The life and works of William Cullen Bryant
Of the new poems in this second edition, the longest was
called & quot; The Spanish Revolution, & quot; a hundred and thirty-five
lines, in the heroic measure also, celebrating the efforts of the
Spanish patriots to resist the incursions of Napoleon. A few
couplets describing a battle scene, which the boy, no doubt,
thought extremely fine, must satisfy the reader s curiosity.
& quot; And now the peasantry, awaked to rage,
With Gallic armies mid the streets engage ;
How dire the din ! what horrible alarms,
Of shrieks and shouts, and ever-clanging arms !
Keen sabres glare, deep-throated cannons roar,
And whizzing balls, in leaden volleys pour ;
Whilst clouds of dust amid the blue immense,
Hang o er the scene, in ominous suspense;
Confusion o er the deathful fray presides,
Insatiate Death the storm of ruin guides ;
And wild-eyed Horror screaming o er the fight,
Invokes the curtains of chaotic night. & quot;
It is followed by an ode to the Connecticut River, in ten
stanzas, dated May, 1808 ; by the & quot; Reward of Literary Merit, & quot;
dated 1807 ; eleven enigmas, of the same date ; & quot; The Contented
Ploughman, & quot; a song, dated in June, 1808; & quot;Drought, & quot; July,
1807; and a translation of Horace, 22d Carmen, Book I, rather
gracefully and faithfully done. All these are in quatrains.
In his maturer years Mr. Bryant was naturally ashamed of
his early political poems, both as poems and as expressions of
opinion. I once asked him if he had a copy of the & quot; Embargo. & quot;
& quot; No, & quot; he answered testily ; & quot; why should I keep such stuff as
that? & quot; More lately, when I told him that I had succeeded in
borrowing a copy from a friend, his reply was : & quot; Well, you
have taken a great deal of trouble for a very foolish thing. & quot;
The pious grandfather, Deacon Snell, set the boy at much
better work than writing satires on men and things that he
knew nothing about, when he paid him for paraphrasing the
Hebrew Scriptures. What he made of the first chapter of