Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

William Cullen Bryant



The Poetical Works of William Cullen Bryant
(New York: D. Appleton and Co., Roslyn ed., 1903)

Rufus Wilmot Griswold, The Poets and Poetry of America 169-170 (New York: James Miller, Publisher, 1872) [Rufus Wilmot Griswold]

Mr. Bryant was born in Cummington, Massachusetts, on the third day of November, 1794. At a very early age he gave indications of superior genius, and his father, an eminent physician, distinguished for erudition and taste as well as for extensive and thorough knowledge of science, watched with deep interest the development of his faculties under the most careful and judicious instruction. At ten years of age he made very credible translations from some of the Latin poets, which were printed in a newspaper at Northhampton and during the vehement controversies between Federalists and Democrats, which marked the period of Jefferson's administration, he wrote, "The Embargo," a political satire, which was printed in Boston in 1809. . . . The satire was directed against President Jefferson and his party. . . .

Some of the democrats affected to believe that Master Bryant was older than was confessed, or that another person had written, "The Embargo;" but the book was eagerly read, and in a few months a second edition appeared, with some additional pieces. . . .

In the sixteenth year of his age, Bryant entered an advanced class of Williams College, in which he soon became distinguished for his attainments generally, and especially for his proficiency in classical learning. In 1812 he obtained from the faculty an honourable discharge, for the purpose of entering upon the study of the law, and in 1815 he was admitted to the bar, and commended the practice of his profession in the village of Great Barrington, where he was soon after married.

When but little more than eighteen years of age he had written his noble poem of "Thanatopsis," which was published in the North American Review for 1816. In 1821 he delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Harvard College his long poem, "The ages," in which, from a survey of the past eras of the world, and of the successive advances of mankind in knowledge, virtue, and happiness, he endeavors to justify and confirm the hopes of the philanthropist for the future destines of man. It is in the stanza of Spenser, and in its versification is not inferior to "The Faerie Queene." "To a Waterfowl," "Inscription for an entrance to a Wood," and several other pieces of nearly as great merit were likewise written during his residence at Great Barrington.

Having passed ten years in successful practice in the courts, he determined to abandon the uncongenial business of a lawyer, and devote his attention more exclusively to literature. With this view, in 1825, he removed to the city of New York, and with a friend, established "The New York Review and Athenaeum Magazine," in which he published several of his finest poems, and in "The Hymn to Death" paid a touching tribute to the memory of his father, who died in that year. In 1826 he assumed the chief direction of the "Evening Post," one of the oldest and most influential political and commercial gazettes in this country, with which he has ever since been connected. In 1827, 1828, and 1829, he was associated with Mr. Verplank and Mr. Sands in the production of "The Talisman," an annual; and he wrote two or three of the "Tales of Glauber Spa," to which, besides himself, Miss Sedgwick, Mr. Pauling, Mr. Leggett, and Mr. Sands were contributors. An intimate friendship subsisted between him and Mr. Sands, and when that brilliant writer died, in 1832, he assisted Mr. Verplanck in editing his works.

In the summer of 1834, Mr Bryant visited Europe, with his family, intending to devote a few years to literary studies, and to the education of his children. He travelled through France, Germany, and Italy, and resided several months in each of the cities of Florence, Pisa, Munich, and Heidelberg. The dangerous illness of his partner and associate, the late William Leggett, compelled him to return hastily in the early part of 1836. The summer of 1840 he passed in Florida and the Valley of the Mississippi, and in 1844 he revisited Europe. . . .

In 1832 a collection of all the poems Mr. Bryant had then written was published in New York; it was soon after reprinted in Boston, and a copy of it reaching Washington Irving, who was then in England, he caused it to be published in London, where it has since passed through several editions. In 1842 he published "The Fountain and Other Poems;" in 1844 "The White-footed Deer and other Poems;" in 1846 an edition of his complete Poetical Words, illustrated with engravings from pictures by Leutze; and in 1855 another edition, containing his later poems, in two volumes. In prose . . . [he published] "Letters of a Traveller;" this appeared in 1852; and he has since revisited Europe and made a journey through Egypt and the Holy Land.

