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Various authors - American Poetry: The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

American Poetry: The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

"Just how groundbreaking is this latest installment of the Library of America series? It is so, first and foremost, by its very existence. The only other early American poetry anthology currently in print is—get ready for this—a recent reprint of a collection edited by Oscar Wegelin in 1903."
—Early American Literature
Overview  |  Table of Contents  |  Excerpt  |  Features

George Sandys (15781644)

  • from Ovid’s Metamorphoses

Thomas Morton (c. 1580–c. 1646)

  • from New English Canaan, or New Canaan

    • The Authors Prologue

    • The Poem

    • The Songe

John Smith (15801631)

  • The Sea Marke

John Wilson (15881667)

  • To God our twice-Revenger

  • Anagram made by mr John Willson of Boston upon the Death of Mrs Abigaill Tompson

William Bradford (15901657)

  • A Word to New England

  • Of Boston in New England

  • “Certain Verses left by the Honoured William Bradford Esq;”

Christopher Gardiner (c. 1596–c. 1662)

  • “Wolfes in Sheeps clothing why will ye”

Edward Johnson (15981672)

  • New England’s Annoyances

  • “You that have seen these wondrous works by Sions Savior don”

from The Bay Psalm Book (1640)

  • Psalme 19

  • Psalme 23

  • Psalme 107

Roger Williams (c. 16061683)

  • from A Key into the Language of America

John Fiske (16081677)

  • John Kotton : O, Honie Knott

  • John Wilson : W’on Sion-hil

Anne Bradstreet (16121672)

  • The Prologue (from The Tenth Muse)

  • A Dialogue between Old England and New

  • The Author to her Book

  • Contemplations

  • Before the Birth of one of her Children

  • To my Dear and loving Husband

  • In memory of my dear grand-child Elizabeth Bradstreet

  • On my dear Grand-child Simon Bradstreet

  • “As weary pilgrim, now at rest”

  • To my dear children

  • May. 13. 1657

  • Upon my dear & loving husband his goeing into England

  • “In silent night when rest I took”

John Saffin (16261710)

  • “Sweetly (my Dearest) I left thee asleep”

  • To his Excellency Joseph Dudley Eqr Gover: &c

Edmund Hickeringill (16311708)

  • from Jamaica Viewed

Michael Wigglesworth (16311705)

  • A Song of Emptiness

  • from The Day of Doom

  • God’s Controversy with New-England

  • from Meat out of the Eater

  • “I Walk’d and did a little Mole-hill view”

Urian Oakes (c. 16311681)

  • An Elegie Upon that Reverend, Learned, Eminently Pious, and Singularly Accomplished Divine, my ever Honoured Brother, Mr. Thomas Shepard

George Alsop (1636–c. 1673)

  • The Author to His Book

  • “Trafique is Earth’s great Atlas, that supports”

  • “Heavens bright Lamp, shine forth some of thy Light”

Benjamin Tompson (16421714)

  • The Grammarians Funeral

  • from New-Englands Crisis

  • To Lord Bellamont when entering Governour of the Massachusetts

  • “Some of his last lines”

James Revel (fl. c. 16591680)

  • The Poor Unhappy Transported Felon’s Sorrowful Account of His fourteen Years Transportation at Virginia

Edward Taylor (c. 16421729)

  • from Preparatory Meditations (First Series)

    • 1. Meditation

    • 3. Meditation. Can. 1.3. Thy Good Ointment

    • 4. Meditation. Cant. 2.1. I am the Rose of Sharon

    • The Reflexion

    • 9. Meditation. Joh. 6.51. I am the Living Bread

    • 23. Meditation. Cant. 4.8. My Spouse

    • 24. Meditation. Eph. 2.18. Through him we have—an Access—unto the Father

    • 32. Meditation. 1 Cor. 3.22. Whether Paul or Apollos, or Cephas

    • 39. Meditation. from 1 Joh. 2.1. If any man sin, we have an Advocate

    • 46. Meditation. Rev. 3.5. The same shall be cloathed in White Raiment

  • from Preparatory Meditations (Second Series)

    • Meditation. Col. 2.17. Which are Shaddows of things to come and the body is Christs

    • 4. Meditation. Gal. 4.24. Which things are an Allegorie

    • 12. Meditation. Ezek. 37.24. David my Servant shall be their King

    • 14. Meditation. Col. 2.3. In whom are hid all the Treasures of Wisdom, and Knowledge

    • 18. Meditation. Heb 13.10. Wee have an Altar

    • Meditation 24. Joh. 1.14.

