The Citizen Poets of Boston: A Collection of Forgotten Poems, 1789-1820

The Citizen Poets of Boston: A Collection of Forgotten Poems, 1789-1820

by Paul Lewis

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Welcome to Boston in the early years of the republic. Prepare to journey by stagecoach with a young man moving to the “bustling city”; stop by a tavern for food, drink, and conversation; eavesdrop on clerks and customers in a dry-goods shop; get stuck in what might have been Boston’s first traffic jam; and enjoy arch comments about spouses, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and poets. As Paul Lewis and his students at Boston College reveal, regional vernacular poetry—largely overlooked or deemed of little or no artistic value—provides access to the culture and daily life of the city. Selected from over 4,500 poems published during the early national period, the works presented here, mostly anonymous, will carry you back to Old Boston to hear the voices of its long-forgotten citizen poets. A rich collection of lost poetry that will beguile locals and visitors alike.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611689303
Publisher: University Press of New England
Publication date: 04/05/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 234
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

PAUL LEWIS is a professor of English at Boston College specializing in American humor and the literary history of Boston.

Table of Contents

Preface • A Note on Spelling, Punctuation, Capitalization, and Notes • Introduction • COMING TO BOSTON • The Stage Coach. Inscribed to Mira • Epigram. [As two Divines] • An Intended Inscription, Written for the Monument on Beacon-Hill, in Boston, and Addressed to the Passenger • On the Licentiousness of the Manners of the Present Day • Lines on the Elm Tree • Anacreon Imitated • Fragment. [As I walk’d on the banks of the Charles’ briny flood] • A Letter to Tom, in the Country • [Dear Jack, I am no more the clown] • Jonathan’s Journey to Boston • [In Bostononce did A with B contend] • MEN AND WOMEN • A Recipe for the Ladies, Or, Advice How to Get a Husband • Advice to the Young Ladies of Boston • On the Choice of a Husband • The Modest Wish of Susan, the Breeches Maker • Lines Written by a Lady, Who Was Questioned Respecting Her Inclination to Marry • Lines Spoken Extempore to a Lady, on Being Asked What This World Is Like • Simile [Passion is like the base narcotic flower] • Epitaph [Here lies the quintessence of noise and strife] • [Oh, envy’d happiness! said Isabel] • The Old-Maid [from “The Ruling Passion”] • Crosses • [Thy manly face I strove to hit] • Enquiry • The Wish • Impromptu on the Marriage of Capt. Foot, with Miss Patten • The Man to My Mind • A Parody • Epigram [That ladies are the softer sex] • A Hint to a Friend • To My Friend • Song [I courted a girl that I long wished to marry] • Look before You Leap. A True Story • Single Blessedness • Matrimony • Woman • Answer to the Lines Entitled “Woman,” Signed, Ned Megrims • A Tale • [What’s become of Ned Megrims would any one know] • Woman • Ladies’ Dress • POLITICS • The War Horse • The Man of Feeling • Stanzas to Maria Antonietta • To the President • The Dying Indian • Epigram [In the reign of Democracy, dead to all shame] • Epigram [When a Partizan dies of true Jacobin leaven] • [Arduous the task in which we would engage] • Democrats in Office • Hymn, Sung at Cambridge, at the Celebration of Peace • Lines Composed on Hearing the News of Peace • Buonaparte • Extracts from Fawcett’s Contrast • Canning’s Speech • Epitaph on a Tomb-Stone • Spare Injur’d Africa! The Negro Spare! • New Year’s Address of the Sweepers • Tribute to Foreign Missions • Slave-Holder and Yankee • THE FAMILY • On the Domestic Education of Children • Verses on a Sleeping Daughter • Lines Written by an Old Planter, in the Country, to His Daughter • [Julia, to Anna Maria, Sends Greeting] • Thanksgiving • The Hopeful Youth • The Retrospect—or, All for the Best • Eliza . . . A Poem • To My Friend • Lord Dyring . . . A Ballad • Jephthah’s Vow • The Consolation • The Effects of Intemperance • To the American Goldfinch • The Orphan • Stanzas Addressed by a Lady in Vermont to Her Brother in the Army • A Grandmother to Her Infant Grandchild • A Mother’s Love • JOBS, SHOPS, AND THE PROFESSIONS • Mechanics Song • On the Multitude of Lawyers • Epigram [Since the fulness of blessing the gospel contains] • The When, the Why, the Where, the What, the How: Epitaph on an Hermit • Ations • [Here comes Miss Lighthead and her tasty sister] • Epigram [The young spendthrift detests the old covetous miser] • Epigram [With folded arms and uplift eyes] • Epigram—To a Physician • Lines Written on the Front Page of a Doctor’s Account Book • The Mechanick Preferred • The Poet • Epigram [Boston stage] • Author—ity • Examination • [Good folks, the Carrier—fill’d with fear] • The Truant • Imitation of Martial • Advertisement [fabric shop] • Advertisement, For Anybody That Wants It [bookshop] • An Epistle to the Editor • PLEASURE AND THE GOOD LIFE • To the Editor of the Town and Country Magazine • Bacchus’s Shrine • Human Inconsistency, or, the Universal Portrait • Epigram [Last Thursday, I met with a sweet smiling sister] • The Grumbler • Life and Friendship • Parody • Heigh-ho! By a Lady • The Sine Qua Non • Time and Pleasure • God Is There • Hope • Time • Pleasure • REBUSES, RIDDLES, ANAGRAMS, ACROSTICS, AND ENIGMAS • A Rebus [Take the sixth] • Answer to the First [Take the sixth] • Another [Rebus: Take three fourth] • Answer to the Third [Rebus: Take three fourth] • Acrostick [Born for a Curse] • A Rebus [Take two sevenths] • Solution [Take two sevenths] • An Enigmatical Bill of Fare • Solution [An Enigmatical Bill of Fare] • Acrostic [Great George’s praise] • A Rebus [What increases the sea] • Another [Rebus: The name of that earth] • A Rebus [The crimson rose] • A Solution of the Rebus in the Magazine for March • Acrostical Rebus • Solution to Alonzo’s Rebus • A Rebus [An animal vain] • A Rebus, of Which a Solution Is Requested [Take one half] • Out of the Twelve Solutions to the Rebus in Our Last • Rebus [The isle where] • Answer to *****’s Rebus in Last Saturday’s Magazine • A Rebus [I am both man and woman too] • The Riddle—A New Song • A Rebus [That part of the day] • Answer to the Rebus, in our last number • Enigma [Relentless foe] • An Acrostic [Blessed news] • Enigma [For knowledge I go] • Acrostic—In Answer to the Enigma in our Last • Origin of Life and Death • Anecdote [Old Harvard long hath stood] • DEATH • Reflections in a Burying-Ground • Written on the Author’s Natal Day • On a Canary Bird • Elegy on Perceiving a Rent in My Old Shoe • The Old Man and Death • Hymn for the Commencement of the Year • To the Memory of William Henry Moulton • Thanatopsis • Solitude • Written in the Burial Ground, on Plymouth Heights, in Nov. 1818 • Epitaph on a Tomb Stone in a Church Yard Near Boston • On the Death of an Infant • The Ruins of an Old Mansion • The Maniac’s Last Ray of Reason • On the Death of Twins • Acknowledgments • Appendix A: Boston Magazines That Included Poetry, 1789–1820 • Appendix B: Representative Editorial Statements from the First Issues of Included Magazines, 1789–1820 • Bibliography: Suggested Reading on Magazines, Literature, Culture, and Life in the United States in General and Boston in Particular, 1789–1820

What People are Saying About This

David E. E. Sloane

“The Citizen Poets of Boston is a major contribution to our understanding of nineteenth-century American poetry. The breadth of study has brought to light poems that are far beyond previous conceptions of the values and capabilities of popular poets in the period from 1790 to 1830. The collection is stunning not only in the literary values of the various poems as comic and serious literature but also in its revelation of the details of the urban life of Boston in a unique, formative period of northeastern culture. In forty years of study in this field I have seen few works that rival this one in interest and importance.”

Megan Marshall

“The Citizen Poets of Boston is an overflowing cornucopia—a ‘wonder-horn,’ to borrow Nathaniel Hawthorne’s phrase—of verse that brings a bustling world of yesterday back to rhyming, rhythmic life. Energetically compiled by a team of students and skillfully edited by their professor, Paul Lewis, with illuminating thematic essays and comprehensive notes on sources, this book is also a valuable teaching tool and guide for scholars of the early republic.”

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