[See generally, Paul Bray, "William cullen Bryant," in Eric L. Haralson (ed.), Encyclopedia of American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century 57-61 (New York: Routledge, 1998)]

Evert A. & George L. Duyckinck, The Cyclopaedia of American Literature 901
(Philadelphia: William Rutter & Co., 1880)(Vol. 1)

William Cullen Bryant
George & Evert Duyckinck, Cyclopedia of American Literature

William Cullen Bryant

William Cullen Bryant
Perspectives in American Literature

Bryant and the Minor Poets
Cambridge History of English and American Literature

Bryant, William Cullen
Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed., 2001

William Cullen Bryant
National Portrait Galley

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)
Professor Donna M. Campbell
Gonzaga University


William Cullen Bryant Homestead


Evert A. & George L. Duyckinck, The Cyclopaedia of American Literature 902
(Philadelphia: William Rutter & Co., 1880)(Vol. 1)

Teaching Guide

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)

Artists and Writers in a New World

The European Journeys of William Cullen Bryant

Edgar Allen Poe on William Cullen Bryant

Critical Notices—Bryant
Edgar Allen Poe

Review of Complete Poetical Works of William Cullen Bryant
Edgar Allen Poe (1846)

Review of William Cullen Bryant's Poems (1847)

Review of William Cullen Bryant's Poems (1847)

The Knickerbocker Magazine

Romanticism in the Berkshires

NYC's Bryant Park

used with permission of the
Bryant Library, Rosyln, New York


[Thanatopsis; To a Waterfowl; To the Fringed Gentian; June; A Forest Hymn; Consumption; The Death of the Flowers; The Death of Lincoln; The Strange Lady; The Skies; October; November; The Gladness of Nature; After a Tempest; Summer Wind; The Constellations; The Yellow Violet; Inscription for the Entrance to a Wood; Mutation; Hymn of the City — online text]

[photo used with the gracious permission of Brian DiMambro Rare Books & Maps]

[The Poet] [A Poet to His Wife] [Thanatopsis ] [To a Waterfowl] [The Return of the Birds] [To the Fringed Gentian] [June ] [November] [My Autumn Walk] [My Autumn Walk] [A Forest Hymn] [Among the Trees] [The May Sun Sheds an Amber Light] [The Past] [The Future Life] [The Death of the Flowers] [The Yellow Violet] [Castles in the Air] [The Planting of the Apple-Tree] [The Planting of the Apple-Tree] [Ode] [The Death of Slavery] [The Death of Slavery] [Dante] [America] [The Antiquity of Freedom] [The Battle-Field] [The Battle-Field] [The Battle Field] [The Conqueror's Grave] [The Old Man's Counsel] [The Tides] [The Skies] [The Winds] [Hymn to the North Star] [The Conjunction of Jupiter and Venus] [Song of the Stars] The Flood of Years] [An Incident at Sorrento] [The Snow-Shower] [Song of Marion's Men] [The Crowded Street] [O Fairest of the Rural Maids] [Song for a New-Year's Eve] [A Dream] [A Dream] [The Fountain] [The Prairies] [The Hunter of the Prairies] [The Rivulet] [Earth's Children Cleave to Earth] ["Oh Mother of a Mighty Race"] [The Future Life] [The Past] [Caterskill Falls] [Monument Mountain] [The Hunter's Vision] [The Evening Wind] [An Indian at the Burial-Place of His Fathers] [The Flood of Years] [The Descent of Neptune to aid the Greeks] [The Flight of the Diomed] [The Death of Schiller] [To Cole, The Painter Departing for Europe] [The Two Travelers] [From "An Evening Revery" ] [A Night Scene] [William Leggett] [On a Person Called Friar Lubin] [The Parting of Hector and Andromache] [The Contention between Achilles and Agamemnon] [Assault of Antinous upon Ulysses] [In Memory of John Lothrop Motley] [The Arctic Lover] [The Murdered Traveller] [Mutation]

Selected Poems
"Midsummer," "October," "November"
"To an American Painter Departing for Europe"
"Mutation," "William Tell"

Selected Poems

Bryant's Poems


William Cullen Bryant, The Embargo: Or, Sketches of the Times, a Satire (Boston: Printed for the Purchasers, 1808) [online text] (Boston: Printer for the Author, by E.G. House, 1809)(Gainesville, Florida: Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1955)

