The Letters of William Cullen Bryant - Vol. 1

By William Cullen Bryant II; Thomas G. Voss et al. | Go to book overview

63. To Henry D. Sewall

Great Barrington Nov. 1, 1820

Dear Sir

I intended when I received yours of the 29th of August to have given it an earlier answer and to have accompanied my answer with further contributions to your new work. 1 --But I did not get your communication till the 12 of September and since that time we have had a Term of the Supreme Court which lasted a fortnight--one of the Court of Sessions and another of the Court of Common Pleas and these together with my other engagements and some ill health have obliged me to delay it till it was too late for any thing but apologies.--

I felt obliged to you for pointing out those topicks which have not been often touched upon by writers of devotional poetry. 2 Your conjecture was right that the choice of a subject was more difficult than the composition of the hymn. I made some attempts to write but could not satisfy myself, and I would not send you impromptus nor the stale efforts of languor and lassitude--nothing which was not written in moments of enthusiasm and excitement and carefully corrected at my leisure--

I ought to thank you for the good opinion you are pleased to express concerning my hymns. "Praise" says a poet, is "the poets best reward,"3 and I should forfeit my pretensions to be considered one of the fraternity were I to deny that I am pleased with the commendations of literary [. . . whose applause confers?] reputation--

[unsigned]

MANUSCRIPT: NYPL-GR (draft).

1.
A Collection of Psalms and Hymns for Social and Private Worship, ed. Henry D. Sewall ( New York, 1820). In July Catharine M. Sedgwick (see "Bryant's Correspondents") had reminded Bryant of his earlier promise to compose hymns for this collection, designed to honor William Ware at his ordination in 1821 as pastor of the new Unitarian church in New York City. Catharine M. Sedgwick to Robert Sedgwick, May 17, 1820, Life, I, 163; Miss Sedgwick to Bryant, [July] 17 [1820], NYPL-BG. She forwarded to Sewall five hymns which Bryant sent her, and Sewall wrote Bryant on August 29 thanking him and soliciting further contributions. NYPL-BG.
2.
Sewall proposed additional hymns on neglected subjects, such as the paternal character of God and the duties of parents and children, because, he wrote, "A minister discussing on these obvious topicks will find it difficult to select a hymn at all adapted to them." He went on to list changes he had made in Bryant's verses, concluding abruptly, "I have no room to enter into a critical defense of these alterations --nor am I disposed." Bryant ignored these changes when in 1864 he printed these and others of his hymns privately.
3.
The source of this quotation is uncertain.

