William Cullen Bryant

WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT, an American journalist and poet, was born at Cummington, Hampshire county, Massachusetts, November 3d, 1794. His forefathers, for three generations, were medical men; but this family penchant for physic did not exist, apparently, in the case of our poet, who changed the professional current by becoming a lawyer. For ten years he followed the tortuous course of legal practice, but at last gave it up for the more genial profession of literature. In 1808, Mr. Bryant published a little collection of poems, written before he had completed his fourteenth year, entitled, The Embargo, and other Poems.' In 1821, he published at Cambridge, Massachusetts, the volume entitled, The Ages, and other Poems.' In 1825, he came to New York, when he became one of the editors of the New York Review' (which, however, had but a short existence), and published several poems and tales, which quickly became popular. From this point he went on successfully, writing in the chief periodical publications, in conjunction with some of the leading American authors of his day, and becoming, moreover, the editor of a New York paper, the 'Evening Post.' In 1834-35, and also in 1845, he traveled in Europe, writing descriptions of what he saw for his journal in America. Mr. Bryant again visited Europe in 1849, and on his return published his Letters of a Traveler,' being a resume of his tours in Europe and this country. He has gained a high reputation by his poems; and his political writings in favor of free trade and free discussion, against monopolies of all kinds, are marked with clearness and vigor. He has labored earnestly to diffuse a taste for the fine arts in this country, and was president of the Apollo Association, prior to its incorporation as the American Art Union.