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in verse." Bryant assumes no position of teacher. What he sees, and believes in, and loves, he endeavours to express. There is little passion; there is little imagery. It is a calm exposition of things which to the vulgar eye will always be considered as phenomena, but which to the poet has been made familiar long ago. There is the serene eloquence of a mind conscious of its power, and never transgressing the limits it has assigned to itself. This is a pity. There is enough in his works to fully justify the belief that, had he permitted himself a wider field of action, he would have attained a nobler end. Compelled thus to embrace the nature around him, he would have converted himself into a medium for its communications with the public mind. The public intelligence thus enlarged by its newlycreated sympathy, would, by its development, have rendered more practicable its exposition by poetry. Its caprice would have been less frequent, its idiosyncracy, more marked, its disposition more stable. It is thus that national characters are formed. A more vivid communion with nature than such as can be gained by the mere senses, broadens the intelligence, whilst it calls into action each latent sympathy. Men then begin to recognize the validity of nature's claims, and their own powers to appreciate them. They trace that wondrous connection which, when discovered, is the secret of all emotional and intellectual culture. The poet, therefore, is the apostle of nature, preaching the utterings of the embosomed spirit. Such an apostle Bryant might have been. Had his powers failed him, his endcavours would have served, at least, to indicate the only means by which a national literature in its noblest sense can possibly be created.

There is a lyric in Bryant's poems, entitled "June," a fragment of which we have but to quote, to convince our readers that the man whom we have ventured to commend is worthy of all the admiration bestowed on him :

"I know, I know I should not see

The season's glorious show:

Nor would its brightness shine for me,
Nor its wild music flow.

But if around my place of sleep

The friends I love should come to weep,

They might not haste to go.

Soft airs and song, and light and bloom,

Should keep them lingering by my tomb.”

It is in such simple songs as these that his real power is proclaimed.

Of all literary achievements, the ars celare artem is the most difficult. This, though a platitude, it is necessary to repeat here, in order fully to exhibit the strength of our author. Many a poet has ere now found a refuge for a trite or dull thought by clouding it in phraseological obscurity. He whose meaning, without being obvious, is easily comprehended, can have his merit estimated with little difficulty. What is not at once seen in poetry is readily granted. The fault is not the poet's, but ours. On the other hand, when a thing is plainly put, it stands to reason that it must be good to please. Now, Bryant pleases, and is simple. This be his merit.

America, within the last forty years, has produced some very eminent poets. Poe, Lowell, Dana, Longfellow, Sigourney, Emerson, Walt Whitman are names that will occur to all. To Bryant, however, must be accorded the praise of being the first of American poets. This may sound strange to the admirers of Poe and Longfellow; but before it can be disputed, it is necessary, first of all, to come to a clear understanding as to the nature of poetry. It would be presumptuous, however, to attempt to define that which, having been already defined fifty thousand times, yet wants a definition. It is useless to create standards of art by which poetry is to be judged; for every great poet creates a new taste, and genius leaps beyond the limits assigned to it by art. True taste is unquestionably to be estimated by its catholicity. The Beautiful is protean; and it is the doctrine of aesthetics that has taught, or is teaching us, how rightly to appreciate the Beautiful, no matter in what form it may be presented to us. Had any one of the American poets converted himself into an exponent of the sublime nature that lies around him, it is certain that, however poor might have been his expression, his interpretation would have rendered him the poet of America. But since it is by the success of their imitation of old masters that the American poets hold themselves up to be judged, then it is evident that, from the polish and music of his verse, from the wisdom of his fancy, from the earnestness of his purpose, from the deep poetic meaning that is perceptible in his songs like the perfume in flowers, William Cullen Bryant merits the praise of being the first of American poets. To insist upon this would be idle, without illustration, and for illustration we have no room. To satisfy our readers, we can only refer them to his works.

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Flo's Fate.


LET'S have it out, then, Cousin Flo,

Long since you promised me a sitting,
You always listen best, you know,
If you can irritate your knitting;
Be patient, if I win by words.

A meditation to outlive them,
And if I wake forgotten chords,

I somehow fancy you'll forgive them.


'Tis humming but a hackney'd tune
To sigh, and ask if you remember
The words which consecrated June,

And cheered the darkness of December;

The rhymes I read you at your feet,

The lonely hours, till morning's grey-light,

Our songs and rides, the window-scat,

Where we have watch'd the dying daylight.


That's over now, and you've to play
The pretty little game of marriage,
I think you're certain for "a shay,"
And, maybe, you will get a carriage.
I wonder if he'll trade in bonds,
Or study medicine or Chitty;
I think you're safe for diamonds
If you can tolerate the City.


And how about my future life?
Well, there-the colonies are handy,

Where maybe I shall take a wife,

Or maybe I shall take to brandy;
And maybe they will write me lies,
Or just a little truth about you—
But, Flo! you've tear-drops in your eyes,
My darling! what's the world without you!

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