-96-

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The Letters of William Cullen Bryant - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Key to Manuscript Sources Often Cited in FootNotes vi
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Editorial Plan 4
  • Bryant Chronology 1794-1836 6
  • Bryant''s Correspondents 1809-1836 9
  • I- Student of Life and the Law 1809-1815 (letters 1 To 33) 17
  • 2- To Austin Bryant 20
  • 2- To Austin Bryant 21
  • 2- To Austin Bryant 23
  • 5- To John Avery 25
  • 6- To Jacob Porter 27
  • 6- To Jacob Porter 28
  • 6- To Jacob Porter 30
  • 6- To Jacob Porter 31
  • 6- To Jacob Porter 32
  • 6- To Jacob Porter 33
  • 6- To Jacob Porter 35
  • 6- To Jacob Porter 36
  • 14- To William Baylies 38
  • 15- To Peter Bryant 39
  • 16- To Elisha Hubbard 41
  • 16- To Elisha Hubbard 42
  • 16- To Elisha Hubbard 43
  • 16- To Elisha Hubbard 44
  • 16- To Elisha Hubbard 45
  • 16- To Elisha Hubbard 46
  • 16- To Elisha Hubbard 47
  • 16- To Elisha Hubbard 48
  • 16- To Elisha Hubbard 49
  • 25- To Austin Bryant 50
  • 26- To Peter Bryant 52
  • 26- To Peter Bryant 53
  • 26- To Peter Bryant 54
  • 26- To Peter Bryant 56
  • 26- To Peter Bryant 57
  • 26- To Peter Bryant 58
  • 26- To Peter Bryant 59
  • 26- To Peter Bryant 60
  • II- Following Two Professions 1816-1821 (letters 34 To 80) 62
  • 35- To William Baylies 65
  • 35- To William Baylies 66
  • 35- To William Baylies 67
  • 35- To William Baylies 68
  • 39- To Peter Bryant 70
  • 40- To William Baylies 71
  • 41- To Peter Bryant 72
  • 42- To Miss Sarah S. Bryant 72
  • 43- To Frances Fairchild 74
  • 44- To Willard Phillips 75
  • 44- To Willard Phillips 76
  • 44- To Willard Phillips 77
  • 44- To Willard Phillips 78
  • 48- To Peter Bryant 80
  • 49- To Willard Phillips 81
  • 49- To Willard Phillips 82
  • 49- To Willard Phillips 83
  • 49- To Willard Phillips 84
  • 49- To Willard Phillips 86
  • 49- To Willard Phillips 88
  • 49- To Willard Phillips 89
  • 49- To Willard Phillips 90
  • 49- To Willard Phillips 92
  • 49- To Willard Phillips 93
  • 49- To Willard Phillips 94
  • 49- To Willard Phillips 94
  • 63- To Henry D. Sewall 96
  • 64- To Mrs. Sarah S. Bryant 97
  • 65- To Miss Sarah S. Bryant 98
  • 66- To Henry D. Sewall 102
  • 67- To Miss Sarah S. Bryant 103
  • 68- To.William J. Spooner 103
  • 68- To.William J. Spooner 104
  • 68- To.William J. Spooner 105
  • 68- To.William J. Spooner 106
  • 68- To.William J. Spooner 107
  • 68- To.William J. Spooner 110
  • 68- To.William J. Spooner 110
  • 68- To.William J. Spooner 112
  • 68- To.William J. Spooner 113
  • 68- To.William J. Spooner 113
  • 68- To.William J. Spooner 114
  • 68- To.William J. Spooner 116
  • 68- To.William J. Spooner 117
  • III- The Roads Diverge 1822-1825 (letters 81 To 127) 121
  • 82- To Richard H. Dana 124
  • 82- To Richard H. Dana 126
  • 82- To Richard H. Dana 128
  • 82- To Richard H. Dana 131
  • 82- To Richard H. Dana 133
  • 87- To Charles Sedgwick and Others 136
  • 88- To Charles Sedgwick 136
  • 89- To Charles Webster, Editor, Berkshire Star 138
  • 90- To Andrews Norton 141
  • 90- To Andrews Norton 146
  • 90- To Andrews Norton 147
  • 90- To Andrews Norton 148
  • 90- To Andrews Norton 149
  • 90- To Andrews Norton 151
  • 90- To Andrews Norton 152
  • 90- To Andrews Norton 153
  • 90- To Andrews Norton 153
  • 90- To Andrews Norton 154
  • 90- To Andrews Norton 155
  • 90- To Andrews Norton 156
  • 103- To Richard H. Dana 157
  • 104- To Charles Sedgwick 159
  • 105- To Willard Phillips 160
  • 105- To Willard Phillips 161
  • 105- To Willard Phillips 162
  • 105- To Willard Phillips 162
  • 105- To Willard Phillips 162
  • 105- To Willard Phillips 164
  • 105- To Willard Phillips 165
  • 105- To Willard Phillips 165
  • 113- To Jared Sparks 166
  • 114- To Charles Sedgwick 166
  • 114- To Charles Sedgwick 167
  • 114- To Charles Sedgwick 168
  • 114- To Charles Sedgwick 169
  • 114- To Charles Sedgwick 170
  • 114- To Charles Sedgwick 171
  • 114- To Charles Sedgwick 171
  • 114- To Charles Sedgwick 172
  • 122- To Frances F. Bryant 173
  • 123- To Frances F. Bryant 174
  • 123- To Frances F. Bryant 175
  • 123- To Frances F. Bryant 175
  • 123- To Frances F. Bryant 177
  • 127- To Frances F. Bryant 179
  • IV- Sitting in Judgment 1825-1827 (letters 128 To 194) 181
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 184
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 185
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 186
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 188
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 190
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 192
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 193
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 194
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 195
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 197
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 198
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 199
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 200
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 200
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 202
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 203
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 206
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 209
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 211
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 211
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 212
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 213
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 213
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 215
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 216
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 217
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 219
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 221
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 222
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 223
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 226
  • 129- To Richard H. Dana 227
  • 161- To Charles Folsom 229
  • 162- To Charles Folsom 229
  • 162- To Charles Folsom 230
  • 162- To Charles Folsom 231
  • 162- To Charles Folsom 231
