,
and lessens its sorrows. What modern lover of nature has voiced a more
heartfelt, unaffected appreciation of her ministrations than may be found
in these lines from Emerson's _Musketaquid_?--

                   "All my hurts
  My garden spade can heal. A woodland walk,
  A quest of river grapes, a mocking thrush,
  A wild rose or rock-loving columbine,
  Salve my worst wounds."

From reading his best nature poem, _Woodnotes_, first published in The
Dial, an appreciative person may find it easy to become

  "Lover of all things alive,
   Wonderer at all he meets,"

to feel that in the presence of nature, every day is the best day of the
year, and possibly even to sing with Emerson of any spring or summer day:--

  "'Twas one of the charmed days
     When the genius of God doth flow;
   The wind may alter twenty ways,
     A tempest cannot blow;
   It may blow north, it still is warm;
     Or south, it still is clear;
   Or east, it smells like a clover farm;
     Or west, no thunder fear."

All who love nature or who wish to become interested in her should read at
least his _Woodnotes_, _The Humble Bee_, _The Rhodora_, _Each and All_,
_The Snow Storm,_ and _To Ellen at the South_.

Some of his philosophy may be found in poems like _The Problem_ (1839),
_The Sphinx_ (1841), and _Brahma_ (1857). The immanence of God in
everything, in the sculptor's hand, for instance, is well expressed in
_The Problem_:--

  "The hand that rounded Peter's dome
   And groined the aisles of Christian Rome
   Wrought in a sad sincerity;
   Himself from God he could not free;
   He builded better than he knew;--
   The conscious stone to beauty grew."

_The Sphinx_ thus expresses one of Emerson's favorite thoughts:--

  "To vision profounder,
   Man's spirit must dive,"

and concludes with the Sphinx's thought-provoking statement:-

  "Who telleth one of my meanings,
   Is master of all I am."

This line in _Brahma_:--

  "I am the doubter and the doubt,"

shows his belief in the unity of all things, his conviction that all
existence and action result from one underlying force. His own personal
philosophy, that which actuated him in dealing with his fellow-men, is
expressed in the following lines, which are worthy a place in the active
memory of every American:--

  "Life is too short to waste
     In critic peep or cynic bark,
   Quarrel or reprimand:
     'Twill soon be dark."

While we are enjoying his poetry, we feel its limitations. Having slight
ear for music, he often wrote halting lines. Sometimes his poetic flight is
marked by too sudden a descent, but we shall often find in his verse rare
jewels, such as:--

  "When Duty whispers low, '_Thou must_,'
   The youth replies, '_I can._'"

These lines seemed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, the moment he saw them, as if
they had been "carved on marble for a thousand years." Emerson's poetry
does not pulsate with warm human feeling, but it "follows the shining trail
of the ethereal," the ideal, and the eternal. His prose overshadows his
poetry, but no one without natural poetical ability of a high order could
have written the lines:--

  "O tenderly the haughty day
   Fills his blue urn with fire,"

or even have seen

  "The frolic architecture of the snow."

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.--The central aim of Emerson's writing is moral
development. He is America's greatest ethical teacher. He thus voices his
fixed belief:--

  "A breath of will blows eternally through the universe of
   souls in the direction of the Right and Necessary."

This belief gives rise to his remarkable optimism for the future, to his
conviction that evil is but a stepping stone to good.

In a material age he is the great apostle of the spiritual. "Will you not
tolerate," he asks, "one or two solitary voices in the land, speaking for
thoughts not marketable or perishable?" To him "mind is the only reality,"
and his great man is never the one who can merely alter matter, but who can
change our state of mind. He believed in reaching truth, guided by
intuition. He would not argue to maintain his positions. He said that he
did not know what argument signified with reference to a thought. To him a
thought was just as natural a product as a rose and did not need argument
to prove or justify its existence. Much of his work is tinged with Plato's

Of all American writers, he is the most inspiring teacher of the young. One
of his chief objects is, in his own phrase, "to help the young soul, add
energy, inspire hope, and blow the coals into a useful flame; to redeem
defeat by new thought, by firm action." John Tyndall, the eminent English
scientist, declared that the reading of two men, Carlyle and Emerson, had
made him what he was. He said to his students: "I never should have gone
through Analytical Geometry and Calculus, had it not been for these men. I
never should have become a physical investigator, and hence without them I
should not have been here to-day. They told me what I ought to do in a way
that caused me to do it, and all my consequent intellectual action is to be
traced to this purely moral force." After hearing one of Emerson's
lectures, James Russell Lowell wrote, "Were we enthusiasts? I hope and
believe we were, and am thankful to the man who made us worth something for
once in our lives."

Few authors, excepting Shakespeare, have more of the quality of
universality in their writings. Many things in Emerson will fit certain
stages of individual development as well a thousand years hence as to-day
and be as applicable to the moral improvement of the Chinese as of
Americans. If he is not as much read in the future, it will be largely due
to the fact that his most inspiring subject matter has been widely diffused
through modern thought.

Emerson's style is condensed. He spoke of his own paragraphs as
incompressible, "each sentence an infinitely repellent particle." Because
of this condensation, it is best not to read more than one essay at a time.
Years ago some joker said that Emerson's _Essays_ could be read as well
backward as forward, because there was no connection between the sentences.
The same observation could have been made with almost equal truth about
_Proverbs_, some of Bacon's _Essays_, Polonius's _Advice to Laertes_, parts
of Hamlet's _Soliloquy_, and, in general, about any condensed sentences
that endeavor to convey a complete, striking truth. Lowell remarks acutely:
"Did they say he was disconnected? So were the stars ... And were _they_
not knit together by a higher logic than our mere sense could master?" We
should look for unity and connection in Emerson's chosen subject matter and
trend of thought.

We must not forget that Emerson has in his prose as well as in his verse
many of the general characteristics of a poet. In his _Essays_, he
sometimes avails himself of the poetic license to be obscure and
contradictory and to present philosophy that will not walk on all fours.
When we examine some of the best passages on nature in his early prose
(_e.g._ p. 158), we shall find that they are highly poetical.

Much of his verse is filled with the charm of nature and shows here and
there remarkable power of putting great riches in a little room, although
there may be intervening waste spaces. Critics may say that his poetry
lacks deep feeling, that it is mostly intellectual; if so, it is nobly
intellectual. Both his poetry and prose, to use an Emersonian expression,
"sail the seas with God."



LIFE.--Henry David Thoreau, America's poet-naturalist, was born in 1817 at
Concord, Massachusetts. He was one of the youngest of the famous Concord
group of writers and the only one who could claim Concord as his birthplace
He was a lifelong student of nature, and he loved the district around
Concord. As a boy he knew its woods and streams because he had hunted and
fished in them. After his graduation from Harvard in 1837, he substituted
for the fishing rod and gun, the spyglass, microscope, measuring tape, and
surveying instruments, and continued his out-of-door investigations.


He taught school with his brother and lectured, but in order to add to his
slender income also did work unusual for a Harvard graduate, such as odd
jobs of carpentering, planting trees, and surveying. He also assisted his
father in his business of pencil making, and together they made the best
pencils in New England. Whatever he undertook, he did thoroughly. He had no
tolerance for the shoddy or for compromises. Exact workmanship was part of
his religion. "Drive a nail home," he writes in _Walden_, "and clinch it so
faithfully that you can wake up in the night and think of your work with

Like so many of the transcendentalists, Thoreau desired to surround his
life with a "wide margin of leisure" in order that he might live in his
higher faculties and not be continuously dwarfed with the mere drudgery of
earning his sustenance. He determined to divest himself of as many of the
burdens of civilization as possible, to lead the simple life, and to waste
the least possible time in the making of mere money. The leisure thus
secured, he spent in studying birds, plants, trees, fish, and other objects
of nature, in jotting down a record of his experiences, and in writing


Since he did not marry and incur responsibilities for others, he was free
to choose his own manner of life. His regular habit was to reserve half of
every day for walking in the woods; but for two years and two months he
lived alone in the forest, in a small house that he himself built upon a
piece of Emerson's property beside Walden Pond, about a mile south of
Concord. Thoreau found that he could earn enough in six weeks to support
himself in this simple way for the rest of the year. He thus acquired the
leisure to write books that are each year read with increasing interest.
The record of his life at Walden forms the basis for his best known work. A
few people practice the return to nature for a short time, but Thoreau
spent his available life with nature.

He was a pronounced individualist, carrying out Emerson's doctrine by
becoming independent of others' opinions. What he thought right, he said or
did. He disapproved, for example, of slavery, and consequently refused to
pay his poll tax to a government that upheld slavery. When he was
imprisoned because of non-payment, Emerson visited him and asked, "Why are
you here, Henry?" Thoreau merely replied, "Why are you _not_ here?"

His intense individualism made him angular, and his transcendental love of
isolation caused him to declare that he had never found "the companion that
was so companionable as solitude"; but he was, nevertheless, spicy,
original, loyal to friends, a man of deep family affection, stoical in his
ability to stand privations, and Puritanic in his conviction about the
moral aim of life. His last illness, induced by exposure to cold, confined
him for months away from the out of doors that he loved. In 1862, at the
age of forty-five, he said, as he lay on his deathbed, "When I was a very
little boy, I learned that I must die, and I set that down, so, of course,
I am not disappointed now." He was buried not far from Emerson's lot in the
famous Sleepy Hollow cemetery at Concord.

WORKS.--Only two of his books were published during his lifetime. These
were _A Week on the Concord and Merrimac Rivers_ (1849) and _Walden_
(1854). The first of these, usually referred to as _The Week_, is the
record of a week spent in a rowboat on the rivers mentioned in the title.
The clearness and exactness of the descriptions are remarkable. Whenever he
investigated nature, he took faithful notes so that when he came to write a
more extended description or a book, he might have something more definite
than vague memory impressions on which to rely. When he describes in _The
Week_ a mere patch of the river bank, this definiteness of observation is

  "The dead limbs of the willow were rounded and adorned by the
  climbing milkania, _Milkania scandens_, which filled every
  crevice in the leafy bank, contrasting agreeably with the gray bark
  of its supporter and the balls of the button-bush."

This book did not prove popular, and almost three fourths of the edition
were left on his hands. This unfortunate venture caused him to say, "I have
now a library of nearly nine hundred volumes, over seven hundred of which
were written by myself."

_Walden_ is the book by which Thoreau is best known. It is crisper,
livelier, more concise and humorous, and less given to introspective
philosophizing than _The Week_. _Walden_, New England's _Utopia_, is the
record of Thoreau's experiment in endeavoring to live an ideal life in the
forest. This book differs from most of its kind in presenting actual life,
in not being mainly evolved from the inner consciousness on the basis of a
very little experience. He thus states the reason why he withdrew to the

  "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front
  only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what
  it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had
  not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so


His food during his twenty-six months of residence there cost him
twenty-seven cents a week. "I learned," he says, "from my two years'
experience that it would cost incredibly little trouble to obtain one's
necessary food, even in this latitude; that a man may use as simple a diet
as the animals, and yet retain health and strength.... I am convinced both
by faith and experience that to maintain one's self on this earth is not a
hardship, but a pastime." This book has, directly or indirectly, caused
more to desire the simple life and a return to nature than any other work
in American literature.

In _Walden_ he speaks of himself as a "self-appointed inspector of
snowstorms and rainstorms." His companionship with nature became so
intimate as to cause him to say, "Every little pine needle expanded and
swelled with sympathy and befriended me." When a sparrow alighted upon his
shoulder, he exclaimed, "I felt that I was more distinguished by that
circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn."
When nature had some special celebration with the trees, such as decking
them with snow or ice or the first buds of spring, he frequently tramped
eight or ten miles "to keep an appointment with a beech-tree or a
yellow-birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines." It is amusing to
read how on such a walk he disturbed the daytime slumbers of a large owl,
how the bird opened its eyes wide, "but their lids soon fell again, and he
began to nod," and how a sympathetic hypnotization began to take effect on
Thoreau. "I too," he says, "felt a slumberous influence after watching him
half an hour, as he sat thus with his eyes half open, like a cat, winged
brother of the cat."

In spite of some Utopian philosophy and too much insistence on the
self-sufficiency of the individual, _Walden_ has proved a regenerative
force in the lives of many readers who have not passed the plastic stage.
The book develops a love for even commonplace natural objects, and, like
poetry, discloses a new world of enjoyment. _Walden_ is Thoreau's most
vital combination of his poetic apprehension of wild nature with his
philosophy and aggressive individualism.

Almost all of his work is autobiographical, a record of actual experience.
_The Maine Woods_ (1864), _Cape Cod_ (1865), and _A Yankee in Canada_
(1866) are records of his tramps in the places named in the titles-, but
these works do not possess the interest of _Walden_.

His voluminous manuscript _Journal_ is an almost daily record of his
observations of nature, mingled with his thoughts, from the time when he
left college until his last sickness. At periods for nearly fifty years
after his death, various works have been compiled from this _Journal_. The
volumes published under the titles, _Early Spring in Massachusetts_ (1881),
_Summer_ (1884), _Winter_ (1887), _Autumn_ (1892), and _Notes on New
England Birds_ (1910) were not arranged by him in their present form.
Editors searched his _Journal_ for entries dealing with the same season or
type of life, and put these in the same volume. Sometimes, as, for
instance, in _Winter_, paragraphs separated by an interval of nineteen
years in composition become neighbors. In spite of the somewhat fragmentary
nature of these works, lovers of Thoreau become intensely interested in
them. His _Journal_ in the form in which he left it was finally published
in 1906, in fourteen volumes containing 6811 printed pages. He differs from
the majority of writers because the interest in his work increases with the
passing of the years.

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.--Thoreau's object was to discover how to live a
rich, full life with a broad margin of leisure. Intimate companionship with
nature brought this secret to him, and he has taught others to increase the
joys of life from sympathetic observation of everyday occurrences.

A mere unimaginative naturalist may be a bore; but Thoreau regarded nature
with the eyes of a poet. His ear was thrilled with the vesper song of the
whippoorwill, the lisping of the chickadee among the evergreens, and the
slumber call of the toads. For him the bluebird "carries the sky on its
back." The linnets come to him "bearing summer in their natures." When he
asks, "Who shall stand godfather at the christening of the wild apples?"
his reply shows rare poetic appreciation of nature's work:--

  "We should have to call in the sunrise and the sunset, the rainbow and
  the autumn woods and the wild flowers, and the woodpecker and the purple
  finch and the squirrel and the jay and the butterfly, the November
  traveler and the truant boy, to our aid."

He is not only a poet-naturalist, but also a philosopher, who shows the
influence of the transcendental school, particularly of Emerson. Some of
Thoreau's philosophy is impractical and too unsocial, but it aims to
discover the underlying basis of enchantment. He thus sums up the
philosophy which his life at Walden taught him:--

  "I learned this at least by my experiment--that if one advances
  confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the
  life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in
  common hours.... If you have built castles in the air, your work need not
  be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under

The reason why he left Walden shows one of his pronounced transcendental
characteristics, a dread of repetition. He gives an account of only his
first year of life there, and adds, "the second year was similar to it." He

  "I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed
  to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more
  time for that one. It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall
  into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves. I had not
  lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pond

He does not demand that other human beings shall imitate him in devoting
their lives to a study of nature. He says, "Follow your genius closely
enough, and it will not fail to show you a fresh prospect every hour." He
thus expresses his conception of the fundamental basis of happiness in any
of the chosen avenues of life:--

  "Our whole life is startlingly moral. There is never an instant's truce
  between virtue and vice. Goodness is the only investment that never

His insistence on the necessity of a moral basis for a happy life is a
characteristic that he shared in common with the great authors of the New
England group, but he had his own individual way of impressing this truth.
He thought life too earnest a quest to tolerate the frivolous or the
dilettante, and he issued his famous warning that no one can "kill time
without injuring eternity." His aim in studying nature was not so much
scientific discovery as the revelation of nature's joyous moral message to
the spiritual life of man. He may have been unable to distinguish between
the song of the wood thrush and the hermit thrush. To him the most
important fact was that the thrush is a rare poet, singing of "the immortal
wealth and vigor that is in the forest." "The thrush sings," says Thoreau,
in his _Journal_, "to make men take higher and truer views of things."

The sterling honesty and directness of Thoreau's character are reflected in
his style. He says, "The one great rule of composition--and if I were a
professor of rhetoric I should insist on this--is to _speak the truth_."
This was his aim in presenting the results of the experience of his soul,
as well as of his senses. If he exaggerated the importance of a certain way
of regarding things, he did so only because he thought the exaggeration was
necessary to secure attention for that particular truth, which would even
then not be apprehended at its full value. His style has a peculiar flavor,
difficult to describe. Lowell's characterization of Thoreau's style has
hardly been surpassed. "His range was narrow, but to be a master is to be a
master. There are sentences of his as perfect as anything in the language,
and thoughts as clearly crystallized; his metaphors and images are always
fresh from the soil."

Thoreau's style shows remarkable power of description. No American has
surpassed him in unique description of the most varied incidents in the
procession of all the seasons. We shall find frequent illustrations of this
power scattered through his _Journal_:--

  "_June_ 1, 1857. I hear the note of a bobolink concealed in the top of an
  apple tree behind me.... He is just touching the strings of his theorbo,
  his glassichord, his water organ, and one or two notes globe themselves
  and fall in liquid bubbles from his teeming throat. It is as if he
  touched his harp within a vase of liquid melody, and when he lifted it
  out, the notes fell like bubbles from the trembling string ... the meadow
  is all bespattered with melody. His notes fall with the apple blossoms,
  in the orchard."

Even more characteristic is an entry in his _Journal_ for June 11, 1840,
where he tries to fathom the consciousness of the solitary bittern:--

  "With its patient study by rocks and sandy capes, has it wrested the
  whole of her secret from Nature yet? It has looked out from its dull eye
  for so long, standing on one leg, on moon and stars sparkling through
  silence and dark, and now what a rich experience is its! What says it of
  stagnant pools, and reeds, and damp night fogs? It would be worth while
  to look in the eye which has been open and seeing in such hours and in
  such solitudes. When I behold that dull yellowish green, I wonder if my
  own soul is not a bright invisible green. I would fain lay my eye side by
  side with its and learn of it."

In this entry, which was probably never revised for publication, we note
three of his characteristics: his images "fresh from the soil," adding
vigor to his style; his mystic and poetic communion with nature; and the
peculiar transcendental desire to pass beyond human experience and to
supplement it with new revelations of the gospel of nature.



ANCESTRY AND EARLY YEARS.--William Hathorne, the ancestor of America's
greatest prose writer, sailed at the age of twenty-three from England on
the ship _Arbella_ with John Winthrop (p. 30), and finally settled at
Salem, Massachusetts. He brought with him a copy of Sir Philip Sidney's
_Arcadia_, a very unusual book for the library of a New England Puritan.


John Hathorne, a son of the first settler, was a judge of the poor
creatures who were put to death as witches at Salem in 1692. The great
romance writer says that this ancestor "made himself so conspicuous in the
martyrdom of the witches, that their blood may fairly be said to have left
a stain upon him. ...I, the present writer, as their representative, hereby
take shame upon myself for their sakes, and pray that any curse incurred by
them--as I have heard, and as the dreary and unprosperous condition of the
race, for many a long year back, would argue to exist--may be now and
henceforth removed." Tradition says that the husband of one of the tortured
victims appealed to God to avenge her sufferings and murder. Probably the
ancestral curse hanging over _The House of the Seven Gables_ would not have
been so vividly conceived, if such a curse had not been traditional in the
Hawthorne family.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, the sixth in descent from the first New England
ancestor, and the first of his family to add a "w" to his name, was born in
Salem in 1804. His father, a sea captain, died of a fever at a foreign port
in 1808. Hawthorne's mother was twenty-seven years old at this time, and
for forty years after this sad event, she usually took her meals in her own
room away from her three children. Everybody in that household became
accustomed to loneliness. At the age of fourteen, the boy went to live for
a while on the shore of Sebago Lake, Maine. "I lived in Maine," he said,
"like a bird of the air, so perfect was the freedom I enjoyed. But it was
there I got my cursed habits of solitude." Shyness and aversion to meeting
people became marked characteristics.

His solitariness predisposed him to reading, and we are told that Bunyan's
_Pilgrim's Progress_ and Shakespeare's plays were special favorites.
Spenser's _Faerie Queene_ was the first book that he bought with his own
money. Bunyan and Spenser probably fostered his love of the allegorical
method of presenting truth, a method that is in evidence in the bulk of
Hawthorne's work. He even called his daughter Una, after one of Spenser's
allegorical heroines, and, following the suggestion in the _Faerie Queene_,
gave the name of "Lion" to the large cat that came to her as a playmate.

At the age of seventeen, Hawthorne went to Bowdoin College, Maine, where he
met such students as Longfellow, Franklin Pierce, and Horatio Bridge, in
after years a naval officer, who published in 1893 a delightful volume
called _Personal Reminiscences of Nathaniel Hawthorne_. These friends
changed the course of Hawthorne's life. In his dedication of _The Snow
Image_ to Bridge in 1850, Hawthorne says, "If anybody is responsible for my
being at this day an author, it is yourself."

LITERARY APPRENTICESHIP.--After leaving college, Milton spent nearly six
years in studious retirement; but Hawthorne after graduating at Bowdoin, in
1825, passed in seclusion at Salem a period twice as long. Here he lived
the life of a recluse, frequently postponing his walks until after dark. He
was busy serving his apprenticeship as an author. In 1828 he paid one
hundred dollars for the publication of _Fanshawe_, an unsuccessful short
romance. In mortification he burned the unsold copies, and his rejected
short stories often shared the same fate. He was so depressed that in 1836
his friend Bridge went quietly to a publisher and by guaranteeing him
against loss induced him to bring out Hawthorne's volume entitled
_Twice--Told Tales_.


The Peabodys of Salem then invited the author to their home, where he met
the artistic Miss Sophia Peabody, who made an illustration for his fine
historical story, _The Gentle Boy_. Of her he wrote, "She is a flower to be
worn in no man's bosom, but was lent from Heaven to show the possibilities
of the human soul." We find that not long after he wrote in his _American

  "All that seems most real about us is but the thinnest substance of a
  dream,--till the heart be touched. That touch creates us,--then we begin
  to be,--thereby we are beings of reality and inheritors of eternity."

He was thinking of Sophia Peabody's creative touch, for he had become
engaged to her.


Fired with the ambition of making enough money to enable him to marry, he
secured a subordinate position in the Boston customhouse, from which the
spoils system was soon responsible for his discharge. He then invested in
Brook Farm a thousand dollars which he had saved, thinking that this would
prove a home to which he could bring his future wife and combine work and
writing in an ideal way. A year's trial of this life convinced him of his
mistake. He was then thirty eight, and much poorer for his last experiment;
but he withdrew and in a few months married Miss Peabody and took her to
live in the famous Old Manse at Concord. The first entry in his _American
Note-Books_ after this transforming event is:--

  "And what is there to write about? Happiness has no succession of events,
  because it is a part of eternity, and we have been living in eternity
  ever since we came to this old manse. Like Enoch we seem to have been
  translated to the other state of being, without having passed through

The history of American literature can record no happier marriage and no
more idyllic life than this couple lived for nearly four years in the Old
Manse. While residing here, Hawthorne wrote another volume, known as
_Mosses from an Old Manse_ (1846). The only serpent to enter that Eden was
poverty. Hawthorne's pen could not support his family. He found himself in
debt before he had finished his fourth year in Concord. Moncure D. Conway,
writing Hawthorne's _Life_ in 1890, the year before American authors were
protected by international copyright, says, "In no case has literature,
pure and simple, ever supported an American author, unless, possibly, if he
were a bachelor." Hawthorne's college friends, Bridge and Pierce, came to
his assistance, and used their influence with President Polk to secure for
Hawthorne the position of surveyor of customs at Salem, with a yearly
salary of twelve hundred dollars.

HIS PRIME AND LATER YEARS.--He kept his position as head customs officer at
Salem for three years. Soon after President Taylor was inaugurated in 1849,
the spoils system again secured Hawthorne's removal. When he came home
dejected with this news, his wife smiled and said, "Oh, then you can write
your book!" _The Scarlet Letter_, published in 1850, was the result. The
publisher printed five thousand copies, all that he had ever expected to
sell, and then ordered the type to be distributed at once. Finding in ten
days, however, that every copy had been sold, he gave the order to have the
type reset and permanent plates made. Hawthorne had at last, at the age of
forty-six, become one of the greatest writers of English prose romance.
From this time he wrote but few short tales.

He left Salem in the year of the publication of _The Scarlet Letter_, never
again to return to it as a place of residence, although his pen continued
to help immortalize his birthplace.

In 1852 he bought of Bronson Alcott in Concord a house since known as the
"Wayside." This was to be Hawthorne's American home during his remaining
years. Here he had a tower room so constructed as to be well-nigh
inaccessible to visitors, and he also had a romantic study bower built in
the pine trees on a hill back of his house.


His college friend, Pierce, was inaugurated President of the United States
in 1853, and he appointed Hawthorne consul at Liverpool. This consulship
then netted the holder between $5000 and $7000 a year. After nearly four
years' service in this position, he resigned and traveled in Europe with
his family. They lived in Rome sufficiently long for him to absorb the
local color for his romance of _The Marble Faun_. He remained abroad for
seven years. The record of his travels and impressions may be found in his
_English Note-Books_ and in his _French and Italian Note-Books_. _Our Old
Home_, a volume based on his _English Note-Books_, is a more finished
account of his thoughts and experiences in England.

In 1860 he returned quietly to his Concord home. His health was failing,
but he promised to write for the _Atlantic Monthly_ another romance, called
_The Dolliver Romance_. This, however, was never finished, and _The Marble
Faun_ remains the last of his great romances. His health continued to fail,
and in May, 1864, Pierce, thinking that a trip might prove beneficial,
started with him on a journey to the White Mountains. Hawthorne retired for
the night at the hotel in Plymouth, New Hampshire, and the next morning
Pierce found that Hawthorne's wish of dying unawares in his sleep had been
gratified. He had passed away before the completion of his fifty-ninth
year. He was buried underneath the pines in the Sleepy Hollow cemetery at
Concord. His classmate, Longfellow, wrote:--

  "There in seclusion and remote from men,
   The wizard hand lies cold."

that these two volumes contain eighty-two tales or sketches and that they
represent the most of Hawthorne's surviving literary work for the first
forty-five years of his life. The title for _Twice-Told Tales_ (1837) was
probably suggested by the line from Shakespeare's _King John:_ "Life is as
tedious as a twice-told tale." The second volume, _Mosses from an Old
Manse_ (1846), took its name from Hawthorne's first Concord home. His last
collection is called _The Snow Image and Other Twice-Told Tales_ (1851).
Each one of these volumes contains some of his short-story masterpieces,
although, taken as a whole, the collection in _Mosses from an Old Manse_
shows the greatest power and artistic finish.

The so-called tales in these volumes are of several different types. (1)
There is the story which presents chiefly allegorical or symbolic truth,
such as _Rappacini's Daughter, The Great Stone Face, The Birthmark, The
Artist of the Beautiful, and The Snow Image._ The last story, one of the
greatest of this class, relates how two children make a companion out of a
snow image, how Jack Frost and the pure west wind endow this image with
life and give them a little "snow sister." She grows more vigorous with
every life-giving breath inhaled from the west wind. She extends her hands
to the snow-birds, and they joyously flock to her. The father of these
children is a deadly literal man. No tale of fairy, no story of dryad, of
Aladdin's lamp, or of winged sandal had ever carried magical meaning to his
unimaginative literal mind, and he proceeds to disenchant the children.
Like Nathan the prophet, Hawthorne wished to say, "Thou art the man," to
some tens of thousands of stupid destroyers of those ideals which bring
something of Eden back to our everyday lives. This story, like so many of
the others, was written with a moral purpose. There are to-day people who
measure their acquaintances by their estimates of this allegorical story.

(2) Another type of Hawthorne's stories illustrates the history of New
England. Such are _The Gentle Boy_, _The Maypole of Merry Mount_,
_Endicotts Red Cross_, and _Lady Eleanore's Mantle_. We may even include in
this list _Young Goodman Brown_, in one sense an unreal and fantastic tale,
but in another, historically true to the Puritanic idea of the orgies of
witches in a forest. If we wish, for instance, to supplement the cold page
of history with a tale that breathes the very atmosphere of the Quaker
persecution of New England, let us open _The Twice-Told Tales_ and read the
story of _The Gentle Boy_, a Quaker child of six, found sobbing on his
father's newly-made grave beside the scaffold under the fir tree. Let us
enter the solemn meeting house, hear the clergyman inveigh against the
Quakers, and sit petrified when, at the end of the sermon, that boy's
mother, like a Daniel entering the lion's den, ascends the pulpit, and
invokes woe upon the Puritans.

(3) We shall occasionally find in these volumes what eighteenth-century
readers of the _Spectator_ would have called a "paper," that is, a
delightful bit of mixed description and narration, "a narrative essay" or
"a sketch," as some prefer to call it. In this class we may include _The
Old Manse_, _The Old Apple-Dealer_, _Sights from a Steeple_, _A Rill from
the Town Pump_, and the masterly _Introduction to The Scarlet Letter_.

_The Old Manse_, the first paper in _Mosses from an Old Manse_, is
excellent. Hawthorne succeeds in taking his readers with him up the
Assabeth River, in a boat made by Thoreau. We agree with Hawthorne that a
lovelier river "never flowed on earth,--nowhere indeed except to lave the
interior regions of a poet's imagination." When we return with him at the
end of that day's excursion, we are almost tempted to say that we can never
again be enslaved as before. We feel that we can say with him:--

  "We were so free to-day that it was impossible to be slaves again
  tomorrow. When we crossed the threshold of the house or trod the thronged
  pavements of a city, still the leaves of the trees that overhang the
  Assabeth were whispering to us, 'Be free! Be free.'"

These volumes entitle Hawthorne to be ranked among the greatest of
short-story writers. Like Irving, Hawthorne did not take the air line
directness of narration demanded by the modern short story; but the moral
truth and beauty of his tales will long prove their elixir of life, after
the passing of many a modern short story which has divested itself of
everything except the mere interest in narration.

CHILDREN'S STORIES.--Hawthorne's _Grandfather's Chair_ (1841) is a series
of simple stories of New England history, from the coming of the Mayflower
to the death of Samuel Adams in 1803. Hawthorne's greatest success in
writing for children is to be found in his _A Wonder Book_ (1851) and
_Tanglewood Tales_ (1853). In these volumes he has adapted the old
classical myths to the tastes of American children. His unusual version of
these myths meets two supreme tests. Children like it, and are benefited by
it. Many would rejoice to be young enough again to hear for the first time
the story of _The Golden Touch_,--how Midas prized gold above all things,
how he secured the golden touch, and how the flies that alighted on his
nose fell off little nuggets of gold. What a fine thing we thought the
golden touch until he touched his beautiful little daughter, Marygold! No
sermon could better have taught us that gold is not the thing above all to
be desired.


Hawthorne stands in the front rank of a very small number whose writings
continue to appeal to the children of succeeding generations. He loved and
understood children and shared their experiences. He was one of those whose
sixteenth amendment to the Constitution reads, "The rights and caprices of
children in the United States shall not be denied or abridged on account of
age, sex, or formal condition of tutelage."

GREAT ROMANCES.--Hawthorne wrote four long romances: _The Scarlet Letter_
(1850), the scene of which is laid in Boston in Governor Winthrop's time,
_The House of the Seven Gables_ (1851), with the scene laid in Salem, _The
Marble Faun_ (1860), in Rome, and _The Blithedale Romance_ (1852), in an
ideal community similar to Brook Farm. The first three of these works have
a great moral truth to present. Accordingly, the details of scene, plot,
description, and conversation are handled so as to emphasize this central

_The Scarlet Letter_ was written to show that the consequences of a sin
cannot be escaped and that many different lives are influenced by one wrong
deed. The lives of Hester Prynne, Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger
Chillingworth are wrecked by the crime in _The Scarlet Letter_. Roger
Chillingworth is transformed into a demon of revenge. So malevolent does he
become that Hester wonders "whether the tender grass of early spring would
not be blighted beneath him." She would not be surprised to see him "spread
bat's wings and flee away." The penalty paid by Arthur Dimmesdale is to
appear to be what he is not, and this is a terrible punishment to his
sensitive nature. The slow steps by which his soul is tortured and darkened
are followed with wonderful clearness, and the agony of his soul alone with
God is presented with an almost Shakespearean pen. The third sufferer is
the beautiful Hester Prynne. Her fate is the most terrible because she not
only writhes under a severe punishment inflicted by the authorities, but
also suffers from daily, even hourly, remorse. To help assuage her grief,
and to purify her soul, Hester becomes the self-effacing good Samaritan of
the village. Her uncomplaining courage, noble beauty, and self-sacrifice
make her the center of this tragic story.


Shakespeare proposed no harder problem than the one in _The Scarlet
Letter_,--the problem of the expiation of sin. The completeness with which
everything is subordinated to the moral question involved, and the
intensity with which this question is treated, show the Puritanic
temperament and the imaginative genius of the author. Hawthorne is Puritan
in the earnestness of his purpose, but he is wholly the artist in carrying
out his design. Such a combination of Puritan and artist has given to
American literature in _The Scarlet Letter_ a masterpiece, somber yet
beautiful, ethical yet poetic, incorporating both the spirit of a past time
and the lessons of an eternal present. This incomparable romance is unified
in conception, symmetrical in form, and nobly simple in expression.

Far less somber than _The Scarlet Letter_ is _The House of the Seven
Gables_. This has been called a romance of heredity, because the story
shows the fulfillment of a curse upon the distant descendants of the
wrongdoer, old Judge Pyncheon. The present inhabitants of the Pyncheon
mansion, who are among the worst sufferers, are Hepzibah Pyncheon and her
brother Clifford. Hawthorne's pages contain nothing more pathetic than the
picture of helplessness presented by these two innocent souls, bearing a
burden of crime not their own. The brightness of the story comes through
the simple, joyous, home-making nature of Phoebe Pyncheon. She it is who
can bring a smile to Clifford's face and can attract custom to Hepzibah's
cent shop. Hawthorne never loses sight of his purpose. The curse finds its
last victim, and the whole story is a slow preparation for this event. The
scenes, however, in which Phoebe, that "fair maker of sunshine," reigns as
queen, are so peaceful and attractive, the cent shop, which Hepzibah is
forced to open for support, offers so many opportunities for comic as well
as pathetic incidents, and the outcome of the story is so satisfactory that
it is the brightest of all Hawthorne's long romances.

In _The Marble Faun_, Hawthorne's last complete romance, the Puritan
problem of sin is transplanted to Italian soil. The scene is laid in Rome,
where the art of Michael Angelo and Raphael, the secret orders of the
Church, the tragic history of the eternal city, with its catacombs and
ruins, furnish a rich and varied background for the story. So faithfully
indeed are the galleries, churches, and historic corners of Rome described,
that _The Marble Faun_ has served as a guide for the cultured visitor. This
expression of opinion by the late A. P. Stanley (1815-1881), a well-known
author and dean of Westminster Abbey, is worth remembering: "I have read it
seven times. I read it when it appeared, as I read everything from that
English master. I read it again when I expected to visit Rome, then when on
the way to Rome, again while in Rome, afterwards to revive my impressions
of Rome. Recently I read it again because I wanted to." In this historic
setting, Hawthorne places four characters: Donatello, the faun, Miriam, the
beautiful and talented young artist, Kenyon, the American sculptor, and
Hilda, the Puritan maid who tends the lamp of the Virgin in her tower among
the doves and makes true copies of the old masters. From the beginning of
the story some mysterious evil power is felt, and this power gains fuller
and fuller ascendency over the characters. What that is the author does not
say. It seems the very spirit of evil itself that twines its shadow about
human beings and crushes them if they are not strong enough to resist.


In _The Scarlet Letter_ it was shown that the moral law forces evildoers to
pay the last farthing of the debt of sinning. _In The Marble Faun_ the
effect of sin in developing character is emphasized, and Donatello, the
thoughtless creature of the woods is portrayed in his stages of growth
after his moral nature has first been roused by a great crime. The question
is raised, Can the soul be developed and strengthened by sin? The problem
is handled with Hawthorne's usual moral earnestness of purpose, and is
expressed in his easiest and most flexible style. Nevertheless this work
has not the suppressed intensity, completeness of outline, and artistic
symmetry possessed by _The Scarlet Letter_. The chief defects of _The
Marble Faun_ are a vagueness of form, a distracting variety of scene, and a
lack of the convincing power of reality. The continued popularity of this
romance, however, is justly due to its poetic conception, its atmosphere of
ancient mystery, and its historic Roman background.

_The Blithedale Romance_ and the cooperative settlement described in it
were suggested to Hawthorne by his Brook Farm experience, although he
disclaims any attempt to present an actual picture of that community. The
idea of the division of labor, the transcendental conversations, and many
of the incidents owe their origin to his sojourn at Brook Farm (p. 166).
Although _The Blithedale Romance_ does not equal the three romances already
described, it contains one character, Zenobia, who is the most original and
dramatic of Hawthorne's men and women, and some scenes which are as
powerful as any drawn by him.

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.--Hawthorne gave the Puritan to literature. This
achievement suggests Irving's canonization of the Knickerbockers and
Cooper's of the pioneer and the Indian. Himself a Unitarian and out of
sympathy with the Puritans' creed, Hawthorne nevertheless says, "And yet,
let them scorn me as they will, strong traits of their nature have
intertwined themselves with mine." He and they had the same favorite
subject,--the human soul in its relation to the judgment day. He could no
more think of sin unrelated to the penalty, than of a serpent without shape
or color. Unlike many modern novelists, his work never wanders beyond a
world where the Ten Commandments rule. Critics have well said that he never
painted a so-called man of the world, because such a man, by Hawthorne's
definition, would really be a man out of the great moral world, which to
Hawthorne seemed the only real world.

He is preeminently a writer of romance. He was always powerfully influenced
by such romantic materials as may be found in the world of witchcraft and
the supernatural, or such as are suggested by dim foreshadowings of evil
and by the many mysteries for which human philosophy does not account. For
this reason, his works are removed from the commonplace and enveloped in an
imaginative atmosphere. He subjects his use of these romantic
materials--the unusual, the improbable, and the supernatural--to only one
touchstone. He is willing to avail himself of these, so long as he does
not, in his own phrase, "swerve aside from the truth of the human heart."

His stories are frequently symbolic. He selects some object, token, or
utterance, in harmony with his purpose, and uses it as a symbol to
prefigure some moral action or result. The symbol may be an embroidered
mantle, indicative of pride; a butterfly, typical of emergence from a dead
chrysalis to a state of ideal beauty; or the words of a curse, which
prophesy a ghastly death. His choice of scene, plot, and character is in
harmony with the moral purpose indicated by the symbol. Sometimes this
purpose is dimly veiled in allegory, but even when his stories are sermons
in allegory, like _The Snow Image_, he so invests them with poetic fancy or
spiritual beauty as to make them works of art. His extensive use of
symbolism and allegory has been severely criticized. It is unfortunate that
he did not learn earlier in life what _The Scarlet Letter_ should have
taught him, that he did not need to rely on these supports. He becomes one
of the great masters when he paints character from the inside with a touch
so vivid and compelling that the symbolism and the allegory vanish like a
dissolving picture and reveal human forms. When he has breathed into them
the creator's breath of life, he walks with them hand in hand in this lost
Eden. He ascends the pillory with Hester Prynne, and writhes with Arthur
Dimmesdale's agony. He plays on the seashore with little Pearl. He shares
Hepzibah Pyncheon's solitude and waits on the customers in the cent shop
with Phoebe. He eats two dromedaries and a gingerbread locomotive with
little Ned Higgins.

Hawthorne did not care much for philosophical systems, and never concerned
himself with the intricacies of transcendentalism. Yet he was affected by
that philosophy, as is shown by his personal isolation and that of his
characters. His intense belief in individuality is also a transcendental
doctrine. He holds that the individual is his own jailer, his own
liberator, the preserver or loser of his own Eden. Moral regeneration seems
to him an individual, not a social, affair.

His style is easy, exact, flowing, and it shows the skill of a literary
artist. He never strains after effect, never uses excessive ornament, never
appears hurried. There was not another nineteenth-century prose master on
either side of the Atlantic who could in fewer words or simpler language
have secured the effect produced by _The Scarlet Letter_. He wished to be
impressive in describing Phoebe, that sunbeam in _The House of the Seven
Gables_, but he says simply:--

  "She was like a prayer, offered up in the homeliest beauty of one's
  mother tongue."

