George Willis Cooke, comp. The Poets of Transcendentalism: An Anthology. 1903.
Short Author Biographies
Ralph Waldo Emerson. Born in Boston, May 25, 1803; died in Concord, Mass., April 27, 1885. He was the real leader of the transcendental movement, and in his books will be found its best interpretation. Each and All, and The Rhodora, were first printed in The Western Messenger, edited by James Freeman Clarke, and published in Louisville, Ky., 1839. With The Humble-Bee, and Good-bye, proud world, published in the same journal, they were the earliest of his poems to appear in print. The Problem was printed in the first number of The Dial; and in the same journal appeared Woodnotes, the concluding part of which is given here as The Eternal Pan. Fate was also printed in The Dial, and is included, slightly changed, in his poems, under the title Destiny.
James Russell Lowell. Born in Cambridge, February 22, 1819; died there August 12, 1891. In his early life he was largely influenced by transcendentalism, as the first volume of his biography by Horace E. Scudder amply indicates. The first three sonnets selected were printed in The Dial, from which they are taken. The fourth sonnet, and Winter, appeared in The Present, edited in New York by Rev. William Henry Channing, 184344. Love Reflected in Nature and The Street were printed in The Pioneer, edited by Lowell in Boston, 1843. Bibliolatres is from the poem of that name, and Divine Teachers is the introductory part of Rhcus.
Amos Bronson Alcott. Born in Wolcott, Conn., November 29, 1799; died in Boston, March 4, 1888. He was a teacher in Cheshire, Boston, and Philadelphia; returned to Boston, and became widely known by his Temple School and its methods. Then resided in Concord as the neighbor of Emerson, held conversations, and became famous for his philosophical teachings. He was a contributor to The Dial, The Western Messenger, The Radical, and other periodicals. His Orphic Sayings, and other philosophical writings, were much discussed, and frequently satirized. He was the founder of the Concord School of Philosophy, and his last years were largely devoted to its interests and to the lectures he gave before it. Matter was first published in Table-Talk, 1877; the other poems in Tablets, 1868; and the sonnets in Sonnets and Canzonets, 1882.
Henry David Thoreau. Born in Concord, Mass., July 12, 1817; died there, May 6, 1862. Graduated at Harvard, 1837; taught school, and lectured. He lived in Emersons family, and was largely influenced by him. Was a contributor to The Dial, and helped Emerson edit the last two volumes. He wrote for other periodicals, and was for a time tutor in the family of William Emerson on Staten Island. From 1843 to 1845 he lived alone in a hut on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord. In 1849 he published A Week on the Concord and Merrimac Rivers; and, in 1854, Walden, or Life in the Woods. His other books appeared after his death, edited by his friends. Stanzas, My Prayer, Rumors from an Æolian Harp, and Inward Morning were first printed in The Dial; Conscience, Lines, and My Life were included in A Week, and Inspiration in the volume of Miscellanies. His poems have been edited by Henry S. Salt and Frank B. Sanborn under the title of Poems of Nature.
Margaret Fuller. Born in Cambridge, May 23, 1810; died off Fire Island beach, July 16, 1850. She was a teacher in Providence, Boston, and elsewhere; held conversations in Boston that attracted attention to her genius; and was the editor of The Dial for the first two years of its existence. Then she was connected with the New York Tribune, 184447. In 1847 she went to Europe, and the next year married the Marquis of Ossoli. The vessel on which she sailed for home was lost off the coast of Long Island. Life a Temple was published at the end of Life Without and Life Within, 1859. Encouragement was printed in the extracts from letters and journals that were appended to the edition of Woman in the Nineteenth Century, 1855. Sub Rosa, Crux was first printed in Summer on the Lakes, and is, according to Colonel T. W. Higginson, her most thoughtful and artistic poem; almost the only one of hers to which the last epithet could be applied, if, indeed, it be applicable here. It is on a theme which suited her love of mystic colors and symbolsthe tradition of the Rosicrucians. The modern theory is, however, that this word did not come from the cross and the rose, as she assumes, but from the cross and the dew (ros); this last substance being then considered as the most powerful solvent of gold, and so used in the effort to discover the philosophers stone. The Dryad Song evidently expresses the faith that made Margaret Fuller say, I know that I am immortal.
