1818 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. Benjamin Church

William Cullen Bryant, "Early American Verse" 1818; Prose Works (1884) 1:48.



When we became an independent empire, a different spirit began to manifest itself, and the general ambition to distinguish ourselves as a nation was not without its effect on our literature. It seems to us that it is from this time only that we can be said to have poets of our own, and from this period it is that we must date the origin of American poetry. About this time flourished Francis Hopkinson, whose humorous ballad entitled The Battle of the Kegs, is in most of our memories, and whose other attempts, though deficient in vigor, are not inelegant. The keen and forcible invectives of Dr. Church, which are still recollected by his contemporaries, received an additional edge and sharpness from the exasperated feelings of the times.