Sincerity is the marked characteristic of this simplicity in style, and it
makes an impression denied to the mere striver after effect, however
cunning his art.

A writer of imperishable romances, a sympathetic revealer of the soul, a
great moralist, a master of style, Hawthorne is to be classed with the
greatest masters of English fiction. His artist's hand

  "Wrought in a sad sincerity;
   Himself from God he could not free."


[Illustration: HENRY W. LONGFELLOW]

LIFE--Longfellow, the most widely read of American poets, was born in
Portland, Maine, in 1807. His father was a Harvard graduate, and his
mother, like Bryant's, was descended from John and Priscilla Alden of
Plymouth. Longfellow, when three years old, began to go to school, and,
like Bryant, he published at the ripe age of thirteen his first poem,
_Battle of Lovell's Pond_, which appeared in the _Portland Gazette_.

Portland made a great impression on the boy. To his early life there is due
the love of the sea, which colors so much of his poetry. In his poem, _My
Lost Youth_, he says:--

  "I remember the black wharves and the slips,
     And the sea tides tossing free;
   And Spanish sailors with bearded lips,
   And the beauty and mystery of the ships,
     And the magic of the sea."

He went to Bowdoin College, Maine, where he had Nathaniel Hawthorne for a
classmate. In his senior year Longfellow wrote to his father, "I most
eagerly aspire after future eminence in literature; my whole soul burns
most ardently for it, and every earthly thought centers in it." His father
replied, "There is not enough wealth in this country to afford
encouragement and patronage to merely literary men. And as you have not had
the fortune ... to be born rich, you must adopt a profession which will
afford you subsistence as well as reputation." The son then chose the law,
saying, "This will support my real existence; literature, my ideal one."
Bowdoin College, however, came to the rescue, and offered him the
professorship of modern languages on condition that he would go abroad for
study. He accepted the offer, and remained abroad three years. His travel
sketches on this trip were published in book form in 1835, under the title
of _Outre-Mer: A Pilgrimage beyond the Sea_. This is suggestive of the
_Sketch Book_ (p. 119), the earliest book which he remembered reading.
After five years' service at Bowdoin, he accepted Harvard's offer of the
professorship of modern languages and again went abroad. This journey was
saddened by the death of his first wife. His prose romance; _Hyperion_, was
one of the fruits of this sojourn abroad. The second Mrs. Longfellow, whose
real name was Frances Appleton, appears in this book under the name of Mary
Ashburton. Her father bought the Craigie House, which had been Washington's
headquarters in Cambridge, and gave it to Longfellow as a residence. In
1854, after eighteen years' teaching at Harvard, he resigned, for his means
were then ample to enable him to devote his full time to literature.


From 1854 until 1861 he lived in reality the ideal existence of his
youthful dreams. In 1861 his wife's summer dress caught fire, and although
he struggled heroically to save her, she died the next day, and he himself
was so severely burned that he could not attend her funeral. Years
afterwards he wrote:--

  "Here in this room she died; and soul more white
   Never through martyrdom of fire was led
   To its repose."

Like Bryant, he sought refuge in translating. Longfellow chose Dante, and
gave the world the fine rendering of his _Divine Comedy_ (1867).

Outside of these domestic sorrows, Longfellow's life was happy and
prosperous. His home was blessed with attractive children. Loved by
friends, honored by foreigners, possessed of rare sweetness and lovableness
of disposition, he became the most popular literary man in America. He
desired freedom from turmoil and from constant struggling for daily bread,
and this freedom came to him in fuller measure than to most men.

The children of the country felt that he was their own special poet. The
public schools of the United States celebrated his seventy-fifth birthday,
February 27, 1882. Less than a month later he died, and was laid to rest in
Mount Auburn cemetery, Cambridge.


"LAUREATE OF THE COMMON HUMAN HEART."--"God must love the common people,"
said President Lincoln, "because he has made so many of them." Longfellow
wrote for "the common human heart." In him the common people found a poet
who could gild the commonplace things of life and make them seem more
attractive, more easily borne, more important, more full of meaning.

In his first published volume of poems, _Voices of the Night_ (1839), he
shows his aim distinctly in such poems as _A Psalm of Life_. Its lines are
the essence of simplicity, but they have instilled patience and noble
purpose into many a humble human soul. The two stanzas beginning

  "Life is real! Life is earnest,"


  "Lives of great men all remind us,"

can be repeated by many who know but little poetry, and these very stanzas,
as well as many others like them, have affected the lives of large numbers
of people. Those born a generation ago not infrequently say that the
following stanza from _The Ladder of St. Augustine_ (1850) has been the
stepping-stone to their success in life:--

  "The heights by great men reached and kept
     Were not attained by sudden flight,
   But they, while their companions slept,
     Were toiling upward in the night."

His poem, _The Rainy Day_ (1841), has developed in many a person the
qualities of patience, resignation, and hopefulness. Repetition makes the
majority of things seem commonplace, but even repetition has not robbed
lines like these of their power:--

  "Be still, sad heart! and cease repining,
   Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
   Thy fate is the common fate of all;
   Into each life some rain must fall,
   Some days must be dark and dreary."

Nine days before he died, he wrote his last lines with the same simplicity
and hopefulness of former days:--

  "Out of the shadows of night
   The world rolls into light.
   It is daybreak everywhere."

As we examine these typical poems, we shall find that all of them appeal to
our common experiences or aspirations, and that all are expressed in that
simple language which no one need read twice to understand.

BALLADS.--Longfellow knew how to tell a story which preserved the
simplicity and the vigor of the old ballad makers. His _The Wreck of the
Hesperus_ (1839) starts in the true fashion to make us wish to finish the

  "It was the schooner Hesperus,
     That sailed the wintry sea;
   And the skipper had taken his little daughter
     To bear him company."

Longfellow says that he wrote this ballad between twelve and three in the
morning and that the composition did not come to him by lines, but by

Even more vigorous is his ballad of _The Skeleton in Armor_ (1840). The
Viking hero of the tale, like young Lochinvar, won the heart of the
heroine, the blue-eyed daughter of a Norwegian prince.

  "When of old Hildebrand
   I asked his daughter's hand,
   Mute did the minstrels stand
     To hear my story."

The Viking's suit was denied. He put the maiden on his vessel before he was
detected and pursued by her father. Those who think that the gentle
Longfellow could not write poetry as energetic as Scott's _Lochinvar_
should read the following stanza:--

  "As with his wings aslant,
   Sails the fierce cormorant,
   Seeking some rocky haunt,
     With his prey laden,--
   So toward the open main,
   Beating to sea again,
   Through the wild hurricane,
     Bore I the maiden."

Those who are fond of this kind of poetry should turn to Longfellow's
_Tales of a Wayside Inn_ (1863), where they will find such favorites as
_Paul Revere's Ride_ and _The Birds of Killingworth_.

LONGER POEMS.--No other American poet has equaled Longfellow's longer
narrative poems. Bryant and Poe would not attempt long poems. The flights
of Whittier and Emerson were comparatively short. It is unusually difficult
to write long poems that will be read. In the case of _Evangeline_ (1847),
_Hiawatha_ (1855), and _The Courtship of Miles Standish_ (1858), Longfellow
proved an exception to the rule.

_Evangeline_ is based upon an incident that occurred during the French and
Indian War. In 1755 a force of British and colonial troops sailed from
Boston to Acadia (Nova Scotia) and deported the French inhabitants.
Hawthorne heard the story, how the English put Evangeline and her lover on
different ships and how she began her long, sad search for him. When
Hawthorne and Longfellow were discussing this one day at dinner at the
Craigie House, the poet said, "If you really do not want this incident for
a tale, let me have it for a poem." Hawthorne consented to give his
classmate all poetical rights to the story.

_Evangeline_ is the tale of a love "that hopes and endures and is patient."
The metrical form, dactylic hexameter, is one that few of our poets have
successfully used, and many have thought it wholly unfitted to English
verse. Longfellow has certainly disproved their theory, for his success
with this meter is pronounced. The long, flowing lines seem to be exactly
adapted to give the scenes the proper atmosphere and to narrate the
heroine's weary search. The poem became immediately popular. It was the
first successful long narrative poem to appear in the United States.
Whittier had studied the same subject, but had delayed making verses on it
until he found that it had been suggested to Longfellow. In a complimentary
review of the poem, Whittier said, "Longfellow was just the one to write
it. If I had attempted it, I should have spoiled the artistic effect of the
poem by my indignation at the treatment of the exiles by the colonial

From the moment that Evangeline appears, our interest does not lag.

  "Fair was she to behold, that maiden of seventeen summers.
       *      *      *      *      *
   When she had passed, it seemed like the ceasing of exquisite music."

[Illustration: LONGFELLOW'S STUDY]

The imagery of the poem is pleasing, no matter whether we are listening to
"the murmuring pines and the hemlocks," the softly sounding Angelus, the
gossiping looms, the whir of wings in the drowsy air, or seeing the barns
bursting with hay, the air filled with a dreamy and mystical light, the
forest arrayed in its robes of russet and scarlet and yellow, and the
stars, those "forget-me-nots of the angels," blossoming "in the infinite
meadows of heaven."

[Illustration: HIAWATHA]

_The Song of Hiawatha_ was begun by Longfellow in 1854, after resigning the
professorship of modern languages at Harvard. He seemed to revel in his new
freedom, and in less than a year he had produced the poem by which he will
probably be longest known to posterity. He studied Schoolcraft's _Algic
Researches_ and the same author's _History, Condition, and Prospects of the
Indian Tribes of the United States_, and familiarized himself with Indian
legends. The simplicity of Longfellow's nature and his ability as a poetic
artist seemed rarely suited to deal with these traditions of a race that
never wholly emerged from childhood.

Longfellow's invitation to hear this _Song_ does not include all, but only

  "Ye whose hearts are fresh and simple,
   Who have faith in God and nature."

Those who accept this invitation will rejoice to accompany Shawondasee, the
South-Wind, when he sends northward the robin, bluebird, and swallow. They
will also wish to go with Kabibonokka, the North-Wind, as he paints the
autumn woods with scarlet and sends the snowflakes through the forests.
They will be glad to be a child with Hiawatha, to hear again the magical
voices of the forest, the whisper of the pines, the lapping of the waters,
the hooting of the owl, to learn of every bird and beast its language, and
especially to know the joy of calling them all brothers. They will gladly
accompany Hiawatha to the land of the Dacotahs, when he woos Minnehaha,
Laughing Water, and hears Owaissa, the bluebird, singing:--

  "Happy are you, Hiawatha,
   Having such a wife to love you!"

But the guests will be made of stern stuff if their eyes do not moisten
when they hear Hiawatha calling in the midst of the famine of the cold and
cruel winter:--

  "Give your children food, O father!
   Give us food or we must perish!
   Give me food for Minnehaha,
   For my dying Minnehaha."

_Hiawatha_ overflows with the elemental spirit of childhood. The sense of
companionship with all earth's creatures, the mystery of life and of
Minnehaha's departure to the Kingdom of Ponemah, make a strong appeal to
all who remember childhood's Eden.

_The Courtship of Miles Standish_ (1858), in the same meter as
_Evangeline_, is a romantic tale, the scene of which is laid

  "In the Old Colony days, in Plymouth, the land of the Pilgrims."

We see Miles Standish, the incarnation of the Puritan church militant, as

                             "... wistfully gazed on the landscape,
  Washed with a cold gray mist, the vapory breath of the east-wind,
  Forest and meadow and hill, and the steel-blue rim of the ocean,
  Lying silent and sad in the afternoon shadows and sunshine."

Priscilla Mullins, the heroine of the poem, is a general favorite.
Longfellow and Bryant were both proud to trace their descent from her. This
poem introduces her

  "Seated beside her wheel, and the carded wool like a snow-drift
   Piled at her knee, her white hands feeding the ravenous spindle,
   While with her foot on the treadle she guided the wheel in its motion.
       *       *       *       *       *
   She, the Puritan girl, in the solitude of the forest,
   Making the humble house and the modest apparel of homespun
   Beautiful with her beauty, and rich with the wealth of her being!"

This story has more touches of humor than either _Evangeline_ or
_Hiawatha_. Longfellow uses with fine effect the contradiction between the
preaching of the bluff old captain, that you must do a thing yourself if
you want it well done, and his practice in sending by John Alden an offer
of marriage to Priscilla. Her reply has become classic:

  "Why don't you speak for yourself, John?"

Longfellow's _Christus, a Mystery_, was the title finally given by him to
three apparently separate poems, published under the titles, _The Golden
Legend_ (1851), _The Divine Tragedy_ (1871), and _The New England
Tragedies_ (1868). His idea was to represent the origin, the medieval
aspect, and the Puritan conception of Christianity--a task not well suited
to Longfellow's genius. _The Golden Legend_ is the most poetic, but _The
New England Tragedies_ is the most likely to be read in future years, not
for its poetic charms, but because it presents two phases of New England's
colonial history, the persecution of the Quakers and the Salem witchcraft

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.--An eminent Scotch educator says that Longfellow
has probably taught more people to love poetry than any other
nineteenth-century poet, English or American. He is America's best and most
widely read story-teller in verse. Success in long narrative poems is rare
in any literature. Probably the majority of critics would find it difficult
to agree on any English poet since Chaucer who has surpassed Longfellow in
this field.

He has achieved the unusual distinction of making the commonplace
attractive and beautiful. He is the poet of the home, of the common people,
and of those common objects in nature which in his verses convey a lesson
to all. He has proved a moral stimulus to his age and he has further helped
to make the world kindlier and its troubles more easily borne. This was his

  "Bear through sorrow, wrong and ruth
   In thy heart the dew of youth,
   On thy lips the smile of truth."

His poetry is usually more tinctured with feeling than with thought.
Diffuseness is his greatest fault. The _Sonnets_ of his later years and an
occasional poem, like _Morituri Salutamus_ (1875), show more condensation,
but parts of even _Hiawatha_ would be much improved if told in fewer words.

Some complain that Longfellow finds in books too much of the source of his
inspiration; that, although he did not live far from Evangeline's country,
he never visited it, and that others had to tell him to substitute pines or
hemlocks for chestnut trees. Many critics have found fault with his poetry
because it does not offer "sufficient obstruction to the stream of
thought,"--because it does not make the mind use its full powers in
wrestling with the meaning. It is a mistake, however, to underestimate the
virtues of clearness and simplicity. Many great men who have been
unsuccessful in their struggle to secure these qualities have consequently
failed to reach the ear of the world with a message. While other poets
should be read for mental development, the large heart of the world still
finds a place for Longfellow, who has voiced its hopes that

  "... the night shall be filled with music,
     And the cares that infest the day,
  Shall fold their tents like the Arabs,
     And as silently steal away."

Like most Puritans, Longfellow is usually over-anxious to teach a lesson;
but the world must learn, and no one has surpassed him as a poetic teacher
of the masses.


[Illustration: JOHN G. WHITTIER]

Life.--Whittier says that the only unusual circumstance about the migration
of his Puritan ancestor to New England in 1638 was the fact that he brought
over with him a hive of bees. The descendants of this very hive probably
suggested the poem, _Telling the Bees_, for it was an old English custom to
go straightway to the hive and tell the bees whenever a member of the
family died. It was believed that they would swarm and seek another home if
this information was withheld. The poet has made both the bees and the
snows of his northern home famous. He was born in 1807 in the same house
that his first American ancestor built in East Haverhill, about thirty-two
miles northwest of Boston. The Whittiers were farmers who for generations
had wrung little more than a bare subsistence from the soil. The boy's
frail health was early broken by the severe labor. He had to milk seven
cows, plow with a yoke of oxen, and keep busy from dawn until dark.

Unlike the other members of the New England group of authors, Whittier
never went to college. He received only the scantiest education in the
schools near his home. The family was so poor that he had to work as a
cobbler, making slippers at eight cents a pair, in order to attend the
Haverhill academy for six months. He calculated his expenses so exactly
that he had just twenty-five cents left at the end of the term.

Two events in his youth had strong influence on his future vocation. When
he was fourteen, his school-teacher read aloud to the family from the poems
of Robert Burns. The boy was entranced, and, learning that Burns had been
merely a plowman, felt that there was hope for himself. He borrowed the
volume of poems and read them again and again. Of this experience, he says:
"This was about the first poetry I had ever read (with the exception of the
Bible, of which I had been a close student) and it had a lasting influence
upon me. I began to make rhymes myself and to imagine stories and
adventures." The second event was the appearance in print of some of his
verses, which his sister had, unknown to him, sent to a Newburyport paper
edited by William Lloyd Garrison. The great abolitionist thought enough of
the poetry to ride out to Whittier's home and urge him to get an education.
This event made an indelible impression on the lad's memory.

Realizing that his health would not allow him to make his living on a farm,
he tried teaching school, but, like Thoreau, found that occupation
distasteful. Through Garrison's influence, Whittier at the age of
twenty-one procured an editorial position in Boston. At various times he
served as editor on more than half a dozen different papers, until his own
health or his father's brought him back to the farm. Such occupation taught
him how to write prose, of which he had produced enough at the time of his
death to fill three good-sized volumes, but his prose did not secure the
attention given to his verse. While in Hartford, editing _The New England
Review_, he fell in love with Miss Cornelia Russ, and a few days before he
finally left the city, he wrote a proposal to her in three hundred words of
wandering prose. Had he expressed his feelings in one of his inimitable
ballads, it is possible that he might have been accepted, for neither she
nor he ever married. In the year of her death, he wrote his poem,
_Memories_, which recounts some recollections earlier than his Hartford

  "A beautiful and happy girl,
     With step as light as summer air,
   Eyes glad with smiles, and brow of pearl
   Shadowed by many a careless curl
     Of unconfined and flowing hair;
   A seeming child in everything,
     Save thoughtful brow and ripening charms,
   As nature wears the smile of Spring
     When sinking into Summer's arms."

He was a Quaker and he came to Hartford in the homespun clothes of the cut
of his sect. He may have been thinking of Miss Russ and wondering whether
theology had anything to do with her refusal, when in after years he

  "Thine the Genevan's sternest creed,
   While answers to my spirit's need
   The Derby dalesman's simple truth."


As Whittier was a skillful politician, he had hopes of making a name for
himself in politics as well as in literature. He was chosen to represent
his district in the state legislature and there is little doubt that he
would have been sent to the national congress later, had he not taken a
step which for a long time shut off all avenues of preferment. In 1833 he
joined the abolitionists. This step had very nearly the same effect on his
fortunes as the public declaration of an adherence to the doctrines of
anarchy would to-day have on a man similarly situated. "The best magazines
at the North would not open their pages to him. He was even mobbed, and the
office of an anti-slavery paper, which he was editing in Philadelphia, was
sacked. He wrote many poems to aid the abolition cause. These were really
editorials expressed in verse, which caught the attention in a way denied
to prose. For more than thirty years such verse constituted the most of his
poetical production. Lowell noticed that the Quaker doctrine of peace did
not deter Whittier from his vigorous attack on slavery. In A Fable for
Critics (1848), Lowell asks:--

  "... O leather-clad Fox?
   Can that be thy son, in the battlers mid din,
   Preaching brotherly love and then driving it in
   To the brain of the tough old Goliath of sin,
   With the smoothest of pebbles from Castaly's spring
   Impressed on his hard moral sense with a sling?"

Whittier did, however, try to keep the spirit of brotherly love warm
throughout his life. He always preferred to win his cause from an enemy
peacefully. When he was charged with hating the people of the South, he

  "I was never an enemy to the South or the holders of slaves. I inherited
  from my Quaker ancestry hatred of slavery, but not of slaveholders. To
  every call of suffering or distress in the South, I have promptly
  responded to the extent of my ability. I was one of the very first to
  recognize the rare gift of the Carolinian poet Timrod, and I was the
  intimate friend of the lamented Paul H. Hayne, though both wrote fiery
  lyrics against the North."

With a few striking exceptions, his most popular poems were written after
the close of the Civil War. His greatest poem, _Snow-Bound_, was published
in the year after the cessation of hostilities (1866). His last thirty
years were a time of comparative calm. He wrote poetry as the spirit moved
him. He had grown to be loved everywhere at the North, and his birthday,
like Longfellow's, was the occasion for frequent celebrations. For years
before the close of the war, in fact until _Snow-Bound_ appeared, he was
very poor, but the first edition of that poem brought him in ten thousand
dollars, and after that he was never again troubled by poverty. In a letter
written in 1866, he says:--

  "If my health allowed me to write I could make money easily now, as my
  anti-slavery reputation does not injure me in the least, at the present
  time. For twenty years I was shut out from the favor of booksellers and
  magazine editors, but I was enabled by rigid economy to live in spite of


His fixed home for almost all of his life was in the valley of the Merrimac
River, at East Haverhill, until 1836, and then at Amesbury, only a few
miles east of his birthplace. He died in 1892 and was buried in the
Amesbury cemetery.

POETRY.--Although Whittier wrote much forcible anti-slavery verse, most of
this has already been forgotten, because it was directly fashioned to
appeal to the interests of the time. One of the strongest of these poems is
_Ichabod_ (1850), a bitter arraignment of Daniel Webster, because Whittier
thought that the great orator's _Seventh of March Speech_ of that year
advised a compromise with slavery. Webster writhed under Whittier's
criticism more than under that of any other man.

  "... from those great eyes
     The soul has fled:
   When faith is lost, when honor dies
     The man is dead!"

Thirty years later, Whittier, feeling that perhaps Webster merely intended
to try to save the Union and do away with slavery without a conflict, wrote
_The Lost Occasion_, in which he lamented the too early death of the great

  "Some die too late and some too soon,
   At early morning, heat of noon,
   Or the chill evening twilight. Thou,
   Whom the rich heavens did so endow
   With eyes of power and Jove's own brow,
       *       *       *       *       *
   Too soon for us, too soon for thee,
   Beside thy lonely Northern sea,
   Where long and low the marsh-lands spread,
   Laid wearily down thy august head."

Whittier is emphatically the poet of New England. His verses which will
live the longest are those which spring directly from its soil. His poem
entitled _The Barefoot Boy_ tells how the typical New England farmer's lad

  "Knowledge never learned of schools,
   Of the wild bee's morning chase,
   Of the wild flower's time and place,
   Flight of fowl and habitude
   Of the tenants of the wood."


His greatest poem, the one by which he will probably be chiefly known to
posterity, is _Snow-Bound_, which describes the life of a rural New England
household. At the beginning of this poem of 735 lines, the coming of the
all-enveloping snowstorm, with its "ghostly finger tips of sleet" on the
window-panes, is the central event, but we soon realize that this storm
merely serves to focus intensely the New England life with which he was
familiar. The household is shut in from the outside world by the snow, and
there is nothing else to distract the attention from the picture of
isolated Puritan life. There is not another poet in America who has
produced such a masterpiece under such limitations. One prose writer,
Hawthorne, in _The Scarlet Letter_, had indeed taken even more unpromising
materials and achieved one of the greatest successes in English romance,
but in this special narrow field Whittier has not yet been surpassed by

The sense of isolation and what painters would call "the atmosphere" are
conveyed in lines like these:--

  "Shut in from all the world without,
   We sat the clean-winged hearth about,
   Content to let the north wind roar
   In baffled rage at pane and door,
   While the red logs before us beat
   The frost line back with tropic heat;
   And ever when a louder blast
   Shook beam and rafter as it passed,
   The merrier up its roaring draught
   The great throat of the chimney laughed."

In such a focus he shows the life of the household; the mother, who often
left her home to attend sick neighbors, now:--

  "... seeking to express
   Her grateful sense of happiness
   For food and shelter, warmth and health,
   And love's contentment, more than wealth,"

the uncle:--

  "... innocent of books,
   Was rich in lore of fields and brooks,
       *       *       *       *       *
   A simple, guileless, childlike man,
   Strong only on his native grounds,
   The little world of sights and sounds
   Whose girdle was the parish bounds,"

the aunt, who:--

  "Found peace in love's unselfishness,"

the sister:--

  "A full rich nature, free to trust,
   Truthful and even sternly just,
   Impulsive, earnest, prompt to act,
   And make her generous thought a fact,
   Keeping with many a light disguise
   The secret of self-sacrifice."

Some read Snow-Bound for its pictures of nature and some for its still more
remarkable portraits of the members of that household. This poem has
achieved for the New England fireside what Burns accomplished for the
hearths of Scotland in _The Cotter's Saturday Night_.

Whittier wrote many fine short lyrical poems, such as _Ichabod_, _The Lost
Occasion_, _My Playmate_ (which was Tennyson's favorite), _In School Days_,
_Memories_, _My Triumph_, _Telling the Bees_, _The Eternal Goodness_, and
the second part of _A Sea Dream_. His narrative poems and ballads are
second only to Longfellow's. _Maud Muller_, _Skipper Iresons Ride_,
_Cassandra Southwick_, _Barbara Frietchie_, and _Mabel Martin_ are among
the best of these.

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS--Whittier and Longfellow resemble each other in
simplicity. Both are the poets of the masses, of those whose lives most
need the consolation of poetry. Both suffer from diffuseness, Whittier in
his greatest poems less than Longfellow. Whittier was self-educated, and he
never traveled far from home. His range is narrower than Longfellow's, who
was college bred and broadened by European travel. But if Whittier's poetic
range is narrower, if he is the poet of only the common things of life, he
shows more intensity of feeling. Often his simplest verse comes from the
depths of his heart. He wrote _In School Days_ forty years after the grass
had been growing on the grave of the little girl who spelled correctly the
word which the boy had missed:--

  "'I'm sorry that I spelt the word:
   I hate to go above you,
   Because,'--the brown eyes lower fell,--
   'Because you see, I love you!'

       *       *       *       *       *

  "He lives to learn, in life's hard school,
   How few who pass above him
   Lament their triumph and his loss,
   Like her,--because they love him."

Whittier's simplicity, genuineness, and sympathetic heart stand revealed in
those lines.

His youthful work shows traces of the influence of many poets, but he
learned most from Robert Burns. Whittier himself says that it was Burns who
taught him to see

  "... through all familiar things
   The romance underlying,"

and especially to note that

  "Through all his tuneful art, how strong
   The human feeling gushes!"

The critics have found three indictments against Whittier; first, for the
unequal value of his poetry; second, for its loose rhymes; and third, for
too much moralizing. He would probably plead guilty to all of these
indictments. His tendency to moralize is certainly excessive, but critics
have too frequently forgotten that this very moralizing draws him closer to
the heart of suffering humanity. There are times when the majority of human
beings feel the need of the consolation which he brings in his religious
verse and in such lines as these from _Snow-Bound:_--

  "Alas for him who never sees
   The stars shine through his cypress trees
   Who, hopeless, lays his dead away,
   Nor looks to see the breaking day
   Across the mournful marbles play!
   Who hath not learned, in hours of faith,
     The truth to flesh and sense unknown,
   That Life is ever lord of Death
     And Love can never lose its own!"

He strives to impress on all the duty of keeping the windows of the heart
open to the day and of "finding peace in love's unselfishness."


[Illustration: J.R. LOWELL]

Early Years.--James Russell Lowell, the son of the Rev. Charles Lowell, was
a descendant of one of the best of the old New England families. The city
of Lowell and the Lowell Institute of Boston received their names from
uncles of the author. His mother's name was Spence, and she used to tell
her son that the Spence family, which was of Scotch origin, was descended
from Sir Patrick Spens of ballad fame. She loved to sing to her boy in the

  "O forty miles off Aberdeen,
     'Tis fifty fathoms deep,
   And there lies gude Sir Patrick Spens,
     Wi' the Scots lords at his feet."

[Illustration: LOWELL'S MOTHER]

From her Celtic blood her son inherited a tendency toward poetry. When a
child, he was read to sleep with Spenser's _Faerie Queene_ and he found
amusement in retelling its stories to his playmates.

James Russell Lowell was born in 1819, in the suburbs of Cambridge,
Massachusetts, in the fine old historic home called "Elmwood," which was
one of the few homes to witness the birth and death of a great American
author and to remain his native residence for seventy-two years.

His early opportunities were in striking contrast to those of Whittier; for
Lowell, like his ancestors for three generations, went to Harvard. Because
of what the Lowell side of his family called "the Spence negligence," he
was suspended from college for inattention to his studies and sent to
Concord to be coached by a tutor. We know, however, that a part of Lowell's
negligence was due to his reading and imitating such poetry as suited his
fancy. It was fortunate that he was sent to Concord, for there he had the
opportunity of meeting Emerson and Thoreau and of drinking in patriotism as
he walked "the rude bridge that arch'd the flood" (p. 179). He was elected
class poet, but he was not allowed to return in time to deliver his poem
before his classmates, although he received his degree with them in 1838.

MARRIAGE AND NEW IMPULSES.--Like Irving and Bryant, Lowell studied law, and
then gave up that profession for literature. In 1839 he met Miss Maria
White, a transcendentalist of noble impulses. Before this he had made fun
of the abolitionists, but under her influence he followed men like Whittier
into the anti-slavery ranks. She was herself a poet and she wrote to Lowell
after they became engaged:--

  "I love thee for thyself--thyself alone;
     For that great soul whose breath most full and rare
     Shall to humanity a message bear,
   Flooding their dreary waste with organ tone."

Under such inspiration, "the Spence negligence" left him, and with rapid
steps he entered the temple of fame. In December, 1844, the month in which
he married her, he wrote the finest lines ever penned by him:--

  "Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,--
   Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown,
   Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own."

Lowell's twenty-ninth year, 1848, is called his _annus mirabilis_, the
wonderful year of his life. He had published small volumes of poems in
1840, 1843, and 1847, but in 1848 there appeared three of his most famous
works,--_The Biglow Papers, First Series_, _A Fable for Critics_, and _The
Vision of Sir Launfal._

As Mrs. Lowell's health was delicate, Lowell took her abroad, in 1851, for
a year's stay. Thackeray came over on the same ship with them, on their
return in 1852, and proved a genial companion. The next year Mrs. Lowell
died. When he thought of the inspiration which she had given him and of the
thirteen years of her companionship, he said, "It is a million times better
to have had her and lost her, than to have had and kept any other woman I
ever saw."


LATER WORK.--After his great bereavement in 1853, Lowell became one of
America's greatest prose writers. In 1855 he was appointed Longfellow's
successor in the Harvard professorship of modern languages and polite
literature, a position which he held, with the exception of two years spent
in European travel, until 1877. The duties of his chair called for wide
reading and frequent lecturing, and he turned much of his attention toward
writing critical essays. The routine work of his professorship often grew
irksome and the "Spence negligence" was sometimes in evidence in his
failure to meet his classes. As a teacher, he was, however, frequently very

He was the editor of the _Atlantic Monthly_, from its beginning in 1857
until 1861. All of the second series of the _Biglow Papers_ appeared in
this magazine. From 1864 to 1872 he was one of the editors of the North
American Review.

In 1877 he became the minister of the United States to Spain. The Spanish
welcomed him to the post that Washington Irving had once filled. In 1880
Lowell was transferred to England, where he represented his country until
1885. No other American minister has ever proved a greater success in
England. He was respected for his literary attainments and for his ability
as a speaker. He had the reputation of being one of the very best speakers
in the Kingdom, and he was in much demand to speak at banquets and on
special occasions. Many of his articles and speeches were on political
subjects, the greatest of these being his address on _Democracy_, at
Birmingham, in 1884.

Although his later years showed his great achievements in prose, he did not
cease to produce poetry. The second series of the _Biglow Papers_ was
written during the Civil War. His _Ode Recited at the Harvard
Commemoration_ in 1865, in honor of those who fell in freeing the slave,

  "Who in warm life-blood wrote their nobler verse,"

his three memorial poems: (1) _Ode Read at the One Hundredth Anniversary of
the Fight at Concord Bridge_ (1875), (2) _Under the Old Elm_ (1875),
written in commemoration of Washington's taking command of the Continental
forces under that tree, a century before, and (3) _Ode for the Fourth of
July_, 1876, are well-known patriotic American poems.

After returning from England and passing from the excitement of diplomatic
and social life to a quiet New England home, he wrote:--

  "I take my reed again and blow it free
   Of dusty silence, murmuring, 'Sing to me.'
   And, as its stops my curious touch retries,
   The stir of earlier instincts I surprise,--
   Instincts, if less imperious, yet more strong,
   And happy in the toil that ends with song."

In 1888 he published a volume of poems called _Heartsease and Rue_. He died
in 1891 and was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery, near his "Elmwood" home,
not far from the last resting place of Longfellow.


POETRY.--Lowell wrote many short lyrical poems, which rank high. Some of
them, like _Our Love is not a Fading Earthly Flower_, _O Moonlight Deep and
Tender_, _To the Dandelion_, and _The First Snow-Fall_ are exquisite lyrics
of nature and sentiment. Others, like _The Present Crisis_, have for their
text, "Humanity sweeps onward," and teach high moral ideals. Still others,
like his poems written in commemoration of some event, are instinct with

He is best known for three long poems, _The Biglow Papers_, _A Fable for
Critics_ and _The Vision of Sir Launfal_. All of these, with the exception
of the second series of _The Biglow Papers_, appeared in his wonderful
poetic year, 1848.

He will, perhaps, be longest known to posterity for that remarkable series
of papers written in what he called the Yankee dialect and designed at
first to stop the extension of slavery and afterwards to suppress it. These
are called "Biglow Papers" because the chief author is represented to be
Hosea Biglow, a typical New England farmer. The immediate occasion of the
first series of these _Papers_ was the outbreak of the Mexican War in 1846.
Lowell said in after years, "I believed our war with Mexico to be
essentially a war of false pretences, and that it would result in widening
the boundaries and so prolonging the life of slavery." The second series of
these _Papers_, dealing with our Civil War, began to be published in the
_Atlantic Monthly_ in 1862. The poem lives to-day, however, not for its
censure of the war or for its attack on slavery, but for its expression of
the mid-nineteenth century New England ideals, hard common sense, and dry
humor. Where shall we turn for a more incisive statement of the Puritan's
attitude toward pleasure?

  "Pleasure doos make us Yankees kind o' winch,
   Ez though't wuz sunthin' paid for by the inch;
   But yit we du contrive to worry thru,
   Ef Dooty tells us thet the thing's to du,
   An' kerry a hollerday, ef we set out,
   Ez stiddily ez though't wuz a redoubt."

The homely New England common-sense philosophy is in evidence throughout
the _Papers_. We frequently meet, such expressions as:--

  "I like the plain all wool o' common-sense
   Thet warms ye now, an' will a twelve-month hence."

  "Now's the only bird lays eggs o' gold."

  "Democracy gives every man
   The right to be his own oppressor."

  "But Chance is like an amberill,--it don't take twice to lose it."

  "An' you've gut to git up airly,
   Ef you want to take in God."

In the second series of the _Papers_, there is one of Lowell's best lyrics,
_The Courtin'_. It would be difficult to find another poem which gives
within the compass of four lines a better characterization of many a New
England maiden:--

  "... she was jes' the quiet kind
     Whose naturs never vary,
   Like streams that keep a summer mind,
     Snowhid in Jenooary."

This series contains some of Lowell's best nature poetry. We catch rare
glimpses of

  "Moonshine an' snow on field an' hill
   All silence an' all glisten,"

and we actually see a belated spring

  "Toss the fields full o' blossoms, leaves, an' birds."

_The Vision of Sir Launfal_ has been the most widely read of Lowell's
poems. This is the _vision_ of a search for the Holy Grail. Lowell in a
letter to a friend called the poem "a sort of story and more likely to be
popular than what I write about generally." But the best part of the poem
is to be found in the apotheosis of the New England June, in the _Prelude
to Part I.:_--

  "And what is so rare as a day in June?
     Then, if ever, come perfect days;
   Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,
     And over it softly her warm ear lays."

The poem teaches a noble lesson of sympathy with suffering:--

  "Not what we give, but what we share,--
   For the gift without the giver is bare;
   Who gives himself with his alms feeds three,--
   Himself, his hungering neighbor, and Me."

Lowell said that he "scrawled at full gallop" _A Fable for Critics_, which
is a humorous poem of about two thousand long lines, presenting an
unusually excellent criticism of his contemporary authors. In this most
difficult type of criticism, Lowell was not infallible; but a comparison of
his criticisms with the verdicts generally accepted to-day will show his
unusual ability in this field. Not a few of these criticisms remain the
best of their kind, and they serve to focus many of the characteristics of
the authors of the first half of the nineteenth century. It will benefit
all writers, present and prospective, to read this criticism on Bryant:--

  "He is almost the one of your poets that knows
   How much grace, strength, and dignity lie in Repose;
   If he sometimes fall short, he is too wise to mar
   His thought's modest fulness by going too far;
   'Twould be well if your authors should all make a trial
   Of what virtue there is in severe self-denial,
   And measure their writings by Hesiod's staff,
   Who teaches that all has less value than half."

Especially humorous are those lines which give a recipe for the making of a
Washington Irving and those which describe the idealistic philosophy of

  "In whose mind all creation is duly respected
   As parts of himself--just a little projected."

Prose.--Lowell's literary essays entitle him to rank as a great American
critic. The chief of these are to be found gathered in three volumes:
_Among My Books_ (1870), _My Study Windows_ (1871), _Among My Books_,
_Second Series_ (1876). These volumes as originally issued contain 1140
pages. If we should wish to persuade a group of moderately intelligent
persons to read less fiction and more solid literature, it is doubtful if
we could accomplish our purpose more easily than by inducing them to dip
into some of these essays. Lowell had tested many of them on his college
students, and he had noted what served to kindle interest and to produce
results. We may recommend five of his greater literary essays, which would
give a vivid idea of the development of English poetry from Chaucer to the
death of Pope. These five are: _Chaucer_, in _My Study Windows; Spenser_,
in _Among My Books, Second Series; Shakespeare Once More_, and _Dryden_, in
_Among My Books, First Series_; and _Pope_, in _My Study Windows_. If we
add to these the short addresses on _Wordsworth_ and _Coleridge_, delivered
in England, and printed in the volume _Democracy and Other Addresses_
(1886), we shall have the incentive to continue the study of poetry into
the nineteenth century.

Lowell's criticism provokes thought. It will not submit to a passive
reading. It expresses truth in unique and striking ways. Speaking of the
French and Italian sources on which Chaucer drew, Lowell says:--

  "Should a man discover the art of transmuting metals, and present us with
  a lump of gold as large as an ostrich egg, would it be in human nature to
  inquire too nicely whether he had stolen the lead? ...

  "Chaucer, like Shakespeare, invented almost nothing. Wherever he found
  anything directed to Geoffrey Chaucer, he took it and made the most of

  "Sometimes he describes amply by the merest hint, as where the Friar,
  before setting himself softly down, drives away the cat. We know without
  need of more words that he has chosen the snuggest corner."

Lowell usually makes the laziest readers do a little pleasant thinking. It
is common for even inert students to investigate his meaning; for instance,
in his statements that in the age of Pope "everybody ceremoniously took a
bushel basket to bring a wren's egg to market in," and that everybody
"called everything something else."

The high ideals and sterling common sense of Lowell's political prose
deserve special mention. In _Democracy_ (1886), which should be read by
every citizen, Lowell shows that old age had not shattered his faith in
ideals. "I believe," he said, "that the real will never find an irremovable
basis until it rests on the ideal." Voters and lawmakers are to-day
beginning to realize that they will go far to find in the same compass a
greater amount of common sense than is contained in these words:--

  "It is only when the reasonable and the practicable are denied that men
  demand the unreasonable and impracticable; only when the possible is made
  difficult that they fancy the impossible to be easy. Fairy tales are made
  out of the dreams of the poor." [Footnote: _Democracy and Other
  Addresses_, p. 15.]

General Characteristics.--Lowell has written verse which shows sympathetic
treatment of nature. His lines _To the Dandelion_:--

   "Dear common flower, that grow'st beside the way,
  Fringing the dusty road with harmless gold,
    First pledge of blithesome May
  Which children pluck, and full of pride uphold
       *       *       *       *       *
                        ... thou art more dear to me
    Than all the prouder summer-blooms may be,"

show rare genuineness of feeling. No one not enthusiastic about nature
would ever have heard her calling to him:--

  "To mix his blood with sunshine, and to take
   The winds into his pulses."