Christopher Pearse Cranch. Born in Alexandria, Va., March 8, 1813; died in Cambridge, January 20, 1892. He studied at Columbian College and Harvard Divinity School, preached in Unitarian churches for a short time without settlement, then became a painter, and lived in Paris, New York, and Cambridge. He wrote largely for periodicals, and published Poems, 1844; translation of the Æneid, 1872; Satan, a Libretto, 1874; The Bird and the Bell, and other Poems, 1875; Ariel and Caliban, with other Poems, 1887. His Gnosis, Correspondences, and The Ocean first appeared in The Dial. In that periodical the title of Gnosis was Stanzas.
William Ellery Channing. Nephew of Dr. Channing, after whom he was named, born in Boston, June 10, 1818; died in Concord, Mass., December 23, 1901. Most of his life was spent in Concord. He published Poems, 1843; second series, 1847; Conversations in Rome between an Artist, a Catholic, and a Critic, 1847; Near Home: A Poem, 1858; The Burial of John Brown, 1860; The Wanderer: A Colloquial Poem, 1871; The Poet Naturalist, with Memorial Verses, a biography of Thoreau, 1873; Eliot, A Poem, 1885. Channing was one of the most frequent contributors of poetry to The Dial, from which the first poem is selected. The last two are from The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, and the others from his first two volumes of poems.
James Freeman Clarke. Born in Hanover, N. H., April 4, 1810; died in Boston, June 8, 1888. Graduated at Harvard and Divinity School, minister of Unitarian church in Louisville, Ky., then of Church of the Disciples in Boston, which he organized, from 1841 to his death. He published many theological, historical, and biographical works. He wrote but little poetry, but, with his daughter, published Exotics, translations, mostly short poems from the German, in 1876. The poem selected was printed in The Dial, and is used as a hymn in many collections. You do not get a true estimate of Clarke, said Dr. F. H. Hedge, unless you see him as a poet. He approached all subjects from the poetical side. This poetical habit of looking at everything gave him that fairness which you have observed. The rest of us have written as if we were philosophers. Clarke always wrote, no matter on how dull a subject, as a poet writes. And though he wrote few verses, it is because he is a poet that he has done what he has done.
Frederic Henry Hedge. Born in Cambridge, December 12, 1805; died there, August 21, 1890. Was settled over Unitarian churches in Arlington, Mass., Bangor, Me., Providence, R. I., and Brookline, Mass. In 1857 he became the professor of ecclesiastical history in the Harvard Divinity School, and in 1872 professor of the German language and literature in Harvard College. He published Reason in Religion, 1865; Ways of the Spirit, 1877, and several other works. He was one of the earliest Americans to study in Germany, and he accepted the transcendental philosophy with earnestness. The poem selected was printed in The Dial, and has been frequently reprinted as The Idealist. It was suggested to him while he was watching the stars during a sleepless night spent in a Bangor mail-coach, was composed under these circumstances, and written down upon reaching home.
John Sullivan Dwight. Born in Boston, May 13, 1813; died there, September 5, 1893. Graduated at Harvard and Divinity School, preached in Unitarian churches a few years, was then a member of Brook Farm, and edited Dwights Journal of Music, in Boston, from 1852 to 1881. To no one more than to him, wrote George William Curtis, are we indebted for the intellectual taste which enjoys the best music. He was the earliest, and one of the best, of our critics of music. The first poem selected was printed in the first number of The Dial, at the end of a paper on The Religion of Beauty. The others first appeared in The Harbinger, published at Brook Farm, of which George Ripley and Dwight were the editors.
Eliza Thayer Clapp. Born in Dorchester (Boston), November 13, 1811, and died there, February 26, 1888. She early came under the influence of Emerson, and contributed to The Dial several poems at his suggestion. She published two little books pervaded with the spirit of transcendentalism, in 1842 and 1845, and wrote occasionally for periodicals. She taught classes of girls and women in literature and philosophy. After her death, in 1888, was printed privately a little volume of her essays, letters, and poems. The first of the poems selected, printed in The Dial, has been included in several collections of hymns and attributed to Emerson.
Charles Timothy Brooks. Born in Salem, June 20, 1813; died in Newport, June 14, 1883. Graduated at Harvard and Divinity School, and was settled over the Unitarian church in Newport from 1837 to 1873. He translated Goethes Faust, and many other poems, and published sermons and original poems.
