The Letters of William Cullen Bryant - Vol. 1

By William Cullen Bryant II; Thomas G. Voss et al. | Go to book overview
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But that, oer Hoosic's vale, which lowers
Will never know serener hours
Nor open to the day--

MANUSCRIPT: NYPL-GR PUBLISHED (in part): Life, I, 92-93.

1.
At least five versions of these verses have been recorded, one in Bryant's hand-- though he seems never to have published or referred to them. See "Youth," p. 95. The present text is from a copy made by Bryant's classmate Charles F. Sedgwick from one given him by Arthur Bryant. Sedgwick to Parke Godwin, January 21, 1880, NYPL-GR.
2.
The Hoosic River rises in the Hoosac Range near Adams, Massachusetts, and flows past North Adams and Williamstown, crossing the southwest corner of Vermont and entering the Hudson River above Troy, New York. Its short course is indeed devious.
3.
"The mud of Williamstown was long notorious. General Samuel Sloan[e], who built a home in the village in 1801, was accustomed, whenever his daughters went abroad in the spring, to send with them a man-servant bearing two long boards as portable sidewalks." "Youth," p. 111n.

4. To John Avery1

Worthington January 9th [1812]

Friend Avery,

I write to tell you that it is very problematical whether I shall go to Yale, unless I can enter at the beginning of or middle of next term rather than at the end of this vacation-- I would therefore wish you to write up immediately to inform me whether this be the case. Supposing I should put it off two or three weeks next term, would I be refused admission? I wrote my other letter to get an answer to this question, but amidst my other matters forgot it. 2 I wish you would make particular inquiry into this subject & not let "ill health" prevent your writing back immediately so that I may know before the end of the vacation. 3 I presume that your not mentioning Euclid in your catalogue of Mathematics was an oversight. It so, let me know. I have studied more Greek than was necessary and am sorry for spending so much of my time on it.

However, if I should not enter this time I shall quit study and go to farming or turn mechanic. Would not blacksmithing be as good a trade as any for the display of one's abilities? Vulcan though the son of Jupiter and sleeping partner of Cytherea, gloried in his skill in hot iron and forging the thunderbolts of Eternal Jove. If, after you have passed through the [ . . . ] 4 of academic honor & [ . . . ] the diploma [ . . . ] sweating over the anvil and wielding the hammer "with an air of majesty." "Much study" says Solomon "is a weariness to the flesh," 5 and I think Solomon perfectly in the right. Yet, without this "weariness of the flesh," I conjecture that Solomon would never have attained to that reputation for learning and wisdom that he possessed. You may perhaps smile at my gravity when I add that all the learning and wisdom of

-23-

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