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sophomore year while at Nassau Hall, Princeton College, which, he says, is distinguished both by the vigor and the correctness of its versification. "His poetic satires against the royalists established his reputation in America, and all these show great talent; and some of his severer satires, such as that on his literary opponent whom he addresses under the name of Mac Swiggin, are characterized by great power."
As this poem gives an insight into Philip's character, his intense love for nature in her varied forms, his lack of desire for fame, yet innate knowledge of his own powers, did he desire to gain it, his scorn for all that was low or base in mankind, and his conscious superiority over a rival whom he has it in the power of his two-edged sword to annihilate; and furthermore as it illustrates that which we have already said his being as much dreaded by a foe, as he was loved as a friend, we will quote some portions of it: —
"Long have I sat on this disastrous shore,
And, sighing, sought to gain a passage o'er
To Europe's towns, where, as our travellers say,
Hence came these rhymes, with truth ascrib'd to me.
If thus, tormented at these flighty lays,
You strive to blast what ne'er was meant for praise,
Devoted madman! what inspir'd thy rage,
What could thy slanderous pen with malice arm?
Bless'd be our western world - its scenes conspire To raise a poet's fancy and his fire, Lo, blue-topt mountains to the skies ascend! Lo, shady forests to the breezes bend!
See mighty streams meandering to the main !
The devil shall help you to your daily bread.
Give me your green bowers and soft seats of rest
Beyond the miscreants that my peace molest,
Hail, great Mac Swiggen! foe to honest fame,
Aspers'd like me, who would not grieve and rage! Who would not burn, Mac Swiggen to engage ? Him and his friends, a mean, designing race, I, singly I, must combat face to face
Alone I stand to meet the foul-mouth'd train,
Come on, Mac Swiggen, come your muse is willing, Your prose is merry, but your verse is killing Come on attack me with choicest rhymes, your Sound void of sense betrays the unmeaning chimes
Come, league your forces; all your wit combine,
"Freneau's longest and most carefully written poems were: 'The House of Night,' 'The Jamaica Funeral,' and 'The Beauties of Santa Cruz;' his most admired is 'The British Prison Ship.'
"The influence of Freneau's wandering and unsettled life is visible in his literary labors, a large portion of which were inspired by the stirring events that were passing around him. For this reason, perhaps, he is not so well known as many other writers to the general reader, even in his own country; while the fierce hostility to England and King George which the great revolutionary struggle had raised in his mind, and which he expresses in very unmeasured language, prevented his being popular among Englishmen, who, indeed, have been generally neglectful of the literature of America. Yet Freneau, as the 'patriot poet,' long enjoyed a very extensive popularity among his own countrymen, and no doubt he deserves to stand among their best poets. There is an ease in his verse, combined with a great command of language, and, at the same time, a simplicity of expression and delicacy of handling, which makes us regret that it was so often employed on subjects the interest of
which was of a temporary character. Many of his poems of a more miscellaneous character present beauties of no ordinary kind, while the playful or satirical humour of others is perfect."
On the evening of March thirteenth of the year 1883, Professor James D. Murray of Princeton College delivered a lecture upon the poet and his poetry before the Long Island Historical Society in the society's building. In regard to his poetry, which is the only portion of the lecture that we shall quote in this chapter, he said: "Freneau was a genius in his way, and had brilliant instincts. Some of his poetry sprung from the intense flame of oppression, and as a poet he blew it to a white heat. He was possessed of an impetuous flow of song for freedom, and his wit was pungent and stinging. That he used this with effect can readily be seen by any person who reads his supposed interview with King George and Fox. Then take his exquisite dirge of the heroes of Eutaw Springs, his odes like Benedict Arnold's Departure;' some parts of them are unrivalled. His works show that he imitated in some degree both Gray and Shelley. Campbell and Scott did not hesitate to borrow from him. . . His literary essays were also in this peculiar vein; for instance, his Advice to Authors,' his 'Oration upon Rum,' and a series of character sketches. His City Burying Places' antedates some of our modern suggestions.'
"There was no difficulty in versification with him," wrote Dr. Francis. "I told him what I had heard Jeffrey, the eminent Scotch reviewer, say of his writings, that the time would arrive when his poetry, like that of Hudibras, would command a commentator like Grey."
"The poetry of the revolutionary era was not of an exhilarating character certainly, for with the outbreaking of hostilities there came an outburst otherwise