The life and works of William Cullen Bryant
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DANA S CRITICISMS.
297
& quot;NEW YORK, NOVEMBER u, 1833: I am much obliged to you,
certainly, for giving yourself so much pains about my verses. Since
you think so ill of The Robber as to place it below everything I
have written, it shall not go into my book, and I formally authorize
you to take the proper measures for excluding it.
& quot; The phrase in * The Past (wisdom disappeared ) I am not
quite certain is a defect. I have sometimes thought it was a bold
ness. Disappeared is used nearly in the sense of vanished, departed,
passed away j but with more propriety than vanished, since that relates
to a sudden disappearance. At all events, I do not find it easy to
alter the stanza without spoiling it.
& quot; It was the * Edinburgh Review which remarked on the rhyme
boughs and bows in the Evening Wind. The grammar in the three
last lines in that stanza is probably not clear, for the critic blundered
in copying it, and made nonsense of the passage. Suppose the rhyme
and construction be amended in this manner :
Go, play beneath the linden that o erbrows
The darkling glen where dashing waters pass,
And stir in all the fields the fragrant grass.
And let the second line in the same stanza read thus :
Curl the still fountain bright with stars, and rouse, etc.
& quot; As to the passage in the * Forest Hymn, remarked upon by Wil
son, I see that, in attempting to mend it, I have marred the unity and
effect of the passage. The truth is, that an alteration ought never to
be made without the mind being filled with the subject. In mending
a faulty passage in cold blood, we often do more mischief, by attend
ing to particulars and neglecting the entire construction and sequence
of ideas, than we do good. I think a better alteration than I made
would be this :
* Communion with his Maker. These dim vaults,
These winding aisles, of human pomp or pride
Report not. No fantastic carvings show, etc.
& quot;As to the other passage in the same poem, about life, and
* blooms and smiles, I remember very well when I wrote the word
blooms that I had a vague idea of its impropriety, but I did not
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