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of them were earlier known than the poets already noticed, have not attained to such wide reputation as have the fornier, nor are their works at present so familiar to readers. Their names now live with the public as connected with some single poem, or a few, of excellence; as, for instance, Pierpont with The Pilgrim Fathers, Dana with The Little Dieach-Bird, Sprague with The Family Meeting, Percival with New England, Halleck with Marco Bozzaris, Drake with The American Flag, and Willis with Parrhasius and his Scripture Pieces. F. S. Key of Baltimore wrote the Star-Spangled Banner, and Judge Hopkinson of Philadelphia, Hail Columbia.
Translation.- Another mine of literature which has been industriously and skillfully worked by our poets is that of Translation. In this quarter American literature may be justly proud of its success. The initial step was taken during the first quarter of the present century by Williamı Mumford, who translated the Iliad. The work at that time elicited considerable applause. It has, however, been reserved for our chief poets to attain the main celebrity in this branch of letters.
Longfellow has translated Dante's Divina Commec ia-a work of vast labor, and one executed with a literal fi lelity unprecedented. Besides this master-labor, he had previously introduced into almost every volume of his poems numerous fragmentary versions from the German, the Spanish, the Swedish, the French, the Danish, the Gascon, and the Anglo-Saxon. Bryant has revealed to us anew, aut in words, imagery, and metre more nearly identical with the original than any former attempt, the immortal glories of the Niad and the Odyssey; while Bayard Taylor has but just given us a most faithful and sympathetic version of Goethe's Faust.*
* Besides these we may name, as worthy of honorable mention in this connection, Bancroft, translator of Heeren ; Brooks, of Richter ; Ripley, Emerson, Fuller, Channing (W. H.), Osgood, of choice German I Fiction. The merest glance at the elements of our early history will at once explain why this species of literature was so late in appearing. First of all, the character of the people was antagonistic to its existence. The Puritans were an intensely practical people—were remarkably simple, direct, and scrupulously circumspect in all their intercourse; they believed in nothing marvelous outside religion --were grave and austere in deportment, and in their very affections were swayed by principle and dogma rather than by natural impulse. They restricted Imagination in its flights to the contemplation of the Celestial City and the employments of the glorified saints there, and they regarded as carnal and destructive all thoughts that did not directly concern their religious faith and practice. Among such a people (and we reverence them despite their austerities) it is easy to see how impossible it was for Fiction to flourish, or even to spring up-Fiction, that uses the material out of which the Puritans were wholly made as the merest scaffolding of her marvel-wrought and unsubstantial castles.
Add to the above obstacle the newness of the country-a country without legends, myths, storied spots, or even history-a dumb and repellent wilderness-and we can readily conceive why it was that chivalrous, fabulous, traditionary, dreamy Fiction “found no rest for the sole of her foot" in our country during the colonial period. These two olustacles, however, had gradually disappeared with the increase of years, until, at the beginning of the present century, the first had wholly passed away, and the second very largely 80.
And about this time appeared our pioneer of fiction, Charles Brockden Brown of Philadelphia. His works were largely supernatural in their character, dealing in such agencies as pestilence, somnambulism, ventriloquism, and extraordinary incident, and they were marked with raro lyrics and bits of philosophy; Dr. Mitchell and Mrs. Nichols, translators of various Italian poems; and Dr. Parsons, Longfellow's prede. ressor as translator of Dante's great poem.
vigor in conception and with an earnest and minute style. The simple fact that he produced some twenty-four volumes in ten years will account for a degree of slovenlir.ess that sometimes mars their pages. The best known of his works are Arthur Mervyn, Ormond, Jane Talbot, Wieland, and Edgar Huntley. “To the reader of the present day these writings appear somewhat limited and sketchlike; but when we consider the period of their composition and the disadvantages under which they appeared, they certainly deserve to be ranked among the wonderful productions of the human mind. . . . . Had his works been as artistically constructed us they were profoundly conceived and ingeniously executed, they would have become standard."* He died at the early age of thirty-nine.
Brown was closely followed by a no less voluminous writer in the person of James Fenimore Cooper. His Spy is pronounced the first successful American novel. Passing his youth on the frontier and on shipboard, he early and thoroughly possessed himself of the knowledge and experience which as an author he worked with such consummate skill into his novels. In description of American forest scenery and nautical life, and in the delineation of aboriginal and sailor traits, Cooper is pre-eminently able and engaging. His works from the first became household companions not only throughout America, but also very widely in Europe.
