1836 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John G. C. Brainard

Isaac Clark Pray, "Sketches of American Poets: Brainard" Prose and Verse, from the Port Folio of an Editor (1836) 25-26.



BRAINARD'S productions have become very popular; not for any displays of remarkable genius, but for their sort of "thrown off" easiness, and unstudied grace, and delicacy of sentiment. They seem to rise, like the fabled goddess, who was born of the ocean foam. They are gentle in their excitements — like the flowings of the under-currents of some small lake, where the surface is a quiet mirror, only broken, at times, by the skimming beak of some domesticated, golden-pinioned songster.

His poetry is not of a lofty order. It contains not the strong, wild breathings of a soul, whose poetic ardor is like tameless fire. We love his little pieces. They are the companions, whom we would keep by us on the bank of a small stream, in an afternoon of June, when all is quiet, except the low, dull singing of the hidden insects, and the slight shiver of the tree-tops.

He has no great claims to the regard of posterity; yet we would not be deprived of his works, for they impart, better than the productions of any other American poet, that soothing and holy influence, to the ocean-like mind, which comes gratefully and pleasantly at all seasons, and especially, at that time, when we feel injured and forgotten by those ruling powers, which grasp, with blind ignorance of our nature, our unyielding and uncomplaining spirits.