1882 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Charles Sands

Epes Sargent, in Harper's Cyclopaedia of British and American Poetry (1882) 520-21.



Sands (1799-1832) was a native of the city of New York, and a graduate of Columbia College, of the class of 1815. One of his college companions, two years his senior, was James Wallis Eastburn, who was also a poet, and wrote, in conjunction with Sands, the poem of Yamoyden, founded on the history of Philip, the Pequot chieftain. Eastburn took orders in the Episcopal Church, and died in 1819, in his twenty-second year. The best part of Yamoyden is the Proem, written by Sands, and containing some graceful and pathetic stanzas in reference to Eastburn, one of which we subjoin:

Go forth, sad fragments of a broken strain,
The last that either bard shall e'er essay!
The hand can ne'er attempt the chords again,
That first awoke them in a happier day:
Where sweeps the ocean breeze in desert way,
His requiem murmurs o'er the moaning wave;
And he who feebly now prolongs the lay,
Shall ne'er the minstrel's hallowed honors crave:
His harp lies buried deep in that untimely grave!

Sands was a lawyer, but the attractions of literature drew him away from his profession, and he became an associate editor of The Commercial Advertiser. He ventured on several literary projects, edited magazines, and wrote a Life of John Paul Jones. He did not live to fulfil the promise which his early compositions gave. He died unmarried, having always lived at home in his father's house. His Writings in Prose and Verse, with a Memoir of the Author, in two volumes, were published by the Messrs. Harper in 1834.