He invites us in March to watch:--

  "The bluebird, shifting his light load of song
   From post to post along the cheerless fence,"

and in June to lie under the willows and rejoice with

  "The thin-winged swallow, skating on the air."

Another pronounced characteristic which he has in common with the New
England group is nobility of ideals. His poem entitled _For an Autograph_,
voices in one line the settled conviction of his life:--

  "Not failure, but low aim, is crime."

He is America's greatest humorist in verse. _The Biglow Papers_ and _A
Fable for Critics_ are ample justification for such an estimate.

As Lowell grew older, his poetry, dominated too much by his acute
intellect, became more and more abstract. In _Under the Old Elm_, for
example, he speaks of Washington as:--

  "The equestrian shape with unimpassioned brow
  That paces silent on through vistas of acclaim."

It is possible to read fifty consecutive lines of his _Commemoration Ode_
without finding any but abstract or general terms, which are rarely the
warp and woof out of which the best poetry is spun. This criticism explains
why repeated readings of some of his poems leave so little impression on
the mind. Some of the poetry of his later life is, however, concrete and
sensuous, as the following lines from his poem _Agassiz_ (1874) show:--

  "To lie in buttercups and clover-bloom,
     Tenants in common with the bees,
     And watch the white clouds drift through gulfs of trees,
   Is better than long waiting in the tomb."

In prose literary criticism, he keeps his place with Poe at the head of
American writers. Lowell's sentences are usually simple in form and easily
understood; they are frequently enlivened by illuminating figures of
rhetoric and by humor, or rendered impressive by the striking way in which
they express thought, _e.g._ "The foolish and the dead alone never change
their opinion." A pun, digression, or out-of-the-way allusion may
occasionally provoke readers, but onlookers have frequently noticed that
few wrinkle their brows while reading his critical essays, and that a
pleased expression, such as photographers like, is almost certain to
appear. He has the rare faculty of making his readers think hard enough for
agreeable exercise, and yet he spares them undue fatigue and rarely takes
them among miry bogs or through sandy deserts.

Lowell's versatility is a striking characteristic. He was a poet, reformer,
college professor, editor, literary critic, diplomatist, speaker, and
writer on political subjects. We feel that he sometimes narrowly escaped
being a genius, and that he might have crossed the boundary line into
genius-land, if he had confined his attention to one department of
literature and had been willing to write at less breakneck speed, taking
time and thought to prune, revise, and suppress more of his productions.
Not a few, however, think that Lowell, in spite of his defects, has left
the impress of genius on some of his work. When his sonnet, _Our Love is
not a Fading Earthly Flower_, was read to a cultured group, some who did
not recognize the authorship of the verses thought that they were



LIFE.--The year 1809 was prolific in the birth of great men, producing
Holmes, Poe, Lincoln, Tennyson, and Darwin. Holmes was descended from Anne
Bradstreet, New England's "Tenth Muse" (p. 39) His father was a
Congregational clergyman, preaching at Cambridge when Oliver was born. The
family was in comfortable circumstances, and the boy was reared in a
cultured atmosphere. In middle age Holmes wrote, "I like books,--I was born
and bred among them, and have the easy feeling, when I get into their
presence, that a stable boy has among horses."

He graduated from Harvard in the famous class of 1829, for which he
afterward wrote many anniversary poems. He went to Paris to study medicine,
a science that held his interest through life. For thirty-five years he was
professor of anatomy in the Harvard Medical School, where he was the only
member of the faculty who could at the end of the day take the class,
fagged and wearied, and by his wit, stories, and lively illustrations both
instruct and interest the students.

His announcement, "small fevers gratefully received," his humor in general,
and his poetry especially, did not aid him in securing patients. His
biographer says that Holmes learned at his cost as a doctor that the world
had made up its mind "that he who writes rhymes must not write
prescriptions, and he who makes jests should not escort people to their
graves." He later warned his students that if they would succeed in any one
calling they must not let the world find out that they were interested in
anything else. From his own point of view, he wrote:--

  "It's a vastly pleasing prospect, when you're screwing out a laugh,
   That your very next year's income is diminished by a half,
   And a little boy trips barefoot that your Pegasus may go,
   And the baby's milk is watered that your Helicon may flow."

He was driven, like Emerson and Lowell, to supplement his modest income by
what he called "lecture peddling." Although Holmes did not have the
platform presence of these two contemporaries, he had the power of reaching
his audiences and of quickly gaining their sympathy, so that he was very
popular and could always get engagements.

His scientific training made him intolerant of any philosophical or
religious creed which seemed to him to be based merely upon superstition or
tradition. He was thoroughly alert, open-minded, and liberal upon all such
questions. On subjects of politics, war, or the abolition of slavery, he
was, on the other hand, strongly conservative. He had the aristocratic
dread of change. He was distinctly the courtly gentleman, the gifted
talker, and the social, genial, refined companion.

[Illustration: HOLMES'S STUDY]

Holmes was a conscientious worker, but he characteristically treated his
mental processes in a joking way, and wrote to a friend: "I like nine
tenths of any matter I study, but I do not like to _lick the plate_. If I
did, I suppose I should be more of a man of science and find my brain tired
oftener than I do." Again he wrote, "my nature is to snatch at all the
fruits of knowledge and take a good bite out of the sunny side--after that
let in the pigs." Despite these statements, Holmes worked steadily every
year at his medical lectures. He was very particular about the exactness
and finish of all that he wrote, and he was neither careless nor slipshod
in anything. His life, while filled with steady, hard work, was a placid
one, full of love and friendships, and he passed into his eightieth year
with a young heart. He died in 1894, at the age of eighty-five, and was
buried in Mt. Auburn cemetery not far from Longfellow and Lowell.

POETRY.--In 1836 he published his first volume of verse. This contained his
first widely known poem, _Old Ironsides_, a successful plea for saving the
old battleship, _Constitution_, which had been ordered destroyed. With the
exception of this poem and _The Last Leaf_, the volume is remarkable for
little except the rollicking fun which we find in such favorites as _The
Ballad of the Oysterman_ and _My Aunt_. This type of humor is shown in this
simile from _The Ballad_:--

"Her hair drooped round her pallid cheeks, like seaweed on a clam," and in
his description of his aunt:--

  "Her waist is ampler than her life,
   For life is but a span."

He continued to write verses until his death. Among the last poems which he
wrote were memorials on the death of Lowell (1891) and Whittier (1892). As
we search the three volumes of his verse, we find few serious poems of a
high order. The best, and the one by which he himself wished to be
remembered, is The _Chambered Nautilus_. No member of the New England group
voiced higher ideals than we find in the noble closing stanza of this

  "Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
   As the swift seasons roll!
   Leave thy low-vaulted past!
   Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
   Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
   Till thou at length art free,
   Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!"

Probably _The Last Leaf_, which was such a favorite with Lincoln, would
rank second. This poem is remarkable for preserving the reader's
equilibrium between laughter and tears. Some lines from _The Voiceless_ are
not likely to be soon forgotten:--

  "A few can touch the magic string,
   And noisy Fame is proud to win them:--
   Alas for those that never sing,
   But die with all their music in them!"

He wrote no more serious poem than _Homesick in Heaven_, certain stanzas of
which appeal strongly to bereaved hearts. It is not easy to forget the song
of the spirits who have recently come from earth, of the mother who was
torn from her clinging babe, of the bride called away with the kiss of love
still burning on her cheek, of the daughter taken from her blind and
helpless father:--

   "Children of earth, our half-weaned nature clings
  To earth's fond memories, and her whispered name
    Untunes our quivering lips, our saddened strings;
  For there we loved, and where we love is home."

When Holmes went to Oxford in 1886, to receive an honorary degree, it is
probable that, as in the case of Irving, the Oxford boys in the gallery
voiced the popular verdict. As Holmes stepped on the platform, they called,
"Did he come in the One-Hoss Shay?" This humorous poem, first known as _The
Deacon's Masterpiece_, has been a universal favorite. _How the Old Hoss Won
the Bet_ tells with rollicking humor what the parson's nag did at a race.
_The Boys_, with its mingled humor and pathos, written for the thirtieth
reunion of his class, is one of the best of the many poems which he was so
frequently asked to compose for special celebrations. No other poet of his
time could equal him in furnishing to order clever, apt, humorous verses
for ever recurring occasions.

PROSE.--He was nearly fifty when he published his first famous prose work.
He had named the _Atlantic Monthly_, and Lowell had agreed to edit it only
on condition that Holmes would promise to be a contributor. In the first
number appeared _The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table._ Holmes had hit upon
a style that exactly suited his temperament, and had invented a new prose
form. His great conversational gift was now crystallized in these breakfast
table talks, which the Autocrat all but monopolizes. However, the other
characters at the table of this remarkable boarding house in Boston join in
often enough to keep up the interest in their opinions, feelings, and
relations to each other. The reader always wants to know the impression
that the Autocrat's fine talk makes upon "the young man whom they call
'John.'" John sometimes puts his feelings into action, as when the Autocrat
gives a typical illustration of his mixture of reasoning and humor, in
explaining that there are always six persons present when two people are


  "Three Johns.

    1. The real John; known only to his Maker.

    2. John's ideal John; never the real one, and often very unlike him.

    3. Thomas's ideal John; never the real John, nor John's John, but often
       very unlike either.

  "Three Thomases.

    1. The real Thomas.

    2. Thomas's ideal Thomas.

    3. John's ideal Thomas."

"A certain basket of peaches, a rare vegetable, little known to
boarding-houses, was on its way to me," says the Autocrat, "_via_ this
unlettered Johannes. He appropriated the three that remained in the basket,
remarking that there was just one apiece for him. I convinced him that his
practical inference was hasty and illogical, but in the meantime he had
eaten the peaches." When John enters the debates with his crushing logic of
facts, he never fails to make a ten strike.

A few years after the _Autocrat_ series had been closed, Holmes wrote _The
Professor at the Breakfast Table_; many years later _The Poet at the
Breakfast Table_ appeared; and in the evening of life, he brought out _Over
the Teacups_, in which he discoursed at the tea table in a similar vein,
but not in quite the same fresh, buoyant, humorous way in which the
Autocrat talked over his morning coffee. The decline in these books is
gradual, although it is barely perceptible in the _Professor_. The
_Autocrat_ is, however, the brightest, crispest, and most vigorous of the
series, while _Over the Teacups_ is the calmest, as well as the soberest
and most leisurely.

Holmes wrote three novels, _Elsie Venner_, _The Guardian Angel_, and _The
Mortal Antipathy_, which have been called "medicated novels" because his
medical knowledge is so apparent in them. These books also have a moral
purpose, each in turn considering the question whether an individual is
responsible for his acts. The first two of these novels are the strongest,
and hold the attention to the end because of the interest aroused by the
characters and by the descriptive scenes.

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.--Humor is the most characteristic quality of
Holmes's writings. He indeed is the only member of the New England group
who often wrote with the sole object of entertaining readers. Lowell also
was a humorist, but he employed humor either in the cause of reform, as in
The _Biglow Papers_, or in the field of knowledge, in endeavoring to make
his literary criticisms more expressive and more certain to impress the
mind of his readers.

Whenever Holmes wrote to entertain, he did not aim to be deep or to
exercise the thinking powers of his readers. Much of his work skims the
surface of things in an amusing and delightful way. Yet he was too much of
a New Englander not to write some things in both poetry and prose with a
deeper purpose than mere entertainment. _The Chambered Nautilus_, for
instance, was so written, as were all of his novels. His genial humor is
thus frequently blended with unlooked-for wisdom or pathos.

Whittier has been called provincial because he takes only the point of view
of New England. The province of Holmes is still narrower, being mainly
confined to Boston. He expresses in a humorous way his own feelings, as
well as those of his fellow townsmen, when he says in _The Autocrat of the
Breakfast Table:_--

  "Boston State House is the hub of the solar system. You couldn't pry that
  out of a Boston man if you had the tire of all creation straightened out
  for a crowbar."

Like Irving, Holmes was fond of eighteenth-century English writers, and
much of his verse is modeled after the couplets of Pope. Holmes writes
fluid and rippling prose, without a trace of effort. His meaning is never
left to conjecture, but is stated in pure, exact English. He not only
expresses his ideas perfectly, but he seems to achieve this result without
premeditation. This apparent artlessness is a great charm. He has left
America a new form of prose, which bears the stamp of pure literature, and
which is distinguished not so much for philosophy and depth as for grace,
versatility, refined humor, bright intellectual flashes, and artistic


Three natives of Massachusetts and graduates of Harvard, William H.
Prescott, John Lothrop Motley, and Francis Parkman, wrote history in such a
way as to entitle it to be mentioned in our literature. We cannot class as
literature those historical writings which are not enlivened with
imagination, invested with at least an occasional poetic touch, and
expressed in rare style. Unfortunately the very qualities that render
history attractive as literature often tend to raise doubts about the
scientific method and accuracy of the historian. For this reason few
histories keep for a great length of time a place in literature, unless,
like Irving's _Knickerbocker's History of New York_, they aim to give
merely an imaginative interpretation of a past epoch. They may then, like
Homer's _Iliad_, Shakespeare's _Macbeth_, and some of Irving's and Cooper's
work, be, in Celtic phrase, "more historical than history itself." History
of this latter type lives, and is a treasure in the literature of any

WILLIAM H. PRESCOTT (1796-1859).--Like Washington Irving, Prescott was
attracted by the romantic achievements of Spain during the years of her
brilliant successes, and he wrote four histories upon Spanish subjects: a
_History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella_ (1837), a _History of the
Conquest of Mexico_ (1843), a _History of the Conquest of Peru_ (1847), and
a _History of the Reign of Philip II_. (1855-1858), the last of which he
did not live to complete.

He was a careful, painstaking student. He learned the Spanish language, had
copies made of all available manuscripts and records in Europe, and closely
compared contemporary accounts so as to be certain of the accuracy of his
facts. Then he presented them in an attractive form. His _Ferdinand and
Isabella_ and the part he finished of _Philip II_. are accurate and
authoritative to-day because the materials which he found for them are
true. The two histories on the Spanish conquests in the New World are not
absolutely correct in all their descriptions of the Aztecs and Incas before
the arrival of the Spaniards. This is due to no carelessness on Prescott's
part, but to the highly colored accounts upon which he had to depend for
his facts, and to the lack of the archaeological surveys which have since
been carried on in Mexico and Peru. These two histories of the daring
exploits of a handful of adventurers in hostile lands are as thrilling and
interesting as novels. We seem to be reading a tale from the _Arabian
Nights_, as we follow Pizarro and see his capture of the Peruvian monarch
in the very sight of his own army, and view the rich spoils in gold and
silver and precious stones which were carried back to Spain. In relating
the conquest of Mexico by Cortez, Prescott writes the history of still more
daring adventures. His narrative is full of color, and he presents facts

JOHN LOTHROP MOTLEY (1814-1877).--As naturally as the love of adventure
sent Prescott to the daring exploits of the Spanish feats of arms, so the
inborn zeal for civil and religious liberty and hatred of oppression led
Motley to turn to the sturdy, patriotic Dutch in their successful struggle
against the enslaving power of Spain. His histories are _The Rise of the
Dutch Republic_ (1856), _The History of the United Netherlands_
(1860-1868), _The Life and Death of John of Barneveld_, _Advocate of
Holland_ (1874).


The difference in temperament between Prescott and Motley is seen in the
manner of presenting the character of Philip II. In so far as Prescott drew
the picture of Philip II., it is traced with a mild, cool hand. Philip is
shown as a tyrant, but he is impelled to his tyranny by motives of
conscience. In Motley's _The Rise of the Dutch Republic_, this oppressor is
an accursed scourge of a loyal people, the enemy of progress, of liberty,
and of justice. Motley's feelings make his pages burn and flash with fiery
denunciation, as well as with exalted praise.

_The Rise of the Dutch Republic_ is the recital of as heroic a struggle as
a small but determined nation ever made against tremendous odds. Amid the
swarm of men that crowd the pages of this work, William the Silent, of
Orange, the central figure, stands every inch a hero, a leader worthy of
his cause and of his people. Motley with an artist's skill shows how this
great leader launched Holland on her victorious career. This history is a
living story, faithful to facts, but it is written to convince the reader
that "freedom of thought, of speech, and of life" are "blessings without
which everything that this earth can afford is worthless."

In choosing to write of the struggle of Holland for her freedom, Motley was
actuated by the same reason that prompted his forefathers to fight on
Bunker Hill. He wanted to play at least a historian's part in presenting
"the great spectacle which was to prove to Europe that principles and
peoples still existed, and that a phlegmatic nation of merchants and
manufacturers could defy the powers of the universe, and risk all their
blood and treasure, generation after generation, in a sacred cause."

_The History of the United Netherlands_ continues this story after Holland,
free and united, proved herself a power that could no longer remain
unheeded in Europe. _The Life and Death of John of Barneveld_, which brings
the history of Holland down to about 1623, was planned as an introduction
to a final history of that great religious and political conflict, called
the Thirty Years' War,--a history which Motley did not live to finish.

Although no historian has spent more time than Motley in searching the
musty records and state archives of foreign lands for matter relating to
Holland, it was impossible for a man of his temperament, convictions, and
purpose to write a calm, dispassionate history. He is not the cool judge,
but the earnest advocate, and yet he does not distort facts. He is just and
can be coldly critical, even of his heroes, but he is always on one side,
the side of liberty and justice, pleading their cause. His temperament
gives warmth, eloquence, and dramatic passion to his style. Individual
incidents and characters stand forth sharply defined. His subject seems
remarkably well suited to him because his love of liberty was a sacred
passion. With this feeling to fire his blood, the unflinching Hollander to
furnish the story, and his eloquent style to present it worthily, Motley's
_Rise of the Dutch Republic_ is a prose epic of Dutch liberty.

Francis Parkman (1823-1893)--The youngest and greatest of this group of
historians was born of Puritan blood in Boston in 1823. Parkman's life from
early childhood was a preparation for his future work, and when a mere lad
at college, he had decided to write a history of the French and Indian War.
He was a delicate child, and at the age of eight was sent to live with his
grandfather, who owned at Medway, near Boston, a vast tract of woodland.
The boy roamed at will through these forests, and began to amass that wood
lore of which his histories hold such rich stores. At Harvard he overworked
in the gymnasium with the mistaken purpose of strengthening himself for a
life on the frontier.

In 1846, two years after graduation, he took his famous trip out west over
the Oregon Trail, where he hunted buffalo on the plains, dragged his horse
through the canyons to escape hostile Indians, lived in the camp of the
warlike Dacota tribe, and learned by bitter experience the privations of
primitive life.

His health was permanently impaired by the trip. He was threatened with
absolute blindness, and was compelled to have all his notes read to him and
to dictate his histories. For years he was forbidden literary work on
account of insomnia and intense cerebral pain which threatened insanity,
and on account of lameness he was long confined to a wheel chair. He rose
above every obstacle, however, and with silent fortitude bore his
sufferings, working whenever he could, if for only a bare half hour at a

His amazing activity during his trips, both in America and abroad, is shown
in the Massachusetts Historical Society Library, which contains almost two
hundred folio volumes, which he had experts copy from original sources.
With few exceptions, he visited every spot which he described, and saw the
life of nearly every tribe of Indians. His battle with ill health, his
strength of character, and his energetic first-hand study of Indian and
pioneer life are remarkable in the history of American men of letters. He
died near Boston in 1893.

[Illustration: FRANCIS PARKMAN]

Because of their subject matter, Parkman's works are of unusual interest to
Americans. When he returned from his pioneer western trip, he wrote a
simple, straightforward account, which was in 1849 published in book form,
under the title of _The California and Oregon Trail._ This book remains the
most trustworthy, as well as the most entertaining, account of travel in
the unsettled Northwest of that time. Indians, big game, and adventures
enough to satisfy any reasonable boy may be found in this book.

His histories cover the period from the early French settlements in the New
World to the victory of the English over the French and Indian allies. The
titles of his separate works, given in their chronological order, are as
follows :--

_The Pioneers of France in the New World_ (1865) describes the experiences
of the early French sailors and explorers off the Newfoundland coast and
along the St. Lawrence River.

_The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century_ (1867) tells of
the work of the self-forgetting Jesuit Fathers in their mission of mercy
and conversion among the Indians. Fifty pages of the _Introduction_ give an
account of the religion, festivities, superstitions, burials, sacrifices,
and military organization of the Indians.

_La Salle, or the Discovery of the Great West_ (1869), is the story of La
Salle's heroic endeavors and sufferings while exploring the West and the
Mississippi River.

_The Old Regime in Canada_ (1874) presents the internal conflicts and the
social development of Canada in the seventeenth century.

_Count Frontenac and New France under Louis XIV_. (1877) continues the
history of Canada as a French dependency, and paints in a lively manner
Count Frontenac's character, his popularity with the Indians, and his
methods of winning laurels for France.

_A Half Century of Conflict_ (1892) depicts the sharp encounter between the
French and English for the possession of the country, and the terrible
deeds of the Indians against their hated foes, the English.

_Montcalm and Wolfe_ (1884) paints the final scenes of the struggle between
France and England, closing practically with the fall of Quebec.

_The History of the Conspiracy of Pontiac_ (1851) shows one more desperate
attempt of a great Indian chief to combine the tribes of his people and
drive out the English. The volume closes with the general smoking of the
pipe of peace and the swearing of allegiance to England. The first
forty-five pages describe the manners and customs of the Indian tribes east
of the Mississippi.

The general title, _France and England in North America_, indicates the
subject matter of all this historical work. The central theme of the whole
series is the struggle between the French and English for this great
American continent. The trackless forests, the Great Lakes, the untenanted
shores of the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi form an impressive
background for the actors in this drama,--the Indians, traders,
self-sacrificing priests, and the French and English contending for one of
the greatest prizes of the world.

In his manner of presenting the different ideals and civilizations of
England and France in this struggle, he shows keen analytical power and
strong philosophical grasp. He is accurate in his details, and he
summarizes the results of economic and religious forces in the strictly
modern spirit. At the same time, these histories read like novels of
adventure, so vivid and lively is the action. While scholars commend his
reliability in dealing with facts, boys enjoy his vivid stories of heroism,
sacrifice, religious enthusiasm, Indian craft, and military maneuvering.
The one who begins with _The Conspiracy of Pontiac_, for instance, will be
inclined to read more of Parkman.

In the first volumes the style is clear, nervous, and a trifle ornate. His
facility in expression increased with his years, so that in _Montcalm and
Wolfe_ he has a mellowness and dignity that place him beside the best
American prose writers. Although Prescott's work is more full of color, he
does not surpass Parkman in the presentation of graphic pictures, Parkman
has neither the solemn grandeur of Prescott nor the rapid eloquence of
Motley, but Parkman has unique merits of his own,--the freshness of the
pine woods, the reality and vividness of an eyewitness, an elemental
strength inherent in the primitive nature of his novel subject. He secured
his material at first hand in a way that cannot be repeated. Parkman's
prose presents in a simple, lucid, but vigorous manner the story of the
overthrow of the French by the English in the struggle for a mighty
continent. As a result of this contest, Puritan England left its lasting
impress upon this new land.


Most of the work of the great New England group of writers was done during
the Victorian age--a time prolific of famous English authors. The greatest
of the English writers were THOMAS CARLYLE (1795-1881), whose _Sartor
Resartus_ and _Heroes and Hero Worship_ proved a stimulus to Emerson and to
many other Americans; LORD MACAULAY (1800-1859), whose _Essays_ and
_History of England_, remarkable for their clearness and interest, affected
either directly or indirectly the prose style of numberless writers in the
second half of the nineteenth century; JOHN RUSKIN (1819-1900), the apostle
of the beautiful and of more ideal social relations; MATTHEW ARNOLD
(1822-1888), the great analytical critic; CHARLES DICKENS (1812-1870),
whose novels of the lower class of English life are remarkable for vigor,
optimism, humor, the power to caricature, and to charm the masses; WILLIAM
MAKEPEACE THACKERAY (1811-1863), whose novels, like _Vanity Fair_, remain
unsurpassed for keen satiric analysis of the upper classes; and GEORGE
ELIOT (1819-1880), whose realistic stories of middle class life show a new
art in tracing the growth and development of character instead of merely
presenting it with the fixity of a portrait. To this list should be added
CHARLES DARWIN (1809-1882), whose _Origin of Species_ (1859) affected so
much of the thought of the second half of the nineteenth century.

The two greatest poets of this time were ALFRED TENNYSON (1809-1892) and
ROBERT BROWNING (1812-1889). Browning's greatest poetry aims to show the
complex development of human souls, to make us understand that:--

  "He fixed thee 'mid this dance
   Of plastic circumstance."

[Footnote: _Rabbi Ben Ezra_.]

His influence on the American poets of this group was very slight.
Whittier's comment on Browning's _Men and Women_ is amusing:--

  "I have only dipped into it, here and there, but it is not exactly
  comfortable reading. It seemed to me like a galvanic battery in full
  play--its spasmodic utterances and intense passion make me feel as if I
  had been taking a bath among electric eels."

Tennyson through his artistic workmanship and poetry of nature exerted more
influence. His Arthurian legends, especially _Sir Galahad_ (1842), seem to
have suggested Lowell's _Vision of Sir Launfal_ (1848). The New England
poets in general looked back to Burns, Wordsworth, Keats, and other members
of the romantic school of poets. Lowell was a great admirer of Keats, and
in early life, like Whittier, was an imitator of Burns.


As might be inferred from the literature of this period--from Whittier's
early poems, Mrs. Stowe's _Uncle Tom's Cabin_, Lowell's _The Biglow
Papers_, and from emphatic statements in Emerson and Thoreau--the question
of slavery was the most vital one of the time. From 1849, when California,
recently settled by gold seekers, applied for admission as a state, with a
constitution forbidding slavery, until the end of the Civil War in 1865,
slavery was the irrepressible issue of the republic. The Fugitive Slave
Law, which was passed in 1850 to secure the return of slaves from any part
of the United States, was very unpopular at the North and did much to
hasten the war, as did also the decision of the United States Supreme Court
in the Dred Scott case (1857), affirming that slaves were property, not
persons, and could be moved the same as cattle from one state to another.
Various compromise measures between the North and the South were vainly
tried. When Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860, South Carolina
led the South in seceding from the Union. In 1861 began the Civil War,
which lasted four years and resulted in the restoration of the Union and
the freeing of the slaves.

Before Holmes, the last member of this New England group, died in 1894,
both North and South had more than regained the material prosperity which
they had enjoyed before the war. The natural resources of the country were
so great and the energy of her sons so remarkable that not only was the
waste of property soon repaired, but a degree of prosperity was reached
which would probably never have been possible without the war. More than
one million human beings perished in the strife. Many of these were from
the more cultured and intellectual classes on both sides. Centuries will
not repair that waste of creative ability in either section. France, after
the lapse of more than two hundred years, is still suffering from the loss
of her Huguenots. It is impossible to compute what American literature has
lost as a result of this war, not only from the double waste involved in
turning the energies of men to destruction and subsequently to the
necessary repairs, but also from the sacrifice of life of those who might
have displayed genius with the pen or furnished an encouraging audience to
the gifted ones who did not speak because there were none to hear.

The development of inventions during this period revolutionized the world's
progress. Cities in various parts of the country had begun to communicate
with each other by electricity, when Thoreau was living at Walden; when
Emerson was writing the second series of his _Essays_; Longfellow, his
lines about cares "folding their tents like the Arabs and as silently
stealing away"; Lowell, his verses _To the Dandelion_; and Holmes, his
complaint that his humor was diminishing his practice. By the time that
Longfellow had finished _The Courtship of Miles Standish_, and Holmes _The
Autocrat of the Breakfast Table_, messages had been cabled across the
Atlantic. A comparison with an event of the preceding period will show the
importance of this method of communication. The treaty of peace to end the
last war with England was signed in Belgium, December 24, 1814. On January
8, 1815, the bloody battle of New Orleans was fought. News of this fight
did not reach Washington until February 4. A week later information of the
treaty of peace was received at New York. A new process of welding the
world together had begun, and this welding was further strengthened by the
invention of that modern miracle, the telephone, in 1876.

The result of the battle between the ironclads, the _Monitor_ and the
_Merrimac_ (1862), led to a change in the navies of the entire world.
Alaska was bought in 1867, and added an area more than two thirds as large
as the United States comprised in 1783. The improvement and extension of
education, the interest in social reform, the beginning of the decline of
the "let alone doctrine," the shortening of the hours of labor, and the
consequent increase in time for self-improvement,--are all especially
important steps of progress in this period.

Authors could no longer complain of small audiences. At the outbreak of the
Civil War the United States had a population of thirty-one millions, while
the combined population of Great Britain and Ireland was then only
twenty-nine millions. Before Holmes passed away in 1894 the population of
1860 had doubled. The passage of an international copyright law in 1891 at
last freed American authors from the necessity of competing with pirated
editions of foreign works.


The great mid-nineteenth century group of New England writers included
Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, who were often called the Concord group, and
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Daniel Webster, Longfellow, Whittier, Lowell,
Holmes, and the historians, Prescott, Motley, and Parkman.

The causes of this great literary awakening were in some measure akin to
those which produced the Elizabethan age,--a "re-formation" of religious
opinion and a renaissance, seen in a broader culture which did not neglect
poetry, music, art, and the observation of beautiful things.

The philosophy known as transcendentalism left its impress on much of
the work of this age. The transcendentalists believed that human mind
could "transcend" or pass beyond experience and form a conclusion which
was not based on the world of sense. They were intense idealists and
individualists, who despised imitation and repetition, who were full of
the ecstasy of discoveries in a glorious new world, who entered into a
new companionship with nature, and who voiced in ways as different as
_The Dial_ and Brook Farm their desire for an opportunity to live in all
the faculties of the soul.

The fact that the thought of the age was specially modified by the question
of slavery is shown in Webster's orations, Harriet Beecher Stowe's _Uncle
Tom's Cabin_, the poetry of Whittier and Lowell, and to a less degree in
the work of Emerson, Thoreau, and Longfellow.

We have found that Emerson's aim, shown in his _Essays_ and all his prose
work, is the moral development of the individual, the acquisition of
self-reliance, character, spirituality. Some of his nature poetry ranks
with the best produced in America. Thoreau, the poet-naturalist, shows how
to find enchantment in the world of nature. Nathaniel Hawthorne, one of the
great romance writers of the world, has given the Puritan almost as great a
place in literature as in history. In his short stories and romances, this
great artist paints little except the trial and moral development of human
souls in a world where the Ten Commandments are supreme.

Longfellow taught the English-speaking world to love simple poetry. He
mastered the difficult art of making the commonplace seem attractive and of
speaking to the great common heart. His ability to tell in verse stories
like _Evangeline_ and _Hiawatha_ remains unsurpassed among our singers.
Whittier was the great antislavery poet of the North. Like Longfellow, he
spoke simply but more intensely to that overwhelming majority whose lives
stand most in need of poetry. His _Snow-Bound_ makes us feel the moral
greatness of simple New England life. The versatile Lowell has written
exquisite nature poetry in his lyrics and _Vision of Sir Launfal_ and _The
Biglow Papers_. He has produced America's best humorous verse in _The
Biglow Papers_ and _A Fable for Critics_. He is a great critic, and his
prose criticism in _Among My Books_ and the related volumes is stimulating
and interesting. His political prose, of which the best specimen is
_Democracy_, is remarkable for its high ideals. Holmes is especially
distinguished for his humor in such poems as _The Deacon's Masterpiece, or
the Wonderful One-Hoss Shay_ and for the pleasant philosophy and humor in
such artistic prose as _The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table_. He is the
only member of this group who often wrote merely to entertain, but his
_Chambered Nautilus_ shows that he also had a more serious aim.

When we come to the historians, we find that Prescott wrote of the romantic
achievements of Spain in the days of her glory; Motley, of the struggles of
the Dutch Republic to keep religious and civil liberty from disappearing
from this earth; Parkman, of the contest of the English against the French
and Indians to decide whether the institutions and literature of North
America should be French or English.

This New England literature is most remarkable for its moral quality, its
gospel of self-reliance, its high ideals, its call to the soul to build
itself more stately mansions.



For contemporary English history consult the histories mentioned on p. 60.
The chapter on Victorian literature in the author's _History of English
Literature_ gives the trend of literary movements on the other side of the
Atlantic during this period.

Contemporary American history may be traced in the general works listed on
p. 61, or in Woodrow Wilson's _Division and Reunion_.



In addition to the works of Richardson, Wendell, and Trent (p. 61), the
following may be consulted:--

Nichol's _American Literature_.

Churton Collins's _The Poets and Poetry of America_.

Vincent's _American Literary Masters_.

Stedman's _Poets of America_.

Onderdonk's _History of American Verse_.

Lawton's _The New England Poets_.

Erskine's _Leading American Novelists_. (Mrs. Stowe, Hawthorne.)

Brownell's _American Prose Masters_. (Especially Emerson and Lowell.)

Howells's _Literary Friends and Acquaintance_. (Longfellow, Lowell,


Frothingham's _Transcendentalism in New England_.

Dowden's _Studies in Literature_. (Transcendentalism.)

Swift's _Brook Farm_.

Fields's _The Life and Letters of Harriet Beecher Stowe_.

Lodge's _Daniel Webster_.

Woodberry's _Ralph Waldo Emerson_.

Holmes's _Ralph Waldo Emerson_.

Garnett's _Life of Ralph Waldo Emerson_.

Sanborn's _Ralph Waldo Emerson_.

Cabot's _A Memoir of Ralph Waldo Emerson_, 2 vols.

E. W. Emerson's _Emerson in Concord_.

Lowell's _Emerson the Lecturer_, in _Works_, Vol. I.

Woodbury's _Talks with Ralph Waldo Emerson_.

Sanborn's _Henry David Thoreau_.

Salt's _Life of Henry David Thoreau_.

Channing's _Thoreau, The Poet Naturalist_.

Marble's _Thoreau_, _His Home_, _Friends_, and _Books_.

James Russell Lowell's _Thoreau_, in _Works_, Vol. I.

Burroughs's _Indoor Studies_, Chap. 1., _Henry D. Thoreau_.

Woodberry's _Nathaniel Hawthorne_.

Henry James's _Hawthorne_.

Conway's _Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne_.

Fields's _Nathaniel Hawthorne_.

Julian Hawthorne's _Nathaniel Hawthorne and his Wife_.

George Parsons Lathrop's _A Study of Hawthorne_.

Bridge's _Personal Recollections of Nathaniel Hawthorne_.

Rose Hawthorne Lathrop's _Memories of Hawthorne_.

Julian Hawthorne's _Hawthorne and his Circle_.

Gates's _Studies and Appreciations_. (Hawthorne.)

Canby's _The Short Story in English_, Chap. XII. (Hawthorne.)

Samuel Longfellow's _Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow with Extracts from
his Journals and Correspondence_, 3 vols.

Higginson's _Henry Wadsworth Longfellow_.

Carpenter's _Henry Wadsworth Longfellow_.

Robertson's _Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow_.

Carpenter's _John Greenleaf Whittier_.

Higginson's _John Greenleaf Whittier_.

Perry's _John Greenleaf Whittier_.

Pickard's _Life and Letters of John Greenleaf Whittier_, 2 vols.

Pickard's _Whittier-Land_.

Greenslet's _James Russell Lowell, his Life and Work_.

Hale's _James Russell Lowell_. (_Beacon Biographies_.)

Scudder's _James Russell Lowell, A Biography_, 2 vols.

Hale's _James Russell Lowell and his Friends_.

James Russell Lowell's _Letters_, edited by Charles Eliot Norton.

Morse's _Life and Letters of Oliver Wendell Holmes_, 2 vols.

Haweis's _American Humorists_.

Ticknor's _Life of William Hickling Prescott_.

Ogden's _William Hickling Prescott_.

Peck's _William Hickling Prescott_.

Holmes's _John Lothrop Motley, A Memoir_.

Curtis's _The Correspondence of John Lothrop Motley_.

Sedgwick's _Francis Parkman_.

Farnham's _A Life of Francis Parkman_.


Since the works of the authors of the New England group are nearly always
accessible, it is not usually necessary to specify editions or the exact
place where the readings may be found. Those who prefer to use books of
selections will find that Page's _The Chief American Poets_, 713 pp.,
contains nearly all of the poems recommended for reading. Prose selections
may be found in Carpenter's _American Prose_, and still more extended
selections in Stedman and Hutchinson's _Library of American Literature_.

TRANSCENDENTALISM AND THE DIAL.--Read Emerson's lecture on _The
Transcendentalist_, published in the volume called _Nature, Addresses,
and Lectures_. _The Dial_ is very rare and difficult to obtain outside
of a large library. George Willis Cooke has collected in one volume
under the title, _The Poets of Transcendentalism, An Anthology_ (1903),
341 pp., some of the best of the poems published in _The Dial_, as well
as much transcendental verse that appeared elsewhere.

SLAVERY AND ORATORY.--Selections from _Uncle Tom's Cabin_ may be found in
Carpenter, 312-322; S. & H., VII., 132-144. Webster's _Reply to Hayne_ is
given in Johnston's _American Orations_, Vol. I., 248-302. There are
excellent selections from Webster in Carpenter, 105-118, and S. & H., IV.,
462-469. Selections from the other orators mentioned may be found in
Johnston and S. & H.

EMERSON.--Read from the volume, _Nature, Addresses, and Lectures_, the
chapters called _Nature_, _Beauty_, _Idealism_, and the "literary
declaration of independence" in his lecture, _The American Scholar_. From
the various other volumes of his _Essays_, read _Self-Reliance_,
_Friendship_, _Character_, _Civilization_.

From his nature poetry, read _To Ellen at the South_, _The Rhodora_, _Each
and All_, _The Humble-Bee_, _Woodnotes_, _The Snow-Storm_. For a poetical
exposition of his philosophy, read _The Problem_, _The Sphinx_, and

THOREAU.--If possible, read all of _Walden_; if not, Chaps. I., _Economy_,
IV., _Sounds_, and XV., _Winter Animals_ (Riverside Literature Series).
From the volume called _Excursions_, read the essay _Wild Apples_. Many
will be interested to read here and there from his _Notes on New England
Birds_ and from the four volumes, compiled from his _Journal_, describing
the seasons.

HAWTHORNE.--At least one of each of the different types of his short
stories should be read. His power in impressing allegorical or symbolic
truth may be seen in _The Snow Image_ or _The Great Stone Face_. As a
specimen of his New England historical tales, read one or more of the
following: _The Gentle Boy_, _The Maypole of Merry Mount_, _Lady Eleanore's
Mantle_, or even the fantastic _Young Goodman Brown_, which presents the
Puritan idea of witchcraft. For an example of his sketches or narrative
essays, read _The Old Manse_ (the first paper in _Mosses from an Old
Manse_) or the _Introduction_ to _The Scarlet Letter_.

_The Scarlet Letter_ may be left for mature age, but _The House of the
Seven Gables_ should be read by all.

From his books for children, _The Golden Touch (Wonder Book)_ at least
should be read, no matter how old the reader.

LONGFELLOW.--His best narrative poem is _Hiawatha_, and its strongest part
is _The Famine_, beginning:--

  "Oh, the long and dreary Winter!"

The opening lines of _Evangeline_ should be read for both the beauty of the
poetry and the novelty of the meter. The first four sections of _The
Courtship of Miles Standish_ should be read for its pictures of the early
days of the first Pilgrim settlement. His best ballads are _The Wreck of
the Hesperus, The Skeleton in Armor, Paul Revere's Ride,_ and _The Birds of
Killingworth._ For specimens of his simple lyrics, which have had such a
wide appeal, read _A Psalm of Life, The Ladder of St. Augustine, The Rainy
Day, The Day is Done, Daybreak, Resignation, Maidenhood, My Lost Youth._

WHITTIER.--Read the whole of _Snow-Bound,_ and for specimens of his shorter
lyrics, _Ichabod_, _The Lost Occasion_, _My Playmate_, _Telling the Bees_,
_The Barefoot Boy_, _In School Days_, _My Triumph_, _An Autograph,_ and
_The Eternal Goodness._ His best ballads are _Maud Muller, Skipper Ireson's
Ride,_ and _Cassandra Southwick._

LOWELL.--From among his shorter lyrical poems, read _Our Love is not a
Fading Earthly Flower, To the Dandelion, The Present Crisis, The First
Snow-Fall, After the Burial, For an Autograph, Prelude to Part I. of The
Vision of Sir Launfal._ From _The Biglow Papers,_ read _What Mr. Robinson
Thinks_ (No. III., _First Series_), _The Courtin'_ (_Introduction_ to
_Second Series_), _Sunthin' in the Pastoral Line_ (No. VI., _Second
Series_). From _A Fable for Critics,_ read the lines on Cooper, Poe, and

The five of Lowell's greater literary essays mentioned on page 254 show his
critical powers at their best. The student who wishes shorter selections
may choose those paragraphs which please him and any thoughts from the
political essay _Democracy_ which he thinks his neighbor should know.

