Page:The American Cyclopædia (1879) Volume XVI.djvu/219

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199
UNITED STATES (Literature)

poems, severely criticised at home, have found their warmest admirers in England. The female poets of the period comprise Mrs. L. H. Sigourney (1791-1865), author of many beautiful pieces characterized by feminine delicacy and religious sentiment; Mrs. Maria Brooks (“Maria del' Occidente,” 1795-1845), whose principal poem, “Zophiel,” evinces a high degree of imaginative power; Lucretia Maria Davidson (1808-'25), and her sister Margaret Miller Davidson (1823-'38), who are instances of rare though melancholy precocity; Mrs. Frances Sargent Osgood (1811-'50), remarkable for her playfulness of fancy and facility of expression; Mrs. Julia Ward Howe (born 1819), whose “Passion Flowers” and other poems are distinguished by a peculiar earnestness of feeling and expression; Mrs. Frances Anne Kemble (born 1811), who exhibits similar characteristics; Mrs. E. Oakes Smith, author of a melodious and imaginative poem entitled “The Sinless Child;” Mrs. Margaret J. Preston, whose chief poem, “Beechenbrook,” was very popular in the south during the civil war; Mrs. Caroline Gilman, Mrs. S. J. Lippincott, Mrs. A. B. Welby, Miss H. F. Gould, Mrs. E. C. Embury, Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman, Mrs. A. C. (Lynch) Botta, Mrs. Estelle Anna Lewis, Mrs. Haven, Miss Alice Cary and her sister Phoebe Cary, Mrs. E. F. Ellet, Mrs. S. J. Hale, Miss Caroline May, Mrs. Maria Lowell, Miss Edna Dean Proctor, Mrs. Rosa Vertner (Jeffrey), Mrs. L. V. French, Mrs. M. S. B. Dana (Shindler), Mrs. S. M. B. Piatt, Mrs. E. C. Kinney, Miss Emma Lazarus, Mrs. Celia Thaxter, Miss Lucy Larcom, Mrs. Rose Terry Cooke, Mrs. Elizabeth (Akers) Allen, Miss Laura C. Redden (“Howard Glyndon”), Mrs. Helen Hunt (Jackson), and many others. Dramatic literature has been cultivated by comparatively few writers, and, with occasional exceptions, nothing of very decided mark, either in style, sentiment, or plot, has yet been accomplished. J. A. Hillhouse (1789-1841) excelled in that species of poetic literature illustrated by the writings of Browning, Henry Taylor, and others in England, which may be called the written drama. His “Hadad,” founded upon Jewish tradition, “Percy's Masque,” and other dramas, though unfitted for representation, are conceived with taste and carefully finished. G. H. Boker has produced “Calaynos,” a tragedy founded on an incident in the history of the Spanish Moors, and other dramatic pieces of more than ordinary merit; and Mrs. J. W. Howe, a high-wrought drama entitled “The World's Own.” Among other works of this class may be mentioned “Brutus,” by J. H. Payne; “Metamora,” by J. A. Stone; “Jack Cade,” by R. J. Conrad; “Tortesa the Usurer” and “Bianca Visconti,” by N. P. Willis; “Velasco,” by Epes Sargent; “The Gladiator,” by R. M. Bird; “Witchcraft,” by Cor- nelius Mathews; “Fashion,” by Mrs. A. C. (Mowatt) Ritchie; “The Prophet,” by Bayard Taylor; and “The Spanish Student,” “Christus,” and "Masque of Pandora,” by H. W. Longfellow. Several of these have proved good acting plays, and still retain possession of the stage. Several writers have executed metrical translations of merit from the German, Italian, and other languages. The most eminent of these are Longfellow, whose translation of Dante is the best in the English language, and whose versions of Bishop Tegnér's “Children of the Lord's Supper” and Der schwarze Ritter and other ballads by Uhland are well known; Bryant, who has made an excellent version of Homer; and Bayard Taylor, who has made a masterly rendering of Goethe's Faust in the original metres. C. P. Cranch has made a good translation of Virgil's Æneid. C. T. Brooks has translated Faust, Schiller's Wilhelm Tell, Richter's Titan and Hesperus, and numerous other pieces from the German; C. G. Leland, the choicest songs of Heine; W. H. Furness, Schiller's “Song of the Bell;” and N. L. Frothingham and J. S. Dwight, many of the minor poems of this and other German authors. T. W. Parsons has made one of the best English translations of Dante's Inferno; George Ticknor has versified choice extracts from the Spanish poets; and R. H. Wilde, Dr. Mitchell, and Mrs. Nichols have translated with taste from Tasso, Sannazaro, and Manzoni.—Under the head of criticism, essays, belles-lettres, lectures or discourses, and that species of miscellaneous works which owe their charm to a felicitous blending of fact and fancy, or of sentiment and thought, may be classed a numerous body of authors who were so inadequately represented in the two preceding periods that the department now under consideration may almost be said to have sprung into existence since 1820. The establishment of the “North American Review” in 1815, followed by that of the “American Quarterly Review,” the “Southern Quarterly Review,” the “Christian Examiner,” the “Knickerbocker Magazine,” the “Dial,” “Harper's Monthly,” “Putnam's Monthly,” the “Atlantic Monthly,” and other periodicals, gave the first considerable impulse to literary criticism and essay writing on a comprehensive and philosophic scale; and the production of the essays of William Ellery Channing (1780-1842) on “National Literature,” “Milton,” “Napoleon Bonaparte,” “Fenelon,” and “Self-Culture,” and of the thoughtful and highly finished articles by R. H. Dana, published in his own “Idle Man” and the “North American Review,” may be said to have formed an era in the literary history of the country. Contemporary with these were John Quincy Adams, William Tudor, Joseph Story, Edward and A. H. Everett, W. H. Prescott, F. C. Gray, George Ticknor, E. T. Channing, Robert Walsh, G. C. Verplanck, J. G. Palfrey, Jared Sparks, Samuel Gilman, William Ware, R. C. Sands, Orville Dewey, Dr. J. W. Francis, W. G. Simms, John Neal, Francis Wayland, Henry Reed, F. L. Hawks, C. S. Henry, J. T. Buckingham, and