To cure life's ills by changing place,
Will find it but a 'wild goose chase,'
And ever be removing.
Fortune may frown and friends desert,
Domestick sorrows wring the heart--
Yet surely 'tis the wisest part
To yield without repining.
Enjoy the good, kind heav'n bestows--
Leave sullen discontent to those,
Who fear a thorn in every rose,
To God thy all resigning.
MANUSCRIPT: Unrecovered TEXT: NAR, 5 ( September 1817), 336.
Published in the NAR for September 1817 on the pages just preceding "Thanatopsis," as an imitation of Horace Lix, this poem and another entitled "Horace, Ode
II. B. I. Translated" have been all but overlooked by Bryant scholars. The present
editors owe a debt to the late Tremaine McDowell for his identification of both author
and addressee. "Youth," pp. 173-174. George Downes had written Bryant on July 6,
"You know how unhappy our friend Hubbard made himself when he was with us and
yet he has made a stand in Williamsburg and is doing all the business of the town.
. . . Thus you see how miserable we may make ourselves by anticipating evils which
never will happen." Hubbard had complained to Bryant on September 13 of his uncertainty "where to turn or to go or to rest." (Both letters are in NYPL-BG.) The
date assigned this verse letter is conjectural. The snowy hills and forests, and the icy
streams, suggest Cummington, and Bryant's comment to Baylies after his visit at home
in November-December that, while there was no snow at Bridgewater, there was excellent sleighing at Cummington (Letter 22), confirms this supposition.
22. To William Baylies
Bridgewater Dec. [c15] 1814
I have got back to Bridgewater safe and sound and in much better
trim than I went from it. All the people in this quarter are well and kicking except old Mrs. [Lake?] who was in the ground before I returned. But
here is no snow. All the indication of winter here is very cold weather.
But from Boston to Albany there is excellent sleighing, and on the hills
of Hampshire, the best I ever saw.
--I paid a visit to my old instructor Mr. Howe. I found him amongst
his sheep in deshabille--
1 Business he tells me is languishing--only 70
actions were entered at the November term of C[ourt of] C[ommon]
P[leas] for that county, whereas there are generally from 200 to 250. He
entered himself but one--and had but one continuing from the last term
notwithstanding his isolated situation with some half dozen towns round
him of which he enjoys the almost exclusive practice.--
I met at Mr. Howe's with "Lara a Tale"--which is advertised on the
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: The Letters of William Cullen Bryant.
Contributors: William Cullen Bryant II - Editor, Thomas G. Voss - Editor, William Cullen Bryant - Author.
Publisher: Fordham University Press.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1975.
Page number: 47.
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