    • 34. Meditation. Rev. 1.5. Who loved us and washed away our Sins in his Blood

    • 60a. Meditation. Joh. 6.51. I am the Living Bread, that came down from Heaven

    • 150. Meditation. Cant. 7.3. Thy two breasts are like two young Roes that are twins

  • from Gods Determinations

    • The Preface

    • The Accusation of the Inward Man

    • The Glory of and Grace in the Church set out

    • Upon a Spider Catching a Fly

    • Upon a Wasp Child with Cold

    • Huswifery

    • The Ebb and Flow

    • Upon the Sweeping Flood. Aug: 13.14. 1683

Francis Daniel Pastorius (16511719)

  • “In these Seven Languages I this my book do own”

  • A Token of Love and Gratitude

  • Rachel Preston, Hannah Hill & Mary Norris

  • “As often as some where before my Feet”

  • “Delight in Books from Evening”

  • “When I solidly do ponder”

  • Epibaterium, Or a hearty Congratulation to William Penn

  • “If any honest Friend be pleased to walk into my poor Garden”

John Norton Jr. (16511716)

  • A Funeral Elogy, Upon that Pattern and Patron of Virtue, the truely pious, peerless & matchless Gentlewoman, Mrs. Anne Bradstreet

Samuel Sewall (16521730)

  • “Once more! Our GOD, vouchsafe to Shine”

  • Upon the drying up that Ancient River, the River Merrimak

Benjamin Harris (c. 1655–c. 1720)

  • “In Adam’s Fall”

John Danforth (16601730)

  • A few Lines to fill up a Vacant Page

Cotton Mather (16631728)

  • “Go then, my Dove, but now no longer Mine!”

  • Gratitudinis Ergo

  • Singing at the Plow

  • The Songs of Harvest

Sarah Kemble Knight (16661727)

  • from The Journal of Madam Knight

    • “I ask thy Aid, O Potent Rum!”

    • “Tho’ Ill at ease, A stranger and alone”

Robert Hunter (16661734)

  • from Androboros: A Biographical Farce

Ebenezer Cook (c. 1667–c. 1733)

  • The Sot-Weed Factor; or, A Voyage to Maryland, &c.

Lewis Morris II (16711746)

  • The Mock Monarchy; or, the Kingdom of the Apes

Benjamin Colman (16731747)

  • A Quarrel with Fortune

  • A Poem, on Elijahs Translation

Tom Law (fl. 1720s)

  • Lovewell’s Fight

Christopher Witt (16751765)

  • From the Hymn-Book of Johannes Kelpius

    • Of the Wilderness of the Secret, or Private Virgin-Cross-Love

    • The Paradox and Seldom Contentment of the God loving Soul

    • Of the Power of the New Virgin-Body, Wherein the Lord himself dwelleth and Revealeth his Mysteries

Henry Brooke (16781736)

  • The New Metamorphosis, or Fable of the Bald Eagle, 299

  • To my Bottle-friends, 303

  • Modern Politeness, 304

  • An unwilling Farewel to Poesy, 306

Roger Wolcott (16791767)

  • from Meditations on Man’s First and Fallen Estate, and the Wonderful Love of God Exhibited in a Redeemer

  • from A Brief Account of the Agency of the Honourable John Winthrop, Esq; in the Court of King Charles the Second

Charles Hansford (c. 16851761)

  • My Country’s Worth

George Berkeley (16851753)

  • Verses on the Prospect of planting Arts and Learning in America

George Seagood (c. 16851724)

  • Mr. Blackmore’s Expeditio Ultramontana

Joseph Breintnall (c. 16951746)

  • “A plain Description of one single Street in this City”

  • The Rape of Fewel

  • To the Memory of Aquila Rose, Deceas’d

James Kirkpatrick (16961770)

  • The Nonpareil

Susanna Wright (16971784)

  • Anna Boylens Letter to King Henry the 8th

  • On the Benefit of Labour

  • On the Death of a little Girl

  • My own Birth Day

  • To Eliza Norris—at Fairhill

Richard Lewis (c. 16991734)

  • To Mr. Samuel Hastings, (Ship-wright of Philadelphia) on his launching the Maryland-Merchant, a large ship built by him at Annapolis

  • A Journey from Patapsco to Annapolis

  • Food for Criticks

Thomas Dale (17001750)

  • Prologue spoken to the Orphan

  • Epilogue to the Orphan

Ralpho Cobble” (fl. 1732)

  • “Learning that Cobweb of the Brain”

James Sterling (17011763)

  • from An Epistle to the Hon. Arthur Dobbs, Esq. in Europe from a Clergyman in America

William Dawson (17041752)

  • The Wager

  • On the Corruptions of the Stage

  • To a Friend, Who recommended a Wife to Him

  • To a Lady, on a Screen of Her Working

John Adams (17051740)