HOLMES.--Read The _Deacon's Masterpiece, or the Wonderful One-Hoss Shay_,
_The Ballad of the Oysterman_, _The Boys_, _The Last Leaf,_ and _The
Chambered Nautilus._ From _The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table,_ the
student may select any pages that he thinks his friends would enjoy

THE HISTORIANS.--Selections from Prescott, Motley, and Parkman may be found
in Carpenters _American Prose_.


POETRY.--Compare Emerson's _Woodnotes_ with Bryant's _Thanatopsis_ and _A
Forest Hymn_. Make a comparison of these three poems of motion: _The
Evening Wind_ (Bryant), _The Humble-Bee_ (Emerson), and _Daybreak_
(Longfellow), and give reasons for your preference. Compare in like manner
_The Snow-Storm_ (Emerson), the first sixty-five lines of _Snow-Bound_
(Whittier), and _The First Snow-Fall_ (Lowell). To which of these three
simple lyrics of nature would you award the palm: _To the Fringed Gentian_
(Bryant), _The Rhodora_ (Emerson), _To the Dandelion_ (Lowell)? After
making your choice of these three poems, compare it with these two English
lyrics of the same class: _To a Mountain Daisy_ (Burns), _Daffodils_
(Wordsworth, the poem beginning "I wandered lonely as a cloud"), and again
decide which poem pleases you most.

Compare the humor of these two short poems describing a wooing: _The
Courtin'_ (Lowell), _The Ballad of the Oysterman_ (Holmes). Discuss the
ideals of these four poems: _A Psalm of Life_ (Longfellow), _For an
Autograph_ (Lowell), _An Autograph_ (Whittier), _The Chambered Nautilus_

What difference in the mental characteristics of the authors do these two
retrospective poems show: _My Lost Youth_ (Longfellow), _Memories_
(Whittier)? For a more complete answer to this question, compare the girls
in these two poems: _Maidenhood_ (Longfellow):--

  "Maiden, with the meek, brown eyes,
   In whose orbs a shadow lies,"

and _In School Days_ (Whittier), beginning with the lines where he says of
the winter sun long ago:--

  "It touched the tangled golden curls,
   And brown eyes full of grieving."

Matthew Arnold, that severe English critic, called one of these poems
perfect of its kind, and Oliver Wendell Holmes cried over one of them. The
student who reads these carefully is entitled to rely on his own judgment,
without verifying which poem Arnold and Holmes had in mind.

Compare Longfellow's ballads: _The Skeleton in Armor_, _The Birds of
Killingworth_, and _The Wreck of the Hesperus_, with Whittier's _Skipper
Ireson's Ride_, _Cassandra Southwick_, and _Maud Muller_.

Compare Whittier's _Snow-Bound_ with Burns's _Cotter's Saturday Night_. In
Whittier's poem, what group of lines descriptive of (_a_) nature, and (_b_)
of inmates of the household pleases you most?

What parts of _Hiawatha_ do you consider the best? What might be omitted
without great damage to the poem?

In _The Courtship of Miles Standish_, which incidents or pictures of the
life of the Pilgrims appeal most strongly to you?

What was the underlying purpose in writing _The Biglow Papers_ and
_One-Hoss Shay_? Do we to-day read them chiefly for this purpose or for
other reasons? In what does the humor of each consist?

PROSE.--Why is it said that Mrs. Stowe showed a knowledge of psychological
values? What were the chief causes of the influence of _Uncle Tom's Cabin_?

What are Webster's chief characteristics? Why does he retain his
preeminence among American orators?

What transcendental qualities does Emerson's prose show? From any of his
_Essays_ select thoughts which justify Tyndall's (p. 192) statement about
Emerson's stimulating power. What passages show him to be a great moral

What was Thoreau's object in going to Walden? Of what is he the
interpreter? What was his mission? What passages in _Walden_ please you
most? What is the reason for such a steady increase in Thoreau's

Point out the allegory or symbolism in any of Hawthorne's tales. Which of
his short stories do you like best? What is Hawthorne's special aim in _The
Snow Image_ and _The Gentle Boy_? What qualities give special charm to
sketches like _The Old Manse_ and the _Introduction_ to _The Scarlet
Letter_? What is the underlying motive to be worked out in _The House of
the Seven Gables_? Why is it said that the Ten Commandments reign supreme
in Hawthorne's world of fiction? Was he a classicist or a romanticist (p.
219)? What qualities do you notice in his style?

In Lowell's critical essays, what unusual turns of thought do you find to
challenge your attention? Does he employ humor in his serious criticism?

What most impresses you in reading selections from _The Autocrat of the
Breakfast Table_, the humor, sprightliness, and variety of the thought, or
the style? What especially satisfactory pages have you found?

Make a comparison (_a_) of the picturesqueness and color, (_b_) of the
energy of presentation, (_c_) of the power to develop interest, and (_d_)
of the style, shown in the selections which you have chosen from Prescott,
Motley, and Parkman. Compare their style with that of Macaulay in his
_History of England_.



was agricultural. The wealth was in the hands of scattered plantation
owners, and less centered in cities than at the North. The result was a
rural aristocracy of rich planters, many of them of the highest breeding
and culture. A retinue of slaves attended to their work and relieved them
from all manual labor. The masters took an active part in public life,
traveled and entertained on a lavish scale. Their guests were usually
wealthy men of the same rank, who had similar ideals and ambitions.
Gracious and attractive as this life made the people, it did not bring in
new thought, outside influences, or variety. Men continued to think like
their fathers. The transcendental movement which aroused New England was
scarcely felt as far south as Virginia. The tide of commercial activity
which swept over the East and sent men to explore the West did not affect
the character of life at the South. It was separated from every other
section of the country by a conservative spirit, an objection to change,
and a tendency toward aristocracy.

Such conditions retarded the growth of literature. There were no novel
ideas that men felt compelled to utter, as in New England. There was little
town life to bring together all classes of men. Such life has always been
found essential to literary production. Finally, there was inevitably
connected with plantation life a serious question, which occupied men's

SLAVERY.--The question that absorbed the attention of the best southern
intellect was slavery. In order to maintain the vast estates of the South,
it was necessary to continue the institution of slavery. Many southern men
had been anxious to abolish it, but, as time proceeded, they were less able
to see how the step could be taken. As a Virginian statesman expressed it,
they were holding a wolf by the ears, and it was as dangerous to let him go
as to hold on. At the North, slavery was an abstract question of moral
right or wrong, which inspired poets and novelists; at the South, slavery
was a matter of expediency, even of livelihood. Instead of serving as an
incentive to literary activity, the discussion of slavery led men farther
away from the channels of literature into the stream of practical politics.

POLITICAL VERSUS LITERARY AMBITIONS.--The natural ambition of the southern
gentleman was political. The South was proud of its famous orators and
generals in Revolutionary times and of its long line of statesmen and
Presidents, who took such a prominent part in establishing and maintaining
the republic. We have seen (p. 68) that Thomas Jefferson of Virginia wrote
one of the most memorable political documents in the world, that James
Madison, a Virginian President of the United States, aided in producing the
_Federalist_ papers (p. 71), that George Washington's _Farewell Address_
(p. 100) deals with such vital matters as morality almost entirely from a
political point of view. Although the South produced before the Civil War a
world-famous author in Edgar Allan Poe, her glorious achievements were
nevertheless mainly political, and she especially desired to maintain her
former reputation in the political world. The law and not literature was
therefore the avenue to the southerner's ambition.

Long before the Civil War, slavery became an unusually live subject. There
was always some political move to discuss in connection with slavery; such,
for instance, as the constitutional interpretation of the whole question,
the necessity of balancing the admission of free and slave states to the
Union, the war with Mexico, the division of the new territory secured in
that conflict, the right of a state to secede from the Union. Consequently,
in ante bellum days, the brilliant young men of the South had, like their
famous ancestors of Revolutionary times, abundance of material for
political and legal exposition, and continued to devote their attention to
public questions, to law, and to oratory, instead of to pure literature.
They talked while the North wrote.

In the days before the war, literature suffered also because the wealthy
classes at the South did not regard it as a dignified profession. Those who
could write often published their work anonymously. Richard Henry Wilde
(1789-1847), a young lawyer, wrote verses that won Byron's praise, and yet
did not acknowledge them until some twenty years later. Sometimes authors
tried to suppress the very work by which their names are to-day
perpetuated. When a Virginian found that the writer of

  "Thou wast lovelier than the roses
     In their prime;
   Thy voice excelled the closes
     Of sweetest rhyme;"

was his neighbor, Philip Pendleton Cooke (1816-1850), he said to the young
poet, "I wouldn't waste time on a thing like poetry; you might make
yourself, with all your sense and judgment, a useful man in settling
neighborhood disputes." A newspaper in Richmond, Virginia, kept a standing
offer to publish poetry for one dollar a line.

EDUCATIONAL HANDICAPS.--Before the war there was no universal free common
school system, as at present, to prepare for higher institutions. The
children of rich families had private tutors, but the poor frequently went
without any schooling. William Gilmore Simms (p. 306) says that he "learned
little or nothing" at a public school, and that not one of his instructors
could teach him arithmetic. Lack of common educational facilities decreased
readers as well as writers.

Until after the war, whatever literature was read by the cultured classes
was usually English. The classical school of Dryden and Pope and the
eighteenth century English essayists were especially popular. American
literature was generally considered trashy or unimportant. So conservative
was the South in its opinions, that individuality in literature was often
considered an offense against good taste. This was precisely the attitude
of the classical school in England during a large part of the eighteenth
century. Until after the Civil War, therefore, the South offered few
inducements to follow literature as a profession.

THE NEW SOUTH.--After the South had passed through the terrible struggle of
the Civil War, in which much of her best blood perished, there followed the
tragic days of the reconstruction. These were times of readjustment, when a
wholly new method of life had to be undertaken by a conservative people;
when the uncertain position of the negro led to frequent trouble; when the
unscrupulous politician, guided only by desire for personal gain, played on
the ignorance of the poor whites and the enfranchised negroes, and almost
wrecked the commonwealth. Had Lincoln lived to direct affairs after the
war, much suffering might have been avoided, and the wounds of the South
might have been more speedily healed.

These days, however, finally passed, and the South began to adapt herself
to the changed conditions of modern life. In these years of transition
since the Civil War, a new South has been evolved. Cities are growing
rapidly. Some parts of the South are developing even faster than any other
sections of the country. Men are running mills as well as driving the plow.
Small farms have often taken the place of the large plantation. A system of
free public schools has been developed, and compulsory education for all
has been demanded. Excellent higher institutions of learning have
multiplied. Writers and a reading public, both with progressive ideals,
have rapidly increased. In short, the South, like the East and the West,
has become more democratic and industrial, less completely agricultural,
and has paid more attention to the education of the masses.

It would, however, be a mistake to suppose that the southern conservatism,
which had been fostered for generations, could at once be effaced. The
South still retains much of her innate love of aristocracy, loyalty to
tradition, disinclination to be guided by merely practical aims, and
aversion to rapid change. This condition is due partly to the fact that the
original conservative English stock, which is still dominant, has been more
persistent there and less modified by foreign immigration.

CHARACTERISTICS OF SOUTHERN LITERATURE.--The one who studies the greatest
authors of the South soon finds them worthy of note for certain qualities.
Poe was cosmopolitan enough to appeal to foreign lands even more forcibly
than to America, and yet we shall find that he has won the admiration of a
great part of the world for characteristics, many of which are too
essentially southern to be possessed in the same degree by authors in other
sections of the country. The poets of the South have placed special
emphasis on (1) melody, (2) beauty, (3) artistic workmanship. In creations
embodying a combination of such qualities, Poe shows wonderful mastery.
More than any other American poet, he has cast on the reader

  "... the spell which no slumber
     Of witchery may test,
   The rhythmical number
     Which lull'd him to rest."

After reading Poe and Lanier, we feel that we can say to the South what Poe
whispered to the fair Ligeia:--

  "No magic shall sever
     Thy music from thee."

The wealth of sunshine flooding the southern plains, the luxuriance of the
foliage and the flowers, and the strong contrasts of light and shade and
color are often reflected in the work of southern writers. Such verse as
this is characteristic:--

  "Beyond the light that would not die
   Out of the scarlet-haunted sky,
   Beyond the evening star's white eye
   Of glittering chalcedony,
   Drained out of dusk the plaintive cry
     Of 'whippoorwill!' of 'whippoorwill!'"

[Footnote: Cawein, _Red Leaves and Roses_.]

In the work of her later writers of fiction, the South has presented, often
in a realistic setting of natural scenes, a romantic picture of the life
distinctive of the various sections,--of the Creoles of Louisiana, of the
mountaineers of Tennessee, of the blue grass region of Kentucky, of
Virginia in the golden days, and of the Georgia negro, whose folk lore and
philosophy are voiced by Uncle Remus.

EDGAR ALLAN POE, 1809-1849

[Illustration: EDGAR ALLAN POE]

EARLY LIFE.--The most famous of all southern writers and one of the world's
greatest literary artists happened to be born in Boston because his
parents, who were strolling actors, had come there to fill an engagement.
His grandfather, Daniel Poe, a citizen of Baltimore, was a general in the
Revolution. His service to his country was sufficiently noteworthy to cause
Lafayette to kneel at the old general's grave and say, "Here reposes a
noble heart."

An orphan before he was three years old, Poe was reared by Mr. and Mrs.
John Allan of Richmond, Virginia. In 1815, at the close of the War of 1812,
his foster parents went to England and took him with them. He was given a
school reader and two spelling books with which to amuse himself during the
long sailing voyage across the ocean. He was placed for five years in the
Manor School House, a boarding school, at Stoke Newington, a suburb of
London. Here, he could walk by the very house in which Defoe wrote
_Robinson Crusoe_. But nothing could make up to Poe the loss of a mother
and home training during those five critical years. The head master said
that Poe was clever, but spoiled by "an extravagant amount of pocket
money." The contrast between his school days and adult life should be
noted. We shall never hear of his having too much money after he became an

In 1820 the boy returned with the Allans to Richmond, where he prepared for
college, and at the age of seventeen entered the University of Virginia.
"Here," his biographer says, "he divided his time, after the custom of
undergraduates, between the recitation room, the punch bowl, the
card-table, athletic sports, and pedestrianism." Although Poe does not seem
to have been censured by the faculty, Mr. Allan was displeased with his
record, removed him from college, and placed him in his counting house.
This act and other causes, which have never been fully ascertained, led Poe
to leave Mr. Allan's home.

Poe then went to Boston, where, at the age of eighteen, he published a thin
volume entitled _Tamerlane and Other Poems_. Disappointed at not being able
to live by his pen, he served two years in the army as a common soldier,
giving both an assumed name and age. He finally secured an appointment to
West Point after he was slightly beyond the legal age of entrance. The
cadets said in a joking way that Poe had secured the appointment for his
son, but that the father substituted himself after the boy died. Feeling an
insatiable ambition to become an author, Poe neglected his duties at West
Point, and he was, fortunately for literature, discharged at the age of

HIS GREAT STRUGGLE.--Soon after leaving West Point, Poe went to his kindred
in Baltimore. In a garret in that southern city, he first discovered his
power in writing prose tales. In 1833 his story, _MS. Found in a Bottle_,
won a prize of one hundred dollars offered by a Baltimore paper. In 1834
Mr. Allan died without mentioning Poe in his will; and in spite of his
utmost literary efforts, Poe had to borrow money to keep from starving.

After struggling for four years in Baltimore, he went to Richmond and
became editor of the _Southern Literary Messenger_. He worked very hard in
this position, sometimes contributing to a single number as much as forty
pages of matter, mostly editorials and criticisms of books. In Baltimore he
had tested his power of writing short stories, but in Richmond his work
laid the foundation of his reputation as a literary critic. While here, he
married his cousin, Virginia Clemm. Perhaps it was irregular habits that
caused him to lose the profitable editorship of the _Messenger_ soon after
he married. Let us remember, however, that his mother-in-law was charitable
enough not to unveil his weakness. "At home," she said, "he was as simple
and affectionate as a child."


The principal part of the rest of his life was passed in Philadelphia and
New York, where he served as editor of various periodicals and wrote
stories and poems. In the former city, he wrote most of the tales for which
he is to-day famous. With the publication of his poem, _The Raven_, in New
York in 1845, he reached the summit of his fame. In that year he wrote to a
friend, "_The Raven_ has had a great 'run'--but I wrote it for the express
purpose of running--just as I did _The Gold Bug_, you know. The bird beat
the bug, though, all hollow." And yet, in spite of his fame, he said in the
same year, "I have made no money. I am as poor now as ever I was in my

The truth was that it would then have been difficult for the most
successful author to live even in the North without a salaried position,
and conditions were worse in the South. Like Hawthorne, Poe tried to get a
position in a customhouse, but failed.

[Illustration: VIRGINIA CLEMM]

He moved to an inexpensive cottage in Fordham, a short distance from New
York City, where he, his wife, and mother-in-law found themselves in 1846
in absolute want of food and warmth. The saddest scene in which any great
American author figured was witnessed in that cottage in "the bleak
December," when his wife, Virginia, lay dying in the bitter cold. Because
there was insufficient bed clothing to keep her warm, Poe gave her his coat
and placed the family cat upon her to add its warmth.

Her death made him almost completely irresponsible. The stunning effect of
the blow may be seen in the wandering lines of _Ulalume_ (1847). The end
came to him in Baltimore in 1849, the same year in which he wrote the
beautiful dirge of _Annabel Lee_ for his dead wife. He was only forty when
he died. This greatest literary genius of the South was buried in Baltimore
in a grave that remained unmarked for twenty-six years.

In anticipation of his end, he had written the lines:--

  "And oh! of all tortures,--
     _That_ torture the worst
   Has abated--the terrible
     Torture of thirst
   For the napthaline river
     Of Passion accurst:--
   I have drank of a water
     That quenches all thirst."

HIS TALES.--He wrote more than sixty tales, some of which rank among the
world's greatest short stories. The most important of these productions may
be classified as tales (1) of the supernatural, like _The Fall of the House
of Usher_ and _Ligeia_, (2) of conscience, like _William Wilson_, that
remarkable forerunner of _Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde_, (3) of pseudo-science,
like _A Descent into the Maelstrom_, (4) of analysis or ratiocination, like
_The Gold Bug_ and that wonderful analytical detective story, the first of
its kind, _The Murders in the Rue Morgue_, the predecessor of later
detective stories, like _The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes_, and (5) of
natural beauty, like _The Domain of Arnheim_.

This classification does not include all of his types, for his powerful
story, _The Pit and the Pendulum_, does not belong to any of these classes.
He shows remarkable versatility in passing from one type of story to
another. He could turn from a tale of the supernatural to write a model for
future authors of realistic detective stories. He could solve difficult
riddles with masterly analysis, and in his next story place a
conscience-stricken wretch on the rack and then turn away calmly to write a
tale of natural beauty. He specially liked to invest an impossible story
with scientific reality, and he employed Defoe's specific concrete method
of mingling fact with fiction. With all the seriousness of a teacher of
physics, Poe describes the lunar trip of one Hans Pfaall with his balloon,
air-condenser, and cat. He tells how the old cat had difficulty in
breathing at a vast altitude, while the kittens, born on the upward
journey, and never used to a dense atmosphere, suffered little
inconvenience from the rarefaction. He relates in detail the accident which
led to the detachment from the balloon of the basket containing the cat and
kittens, and we find it impossible not to be interested in their fate. He
had the skill of a wizard in presenting in remarkably brief compass
suggestion after suggestion to invest his tales with the proper atmosphere
and to hypnotize the reader into an unresisting acceptance of the march of
events. Even a hostile critic calls him "a conjuror who does not need to
have the lights turned down."

In one respect his tales are alike, for they are all romantic (p. 88) and
deal with the unusual, the terrible, or the supernatural. Some of these
materials suggest Charles Brockden Brown (p. 89), but Poe, working with the
genius of a master artist, easily surpassed him.

HIS DEVELOPMENT OF THE MODERN SHORT STORY.--Poe has an almost world-wide
reputation for the part which he played in developing the modern short
story. The ancient Greeks had short stories, and Irving had written
delightful ones while Poe was still a child; but Poe gave this type of
literature its modern form. He banished the little essays, the moralizing,
and the philosophizing, which his predecessors, and even his great
contemporary, Hawthorne, had scattered through their short stories. Poe's
aim in writing a short story was to secure by the shortest air-line passage
the precise effect which he desired. He was a great literary critic, and
his essays, _The Philosophy of Composition_ and _The Poetic Principle_,
with all their aberrations, have become classic; but his most famous piece
of criticism--almost epoch-making, so far as the short story is
concerned--is the following:--

  "A skillful literary artist has constructed a tale. If wise, he has not
  fashioned his thoughts to accommodate his incidents; but having
  conceived, with deliberate care, a certain unique or single _effect_ to
  be wrought out, he then invents such incidents,--he then combines such
  events as may best aid him in establishing this preconceived effect. If
  his very initial sentence tend not to the outbringing of this effect,
  then he has failed in his first step. In the whole composition there
  should be no word written, of which the tendency, direct or indirect, is
  not to the one pre-established design."

Poe's greatest supernatural tale, _The Fall of the House of Usher_, should
be read in connection with this criticism. His initial sentence thus
indicates the atmosphere of the story:--

  "During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the
  year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been
  passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of
  country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew
  on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher."

Each following stroke of the master's brush adds to the desired effect. The
black and lurid tarn, Roderick Usher with his mental disorder, his sister
Madeline, subject to trances, buried prematurely in a vault directly
underneath the guest's room, the midnight winds blowing from every
direction toward the House of Usher, the chance reading of a sentence from
an old and musty volume, telling of a mysterious noise, the hearing of a
muffled sound and the terrible suggestion of its cause,--all tend to
indicate and heighten the gloom of the final catastrophe.

In one of his great stories, which is not supernatural, _The Pit and the
Pendulum_, he desires to impress the reader with the horrors of medieval
punishment. We may wonder why the underground dungeon is so large, why the
ceiling is thirty feet high, why a pendulum appears from an opening in that
ceiling. But we know when the dim light, purposely admitted from above,
discloses the prisoner strapped immovably on his back, and reveals the
giant pendulum, edged with the sharpest steel, slowly descending, its arc
of vibration increasing as the terrible edge almost imperceptibly
approaches the prisoner. We find ourselves bound with him, suffering from
the slow torture. We would escape into the upper air if we could, but Poe's
hypnotic power holds us as helpless as a child while that terrible edge

A comparison of these stories and the most successful ones published since
Poe's time, on the one hand, with those written by Irving or Hawthorne, on
the other, will show the influence of Poe's technique in making almost a
new creation of the modern short story.

(Near Eighty-fourth Street, New York)]

POETRY.--Poe wrote a comparatively small amount of verse. Of the
forty-eight poems which he is known to have written, not more than nine are
masterpieces, and all of these are short. It was a favorite article of his
poetic creed that there could be no such creation as a long poem, that such
a poem would in reality be a series of poems. He thought that each poem
should cause only one definite emotional impression, and that a long poem
would lack the necessary unity. He says that he determined in advance that
_The Raven_ should contain about one hundred lines.

His poetic aim was solely "the creation of beauty." He says:--

  "Regarding, then, Beauty as my province, my next question referred to the
  _tone_ of its highest manifestation; and all experience has shown that
  this tone is one of _sadness_. Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme
  development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears. Melancholy
  is thus the most legitimate of all the poetical tones."

[Footnote: _The Philosophy of Composition_.]

He then concludes that death is the most melancholy subject available for a
poet, and that the death of a beautiful woman "is unquestionably the most
poetical topic in the world." From the popularity of _The Raven_ at home
and abroad, in comparison with other American poems, it would seem as if
the many agreed with Poe and felt the fascination of the burden of his

  "Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
   It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore--
   Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."


His most beautiful poem, _Annabel Lee_, is the dirge written for his wife,
and it is the one great poem in which he sounds this note of lasting

  "And neither the angels in heaven above,
     Nor the demons down under the sea,
   Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
     Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE."

A few of his great poems, like _Israfel_ and _The Bells_, do not sing of
death, but most of them make us feel the presence of the great Shadow. The
following lines show that it would be wrong to say, as some do, that his
thoughts never pass beyond it:--

  "And all my days are trances,
     And all my nightly dreams
   Are where thy dark eye glances,
     And where thy footstep gleams--
   In what ethereal dances,
     By what eternal streams."

[Footnote: _To One in Paradise_.]

It would be difficult to name a poet of any race or age who has surpassed
Poe in exquisite melody. His liquid notes soften the harshness of death. No
matter what his theme, his verse has something of the quality which he
ascribes to the fair Ligeia:--

  "Ligeia! Ligeia!
     My beautiful one!
   Whose harshest idea
     Will to melody run."

The fascination of his verse is not due to the depth of thought, to the
spiritual penetration of his imagination, or to the poetic setting of noble
ideals, for he lacked these qualities; but he was a master in securing
emotional effects with his sad music. He wedded his songs of the death of
beautiful women to the most wonderful melodies, which at times almost
transcend the limits of language and pass into the realm of pure music. His
verses are not all-sufficient for the hunger of the soul; but they supply
an element in which Puritan literature was too often lacking, and they
justify the transcendental doctrine that beauty is its own excuse for

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.--Poe was a great literary artist, who thought that
the creation of beauty was the object of every form of the highest art. His
aim in both prose and poetry was to produce a pronounced effect by artistic
means. His continued wide circulation shows that he was successful in his
aim. An English publisher recently said that he sold in one year 29,000 of
Poe's tales, or about three times as many of them as of any other
American's work.

The success with which Poe met in producing an effect upon the minds of his
readers makes him worthy of careful study by all writers and speakers, who
desire to make a vivid impression. Poe selected with great care the point
which he wished to emphasize. He then discarded everything which did not
serve to draw attention to that point. On his stage the colored lights may
come from many different directions, but they all focus on one object.

Hawthorne and Poe, two of the world's great short-story writers, were
remarkably unlike in their aims. Hawthorne saw everything in the light of
moral consequences. Poe cared nothing for moral issues, except in so far as
the immoral was ugly. Hawthorne appreciated beauty only as a true
revelation of the inner life. Poe loved beauty and the melody of sound for
their own attractiveness. His effects, unlike Hawthorne's, were more
physical than moral. Poe exalted the merely technical and formal side of
literary excellence more than Hawthorne.

Poe's prose style is direct, energetic, clear, and adequate to the
occasion. His mind was too analytic to overload his sentences with
ornament, and too definite to be obscure. He had the same aim in his style
as in his subject matter,--to secure an effect with the least obstruction.


His poetry is of narrower range than his prose, but his greatest poems hold
a unique position for an unusual combination of beauty, melody, and
sadness. He retouched and polished them from year to year, until they stand
unsurpassed in their restricted field. He received only ten dollars for
_The Raven_ while he was alive, but the appreciation of his verse has
increased to such an extent that the sum of two thousand dollars was
recently paid for a copy of the thin little 1827 edition of his poems.

It has been humorously said that the French pray to Poe as a literary
saint. They have never ceased to wonder at the unusual combination of his
analytic reasoning power with his genius for imaginative presentation of
romantic materials,--at the realism of his touch and the romanticism of his
thought. It is true that many foreign critics consider Poe America's
greatest author. An eminent English critic says that Poe has surpassed all
the rest of our writers in playing the part of the Pied Piper of Hamelin to
other authors. At home, however, there have been repeated attempts to
disbar Poe from the court of great writers. Not until 1910 did the board of
electors vote him a tablet in the Hall of Fame for Great Americans.

It may be admitted that Poe was a technical artist, that his main object
was effectiveness of impression and beauty of form, that he was not
overanxious about the worth of his subject matter to an aspiring soul, and
that he would have been vastly greater if he had joined high moral aim to
his quest of beauty. He overemphasized the romantic elements of
strangeness, sadness, and horror. He was deficient in humor and sentiment,
and his guiding standards of criticism often seem too coldly intellectual.
Those critics who test him exclusively by the old Puritan standards
invariably find him wanting, for the Puritans had no room in their world
for the merely beautiful.

Poe's genius, however, was sufficiently remarkable to triumph over these
defects, which would have consigned to oblivion other writers of less
power. In spite of the most determined hostile criticism that an American
author has ever known, the editions of Poe's works continue to increase.
The circle of those who fall under his hypnotic charm, in which there is
nothing base or unclean, is enlarged with the passing of the years. As a
great literary craftsman, he continues to teach others. He is now not
likely to be dislodged from that peculiar, narrow field where he holds a
unique and original position among the great writers of the world.


William Gilmore Simms, often styled the "Cooper of the South," was born of
poor parents in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1806. His mother died when
he was very young, and his father moved west into the wilds of Mississippi.
The boy was left behind to be reared by his grandmother, a poor but clever
woman, who related to him tales of the Revolutionary War, through which she
had lived. During a visit to his father, these tales were supplemented by
stories of contemporary life on the borders of civilization. In this way
Simms acquired a large part of the material for his romances.


He prospered financially, married well, became the owner of a fine estate,
and bent every effort to further southern literature and assist southern
writers. He became the center of a group of literary men in Charleston, of
whom Hayne and Timrod were the most famous. The war, however, ruined Simms.
His property and library were destroyed, and, though he continued to write,
he never found his place in the new order of life. He failed to catch the
public ear of a people satiated with fighting and hair-raising adventures.
He survived but six years, and died in Charleston in 1870.

Being of humble birth, Simms lacked the advantage of proper schooling.
Although he was surrounded by aristocratic and exclusive society, he did
not have the association of a literary center, such as the Concord and
Cambridge writers enjoyed. He found no publishers nearer than New York, to
which city he personally had to carry his manuscripts for publication. Yet
with all these handicaps, he achieved fame for himself and his loved
Southland. This victory over adverse conditions was won by sheer force of
indomitable will, by tremendous activity, and by a great, honest, generous

His writings show an abounding energy and versatility. He wrote poetry,
prose fiction, historical essays, and political pamphlets, and amazed his
publishers by his speed in composition. His best work is _The Yemassee_
(1835), a story of the uprising of the Indians in Carolina. The midnight
massacre, the fight at the blockhouse, and the blood-curdling description
of the dishonoring of the Indian chief's son are told with infectious vigor
and rapidity. _The Partisan_ (1835), _Katherine Walton_ (1851), and _The
Sword and Distaff_ (1852), afterwards called _Woodcraft_, also show his
ability to tell exciting tales, to understand Indian character, and to
commemorate historical events in thrilling narratives.

Simms wrote rapidly and carelessly. He makes mistakes in grammar and
construction, and is often stilted and grandiloquent. All of his romances
are stories of adventure which are enjoyed by boys, but not much read by
others. Nevertheless, his best works fill a large place in southern
literature and history. They tell in an interesting way the life of the
border states, of southern crossroads towns, of colonial wars, and of
Indian customs. What Cooper did for the North, Simms accomplished for the
South. He lacked Cooper's skill and variety of invention, and he created no
character to compare with Cooper's Leatherstocking; but he excelled Cooper
in the more realistic portrayal of Indian character.

HENRY TIMROD, 1829-1867

[Illustration: HENRY TIMROD]

Henry Timrod was born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1829. He attended
the University of Georgia; but was prevented by delicate health and poverty
from taking his degree. He was early thrown upon his own resources to earn
a livelihood, and having tried law and found it distasteful, he depended
upon teaching and writing. His verses were well received, but the times
preceding the Civil War were not propitious for a poor poet. As he was not
strong enough to bear arms at the outbreak of hostilities, he went to the
field as a war correspondent for a newspaper in Charleston and he became
later an associate editor in Columbia. His printing office was demolished
in Sherman's march to the sea, and at the close of the war Timrod was left
in a desperate condition. He was hopelessly ill from consumption; he was in
the direst poverty; and he was saddened by the death of his son. There was
no relief for Timrod until death released him from his misery in 1867. Yet
in spite of all his trials, he desired earnestly to live, and when his
sister told him that death would, at least, bring him rest, he replied,
"Yes, my sister, but love is sweeter than rest."

Timrod's one small volume of poetry contains some of the most spontaneous
nature and love lyrics in the South. In this stanza to _Spring_, the
directness and simplicity of his manner may be seen:--

  "In the deep heart of every forest tree
   The blood is all aglee,
   And there's a look about the leafless bowers
   As if they dreamed of flowers."

He says in _A Vision of Poesy_ that the poet's mission is to

  "... turn life's tasteless waters into wine,
   And flush them through and through with purple tints."

His best known and most original poem is _The Cotton Boll_. This
description of the wide stretches of a white cotton field is one of the
best in the poem. He shows the field

  "... lost afar
   Behind the crimson hills and purple lawns
   Of sunset, among plains which roll their streams
   Against the Evening Star!
   And lo!
   To the remotest point of sight,
   Although I gaze upon no waste of snow,
   The endless field is white;
   And the whole landscape glows,
   For many a shining league away,
   With such accumulated light
   As Polar lands would flash beneath a tropic day!"

Simplicity and sincerity in language, theme, and feeling are special
characteristics of Timrod's verse. His lyrics are short and their volume
slight, but a few of them, like _Spring_ and _The Lily Confidante_, seem
almost to have sung themselves. So vivid is his reproduction of the spirit
of the awakening year in his poem _Spring_, that, to quote his own lines:--

  "... you scarce would start,
   If from a beech's heart,
   A blue-eyed Dryad, stepping forth, should say,
   'Behold me! I am May.'"

Timrod shows the same qualities of simplicity, directness, and genuine
feeling in his war poetry. No more ringing lines were written for the
southern cause during the Civil War than are to be found in his poems,
_Carolina_ and _Ethnogenesis_.



Paul Hamilton Hayne was born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1830. His
family was rich and influential, and he inherited a fortune in his own
right. After graduating at Charleston College, he studied law, but devoted
his independent leisure entirely to literature. He became associated with
_The Southern Literary Gazette_, and was the first editor of _Russell's
Magazine_, an ambitious venture launched by the literary circle at the
house of Simms. Hayne married happily, and had every prospect of a
prosperous and brilliant career when the war broke out. He enlisted, but
his health soon failed, and at the close of the war he found himself an
invalid with his fortune destroyed. He went to the Pine Barrens of Georgia,
where he built, on land which he named Copse Hill, a hut nearly as rude as
Thoreau's at Walden. Handicapped by poverty and disease, Hayne lived here
during the remainder of his life, writing his best poems on a desk
fashioned out of a workbench. He died in 1886.

Hayne wrote a large amount of poetry, and tried many forms of verse, in
almost all of which he maintained a smoothness of meter, a correctness of
rhyme, and, in general, a high level of artistic finish. He is a skilled
craftsman, his ear is finely attuned to harmonious arrangements of sounds,
and he shows an acquaintance with the best melodists in English poetry. The
limpid ease and grace in his lines may be judged by this dainty poem:--

  "A tiny rift within the lute
   May sometimes make the music mute!
   By slow degrees, the rift grows wide,
   By slow degrees, the tender tide--
   Harmonious once--of loving thought
   Becomes with harsher measures fraught,
   Until the heart's Arcadian breath
   Lapses thro' discord into death!"

His best poems are nature lyrics. In _The Woodland Phases_, one of the
finest of these, he tells how nature is to him a revelation of the

  "And midway, betwixt heaven and us,
     Stands Nature in her fadeless grace,
   Still pointing to our Father's house,
     His glory on her mystic face."

Hayne found the inspiration for his verse in the scenes about his forest
home: in the "fairy South Wind" that "floateth on the subtle wings of
balm," in

  "... the one small glimmering rill
   That twinkles like a wood-fay's mirthful eye,"

in the solitary lake

  "Shrined in the woodland's secret heart,"


  "His blasted pines, smit by the fiery West,
     Uptowering rank on rank, like Titan spears,"

in the storm among the Georgian hills, in the twilight, that

  "... on her virginal throat
   Wears for a gem the tremulous vesper star,"

and in the mocking-birds, whose

   "... love notes fill the enchanted land;
   Through leaf-wrought bars they storm the stars,
     These love songs of the mocking-birds!"

The chief characteristics of his finest poetry are a tender love of nature,
a profusion of figurative language, and a gentle air of meditation.

SIDNEY LANIER, 1842-1881

[Illustration: SIDNEY LANIER]

LIFE.--Sidney Lanier was the product of a long line of cultured ancestors,
among whom appeared, both in England and America, men of striking musical
and artistic ability. He was born in Macon, Georgia, in 1842. He served in
the Confederate army during the four years of the war, and was taken
prisoner and exposed to the hardest conditions, both during his confinement
and after his release. The remainder of his life was a losing fight against
the ravages of consumption.

He was fairly successful for a short time in his father's law office; but
if ever a man believed that it was his duty to devote his every breath to
the gift of music and poetry bestowed upon him, that man was Lanier. His
wife agreed with him in his ideals and faith, so in 1873 he left his family
in Georgia and went to Baltimore, the land of libraries and orchestras. He
secured the position of first flute in the Peabody orchestra, and, by sheer
force of genius, took up the most difficult scores and faultlessly led all
the flutes. He read and studied, wrote and lectured like one who had
suffered from mental starvation. In 1879 he received the appointment of
lecturer on English literature at the Johns Hopkins University, a position
which his friends had long wished to see him fill. He held it only two
years, however, before his death. His health had fast been failing. He
wrote part of the time while lying on his back, and, because of physical
weakness, he delivered some of his lectures in whispers. In search of
relief, he was taken to Florida, Texas, and North Carolina, but no
permanent benefit came, and he died in his temporary quarters in North
Carolina in 1881.

Works.--Lanier wrote both prose and poetry. His prose comprises books for
children and critical studies. _The Science of English Verse_ (1880) and
_The English Novel_ (1883) are of interest because of their clear setting
forth of his theory of versification and art. In his poetry he strives to
embody the ideals proclaimed in his prose work, which are, first, to write
nothing that is not moral and elevating in tone, and, second, to express
himself in versification which is obedient to the laws of regular musical
composition, in rhyme, rhythm, vowel assonance, alliteration, and

Lanier's creed, that the poet should be an inspiration for good to his
readers, is found in his lines:--

  "The artist's market is the heart of man,
   The artist's price some little good of man."

The great inspiration of his life was love, and he has some fine love
poems, such as _My Springs_, _In Absence_, _Evening Song_, and _Laus
Mariae_. In _The Symphony_, which voices the social sorrow for the
overworked and downtrodden, he says the problem is not one for the head but
the heart:--

  "Vainly might Plato's brain revolve it,
   Plainly the heart of a child could solve it."

In ending the poem, he says that even

  "Music is Love in search of a word."

Strong personal love, tender pitying love for humanity, impassioned love of
nature, and a reverent love of God are found in Lanier.

The striking musical quality of Lanier's best verse is seen in these
stanzas from _Tampa Robins_:--

  "The robin laughed in the orange-tree:
   'Ho, windy North, a fig for thee:
   While breasts are red and wings are bold
   And green trees wave us globes of gold,
   Time's scythe shall reap but bliss for me
   --Sunlight, song, and the orange-tree.

       *       *        *       *        *

  "'I'll south with the sun and keep my clime;
   My wing is king of the summer-time;
   My breast to the sun his torch shall hold;
   And I'll call down through the green and gold,
   _Time, take thy scythe, reap bliss for me,
   Bestir thee under the orange-tree_.'"

The music of the bird, the sparkle of the sunlight, and the pure joy of
living are in this poem, which is one of Lanier's finest lyrical outbursts.
_The Song of the Chattahoochee_ is another of his great successes in pure
melody. The rhymes, the rhythm, the alliteration beautifully express the
flowing of the river.

His noblest and most characteristic poem, however, is _The Marshes of
Glynn_. It seems to breathe the very spirit of the broad open marshes and
to interpret their meaning to the heart of man, while the long, sweeping,
melodious lines of the verse convey a rich volume of music, of which he was
at times a wonderful master.

  "Oh, what is abroad in the marsh and the terminal sea?
   Somehow my soul seems suddenly free
   From the weighing of fate and the sad discussion of sin,
   By the length and the breadth and the sweep of the marshes of Glynn."