________________, Poems (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Printed by Hilliard and Metcalf, 182l)

(Poems, New-York: Published by E. Bliss, 1832)(Boston: Russell, Odiorne, and Metcalf, 1834)(New York: Harper & Brothers, 3rd ed., 1836)(5th ed., Harper & Brothers, 1839)(New York: Harper & Brothers, Cliff-St., 1840) [online text] (Philadelphia: Carey and Hart, 1847)(E. Leutze illustrations)(Liverpool: John Walker; Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd; Dublin: J. M'Glashan, 1850)(Dessau: Katz Brothers, 1854)(New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1855)(2 vols.) [vol. 1: online text] (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1858)(Among the Trees; New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons; Boston: Lee & Shepard, 1874)(reprinted from Poems, 1871)(New York: Appleton and Company, 1876)(Poems of Nature, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1893)(Thantopsis and Other Poems, New York: Clark & Maynard, Publishers, 1884)(Thanatopsis and a Forest Hymn, Philadelphia: Henry Altemus, 1895)

[Poems was first edited for publication by Richard Henry Dana, Sr.] [Publication Information]

_________________, The Fountain and Other Poems (New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1842)

_________________, The White-Footed Deer and Other Poems (New York: I.S. Platt, 1844)

_________________, Thirty Poems (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1854)

_________________, A Forest Hymn (New York: W.A. Townsend & Co., 1861)

_________________, The Poetical Works of William Cullen Bryant (London: Routledge, Warne, and Routledge, new ed., 1861)(F.W.N. Bayley ed.) [online text]

_________________, Hymns, By William Cullen Bryant (n.p., n.d., 1864)(n.p., n.d., slightly revised ed., 1869)

_________________, Forest Scenes (New York: Hurd and Houghton, Cambridge, Riverside Press, 1864)(Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1885)

_________________, Thirty Poems (New York: D. Appleton, 1864)

_________________, Laurel Leaves. Original Poems, Stories, and Essays (Boston: William F. Gill and Company, 1876)

_________________, The Flood of Years (New York: G. P. Putnam's sons, 1878)

_________________, Bryant's First and Last Poems: I. Thanatopsis, II. The Flood of Years (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1878-79)

Parke Godwin (ed.), The Poetical Works of William Cullen Bryant (New York; D. Appleton and Company, 1878/1903)(Rosalyn Edition)(1916: online text]

William Cullen Bryant, Thanatopsis and Other Poems (New York: Clarke and Maynard, 1884) [online text]

William Cullen Bryant, Sella, Thanatopsis and Other Poems (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co. [1892]) [online text] (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1911) [online text]

_________________, The Early Poems of William Cullen Bryant (New York: T.Y. Crowell & Co., 1893)(biographical sketch by Nathan Haskell Dole)

_________________, Poems by Nature (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1893)(illustrated by Paul de Longpré)

H.C. Sturges & R.H. Stoddard (eds.), The Poetical Works of William Cullen Bryant (1903)


William Cullen Bryant II & Thomas G. Voss (ed.), The Letters of William Cullen Bryant (New York: Fordham University Press, 1993)(6 vols.)


Bryant Bibliography

William Cullen Bryant, (ed.), Tales of Glauber-Spa (New York: J.&J. Harper, 1832) [online text]

_________________, The Skeleton's Cave (New York: J & J Harper, 1832) [online text]

_________________ (ed.), Selections from the American Poets (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1840)(New York: Harper & Brothers, 1843) [online text]

_________________, Letters of a Traveler; or, Notes of Things Seen in Europe and America . . . (New York: George P. Putnam, 1850) [online text] (New York: George P. Putnam, 3rd ed., 1851) [online text]

_________________, Reminiscences of the Evening Post: Extracted from the Evening Post of November 15, 1851. (New York: Wm. C. Bryant & Co., Printers, 1851)

_________________, Memorial of James Fenimore Cooper (New York; G.P. Putnam, 1852)

_________________, Letters of a Traveller, Second Series (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1859)

_________________, A Discourse on the Life and Genius of Washington Irving (New York: G. P. Putnam, 1860)

_________________, Letters from the East (New York: G.P. Putnam & Son, 1869) [online text]

_________________, A Discourse on the Life, Character and Writings of Gulian Crommelin Verplanck (New York: Printed for the New-York Historical Society, Evening Post, 1870)("delivered before the New-York Historical Society, May 17th, 1870") [online text]