As a writer who combined Brown's insight of character and mental constitution with artistic perfection of style, we name Nathaniel Hawthorne. No one of our romancers has 60 contented himself with the use of home scenes and lowly incidents as he, and none has borrowed less in ideas and in the elements of expression. Though, as in The Scarlet Letter and The Marble Faun, treating of the most shameful crines, yet his handling of them both in sentiment and language is so maidenly delicate as not only not to offend decency, but even to elicit a lively sympathy in behalf of their vic
* H. T. Tuckerman.
tims. Scarcely have we learned the grave nature of Hester Prynne's and Miriam's crimes before, beholding the tender tracings of our author-master on the page, we are content to read, “Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.”
Notwithstanding the intense and morbid characterization abounding in Hawthorne's writings, they are rich also in episodes of pathos and humor; and however subjective and secluded from the sensuous world the scene of the story may be, Hawthorne's crystal words and imagery bring it into full view, so that he seems to create understanding within us.
His works were slow of gaining popular favor, but both their matter and their execution are such as to assure them a place among standard works.*
The Essay.—The earliest attempts at this kind of prose composition in America were in imitation of the English essayists of Queen Anne's time-Addison and Steele-and, excepting the homely and sententious writings of Benjamin Franklin, this tendency continued until the first quarter of the present century had almost expired. Among the first indications of a new era in this department were the graceful and acute letters of Jonathan Oldstyle, Gent. (Washington Irving), originally published in the New York Chron icle. These were the forerunners of one of the most brilliant and memorable careers in the history of letters.
Extensive travel under the most favorable auspices yielded Irving a rare and ample fund of observations,
* The character and limits of the present article must preclude a sep arate notice, however brief, of the many writers of fiction who have appeared in American literature. We shall simply name a few of the most distinguished: Of male writers, T. S. Arthur, H. W. Beecher, Emerson Bennett, Jere. Clemens, George W. Curtis, J. P. Kennedy, R. B. Kimball, J. A. Maitland, D. G. Mitchell (Ik Marvel), A. S. Roe, J. T. Trowbridge, William Ware, Theo. Winthrop, E. E. Hale. Of female authors, Alice Cary, L. M. Child, A. J. Evans, Marion Harland (Miss Hawes), Mrs. Harris, C. L. Hentz, Olive Logan, Miss Macintosh, H. E. Prescott, A. C. M. Ritchie, Miss Sedgwick, E. D. E. N. Southworth, Mrs. Stephens, Mrs. Stowe, and Mrs. Smith. (See Supplement C.)
which he wrought into sketches and narratives remarkable for their refined and tender sentiments and kindly humor. Sentiment and humor are Irving's distinguishing modes of thought, while clearness, polish, and harmony of diction denote his style. These attributes have earned for him the appellation of the “American Goldsmith.”
Of an essentially opposite character to Irving as a writer is Ralph Waldo Emerson. Whereas the former viewed the material world and society from the outside and with an artist's eye, tingeing his creations with only such shades and hues of sentiment as seemed naturally to suggest themselves, the latter takes his stand within, views things with a philosopher's eye, and, as it would seem, employs all outward things and facts as merely convenient symbols of his ideas. He doesn't ask the universe what it fain would teach him, but himself assumes to be the oracle, and compels it in a wonderful manner to exemplify his doctrines.
Emerson is the most introspective, nervous, and sententious, whether in thought or style, of all our essayists. In this, and in an utter independence of accepted belief and principles, consists his originality. His essays, however, laborious reading though they be, gleam with striking pas sages, which, if upon close scrutiny they be found not to be new utterances, have the advantage of generally seeming so at first sight; and undoubtedly they possess the rare quality of stimulating, if not creating, thought in the reader's mind. None of our writers have shown a nicer appreciation of the inherent meaning and power of words than has Emerson, and yet we too often find him employing quaint or selfcoined phraseology, thereby obscuring rather than elucidating the idea. This peculiarity, and his aphoristic style cf thought and expression, impart to his writings an abruptness and profundity more peculiar than pleasing or edifying to the reader.
Dr. Channing, whom we have already mentioned in another connection, also deserves to be classed with those who have helped toward creating and advancing literary tastes in our