1882 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Trumbull

Epes Sargent, in Harper's Cyclopaedia of British and American Poetry (1882) 236.



Trumbull (1750-1831), author of M'Fingal, a burlesque poem in the style of Butler's Hudibras, was a native of Watertown, Conn. He entered Yale College at the age of thirteen, and afterward read law in the office of John Adams, in Boston. In 1774 he began the composition of M'Fingal, a poem quite popular in its day, but now little read, though manifesting considerable ability. M'Fingal is a type of the American Tories who held out for a monarchy. Honorius is the Whig champion of freedom. When the last battle of the Revolution has been fought, and Toryism is humbled, M'Fingal escapes out of a window en route to Boston, and the poem is closed. Trumbull wrote The Progress of Dulness, a satirical poem, also An Elegy on the Times. In 1825 he moved to Detroit, where he died. An edition of his works was published in Hartford in 1820. The latest edition of M'Fingal, with notes by J. B. Lossing, was published by G. P. Putnam, New York, 1857.