_________________, The Story of the Sower (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1871) [online text]

_________________ (ed.), A Library of Poetry and Song Being Choice Selections for the Best Poets with an Introduction by William Cullen Bryant (New York: J.B. Ford and Company, 1871) [online text] (New York: J.B. Ford and Company, 1874) [online text] (A New Library of Poetry and Song, New York: Scribner, Armstrong & Co., 1876) [online text]

_________________, Orations and Addresses (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1873)

William Cullen Bryant & Sydney Howard Gay, A Popular History of the United States (Vol. 1, New York: Scribner, Armstrong, and Company, 1876)(Vol. 2, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1878)(Vol. 3, 1879)(Vol. 4, 1881) [online text]

[Note: "Bryant was not, as the title-age declares, coauthor of the work. He was, rather, a supervisory editor: he died shortly before the appearance of the second volume." "William Cullen Bryant 1794-1878," in Jacob Blanck (compiler), 1 Bibliography of American Literature 331-384, at 358 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1955)]

Parke Godwin (ed.), Prose Writings of William Cullen Bryant (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1884) [online text]

William Cullen Bryant & Evert A. Duyckinck (eds.), The Complete Works of Shakespeare (New York: Henry J. Johnson and J.M. Stoddart (pts. 1-21) and New York: Amies Publishing Company (pts. 22-25), 1888)

_________________, Lectures on Poetry (1884)

Parke Godwin (ed.), Prose Writings of William Cullen Bryant (1884)(New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1889)(2 vols.) [Vol. 1: Essays, Tales and Orations: online text]

[Parke Godwin (1816-1904), upon his graduation from Princeton College in 1834 studied law and was admitted to practice but went on to become a writer. William Cullen Bryant was his father-in-law.] [S. Austin Allibone, 1 A Critical Dictionary of English Literature and British and American Authors 683 (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1874)].

William Cullen Bryant (ed.), Picturesque America (New York: D. Appleton, rev. ed., 1894) [online text]

________________, Power for Sanity: Selected Editorials of William Cullen Bryant, 1829-1861 (New York: Fordham University Press, 1994)


William Cullen Bryant, Family Library of Poetry and Song (1870)(New York: Fords, Howard and Hulbert, 1880) [online text]


The Iliad of Homer translated into English Blank Verse (Boston: Fields, Osgood & Co., 1870)(Boston: Houghton, Osgood and Co., 1880) [online text]

The Odyssey of Homer translated into English Blank Verse (Boston: James R. Osgood and Company Late Ticknor & Fields, and Fields, Osgood, & Co., 1871-1872)(2 vols.)

Ulysses among the Phaeacians from the Translation of Homer's Odyssey (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1889) [online text]

       Rufus Wilmot Griswold, The Poets and Poetry of America
(New York: James Miller, Publisher, 1872)


Bibliography of William Cullen Bryant's Writings

Joseph Alden, Studies in Bryant: A Text-Book (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1876)(New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1879) [online text]

John Bigelow, American Men of Letters: William Cullen Bryant (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1890) [online text]

William Aspenwall Bradley, English Men of Letters: William Cullen Bryant (New York: Macmillan Company, 1905) [online text]

Stanley Brodwin & Michael D.'Innocenzo (eds.), William Cullen Bryant and His America (New York: AMS Press, 1983)

Charles H. Brown, William Cullen Bryant (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1971)

Harold S. Bryant, William Cullen Bryant: His Ancestors and Where They Lived (Middleboro, Massachusetts: Chedwato Service, 1972)

Sherwin Cody, Four American poets: William Cullen Bryant, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes; a book for young Americans (New York: Werner School Book Company, 1899) [online text]

George William Curtis, The Life, Character and Writings of William Cullen Bryant. A commemorative address delivered before the New York historical society, at the academy of music, December 30, 1878 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1879) [online text]

Michael D'Innocenzo (ed.), William Cullen Bryant and His America: Centennial Conference Proceedings, 1878-1978 (New York: AMS Press, 1983)

Robert A. Ferguson, Law and Letters in American Culture 173-195 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984)(chapter entitled: "William Cullen Bryant: The Creative Context of the Poet")