Ellen Hooper. Born in Boston, February 17, 1812, and died there, November 3, 1848. She married Robert William Hooper, a Boston physician, her maiden name having been Sturgis. She was a frequent contributor to The Dial, and an intimate friend of Margaret Fuller, Emerson, and other transcendentalists. No collection of her poems has been published, but they have been printed on sheets, inclosed in a portfolio, and given to her friends. Most of the poems selected appeared in The Dial, and the others were printed in The Disciples Hymn Book, compiled by Rev. James Freeman Clarke for his church, and in Miss E. P. Peabodys Æsthetic Papers. Emerson encouraged Mrs. Hooper to write, and had large expectations of her genius. Colonel T. W. Higginson described her as a woman of genius, and Margaret Fuller wrote of her from Rome: I have seen in Europe no woman more gifted by nature than she.
Caroline Tappan. Born in Boston in 1818 or 1819, and died there, October 20, 1888. She was a younger sister of Mrs. Hooper, and they were (and are) often spoken of as the Sturgis sisters. She was one of Margaret Fullers most intimate friends, and wrote largely for The Dial, under her editorship; wrote two or three childrens books; lived for many years at Lenox in the summer, and in the biographies of Hawthorne she is often mentioned. She was called the American Bettine, probably because of a poem she printed in The Dial. The poems selected were published in that journal. It is possible that the last poem was written by Mrs. Hooper.
Charles Anderson Dana. Born in Hinsdale, N. H., August 8, 1819; died in New York, October 17, 1897. After studying for a time at Harvard, he was at Brook Farm nearly the whole period of its existence. Was assistant editor of the New York Tribune. In 1868 he founded The Sun in New York, of which he was the editor until his death. He joined George Ripley in editing the New American Cyclopedia, and he edited other works. The first three sonnets appeared in The Dial; Ad Arma in The Present; and The Bankrupt in The Harbinger, published at Brook Farm. Other poems of Danas were printed in The Harbinger, but none of them are as good as those selected.
George William Curtis. Born in Providence, R. I., February 24, 1824; died on Staten Island, August 31, 1892. Studied at Brook Farm, travelled in Europe and the East, was connected with the New York Tribune, an editor of Putnams Monthly, edited Easy Chair in Harpers Monthly; and was chief editorial writer in Harpers Weekly. Author of Nile Notes of a Howadji, 1851; The Howadji in Syria, 1852; Lotus-Eating, 1852; Potiphar Papers, 1853; Prue and I, 1856; Trumps, 1862; and several volumes of his essays and orations have been published. He wrote only a few poems, and these have not been collected.
Jones Very. Born in Salem, Mass., August 28, 1813; died there, May 8, 1880. Graduated at Harvard and Divinity School, but preached only occasionally, without being ordained. Tutor at Harvard for a few years, then retired to Salem, where most of his poems were written. Emerson edited his Essays and Poems, in 1839. During his tutorship he was attacked with cerebral excitement approaching monomania, from which he never fully recovered. After his death his religious poems were edited by William P. Andrews, 1883; and Dr. J. F. Clarke published his complete poems and essays, 1886.
Theodore Parker. Born in Lexington, Mass., August 24, 1810; died in Florence, Italy, May 10, 1860. He was the great Unitarian preacher in Boston, the leader of the more radical wing of that denomination, an able lecturer, a prominent reformer. His sermons and lectures have been published in many volumes. He wrote but few poems, those selected being among the best. The last has been used in many hymn-books, with omission of last two lines.
Samuel Gray Ward. Born in Boston, October 3, 1817, and is now living in Washington. He has been a banker in Boston and New York. In 1840 Ward published in Boston a volume of translations from Goethe, entitled Essays on Art. He was an intimate friend of Emerson in his younger days, and Emersons letters to him have been edited by Professor Charles Eliot Norton. Writing to Carlyle in 1843, Emerson described Ward as my friend and the best man in the city, and, besides all his personal merits, a master of all the offices of hospitality. Emerson included three of Wards poems in his Parnassus. Ward wrote several prose articles for The Dial, and the poems selected were printed there.
