Uncollected Prose, by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Antislavery Poems, by John Pierpont. Boston: Oliver Johnson. 1843.

These poems are much the most readable of all the metrical pieces we have met with on the subject; indeed, it is strange how little poetry this old outrage of negro slavery has produced. Cowper’s lines in the Task are still the best we have. Mr. Pierpont has a good deal of talent, and writes very spirited verses, full of point. He has no continuous meaning which enables him to write a long and equal poem, but every poem is a series of detached epigrams, some better, some worse. His taste is not always correct, and from the boldest flight he shall suddenly alight in very low places. Neither is the motive of the poem ever very high, so that they seem to be rather squibs than prophecies or imprecations: but for political satire, we think the “Word from a Petitioner” very strong, and the “Gag” the best piece of poetical indignation in America.

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Last updated Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 20:37