Robert Charles Sands

Samuel Kettell, in Specimens of American Poetry (1829) 2:228-29.

ROBERT C. SANDS, of New York, one of the present editors of the Commercial Advertiser, in that city, wrote in conjunction with James Wallis Eastburn, the poem of Yamoyden, a tale of the wars of King Philip. Mr. Eastburn was a native of England, but received his education here. He had prepared himself for the ministry, and was on the point of assuming the charge of a congregation in Virginia, when his feeble health caused him to undertake a voyage to the West Indies. He died on the passage, December 2d, 1819, at the age of twenty-two.

Yamoyden was written while the authors resided in separate parts of the country, — the one in New York, and the other in Rhode Island, — the plan of the poem having been previously agreed upon, and the parts assigned: but it was not published during the lifetime of Mr. Eastburn. After his death, Mr. Sands revised the work, and gave it some additions, and it was published in 1820. This poem, although executed under great disadvantages, certainly displays poetical talent of a superior order, and we are inclined to award it the preference among all those of its kind which have been founded upon our aboriginal history. The striking peculiarities of the Indian character and superstition, are introduced with great felicity, and the descriptions are handled with a reach of thought and expression that we do not often see surpassed.

Mr. Sands has not, since the publication of this work, occupied himself with verse, except, we believe, in the case of a single casual performance. Those parts of Yamoyden which can be identified as his, leave us no room to doubt that his powers are equal to an undertaking in the very highest walk of poetry. Should he be inclined to devote again to the muse, with any steady and well studied effort, a portion of that fine talent which he is daily throwing away upon the common concerns of life, we feel confident in assuring him a rank among the foremost of those who are our native literature, and winning for themselves unfading wreaths of the sacred laurel.