David Atwood Wasson. Born in West Brookville, Me., May 14, 1823; died in West Medford, Mass., January 21, 1887. Studied at Bowdoin and Bangor Theological School, was then settled over the orthodox Congregational church in Groveland, Mass., became liberal, and an independent society was organized for him. In 186566 was minister of the church formed by Theodore Parker in Boston. For some years he had a position in the Boston Custom House, resided for a time in Germany, and then lived at West Medford, near Boston. He was a brilliant writer and lecturer. His essays, with memoir, were edited by O. B. Frothingham, 1888; and his poems by Mrs. Ednah D. Cheney, 1888. Alls Well and Seen and Unseen were contributed to the early volumes of the Atlantic Monthly, and the other poems selected appeared in The Radical. The first line of Alls Well is given as it was originally printed, and as it appears in the collected poems, edited by Mrs. Cheney. She says of this poem: Written at sea, fifty days out, twelve hundred miles from the American shore. The long, tedious voyage, without the hoped-for benefit to his health, could not darken his hope or faith. Like the nightingale, his song gushed forth as the shadows gathered about him.
Sydney Henry Morse. Born in Rochester, N. Y., October 3, 1833. His youth was spent in New York, Connecticut, and Ohio. His education ended at thirteen, and he was taught the stone-cutters trade. At about the age of twenty he went to Cincinnati, became acquainted with Moncure D. Conway, then minister of a Unitarian church in that city. In 1860 he went to Antioch College, which was closed on the opening of the Civil War. Then he preached for a few months at Fond du Lac, Wis., after which he went to Cambridge and carried on his studies in a desultory way, and preached when opportunity offered. He occupied Conways pulpit for a year in Cincinnati, and was then settled over the Unitarian church in Haverhill, Mass. After the organization of the Unitarian National Conference on a basis that seemed to him too conservative, he began the publication of The Radical in Boston, with September, 1865; and it was continued through ten volumes, or for seven years. In the mean time he resigned his pulpit in Haverhill and abandoned the clerical profession. In 1872 he made a bust of Rip Van Winkle, and then one of Theodore Parker. These were followed by busts of Dr. Channing (now in the Arlington Street Church, Boston), Thomas Paine, Walt Whitman, Emerson (in Second Church, Boston), Lincoln, and others. He has written for the newspapers and lectured throughout the West. After spending some years in Chicago, he removed to Buffalo, where he now lives, occupied with a new bust of Emerson. All the poems selected were printed in The Radical.
John Weiss. Born in Boston, June 28, 1818; died there March 9, 1879. Graduated at Harvard and Divinity School, and was settled over Unitarian churches in Watertown and New Bedford, and preached for a time in the Hollis Street Church in Boston. He was a strong abolitionist, and a vigorous follower of the transcendental philosophy. He published Life and Correspondence of Theodore Parker, 1864; American Religion, 1871; Immortal Life, 1880; and other works. The poems selected were printed in The Radical. No collection of his poems has been published.
Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Born in Cambridge, December 22, 1823; in which city he now lives. Graduated at Harvard and Divinity School; settled over Unitarian church in Newburyport, and Free Church in Worcester. In 1858 withdrew from the ministry to devote himself to literature, and has since been an extensive contributor to periodicals, lectured widely, and published several volumes of fiction, essays, and history. He has been connected with all the later phases of the transcendental movement, and adheres to its cardinal beliefs. All the poems selected have been taken from The Afternoon Landscape: Poems and Translations, 1888.
George Shepard Burleigh. Born in Plainfield, Conn., March 26, 1821, has spent most of his life in Little Compton, R. I., and now resides in Providence. He published Anti-Slavery Hymns, 1842; The Maniac, and Other Poems, 1849; and a translation of Victor Hugos La Légende des Siècles, 1867. He has been an editor, and a large contributor to the periodical press. He was zealous in the anti-slavery cause. The poems selected were contributed to The Radical.
William Henry Furness. Born in Boston, April 20, 1802; died in Philadelphia, January 30, 1896. Graduated at Harvard and Divinity School, and was minister of Unitarian church in Philadelphia from 1825 to 1875. He published Remarks on the Four Gospels, 1836; Jesus and his Biographers, 1838; The Veil Partly Lifted, 1864; The Unconscious Truth of the Four Gospels, 1868, and other interpretations of the Gospels from the point of view of the idealistic philosophy. The poems selected are from his Verses: Translations and Hymns, 1886.