Parke Godwin (ed.), A Biography of William Cullen Bryant, with Extracts from His Private Correspondence (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1883)(2 vols.)(New York: Russell & Russell, 1967)

Theodore Hornberger (ed.), William Cullen Bryant and Isaac Henderson: New Evidence on a Strange Partnership (Austin: University of Texas Library, 1950)

Curtiss S. Johnson, Politics and a Belly-full: The Journalistic Career of William Cullen Bryant, Civil War Editor of the New York Evening Post (New York: Vantage Press, 1962)

Norbert Krapf (ed.), Under Open Sky: Poets on William Cullen Bryant (New York: Fordham University Press, 1986)

Alfred F. McLean, Jr. William Cullen Bryant (New York: Twayne, 1964)(New York: Twayne, 1989)

Tremaine McDowell, William Cullen Bryant: Representative Selections, with Introduction, Bibliography, and Notes (New York: American Book Co., 1935)

Harry Houston Peckham, Gotham Yankee: A Biography of William Cullen Bryant (New York: Vantage Press. 1950)

Judith Turner Phair, A Bibliography of William Cullen Bryant and His Critics, 1808-1972 (Troy, New York: Whitston Pub. Co., 1975)

William Lyon Phelps, The Poetry of William Cullen Bryant (New York: Macmillan Company, 1924)

Janet E. Ruutz-Rees, The Bryant Birthday-Book (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1882)

Samuel Sillen (ed.), William Cullen Bryant: Selections from His Poetry and Prose (New York: International Publishers, 1945)

Henry C, Sturges, Chronologies of the Life and Writings of William Cullen Bryant, with a bibliography of his works in prose and verse (New York: B. Franklin, 1968)

Andrew James Symington, William Cullen Bryant: A Biographical Sketch: with Selections From His Poems and Other Writings (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1880) [online text] (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1972)

R.C. Waterston, Tribute to William Cullen Bryant (Boston" Press of J. Wilson & Son, 1878) [online text]

James Grant Wilson, Bryant, and His Friends: Some Reminiscences of the Knickerbocker Writers (New York: Fords, Howard, & Hulbert, 1886)(1885)

Bibliography: Articles, Essays, and Biographical Profiles

Robert A. Ferguson, William Cullen Bryant: The Creative Context of the Poet, 53 (4) New England Quarterly 431-463 (1980)

Paul Bray, "William Cullen Bryant," in Eric L. Haralson (ed.), Encyclopedia of American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1998)

"Joseph Harrington, "Re-Birthing 'America': Philip Freneau, William Cullen Bryant and the Invention of Modern Poetics," in A. Robert Lee & W.M. Verhoeven (eds.), Making America/Making American Literature 249-274 (Amsterdam-Atlanta, Georgia: Rodopi, 1996)

"William Cullen Bryant," in M.A. DeWolfe Howe, American Bookmen 52-75 (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1898)

"William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)," in Philip K. Jason, Nineteenth Century American Poetry: An Annotated Bibliography 26-34 (Pasadena, California: Salem Press, 1989)

"William Cullen Bryant 1794-1878," in Jacob Blanck (compiler), 1 Bibliography of American Literature 331-384)(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1955)(a comprehensive and authoritative listing of Bryant's publications)

C.I. Glicksberg, William Cullen Bryant and Nineteeth-Century Science, 23 England Quarterly 91-96 (March 1950)

Marvin T. Herrick, Rhetoric and Poetry in Bryant, 7 American Literature 188-194 (May, 1935)

Kinereth Meyer, Landscape and Counter-Landscape in the Poetry of William Cullen Bryant, 48 (2) Nineteenth-Century Literature 194-211 (1993)

Steven M. Richman, William Cullen Bryant and the Poetry of Natural Law, 30 Akron Law Review 661 (1997) [online text]

Donald A. Ringe, Kindred Spirits: Bryant and Cole, 6 American Quarterly 233-244 (Fall, 1954)

Charles L. Sanford, The Concept of the Sublime in the Works of Thomas Cole and William Cullen Bryant, 28 American Literature 434-447 (January 1957)

Cathy E. Sabol, The Poet as Planter: William Cullen Bryant, Landscaper and Horticulturist, 20 Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife Annual Proceedings 144-151 (1995)

Research Resources

William Cullen Bryant Collection
University of Virginia

Brady-Handy Photograph Collection
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.