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vice of the muses. They have all turned aside into other walks of intellectual labour, and several of them have arrived at high distinction in politics and learning. The productions of this school of poets, if it may be termned so, were mostly called forth by occasional subjects, and were all written by young men engaged in the study or practice of some profession. Froin these circumstances, as well as from the unsettled and dubious aspect of public affairs, at that period, and from the want of a ready communication between distant parts of our country, an evil then universal, and still, though in a much less degree, felt as a serious impediment to successful literary exertions, most of their poets have attained to little more than a temporary and local popularity. Yet of the little good poetry which America has produced, their works constitute a large proportion. Their satirical verses are among the happiest imitations of Butler; and their graver poetry is formed upon the purest models of the silver age of English poetry—upon the style of Dryden, of Pope, and of Goldsmith. In the imitation of their favourite authors, like all young artists, they have copied some of the defects of their models, while many of the more delicate graces have escaped. What in the original is languid, in the

copy becomes tame. Their imagination is too closely reined in by a taste formed upon the study of particular models, and not refined by the general contemplation of every forın of beauty. With these faults they have much excellence, and in a state of society which would have allowed of a more careful and exclusive cultivation of their poetical talents, some who at first limited their ambition to correct versification and happy imitation, might, like Lord Byron, after having thus familiarized themselves to the mechanical arts of poetry, have suddenly burst forth in all the dazzling glories of original genius. Among their happiest efforts may be numbered the M'Fingal of Trumbull, the Conquest of Canaan, and Greenfield Hill, of Dr. Dwight, the elegant translations, and some of the original verses, of Alsop, and many of the satiric pieces of Dr. Hopkins, and the wits of Hartford.

Barlow participated in the general taste of his young literary friends, and was soon “smit with the love of sacred song."

He displayed a talent for versification which gained him great

reputation among his fellow students, and introduced him to the particular notice and friendship of Dr. Diright, then a tutor in Yale College. These circumstances contributed to excite his poetical ambition still more strongly, and thus fixed the character of his future life. The first verses which he is known to have produced, were some mock heroic lines on a combat at snowballing between the Freshmen and Sophomore classes, an annual custom which formerly prevailed at New Haven upon the falling of the first snow in every winter.

At the commencement of our revolutionary war he was entering the third year of the academic course. Naturally ardent and enthusiastic, he could not remain a cool spectator of a contest in which the dearest interests of his country were at stake. The militia of Connecticut, at that period, formed a considerable part of Gen. Washington's army; and young Barlow, more than once during the vacations of the college, seized his musket as a volun. teer, and joined the camp, where four of his brothers were on duty. He was present at several skirmishes in the beginning of the war, and is said to have borne a part in the battle of the White Plains. His love of letters, and a generous ambition to prepare himself for future usefulness, rather than any abatement of zeal for the glorious cause, induced him to return from these military excur. sions, to pursue his studies at New Haven. He passed through the usual course of study with much reputation, and in 1778 received the degree of Bachelor of Arts, on which occasion he appeared for the first time before the public in his poetical character, by reciting an original poem at the public commencement. This was soon after printed. Those of my readers who are curious to trace the progress of Barlow's muse, may find it, with some other of his minor pieces, in a collection entitled “ American Poems," printed some years ago at Litchfield.

Upon his leaving college the state of his finances did not allow him to devote any time to general study. He found himself compelled to make as speedy a preparation as possible for some profession which might yield him an immediate support, and accordingly applied himself assiduously to the study of the law. But he continued this pursuit only for a few months. The Massachusetts

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line of the American army was at this time deficient in chaplains, and Barlow was strongly urged by some influential friends to qualify himself for that station. It was at the same time intimated to him, that such was the confidence reposed in his character and talents, and so strong the desire to serve him, that a brief preparation was all that would be demanded, and that every indulgence should be shown him in his theological examination. Under these assurances, being well grounded in general literature, and having passed his whole life among a people with whom almost every man has some knowledge of speculative divinity and religious controversy, he without hesitation applied himself most strenuously to theological studies, and, at the end of six weeks, sustained a reputable examination, was licensed to preach as a congregational minister, and repaired immediately to the army.

