1858 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John G. C. Brainard

Charles D. Cleveland, in Compendium of American Literature (1858) 194-95.



JOHN G. C. BRAINARD was born in New London, Conn., in 1797, and graduated at Yale College in 1815. He studied law, and commenced the practice, at Middleton; but not pleased with the profession, he abandoned it, and in 1822 undertook the editorial charge of the Connecticut Mirror, at Hartford, which for five years he enriched with his beautiful poetical productions, and chaste and elevated prose compositions. "His pieces were extensively copied, and not unfrequently with high encomium. But Brainard was one of those who 'bear their faculties meekly.' Although publishing, week after week, poems which would have done honor to the genius of Burns or Wordsworth, he never publicly betrayed any symptoms of vanity. He held on the quiet and even tenor of his way, apparently regardless of that prodigality of intellectual beauty which blossomed around him."

As an editor of a literary, political, and news journal, he was a model, and the influence that his paper exerted on all within whose sphere it came could not but be most happy and elevating; but consumption had marked him for her own, and in less than five years he returned to his fathers house, where he died September 26th, 1828.

That Brainard had the true spirit of a poet, there can be no doubt; but he wrote in great haste, and published as fast as he wrote. Hence there is great inequality in his compositions, some showing high poetical beauty and strength, both in thought and language; and some, the want of good taste, and great negligence.