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ners and individual views of attainment, and all that moulds social character and gives form to the commerce of life-those, too familiar to be dwelt on, must needs operate largely on the mind in all its varying occupations, and still most in poetry which so largely exhibits the features of the moral man.
Such poems have been generally chosen (with due regard to their real merit) as were thought most likely, by their descriptive power, to convey, through the medium of common associations, forcible and faithful impressions of the striking characteristics of the New World-the leading external features, and the internal operations of habits and institutions, on the moral character. In these selections will be felt and seen, the living spirit, the moving realities, and the striking natural features of America, more vitally preserved, and perceptibly rue and characteristic, than in all the tours and sketches that have teemed from the press, on this topic, that at present engages so large a share of public attention; and that this praise is not the mere utterance of editorial partiality, will, it is trusted, be amply borne out by the contents of this work.
Of the individual merits of the writers from
whom the following selections have been made, the reader must be allowed to judge. While any one of them will be found more or less to participate in the common advantages and disadvantages of a new country, and an infant literature, all, it is trusted, will be equally judged to be worthy of the praise of talent, of no inferior order; and the Editor would express the hope that the unprejudiced reader will not be slow to feel and admit, that this work has added to the sterling poetical literature of the English language.
If the poet is to be estimated by the indications of an intense communion with nature, and a more full and true delineation of that which is beautiful, sublime, or characteristic, within the sphere of his own peculiar walk, we cannot hesitate to award the palm to the bold and successful pen of Bryant, whose poetry is thoroughly imbued with the character, coloring, and traditions of the great western world; neither is he less deserving of this preference, should he be estimated by grasp and fertility of imagination, or force, depth, and truth of moral sentiment. "Divisum imperium cum Bryant Dana habet."