Here he is said to have been regular in the discharge of his clerical duties, and to have been much respected as a preacher. In the camp he continued to preserve his devotion to the muses. The spirit of the American soldiery is supposed to have been not a little encouraged and supported through their many hardships by numerous patriotic songs and occasional addresses which were written and circulated through the army by Mr. Barlow, Dr. Dwight, and Col. Humphreys. In 1780 Barlow composed and published an elegy on the death of his early friend and patron, the Hon. Titus Hosmer. He remained in the army until the close of the war, and during the whole of this period was engaged in planning and in part composing the poem which he afterwards published under the title of the Vision of Columbus, and has since expanded into his great work the Columbiad.

In 1781 he took the degree of M. A. at New Haven, when he pronounced a poem which he soon after published with the title of the Prospect of Peace.” This was announced as a specimen of the larger poem upon which he was employed; the greater part of it was embodied in the Vision of Columbus, and still, with some alterations, keeps its place in the Columbiad.

About this time he married Miss Baldwin, of New Haven, a sister of the late Hon. Abraham Baldwin, for several years a distinguished senator in congress from the state of Georgia.

When our national independence was acknowledged, and our armies disbanded, in 1783, Barlow was again thrown upon the world to make, or to find, his own fortune. He had never mani. fested much fondness for the clerical profession, and the habits of a military life contributed to unfit bim still more for the regular labours, and humble duties, of a parish minister. In New England, if the clerical character has been worn without disgrace, it may easily be thrown off without dishonour. Mr. Barlow, therefore, without hesitation, reverted to his original plan of pursuing the profession of the law. With this view he removed to Hartford, where he settled himself, as he imagined, for the rest of his life. But although the preparatory studies of the modern lawyer do not require the viginti annorum lucubrationes of my Lord Coke, he found it necessary to resort to some more lucrative occupation as the means of temporary support until he should be admitted to the bar, and established in practice. For this purpose, in connexion with a printer of Hartford, he undertook and succeeded in establishing a weekly newspaper. Our gazettes were then, literally, nothing more than newspapers, and were seldom regarded, as at present, as the guides or organs of political opinion. The original articles occasionally inserted by Barlow, had an air of novelty which gave reputation and circulation to his paper, and at the same time assisted in producing considerable effect upon the public mind, with respect to many important political subjects.

While engaged in this business he was also employed in preparing for the press his Vision of Columbus. The extensive acquaintance he had formed in the army, and the zeal of his personal friends, enabled him to obtain a very large subscription for this work, which was published in 1787. Its success was very

flattering; within a few months after its publication in America, it was reprinted in London, and has since gone through a second edition in America, and one in Paris.

The first edition was inscribed, in an elegant and courtly dedication, to Louis XVI.

About this period it was determined, by the general association of the clergy of Connecticut, that Dr. Watts's version of the pslams, which had for some time been in general use in their congregations, should be revised and altered, for the purpose of supplying some omissions, and adapting it to the peculiar state of the New England churches. The poetical talent which Barlow had displayed, the harmony and correctness of his versification, and the moral and religious character of many passages of his poem, which was then on the eve of publication, and had for some time circulated in manuscript among his friends, all joined to point hiin out as the person best fitted for this honourable duty. He was accordingly applied to by a committee appointed for the purpose, and undertook the revision. Many of the psalms had been so paraphrased by Watts as to have a local reference to the religious or the political state of Great Britain. These be so altered as to avoid all local application, and in others he made numerous slight corrections wherever the verses of Watts seemed deficient in elegance or grammatical purity. Beside these corrections, six psalms were almost rewritten, and twelve, which had been omitted, were supplied by Barlow. In general, he has happily imitated the artless and unaffected simplicity of Watts; but the 137th* is versified with all the elegance and polish of language of the most highly-finished modern poetry. To the psalms he added a new selection of hymns, from those of Waits, interspersed with some devotional pieces of his own, of which it is no sinall praise to say, that as they stand in the collection without the name of the author, they are not easily to be discerned by any internal evidence, from those which accompany them. This volume was published in 1786, and continued for several years to be the authorized version of the Connecticut churches; it has since been again revised and enlarged by the Rev. Dr. Dwight, and with his corrections and additions is the one now in ordinary use.

About, or a little before, the period of these publications, Barlow gave up his concern in the weekly paper, and opened a bookshop at Hartford. This was intended chiefly to aid the sale of his poem, and of the new edition of the psalms; and as soon as these objects were effected, he quitted the business, and engaged in the practice of the law.

During his residence at Hartford he was concerned in several

Along the banks where Babel's current flows, &c.

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