The life and works of William Cullen Bryant
The real reason of his silence at this period was, as I sup
pose, a contest going on in the youth s own mind, which had
for him, as it will have for the reader, more interest than
any public events. Carefully preserved among his papers
and he was for the most part inattentive in keeping what
concerned himself only are several fragments of poems ex
pressive of the joys, the doubts, and the disappointments of
love. These, when I opened them, seemed to me mere lit
erary exercises, but on closer inspection they disclosed a seri
ousness of feeling and certain reactive effects upon his mind
that led me to suspect that possibly a real experience lay
behind them. I was confirmed in this suspicion by the
reminiscences of Mr. Arthur Bryant, who says that, while
his brother was a student of law in Worthington, a distin
guished friend of their father came from Rhode Island on
a visit to Cummington, bringing with him a beautiful and
accomplished daughter, who fascinated the poet, so that for
some time afterward they maintained an earnest correspond
ence. Of the incidents of the brief attachment, however, noth
ing more is known; but, if we are permitted to form con
jectures from the poems themselves, it would appear that,
For not in Conquest s impious train
Shall Freedom s children stand ;
Nor shall, in guilty fray, be raised
The high-souled warrior s hand ;
Nor shall the patriot draw his sword
At Gallia s proud command.
& quot; No ! by our Father s ashes,
And by their sacred cause,
The Gaul shall never call us slaves,
Shall never give us laws ;
Even let him from a swarming^leet
Debark his veteran host,
A living wall of patriot hearts
Shall fence the frowning coast
A bolder race than generous Spain,
A better cause we boast. & quot;