This poem, original and beautiful, both in subject and form, expresses
Lanier's strong faith in God. He says:--

  "As the marsh-hen secretly builds on the watery sod,
   Behold, I will build me a nest on the greatness of God:
   I will fly in the greatness of God as the marsh-hen flies
   In the freedom that fills all the space 'twixt the marsh and the skies:
   By so many roots as the marsh-grass sends in the sod
   I will heartily lay me a-hold of the greatness of God."

No Puritan could show a truer faith than Lanier's, nor a faith more
poetically and devoutly expressed. In his _Sunrise_ he attains at times the
beauty of _The Marshes of Glynn_, and voices in some of the lines a
veritable rhapsody of faith. Yet for sustained elevation of feeling and for
unbroken musical harmonies, _Sunrise_ cannot equal _The Marshes of Glynn_,
which alone would suffice to keep Lanier's name on the scroll of the
greater American poets.

General Characteristics.--Lanier is an ambitious poet. He attempts to voice
the unutterable, to feel the intangible, to describe the indescribable, and
to clothe this ecstasy in language that will be a harmonious accompaniment
to the thought. This striving after practically impossible effects
sometimes gives the feeling of artificiality and strain to his verse. It is
not always simple, and sometimes one overcharged stanza will mar an
otherwise exquisite poem.

On the other hand, Lanier never gives voice to anything that is merely
trivial or pretty. He is always in earnest, and the feeling most often
aroused by him is a passionate exaltation. He is a nature poet. The color,
the sunshine, the cornfields, the hills, and the marshes of the South are
found in his work. But more than their outer aspect, he likes to interpret
their spirit,--the peace of the marsh, the joy of the bird, the mystery of
the forest, and the evidences of love everywhere.

The music of his lines varies with his subjects. It is light and
delicate in _Tampa Robins_, rippling and gurgling in _The Song of the
Chattahoochee_, and deeply sonorous in _The Marshes of Glynn_. Few
surpass him in the long, swinging, grave harmonies of his most highly
inspired verse. In individual lines, in selected stanzas, Lanier has few
rivals in America. His poetical endowment was rich, his passion for
music was a rare gift, his love of beauty was intense, and his soul was
on fire with ideals.

FATHER RYAN, 1839-1886

[Illustration: FATHER RYAN]

Another poet who will long be remembered for at least one poem is Abram
Joseph Ryan (1839-1886), better known as "Father Ryan." He was a Roman
Catholic priest who served as chaplain in the Confederate army, and though
longing and waiting only for death in order to go to the land that held joy
for him, he wrote and worked for his fellow-man with a gentleness and
sympathy that left regret in many hearts when he died in Louisville,
Kentucky, in 1886.

He loved the South and pitied her plight, and in his pathetic poem, _The
Conquered Banner_, voiced the woe of a heart-broken people:--

  "Furl that Banner, softly, slowly!
   Treat it gently--it is holy--
   For it droops above the dead.
   Touch it not--unfold it never--
   Let it droop there, furled forever,
   For its people's hopes are dead."



John Bannister Tabb was born in 1845 on the family estate in Amelia County,
Virginia. He was a strong adherent of the southern cause, and during the
war he served as clerk on one of the boats carrying military stores. He was
taken prisoner, and placed in Point Lookout Prison, where Lanier also was
confined. After the war, Tabb devoted some time to music and taught school.
His studies led him toward the church, and at the age of thirty-nine he
received the priest's orders in the Roman Catholic church. When he died in
1909, he was a teacher in St. Charles College, Ellicott City, Maryland. He
had been blind for two years.

Tabb's poems are preeminently "short swallow-flights of song," for most of
them are only from four to eight lines long. Some of these verses are
comic, while others are grave and full of religious ardor. The most
beautiful of all his poems are those of nature. The one called _The Brook_
is among the brightest and most fanciful:--

  "It is the mountain to the sea
   That makes a messenger of me:
   And, lest I loiter on the way
   And lose what I am sent to say,
   He sets his reverie to song
   And bids me sing it all day long.
   Farewell! for here the stream is slow,
   And I have many a mile to go."

[Footnote: _Poems_, 1894.]

_The Water Lily_ is another dainty product, full of poetic feeling for

  "Whence, O fragrant form of light,
   Hast thou drifted through the night,
   Swanlike, to a leafy nest,
   On the restless waves, at rest?

  "Art thou from the snowy zone
   Of a mountain-summit blown,
   Or the blossom of a dream,
   Fashioned in the foamy stream?"

[Footnote: _The Water Lily_, from _Poems_, 1894.]

In _Quips and Quiddits_ he loves to show that type of humor dependent on
unexpected changes in the meaning of words. The following lines illustrate
this characteristic:--

  "To jewels her taste did incline;
     But she had not a trinket to wear
   Till she slept after taking quinine,
     And awoke with a ring in each ear."

Tabb's power lay in condensing into a small compass a single thought or
feeling and giving it complete artistic expression. The more serious poems,
especially the sacred ones, sometimes seem to have too slight a body to
carry their full weight of thought, but the idea is always fully expressed,
no matter how narrow the compass of the verse. His poetry usually has the
qualities of lightness, airiness, and fancifulness.



Joel Chandler Harris was born at Eatonton, in the center of Georgia in
1848. He alludes to himself laughingly as "an uncultured Georgia cracker."
At the age of twelve, he was setting type for a country newspaper and
living upon the plantation of the wealthy owner of this paper, enjoying the
freedom of his well-selected library, hunting coons, possums, and rabbits
with his dogs, and listening to the stories told by his slaves. The boy
thus became well acquainted with many of the animal fables known to the
negroes of Georgia. Later in life, he heard a great many more of these
tales, while traveling through the cotton states, swapping yarns with the
negroes after he had gained their confidence. His knowledge of their
hesitancy about telling a story and his sympathy with them made it possible
for him to hear rare tales when another would probably have found only
silence. Sometimes, while waiting for a train, he would saunter up to a
group of negroes and start to tell a story himself and soon have them on
tiptoe to tell him one that he did not already know. In many ways he became
the possessor of a large part of the negro folklore. He loved a story and
he early commenced to write down these fables, making of them such
delightful works of art that all America is his debtor, not only for thus
preserving the folklore of a primitive people in their American
environment, but also for the genuine pleasure derived from the stories
themselves. They are related with such humor, skill, and poetic spirit that
they almost challenge comparison with Kipling's tales of the jungle. The
hero is the poor, meek, timid rabbit, but in the tales he becomes the
witty, sly, resourceful, bold adventurer, who acts "sassy" and talks big.
Harris says that "it needs no scientific investigation to show why he [the
negro] selects as his hero the weakest and most harmless of all animals,
and brings him out victorious in contests with the bear, the wolf, and the
fox. It is not virtue that triumphs, but helplessness; it is not malice,
but mischievousness." Sometimes, as is shown in _The Wonderful Tar Baby
Story_, a trick of the fox causes serious trouble to the rabbit; but the
rabbit usually invents most of the pranks himself. The absurdly incongruous
attitude of the rabbit toward the other animals is shown in the following
conversation, which occurs in the story of _Brother Rabbit and Brother
Tiger_, published in _Uncle Remus and His Friends_:--

  "Brer Tiger 'low, 'How come you ain't skeer'd er me, Brer Rabbit? All de
  yuther creeturs run when dey hear me comin'.'

  "Brer Rabbit say, 'How come de fleas on you ain't skeer'd un you? Dey er
  lots littler dan what I is.'

  "Brer Tiger 'low, 'Hit's mighty good fer you dat I done had my dinner,
  kaze ef I'd a-been hongry I'd a-snapped you up back dar at de creek.'

  "Brer Rabbit say, 'Ef you'd done dat, you'd er had mo' sense in yo' hide
  dan what you got now.'

  "Brer Tiger 'low, 'I gwine ter let you off dis time, but nex' time I see
  you, watch out!'

  "Brer Rabbit say, 'Bein's you so monst'us perlite, I'll let you off too,
  but keep yo' eye open nex' time you see me, kaze I'll git you sho.'"

(Courtesy of D. Appleton & Co.)]

The glee of the negro in the rabbit's nonchalant bearing is humorously
given in this paragraph:--

  "Well, I wish ter goodness you could er seed 'im 'bout dat time. He went
  'long thoo de woods ez gay ez a colt in a barley-patch. He wunk at de
  trees, he shuck his fisties at de stumps, he make like he wuz quoilin'
  wid 'is shadder kaze it foller 'long atter 'im so close; en he went on
  scan'lous, mon!"

The three books that contain the most remarkable of these tales are: _Uncle
Remus, His Songs and His Sayings_ (1880), _Nights with Uncle Remus_ (1881),
_Uncle Remus and His Friends_ (1892). In the volume, _Told by Uncle Remus_
(1905), the same negro relates more stories to the son of the "little boy,"
who had many years before listened to the earlier tales. The one thing in
these books that is absolutely the creation of Harris is the character of
Uncle Remus. He is a patriarchal ex-slave, who seems to be a storehouse of
knowledge concerning Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Brer B'ar, and indeed all the
animals of those bygone days when animals talked and lived in houses. He
understands child nature as well as he knows the animals, and from the
corner of his eye he keeps a sharp watch upon his tiny auditor to see how
the story affects him. No figure more living, original, and lovable than
Uncle Remus appears in southern fiction. In him Harris has created, not a
burlesque or a sentimental impossibility, but an imperishable type, the
type of the true plantation negro.

Harris also writes entertainingly of the slaves and their masters on the
plantation and of the poor free negroes, in such stories as _Mingo and
Other Sketches_ (1884) and _Free Joe_ (1887). He further presents a vivid
picture of the Georgia "crackers" and "moonshiners"; but his inimitable
animal stories, and Uncle Remus who tells them, have overshadowed all his
other work, and remain his most distinctive and original contribution to
American literature. These tales bid fair to have something of the
immortality of those myths which succeeding generations have for thousands
of years enjoyed.


Thomas Nelson Page was born on Oakland Plantation in Hanover County,
Virginia, in 1853. He graduated at Washington and Lee University in 1872,
and took a degree in law at the University of Virginia in 1874. He
practiced law in Richmond, wrote stories and essays upon the old South, and
later moved to Washington to live.

[Illustration: THOMAS NELSON PAGE]

His best stories are the short ones, like _Marse Chan_ and _Meh Lady_, in
which life on the Virginia plantations during the war is presented. Page is
a natural story-teller. He wastes no time in analyzing, describing, and
explaining, but sets his simple plots into immediate motion and makes us
acquainted with his characters through their actions and speech. The regal
mistresses of the plantations, the lordly but kind-hearted masters, the
loving, simple-minded slaves, and handsome young men and maidens are far
from complex personalities. They have a primitive simplicity and
ingenuousness which belong to a bygone civilization. The strongest appeal
in the stories is made by the negroes, whose faith in their masters is
unquestioning, and sometimes pathetic.

Some old negro who had been a former slave usually tells the story, and
paints his "marster," his "missus," and his "white folks," as the finest in
the region. He looks back upon the bygone days as a time when "nuthin' warn
too good for niggers," and is sure that if his young "marster" did not get
the brush "twuz cause twuz a bob-tailed fox." In _Meh Lady_ the negro
relating the tale is the true but unconscious hero. This kindly
presentation of the finest traits of slave days, the idealizing of the
characters, and the sympathetic portrayal of the warm affection existing
between master and slave give to Page's books a strong note of romanticism.
The humor is mild, quaint, and subtle, and it often lies next to tears.
Page is preeminently a short-story writer. He possesses the restraint, the
compression, the art, the unity of idea necessary to the production of a
good short story.


[Illustration: GEORGE W. CABLE]

George Washington Cable is of Virginia and New England stock, but he was
born in New Orleans in 1844, and called this beautiful city his home until
1884, when he moved to Connecticut. The following year he selected
Northampton, Massachusetts, as a permanent residence. He was but fourteen
when his father died, leaving the family in straitened circumstances. The
boy thereupon left school and went to work. Four years later he entered the
Confederate army. So youthful was his appearance, that a planter, catching
sight of him, exclaimed, "Great heavens! Abe Lincoln told the truth. We
_are_ robbing the cradle and the grave!" He served two years in the
southern army, and after the war returned penniless to his native city. His
efforts to find employment are described in his most realistic novel, _Dr.
Sevier_. He was a surveyor, a clerk to cotton merchants, and a reporter on
the New Orleans _Picayune_; but his tastes were literary, and after the
publication in 1879 of a volume of short stories, _Old Creole Days_, his
attention was turned wholly to literature.

Cable's _Old Creole Days_ is a collection of picturesque short stories of
the romantic Creoles of New Orleans. _Jean-ah-Poquelin_, the story of an
old recluse, is most artistically told. There are few incidents; Cable
merely describes the former roving life of Jean, tells how suddenly it
stopped, how he never again left the old home where he and an African mute
lived, and how Jean's younger brother mysteriously disappeared, and the
suspicion of his murder rested upon Jean's shoulders. The explanation of
these points is unfolded by hints, conjectures, and rare glimpses into the
Poquelin grounds at night, and finally by an impressive but simple
description of Jean's funeral, at which the terrible secret is completely
revealed. The deftest and finest touch of an artist is seen in the working
out of this pathetic story.

_Madame Delphine_, now included in the volume _Old Creole Days_, is equally
the product of a refined art. Here is shown the anguish of a quadroon
mother who turns frantically from one to another for help to save her
beautiful child, the ivory-tinted daughter of the South. When every one
fails, the mother heart makes one grand sacrifice by which the end is
gained, and she dies at the foot of the altar in an agony of remorse and
love. The beautiful land of flowers, the jasmine-scented night of the
South, the poetic chivalry of a proud, high-souled race are painted vividly
in this idyllic story. Its people are not mortals, its beauty is not of
earth, but, like the carved characters on Keats's Grecian urn, they have
immortal youth and cannot change. Keats could have said to the lovers in
_Madame Delphine_, as to his own upon the vase:--

  "Forever wilt thou love, and she be fair!"

Cable's best long works are _The Grandissimes_ (1880), _Dr. Sevier_ (1884),
and _Bonaventure, a Prose Pastoral of Arcadian Louisiana_ (1888). Of these
three, _The Grandissimes_ is easily first in merit. It is a highly romantic
work, full of dramatic episodes, and replete with humor. The abundance and
variety of interesting characters in this romance evidence the great
fertility and power of invention possessed by Cable. First of all, there is
the splendid Creole, Honore' Grandissime, the head of the family,--a man
who sees far into the future, and places his trust in the young American
republic. Combating the narrow prejudices of his family, he leads them in
spite of themselves to riches and honor. Opposing him in family counsels is
his uncle, Agricola Fusilier, the brave, blustering, fire-eating
reactionary. There is also the beautiful quadroon, Palmyre Philosophe. The
"united grace and pride of her movement was inspiring, but--what shall we
say?--feline? It was a femininity without humanity,--something that made
her, with all her superbness, a creature that one would want to find
chained." Beside her are the dwarf Congo woman and Clemence, the
sharp-tongued negress, who sells her wares in the streets and sends her
bright retorts back to the young bloods who taunt her. There is Bras
Coupe', the savage slave, who had once been a chief in Africa and who
fights like a fiend against enslavement, blights the broad acres with his
curse, lives an exile in snake-infested swamps, and finally meets a most
tragic fate. These unusual and somewhat sensational characters give high
color, warmth, and variety to the romance. The two exquisite Creole women,
Aurora and her daughter, Clotilde, are a triumph of delicate
characterization, being at one and the same time winning, lovable,
illogical, innocent, capable, and noble. The love scene in which Aurora
says "no," while she means "yes," and is not taken at her word, is as
delicious a bit of humor and sentiment as there is in modern fiction. In
neither _Dr. Sevier_ nor _Bonaventure_ are there the buoyancy, vital
interest, and unity of impression of _The Grandissimes_, which is one of
the artistic products of American novelists. Cable may not have rendered
the Creole character exactly true to life; but he has in a measure done for
these high-spirited, emotional, brave people what Irving did for the
Knickerbockers of New York and what Hawthorne did for the Puritan.

Cable has also given graphic pictures of New Orleans. His poetic powers of
description enabled him to make the picturesque streets, the quaint
interiors, the swamps, bayous, forests, and streams very vivid realities to
his readers. He has warmth of feeling and a most refined and subtle humor.
His scenes are sometimes blood-curdling, his characters unusual, and the
deeds described sensational; but in his best work, his manner is so quiet,
his English so elegant, and his treatment so poetic, that the effect is
never crude or harsh, but always mild and harmonious.


James Lane Allen was born in 1849 near Lexington, in the rich blue-grass
section of Kentucky. He did not leave the state until he was twenty-two, so
that his education both at school and college was received in Kentucky, and
all his early and most impressionable years were passed amid Kentucky
scenes. Many of these years were spent on a farm, where his faculty for
observing was used to good advantage. As he grew older, he took his share
in the farm work and labored in the fields of hemp, corn, and wheat, which
he describes in his works. He graduated from Transylvania College,
Lexington, and taught for several years, but after 1884 devoted himself to

[Illustration: JAMES LANE ALLEN]

In 1891, Allen published _Flute and Violin and Other Kentucky Tales and
Romances_. For artistic completeness, Allen wrote nothing superior to the
story in this collection, entitled, _King Solomon of Kentucky_, a tale of
an idle vagabond who proved capable of a heroism from which many heroes
might have flinched. All of the stories are romantic and pathetic. _The
Kentucky Cardinal_ (1894) and _Aftermath_ (1895) are poetic idyls, whose
scenes are practically confined within one small Kentucky garden, where the
strawberries grow, the cardinal sings, and the maiden watches across the
fence her lover at his weeding. The compass of the garden is not too small
to embody the very spirit of out-of-doors, which is continuously present in
these two delightful stories.

From the human point of view, _The Choir Invisible_ (1897) is Allen's
strongest book. John Gray, Mrs. Falconer, and Amy are convincingly alive.
No better proof of the vital interest they arouse is needed than the
impatience felt by the reader at John's mistaken act of chivalry, which
causes the bitterest sorrow to him and Mrs. Falconer. Allen's later works,
_The Reign of Law_ (1900), _The Mettle of the Pasture_ (1903), _The Bride
of the Mistletoe_ (1909), lose in charm and grace what they gain as studies
of moral problems. The hardness and incompleteness of outline of the
character portrayals and the grimness of spirit in the telling of the tales
make these novels uninviting after the luxuriance of the earlier books.

The setting is an important part of Allen's stories. He describes with the
graphic touch of a true nature lover the witchery of Kentucky's fallow
meadows, the beauty of her hempfields, the joys of a June day. A noisy
conflict could not occur in the restful garden of _The Kentucky Cardinal_,
while in the frontier garden of Mrs. Falconer, in _The Choir Invisible_,
the ambitious, fiery John Gray seems not out of harmony because the
presence of the adjacent wild forest affects the entire scene. In one way
or another, the landscapes, by preparing the reader for the moods of the
characters, play a part in all of Allen's novels. He is a master of the art
that holds together scenes and actions. His descriptive powers are unusual,
and his style is highly wrought. It is more that of the literary essayist
than of the simple narrator, and it is full of poetic touches, delicate
suggestions, and refined art.


Miss Mary Noailles Murfree, better known as Charles Egbert Craddock, was
born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in 1850. For fifteen years she spent her
summers in the Tennessee mountains among the people of whom she writes. Her
pen name of Charles Egbert Craddock deceived her publishers into the belief
that she was a man. Both Howells and Thomas Bailey Aldrich accepted her
stories for the _Atlantic Monthly_ without suspecting her sex, and Aldrich
was a surprised man the day she entered his office and introduced herself
as Charles Egbert Craddock.

The stories that suggested to her editors a masculine hand are lively
recitals of family feuds, moonshiners' raids, circuit court sessions,
fights over land grants, discoveries of oil, and many similar incidents,
which make up the life of a people separated from the modern world by
almost inaccessible mountains. The rifle is used freely by this people, and
murder is frequent, but honor and bravery, daring and sacrifice, are not
absent, and Craddock finds among the women, as well as the men, examples of
magnanimity and heroism that thrill the reader.

[Illustration: MARY N. MURFREE (Charles Egbert Craddock)]

The presence of the mountains is always imminent, and seems to impress the
lives of the people in some direct way. To Cynthia Ware, for instance, in
the story, _Drifting Down Lost Creek_, Pine Mountain seems to stand as a
bar to all her ambitions and dreams:--

  "Whether the skies are blue or gray, the dark, austere line of its summit
  limits the horizon. It stands against the west like a barrier. It seems
  to Cynthia Ware that nothing which went beyond this barrier ever came
  back again. One by one the days passed over it, and in splendid
  apotheosis, in purple and crimson and gold, they were received into the
  heavens and returned no more. She beheld love go hence, and many a hope.
  Even Lost Creek itself, meandering for miles between the ranges, suddenly
  sinks into the earth, tunnels an unknown channel beneath the mountain,
  and is never seen again."

And, finally, after a tremendous self-sacrifice, when all appears lost and
her future looks colorless and hopeless, she fears that the years of her
life are "like the floating leaves drifting down Lost Creek, valueless,
purposeless, and vaguely vanishing in the mountains." All of the stories
are by no means so tragically sad as this one, but all are overshadowed by
the mountains. Among the best of the novels, _Down the Ravine_ and _The
Prophet of the Great Smoky Mountain_ may be mentioned. Craddock shows
marked ability in delineating this primitive type of level-headed,
independent people, and she tells their story with ease and vigor. The
individual characters are not strongly differentiated in her many books,
and the heroines bear considerable resemblance to each other, but the
entire community of mountain folk, their ideals, hopes, and circumscribed
lives are clearly and vividly shown.

MADISON J. CAWEIN, 1865-1914

[Illustration: MADISON J. CAWEIN]

Cawein spent the greater part of his life in Louisville, Kentucky, where he
was born in 1865 and died in 1914. He wrote more than twenty volumes of
verse, the best of which he collected in five volumes (1907) and later in
one volume (1911). The appreciative English critic, Edmund Gosse, in his
_Introduction_ to the 1907 collection, calls Cawein "the only hermit
thrush" singing "through an interval comparatively tuneless." W. D.
Howells's (p. 373) _Foreword_ in the 1911 volume emphasizes Cawein's
unusual power of making common things 'live and glow thereafter with
inextinguishable beauty.'

Cawein actually writes much of his poetry out of doors in the presence of
the nature which he is describing. His lyrics of nature are his best verse.
He can even diminish the horror of a Kentucky feud by placing it among:--

  "Frail ferns and dewy mosses and dark brush,--
     Impenetrable briers, deep and dense,
   And wiry bushes,--brush, that seemed to crush
     The struggling saplings with its tangle, whence
   Sprawled out the ramble of an old rail-fence."

In his verses the catbird nests in the trumpet vine, the pewee pours forth
a woodland welcome, the redbird sings a vesper song, the lilacs are musky
of the May, the bluebells and the wind flowers bloom. We hear

  "... tinkling in the clover dells,
   The twilight sound of cattle bells."

His verse often shows exactness of observation, characteristic of modern
students of nature, as well as a romantic love of the outdoor world. Note
the specific references to the shape and color of individual natural
objects in these lines from Cawein:--

  "May-apples, ripening yellow, lean
   With oblong fruit, a lemon-green,
   Near Indian-turnips, long of stem,
   That bear an acorn-oval gem."

He loves the nymphs of mythology, the dryads, naiads, and the fairies. One
of his poems is called _There Are Fairies_:--

  "There are fairies, I could swear
   I have seen them busy where
   Rose-leaves loose their scented hair,
       *       *       *       *       *
   Leaning from the window sill
   Of a rose or daffodil,
   Listening to their serenade,
   All of cricket music made."

In luxuriance of imagery and profuse appeal to the senses, he is the Keats
of the South. Lines like these remind us of the greater poet's _The Eve of
St. Agnes_:--

  "Into the sunset's turquoise marge
   The moon dips, like a pearly barge
   Enchantment sails through magic seas
   To fairyland Hesperides."

Keats exclaims:--

  "O for a beaker full of the warm South."

Cawein proceeds to fill the beaker from the summer of a southern land,

  "The west was hot geranium-red,"


  "The dawn is a warp of fever,
   The eve is a woof of fire,"

and where

  "The heliotropes breathe drowsy musk
   Into the jasmine-dreamy air."

Cawein sometimes suffers from profuseness and lack of pruning, but the
music, sentiment, imaginative warmth, and profusion of nature's charms in
his best lyrics rouse keen delight in any lover of poetry. While he revels
in the color, warmth, and joys of nature, it should also be observed that
he can occasionally strike that deeper note which characterizes the great
nature poets of the English race. In _A Prayer for Old Age_, he asks:--

  "Never to lose my faith in Nature, God:
          But still to find
   Worship in trees; religion in each sod;
          And in the wind
   that breathe the universal God."


The lack of towns, the widely separated population, the aristocratic nature
of the civilization depending on slave labor, the absorption of the people
in political questions, especially the question of slavery, the attitude
toward literature as a profession, the poverty of public education, the
extreme conservatism and isolation of the South, and, finally, the Civil
War, and the period of reconstruction after it,--were all influences that
served to retard the development of literature in the South.

The greatest name in southern literature is that of Edgar Allan Poe, the
literary artist, the critic, the developer of the modern short story, the
writer of superlatively melodious verse. He was followed by Simms, who was
among the first in the South to live by his pen. His tales of adventure are
still interesting and important for the history that they embody. Timrod's
spontaneity and strength appear in lyrics of war, nature, and love. Hayne,
a skilled poetic artist, is at his best in lyrics of nature. Lanier's poems
of nature embody high ideals in verse of unusual melody, and voice a faith
in "the greatness of God," as intense as that of any Puritan poet. Lanier
shared with Simms, Hayne, and Timrod the bitter misfortunes of the war.
Father Ryan is affectionately remembered for his stirring war lyrics and
Father Tabb for his nature poems, sacred verse, and entertaining humor. The
nature poetry of Cawein abounds in the color and warmth of the South.

In modern southern fiction there is to be found some of the most
imaginative, artistic, and romantic work of the entire country in the
latter quarter of the nineteenth century. Rich local color renders much of
this fiction attractive. Harris fascinates the ear of the young world with
the Georgia negro's tales of Brer Fox and Brer Rabbit. The Virginia negroes
live in the stories of Page. Craddock introduces the Tennessee mountaineer,
and Allen, the Kentucky farmer, scholar, and gentleman, while Cable paints
the refined Creole in the fascinating city of New Orleans.

Notwithstanding the use of dialect and other realistic touches of local
color, the fiction is largely romantic. The careful analysis of motives and
detailed accounts of the commonplace, such as the eastern realists
developed in the last part of the nineteenth century, are for the most part
absent from this southern fiction.

A strong distinguishing feature of this body of fiction is the large part
played by natural scenes. Allen shows unusual skill in employing nature to
heighten his effects. If the poetic and vivid scenes were removed from
Cable's stories, they would lose a large part of their charm. When Miss
Murfree chooses eastern Tennessee for the scene of her novels, she never
permits the mountains to be forgotten. These writers are lovers of nature
as well as of human beings. The romantic prose fiction as well as the
poetry is invested with color and beauty.


Page's _The Old South_.

Page's _Social Life in Old Virginia before the War_.

Hart's _Slavery and Abolition_.

Baskerville's _Southern Writers_, 2 vols.

Link's _Pioneers of Southern Literature_, 2 vols.

Moses's _The Literature of the South_.

Holliday's _A History of Southern Literature_.

Manly's _Southern Literature_.

Painter's _Poets of the South_.

Woodberry's _The Life of Edgar Allan Poe, Personal and Literary, with his
chief Correspondence with Men of Letters,_ 2 vols., 1909. (The best life.)

Woodberry and Stedman's _The Works of Edgar Allan Poe with a Memoir,
Critical Introductions, and Notes_, 10 vols.

Harrison's _The Virginia Edition of the Works of Edgar Allan Poe_, 17 vols.
(Contains excellent critical essays.)

Harrison's _Life and Letters of Edgar Allan Poe_, 2 vols.

Stedman's _Poets of America_. (Poe.)

Fruit's _The Mind and Art of Poe's Poetry_.

Canby's _The Short Story in English_, Chap. XI. (Poe.)

Baldwin's _American Short Stories_. (Poe.)

Payne's _American Literary Criticism_. (Poe.)

Prescott's _Selections from the Critical Writings of Edgar Allan Poe,
edited with an Introduction and Notes_.

Gates's _Studies and Appreciations_. (Poe.)

Trent's _William Gilmore Simms_.

Erskine's _Leading American Novelists_. (Simms.)

Ward's _Memorial of Sidney Lanier_, in _Poems of Sidney Lanier_, edited by
his Wife.

Burt's _The Lanier Book_.

Burt and Cable's _The Cable Story Book_.

Page's _The Page Story Book_.


Selections (not always the ones indicated below) from _all_ the authors
mentioned in this chapter may be found in Trent's _Southern Writers_, 524
pages, and Mims and Payne's _Southern Prose and Poetry for Schools_, 440
pages. Selections from the majority of the poets are given in Painter's
_Poets of the South_, 237 pages, and Weber's _Selections from the Southern
Poets_, 221 pages. The best poems of Poe and Lanier may be found in Page's
_The Chief American Poets_.


POE.--His best poems are short, and may soon be read. They are _Annabel
Lee_, _To One in Paradise_, _The Raven_, _The Haunted Palace_, _The
Conqueror Worm_, _Ulalume_, _Israfel_, _Lenore_, and _The Bells_.

HAYNE.--_A Dream of the South Winds_, _Aspects of the Pines_, _The Woodland
Phases_, and _A Storm in the Distance_.

TIMROD.--_Spring_, _The Lily Confidante_, _An Exotic_, _The Cotton Boll_,
and _Carolina_.

LANIER.--_The Marshes of Glynn_, _Sunrise_, _The Song of the
Chattahoochee_, _Tampa Robins_, _Love and Song_, _The Stirrup Cup_, and
_The Symphony_.

RYAN.--_The Conquered Banner_, and _The Sword of Robert Lee_.

TABB.--Fourteen of his complete poems may be found on two pages (489 and
490) of Stedman's _An American Anthology_. Much of Tabb's best work is
contained in his little volume entitled _Poems_ (1894).

CAWEIN.--_The Whippoorwill_, _There are Fairies_, _The Shadow Garden_, _One
Day and Another_, _In Solitary Places_, _A Twilight Moth_, _To a Wind
Flower_, _Beauty and Art_, _A Prayer for Old Age_.

The best two volumes of general selections from Cawein's verse have been
published in England and given the titles, _Kentucky Poems_ (1902), 264
pages, edited with an excellent _Introduction_ by Edmund Gosse, and _New
Poems_ (1909), 248 pages. His best nature poetry will be found in his
single American volume of selections, entitled _Poems, Selected by the
Author_ (1911).


POE.--Poe's best short story is _The Fall of the House of Usher_, but it is
better to begin with such favorites as either _The Murders in the Rue
Morgue_, _The Gold-Bug_, or _A Descent into the Maelstrom_. There are many
poor editions of Poe's _Tales_. Cody's _The Best Tales of Edgar Allan Poe_
and Macmillan's _Pocket Classics_ edition may be recommended. The best part
of his critical remarks on short-story writing is quoted in this text, p.
299. A part of his essay, _The Poetic Principle_, is given in Trent.

SIMMS.--Mims and Payne give (pp. 50-69) a good selection from _The
Yemassee_, describing an Indian episode in the war of 1715, between the
Spaniards and the Indians on the one hand, and the English on the other.
Trent gives (pp. 186-189) from _The Partisan_, a scene laid at the time of
the Revolutionary War.

HARRIS.--Read anywhere from _Uncle Remus, his Songs, and his Sayings_
(1880), _Nights with Uncle Remus_ (1881), _Uncle Remus and his Friends_
(1892). An excellent selection, _Brother Billy Goat eats his Dinner_, is
given in Trent.

CABLE.--_Madame Delphine_ and _Jean-ah-Poquelin_, two of Cable's best short
stories, are published under the title, _Old Creole Days_.

PAGE, ALLEN, AND CRADDOCK.--From Page, read either _Marse Chan_ or _Meh
Lady_; from Allen, _King Solomon of Kentucky_, and _Two Gentlemen of
Kentucky,_ from _Flute and Violin,_ or _The Kentucky Cardinal,_ or _The
Choir Invisible_; from Craddock, selections from _Down the Ravine,_ _In the
Tennessee Mountains,_ or _The Prophet of the Great Smoky Mountain._


Poetry.--Which of Poe's nine poems indicated for reading pleases you most
and which least? What is the chief source of your pleasure in reading him?
Do you feel like reading any of his poems a second time or repeating parts
of them? Account for the extraordinary vitality of Poe's verse. What is the
subject matter of most of his poems?

What is the subject of Lanier's best verse? Compare his melody and ideals
with Poe's. Is Lanier's _Song of the Chattahoochee_ as melodious as
Tennyson's _The Brook?_ Which is the most beautiful stanza in _My Springs?_
What are the strongest and most distinguishing qualities of Lanier's verse?
Which of these are especially prominent in _The Marshes of Glynn_ and
_Sunrise,_ and which in _Tampa Robins?_

Compare Hayne and Timrod for artistic finish, definiteness, and
spontaneity. Does Hayne or Timrod love nature more for herself alone?
Select the best stanza from Timrod's _The Lily Confidante_ and compare it
with your favorite stanza from Lanier's _My Springs._ From each of the
poems of Hayne suggested for reading, select some of the most artistic
creations of his fancy.

Indicate the patriotism and the pathos in Father Ryan's verse.

Point out some unique qualities in Tabb's poetry. Is the length of his
poems in accordance with Poe's dictum? Select some passage showing special
delicacy or originality in describing nature.

What in Cawein's verse would indicate that he wrote his poems out of doors?
Compare the definiteness of his references to nature with Hayne's. What
specific references in Cawein's nature poems please you most? Compare
Keats's poems _On the Grasshopper and Cricket, Fancy,_ and stanzas here and
there from _The Eve of St. Agnes_ with Cawein's imagery and method of
appealing to the senses.

Prose.--Take one of Poe's tales, and point out how it illustrates his
theory of the short story given on p. 299. In order to hold the attention
of an average audience, should you select for reading one of Irving's,
Hawthorne's, or Poe's short stories? Should you use the same principle in
selecting one of these stories for a friend to read quietly by himself?

Is Simms dramatic? In what particulars does he remind you of Cooper? In the
selection from _The Yemassee_ (Mims and Payne) are there any qualities
which Poe indicates for a short story?

What is the secret of the attractiveness of the stories of Joel Chandler
Harris? Point out some valuable philosophy of human nature which frequently
crops out. What special characteristics of Uncle Remus are revealed in
these tales? What are the most prominent qualities of Brer Rabbit? Why does
the negro select him for his hero? What is the final result of Brer Fox's
trick in _The Wonderful Tar Baby Story_? What resemblances and differences
can you find between the animal stories of Harris and Kipling?

Why are Cable's stories called romantic? What remarkable feature do you
notice about their local color? Give instances of his poetic touch and of
his power to draw character. Does he reveal his characters in a plain,
matter-of-fact manner, or by means of subtle touches and unexpected

Compare Page's negroes with Uncle Remus. What characteristics of Virginia
life do the stories of Page reveal? What do you find most attractive in him
as a story-teller?

What impression does Allen's _King Solomon of Kentucky_ make on you? What
are some of the strong situations in _The Choir Invisible_? What effect
does the natural setting have on his scenes?

In the presentation of what scenes does Craddock excel? What are some of
the characteristics of her mountain people? Is the individuality of the
characters strongly marked or are they more frequently general types? In
what parts of the South are the scenes of the stories of Cable, Page,
Allen, and Craddock chiefly laid? How should you define "local color" in
terms of the work of each of these writers?



THE NEWNESS OF THE WEST.-It is difficult for the young of to-day to realize
that Wisconsin and Iowa were not states when Hawthorne published his Twice
Told Tales (1837), that Lowell's _The Vision of Sir Launfal_ (1848) was
finished ten years before Minnesota became a state, that Longfellow's
_Hiawatha_ (1855) appeared six years before the admission of Kansas, and
Holmes's _The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table_ (1858), nine years before
the admission of Nebraska. In 1861 Mark Twain went to the West in a
primitive stagecoach. Bret Harte had finished _The Luck of Roaring Camp_
(1868) before San Francisco was reached by a transcontinental railroad.

Even after the early pioneers had done their work, the population of the
leading states of the West underwent too rapid a change for quick
assimilation. Between 1870 and 1880 the population of Minnesota increased
77 per cent; Kansas, 173 per cent; Nebraska, 267 per cent. This population
was mostly agricultural, and it was busy subduing the soil and getting
creature comforts.

Mark Twain says of the advance guard of the pioneers who went to the far
West to conquer this new country:--

  "It was the _only_ population of the kind that the world has ever seen
  gathered together, and it is not likely that the world will ever see its
  like again. For, observe, it was an assemblage of two hundred thousand
  _young_ men--not simpering, dainty, kid-gloved weaklings, but stalwart,
  muscular, dauntless young braves, brimful of push and energy, and royally
  endowed with every attribute that goes to make up a peerless and
  magnificent manhood--the very pick and choice of the world's glorious
  ones." [Footnote: Roughing It.]

In even as recent a period as the twenty years from 1880 to 1900, the
population of Minnesota increased 124 per cent; Nebraska, 135 per cent; and
Colorado, 177 per cent. This increase indicates something of the strenuous
work necessary on the physical side to prepare comfortable permanent homes
in the country, town, and city, and to plan and execute the other material
adaptations necessary for progressive civilized life and trade. It is
manifest that such a period of stress is not favorable to the development
of literature. Although the population of California increased 60 per cent
and that of the state of Washington 120 per cent between 1900 and 1910, the
extreme stress, due to pioneer life and to rapid increase in population,
has already abated in the vast majority of places throughout the West,
which is rapidly becoming as stable as any other section of the country.

THE DEMOCRATIC SPIRIT.--In settling the West, everybody worked shoulder to
shoulder. There were no privileged classes to be excepted from the common
toils and privations. All met on common ground, shared each other's
troubles, and assisted each other in difficult work. All were outspoken and
championed their own opinions without restraint. At few times in the
history of the civilized world has the home been a more independent unit.
Never have pioneers been more self-reliant, more able to cope with
difficulties, more determined to have their rights.

This democratic spirit is reflected in the works of western authors. It
made Mark Twain the champion of the weak, the impartial upholder of justice
to the Maid of Orleans, to a slave, or to a vivisected dog. It made him
join the school of Cervantes and puncture the hypocrisy of pretension in
classes or individuals. The Clemens family had believed in the aristocracy
of slavery, but the great democratic spirit of the West molded Mark Twain
as a growing boy. All the characters of worth in the great stories of his
young life are democratic. The son of the drunkard, the slave mother, the
crowds on the steamboats, the far western pioneers, belong to the great
democracy of man.

Abraham Lincoln owes his fame in oratory to this democratic spirit, to the
feeling that prompted him to say, "With malice toward none; with charity
for all." Bret Harte's world-famous short stories picture the rough mining
camps. Eugene Field is a poet of that age of universal democracy, the age
of childhood. The poetry of James Whitcomb Riley is popular because it
speaks directly to the common human heart.

Although the West has already begun a period of greater repose, she has
been fortunate to retain an Elizabethan enthusiasm and interest in
many-sided life. This quality, so apparent in much of the work discussed in
this chapter, is full of virile promise for the future.


[Illustration: ABRAHAM LINCOLN]

Migrating from his birthplace in Kentucky, first to Indiana and then to
Illinois, where he helped to clear the unbroken forest, Abraham Lincoln was
one of America's greatest pioneers. Shackled by poverty and lack of
education, his indomitable will first broke his own fetters and then those
of the slave. History claims him as her own, but some of the plain,
sincere, strong English that fell from his lips while he was making history
demands attention as literature. Passing by his great debates with Douglas
(1858), not because they are unimportant, but because they belong more to
the domain of politics and history, we come to his _Gettysburg Address_
(1863), which is one of the three greatest American orations. In England,
Oxford University displays on its walls this _Address_ as a model to show
students how much can be said simply and effectively in two hundred and
sixty-nine words. Edward Everett, a graduate of Harvard, called the most
eloquent man of his time, also spoke at Gettysburg, although few are to-day
aware of this fact.

