The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XV. Colonial and Revolutionary Literature; Early National Literature, Part I.

IX. The Beginnings of Verse, 1610–1808

§ 1. The Three Periods

THE TWO centuries that cover the beginnings of American poetry may be divided into three periods. The first period is that of the early colonial verse which begins in 1610 with the publication of Rich’s ballad on the settlement of Jamestown and ends with the seventeenth century. With 1700 begins the second period, which is one of transition in purpose, subject, and style. The third period, which is marked by the beginnings of nationalism, opens with the passage of the Stamp Act in 1765 and closes with the publication of Bryant’s Embargo in 1808.