  • 66.To Charles Folsom 234
  • 167- To Charles Folsom 238
  • 168- To Charles Folsom 238
  • 169- To Charles Folsom 238
  • 169- To Charles Folsom 239
  • 169- To Charles Folsom 239
  • 169- To Charles Folsom 240
  • 173- To Richard H. Dana 241
  • 174- To Charles Folsom 242
  • 174- To Charles Folsom 243
  • 174- To Charles Folsom 244
  • 174- To Charles Folsom 244
  • 174- To Charles Folsom 245
  • 174- To Charles Folsom 246
  • 174- To Charles Folsom 247
  • 181- To Charles Folsom 249
  • 182- To Frances F. Bryant 249
  • 183- To Richard H. Dana 250
  • 184- To Charles Folsom 251
  • 185- To Frances F. Bryant 251
  • 185- To Frances F. Bryant 252
  • 185- To Frances F. Bryant 252
  • 185- To Frances F. Bryant 253
  • 185- To Frances F. Bryant 253
  • 185- To Frances F. Bryant 254
  • 185- To Frances F. Bryant 255
  • 185- To Frances F. Bryant 255
  • 185- To Frances F. Bryant 256
  • V- Fellow in the Arts 1828-1831 (letters 195 To 222) 260
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 263
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 265
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 265
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 267
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 268
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 269
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 270
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 270
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 273
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 275
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 277
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 279
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 279
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 279
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 282
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 283
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 284
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 286
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 289
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 290
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 291
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 292
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 293
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 294
  • 196- To Gulian C. Verplanck 295
  • 221- To Mrs. Sarah S. Bryant 297
  • 222- To the Readers of the Evening Post 299
  • VI- Journalist, Poet, Traveler 1831-1834 (letters 223 To 287) 304
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 307
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 308
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 309
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 310
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 311
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 311
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 313
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 315
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 317
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 319
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 321
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 322
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 323
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 326
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 327
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 327
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 328
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 329
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 333
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 336
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 341
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 345
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 350
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 355
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 359
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 361
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 362
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 364
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 364
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 365
  • 224- To Frances F. Bryant 365
  • 256- To Gulian C. Verplanck 367
  • 257- To Gulian C. Verplanck 367
  • 257- To Gulian C. Verplanck 368
  • 257- To Gulian C. Verplanck 369
  • 260- To Mrs. Sarah S. Bryant 370
  • 261- To Gulian C. Verplanck 373
  • 261- To Gulian C. Verplanck 374
  • 261- To Gulian C. Verplanck 375
  • 261- To Gulian C. Verplanck 375
  • 261- To Gulian C. Verplanck 376
  • 261- To Gulian C. Verplanck 377
  • 261- To Gulian C. Verplanck 379
  • 261- To Gulian C. Verplanck 380
  • 269- To Richard H. Dana 382
  • 270- To Richard H. Dana 383
  • 271- To Richard H. Dana 384
  • 272- To John Howard Bryant 386
  • 272- To John Howard Bryant 389
  • 272- To John Howard Bryant 389
  • 272- To John Howard Bryant 391
  • 272- To John Howard Bryant 391
  • 272- To John Howard Bryant 393
  • 272- To John Howard Bryant 394
  • 272- To John Howard Bryant 395
  • 272- To John Howard Bryant 396
  • 272- To John Howard Bryant 399
  • 272- To John Howard Bryant 400
  • 272- To John Howard Bryant 403
  • 272- To John Howard Bryant 404
  • 272- To John Howard Bryant 404
  • 272- To John Howard Bryant 406
  • 272- To John Howard Bryant 407
  • VII- Proud Old World 1834-1836 (letters 288 To 314) 409
  • 289- To John Rand 413
  • 289- To John Rand 415
  • 289- To John Rand 418
  • 289- To John Rand 419
  • 289- To John Rand 423
  • 289- To John Rand 427
  • 289- To John Rand 428
  • 289- To John Rand 430
  • 289- To John Rand 433
  • 289- To John Rand 435
  • 289- To John Rand 439
  • 289- To John Rand 442
  • 289- To John Rand 445
  • 289- To John Rand 446
  • 289- To John Rand 449
  • 304- To William Leggett 451
  • 305- To Susan Renner 457
  • 306- To Julia Sands 460
  • 307- To William Ware 465
  • 308- To William Leggett 472
  • 309- To Susan Renner 473
  • 309- To Susan Renner 475
  • 309- To Susan Renner 477
  • 309- To Susan Renner 479
  • 309- To Susan Renner 483
  • 309- To Susan Renner 485
  • Abbreviations and Short Titles 487
  • Index 491
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