The question may well be asked, "How did Lincoln, who had less than one
year's schooling, learn the secret of such speech?" The answer will be
found in the fixity of purpose and the indomitable will of the pioneer.
When he was a boy, he seemed to realize that in order to succeed, he must
talk and write plainly. As a lad, he used to practice telling things in
such a way that the most ignorant person could understand them. In his
youth he had only little scraps of paper or shingles on which to write, and
so perforce learned the art of brevity. Only a few books were accessible to
him, and he read and reread them until they became a part of him. The
volumes that he thus absorbed were the _Bible_, _Aesop's Fables_, _Arabian
Nights_, _Robinson Crusoe_, _The Pilgrim's Progress_, _Franklin's
Autobiography_, Weems's _Life of Washington_, and two or three textbooks.
Without such good reading, which served to guide his practice in writing
and speaking, he could never have been President. Later in life he read
Shakespeare, especially _Macbeth_.

Parts of his _Second Inaugural Address_ (1865) show even better than his
_Gettysburg Address_ the influence of the _Bible_ on his thought and style.
One reason why there is so much weak and ineffective prose written to-day
is because books like the _Bible_ and _The Pilgrim's Progress_ are not read
and reread as much as formerly. Of the North and the South, he says in his
_Second Inaugural_:--

  "Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes his
  aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to
  ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of
  other men's faces; but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The
  prayers of both could not be answered--that of neither has been answered

  "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the
  right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the
  work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds...."

Absolute sincerity is the most striking quality in his masterpieces.
Simplicity and brevity are next in evidence; to these are sometimes added
the pathos and intensity of a Hebrew prophet.

BRET HARTE, 1839-1902

LIFE.--The father of Bret Harte was professor of Greek in the Albany, New
York, Female College, where his son, named Francis Bret, was born in 1839.
The boy never attended an institution of learning higher than a common
school. Fatherless at the age of fifteen, he went with his mother to
California in 1854. Here he tried teaching school, mining, going on stages
as an express messenger, printing, government service, and editing. Of his
experience in California, he writes:--

  "Here I was thrown among the strangest social conditions that the
  latter-day world has perhaps seen.... Amid rushing waters and wildwood
  freedom, an army of strong men, in red shirts and top-boots, were
  feverishly in search of the buried gold of earth.... It was a land of
  perfect freedom, limited only by the instinct and the habit of law which
  prevailed in the mass.... Strong passions brought quick climaxes, all the
  better and worse forces of manhood being in unbridled play. To me it was
  like a strange, ever-varying panorama, so novel that it was difficult to
  grasp comprehensively."

[Illustration: BRET HARTE (From a painting by John Pettie, R. A.)]

Amid such surroundings he was educated for his life work, and his
idealization of these experiences is what entitles him to a sure place in
American literature.

After spending sixteen years in California, he returned in 1871 to the
East, where he wrote and lectured; but these subsequent years are of
comparatively small interest to the student of literature. In 1878 he went
as consul to Crefeld in Germany. He was soon transferred from there to
Glasgow, Scotland, the consulship of which he held until his removal by
President Cleveland in 1885. These two sentences from William Black, the
English novelist, may explain the presidential action: "Bret Harte was to
have been back from Paris last night, but he is a wandering comet. The only
place he is sure not to be found is at the Glasgow consulate." Bret Harte
was something of a lion in a congenial English literary set, and he never
returned to America. He continued to write until his death at Camberly,
Surrey, in 1902. The tourist may find his grave in Frimley churchyard,

WORKS.--Bret Harte was a voluminous writer. His authorized publishers have
issued twenty-eight volumes of his prose and one volume of his collected
poems. While his _Plain Language from Truthful James_, known as his
"Heathen Chinee" poem, was very popular, his short stories in prose are his
masterpieces. The best of these were written before 1871, when he left
California for the East. Much of his later work was a repetition of what he
had done as well or better in his youth.

_The Overland Magazine_, a San Francisco periodical, which Bret Harte was
editing, published in 1868 his own short story, _The Luck of Roaring Camp_.
This is our greatest short story of pioneer life. England recognized its
greatness as quickly as did America. The first two sentences challenge our
curiosity, and remind us of Poe's dictum concerning the writing of a story
(p. 299):--

  "There was commotion in Roaring Camp. It could not have been a fight, for
  in 1850 that was not novel enough to have called together the entire

We at once stand face to face with the characters of that mining camp. "The
assemblage numbered about a hundred men. One or two of these were actual
fugitives from justice, some were criminal, and all were reckless." We
shall remember "Kentuck" and Oakhurst and "Stumpy," christening the baby:--

  "'I proclaim you Thomas Luck, according to the laws of the United States
  and the State of California, so help me God.' It was the first time that
  the name of the Deity had been otherwise uttered than profanely in the

There are two sentences describing the situation of Roaring Camp:--

  "The camp lay in a triangular valley between two hills and a river. The
  only outlet was a steep trail over the summit of a hill that faced the
  cabin, now illuminated by the rising moon."

Poe would have approved of the introduction of this bit of description, for
it heightens the pathetic effect and focuses attention upon the mother.
Even that "steep trail" is so artistically introduced that she

  "... might have seen it from the rude bunk whereon she lay,--seen it
  winding like a silver thread until it was lost in the stars above....
  Within an hour she had climbed, as it were, that rugged road that led to
  the stars, and so passed out of Roaring Camp, its sin and shame,

Bret Harte in a few words relates how these miners reared the child, how
they were unconsciously influenced by it, and how one day an expressman
rushed into an adjacent village saying:--

  "They've a street up there in 'Roaring,' that would lay over any street
  in Red Dog. They've got vines and flowers round their houses, and they
  wash themselves twice a day."

He had, as we have seen, something of the remarkable technique of which Poe
was a master. The influence of Dickens, especially his sentimentalism, is
often apparent in Harte's work. Some have accused him of caricature or
exaggeration, but these terms, when applied to his best work, signify
little except the use of emphasis and selection, of which Homer and
Shakespeare freely availed themselves. The author of _The Luck of Roaring
Camp_, _The Outcasts of Poker Flat_, and _Tennessee's Partner_ seemed to
know almost instinctively what he must emphasize or neglect in order to
give his readers a vivid impression of the California argonauts. He mingles
humor and pathos, realism and idealism, in a masterly way. No other author
has had the necessary dramatic touch to endow those times with such a
powerful romantic appeal to our imagination. No one else has rescued them
from the oblivion which usually overtakes all transitory stages of human

Bret Harte's pages afford us the rare privilege of again communing with
genuine primitive feeling, with eternal human qualities, not deflected or
warped by convention. He gives us the literature of democracy. In
self-forgetfulness, sympathy, love for his kind, Tennessee's partner in his
unkempt dress is the peer of any wearer of the broadcloth.

Bret Harte's best work is as bracing, as tonic, as instinct with the spirit
of vigorous youth, as the mountain air which has never before been
breathed. Woodberry well says: "He created lasting pictures of human life,
some of which have the eternal outline and pose of a Theocritean idyl. The
supreme nature of his gift is shown by the fact that he had no rival and
left no successor. His work is as unique as that of Poe or Hawthorne."
[Footnote: Woodberry: _America in Literature_.]

EUGENE FIELD, 1850-1895

THE POET LAUREATE OF CHILDREN.--Eugene Field was born in St. Louis in 1850.
Of this western group of authors he was the only member who went to
college. He completed the junior year at the University of Missouri, but
did not graduate. At the age of twenty-three he began newspaper work there,
and he continued this work in various places until his death in Chicago in
1895. For the last twelve years of his life he was connected with the
Chicago _Daily News_.

[Illustration: EUGENE FIELD]

He wrote many poems and prose tales, but the work by which he will probably
live in literature is his poetry for children. For his title of
poet-laureate of children, he has had few worthy competitors. His _Little
Boy Blue_ will be read as long as there are parents who have lost a child.
"What a world of little people was left unrepresented in the realms of
poetry until Eugene Field came!" exclaimed a noted teacher. Children listen
almost breathlessly to the story of the duel between "the gingham dog and
the calico cat," and to the ballad of "The Rock-a-By Lady from Hushaby
Street," and the dreams which she brings:--

  "There is one little dream of a big sugar plum,
   And lo! thick and fast the other dreams come
   Of popguns that bang, and tin tops that hum,
   And a trumpet that bloweth!"

He loved children, and any one else who loves them, whether old or young,
will enjoy reading his poems of childhood. Who, for instance, will admit
that he does not like the story of _Wynken, Blynken, and Nod_?

  "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
     Sailed off in a wooden shoe--
   Sailed on a river of crystal light,
     Into a sea of dew.
   'Where are you going, and what do you wish?'
   The old moon asked the three.
   'We have come to fish for the herring fish
     That live in this beautiful sea;
   Nets of silver and gold have we!'
                   Said Wynken,
                   And Nod.

  "The old moon laughed and sang a song,
     As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
   And the wind that sped them all night long
     Ruffled the waves of dew."

Who does not wish to complete this story to find out what became of the
children? Who does not like Krinken?

  "Krinken was a little child,--
   It was summer when he smiled."

Field could write exquisitely beautiful verse. His tender heart had felt
the pathos of life, and he knew how to set this pathos to music. He was
naturally a humorist, and his humor often caused him to take a right angle
turn in the midst of serious thoughts. Parents have for nearly a quarter of
a century used the combination of humor and pathos in his poem, The _Little
Peach_, to keep their children from eating green fruit:--

  "A little peach in the orchard grew,--
   A little peach of emerald hue;
   Warmed by the sun and wet by the dew,
         It grew.

       *       *        *       *        *

  "John took a bite and Sue a chew,
   And then the trouble began to brew,--
   Trouble the doctor couldn't subdue.
         Too true!

  "Under the turf where the daisies grew
   They planted John and his sister Sue,
   And their little souls to the angels flew,--
         Boo hoo!"

Time is not likely to rob Eugene Field of the fame of having written _The
Canterbury Tales of Childhood_.



The poet of our time who has most widely voiced the everyday feeling of
democracy, of the man on the farm, in the workshop, and in his home circle,
is James Whitcomb Riley. His popularity with this generation suggests the
part which the ballad makers played in developing a love for verse before
Shakespeare came.

He was born in the little country town of Greenfield, twenty miles east of
Indianapolis. Like Bret Harte and Mark Twain, Riley had only a common
school education. He became a sign painter, and traveled widely, first
painting advertisements for patent medicines and then for the leading
business firms in the various towns he visited. After this, he did work on
newspapers and became a traveling lecturer, and reader of his own poems.

Much of his poetry charms us with its presentation of rural life. In _The
Old Swimmin'-Hole and 'Leven More Poems_ (1883), it is a delight to
accompany him

  "When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,"

or when

  "The summer winds is sniffin' round the bloomin' locus' trees,
   And the clover in the pastur' is a big day fer the bees,"

or again, in _Neighborly Poems_ (1891), as he listens to _The First
Bluebird_ singing with

  "A breezy, treesy, beesy hum,
   Too sweet fer anything!"

We welcome him as the champion of a new democratic flower. In his poem,
_The Clover_, he says:--

  "But what is the lily and all of the rest
   Of the flowers, to a man with a hart in his brest
   That was dipped brimmin' full of the honey and dew
   Of the sweet clover-blossoms his babyhood knew?"

Like Eugene Field, Riley loved children. His _Rhymes of Childhood_ (1890)
contains such favorites as _The Raggedy Man_, _Our Hired Girl_, _Little
Orphant Annie_, with its bewitching warning about the "_Gobble-uns_," and
the pathetic _Little Mahala Ashcraft_.

But no matter whether his verses take us to the farm, to the child, to the
inner circle of the home, or to a neighborly gathering, their first
characteristic is simplicity. Some of his best verse entered the homes of
the common people more easily because it was written in the Hoosier
dialect. He is a democratic poet, and the common people listen to him. In
_Afterwhiles_ (1887), he says:--

  "The tanned face, garlanded with mirth,
   It hath the kingliest smile on earth--
   The swart brow, diamonded with sweat,
   Hath never need of coronet."

In like vein are his lines from _Griggsby's Station_:--

  "Le's go a-visitin' back to Griggsby's Station--
   Back where the latch string's a-hangin' from the door,
   And ever' neighbor 'round the place is dear as a relation--
   Back where we ust to be so happy and so pore!"

In lines like the following from _Afterwhiles_, there is a rare mingling of
pathos and hope and kindly optimism:--

  "I cannot say, and I will not say
   That he is dead.--He is just away!

  "With a cheery smile and a wave of the hand,
   He has wandered into an unknown land,

  "And left us dreaming how very fair
   It needs must be, since he lingers there."

The charitable optimism of his lines:--

  "I would sing of love that lives
  On the errors it forgives,"

has touched many human hearts.

Furthermore, he has unusual humor, which is as delightful and as pervasive
as the odor of his clover fields. Humor drives home to us the application
of the optimistic philosophy in these lines:--

  "When a man's jest glad plum through,
   God's pleased with him, same as you."

  "When God sorts out the weather and sends rain,
         W'y, rain's my choice."

In poems like _Griggsby's Station_ he shows his power in making a subject
pathetic and humorous at the same time.

Albert J. Beveridge says of Riley, "The aristocrat may make verses whose
perfect art renders them immortal, like Horace, or state high truths in
austere beauty, like Arnold. But only the brother of the common man can
tell what the common heart longs for and feels, and only he lives in the
understanding and affection of the millions."

SAMUEL L. CLEMENS, 1835-1910

[Illustration: MARK TWAIN]

LIFE IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY.--The author who is known in every village
of the United States by the pen name of Mark Twain, which is the river
phrase for two fathoms of water, was born in Florida, Missouri, in 1835. He
says of his birthplace: "The village contained a hundred people, and I
increased the population by one per cent. It is more than the best man in
history ever did for any other town." When he was two and a half years old,
the family moved to Hannibal on the Mississippi, thirty miles away.

The most impressionable years of his boyhood were spent in Hannibal, which
he calls "a loafing, down-at-the-heels, slave-holding Mississippi town." He
attended only a common school, a picture of which is given in _The
Adventures of Tom Sawyer_. Even this schooling ceased at the age of twelve,
when his father died. Like Benjamin Franklin and W. D. Howells, the boy
then became a printer, and followed this trade in various places for nearly
eight years, traveling east as far as the City of New York. He next became
a "cub," or under pilot, on the Mississippi River. After an eighteen
months' apprenticeship, he was an excellent pilot, and he received two
hundred and fifty dollars a month for his services. He says of these days:
"Time drifted smoothly and prosperously on, and I supposed--and hoped--that
I was going to follow the river the rest of my days, and die at the wheel
when my mission was ended. But by and by the war came, commerce was
suspended, my occupation was gone." For an inimitable account of these
days, the first twenty-one chapters of his _Life on the Mississippi_ (1883)
should be read.

  "... in that brief, sharp schooling, I got personally and familiarly
  acquainted with about all the different types of human nature that are to
  be found in fiction, biography, or history. The fact is daily borne in
  upon me, that the average shore employment requires as much as forty
  years to equip a man with this sort of education.... When I find a
  well-drawn character in fiction or biography, I generally take a warm
  personal interest in him, for the reason that I have known him
  before--met him on the river." [Footnote: _Life on the Mississippi_,
  Chapter XVIII.]

No other work in American literature or history can take the place of this
book and of his three great stories (pp. 359-361), which bring us face to
face with life in the great Mississippi Valley in the middle of the
nineteenth century.

LIFE IN THE FAR WEST.--In 1861 he went to Nevada as private secretary to
his brother, who had been appointed secretary of that territory. Mark Twain
intended to stay there but a short time. He says, "I little thought that I
would not see the end of that three-month pleasure excursion for six or
seven uncommonly long years."

The account of his experiences in our far West is given in the volume
called _Roughing It_ (1871). This book should be read as a chapter in the
early history of that section. The trip from St. Joseph to Nevada by stage,
the outlaws, murders, sagebrush, jackass rabbits, coyotes, mining
camps,--all the varied life of the time--is thrown distinctly on the screen
in the pages of _Roughing It_. While in the West, he caught the mining
fever, but he soon became a newspaper reporter and editor, and in this
capacity he discovered the gold mine of his genius as a writer. The
experience of these years was only second in importance to his remarkable
life in the Mississippi Valley. No other American writer has received such
a variety of training in the university of human nature.

LATER LIFE.--In 1867, he supplemented his purely American training with a
trip to Europe, Egypt, and the Holy Land. The story of his journey is given
in _The Innocents Abroad_ (1869), the work which first made him known in
every part of the United States. _A Tramp Abroad_ (1880), and _Following
the Equator: A Journey Around the World_ (1897), are records of other
foreign travels. While they are largely autobiographical, and show in an
unusually entertaining way how he became one of the most cosmopolitan of
our authors, these works are less important than those which throb with the
heart beats of that American life of which he was a part in his younger

In 1884 he became a partner in the publishing house of Charles L. Webster
and Co. This firm incurred risks against his advice, and failed. The
failure not only swallowed up every cent that he had saved, but left him,
past sixty, staggering under a load of debt that would have been a despair
to most young men. Like Sir Walter Scott in a similar misfortune, Mark
Twain made it a point of honor to assume the whole debt. He lectured, he
wrote, he traveled, till finally, unlike Scott, he was able to pay off the
last penny of the firm's indebtedness. His life thus set a standard of
honor to Americans, which is to them a legacy the peer of any left by any
author to his nation.

After his early pioneer days, his American homes were chiefly in New
England. For many years he lived in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1908 he went
to a new home at Redding, Connecticut. His last years were saddened by the
death of his daughter and his wife. His death in 1910 made plain the fact
that few American authors had won a more secure place in the affections of
all classes.

It does not seem possible that the life of any other American author can
ever closely resemble his. He had Elizabethan fullness of experience. Even
Sir Walter Raleigh's life was no more varied; for Mark Twain was a printer,
pilot, soldier, miner, newspaper reporter, editor, special correspondent,
traveler around the world, lecturer, biographer, writer of romances,
historian, publisher, and philosopher.

STORIES OF THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY.--The works by which Mark Twain will
probably be longest known are those dealing with the scenes of his youth.
He is the historian of an epoch that will never return. His works that
reveal the bygone life of the Mississippi Valley are not unlikely to
increase in fame as the years pass. He resembles Hawthorne in presenting
the early history of a section of our country. New England was old when
Hawthorne was a boy, and he imaginatively reconstructed the life of its
former days. When Mark Twain was young, the West was new; hence his task in
literature was to preserve contemporary life. He has accomplished this
mission better than any other writer of the middle West.

_The Adventures of Tom Sawyer_ (1876) is a story of life in a Missouri town
on the Mississippi River. Tom Sawyer, the hero, is "a combination," says
the author, "of the characteristics of three boys whom I knew." Probably
Mark Twain himself is the largest part of this combination. The book is the
record of a wide-awake boy's impression of the life of that day. The
wretched common school, the pranks of the boys, the Sunday school, the
preacher and his sermon, the task of whitewashing the fence, the belief in
witches and charms, the half-breed Indian, the drunkard, the murder scene,
and the camp life of the boys on an island in the Mississippi,--are all
described with a vividness and interest due to actual experience. The
author distinctly says, "Most of the adventures recorded in this book
really occurred; one or two were experiences of my own, the rest those of
boys who were schoolmates of mine."

(From "Huckleberry Finn," by Samuel L. Clemens)]

_Huckleberry Finn_ (1885) has been called the _Odyssey_ of the Mississippi.
This is a story of life on and along the great river, just before the
middle of the nineteenth century. Huckleberry Finn, the son of a drunkard,
and the friend of Tom Sawyer, is the hero of the book. The reader becomes
deeply interested in the fortunes of Jim, a runaway slave, who accompanies
Huck on a raft down the river, and who is almost hourly in danger of being
caught and returned or again enslaved by some chance white man.

One of the strongest scenes in the story is where Huck debates with himself
whether he shall write the owner where to capture Jim, or whether he shall
aid the poor creature to secure his freedom. Since Huck was a child of the
South, there was no doubt in his mind that punishment in the great
hereafter awaited one who deprived another of his property, and Jim was
worth eight hundred dollars. Huck did not wish to lose his soul, and so he
wrote a letter to the owner. Before sending it, however, he, like Hamlet,
argued the case with himself. Should he send the letter or forfeit human
respect and his soul? The conclusion that Huck reached is thoroughly
characteristic of Mark Twain's attitude toward the weak. The thirty-first
chapter of _Huckleberry Finn_, in which this incident occurs, could not
have been written by one who did not thoroughly appreciate the way in which
the South regarded those who aided in the escape of a slave. Another unique
episode of the story is the remarkable dramatic description of the deadly
feud between the families of the Shepherdsons and the Grangerfords.

This story is Mark Twain's masterpiece, and it is not improbable that it
will continue to be read as long as the Mississippi flows toward the Gulf.
Of Mark Twain's achievement in these two tales, Professor William Lyon
Phelps of Yale says: "He has done something which many popular novelists
have signally failed to accomplish--he has created real characters. His two
wonderful boys, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, are wonderful in quite
different ways. The creator of Tom exhibited remarkable observation; the
creator of Huck showed the divine touch of imagination.... _Tom Sawyer_ and
_Huckleberry Finn_ are prose epics of American life."

Mark Twain says that he was reared to believe slavery a divine institution.
This fact makes his third story of western life, _Pudd'nhead Wilson_.
interesting for its pictures of the negro and slavery, from a different
point of view from that taken by Mrs. Stowe in _Uncle Tom's Cabin._

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS.--During his lifetime, Mark Twain's humor was the
chief cause of his well-nigh universal popularity. The public had never
before read a book exactly like his _Innocents Abroad_. Speaking of an
Italian town, he says, "It is well the alleys are not wider, because they
hold as much smell now as a person can stand, and, of course, if they were
wider they would hold more, and then the people would die." Incongruity, or
the association of dissimilar ideas, is the most frequent cause of laughter
to his readers. His famous cablegram from England that the report of his
death was much exaggerated is of this order, as is also the following
sentence from _Roughing It:_--

  "Then he rode over and began to rebuke the stranger with a six-shooter,
  and the stranger began to explain with another."

Such sentences convey something more than a humorous impression. They
surpass the usual historical records in revealing in an incisive way the
social characteristics of those pioneer days. His humor is often only a
means of more forcibly impressing on readers some phase of the philosophy
of history. Even careless readers frequently recognize that this statement
is true of much of the humor in _A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's
Court_, which is one of his most successful exhibitions of humor based on

While his humor is sometimes mechanical, coarse, and forced, we must not
forget that it also often reveals the thoughtful philosopher. To confirm
this statement, one has only to glance at the humorous philosophy that
constitutes _Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar_.

Mark Twain's future place in literature will probably be due less to humor
than to his ability as a philosopher and a historian. Humor will
undoubtedly act on his writings as a preservative salt, but salt is
valuable only to preserve substantial things. If matter of vital worth is
not present in any written work, mere humor will not keep it alive.

One of his most humorous scenes may be found in the chapter where Tom
Sawyer succeeds in getting other boys to relieve him of the drudgery of
whitewashing a fence. That episode was introduced to enable the author to
make more impressive his philosophy of a certain phase of human action:--

  "He had discovered a great law of human action without knowing
  it--namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is
  only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. If he had been a
  great and wise philosopher, like the writer of this book, he would now
  have comprehended that Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do,
  and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do."

His statement about illusions shows that his philosophy does not always
have a humorous setting:--

  "The illusions are the only things that are valuable, and God help the
  man who reaches the time when he meets only the realities."

Hatred of hypocrisy is one of his emphatic characteristics. If Tom Sawyer
enjoyed himself more in watching a dog play with a pinch-bug in church than
in listening to a doctrinal sermon, if he had a better time playing hookey
than in attending the execrably dull school, Mark Twain is eager to expose
the hypocrisy of those who would misrepresent Tom's real attitude toward
church and school. While Mark Twain is determined to present life
faithfully as he sees it, he dislikes as much as any Puritan to see evil
triumph. In his stories, wrongdoing usually digs its own grave.

His strong sense of justice led him to write _Personal Recollections of
Joan of Arc_ (1896), to defend the Maid of Orleans. Because he loved to
protect the weak, he wrote _A Dogs Tale_ (1904). For the same reason he
paid all the expenses of a negro through an eastern college.

Although he was self-taught, he gradually came to use the English language
with artistic effect and finish. His style is direct and energetic, and it
shows his determination to say a thing as simply and as effectively as
possible. One of the rules in _Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar_ is, "As to the
Adjective: when in doubt, strike it out." He followed this rule. Some have
complained that the great humorist's mind, like Emerson's, often worked in
a disconnected fashion, but this trait has been exaggerated in the case of
both. Mark Twain has certainly made a stronger impression than many authors
whose "sixthly" follows more inevitably. It is true that his romances do
not gather up every loose end, that they do not close with a grand climax
which settles everything; but they reflect the spirit of the western life,
which also had many loose ends and left much unsettled.

His mingled humor and philosophy, his vivid, interesting, contemporary
history, which gives a broad and sympathetic delineation of important
phases of western life and development, fill a place that American
literature could ill afford to leave vacant.


Lincoln spoke to the common people in simple virile English, which serves
as a model for the students of Oxford University. Bret Harte wrote stories
filled with the humor and the pathos of the rough mining camps of the far
West. Eugene Field's simple songs appeal to all children. The virtues of
humble homes, the smiles and tears of everyday life, are presented in James
Whitcomb Riley's poems. Mark Twain, philosopher, reformer of the type of
Cervantes, and romantic historian, has, largely by means of his humor, made
a vivid impression on millions of Americans. Every member of this group had
an unusual development of humor. Each one was imbued with the democratic
spirit and eager to present the elemental facts of life. For these reasons,
the audiences of this group have been numbered by millions.


Roosevelt's _The Winning of the West_.

Turner's _Rise of the New West_.

Hart's _National Ideals Historically Traced_.

Johnston's _High School History of the United States_ (612 pp.).

Clemens's _Life on the Mississippi_.

Clemens's _Roughing It_.

Schurz's _Abraham Lincoln_. (Excellent.)

Morse's _Abraham Lincoln_.

Chubb's _Selections from the Addresses, Inaugurals, and Letters of Abraham
Lincoln, edited with an Introduction and Notes_. (Macmillan's Pocket

Boynton's _Bret Harte_.

Pemberton's _The Life of Bret Harte_.

Erskinels _Leading American Novelists_, pp. 325-379. (Harte.)

Canby's _The Short Story in English_, Chap. XIV. (Harte.)

Field's _The Eugene Field Book_, edited by Burt and Cable. (Contains
autobiographical matter and Field's best juvenile poems and stories.)

Thompson's _Eugene Field_, 2 vols.

Field's _The Writings in Prose and Verse of Eugene Field_, Sabine Edition,
12 vols.

Garland's _A Dialogue between James Whitcomb Riley and Hamlin Garland_, in
Me duress Magazine, February, 1894.

_In Honor of James Whitcomb Riley, with a Brief Sketch of his Life_, by
Hughes, Beveridge, and Others, Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1906.

Clemens's _Autobiography_.

Matthews's _Biographical Criticism of Mark Twain_, in the _Introduction_ to
_The Innocents Abroad_.

Phelps's _Essays on Modern Novelists_. (Mark Twain; excellent.)

Henderson's _Mark Twain_, in _Harpers Magazine_, May, 1909.

Howells's _My Mark Twain_.


Lincoln.--_The Gettysburg Address_, part of the _Second Inaugural Address_.

Harte.--_Tennessee's Partner_, and _How Santa Claus came to Simpson's Bar_.
Harte's two greatest stories, _The Luck of Roaring Camp_ and _The Outcasts
of Poker Flat_, should be read in mature years. These stories may all be
found in the single volume, entitled _The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other
Stories_. (Riverside Aldine Press Series.)

Field.--_Little Boy Blue_, _The Duel_, _Krinken_, _Wynken, Blynken, and
Nod_, _The Rock-a-By Lady_. These poems may all be found in Burt and
Cable's _The Eugene Field Book_.

Riley.--_When the Frost is on the Punkin, The Clover, The First Bluebird,
Ike Walton's Prayer, A Life Lesson, Away, Griggsby's Station, Little Mahala
Ashcraft, Our Hired Girl, Little Orphant Annie._ These poems may be found
in the three volumes, entitled _Neighborly Poems_, _Afterwhiles_, and
_Rhymes of Childhood_.

Mark Twain.--_Life on the Mississippi_, Chaps. VIII., IX., XIII. _Roughing
It_, Chap. II. If the first two chapters of _The Adventures of Tom Sawyer_
and _The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn_ are read, the time will probably
be found to finish the books. For specimens of his humor at its best, read
_Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar_, printed at the beginning of the twenty-one
chapters of _Pudd'nhead Wilson_. His humor depending on incongruity is well
shown in _A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court_. _The Prince and the
Pauper_ is a fascinating story of sixteenth-century England.


Why does Oxford University display on its walls _The Gettysburg Address_ of
Lincoln? What books helped mold his style?

What period of our development do Bret Harte's stories illustrate? What are
some special characteristics of his short stories? Does he belong to the
school of Poe or Hawthorne? Which one of our great short story writers has
the most humor,--Irving, Hawthorne, Poe, or Harte? Which one of them do you
enjoy the most?

Why is Eugene Field called the poet-laureate of children? Which of his
poems indicated for reading do you prefer? What are the most striking
qualities of his verse?

Point out the chief characteristics of Riley's verse. What lines please you
most for their humor, references to rural life, optimism, kindly spirit,
and pathos? Why is he so widely popular?

Which of Mark Twain's works are most valuable to the student of American
literature and history? In what sense is he a historian? What phases of
western development does he describe? Give instances (_a_) of his humor
which depends on incongruity, (_b_) of his philosophical humor, (_c_) of
his hatred of hypocrisy, and (_d_) of his solicitude for the weak. Why is
he said to belong to the school of Cervantes? What specially impresses you
about Mark Twain's style?



FROM ROMANTICISM TOWARD REALISM.--The enormous circulation of magazines in
the United States has furnished a wide market for the writers of fiction.
Magazines have especially stimulated the production of short stories, which
show how much technique their authors have learned from Poe. The increased
attention paid to fiction has led to a careful study of its guiding
principles and to the formation of new rules for the practice of the art.

When we look back at the best work of earlier writers of American fiction,
we shall find that it is nearly all romantic. In the eighteenth century,
Charles Brockden Brown wrote in conformity to the principles of early
romanticism, and combined the elements of strangeness and terror in his
tales. The modified romanticism persisting through the greater part of the
nineteenth century demanded that the _unusual_ should at least be retained
in fiction as a dominating factor. Irving's _Rip Van Winkle_ has the older
element of the impossible, and _The Legend of Sleepy Hollow_ shows
fascinating combinations of the unusual. Cooper achieved his greatest
success in presenting the Indians and the stalwart figure of the pioneer
against the mysterious forest as a background. Hawthorne occasionally
availed himself of the older romantic materials, as in _The Snow Image_,
Rappaccini's Daughter_, and _Young Goodman Brown_, but he was more often
attracted by the newer elements, the strange and the unusual, as in _The
Scarlet Letter_ and _The House of the Seven Gables_. Poe followed with a
combination of all the romantic materials,--the supernatural, the
terrible, and the unusual. Bret Harte applied his magnifying glass to
unusual crises in the strange lives of the western pioneers. By a skillful
use of light and shadow, Mark Twain heightened the effect of the strange
scenes through which he passed in his young days. Almost all the southern
writers, from Simms to Cable and Harris, loved to throw strong lights on
unusual characters and romantic situations.

The question which the romanticists, or idealists, as they were often
called in later times, had accustomed themselves to ask, was, "Have these
characters or incidents the unusual beauty or ugliness or goodness
necessary to make an impression and to hold the attention?" The masters of
the new eastern school of fiction took a different view, and asked, "Is our
matter absolutely true to life?"

REALISM IN FICTION.--The two greatest representatives of the new school of
realism in fiction are William D. Howells and Henry James. Both have set
forth in special essays the realist's art of fiction. The growing interest
in democracy was the moving force in realism. In that realist's textbook,
Criticism and Fiction (1891), Howells says of the aristocratic spirit in

  "It is averse to the mass of men; it consents to know them only in some
  conventionalized and artificial guise.... Democracy in literature is the
  reverse of all this. It wishes to know and to tell the truth, confident
  that consolation and delight are there; it does not care to paint the
  marvelous and impossible for the vulgar many, or to sentimentalize and
  falsify the actual for the vulgar few."

"Realism is nothing more and nothing less than the truthful treatment of
material," says Howells. He sometimes insists on considering "honesty" and
"realism" as synonymous terms. His primary object is not merely to amuse by
a pleasant story or to startle by a horrible one. His object is to reflect
life as he finds it, not only unusual or exceptional life. He believes that
it is false to real life to overemphasize certain facts, to overlook the
trivial, and to make all life dramatic. He says that the realist in fiction
"cannot look upon human life and declare this thing or that thing unworthy
of notice, any more than the scientist can declare a fact of the material
world beneath the dignity of his inquiry."

Howells recognizes the great importance of the spirit of romanticism, and
says that it was at the beginning of the nineteenth century

  "... making the same fight against effete classicism which realism is
  making to-day against effete romanticism.... The romantic of that day and
  the real of this are in certain degree the same. Romanticism then sought,
  as realism seeks now, to widen the bounds of sympathy, to level every
  barrier against aesthetic freedom, to escape from the paralysis of
  tradition. It exhausted itself in this impulse; and it remained for
  realism to assert that fidelity to experience and probability of motive
  are essential conditions of a great imaginative literature."

Henry James in his essay, _The Art of Fiction_, denies that the novelist is
less concerned than the historian about the quest for truth. He says, "The
only reason for the existence of a novel is that it _does_ compete with
life. When it ceases to compete as the canvas of the painter competes, it
will have arrived at a very strange pass." To the intending novelist he

  "All life belongs to you, and don't listen either to those who would shut
  you up into corners of it and tell you that it is only here and there
  that art inhabits, or to those who would persuade you that this heavenly
  messenger wings her way outside of life altogether, breathing a superfine
  air and turning away her head from the truth of things."

It must not be supposed that Howells and James were the original founders
of the realistic school, any more than Wordsworth, Coleridge, and their
associates were the originators of the romantic school. History has not yet
discovered the first realist or the first romanticist. Both schools have
from time to time been needed to hold each other in check. Howells makes no
claim to being considered the first realist. He distinctly says that Jane
Austen (1775-1817) had treated material with entire truthfulness. Henry
James might have discovered that Fielding had preceded him in writing, "It
is our business to discharge the part of a faithful historian, and to
describe human nature as it is, not as we would wish it to be."

An occasional revolt against extreme romanticism is needed to bring
literature closer to everyday life. The tendency of the followers of any
school is to push its conclusions to such an extreme that reaction
necessarily sets in. Some turned to seek for the soul of reality in the
uninteresting commonplace. Others learned from Shakespeare the necessity of
looking at life from the combined point of view of the realist and the
romanticist, and they discovered that the great dramatist's romantic
pictures sometimes convey a truer idea of life than the most literal ones
of the painstaking realist. Critics have pointed out that the original
_History of Dr. Faustus_ furnished Marlowe with a realistic account of
Helen of Troy's hair, eyes, "pleasant round face," lips, "neck, white like
a swan," general figure, and purple velvet gown, but that his two romantic

  "Was this the face that launched a thousand ships,
  And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?"

enable any imaginative person to realize her fascination better than pages
of realistic description. But we must not forget that it was an achievement
for the writers of this group to insist that truth must be the foundation
for all pictures of life, to demonstrate that even the pillars of
romanticism must rest on a firm basis in a world of reality, and to teach
the philosophy of realism to a school of younger writers.

By no means all of the eastern fiction, however, is realistic. THOMAS
BAILEY ALDRICH (1836-1907), for instance, wrote in a romantic vein _The
Story of a Bad Boy_, which ranks among the best boys' stories produced in
the last half of the nineteenth century. There were many other writers of
romantic fiction, but the majority of them at least felt the restraining
influence of the realistic school.

REALISM IN POETRY.--One eastern poet, Walt Whitman, took a step beyond any
preceding American poet in endeavoring to paint with realistic touches the
democracy of life. He defined the poet as the indicator of the path between
reality and the soul. He thus proclaims his realistic creed:--

  "I will not have in my writing any elegance or effect or originality to
  hang in the way between me and the rest like curtains. I will have
  nothing hang in the way, not the richest curtains. What I tell I tell for
  precisely what it is. Let who may exalt or startle or fascinate or
  soothe, I will have purposes as health or heat or snow has and be as
  regardless of observation. You shall stand by my side and look in the
  mirror with me."

The subject of his verse is the realities of democracy. No other great
American poet had indulged in realism as extreme as this:--

  "The butcher-boy puts off his killing-clothes, or sharpens his knife
         at the stall in the market,
   I loiter enjoying his repartee and his shuffle and break-down."

Whitman says boldly:--

  "And the cow crunching with depress'd head surpasses any statue."

He discarded ordinary poetic meter, because it seemed to lack the rhythm of
nature. It is, however, very easy for a poet to cross the line between
realism and idealism, and we sometimes find adherents of the two schools
disagreeing whether Whitman was more realist or idealist in some of his
work, for instance, in a line or verse unit, like this, when he says:--

 "That the hands of the sisters Death and Night incessantly softly wash
  again, and ever again, this soil'd world."

[Illustration: IDENTITY
(Drawing by Elihu Vedder)]

The fact that not all the later eastern poets were realistic needs
emphasis. Thomas Bailey Aldrich, perhaps the most noted successor of New
England's famous group, was frequently an exquisite romantic artist, or
painter in miniature, as these eight lines which constitute the whole of
his poem, _Identity_, show:--

  "Somewhere--in desolate wind-swept space--
   In Twilight-land--in No-man's-land--
   Two hurrying Shapes met face to face,
     And bade each other stand.

  "And who are you?' cried one, agape,
   Shuddering in the gloaming light.
   'I know not,' said the second Shape,
     'I only died last night!'"



The foremost leader of realism in modern American fiction, the man who
influenced more young writers than any other novelist of the last quarter
of the nineteenth century, was William Dean Howells, who was born in
Martin's Ferry, Ohio, in 1837. He never went to college, but obtained
valuable training as a printer and editor in various newspaper offices in
Ohio. He was for many years editor of the _Atlantic Monthly_ and an
editorial contributor to the _New York Nation_ and _Harper's Magazine_. In
these capacities, as well as by his fiction, he reached a wide public.
Later he turned his attention mainly to the writing of novels. So many of
their scenes are laid in New England that he is often claimed as a New
England writer.

His strongest novels are _A Modern Instance_ (1882), _The Rise of Silas
Lapham_ (1885), _The Minister's Charge_ (1886), _Indian Summer_ (1886), and
_A Hazard of New Fortunes_ (1889). These belong to the middle period of his
career. Before this, his mastery of character portrayal had not culminated,
and later, his power of artistic selection and repression was not so
strictly exercised.

_The Rise of Silas Lapham_ is a story of the home life and business career
of a self-made merchant, who has the customary braggadocio and lack of
culture, but who possesses a substantial integrity at the root of his
nature. The little shortcomings in social polish, so keenly felt by his
wife and daughters, as they rise to a position due to great wealth, the
small questions of decorum, and the details of business take up a large
part of the reader's attention; but they are treated with such ease,
naturalness, repressed humor, refinement of art, and truth in sketching
provincial types of character, that the story is a triumph of realistic
creation. _A Modern Instance_ is not so pleasant a book, but the attention
is firmly held by the strong, realistic presentation of the jealousy, the
boredom, the temptations, and the dishonesty exhibited in a household of a
commonplace, ill-mated pair. _Indian Summer_ begins well, proceeds well,
and ends well. It may be a trifle more conventional than the two other
novels just mentioned, but it is altogether delightful. The conversations
display keen insight into the heart of the young, imaginative girl and of
the older woman and man. _The Minister's Charge_ is thoroughly individual.
The young boy seems so close to his readers that every detail in his life
becomes important. The other people are also full of real blood, while the
background is skillfully arranged to heighten the effect of the characters.
_A Hazard of New Fortunes_ would be decidedly improved if many pages were
omitted, but it is full of lifelike characters, and it sometimes approaches
the dramatic, in a way unusual with Howells.

