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years, but most of them are comprehended within the last twenty. We have not been able to find a list of English poets and dramatists, from Chaucer to Anstey, which contains more than two hundred and twenty names. This includes many whose very names are unknown to the general reader, and many who have not written as well as the worst of our own rhymers. It extends over four centuries. It contains such names as Gower, Lydgate, Edwards, Gascoigne, Greene, Watson, Lyly, Constable, (1568,) Breton, Nash, Quarles, Nabbes, Catharine Phillips, Jasper Mayne, Hooke, Cotton, (1630,) Flatman, Etherege, Shadwell, Stepney, Lillo, Savage, Watts, Welsted, Carey, Shaw, Ferguson, as well as the eminent poets of each period. Indeed, the editors of selections from the English poets, even those who commence with Chaucer and include the great bards of the present century, have not thought proper to admit so many names as are included in Mr. Griswold's collection; and at the same time, they have selected many pieces which would confer no additional reputation upon Bryant, Longfellow, Willis, Dana, Halleck, Sprague, Percival, or Drake; and many also which American poets, of less pretensions, have excelled. Pinkney has written as well, to say the least, as many of the “mob of gentlemen” who were the boast of the times of Charles the First and Charles the Second; not so well as Lovelace and Carew, but better than Sedley, Etherege, and Dorset. There are few songs, if we except those of Burns and Moore, which have more lyric flow and hearty sentiment than the best of Hoffman's. Tom Warton has not written better sonnets than some of Benjamin's. Gallagher and Street have a finer feeling for the beauties and sublimities of natural scenery, and more felicity in giving it expression, than a large number of English descriptive poets of the second class. Sargent has written of the sea with more freshness and graphic power, with more true fancy and poetic feeling, than Falconer, or many others of a higher reputation. A richness of diction, a warmth of imagination, and a tenderness of sentiment, distinguish many of the occasional compositions of Tuckerman, and especially his “Spirit of Poetry,” which are not often found in the poetical contributions to those English periodicals in which transatlantic verse is rarely mentioned without ridicule or affected contempt. We have no desire to exalt American poetry above its merits. We are sensible of its deficiencies, as compared with the great creations of English genius. We know that much which circulates in the United States, in the shape of rhyme, is nothing more than rhyme. But it appears to us quite absurd, that in a country whose literature is stained with so many metrical productions offensive to good taste and good morals, — a country which has had its Tom D'Urseys, Aphra Behns, Shadwells, Settles, and Wolcotts, as well as its Shakspeare, Spenser, Milton, and Wordsworth, a country whose miscellaneous and magazine verse is, at the present time, inferior to our own, – there should be so much willingness to express pity or contempt for the poetry of the United States. But it is one of the amiable peculiarities of John Bull to forget all his own past and present sins, in his zeal against the peccadilloes of his neighbors. All countries peopled by civilized men must have many minor poets, who, with a moderate share of the poetical faculty, have considerable poetical feeling. Their compositions may not deserve much eulogium; they may merely remodel old images and repeat old forms of expression; they may rather reproduce than create; but their poetry often displays smooth versification, pure sentiment, and occasionally a happy thought. Almost all men “experience” poetry during some period of their lives ; and it is often the case, that, in a moment of happy inspiration, a man of very inferior abilities may write a short poem excelling some of the efforts of men of the highest genius. We might select from Mr. Griswold's collection many pieces, which are better than some few poems included in editions of Wordsworth, Byron, Coleridge, and Scott. In the United States, there is a great number of such persons as we have indicated. The ease with which a moderate skill in versification is acquired, and the copious flood of poetic expressions which is poured into the mind of every school-boy, enable most men of taste and feeling to write what is called respectable poetry with great facility. Much rhyme is here produced by persons who have no direct connection with literature, and who set forth no claims to be admitted into the glorious company of creative minds. If their good-natured friends would only let them alone, they would never discover that they were more gifted than their neighbors. The danger is, that they will be too much elated by flattery, and at last seriously entertain the conceit, that they are great poets, who reflect honor upon the literature of their country. As every man has some friend connected with a newspaper or magazine, this danger is not so groundless as one may at first imagine. The fact cannot fail to strike the least observant spectator, that most of our distinguished authors are engaged in pursuits generally considered unfavorable to the efforts of genius. Sprague and Halleck obtain their livelihood by their pens, it is true; but not in any poetical sense of the phrase. Indeed, the least lucrative profession in the United States is that of authorship. Every prudent man avoids it as he does a pestilence. A writer who attempts to live on the manufactures of his imagination is continually coquetting with starvation. He spends his days in illustrating the ingenious theories of certain physiologists, who have tried to ascertain how little food will suffice for a man's stomach, and how little raiment for his back. Genius may be almost defined, as the faculty of acquiring poverty. Professional authors have ever been rudely bruised and battered by fortune. When so thin that they could not “sport a shadow i' the sun,” a bailiff has generally served in its place. Garrets and cellars have been at once their homes and hidingplaces. In their case, mendicity often trails mendacity along with it. Famine hollows their cheeks; disease lackeys their steps. Every proud worldling hisses out his scoff, and every ass lifts his hoof against them. They drink deep, not only of the Pierian spring, but of that fountain of self-contempt which is “bitterer to drink than blood.” They die at last, some by their own hands, some by insanity, some of famine, some of absolute weariness, and some of “helpless, hopeless brokenness of heart,”—

“Hiding from many a careless eye
The scorned load of agony.”

We must confess that such dark and petulant fancies as these always flit through our minds, when we hear the constantly repeated regret, that a favorite author has not made literature his profession. The reasons why he has not done so are plain. He has common, as well as uncommon, sense; he deems pain and starvation evils which should be avoided; he thinks a good home and the certainty of a dinner better than a garret and heavensoaring imaginations. Such men as Sprague and Halleck have displayed as much wisdom in their conduct as genius in their writings. They certainly would not have written so well, had their muse been stimulated to exertion by hunger, or their fine faculties been let out to some “enterprising” bookseller, and forced into whatever channels of quackery and deceit the demands of “the trade” required. Professional authors are apt either to sneer at a banker or merchant who obtains applause for transient literary offerings, or to attempt to lure him by lying idealities into their own Slough of Despond. There is hardly a hack in Great Britain who has not, either in penny newspaper or sentimental magazine, directed his pop-gun of wit against Samuel Rogers, the banker and poet. Men who get a living, or an epitaph, by the pursuits of literature, seem to think that no person has a right to be clever who is not something of a vagabond. We cannot admit that they are at all competent to decide the question, whether commerce or banking be inimical to poetry. Bank-notes, it is to be regretted, visit their pockets too rarely to make them anything but dogmatists in deciding on their poetical or prosaic nature. CHARLEs SPRAGUE, one of the best poets in Mr. Griswold's multitudinous collection, has always been engaged in pursuits connected with commerce, and his poems are therefore the products of his leisure. His poetical compositions may be readily divided into two classes:

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