The life and works of William Cullen Bryant
<<
HIS BROTHERS REMINISCENCES. 95
& quot; I used, & quot; Mr. Arthur Bryant continues, & quot; to commit his
verses to memory, and attempt to imitate his elocution. I re
member, too, that our grandfather, when his friends came to
visit him, was wont to summon my brother to read the manu
script of his poems, and of once hiring him to write an elegy
on the death of the Gerrymander.* I still retain in memory
fragments and entire poems written about this period, many
of which were never printed. & quot;
At the same celebration at Chicago, a brother still young
er, Mr. John H. Bryant, said : & quot; In my early childhood I
looked up to him with a feeling of wonder and awe ; and
from that day my love and veneration for him have never fal
tered, but have grown deeper and stronger to this very hour.
When I was yet a child, I well remember that his return
home was always an occasion of joy to the whole family, in
which I warmly participated, although not old enough to
fully appreciate the cause of the delight. He was lively and
playful, tossed me about, and frolicked with me in a way that
made me look upon him as my best friend. He seemed to
handle me so easily that I came to have great respect for his
prowess and strength, and I used to brag to other boys about
my stout brother ; but I afterward learned that his strength
was not remarkable, but that he had great skill and celerity in
the use of it. & quot;
The autobiography says that our student, while at college,
paid some attention to Latin prosody, besides engaging in a
* The Gerrymander was a monstrous figure which the Federal newspapers con
structed out of the outlines made on the map of Massachusetts, by a peculiar ar
rangement of electoral districts, which Mr. Elbridge Gerry was said to have con
trived in order to secure a legislature which would elect him to the United States
Senate. Mr. Gerry was a man of great ability and distinction member of the Pro
vincial Congress, one of the Continental Congress in which Hancock and Adams
served, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a Judge of the Court of Ad
miralty, a Governor of Massachusetts in 1810, and Envoy to France, and Vice-Presi-
dent in Madison s time ; but the effect of this caricature was to destroy him politi
cally for the nonce ; and up to the present time the word Gerrymander is used as a
slang phrase descriptive of the fraudulent manipulation of electoral districts.
>>