In his effort to present life without any misleading ideas of heroism,
beauty, or idyllic sweetness, Howells sometimes goes so far toward the
opposite extreme as to write stories that seem to be filled with
commonplace women, humdrum lives, and men like Northwick in _The Quality of
Mercy_, of whom one of the characters says:--

  "He was a mere creature of circumstances like the rest of us! His
  environment made him rich, and his environment made him a rogue.
  Sometimes I think there _was_ nothing to Northwick except what happened
  to him."

But in such work as the five novels enumerated, Howells shows decided
ability in portraying attractive characters, in making their faults human
and as interesting as their virtues, in causing ordinary life to yield
variety of incident and amusing scenes, and, finally, in engaging his
characters in homelike, natural, self-revealing conversations, which are
often spiced with wit.

Howells does not always have a plot, that is, a beginning, a climax, and a
solution of all the questions suggested. He has, of course, a story, but he
does not find it necessary to present the entire life of his characters, if
he can accurately portray them by one or more incidents. After that purpose
is accomplished, the story often ceases before the reader feels that a real
ending has been reached.

Howells rarely startles or thrills; he usually both interests and convinces
his readers by a straightforward presentation of everyday, well-known
scenes and people. The strongest point in his art is the easy, natural way
in which he seems to be retailing faithfully the facts exactly as they
happened, without any juggling or rearranging on his part. His characters
are so clearly presented that they do not remain in dreary outline, but
emerge fully in rounded form, as moving, speaking, feeling beings. His keen
insight into human frailties, his delicate, pervading humor, his skill in
handling conversations, and his delightfully clear, easy, natural, and
familiar style make him a realist of high rank and a worthy teacher of
young writers.

HENRY JAMES, 1843-1916

[Illustration: HENRY JAMES]

The name most closely associated with Howells is that of Henry James, who
was born in New York. William James (1842-1910) the noted psychologist, was
an older brother. Henry James is called an "international novelist" because
he lived mostly abroad and laid the scenes of his novels in both Europe and
America. His sympathy with England in the European war caused him to become
a British subject in 1915, eight months before his death in 1916.

Like Howells, James was a leader in modern realistic fiction. His work has
been called the "quintessence of realism." But instead of selecting, as
Howells does, the well-known types of the average people, James prefers to
study the ordinary mind in extraordinary situations, surroundings, and
combinations. For this reason, his characters, while realistically
presented, rarely seem well-known and obvious types.

James was the first American to succeed in the realistic short story, that
is, the story stripped of the supernatural and romantic elements used by
Hawthorne and Poe. James selects neither a commonplace nor a dramatic
situation, but chooses some difficult and out-of-the-way theme, and clears
it up with his keen, subtle, impressionistic art. _A Passionate Pilgrim_,
_The Madonna of the Future_, and _The Lesson of the Master_ are short
stories that show his abstruse, unusual subject matter and his analytical

He was a very prolific writer. He published as many as three volumes in
twelve months. Year after year, with few exceptions, he brought out either
a novel, a book of essays, or a volume of short stories. His most
interesting novels are _Roderick Hudson_ (1875), _Daisy Miller: A Study_
(1878), _The Portrait of a Lady_ (1881), and _The Princess Casamassima_

_Daisy Miller_ is a brilliant study of the Italian experiences of an
American girl of the unconventionally independent type. She is beautiful,
frank, original, but whimsical, shallow, and headstrong. One minute she
attracts, the next moment she repels. One feels baffled and provoked, but
is held to the book by the spell of a writer who is clever, intellectual, a
master of style, and a skilled scientist in dissecting human character. In
_Roderick Hudson_ and _The Portrait of a Lady_, the characters are much
more interesting, the situations are larger, the human emotion deeper, and
the books richer from every point of view. These novels also show Americans
in European surroundings. Isabel Archer and Ralph Touchet in _The Portrait
of a Lady_ have qualities that deeply stir the admiration and emotions.
Every scene in which these characters appear adds to the pleasure in being
able to know and love them, even though they are merely characters in a

Only a few such persons as these, so rich in the qualities of the heart,
appear in James's novels. He has portrayed a greater variety of men and
women than any other American writer, but they usually interest him for
some other quality than their power to love and suffer. He is tempted to
regard life from the intellectual viewpoint, as a problem, a game, and a
panorama. He does not, like Hawthorne, enter into the sanctuary and become
the hero, laying the lash of remorse upon his back. James stands off, a
disinterested onlooker, and exhibits his characters critically, accurately,
minutely, as they take their parts in the procession or game. Brilliant and
faultless as the portraits are, they too frequently appear cold, pitiless
renditions of life, often of life too trivial to seem worthy the searching
study that he gives it. Ralph Touchet, Roderick Hudson, Isabel Archer, and
Miss Light are sufficient to prove the tremendous power possessed by James
to present the emotional side of life. Both in theory and practice,
however, he usually prefers to remain the disinterested, impartial,
detached spectator.

Like Howells, James does not depend upon a plot. There is little action in
his works. The interest is psychological, and a chance word, an encounter
on the street, even a look, may serve to change an attitude of mind and
affect the outcome.

The popular impression that James is impossible to understand and that he
uses words to obscure his meaning is, of course, false, although in his
later novels his style is extremely involved and often difficult to follow.
In such works as _The Wings of a Dove_ (1902) and _The Golden Bowl_ (1904),
for example, there are long and intricate psychological explanations, which
are most abstruse and confusing. It is this later work which has given rise
to the common saying that William James wrote psychology like a novelist,
and Henry James, novels like a psychologist.

Judged by his best work, however, such as _The Portrait of a Lady_ and
_Roderick Hudson_, Henry James must be acknowledged a master of English
style. His keen analytical mind is reflected in a brilliant, highly
polished, and impressively incisive style. In a few perfectly selected
words the subtlest thoughts are clearly revealed. In these masterpieces,
the reader is constantly delighted by the artist's skill, which leads ever
deeper into human motives after it would seem that the heart and mind could
disclose no further secrets. Such skill shows a mastery of language rarely
surpassed in fiction. At his best, James has a fineness and sureness of
touch, and a command of perfectly fitting words, as well as elegance and
grace in style.



Mary Eleanor Wilkins (Mrs. Freeman), known for her realistic stories of the
provincial New Englander, was born in Randolph, Massachusetts. With humor
to see the little eccentricities of the people among whom she lived and a
sympathetic understanding of their heroic qualities, she has created real
men and women,--farmers, school teachers, prim spinsters, clergymen, stern
Roman matrons,--all unmistakable types of New England village life. Her
unfailing ability to transplant the reader into rock-ribbed, snow-clad New
England, with its many fond associations for most Americans, is proof of
her power as an artist. Her art is subtle, and it commands both attention
and admiration, as she reveals every slight move in a simple plot and with
extraordinary deftness of touch brings out the most delicate shadings that
differentiate her characters.

Her style is easy and clear, and is pervaded by a fine sense of humor. Her
short stories are her most artistic work, especially those in the two
volumes, _A New England Nun_, and _Silence and Other Tales_; but she can
also tell a long story well, as is shown in _Pembroke_, which combines at
their best all her qualities as a novelist.

She is distinctly a realist of Howells's school, presenting the daily
rounds of the life which she knew intimately, and making complete stories
of such meager material as the subterfuges which two poor but proud sisters
practiced in order to make one black silk dress, owned in partnership,
appear as if each really possessed "a gala dress." She takes stolid,
practical characters, who have seemingly nothing attractive in their
composition, and by her sympathetic treatment causes them to appeal
strongly to human hearts. She discovers heroic qualities in apparently
commonplace homes and families, and finds humorous or pathetic
possibilities in men and women whom most writers would consider very
unpromising. Miss Wilkins knows that in rural New England romantic things
do happen, tragedies do occur, and heroes and heroines do appear in
unexpected quarters to meet emergencies, and she occasionally transfers
such events to her pages, thereby enlivening them without sacrificing the
reality of her pictures. But the triumph of her art consists in her facile
handling of simple incidents and everyday men and women and her power to
carry them without a hint of sentimentality to a natural, artistic,
effective climax, heightened usually by a touch of either humor or pathos.

WALT WHITMAN, 1819-1892

[Illustration: WALT. WHITMAN]

Life.--Suffolk County, Long Island, in which is situated the village of
West Hills, where Walt Whitman was born in 1819, was in some ways the most
remarkable eastern county in the United States. Hemmed in on a narrow strip
of land by the ocean on one side and Long Island Sound on the other, the
inhabitants saw little of the world unless they led a seafaring life. Many
of the well-to-do farmers, as late as the middle of the nineteenth century,
never took a land journey of more than twenty miles from home. Because of
such restricted environment, the people of Suffolk County were rather
insular in early days, yet the average grade of intelligence was high, for
some of England's most progressive blood had settled there in the first
half of the seventeenth century.

Nowhere else in this country, not even at the West, was there a greater
feeling of independence and a more complete exercise of individuality.
There was a certainty about life and opinions, a feeling of relationship
with everybody, a defiance of convention, that made Suffolk County the fit
birthplace of a man who was destined to trample poetic conventions under
his feet and to sing the song of democracy. In Walt Whitman's young days,
all sorts and conditions of men on Long Island met familiarly on equal
terms. The farmer, the blacksmith, the carpenter, the mason, the
woodchopper, the sailor, the clergyman, the teacher, the young college
student home on his vacation,--all mingled as naturally as members of a
family. No human being felt himself inferior to any one else, so long as
the moral proprieties were observed. Nowhere else did there exist a more
perfect democracy of conscious equals. Although Whitman's family moved to
Brooklyn before he was five years old, he returned to visit relatives, and
later taught school at various places on Long Island and edited a paper at
Huntington, near his birthplace. In various ways Suffolk County was
responsible for the most vital part of his early training. In his poem,
_There Was a Child Went Forth_, he tells how nature educated him in his
island home. In his prose work, _Specimen Days and Collect_, which all who
are interested in his autobiography should read, he says, "The successive
growth stages of my infancy, childhood, youth, and manhood were all pass'd
on Long Island, which I sometimes feel as if I had incorporated."

Like Mark Twain, Walt Whitman received from the schools only a common
education but from life he had an uncommon training. His chief education
came from associating with all sorts and conditions of people. In Brooklyn
he worked as a printer, carpenter, and editor. His closest friends were the
pilots and deck hands of ferry boats, the drivers of New York City
omnibuses, factory hands, and sailors. After he had become well known, he
was unconventional enough to sit with a street car driver in front of a
grocery store in a crowded city and eat a watermelon. When people smiled,
he said, "They can have the laugh--we have the melon."


His Suffolk County life might have left him democratic but insular; but he
traveled widely and gained cosmopolitan experience. In 1848 he went
leisurely to New Orleans, where he edited a newspaper, but in a short time
he journeyed north along the Mississippi, traveled in Canada, and finally
returned to New York, having completed a trip of eight thousand miles.

After his return, he seems to have worked with his father in Brooklyn for
about three years, building and selling houses. He was then also engaged on
a collection of poems, which, in 1855, he published under the title of
_Leaves of Grass_. From this time he was known as an author.

In 1862 he went South to nurse his brother, who was wounded in the Civil
War. For nearly three years, the poet served as a volunteer nurse in the
army hospitals in Washington and its vicinity. Few good Samaritans have
performed better service. He estimated that he attended on the field and in
the hospital eighty thousand of the sick and wounded. In after days many a
soldier testified that his recovery was aided by Whitman's kindly
ministrations. Finally, however, his own iron constitution gave way under
this strain.

When the war closed, he was given a government clerkship in Washington, but
was dismissed in 1865, because of hostility aroused by his _Leaves of
Grass_. He soon received another appointment, however, which he held until
1873, when a stroke of paralysis forced him to relinquish his position. He
went to Camden, New Jersey, where he lived the life of a semi-invalid
during the rest of his existence, writing as his health would permit. He
died in 1892, and was buried in Harleigh Cemetery, near Camden.

POETRY.--Whitman gave to the world in 1855 the first edition of the poems,
which he called _Leaves of Grass_. His favorite expression, "words simple
as grass," and his line:--

"I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,"

give a clue to the idea which prompted the choice of such an unusual title.
He continued to add to these poems during the rest of his life, and he
published in 1892 the tenth edition of _Leaves of Grass_, in a volume
containing four hundred and twenty-two closely printed octavo pages.

Whitman intended _Leaves of Grass_ to be a realistic epic of American
democracy. He tried to sing this song as he heard it echoed in the life of
man and man's companion, Nature. While many of Whitman's poems have the
most dissimilar titles, and record experiences as unlike as his early life
on Long Island, his dressing of wounds during the Civil War, his
comradeship with the democratic mass, his almost Homeric communion with the
sea, and his memories of Lincoln, yet according to his scheme, all of this
verse was necessary to constitute a complete song of democracy. His poem,
_I Hear America Singing_, shows the variety that he wished to give to his
democratic songs:--

  "I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
   Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and
   The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
   The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
   The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand
         singing on the steamboat deck,
   The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as
         he stands,
   The woodcutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morning, or
         at noon intermission or at sundown,
   The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of
         the girl sewing or washing,
   Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else."

His ambition was to put human life in America "freely, fully, and truly on

His longest and one of his most typical poems in this collection is called
_Song of Myself_, in which he paints himself as a representative member of
the democratic mass. He says:--

  "Agonies are one of my changes of garments,
   I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the
         wounded person,
   My hurts turn livid upon me as I lean on a cane and observe.
       *       *        *       *        *
   Not a youngster is taken for larceny but I go up too, and am tried and

In these four lines, he states simply what must be the moving impulse of a
democratic government if it is to survive. Here is the spirit that is
to-day growing among us, the spirit that forbids child labor, cares for
orphans, enacts model tenement laws, strives to regenerate the slum
districts, and is increasing the altruistic activities of clubs and
churches throughout the country. But these verses will not submit to iambic
or trochaic scansion, and their form is as strange as a democratic
government was a century and a half ago to the monarchies of Europe. Place
these lines beside the following couplet from Pope:--

  "Self-love and Reason to one end aspire,
   Pain their aversion, Pleasure their desire."

Here the scansion is regular, the verse polished, the thought undemocratic.
The world had long been used to such regular poetry. The form of Whitman's
verse came as a distinct shock to the majority.

Sometimes what he said was a greater shock, as, for instance, the line:--

  "I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world."

For a considerable time many people knew Whitman by this one line alone.
They concluded that he was a barbarian and that all that he said was
"yawp." Although much of his work certainly deserved this characterization,
yet those who persisted in reading him soon discovered that their
condemnation was too sweeping, as most were willing to admit after they had
read, for instance, _When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd_, a poem that
Swinburne called "the most sonorous nocturn yet chanted in the church of
the world." The three _motifs_ of this song are the lilac, the evening
star, and the hermit thrush:--

  "Lilac and star and bird twined with the chant of my soul,
   There in the fragrant pines and the cedars dusk and dim."

In the same class we may place such poems as _Out of the Cradle Endlessly
Rocking_, where we listen to a song as if from

  "Out of the mocking-bird's throat, the musical shuttle."

Whitman also wrote in almost regular meter his dirge on Lincoln, the
greatest dirge of the Civil War:--

  "O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
   The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won,
   The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting."

In 1888 Whitman wrote that "from a worldly and business point of view,
_Leaves of Grass_ has been worse than a failure--that public criticism on
the book and myself as author of it yet shows mark'd anger and contempt
more than anything else." But he says that he had comfort in "a small band
of the dearest friends and upholders ever vouchsafed to man or cause." He
was also well received in England. He met with cordial appreciation from
Tennyson. John Addington Symonds (1840-1893), a graduate of Oxford and an
authority on Greek poetry and the Renaissance, wrote, "_Leaves of Grass_,
which I first read at the age of twenty-five, influenced me more, perhaps,
than any other book has done except the _Bible_; more than Plato, more than
Goethe." Had Whitman lived until 1908, he would probably have been
satisfied with the following statement from his biographer, Bliss Perry,
formerly professor of English at Princeton, "These primal and ultimate
things Whitman felt as few men have ever felt them, and he expressed them,
at his best, with a nobility and beauty such as only the world's very
greatest poets have surpassed."

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS. His most pronounced single characteristic is his
presentation of democracy:--

  "Stuff'd with the stuff that is coarse and stuff'd with the stuff that is

He said emphatically, "Without yielding an inch, the working man and
working woman were to be in my pages from first to last." He is the only
American poet of his rank who remained through life the close companion of
day laborers. Yet, although he is the poet of democracy, his poetry is too
difficult to be read by the masses, who are for the most part ignorant of
the fact that he is their greatest representative poet.

He not only preached democracy, but he also showed in practical ways his
intense feeling of comradeship and his sympathy with all. One of his
favorite verses was

  "And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own
         funeral drest in his shroud."

His Civil War experiences still further intensified this feeling. He looked
on the lifeless face of a son of the South, and wrote:--

  "... my enemy is dead, a man divine as myself is dead."

Like Thoreau, Whitman welcomed the return to nature. He says:--

   "I am enamour'd of growing out-doors,
    Of men that live among cattle or taste of the ocean or woods."

He is the poet of nature as well as of man. He tells us how nature educated

  "The early lilacs became part of this child,
   And grass and white and red morning-glories, and white and red
         clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird,
   And the Third-month lambs and the sow's pink-faint litter, and the
         mare's foal and the cow's calf."

He delights us

  "... with meadows, rippling tides and trees and flowers and grass,
   And the low hum of living breeze--and in the midst God's beautiful
         eternal right hand."

No American poet was more fond of the ocean. Its aspect and music, more
than any other object of nature, influenced his verse. He addresses the sea
in lines like these:--

  "With husky-haughty lips, O sea!
   Where day and night I wend thy surf-beat shore,
   Imaging to my sense thy varied strange suggestions,
   (I see and plainly list thy talk and conference here,)
   Thy troops of white-maned racers racing to the goal,
   Thy ample, smiling face, dash'd with the sparkling dimples of the sun."

He especially loves motion in nature. His poetry abounds in the so-called
motor images. [Footnote: For a discussion of the various types of images of
the different poets, see the author's _Education of the Central Nervous
System_, Chaps. VII., VIII., IX., X.] He takes pleasure in picturing a

  "Where the heifers browse, where geese nip their food with short jerks,"

or in watching

  "The white arms out in the breakers tirelessly tossing."

While his verse is fortunately not without idealistic touches, his poetic
theory is uncompromisingly realistic, as may be seen in his critical prose
essays, some of which deserve to rank only a little below those of Lowell
and Poe. Whitman says:--

  "For grounds for _Leaves of Grass_, as a poem, I abandoned the
  conventional themes, which do not appear in it: none of the stock
  ornamentation, or choice plots of love or war, or high exceptional
  personages of Old-World song; nothing, as I may say, for beauty's
  sake--no legend or myth or romance, nor euphemism, nor rhyme."

His unbalanced desire for realism led him into two mistakes. In the first
place, his determination to avoid ornamentation often caused him to insert
in his poems mere catalogues of names, which are not bound together by a
particle of poetic cement. The following from his _Song of Myself_ is an

  "Land of coal and iron! land of gold! land of cotton, sugar, rice!
   Land of wheat, beef, pork! land of wool and hemp! land of the apple
         and the grape!"

In the second place, he thought that genuine realism forbade his being
selective and commanded him to put everything in his verse. He accordingly
included some offensive material which was outside the pale of poetic
treatment. Had he followed the same rule with his cooking, his chickens
would have been served to him without removing the feathers. His refusal to
eliminate unpoetic material from his verse has cost him very many readers.

He further concluded that it was unfitting for a democratic poet to be
hampered by the verse forms of the Old World. He discarded rhyme almost
entirely, but he did employ rhythm, which is determined by the tone of the
ideas, not by the number of syllables. This rhythm is often not evident in
a single line, but usually becomes manifest as the thought is developed.
His verse was intended to be read aloud or chanted. He himself says that
his verse construction is "apparently lawless at first perusal, although on
closer examination a certain regularity appears, like the recurrence of
lesser and larger waves on the seashore, rolling in without intermission,
and fitfully rising and falling." There is little doubt that he carried in
his ear the music of the waves and endeavored to make his verse in some
measure conform to that. He says specifically that while he was listening
to the call of a seabird

  "... on Paumanok's [Footnote: The Indian name for Long Island.] gray
   With the thousand responsive songs at random,
   My own songs awaked from that hour,
   And with them the key, the word up from the waves."

In ideals he is most like Emerson. Critics have called Whitman a concrete
translation of Emerson, and have noticed that he practiced the independence
which Emerson preached in the famous lecture on _The American Scholar_ (p.
185). In 1855 Emerson wrote to Whitman: "I am not blind to the worth of the
wonderful gift of _Leaves of Grass_. I find it the most extraordinary piece
of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed."

Whitman is America's strangest compound of unfiltered realism, alloyed with
rich veins of noble idealism. No students of American democracy, its ideals
and social spirit, can afford to leave him unread. He sings, "unwarped by
any influence save democracy,"

  "Of Life, immense in passion, pulse, and power,
   Cheerful, for freest action form'd under the laws divine."

Intelligent sympathy with the humblest, the power to see himself "in prison
shaped like another man and feel the dull unintermitted pain," prompts him
to exclaim:--

  "I seize the descending man and raise him with resistless will."

An elemental poet of democracy, embodying its faults as well as its
virtues, Whitman is noteworthy for voicing the new social spirit on which
the twentieth century is relying for the regeneration of the masses.


American fiction had for the most part been romantic from its beginning
until the last part of the nineteenth century. Charles Brockden Brown,
Irving, Cooper, Hawthorne, Poe, Bret Harte, and Mark Twain were all tinged
with romanticism. In the latter part of the last century, there arose a
school of realists who insisted that life should be painted as it is,
without any addition to or subtraction from reality. This school did not
ask, "Is the matter interesting or exciting?" but, "Is it true to life?"

Howells and James were the leaders of the realists. Howells uses everyday
incidents and conversations. James not infrequently takes unusual
situations, so long as they conform to reality, and subjects them to the
most searching psychological analysis. Mary Wilkins Freeman, a pupil of
Howells, shows exceptional skill in depicting with realistic interest the
humble life of provincial New England. While this school did not turn all
writers into extreme realists, its influence was felt on the mass of
contemporary fiction.

Walt Whitman brings excessive realism into the form and matter of verse.
For fear of using stock poetic ornaments, he sometimes introduces mere
catalogues of names, uninvested with a single poetic touch. He is America's
greatest poet of democracy. His work is characterized by altruism, by
all-embracing sympathy, by emphasis on the social side of democracy, and by
love of nature and the sea.


Stanton's _A Manual of American Literature._

Alden's _Magazine Writing and the New Literature._

Perry's _A Study of Prose Fiction_, Chap. IX., _Realism_.

Howells's _Criticism and Fiction_.

Burt and Howells's _The Howells Story Book_. (Contains biographical

Henry James's _The Art of Fiction_.

Phelps's _William Dean Howells_, in _Essays on Modern Novelists_.

Brownell's _Henry James_, in _American Prose Masters_.

Canby's _The Short Story in English_. (James.)

Whitman's _Leaves of Grass_ (1897), 446 pp. (Contains all of his poems, the
publication of which was authorized by himself.)

Triggs's _Selections from the Prose and Poetry of Walt Whitman_. (The best
for general readers.)

Perry's _Walt Whitman, his Life, and Work_. (Excellent.)

G. R. Carpenter's _Walt Whitman_.

Platt's _Walt Whitman_. (_Beacon Biographies_)

Noyes's _An Approach to Walt Whitman_. (Excellent.)

Bucke's _Walt Whitman_. (A biography by one of his executors.)

_In Re Walt Whitman_, edited by his literary executors. (Supplements

Burroughs's _Whitman: A Study_.

Symonds's _Walt Whitman: A Study_.

Dowden's _The Poetry of Democracy_, in _Studies in Literature_.

Stevenson's _Familiar Studies of Men and Books_. (Whitman.)

Whitman's _Works_, edited by Triggs. (Putnam Subscription Edition.) Vol. X.
contains a bibliography and reference list of 98 pp.


THE PROSE REALISTS.--Sections II., XV., and XXVIII., from Howells's
_Criticism and Fiction_. _Silas Lapham_ is the best of his novels. Those
who desire to read more should consult the list on p. 373 of this book.

In Henry James, read either _The Portrait of a Lady_ or _Roderick Hudson_.
_A Passionate Pilgrim_, and _The Madonna of the Future_ are two of his best
short stories.

Read any or all of these short stories by Mary Wilkins Freeman: _A New
England Nun,_ _A Gala Dress_, in the volume, _A New England Nun and Other
Stories_, _Evelina's Garden_, in the volume, _Silence and Other Stories_.
Her best long novel is _Pembroke_.

WALT WHITMAN.--While the majority of his poems should be left for mature
years, the following, carefully edited by Triggs in his volume of
_Selections_, need not be deferred:--

_Song of Myself_, Triggs, pp. 105-120. (Begin with the line on p. 105, "A
child said, _What is the Grass?_"), _Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking_,
pp. 154-160, _I Hear America Singing_, p. 100, _Reconciliation_ p. 175, _O
Captain! My Captain_, p. 184, _When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed_,
pp. 176-184, _Patrolling Barnegat_, p. 163, _With Husky-Haughty Lips, O
Sea!_ p. 232.

Selections from his prose, including _Specimen Days_, _Memoranda of the
War_, and his theories of art and poetry, may be found in Triggs, pp. 3-95.


THE PROSE REALISTS.--To what school did the best writers in American
fiction belong, prior to the last quarter of the nineteenth century? What
was the subject of each? What is the realistic theory advanced by Howells?
In what respects does this differ from the practice of the romantic school?

Take any chapter of _Silas Lapham_ and of either _The Portrait of a Lady_,
or of _Roderick Hudson_, and show how Howells and James differ from the
romanticists. What difference do you notice in the realistic method and in
the style of Howells and of James?

What special qualities characterize the work of Mary Wilkins Freeman? What
is the secret of her success in so employing a little realistic incident as
to hold the reader's attention? Compare the two short stories, _The Madonna
of the Future_ (James) and _A New England Nun_ (Wilkins Freeman) and show
how James's interest lies in the subtle psychological problem, while Mrs.
Freeman's depends on the unfolding of simple emotions. It will also be
found interesting to compare the method of that early English realist Jane
Austen, _e.g._ in her novel _Emma_, with the work of the American realists.

In general, do you think that the romantic or the realistic school has the
truer conception of the mission and art of fiction? Why is it desirable
that each school should hold the other in check?

WALT WHITMAN.--How did his early life prepare him to be the poet of
democracy? To what voices does he specially listen in his poem, _I Hear
America Singing_? In his _Song of Myself_, point out some passages that
show the modern spirit of altruism. In _Out of the Cradle Endlessly
Rocking_, what lines best show his lyric gift? What individual objects
stand out most strongly and poetically? Could this poem have been written
by one reared in the middle West? Why does he select the lilacs, evening
star, and hermit thrush, as the _motifs_ of the poem, _When Lilacs Last in
the Dooryard Bloom'd?_ In _Patrolling Barnegat_, do you notice any
resemblance to Anglo-Saxon poetry of the sea, _e.g._ to _Beowulf_ or _The
Seafarer?_ In _With Husky-Haughty Lips, O Sea!_ what touches are unlike
those of Anglo-Saxon poets? (See the author's _History of English
Literature_, pp. 21, 25, 33, 35, 37.) Which of Whitman's references to
nature do you consider the most poetic? How does _O Captain! My Captain!_
differ in form from the other poems indicated for reading? What qualities
in his verse impress you most?


Lack of originality is a frequent charge against young literatures, but the
best foreign critics have testified to the originality of the Knickerbocker
Legend, of Leatherstocking, of the great Puritan romances, in which the Ten
Commandments are the supreme law, of the work of that southern wizard who
has taught a great part of the world the art of the modern short story and
who has charmed the ear of death with his melodies, of America's unique
humor, so conspicuous in the service of reform and in rendering the New
World philosophy doubly impressive.

American literature has not only produced original work, but it has also
delivered a worthy message to humanity. Franklin has voiced an unsurpassed
philosophy of the practical. Emerson is a great apostle of the ideal, an
unexcelled preacher of New World self-reliance. His teachings, which have
become almost as widely diffused as the air we breathe, have added a cubit
to the stature of unnumbered pupils. We still respond to the half Celtic,
half Saxon, song of one of these:--

  "Luck hates the slow and loves the bold,
   Soon come the darkness and the cold."

American poets and prose writers have disclosed the glory of a new
companionship with nature and have shown how we,

  "... pocketless of a dime may purchase the pick of the earth."

After association with them, we also feel like exclaiming:--

    "Earth of the vitreous pour of the full moon just tinged with blue!
      ... rich apple-blossom'd earth!
     Smile, for your lover comes."

No other literature has so forcibly expressed such an inspiring belief in
individuality, the aim to have each human being realize that this plastic
world expects to find in him an individual hero. Emerson emphasized "the
new importance given to the single person." No philosophy of individuality
could be more explicit than Walt Whitman's:--

  "The whole theory of the universe is directed unerringly to one
         single individual,--namely to You."

This emphasis on individuality is an added incentive to try "to yield that
particular fruit which each was created to bear." We feel that the universe
is our property and that we shall not stop until we have a clear title to
that part which we desire. As we study this literature, the moral greatness
of the race seems to course afresh through our veins, and our individual
strength becomes the strength of ten.

No other nation could have sung America's song of democracy:--

  "Stuff'd with the stuff that is coarse and stuff'd with the stuff
         that is fine."

The East and the West have vied in singing the song of a new social
democracy, in holding up as an ideal a

  "... love that lives
   On the errors it forgives,"

in teaching each mother to sing to her child:--

  "Thou art one with the world--though I love thee the best,
   And to save thee from pain, I must save all the rest.
   Thou wilt weep; and thy mother must dry
   The tears of the world, lest her darling should cry."

True poets, like the great physicians, minister to life by awakening faith.
The singers of New England have made us feel that the Divine Presence
stands behind the darkest shadow, that the feeble hands groping blindly in
the darkness will touch God's strengthening right hand. Amid the snows of
his Northland, Whittier wrote:--

  "I know not where his islands lift
   Their fronded palms in air;
   I only know I cannot drift
   Beyond his love and care."

Lanier calls from the southern marshes, fringed with the live oaks "and
woven shades of the vine":--

  "I will fly in the greatness of God as the marsh-hen flies
   In the freedom that fills all the space 'twixt the marsh and the skies:
   By so many roots as the marsh-grass sends in the sod
   I will heartily lay me a-hold on the greatness of God."

The impressive moral lesson taught by American literature is a presence not
to be put by. Lowell's utterance is typical of our greatest authors:--

  "Not failure, but low aim, is crime."

Hawthorne wrote his great masterpiece to express this central truth:--

  "To the untrue man, the whole universe is false,--it is impalpable,--
         it shrinks to nothing within his grasp."

Finally, American literature has striven to impress the truth voiced in
these lines:--

  "As children of the Infinite Soul
   Our Birthright is the boundless whole....

  "High truths which have not yet been dreamed,
   Realities of all that seemed....

  "No fate can rob the earnest soul
   Of his great Birthright in the boundless whole!"


[Footnote: For a complete record of the work of contemporary authors,
consult _Who's Who in America_.]


ABBOTT, JACOB (1803-1879), b. Hallowell, Maine. One of America's most
voluminous writers on all classes of popular subjects. He wrote one hundred
and eighty volumes and aided in the preparation of thirty-one more.
_Illustrated Histories_, _The Rollo Books_.

ADAMS, HENRY (1838-    ), b. Boston, Mass. Historian. _History of the
United States_ from 1801 to 1817, that is, under Jefferson's and Madison's
administrations. 9 vols. Excellent for this important period.

ALCOTT, LOUISA MAY (1832-1888), b. Germantown, Pa. Daughter of Amos Bronson
Alcott. Writer of wholesome, humorous, and interesting stories for young
people. _Little Women_, _An Old-Fashioned Girl_, _Eight Cousins_, _Rose in

ALLSTON, WASHINGTON (1779-1843), b. Waccamaw, S. C. Moved to New England
and graduated at Harvard in 1800. Artist; early poet of Wordsworthian
school. _The Sylphs of the Seasons, and Other Poems_.

AMES, FISHER (1758-1808), b. Dedham, Mass. Orator, statesman. Best speech,
_On the British Treaty_ (1796).

AUSTIN, JANE G. (1831-1894), b. Worcester, Mass. Novelist of early colonial
New England. _Standish of Standish_, _Betty Alden_, _Dr. Le Baron and his
Daughters_, _A Nameless Nobleman_, _David Alden's Daughter, and Other
Stories of Colonial Times_.

BACHELLER, IRVING (1859-    ), b. Pierrepont, N. Y. Novelist. _Eben
Holden_, _D'ri and I_, _Darrel of the Blessed Isles_.

BANCROFT, GEORGE (1800-1891), b. Worcester, Mass. Historian, diplomatist.
_History of the United States, from the Discovery of the Continent to the
Establishment of the Constitution in 1789_, 6 vols. _History of the
Formation of the Constitution of the United States_, 2 vols. Covers the
period to the inauguration of Washington. The volumes on the Revolutionary
War and the formation of the Constitution are the best part of the work.
While Bancroft's improved methods of research among original authorities
almost entitle him to be called the founder of the new American school of
historical writing, yet the best critics do not to-day consider his work
scientific. They regard it more as an apotheosis of democracy, written by a
man who loved truth intensely, who shirked no drudgery in original
investigations, but who shows the strong bias of the days of Andrew Jackson
in the tendency to believe that what democracy does is almost necessarily

BANGS, JOHN KENDRICK (1862-    ), b. Yonkers, N. Y. Humorist. _House-Boat
on the Styx_, _The Idiot at Home_, _A Rebellious Heroine._

BARR, AMELIA E. (1831-    ), b. Ulverston, Lancashire, Eng. Anglo-American
novelist. _A Bow of Orange Ribbon_, _Jan Vedder's Wife_, _A Daughter of
Fife_, and _Between Two Loves_.

BATES, ARLO (1850-    ), b. East Machias, Me. Educator, author. _Under the
Beech Tree_ (poems), _Talks on the Study of Literature_.


BEECHER, HENRY WARD (1813-1887), b. Litchfield, Conn. Congregational
clergyman, widely popular as a preacher and lecturer. Delivered noted
anti-slavery lectures in England. Some of his published works are _Eyes and
Ears_, _Life Thoughts_, _Star Papers_, _Yale Lectures on Preaching_.


BOKER, GEO. H. (1823-1890), b. Philadelphia, Pa. Dramatist, poet, diplomat.
_Francesca da Rimini_, _Dirge for a Soldier_.


BROOKS, PHILLIPS (1835-1893), b. Boston, Mass. Bishop of the Episcopal
Diocese of Massachusetts. One of the foremost preachers of his day. Wrote
many works on religious subjects, also _Essays and Addresses_, _Letters of

BROWN, ALICE (1857-    ), b. Hampton Falls, N. H. Novelist, _The Story of
Thyrza, John Winterburn's Family, Country Neighbors, Tiverton Tales, The

BROWNE, CHARLES F. ("Artemus Ward") (1834-1867), b. Waterford, Maine.
Newspaper writer and lecturer. Famous humorist of the middle of the
nineteenth century. _Artemus Ward: His Book_, _Artemus Ward: His Travels_,
_Artemus Ward in London._

BROWNSON, ORESTES A. (1803-1876), b. Stockbridge, Vt. Clergyman,
journalist, Christian socialist. Brownson's _Quarterly Review_ (1844-1875),
_New Views of Christianity, Society, and the Church._

BUNNER, HENRY CUYLER (1855-1896), b. Oswego, N. Y. Editor of _Puck_ for
many years. A clever and successful short-story writer. _Short Sixes_,
_Love in Old Cloathes_, _Zadoc Pine and Other Stories._

BURROUGHS, JOHN (1837-    ), b. Roxbury, N. Y. An exact observer of life in
the woods and one of the most conservative and entertaining writers on
nature. He tells only what he sees and does not draw on his fancy to endow
animals with man's power to reason. Some of his nature books are:
_Wake-Robin, Signs and Seasons, Pepacton, Riverby, Locusts and Wild Honey,
Squirrels and Other Fur-Bearers. Indoor Studies_ and _Whitman, A Study_,
show keen critical powers and genuine literary appreciation. Burroughs
reminds the reader of Thoreau in closeness of observation and honesty of
expression, but Burroughs is less of a philosopher and poet and more of a

CARY, ALICE (1820-1871) and her sister Phoebe Gary (1824-1871), b. Miami
Valley, near Cincinnati, Ohio. Moved to New York, N. Y. Poets. _Poems_ by
Alice and Phoebe Cary.

CHAMBERS, ROBERT W. (1865-    ), b. Brooklyn, N. Y. Author of exciting
romances. _The Red Republic_, _A King and a Few Dukes_, _The Conspirators._

CHARMING, WILLIAM ELLERY (1780-1842), b. Newport, R. I. Great Unitarian
preacher and reformer. _Spiritual Freedom_, _Evidences of Christianity and
of Revealed Religion_, _Self-Culture_, _Slavery._

CHILD, LYDIA MARIA (1802-1880), b. Medford, Mass. Novelist, editor.
Hobomok, a story of life in colonial Salem; _The Rebels,_ a tale of the
Revolution, introduces James Otis, Governor Hutchinson, and the Boston
Massacre; _Appeal for that Class of Americans called Africans._

CHURCHILL, WINSTON (1871-    ), b. St. Louis, Mo. Home in Cornish, N. H.
Novelist. _Richard Carvel, The Crisis,_ and _The Crossing_ are interesting
novels of American historical events. _Mr. Crewe's Career._

CLARKE, JAMES FREEMAN (1810-1888), b. Hanover, N. H. Noted Unitarian
clergyman. _Orthodoxy: Its Truths and Errors_, _Ten Great Religions_,

CONE, HELEN GRAY (1859-    ), b. New York, N. Y. Poet. _Oberon and Puck_,
_The Ride to the Lady_, _Verses Grave and Gay._

COOKE, ROSE TERRY (1827-1892), b. West Hartford, Conn. Poet and short-story
writer. _The Two Villages_ is her best-known poem, and _The Deacon's Week_
one of her best stories.

CRAIGIE, PEARL MARY TERESA ("John Oliver Hobbes") (1867-1906), b. Boston,
Mass. Novelist. _School for Saints_, _The Herb Moon_, _The Flute of Pan_,
_The Tales of John Oliver Hobbes._

CRANCH, CHRISTOPHER PEARSE (1813-1892), b. Alexandria, Va. Educated in
Massachusetts. Artist, transcendental poet, and contributor to _The Dial_.
Best poems, _Gnosis, I in Thee._

CRANE, STEPHEN (1870-1900), b. Newark, N. J. Novelist. _The Red Badge of
Courage_ is a remarkable romance of the American Civil War.

CRAWFORD, FRANCIS MARION (1854-1909), b. Bagni di Lucca, Italy. Voluminous
writer of novels and romances. Some are historical, and the scenes of the
best of them are laid in Italy. He wrote his _Zoroaster_ and _Marzio's
Crucifix_ in both English and French, and received a reward of one thousand
francs from the French Academy. _Saracinesca_, _Sant' Ilario_, and _Don
Orsino_, a trio of novels about one Roman family, and _Katherine
Lauderdale_ and its sequel, _The Ralstons_, are among his best works.

CURTIS, GEORGE WILLIAM (1824-1892), b. Providence, R. I. Literary and
political essayist, civil service reformer, and critic. Was a resident in
his youth at Brook Farm. Spent four years of his early life in foreign
travel. _Nile Notes of a Howadji_ and _The Howadji in Syria_ are poetic
descriptions of his trip. His masterpiece is _Prue and I_, a prose idyl of
simple, contented, humble life. The largest part of his work was done as
editor. He was editor of _Putnam's Magazine_ at the time of its failure in
1857, and undertook to pay up every creditor, a task which consumed sixteen
years. He wrote the _Easy Chair_ papers in _Harper's Monthly_. A volume of
these essays contains some of his easiest, most urbane, and humorous
writings. They are light and in the vein of Addison's _Spectator_. In
_Orations and Addresses_ are to be found some of his strongest and most
polished speeches on moral, historical, and political subjects.

