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APPENDIX: BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES 101
was the Rev. Jonathan Edwards, a distinguished divine and president of Princeton College. His books on "The Religious Affections" and "The Freedom of the Will" are still studied.
After the French and Indian War, politics became the absorbing topic of the day, and Benjamin Franklin was the first to achieve fame in this field of letters. His writings in "Poor Richard's Almanac," honest and wholesome in tone, exercised a marked influence upon the literature of his time. Among the orators who won distinction in the discussion of civil liberty are James Otis, John and Samuel Adams, and Patrick Henry. The writings of John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison in The Federalist secured the adoption of the Constitution and survive to this day as brilliant examples of political essays, while the state papers of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are models of clearness and elegance of style.
With the peace and prosperity that followed the establishment of our republic came the opportunity to cultivate the broader fields of literature. Relieved of the strain of the struggle for civil and religious liberty, the people could satisfy their inclinations toward the beautiful in art and life, and from that time until the present day the writers of America have held their own in the front ranks of the authors of the English-speaking peoples.
Joseph Rodman Drake, the first American poet to win distinction, was born in New York City in 1795. He was educated in Columbia College. He died prematurely when only twenty-five years old. His best-known poems are "The Culprit Fay" and "The American Flag." He was the intimate friend of Fitz-Greene Halleck, the Connecticut poet, author of "Marco Bozzaris." The last four lines of Drake's "American Flag" were written by Fitz-Greene Halleck.
William Cullen Bryant was born in Cummington, Massachusetts, November 3, 1794. He was educated at Williams College. He studied law and was admitted to the bar. His first poem was published when he was thirteen. His best-known poem, "Thanatopsis," was written when he was only nineteen and delivered at his college
After practicing law for a short time, he became editor of The Evening Post and continued this work until his death. When he was seventy-two, he began his translation of Homer, which occupied him for six years. He died in 1878.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston, May 20, 1803. He studied at Harvard College, and after a period of teaching, became pastor of a Unitarian church in Boston for a short time. Later he settled in Concord, spending his time in writing and lecturing in this country and England. He was the founder of what has been called "The Concord School of Philosophy." His best-known poems are "The Concord Hymn,' "Rhodora," "The Snow Storm," "Each and All," ," "The Days," and "The Humble Bee." He died in 1882.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine, February 27, 1807. He was educated at Bowdoin College and, after a period of study abroad, was appointed professor of Foreign Languages there. This position he gave up to become professor of Modern Languages and Literature at Harvard College. At Cambridge he was a friend of Hawthorne, Holmes, Emerson, Lowell, and Alcott. His best-known long poems are "Evangeline," "Hiawatha," "The Building of the Ship," and "The Courtship of Miles Standish." He made a fine translation of Dante's "Divine Comedy." Among his many short poems, "Excelsior," "The Psalm of Life," "The Wreck of the Hesperus," "The Village Blacksmith," and "Paul Revere's Ride are continuously popular. He died in 1882. He was the first American writer who was honored by a memorial in Westminster Abbey.
John Greenleaf Whittier was born near Haverhill, Massachusetts, December 17, 1807. He was educated in the public school, working at the same time on his father's farm or at making shoes. Having left the academy, he devoted himself to literature. He was an ardent abolitionist, and many of his poems are written to aid the cause of freedom in which he was so deeply interested. His best
known poems are "Snow-Bound,' ," "Barbara Frietchie," "Maude
Muller," and "Voices of Freedom."
He died in 1892.
APPENDIX: BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES 103
Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts, January 19, 1809. The story of his life is as melancholy as was his genius. Wild, dissipated, reckless, he was dismissed from West Point. He alienated his best friends and lived the greatest part of his life in the deepest poverty, dying in 1849 from the effects of dissipation and exposure. His best poems are "The Raven," "The Bells," and "Annabel Lee."
Oliver Wendell Holmes was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, August 29, 1809. He was educated at Harvard College and studied medicine, spending two years in the hospitals of Europe. He was successively professor of Anatomy and Physiology at Dartmouth College, a physician in regular practice in Boston, and professor of anatomy at Harvard College- this position he held from 1847 to 1882. He was nearly fifty before he became widely known as a writer, when "The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table" was published. He was successful as essayist, novelist, poet, a kindly wit playing through much of his work. His best-known poems are "Old Ironsides," "The Chambered Nautilus," "The Onehoss Shay," The Last Leaf," and "The Boys." He died in 1894.
James Russell Lowell was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, February 22, 1819. He was educated at Harvard College. He succeeded Longfellow as professor of Modern Languages and Literature at Harvard. He was also editor of the Atlantic Monthly and of the North American Review. He was appointed minister to Spain and later to England, where he was our ambassador for five years. His best-known poems are "The Vision of Sir Launfal,” "Commemoration Ode," "The Biglow Papers," "The Present Crisis," and "The First Snowfall." He died in 1891.
Walt Whitman was born in West Hills, Long Island, May 31, 1819. He was unable to go to college. He served in various occupations, teacher, printer, writer, until in the great Civil War he volunteered as a war nurse. His exertions and exposure in this work destroyed his health, so that most of his remaining years he was dependent upon his friends. His most beautiful poem is
"O Captain, My Captain," written after the assassination of Lincoln. He died in 1892.
Cincinnatus Heine Miller, who wrote under the name of Joaquin Miller, was born in Indiana in 1841. While yet a boy he went to Oregon and later to California, where he led a wild life among the miners, fighting the Indians, practicing law, and becoming a county judge. After several years in Europe and New York, he settled down as a fruit grower in California. He wrote "Songs of the Sierras," "Songs of the Sun-Lands," and "The Ship in the Desert."
Among the minor American poets the following are worthy of
Francis Scott Key, 1779-1843. Emma Hart Willard, 1787-1870. Deep."
John Howard Payne, 1792-1852. Josiah Gilbert Holland, 1819-1881. Julia Ward Howe, 1819Republic."
Alice Cary, 1820-1871. Phoebe Cary, 1824-1871. Joint authors of several volumes of poems. "Order for a Picture," A. C. "Nearer Home," P. C.
Thomas Buchanan Read, 1822-1872. Ride."
John Burroughs, naturalist, 1837Edward Rowland Sill, 1841-1887. "Opportunity."
"The Star-Spangled Banner."
"Home Sweet Home."
"The Battle Hymn of the
Sidney Lanier, 1842-1881. The Song of the Chattahoochee,' "The Marshes of Glynn," "A Song of the Future."
"Thistle Drift," "Wood
John Vance Cheney, 1848Blooms," "
"The Fool's Prayer,"
James Whitcomb Riley, 1853
66 Rhymes of Childhood."
Eugene Field, 1850-1895. "With Trumpet and Drum," and "Love Songs of Childhood."