The Embargo, Or, Sketches of the Times: A Satire

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purchasers, 1808 - Embargo, 1807-1809 - 12 pages
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Page 4 - Ill-fated clime! condemn'd to feel th' extremes, Of a weak ruler's philosophic dreams ; Driven headlong on, to ruin's fateful brink, When will thy country feel, when will she think...
Page 6 - And thou, the scorn of every patriot name, Thy country's ruin, and her council's shame! Poor servile thing! derision of the brave! Who erst from Tarleton fled to Carter's cave; Thou, who, when menac'd by perfidious Gaul, Didst prostrate to her whisker'd minion fall; And when our cash her empty bags...
Page 5 - Oh, ye bright pair, the blessing of mankind! Whom time has sanction'd, and whom fate has join'd, COMMERCE, that bears the trident of the main, And AGRICULTURE, empress of the plain; Who, hand in hand, and heav'n-directed, go Diffusing gladness through the world below; Whoe'er the wretch, would hurl the flaming brand, Of dire disunion, palsied be his hand! Like 'Cromwell damn'd to everlasting fame,' Let unborn ages execrate his name!
Page 11 - His fields with fruit, with flocks, his pastures crown'd. Thus in a fallen tree, from sprouting roots, With sudden growth, a tender sapling shoots, Improves from day to day, delights the eyes With strength and beauty, stateliness and size, Puts forth robuster arms, and broader leaves, And high in air, its branching head upheaves.

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About the author (1808)

Like so many successful New Yorkers during the nineteenth century, William C. Bryant was born and reared in New England. There, in his native Massachusetts, among the beautiful highlands of the Berkshires, he learned early to be a close observer of nature and a careful student of English versification. A child prodigy, he began to make rhymes before his tenth birthday, and in 1808 he gained some fame as the author of The Embargo, or Sketches of the Time, a satire in verse in which he echoed the conservative political sentiments of his elders. Soon, however, he found his own voice and point of view, and the poetry that followed, unlike so much of the literature that was being produced in the United States in the early decades of the nineteenth century, was considered by his contemporaries to be unmistakably American. During his own lifetime and since, his most famous poem has been "Thanatopsis" (from the Greek thanato and opsis, meaning "a meditation on death"), which was first published in the North American Review in 1817. Other poems, such as "Inscription for the Entrance to a Wood" (1817), "A Forest Hymn" (1825), and "To the Fringed Gentian" (1832), printed during the next several decades, brought him recognition both at home and abroad as the leading poet in the United States. Always solemn and stately, his verse seemed cold to James Russell Lowell, who humorously spoke of Bryant's "iceolation." But others praised Bryant for his careful artisanship, his commitment to romantic aesthetics, his celebration of nature, and his liberal faith in the historical destiny of the United States. Matthew Arnold called "To a Waterfowl" (1818) one of the finest short lyrics in the English language, and "The Prairies" (1833) and "Earth" (1835) have been seen as noble literary expressions "of the Jacksonian version of the American Dream." By training a lawyer and by profession a journalist, Bryant was editor-in-chief of the New York Evening Post from 1829 until his death in 1878. This position gave him enormous influence on national affairs, and his early support for the fledgling Republican party in the 1850s helped insure that party's success. When he was nearly 80 years old, he translated the Iliad and Odyssey of Homer into English blank verse. Bryant died in 1878.

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