  • Melancholly discrib’d and dispell’d

Archibald Home (c. 17051744)

  • An Elegy On the much to be lamented Death of George Fraser of Elizabeth Town

  • The Ear-Ring

  • Black-Joke: A Song

  • On killing a Book-Worm

Joseph Green (17061780)

  • To Mr. B occasioned by his Verse, to Mr. Smibert on seeing his Pictures

  • The Poet’s Lamentation for the Loss of his Cat, which he us’d to call his Muse

  • On Mr. B—s’s singing an Hymn of his own composing

  • To the Author of the Poetry in the last Weekly Journal

  • A True Impartial Account of the Celebration of the Prince of Orange’s Nuptials at Portsmouth

  • Inscription under Revd. Jn. Checkley’s Picture

  • “A fig for your learning, I tell you the Town”

  • The Disappointed Cooper

  • “Hail! D––p––t of wondrous fame”

Benjamin Franklin (17061790)

  • Drinking Song

  • I Sing My Plain Country Joan

  • Three Precepts

Mather Byles (17071788)

  • Hymn to Christ for our Regeneration and Resurrection

  • To Pictorio, on the Sight of his Pictures

  • The Conflagration

Jane Colman Turell (17081735)

  • To my Muse, December 29. 1725

  • An Invitation into the Country

  • Phoebus has thrice his Yearly Circuit run”

Mary Hirst Pepperell (17081789)

  • A Lamentation &c. On the Death of a Child

John Seccomb (17081792)

  • Father Abbey’s Will

  • Proposal to Mistress Abbey


  • The Convert to Tobacco

Poor Julian

  • Poor Julleyoun’s Warnings to Children and Servants

  • Advice from the Dead to the Living

Jupiter Hammon (1711–c. 1806)

  • An Address to Miss Phillis Wheatly, Ethiopian Poetess, in Boston

John Osborn (17131753)

  • A Whaling Song

Thomas Cradock (17181770)

  • Hymn for Ascension

  • from Maryland Eclogues in Imitation of Virgil’s

Charles Woodmason (c. 1720–c. 1777)

  • To Benjamin Franklin Esq; of Philadelphia, on his Experiments and Discoveries of Electricity

James Grainger (c. 17211766)

  • from The Sugar-Cane

Samuel Davies (17231761)

  • “What is great God! and what is not”

  • “While o’er our guilty Land, O Lord”

  • “While various Rumours spread abroad”

  • The Invitations of the Gospel

  • Self-Dedication at the Table of the Lord

A.L.M. (fl. 1744)

  • A College Room

Thomas Clemson (fl. 1746)

  • “From Thomas Clemson ran away”

Carolina, a young lady

  • On her Father having desired her to forbid all young Men the House

Joseph Dumbleton (fl. 17441749)

  • A Rhapsody on Rum

William Livingston (17231790)

  • from Philosophic Solitude

  • Proclamation

Samson Occom (17231792)

  • The Sufferings of Christ

  • A Morning Hymn

  • A Son’s Farewell

  • The Slow Traveller


  • A Description of a Winter’s Morning


  • The Petition

William Smith (17271803)

  • The Mock Bird and Red Bird

  • The Cherry-Tree and Peach-Tree

  • The Birds of different Feather

Hannah Griffitts (17271817)

  • The female Patriots. Address’d to the Daughters of Liberty in America

  • To Sophronia. In answer to some Lines she directed to be wrote on my Fan

  • The Cits Return from the Wilderness to the City

  • Wrote on the last Day of February 1775

  • Upon Reading a Book entituled Common Sense

  • On reading a few Paragraphs in the Crisis

Mary Nelson (fl. 1769)

  • Forty Shillings Reward

Mercy Otis Warren (17281814)

  • A Thought on the Inestimable Blessing of Reason, occcasioned by its privation to a friend of very superior talents and virtues

  • To Mr. ——

Lucy Terry (c. 17301821)

  • Bars Fight

Ned Botwood (c. 17301759)

  • Hot Stuff

Henry Timberlake (17301765)

  • A Translation of the War-Song

Benjamin Banneker (17311806)

  • The Puzzle of the Hare and Hound

Thomas Godfrey Jr. (17361763)

  • Verses Occasioned by a Young Lady’s asking the Author, What was a Cure for Love?

