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

V. Bryant and the Minor Poets

§ 21. Charles Fenno Hoffman

Charles Fenno Hoffman (1806–1884), another Knicker-bocker editor and a song-writer, who, says a recent critic, “possessed a lyric note almost completely unknown in the America of his time,”—by which is meant a certain catchy musical lilt,—is, however, chiefly memorable for the fine ballad Monterey:

  • We were not many, we who stood
  • Before the iron sleet that day:
  • Yet many a gallant spirit would
  • Give half his years if but he could
  • Have been with us at Monterey.
  • This is, or should be, a classic in a genre rare in our literature, whose poets have seldom communicated with martial fire the rapture of the strife or celebrated worthily the achievements of our arms. Bryant wrote a critical sketch for the last edition of Hoffman’s poems.