Samuel Johnson. Born in Salem, Mass., October 10, 1822; died in North Andover, Mass., February 19, 1882. He graduated at Harvard and Divinity School, and was settled over the Free Church in Lynn from 1853 to 1870. Then he devoted himself to the writing of a series of books on Oriental Religions, of which those on India, China, and Persia were published. His lectures, essays, and sermons were edited, in 1883, by Samuel Longfellow. The poems selected are from Hymns of the Spirit, which he edited in 1864, in connection with Samuel Longfellow.
Samuel Longfellow. Born in Portland, Me., June 18, 1819; died there, October 3, 1892. Graduated at Harvard and Divinity School, and was settled over Unitarian churches in Fall River, Mass.; Brooklyn, N. Y.; and Germantown, Pa. In connection with Samuel Johnson he edited A Book of Hymns, 1846; and The Hymns of the Spirit, 1864. The poems selected were first printed in the latter book. His biography has been written by Joseph May.
Eliza Scudder. Born in Barnstable, Mass., November 14, 1821; died in Weston, Mass., September 27, 1896. Her Hymns and Sonnets were published in 1880; and this volume was republished by her cousin, Horace E. Scudder, 1896, who prefixed a brief memoir. Her Hymns and Sonnets was only a volume of a few pages when first published, and even in its enlarged form it is of only fifty pages. It contains some of the best hymns written in this country, however. Miss Scudders life was spent in Barnstable, Salem, Weston, and Boston, and was one of few events. She was interested in the anti-slavery movement, was an earnest student, and was deeply concerned with the problems of the religious life. Her life was one of much privation as regards health and fixed conditions, but she retained to the last an unappeasable hunger and thirst for intellectual food, and her companionship was a tonic, so invigorating was her spontaneous thought.
Helen Hunt Jackson. Born in Amherst, Mass., October 18, 1831; died in San Francisco, August 12, 1885. Her maiden name was Helen Maria Fiske. She married Captain Hunt, hence her name, Helen Hunt, H. H. In 1875 she became Mrs. Jackson. She published Verses by H. H., 1870; Sonnets and Lyrics, 1876; Mercy Philbricks Choice, 1876; Hettys Strange History, 1877; A Century of Dishonor, 1881; Ramona, 1884. She is also thought to have written the Saxe Holm Stories, from which the last two of the poems selected are taken.
Edward Rowland Sill. Born in Windsor, Conn., April 29, 1841; died in Cuyahoga Falls, O., February 27, 1887. Graduated at Yale, studied at Harvard Divinity School, but did not preach, and taught school in Ohio and California for several years. Was professor of the English language and literature in the University of California, 18741882. He published Hermione, and Other Poems, 1866; and The Hermitage, and Other Poems, 1867. After his death were published The Venus of Milo, and Other Poems, 1888; and Essays, 1900. In 1902 his complete poems were published.
Julia Ward Howe. Born in New York City, May 27, 1819, married Dr. Samuel G. Howe in 1843, and has since resided in Boston. Published Passion Flowers, 1854; Words for the Hour, 1856; A Trip to Cuba, 1860; Later Lyrics, 1866; From the Oak to the Olive, 1868; Modern Society, 1881; Is Polite Society Polite? and Other Essays, 1895; From Sunset Ridge, from which the poems selected have been taken, 1898; Reminiscences, 1899. Mrs. Howe has closely identified herself with several phases of the later transcendentalism.
Ednah Dow Cheney. Born in Boston, June 27, 1824, daughter of S. S. Littlehale. Married Seth Wells Cheney, the artist. Has taken an active part in promoting interests of women, has lectured much, and has been prominently connected with the Chestnut Street Club, Free Religious Association, and the Concord School of Philosophy. Mrs. Cheney lives in Jamaica Plain, a suburb of Boston. She has published Faithful to the Light, 1870; Sally Williams, the Mountain Girl, 1872; Child of the Tide, 1874; Life of Dr. Susan Dimock, 1875; Gleanings in the Fields of Art, 1881; Life, Letters, and Journals of Louisa M. Alcott, 1889; and Stories of the Olden Time, 1890. The poems selected are taken from the appendix to her Reminiscences, 1902.