  • Epistle to a Friend; from Fort Henry

  • A Dithyrambic on Wine

Annis Boudinot Stockton (17361801)

  • A Satire on the fashionable pompoons worn by the Ladies in the year 1753. by a Gentleman; Answered by a young Lady of sixteen

  • A Sarcasm against the ladies in a newspaper; An impromptu answer

  • Compos’d in a dancing room

  • A Poetical Epistle, addressed by a Lady of New-Jersey, to her Niece, upon her Marriage, in this City

  • To Miss Mary Stockton

  • Sensibility, an ode

John Singleton (fl. c. 17501767)

  • from A General Description of the West-Indian Islands

Francis Hopkinson (17371791)

  • “My gen’rous heart disdains”

  • An Epitaph for an Infant

  • The Battle of the Kegs

  • A Camp Ballad

Jonathan Odell (17371818)

  • The Word of Congress

Thomas Paine (17371809)

  • Liberty Tree

Yankee Doodle

  • Yankee Doodle, or (as now christened by the Saints of New England), The Lexington March

  • The Yankey’s return from Camp

Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson (17371801)

  • To Doctor Fothergill

Robert Bolling (17381775)

  • Neanthe

  • Occlusion

Nathaniel Evans (17421767)

  • To Benjamin Franklin, Esq: L.L.D., Occasioned by hearing him play on the Harmonica

Joseph Stansbury (17421809)

  • Verses to the Tories

  • The United States

  • To Cordelia

William Billings (17461800)

  • Chester

John André (17501780)

  • Cow-Chace

John Trumbull (17501831)

  • from The Progress of Dulness ( from Part Third: The Progress of Coquetry, or, The Adventures of Miss Harriet Simper)

  • from M’Fingal (from Canto Third, The Liberty Pole)

Ann Eliza Bleecker (17521783)

  • Written in the Retreat from Burgoyne

  • On Reading Dryden’s Virgil

  • Return to Tomhanick

Timothy Dwight (17521817)

  • from The Triumph of Infidelity

  • from Greenfield Hill (Part II, The Flourishing Village)

  • from The Psalms of David

    • “Shall man, O God of light, and life”

    • “While life prolongs its precious light”

    • “I love thy kingdom, Lord”


  • from The Philadelphiad

    • Country Clown

    • Quaker

    • The Universal Motive

    • Bagnio

    • The Emigrant

    • Miss Kitty Cut-a-dash

Anne Hecht (fl. 1780s)

  • Advice to Mrs. Mowat

Philip Freneau (17521832)

  • American Liberty

  • Libera nos, Domine—Deliver us, O Lord

  • Female Frailty

  • Stanzas Occasioned by the Ruins of a Country Inn

  • The Dying Indian

  • The Wild Honey Suckle

  • The Indian Student, or Force of Nature

  • Lines occasioned by a Visit to an old Indian Burying Ground

  • The Country Printer

  • To Sir Toby, a Sugar-Planter in the interior parts of Jamaica

  • To Mr. Blanchard

  • The Republican Genius of Europe

  • On a Honey Bee, Drinking from a Glass of Wine, and Drowned Therein

David Humphreys (17521818)

  • Mount-Vernon: An Ode

  • The Genius of America

  • The Monkey, Who Shaved Himself and His Friends

St. George Tucker (17521827)

  • A Dream on Bridecake

  • A Second Dream on Bridecake

George Ogilvie (c. 17531801)

  • from Carolina; or, The Planter

Phillis Wheatley (c. 17531784)

  • To Mæcenas

  • To the University of Cambridge, in New-England

  • On being brought from Africa to America

  • On the Death of the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield

  • To the Right Honourable William, Earl of Dartmouth

  • To S. M., a young African Painter, on seeing his Works

  • A Farewel to America

  • To a Gentleman of the Navy

  • Philis’s Reply to the Answer in our last by the Gentleman in the Navy

  • To His Excellency General Washington

  • Liberty and Peace

Lemuel Haynes (17531833)

  • The Battle of Lexington

Joel Barlow (17541812)

  • Innumerable mercies acknowledged

  • from The Conspiracy of Kings

  • The Hasty-Pudding

Royall Tyler (17571826)

  • The Origin of Evil. An Elegy

  • Ode Composed for the Fourth of July

  • An Irregular Supplicatory Address to the American Academies of Arts and Sciences

Margaret Lowther Page (17591835)

  • To Miss J. L.—

Sarah Wentworth Morton (17591846)

  • The African Chief

  • Memento

Joseph Hopkinson (17701842)

  • Song, Adapted to the President’s March (“Hail Columbia!”)

Thomas Green Fessenden (17711837)

  • Jonathan’s Courtship

Charles Brockden Brown (17711810)

  • Monody, On the death of Gen. George Washington

Robert Treat Paine Jr. (17731811)

  • Adams and Liberty

William Munford (17751825)

  • The Disasters of Richland

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