The Literary History of the American Revolution,1763-1783 - Vol. 1

By Moses Coit Tyler | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII.
BEGINNINGS OF NEW LIFE IN VERSE AND PROSE: PHILADELPHIA, PRINCETON, AND NEW YORK. 1763-1775.
-- Nathaniel Evans "Poems on Several Occasions"--His death in 1767- "To Melancholy"--" An Ode, Attempted in the Manner of Horace."
-- Elizabeth Fergasson--Her "Postscript," 1764--Her verses addressed to Nathaniel Evans.
-- Francis Hopkinson as described by John Adams in 1776--His versatility.
-- Hopkinson's early life--His political attitude in 1766--His visit to England just after the repeal of the Stamp Act--His occupations in America till after the Declaration of Independence--His character as a statesman not hurt by his levity as a writer.
-- Hopkinson early work as a lyric poet--"My Generous Heart Disdains" --"O'er the Hills Far Away"--"My Love is Gone to Sea."
--The death of Philip Freneau in extreme old age--Interest attaching to his long career--His unique position as a satirist of the enemies of the Revolution.
-- Freneau's lineage and early training--His graduation at Princeton in 1771--His earliest work as a verse-writer--Occupations during the Revolution--His fondness for the sea--His sea-poetry--His playful poem on the ship's crew with clerical names.
--Other examples of his playful manner in verse--His prevailing note, both serious and severe--His choice of satire as his chief poetic vocation--
His gifts for other and higher forms of verse--Oblique tributes to him by Campbell, Walter Scott, and other British writers.
-- Freneau's escape from the poetic mannerisms of English verse in his time --His "Power of Fancy"--His "Retirement."

I.

IN the year 1772, amid all the heat and uproar of politics then raging up and down these sea-board communities in America, there was published in Philadelphia a volume so unique as to contain absolutely no reference to politics,-- to wit, "Poems on Several Occasions, with Some OtherCompositions,"

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