John Burroughs. Born in Roxbury, N. Y., April 3, 1837, and now lives at West Park on the Hudson River. He is well known for his books on outdoor subjects, from Wake Robin, 1871, to Signs and Seasons, 1886. He has been an ardent follower of Emerson and Whitman. He has published only a few poems. His Waiting was printed as a preface to the Light of Day. The other poem appeared in his Nature Poems, a volume of selections, 1902.
Franklin Benjamin Sanborn. Born in Hampton Falls, N. H., December 15, 1831; and has lived in Concord, Mass., for many years. He was an intimate friend of Thoreau, Emerson, Alcott, and the other Concord literary people. Has been editor of Boston Commonwealth, Springfield Republican, and secretary of Massachusetts State Board of Charities. He has published biographies of Thoreau, John Brown, and Dr. Samuel G. Howe. He has not collected his poems, but they have appeared in Emersons Parnassus, Concord Lectures in Philosophy, and Stedmans American Anthology. The poem on Emerson was read at the Concord School of Philosophy, in 1882, and is the concluding part of The Poets Countersign.
John Albee. Born in Bellingham, Mass., April 3, 1833, and has resided for many years at New Castle, N. H., but has recently removed to Chocorua, in the same State. He has published Literary Art, 1881; Poems, 1883; Prose Idyls, 1892; Reminiscences of Emerson, 1901. He lectured at the Concord School of Philosophy on poetry.
Joel Benton. Born in Amenia, N. Y., May 29, 1832; and has lived in that place and in Poughkeepsie. He has been a teacher, editor, and a frequent contributor to the periodical press. He has published Emerson as a Poet, 1882; and In the Poe Circle, 1899. His poems have not been collected.
Augusta Cooper Bristol. Born in Croydon, N. H., April 17, 1835, her father being Otis Cooper. Married Louis Bristol in 1866. Has been lecturer and teacher, and has resided for many years in Vineland, N. J. She has published Poems, 1868; The Relation of the Maternal Function to the Womans Intellect, 1876; The Philosophy of Art, 1878; The Present Phase of Womans Advancement, 1880; Science and the Basis of Morality, 1880; and The Web of Life (poems), 1895. The poems selected were originally published in The Radical.
Anna Callender Brackett. Born in Boston, May 21, 1836. Teacher in normal schools, and for twenty years principal of girls private school in New York City. She was nine years principal of the St. Louis Normal School. Has written much on educational subjects, and has published Education of American Girls, 1874; Technique of Rest, 1892. Her poems have not been collected. Those selected first appeared in The Radical, but the last one in The Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
Francis Ellingwood Abbot. Born in Boston, November 6, 1836. Graduated at Harvard, and was settled over Unitarian church in Dover, N. H. In 1870 began in Toledo, O., publication of The Index, which was removed to Boston in 1873, and was continued till 1889. He was an active exponent of Free Religion until 1880, when he became a teacher. For several years he has been writing an extended work in philosophy. He has published Scientific Theism, 1885; The Way Out of Agnosticism, 1890. The poems selected were printed in The Index during the first year of its existence.
John White Chadwick. Born in Marblehead, Mass., October 19, 1840. He has been minister of the Second Unitarian Society in Brooklyn, N. Y., since 1864. He has published biographies of Sallie Holley, Theodore Parker, and Dr. Channing, and many volumes of sermons, as well as several theological works. He has also published A Book of Poems, 1876; In Nazareth Town, and Other Poems, 1883; A Legend of Good Poets, 1885; and A Few Verses, 1900.
William Channing Gannett. Born in Boston, March 13, 1840. Has been settled over Unitarian churches in Milwaukee, Wis.; Lexington, Mass.; St. Paul, Minn.; Hinsdale, Ill.; and Rochester, N. Y. He has published two volumes of The Thought of God in Hymns and Poems, in connection with Frederick L. Hosmer, 1885, 1894.
Frederick Lucian Hosmer. Born in Framingham, Mass., October 16, 1840. Has been settled over Unitarian churches in Northboro, Mass.; Quincy, Ill.; Cleveland, O.; St. Louis, Mo.; and Berkeley, Cal. His poems have appeared in connection with those of William C. Gannett.