1882 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Gordon Brooks

Epes Sargent, in Harper's Cyclopaedia of British and American Poetry (1882) 568.



Brooks (1801-1841), the son of a Revolutionary officer, was a native of Claverack, N.Y., on the Hudson. He was graduated at Union College in 1819, studied law, and began to write poetry under the signature of "Florio." He removed in 1823 to the city of New York, where he became connected as editor with various journals. In 1828 he married Mary Elizabeth Akin, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., who wrote under the signature of "Norma," and shared the poetical gift, as the following lines from her pen attest:

PSALM CXXXVII.
Come, sweep the harp! one thrilling rush
Of all that warmed its chords to song,
And then the strains forever hush
That oft have breathed its wires along!
The ray is quenched that lit our mirth,
The shrine is gone that claimed the prayer,
And exiles o'er the distant earth,—
How can we wake the carol there?

One sigh, my harp, and then to sleep!
For all that loved thy song have flown:
Why shouldst thou lonely vigils keep,
Forsaken, broken, and alone?
Let this sad murmur be thy last,
Nor e'er again in music swell;
Thine hours of joyousness are past,
And thus we sever: — fare thee well!

In 1829 the Messrs. Harper published The Rivals of Este, and other Poems, by Mr. and Mrs. Brooks. In 1830 husband and wife removed to Winchester, Va., to take charge of a newspaper; but in 1829 they took up their residence in Albany, N.Y., where Mr. Brooks died. He was esteemed for his many good qualities, and held a high social position, though hardly favored by fortune in his various editorial enterprises.