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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878)

Bryant, William Cullen. An American poet; born at Cummington, MA, Nov. 3, 1794; died in New York, June 12, 1878. After two years in Williams College he left it, and turned his attention to law. But in early youth he produced ‘Thanatopsis,’ and some of his best lyrics,—‘To a Waterfowl,’ ‘The Yellow Violet,’ etc.,—which were the opening of a high literary career. His longest poem, ‘The Ages,’ was recited at Harvard in 1821. In 1829 he became editor-in-chief of the New York Evening Post. His books include: ‘Letters of a Traveler’ (1855); ‘Letters from Spain’ (1859); ‘Letters from the East’ (1869); and a ‘Popular History of the United States,’ with S. H. Gay (4 vols., 1878–82). His ‘Poems’ appeared in New York in 1832, and Washington Irving reprinted them in London, where they went through several editions. This book was followed by ‘The Fountain and Other Poems’ (1842) and ‘The White-Footed Deer and Other Poems’ (1844). His first complete edition was issued in Philadelphia in 1846. In his old age Bryant began a translation of the ‘Iliad’ and ‘Odyssey’ in blank verse; and his last great poem was ‘The Flood of Years,’ a noble pendant to ‘Thanatopsis.’ Among his poems that have become popular favorites are: the ‘Forest Hymn’; ‘The West Wind’; ‘June’; ‘Death of the Flowers’; and ‘Hymn to Death.’ (See Critical and Biographical Introduction).