Among the minor poems of Bryant, none has so much impressed me as the one which he entitles "June." I quote only a portion of it: --
"The Haunted House," by the same author, is one of the truest poems ever written,--one of the truest, one of the most unexceptionable, one of the most thoroughly artistic, both in its theme and in its execution.
The Genealogical Poems: The only complete poem of the genealogical group is the "Theogony", which traces from the beginning of things the descent and vicissitudes of the families of the gods.
Several poems are ascribed to Hesiod, such as the "Epithalamium of Peleus and Thetis", the "Descent of Theseus into Hades", or the "Circuit of the Earth" (which must have been connected with the story of Phineus and the Harpies, and so with the Argonaut-legend), which yet seem to have belonged to the "Catalogues".
And Spenser, able all his life to take refuge in his art from the crass realities of life, now produced many poems, some of them short, but among the others the immortal 'Faerie Queene.' The first three books of this, his crowning achievement, Spenser, under enthusiastic encouragement from Ralegh, brought to London and published in 1590.
Spenser's 'Faerie Queene' is not only one of the longest but one of the greatest of English poems; it is also very characteristically Elizabethan.
Yet it was not because of his own poetry that he was famous, but because he had found (so he said) some poems of a man who lived fifteen hundred years before, and translated them into English.
The Irish first of all were jealous, for they said that Ossian was an Irish poet, that the heroes of the poems were Irish, and that Macpherson was stealing their national heroes from them.
If a narrative poem in any other metre or in many metres were now composed, it would be found incongruous.
But in the Epic poem the absurdity passes unnoticed.
And the price was splendid, even though it was for the poem
of a century.
I should have made very short work of any one who had impugned the authenticity of the poems
, but happily there was no one who held the contrary opinion in that village, so far as I knew, or who cared for Ossian, or had even heard of him.