The life and works of William Cullen Bryant
write you about it, so you must forego a change this time, and let it
go. In your new piece, The Arctic Lover, you have, as a rhyming
word, bespread. I don t believe that this is a word after your own
heart, and guess it was used because you could not make out your
line to your mind by the simple spread without more trouble than you
were willing to give it at the time. Where used at all, I believe it is
applied to smaller things, such as flowers and the like, but fur hides
are rather too sizable articles. You can think of it against your next
edition. I have played the critic enough for the present. You may
think it would have been quite as well if I had begun my work early
enough for you to have passed judgment upon my suggestions before
printing. & quot;
& quot; JANUARY 10, 1834 : Buckingham applied to me for a review of
your book for his monthly. I declined on the score of health. It
was indeed a reason, but not the reason. For us poets, as Judge Story
would say, to be exhibiting ourselves before the public in the charac
ter of reviewers of one another, strikes me unpleasantly. A friendly
paragraph or so in the newspapers, or an incidental well-speaking of
one another, is right, and may do good, in so far as it will show a
curious world that it is possible for two men to follow the same art,
and not hate each other; anything beyond that might be taken ac
cording as it was. You may remember that I pointed out in your
Agricultural Ode, p. 204,
Till men of spoil disdained the toil.
In Jupiter and Venus,
Kind influences. Lo! their orbs burn more bright.
It troubled me to read it as measure. You may be amused at my
objecting to a movement in your measure. But my ear, I hope,
has always been more musical than my tongue ; besides, your own
excellence in these things gives a queerness to any defects in you. I
may walk over Parnassus in a shag Petersham people expect nothing
better of me ; but it won t do for you, my dear sir nothing short of
superfine broadcloth must you be abroad in. You may have seen a
review of me in the American Monthly by Longfellow ; it is re
spectable in point of talent, but what I liked it for was a certain air of