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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1843,


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Connecticut.


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For the design of “The Poets of Connecticut,” we can claim little originality. Various literary collections, somewhat similar in character, have already appeared, as "The Boston Book,” “The Rhode Island Book," "The New York Book,” &c. These, however, for the most part, have been merely compilations, arranged without any principle of order, and furnishing no biographical particulars. In these respects, the plan of the present work differs materially from that of others which, like itself, embrace only the writers of one State or section. The publications which it most closely resembles, are the “Specimens of American Poetry," } edited by SAMUEL Ketrell, and published some years since, at Boston, by S. G. Goodrich, and the recent large volume of " The Poets and Poetry of America, "edited by Rufus Wilmot Griswold, and published at Philadelphia, by Carey and Hart. Yet the similarity of our volume to these, consists chiefly in its biographical sketches, and in the order of arrangement. 3

In preparing our present work, the first difficulty which presented itself was to determine a true principle of admission. Who are the Poets of Connecticut? If we should select only those who were born in the State, and continued to reside within its limits, every reader would doubtless complain of the rigidness of the rule. Two other classes present a claim-3 those who are citizens by birthright only, and those who have become such by residence. To admit both were to encroach on the claims of other States; and we think it undoubtedly the fairest course to concede the place to those who prefer the right of nativity.

“Seven mighty cities claimed great Homer dead,

Through which the living Homer begged his bread.” Here was no question of residence. The bard had maintained a vagabondresidence in each: and now the strife was to determine the question of birth. Let us illustrate our position by a familiar example, from our own class of writers. JAMES Otis Rockwell, was born, and, for a few years, lived, in Connecticut; he next dwelt, for a time, in New Jersey; afterward, he resided in the State of New York; subsequently, he was a citizen of Massachusetts; and lastly, he was a resident of Rhode Island, where he died. Now, to which of these five States may he be said properly to have be- ; longed; and to which does his poetical reputation, whatever it may be,


3 belong, on the ground of citizenship? Connecticut, we believe, alone can

claim it, as birth alone, in this case, and all cases, irrespective of residence, { constitutes a true filial relation. We determined, therefore, to be governed, 3 in all instances, by the fact of nativity, and to admit the names of none upon } our list who were not born within the Commonwealth. We are well aware

that this principle necessarily excludes many honorable names, and some which have long been identified with our State and its literature. Any other rule of admission, however, would also produce unpleasant exclusions.

We felt compelled, under the circumstances, to adopt that course which { seemed the truer one, and, having adopted it, rigidly to adhere to our prin->

ciple. It was with profound regret that we waved a parting hand to the

venerable names of Timothy and THEODORE Dwight, and the later ones } of our Reverend brethren, William CROSWELL, GEORGE Burgess, and 3

Arthur Cleveland Coxe, as also the pleasant lyrist, Ann CHARLOTTE

LYNCH. They all belong to our literature, by residence, and ConnectiI cut may be justly proud of such adopted children. From others, also, of 3 3 high esteem, who had actually found their way upon our list, we were

obliged reluctantly to part. A selection from the writings of these Con- } necticut Poets, which we hope may yet be made, would form a rich endowment for the literature of the State and country.

Having thus resolved upon the class to which our selections should be confined, it was by no means an easy question to determine how many were entitled, on the score of merit, to a place in the volume. Those names, we are proud to say, are not a few, concerning which there could

be no question. But there are others who certainly present some claim, S and yet of such a inoderate character, that their admission or rejection

must depend chiefly upon the taste or generosity of an editor. The { critical reader may perhaps be disposed to think that our benevolence is

unreasonably extensive, or our judgment too moderate for the task of discrimination. However this may be, we have admitted none whom we do not think, upon the whole, entitled to a place. We shall not claim that all the verse comprised in our selections is of a high order of poetry. But we do 3

assert that we believe much of it to be, and furthermore, that there is 3 nothing in the volume wholly unworthy of that name. Commencing with { the Hon. Roger Wolcott, who was our first writer of any sufficient merit 3 { to deserve a mention, we have selected such writers as have contributed in

all periods to our poetical literature, down to the present time. Some of these, perhaps, have made but humble contributions. Still, as not wholly unworthy, we have given them such a place as their worth and position seemed to require ; prefering that our work should thus present, as it were, a brief historical account of the poetical literature of Connecticut, from its commencement to the present period. In all instances, we have arranged the subjects in the order of birth, as being less invidious, and as better comporting with our design. Although we have used every care to obtain the names and writings of all our native poets, we shall not be surprised to

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