The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XV. Colonial and Revolutionary Literature; Early National Literature, Part I.
§ 25. Fitz-Green Halleck
Halleck was the one worthy American representative of the contemporary popular English Romanticists, Scott, Campbell, and Byron—worthy, because something of their matter and manner, despite occasional crude imitation, was thoroughly natural to his vigorous feelings, to his alert though not subtle masculine intellect, and to his sounding voice. His Spenserians on Wyoming remind one of Campbell and Byron in stanza and phraseology. The still popular Marco Bozzaris reminds one of Byron in the enthusiasm for Greek freedom (also the inspiration of some of Bryant’s early verse), and of Campbell in martial vigour, while its octosyllabics have the verve of Scott’s. In Alnwick Castle and several other poems grave and gay are whimsically mixed after Byron’s later manner. Indeed Byron, whose works Halleck subsequently edited, was his most kindred spirit. As early as 1819 appeared his Fanny, suggested by Beppo and in its present form sometimes reminiscent of Don Juan—
Thus these early minor men left us some things worth keeping; but, nevertheless, taken all in all, they emphasize for us today, as they never could for their contemporaries, the relative greatness of Bryant.