DANA, RICHARD HENRY, SR. (1787-1879), b. Cambridge, Mass. Author, diplomat,
judge. Co-editor _North American Review_ when it published Bryant's
_Thanatopsis_. Champion of the romantic school of Wordsworth and Coleridge.
Dana's best known poem, _The Buccaneer_, shows the influence of this

DANA, RICHARD HENRY, JR. (1815-1882), b. Cambridge, Mass. Lawyer,
statesman, author. His _Two Years before the Mast_ keeps, its place among
the best books written for boys during the nineteenth century. The British
admiralty officially adopted this book for circulation in the navy.

DAVIS, RICHARD HARDING (1864-1916), b. Philadelphia, Pa. Journalist,
playwright, novelist. Best works are short stones of New York life, such as
_Van Bibber and Others_, _Gallegher and Other Stories_. _The Bar Sinister_,
which holds boys spellbound, is an excellent story of a dog.

DELAND, MARGARETTA WADE (1857-    ), b. Allegheny, Pa. Voluminous writer of
stories. _Old Chester Tales_, _Dr. Lavendar's People_, _John Ward_,

DICKINSON, EMILY (1830-1886), b. Amherst, Mass. Author of unique short
lyrics. _Poems_.

DICKINSON, JOHN (1732-1808), b. Crosia, Md. Statesman. _The Farmer's
Letters to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies_.

DODGE, MARY MAPES (1838-1905), b. New York, N. Y. Editor of _Saint Nicholas
Magazine_. Among her juvenile books may be mentioned _Hans Brinker_,
_Donald and Dorothy_, _The Land of Pluck_.

DORR, JULIA C. R. (1825-    ), b. Charleston, S. C. Moved to Vermont. Poet,
novelist. _Poems_, _In Kings' Houses_, _Farmingdale_.

DWIGHT, JOHN S. (1813-1893), b. Boston, Mass. Musician, transcendentalist.
Best poem, _Rest_, appeared in first number of _The Dial_.

EGAN, MAURICE FRANCIS (1852-    ), b. Philadelphia, Pa. Diplomat, poet,
essayist, novelist. _Preludes_, _Songs and Sonnets_, _Lectures on English
Literature_, _The Ghost of Hamlet_.

EVERETT, EDWARD (1794-1865), b. Dorchester, Mass. Orator, statesman.
_Orations and Speeches_.

FIELDS, JAMES T. (1817-1881), b. Portsmouth, N. H. Editor _Atlantic
Monthly_ and publisher. _Yesterdays with Authors_.

FISKE, JOHN (1842-1901), b. Hartford, Conn. Scientist and historian. His
histories are both philosophical and interesting. _The Critical Period of
American History_, _The Beginnings of New England_, _The American
Revolution_, _The Discovery of America_.

FORD, PAUL LEICESTER (1865-1902), b. Brooklyn, N. Y. Novelist, historian.
_The Honorable Peter Stirling_, _Janice Meredith_.

FOSTER, STEPHEN COLLINS (1826-1864), b. Pittsburgh, Pa. Writer of some of
the most widely known songs of the nineteenth century. _Old Folks at Home_
("Down on the Suwanee River"), _My Old Kentucky Home_, _Nellie was a Lady_.

FREDERIC, HAROLD (1856-1898), b. Utica, N.Y. Novelist, journalist. _The
Damnation of Theron Ware_, _Gloria Mundi_.

GILDER, RICHARD WATSON (1844-1909), b. Bordentown, N. J. Editor and poet.
Editor of _Century Magazine_ until his death. Poems: _The New Day_, _Five
Books of Song_, _For the Country_.

GOODWIN, MAUD WILDER (1856-    ), b. Ballston Spa, N. Y. Writer of
romances, chiefly historical. _The Colonial Cavalier_, _or Southern Life
before the Revolution_, _Four Roads to Paradise_.

GRANT, ROBERT (1852-    ), b. Boston, Mass. Novelist, essayist, jurist.
_Confessions of a Frivolous Girl_, _An Average Man_, _The Art of Living_.

GREELEY, HORACE (1811-1872), b. Amherst, N. H. Founder and editor of The
Tribune, New York, N. Y. Exerted strong influence on the thought of his
time. _Recollections of a Busy Life_.

GREEN, ANNA KATHARINE (Mrs. Charles Rohlfs) (1846-    ), b. Brooklyn, N. Y.
Voluminous writer of interesting detective stories, of which _The
Leavenworth Case_ is the most noted.

GUINEY, LOUISE IMOGEN (1861-    ), b. Boston, Mass. Poet, essayist. _The
White Sail and Other Poems_, _A Roadside Harp_, _The Martyr's Idyl and
Shorter Poems_.

HALE, EDWARD EVERETT (1822-1909), b. Boston, Mass. Unitarian divine,
author, philanthropist. Best known story, _The Man without a Country_.
Wrote many miscellaneous essays.

HARDY, ARTHUR S. (1847-    ), b. Andover, Mass. Educator, novelist,
diplomat. _But Yet a Woman_, _Wind of Destiny_, _Passe Rose_.

HARLAND, HENRY ("Sidney Luska") (1861-1905), b. Petrograd, Russia.
Novelist. _The Cardinal's Snuff-Box_, _My Friend Prospero_, _The Lady

HAWTHORNE, JULIAN (1846-    ), b. Boston, Mass., son of Nathaniel
Hawthorne. Novelist, essayist. Deserves to be called his father's Boswell
for the excellent and sympathetic two volumes, entitled _Nathaniel
Hawthorne and his Wife_.

HEDGE, FREDERICK H. (1805-1890), b. Cambridge, Mass. Clergyman,
transcendentalist. Best poem, _Questionings_, appeared in _The Dial_.

HIGGINSON, THOMAS WENTWORTH (1823-    ), b. Cambridge, Mass. Unitarian
minister, prominent anti-slavery agitator, author. _Life of Margaret Fuller
Ossoli_, _Cheerful Yesterdays_, _Contemporaries_, _Old Cambridge_.


HOLLAND, J. G. (1819-1881), b. Belchertown, Mass. Editor of the first
series of _Scribner's Monthly_, wrote several poems, of which
_Bitter-Sweet_ was the most popular, and several novels, the best of which
is _Arthur Bonnicastle_.

HOLLEY, MARIETTA (1850-    ), b. Ellisburg, N. Y. Humorist, Author of
_Josiah Allen's Wife_, _My Opinions and Betsey Bobbet's_, _Sweet Cicely_,
_Samantha at Saratoga_, and _Poems_.

HOWARD, BLANCHE WILLIS (1847-1898), b. Bangor, Maine. Novelist. _Guenn_ is
an unusually strong novel. _One Summer_, _Aunt Serena_, and _The Open Door_
are wholesome, pleasing stories.

HOWE, JULIA WARD (1819-1910), b. New York, N. Y. Philanthropist, author of
the famous _Battle Hymn of the Republic_.

HUTCHINSON, THOMAS (1711-1780), b. Boston, Mass. America's greatest
historical writer before the nineteenth century. His great work is _The
History of the Province of Massachusetts Bay_.

IRELAND, JOHN (1838-    ), b. Ireland. Roman Catholic archbishop. _The
Church and Modern Society_.

JANVIER, THOMAS ALLIBONE (1849-1913), b. Philadelphia, Pa. Journalist and
author. _Color Studies_, _Stories of Old New Spain_, _An Embassy to
Provence_, _The Passing of Thomas_.

JEWETT, SARAH ORNE (1849-1909), b. South Berwick, Maine. Artistic novelist
of old New England villages. _Deephaven_, _The Country of the Pointed
Firs_, _The Tory Lover_. She shows a more genial side of New England life
than Miss Wilkins gives.

KING, CHARLES (1844-    ), b. Albany, N. Y. Soldier, novelist. _A War-Time
Wooing_, _The Colonel's Daughter_, _The Deserter_, _The General's Double_.

KIRK, ELLEN OLNEY (1842-    ), b. Southington, Conn. Novelist. _Through
Winding Ways_, _A Midsummer Madness_, _The Story of Margaret Kent_,

LARCOM, LUCY (1826-1893), b. Beverly Farms, Mass. A factory hand in Lowell,
encouraged by Whittier to write. _Poems; A New England Girlhood, Outlined
from Memory_.

LATHROP, GEORGE P. (1851-1898), b. Oahu, Hawaii. Son-in-law of Nathaniel
Hawthorne, editor, author. _A Study of Hawthorne_, _Spanish Vistas_,

LAZARUS, EMMA (1849-1887), b. New York, N. Y. Poet, translator, essayist.
_Admetus_, _Songs of a Semite_, _Poems_.

LELAND, CHARLES GODFREY ("Hans Breitmann") (1824-1903), b. Philadelphia,
Pa. Humorist. _Hans Breitmann's Ballads_, written in what is known as
Pennsylvania Dutch dialect.

LOCKE, DAVID ROSS ("Petroleum V. Nasby") (1833-1888), b. Vestal, N. Y.
Political satirist. _Nasby Letters_.

LODGE, HENRY CABOT (1850-    ), b. Boston, Mass. Statesman, historian,
essayist. _A Short History of the English Colonies in America, Alexander
Hamilton, Daniel Webster, Studies in History, Hero Tales from American
History_ (with Theodore Roosevelt).


MABIE, HAMILTON W. (1846-1916), b. Cold Spring, N. Y. Editor, essayist. _My
Study Fire, William Shakespeare: Poet, Dramatist, and Man, Essays on Books
and Culture_.

MACKAYE, PERCY WALLACE (1875-    ), b. New York, N. Y. Dramatist. _Jeanne
d'Arc_, _Sappho and Phaon_, _The Canterbury Pilgrims_, _Ticonderoga and
Other Poems_.

MCMASTER, JOHN BACH (1852-    ), b. Brooklyn, N. Y. Historian and professor
of American history. _A History of the People of the United States from the
Revolution to the Civil War_. 7 vols. An entertaining history, sometimes
suggestive of Macaulay.



MELVILLE, HERMAN (1819-1891), b. New York, N. Y. Novelist. _Typee Omoo_,
_Mardi_, _White Jacket or the World in a Man of War_, _Moby Dick or the
White Whale_ contain interesting accounts of his wide travels.

MITCHELL, DONALD GRANT ("Ik Marvel") (1822-1908), b. Norwich, Conn.
Essayist. _Reveries of a Bachelor_, _Dream Life_.

MITCHELL, S. WEIR (1829-    ), b. Philadelphia, Pa. Physician, novelist,
and poet. _Hugh Wynne, Free Quaker_; _The Adventures of Francois_; _Dr.
North and his Friends_; and _Constance Trescot_.

MOORE, CLEMENT CLARKE (1779-1863), b. New York, N. Y. Oriental scholar and
poet. Known to children to-day for his poem, _'Twas the Night before

MOULTON, ELLEN LOUISE CHANDLER (1835-1908), b. Pomfret, Conn. Story writer,
poet, correspondent. _Some Women's Hearts_, _Swallow Flights and Other
Poems_, _In Childhood's Country_.


ODELL, JONATHAN (1737-1818), b. Newark, N.J. Clergyman, greatest
anti-Revolution poetic satirist. Shows influence of Dryden and Pope. _The
American Congress_, _The American Times_.

O'REILLY, JOHN BOYLE (1844-1890), b. Ireland. Journalist, poet. _Songs,
Legends and Ballads_; _Moondyne_; _Songs from the Southern Seas_.


PAULDING, JAMES KIRKE (1779-1860), b. Pleasant Valley, N.Y. Satirical
humorist and descriptive writer. _The Dutchman's Fireside._ Assisted Irving
in the _Salmagundi_ papers.

PAYNE, JOHN HOWARD (1792-1852), b. New York, N.Y. Dramatist. Author of the
song, _Home, Sweet Home_.

PEABODY, JOSEPHINE PRESTON (Mrs. Lionel Marks) (1874-    ), b. New York,
N.Y. Poet, dramatist. _The Singing Leaves_, _Fortune and Men's Eyes_,
_Marlowe_, _The Piper_ (Stratford-on-Avon prize drama). Author of excellent
poems for children.

PERRY, BLISS (1860-    ), b. Williamstown, Mass. Educator, editor, author.
_Walt Whitman_, _A Study of Prose Fiction_, _John Greenleaf Whittier_.

READ, THOMAS BUCHANAN (1822-1872), b. Chester Co., Pa. Poet and painter.
_The New Pastoral_, _Sheridan's Ride_.

REPPLIER, AGNES (1857-    ), b. Philadelphia, Pa. Witty essayist. _Books
and Men_, _Points of View_, _Essays in Idleness_.


ROE, EDWARD PAYSON (1838-1888), b. New Windsor, N.Y. Clergyman, novelist.
_Barriers Burned Away_, _Opening a Chestnut Burr_, _Nature's Serial Story_.


ROOSEVELT, THEODORE (1858-1919), b. New York, N. Y. Ex-President of the
United States. Lived for awhile on a western ranch and amassed material for
some of his most popular works. _Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail_, _The
Winning of the West_, _The Rough Riders_. He has written also on civil,
economic, and ethical subjects with great vigor and incisive clearness. His
_African Game Trails_ is the record of his trip to Africa.

SANGSTER, MARGARET (1838-    ), b. New Rochelle, N. Y. Editor, writer of
stories and poems. _Poems of the Household_, _Home Fairies and Heart

SAXE, JOHN GODFREY (1816-1887), b. Highgate, Vt. Journalist, writer of
humorous verse. _Humorous and Satirical Poems_, _The Money King and Other

SCHOULER, JAMES (1839-    ), b. Arlington, Mass. Lawyer, historian. _A
History of the United States under the Constitution_. 6 vols.

SCOLLARD, CLINTON (1860-    ), b. Clinton, N. Y. Educator, poet. _With Reed
and Lyre_, _The Hills of Song_, _Voices and Visions_.

SEDGWICK, CATHERINE M. (1789-1867), b. Stockbridge, Mass. Novelist. Her
best stories are those of simple New England country life. _Redwood_,
_Clarence_, _A New England Tale_.

SHAW, HENRY WHEELER (Josh Billings) (1818-1885), b. Lanesborough, Mass.
Humorist. _Farmers' Allminax_, _Every Boddy's Friend_, _Josh Billings'
Spice Box_.

SHEA, JOHN DAWSON GILMARY (1824-1892), b. New York, N. Y. Editor,
historian. _Discovery and Exploration of the Mississippi Valley_, _History
of the Catholic Missions among the Indian Tribes of the United States_,
_History of the Catholic Church in the United States_, and many other
historical and religious studies.

SHERMAN, FRANK DEMPSTER (1860-1916), b. Peekskill, N.Y. Professor of
architecture, poet. _Madrigals and Catches_, _Lyrics for a Lute_, _Lyrics
of Joy_.

SHILLABER, BENJAMIN P. ("Mrs. Partington") (1814-1890), b. Portsmouth, N.
H. Humorist of Mrs. Malaprop's style, mistaking words of similar sounds but
dissimilar sense. _Life and Sayings of Mrs. Partington_, _Partingtonian
Patchwork_, _Ike and his Friend_.

SMITH, SAMUEL F. (1808-1895), b. Boston, Mass. Clergyman. Author of our
national poem, _America_. Of him, Holmes wrote, "Fate tried to conceal him
by naming him Smith."

SPARKS, JARED (1789-1866), b. Willington, Conn. Unitarian minister and
historian. _Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution_, _The
Writings of George Washington_, _The Works of Benjamin Franklin_.

SPOFFORD, HARRIET PRESCOTT (1835-    ), b. Calais, Maine. Novelist, poet.
_The Amber Gods and Other Stories_, _New England Legends_, _Poems_.

STEDMAN, EDMUND CLARENCE (1833-1908), b. Hartford, Conn. Poet, critic. One
of America's fairest critics. Did valuable work in compiling and
criticizing modern English and American literature. _A Victorian
Anthology_, _An American Anthology_, _Victorian Poets_, _Poets of America_.
Co-editor of _Library of American Literature_ in eleven large octavo

STOCKTON, FRANK R. (1834-1902), b. Philadelphia, Pa. Novelist and humorist.
His novels have a farcical humor, due to ridiculous situations and
absurdities, treated in a mock-serious vein. _The Lady or the Tiger?_ _The
Late Mrs. Null_, _The Casting away of Mrs. Leeks and Mrs. Aleshine_, _The
Hundredth Man_.

STODDARD, CHARLES WARREN (1843-1909), b. Rochester, N.Y. Author, educator,
traveler. _South Sea Idyls_, _Lepers of Molokai_, _Poems_.

STODDARD, RICHARD HENRY (1825-1903), b. Hingham, Mass. Journalist, editor,
poet. _Songs of Summer_, _Abraham Lincoln: a Horatian Ode_, _The Lion's

STORY, WILLIAM WETMORE (1819-1895), b. Salem, Mass. Sculptor, author. _Roba
di Roma_, or _Walks and Talks about Rome_, _Poems_, _Conversations in a
Studio_, _Excursions in Art and Letters_.

SUMNER, CHAS. (1811-1874), b. Boston, Mass. Noted anti-slavery statesman.
His published speeches and orations fill fifteen volumes.

TAYLOR, BAYARD (1825-1878), b. Kennett Square, Chester Co., Pa. Extensive
traveler, wrote twelve different volumes of travels, the first being _Views
Afoot, or Europe Seen with Knapsack and Staff_ (1846). He wrote also much
poetry. Among the best of his shorter poems are _The Bedouin Song_,
_Nubia_, and _The Song of the Camp. Lars: a Pastoral of Norway_ is his best
long poem. The work by which he will probably remain longest known in
literature is his excellent translation of Goethe's _Faust_.

THAXTER, CELIA LAIGHTON (1836-1894), b. Portsmouth, N.H. Spent most of life
upon Isles of Shoals. Artist, author. _Poems_ (Appledore Edition, 1896).
Best single poem, _The Sandpiper_.

THOMAS, EDITH MATILDA (1854-    ), b. Chatham, Ohio. Poet. _A New Year's
Masque, A Winter Swallow, and Other Verse, Fair Shadow Land, Lyrics and

TICKNOR, GEORGE (1791-1871), b. Boston, Mass. _A History of Spanish

TORREY, BRADFORD (1843-1912), b. Weymouth, Mass. Nature writer. _Birds in
the Bush_, _The Footpath Way_, _Footing it in Franconia_. Editor of
Thoreau's _Journal_.

TOURGEE, ALBION W. (1838-1905), b. Williamsfield, Ohio. Educated in New
York. Soldier, judge, novelist of the reconstruction period. _A Fool's
Errand_, _Bricks without Straw_.

TROWBRIDGE, JOHN TOWNSEND (1827-1916), b. Ogden, N.Y. Editor, novelist,
poet, juvenile writer. _My Own Story_ (biography) Among his stories for
young people are _The Drummer Boy_, _The Prize Cup_, _The Tide-Mill
Stories._ Best known poem, _The Vagabonds_.

VAN DYKE, HENRY (1852-    ), b. Germantown, Pa. Clergyman, professor,
essayist, poet. _The Builders and Other Poems_, _Fisherman's Luck and Some
Other Uncertain Things_, _The Story of the Other Wise Man_. An interesting,
optimistic philosopher, and lover of nature, whose works deserve the widest


WARD, ELIZABETH STUART PHELPS (1844-1911), b. Boston, Mass. Novelist. _The
Gates Ajar_, _The Story of Avis_, _A Singular Life_.

WARNER, CHARLES DUDLEY (1829-1900), b. Plainfield, Mass. Traveler,
journalist, essayist. Wrote the _Editor's Drawer_ and _Editor's Study of
Harper's Magazine. My Summer in a Garden_ and _Backlog Studies_ are
delightful for their subtle humor and style. He wrote many entertaining
books of travel, such as _Saunerings_, _In the Levant_, _My Winter on the
Nile_, _Baddeck and that Sort of Thing._ He wrote _The Gilded Age_ in
collaboration with Mark Twain.

WEBSTER, NOAH (1758-1843), b. Hartford, Conn. Philologist. Published in
1783 his famous _Speller_, which superseded _The New England Primer_, and
which almost deserves to be called "literature by reason of its admirable
fables." More than sixty million copies of this _Speller_ have been sold.

WESTCOTT, EDWARD NOYES (1847-1898), b. Syracuse, N. Y. Banker, author of
one remarkable novel which was published posthumously, _David Harum_, a
story of central New York.

WHARTON, EDITH (1862-    ), b. New York, N. Y. Essayist, novelist. Her
fiction deals largely with modern society problems. She treats subtle
psychological questions with especial skill in the short story. _The Valley
of Decision_, _Crucial Instances_, _The House of Mirth_, _The Fruit of the
Tree_, _Italian Backgrounds._

WHIPPLE, EDWIN PERCY (1819-1886), b. Gloucester, Mass. Critic, essayist.
_Essays and Reviews_, _American Literature and Other Papers_,
_Recollections of Eminent Men._

WHITCHER, FRANCES ("Widow Bedott") (1811-1852), b. Whitestown, N. Y.
Humorist. _The Widow Bedott Papers._

WHITNEY, ADELINE BUTTON TRAIN (1824-1906), b. Boston, Mass. Poet, novelist,
and writer of juvenile stories. _Faith Gartney's Girlhood, We Girls, Boys
at Chequasset, Summer in Leslie Goldthwaite's Life, Poems._

WIGGIN, KATE DOUGLAS (Mrs. Riggs) (1857-    ), b. Philadelphia, Pa.
Novelist and writer on kindergarten subjects. Author of _The Bird's
Christmas Carol, Timothy's Quest, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Penelope's
Progress, A Cathedral Courtship._ Pathos, humor, and sympathy for the poor,
the weak, and the helpless are characteristic qualities of her work. There
are few better children's stories than the first two mentioned.

WILLIAMS, ROGER (1604?-1683), b. probably in London. Founder of Rhode
Island. The first great preacher of "soul liberty" in America. _The Bloody
Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience Discussed_, _The Bloody
Tenent yet More Bloody_.

WILLIS, N.P. (1806-1867), b. Portland, Maine. Traveler, prose writer, poet,
editor. While his work has proved ephemeral, he taught many writers of his
day the necessity of artistic finish in their prose. His prose _Letters
from under a Bridge_, and his poems, _Parrhasius_ and _Unseen Spirits_, may
be mentioned.

WINSOR, JUSTIN (1831-1897), b. Boston, Mass. Librarian at Harvard,
historian, editor of _Narrative and Critical History of America_. Author of
_The Mississippi Basin: the Struggle in America between England and France,
1697-1763_; _The Westward Movement, 1763-1798_; _Reader's Handbook of the
American Revolution_, _Christopher Columbus_.

WINTER, WILLIAM (1836-    ), b. Gloucester, Mass. Dramatic editor of the
New York _Tribune_ from 1865 to 1909. Edited numbers of plays. Author of
_Shakespeare's England_, _Gray Days and Gold_, _Life and Art of Edwin
Booth_, _Wanderers_ (poems).

WINTHROP, THEODORE (1828-1861), b. New Haven, Conn. Novelist. His best
story, _John Brent_, contains some of his western experiences.

WISTER, OWEN (1860-    ), b. Philadelphia, Pa. Lawyer and novelist. Gives
realistic pictures of the middle West. _New Swiss Family Robinson, The
Dragon of Wantley, Red Men and White, Lin McLean, Lady Baltimore_, and _The

WOODBERRY, GEO. E. (1855-    ), b. Beverly, Mass. Educator, author of
excellent biographies of Poe, Hawthorne, and Emerson. _America in
Literature_, _Poems_.

WOOLSON, CONSTANCE FENIMORE (1848-1894), b. Claremont, N. H. Novelist. Best
novel, _Horace Chase_. Some of her other novels are _Castle Nowhere, Anne,
East Angels, Jupiter Lights, The Old Stone House_.


ALSOP, GEORGE (1638-?), b. England. Published in 1666 an entertaining
volume, _A Character of the Province of Maryland_.

AUDUBON, JOHN J. (1780-1851), b. near New Orleans, La. Noted ornithologist
and painter of birds. Published _Birds of America_ at one thousand dollars
a copy and _Ornithological Biography_ in 5 vols.


BURNETT, FRANCES HODGSON (1849-    ), b. Manchester, Eng. Anglo-American
novelist. _Little Lord Fauntleroy_, _That Lass o' Lowrie's_, _Haworth's_,
_A Fair Barbarian_, _A Lady of Quality_.

CALHOUN, JOHN C. (1782-1850), b. Abbeville District, S.C. Statesman,
orator. Best work, _Disquisition on Government and Discourse on the
Constitution and Government of the United States_. Best speech,
_Nullification and the Force Bill_ (1833).

CLAY, HENRY (1777-1852), b. near Richmond, Va. Orator, statesman. Best
speeches: _On the War of 1812_ (1813), _The Seminole War_ (1819), _The
American System_ (1832).

COOKE, JOHN ESTEN (1830-1886), b. Winchester, Va. Colonial and military
story writer. Best romance, _The Virginia Comedians_.

DIXON, THOMAS (1864-    ), b. Shelby, N. C. Clergyman, novelist. _The
Leopard's Spots_, _The One Woman_, _The Clansman_.


FOX, JOHN JR. (1863-    ), b. in Bourbon Co., Kentucky. Novelist of life in
the Kentucky mountains. _The Kentuckians_, _A Mountain Europa_, _A
Cumberland Vendetta_, _The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come_, _The Trail of
the Lonesome Pine_.

GAYARRE, CHARLES E. A. (1805-1895), b. New Orleans, La. Jurist, historian.
_History of Louisiana_.

GIBBONS, JAMES (1834-    ), b. Baltimore, Md. Roman Catholic cardinal. _The
Faith of Our Fathers_, _The Ambassador of Christ_.

GLASGOW, ELLEN ANDERSON GHOLSON (1874-    ), b. Richmond, Va. Novelist.
_The Descendant_, _The Voice of the People_, _The Deliverance_.

GRADY, HENRY W. (1851-1889), b. Athens, Ga. Editor, orator. Best oration,
_The New South_.

HEARN, LAFCADIO (1850-1904), b. in Ionian Islands of Irish and Greek
parentage. Journalist, author. Lived many years in New Orleans, went thence
to New York, and still later to Japan. Author of _Stray Leaves from Strange
Literature_, _Two Years in the French West Indies_, _Glimpses of Unfamiliar
Japan_, _Out of the East_. Shows marked descriptive ability.



JOHNSTON, MARY (1870-    ), b. Buchanan, Va. Writer of vigorous,
well-handled romances of Virginia history. _Prisoners of Hope_, _To Have
and to Hold_, _Audrey_, _Lewis Rand_.

JOHNSTON, RICHARD MALCOLM (1822-1898), b. Hancock Co., Ga. Lawyer,
professor of English. Writer of Georgia stories. _Dukesborough Tales_.

KENNEDY, J. P. (1795-1870), b. Baltimore, Md. Wrote three works of fiction,
_Swallow Barn_, a picture of the manners and customs of Virginia at the end
of the eighteenth century, _Horse-Shoe Robinson, a Tale of the Tory
Ascendency_, _Rob of the Bowl_, a story of colonial Maryland.

KEY, FRANCIS SCOTT (1780-1843), b. Frederick Co., Md. _The Star-Spangled

KING, GRACE E. (1852-    ), b. New Orleans, La. Novels of Creole life and
historical works on De Soto and New Orleans: _Monsieur Motte_, _Tales of
Time and Place_, _Balcony Stones_.

LONGSTREET, AUGUSTUS B. (1790-1870), b. Augusta, Ga. Judge, and (later) a
Methodist minister. His _Georgia Scenes_ is one of the liveliest pictures
of provincial Georgia life.

MARSHALL, JOHN (1755-1835), b. Germantown, Va. Great Chief Justice of U. S.
_The Life of George Washington_.

MARTIN, GEORGE MADDEN (1866-    ), b. Louisville, Ky. Novelist. _Emmy
Lou--Her Book and Heart_.

MATTHEWS, JAMES BRANDER (1852-    ), b. New Orleans, La. Lecturer on
literature at Columbia College. Critic and story writer. _French Dramatists
of the Nineteenth Century_, _Margery's Lovers, A Secret of the Sea and
Other Stories, The Story of a Story, The Historical Novel, Study of the
Drama, The Short Story._

MULLANY, P. F. (Brother Azarias) (1847-1893), b. Ireland. Educator,
essayist. _The Development of Old English Thought_, _Phases of Thought and

O'HARA, THEODORE (1820-1867), b. Danville, Ky. Poet. _The Bivouac of the

PECK, SAMUEL MINTURN (1854-    ), b. Tuscaloosa, Ala. Poet and novelist.
_Caps and Bells_, _Rhymes and Roses._

PIKE, ALBERT (1809-1891), b. Boston, Mass. Moved to Arkansas. Teacher,
editor, lawyer. Wrote the popular song, _Dixie_, and _To the Mocking Bird._

PINKNEY, EDWARD COATE (1802-1828), b. London, Eng. Poet. Best lyrics, _A
Serenade_, _A Health_, _Songs_, _The Indian's Bride._

PORTER, SYDNEY ("O. Henry") (1867-1910), b. Greensboro, N. C. Edited
newspapers in Texas. Successful short-story writer. _The Four Million, The
Heart of the West, The Gentle Grafter, Roads of Destiny, Options, The Voice
of the City._

PRENTICE, GEO. D. (1802-1870), b. Preston, Conn. Editor Louisville
_Journal_, poet. _Poems._ Best poem, _The Closing Year._

PRESTON, MARGARET JUNKIN (1825-1897), b. Philadelphia, Pa. Moved to
Lexington, Va. Representative woman poet of the Confederacy. _Cartoons, For
Love's Sake, Colonial Ballads, Sonnets, and Other Verse._

RANDALL, JAMES RYDER (1839-1908), b. Baltimore, Md. Teacher, poet.
_Maryland, My Maryland_ (song).


RICE (Alice Hegan) (1870-    ), b. Shelbyville, Ky. A widely popular story
writer of humble folk, a humorist of rare power, a cheery, breezy
philosopher, and a sympathetic interpreter of the simple heart of the brave
poor. _Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch, Lovey Mary, Captain June, Sandy,
Mr. Opp._

RICE, CALE YOUNG (1872-    ), b. Dixon, Ky. Author of exquisite lyrics. One
of the greatest of the younger poetic dramatists whose plays have acting
qualities. Poems: _From Dusk to Dusk, _With Omar_, _Song-Surf_, _Nirvana
Days_. Plays: _Charles di Tocca_, _David_, _Yolanda of Cyprus_, _A Night in

RIVES, AMELIE (PRINCESS TROUBETSKOY) (1863-    ), b. Richmond, Va.
Novelist. _The Quick or the Dead_, _Virginia of Virginia_.

RUSSELL, IRWIN (1853-1879), b. Port Gibson, Miss. Caricaturist, musician,
poet. He was among the first to see the possibilities of the negro dialect
in verse. _Poems_.

SEAWELL, MOLLY ELLIOT (1860-1916), b. Gloucester Co., Va. Novelist. _Little
Jarvis_ (awarded a $500 prize), _Sprightly Romance of Marsac_ (awarded a
$3000 prize), _Throckmorton_.

SMITH, F. HOPKINSON (1838-1915), b. Baltimore, Md. Artist, author,
engineer. _Colonel Carter of Cartersville_ is his most enduring work. The
Colonel is a remarkable portrait. _A Gentleman Vagabond and Some Others_,
_Caleb West: Master Diver_, _A Day at Laguerre's and Other Days_, _The
Fortunes of Oliver Horn_.

STITH, WILLIAM (1689-1755), b. Virginia. Scholarly historian who was so
painstaking and detailed in his accounts that he was almost neglected until
the present time. _History of Virginia from the First Discovery to the
Dissolution of the London Company_.

STUART, RUTH MCENERY (1856-    ), b. in parish of Avoyelles, La. Specially
liked for her humorous negro and plantation stories. _A Golden Wedding and
Other Tales_, _Sonny_, _Holly and Pizen_.

THOMPSON, WILLIAM TAPPAN (1812-1882), b. Ravenna, Ohio. Georgia journalist
and humorist. _Major Jones's Courtship_.

TIERNAN, FRANCES F. ("Christian Reid") (1846-    ), b. Salisbury, N. C.
Novelist. _Child of Mary_, _Heart of Steel_.


WEEMS, MASON LOCKE (1760-1825), b. Dumfries, Va. Clergyman, biographer.
_Life of Washington_.

WILSON, AUGUSTA EVANS (1835-1909), b. Columbus, Ga. Prolific novelist. Best
novel, _Saint Elmo_.

WILSON, WOODROW (1856-    ), b. Staunton, Va. Educator, historian,
statesman. _A History of the American People_.

WIRT, WILLIAM (1772-1834), b. Bladensburg, Md. Lawyer. _Life and Character
of Patrick Henry_, _Letters of the British Spy_.


ATHERTON, GERTRUDE FRANKLIN (1859-    ), b. San Francisco, Calif. Novelist.
_The Doomswoman_, _The Aristocrats_, _The Conqueror._

BALDWIN, JAMES (1841-    ), b. Westfield, Ind. Writer of excellent stories
for children. _The Story of Siegfried, Old Greek Stories', Stories of the
King, Discovery of the Old Northwest, The Book Lover._

BIERCE, AMBROSE (1842-    ), b. Ohio. For many years a San Francisco
journalist. _Can Such Things Be? In the Midst of Life_ (tales of soldiers
and civilians).

BURDETTE, ROBERT JONES (1844-1914), b. Greensboro, Pa. Journalist on
Burlington (Iowa) _Hawkeye_ and other papers, lecturer, humorist,
clergyman. _The Rise and Fall of the Moustache_, _Hawkeyetems_, _Life of
William Penn._

BURNHAM, CLARA LOUISE (1854-    ) b. Newton, Mass. Moved to Chicago.
Novelist. _Dr. Latimer_, _The Wise Woman._

CARLETON, WILL (1845-1912), b. Hudson, Mich. Poet, editor, lecturer. _Farm
Ballads_, _Farm Legends_, _Farm Festivals_, _City Ballads_. _Over the Hills
to the Poor House,_ best known single poem.

CATHERWOOD, MARY HARTWELL (1847-1902), b. Luray, Ohio. Writer of historical
tales of Canada and the Northwest. _A Woman in Armour, The Lady of Fort St.
John, The Romance of Dollard, The White Islander, a Story of Mackinac,

CHENEY, JOHN VANCE (1848-    ), b. Groveland, N.Y. Moved to the West. Poet
and critic. _Thistle-Drift, Wood-Blooms, Queen Helen and Other Poems._
Critical Works: _That Dome in Air_ and _The Golden Guess._

DUNBAR, PAUL LAURENCE (1872-1906), b. Dayton, Ohio. African descent.
Journalist, poet. Wrote many fine lyrics. _Oak and Ivy_, _Lyrics of Lowly
Life_, _Lyrics of the Hearthside._

DUNNE, FINLEY PETER (1867-    ), b. Chicago, Ill. Humorist, journalist.
_Mr. Dooley's Philosophy._

EGGLESTON, EDWARD (1837-1902), b. Vevay, Ind. Novelist of the early life of
southern Indiana. _The Hoosier Schoolmaster_, _The Hoosier Schoolboy_,
_Roxy_, _The Graysons._

FOOTE, MARY HALLOCK (1847-    ), b. Milton, N. Y. Her novels give vivid
representations of western life. _The Led Horse Claim_, _The Chosen
Valley_, _Coeur d'Alene_.

FRENCH, ALICE ("Octave Thanet") (1850-    ), b. Andover, Mass. Novelist.
_Knitters in the Sun_, _Stories of a Western Town_, _A Book of True
Lovers_, _The Man of the Hour_.

GARLAND, HAMLIN (1860-    ), b. West Salem, Wis. Presents graphic pictures
of the middle West in such stories as _Main-Traveled Roads_, _Prairie
Folks_, _Rose of Dutcher's Coolly_, _Boy Life on the Prairie_.

HAY, JOHN (1838-1905), b. Salem, Ind. Private secretary to President
Lincoln. Lawyer, journalist, diplomatist, and statesman. _Pike County
Ballads_. Joint author with J. G. Nicolay of _Abraham Lincoln: A History_,
9 vols.

HERRICK, ROBERT (1868-    ), b. Cambridge, Mass. Professor (University of
Chicago), novelist. _The Web of Life_, _The Common Lot_, _The Master of the

HOVEY, RICHARD (1864-1900), b. Normal, Ill. Poet, dramatist. _Songs from
Vagabondia_, _The Marriage of Guenevere_, _Taliesin: A Masque_.

JACKSON, HELEN HUNT (1831-1885), b. Amherst, Mass. Novelist, poet. Her
great western novel, _Ramona_, stands in the same relation to the Indian as
_Uncle Tom's Cabin_ to the negro. Her _Century of Dishonor_ shows the
wrongs done to the Indian race. _Poems_.

LONDON, JACK (1876-1916), b. San Francisco, Calif. Novelist of adventure.
_The Call of the Wild_, _The Children of the Frost_, _The Sea Wolf_, _The

LUMMIS, CHARLES F. (1859-    ), b. Lynn, Mass. Traveler, librarian, writer.
_The Spanish Pioneers_, _The Man Who Married the Moon_, _The Enchanted

MCCUTCHEON, GEO. BARR (1866-    ), b. Tippecanoe Co., Ind. Novelist.
_Castle Craneycrow_, _Brewster's Millions_, _Beverly of Graustark_.

MARKHAM, EDWIN (1852-    ), b. Oregon City, Oregon. Poet. _The Man with the
Hoe and Other Poems_.

MILLER, CINCINNATUS HEINE (Joaquin Miller) (1841-1913), b. Wabash District,
Ind. Lived in the far West, about which he writes in his poetry. _Songs of
the Sierras_, _Songs of the Sunlands_, _Songs of the Desert_.

MOODY, WILLIAM VAUGHAN (1869-1910), b. Spencer, Ind. Poet, dramatist. _The
Masque of Judgment_, _The Fire Bringer_, _The Great Divide_ (play).

NICHOLSON, MEREDITH (1866-    ), b. Crawforusville, Ind. Novelist. _The
House of a Thousand Candles_, _The Port of Missing Men_, _The Hoosiers_ (in
_National Studies in American Letters_).

NORRIS, FRANK (1870-1902), b. Chicago, Ill. Realistic novel writer.
_McTeague_, _The Octopus_, _The Pit_.

PHILLIPS, DAVID GRAHAM (1867-1911), b. Madison, Ind. Novelist. _The Social
Secretary_, _The Second Generation_, _The Fashionable Adventures of Joshua

PIATT, JOHN JAMES (1835-    ), b. James Mills, Ind. Poet. _Western
Windows_, _Idyls and Lyrics of the Ohio Valley_, _Poems of Two Friends_
(with W. D. Howells).

RHODES, JAMES FORD (1848-    ), b. Cleveland, Ohio. Historian. _History of
the United States from the Compromise of 1850_, 7 vols. The seventh volume
ends with 1877.

SETON, ERNEST THOMPSON (1860-    ), b. South Shields, Eng. Painter,
naturalist. _Wild Animals I Have Known, Lives of the Hunted, Natural
History of the Ten Commandments, The Trail of the Sandhill Stag, The
Biography of a Grizzly_.

SILL, EDWARD ROWLAND (1841-1887), b. Windsor, Conn. Professor in University
of California. Transcendental poet. Some fine verse may be found in his
volumes, _Hermione and Other Poems_ and _The Hermitage and Later Poems_.

SPALDING, JOHN L. (1840-    ), b. Lebanon, Ky. Roman Catholic archbishop.
_Education and the Higher Life_, _Things of the Mind_, _Socialism and

TARKINGTON, NEWTON BOOTH (1869-    ), b. Indianapolis, Ind. Novelist. _The
Gentleman from Indiana, Monsieur Beaucaire, The Two Vanrevels, Cherry, The
Conquest of Canaan._


THOMPSON, MAURICE (1844-1901), b. Fairfield, Ind. Novelist, naturalist,
poet. Best known works, _By-Ways and Bird Notes_, _My Winter Garden_,
_Alice of Old Vincennes_.

WALLACE, LEW (1827-1905), b. Brookville, Ind. Lawyer, diplomat, author.
_Ben Hur_, a tale of remarkable power; _The Fair God_, _The Prince of

WHITE, STEWART EDWARD (1873-    ) b. Grand Rapids, Mich. Writer of vigorous
stories of western mountain life. _The Blazed Trail_, _The Silent Places_,
_The Claim Jumpers_, _The Riverman_.

WILCOX, ELLA WHEELER (1855-    ), b. Johnstown Center, Wis. Journalist and
poet. _Poems of Passion_, _Poems of Pleasure_, _Poems of Power_, _Poems of

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