1876 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Fitz-Greene Halleck

Robert Carruthers, in Chambers's Cyclopaedia of English Literature, 3rd ed. (1876; 1879) 7:79-80.



Without attempting, in our confined limits, to range over the fields of American literature, now rapidly extending, and cultivated with ardour and success, we have pleasure in including some eminent transatlantic names in our list of popular authors. MR. HALLECK became generally known in this country in 1827 by the publication of a volume of Poems, the result partly of a visit to England. In this volume are some fine verses on Burns, on Alnwick Castle, &c. and it includes the most elevated of his strains, the martial lyric, Marco Bozzaris. Our poet-laureate, Mr. Tennyson, has described the poetical character:

The poet in a golden clime was born,
With golden stars above;
Dowered with the hate of hate, the scorn of scorn,
The love of love.

He saw through life and death, through good and ill,
He saw through his own soul—
The marvel of the everlasting will
An open scroll.

Mr. Halleck, in his beautiful verses, On viewing the Remains of a Rose brought from Alloway Kirk in Autumn, 1822, had previously identified, as it were, this conception of the laureate's with the history of the Scottish poet:

Strong sense, deep feeling, passions strong,
A hate of tyrant and of knave,
A love of right, a scorn of wrong,
Of coward and of slave;

A kind, true heart, a spirit high,
That could not fear, and would not bow
Were written in his manly eye,
And on his manly brow.

Praise to the bard! — his words are driven,
Like flower-seeds by the far winds sown,
The birds of Fame are flown!

Mr. Halleck was a native of Guildford, Connecticut, born in 1790. He resided some time in New York, following mercantile pursuits. In 1819 he published Fanny, a satirical poem in the ottava rima stanza. Next appeared his volume of Poems, as already stated, to which additions were made in subsequent republications. His works are comprised in one volume, and it is to be regretted that his muse was not more prolific. He died November 19, 1867. His Life and Letters were published in one volume in 1869 by James Grant Wilson of New York, who has also edited the poetical works of Halleck (1871), and written a short Memoir of Bryant, in the Western Monthly, November 1870.