William Cullen Bryant

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William Cullen Bryant

William Cullen Bryant

William Cullen Bryant was born November 3, 1794, in Cummington, Massachusetts. Cullen was an American romantic poet, journalist, and an editor in chief to the New York Evening Post. According to PoemHunter.com, he was an active activist, he worked for workmen and labor rights. As well as voicing his opinion for the rights the religious minorities and the immigrants. He developed an interest in poetry at a very early age. At the age of thirteen years-old, his first poem was published in 1808, “The Embargo”, which depicted the savage attack on President Thomas Jefferson. He received positive critiques due to his age and expanded edition. He later stopped writing due to his commitment to school in attending Williams College, and studying law in Worthington and Bridgwater. As stated in thefamouspoeple.com, after his studies he realized his strong passion for poetry and soon began to write again. Some of his most famous work includes “Thanatopsis” which was written in 1811. This poem is a piece from the Era of Romanticism. It includes details in imagination, the love of nature, and individualism. Another well known poem is “To a Waterfowl”. He wrote this after noticing a single bird flying over the horizon on his way to work in Cummington, which touched his heart and inspired him. Other works are “A Forest Hymn,” “A Song of Pitcairn’s Island,” “Consumption,” and “The Constellations”.



Everybody experiences tough and good moments during their human experience. There will be times where people or obstacles will come your way, but you need to overcome them. Sometimes we will try to shift into a new direction, when already knowing where to go, but during that whole time there will be somebody guiding the right direction.


In the beginning of To a Waterfowl, it gives the feeling of worry because we don’t know about the waterfowl, such as where it is heading, or what’s its plan. As well as nice and calming because Bryant used great imagery, the sun setting and the rosy depths seem to give it a good feeling. But then it takes a twist into the dark because the bird comes across a hunter. Then his tough journey is described. By the end of the poem, it changes the setting to some sort of dedication, joy and relief.

In to a Waterfowl he used anaphora in the third to last sentence by repeating the word “soon”. He uses personification when comparing the bird to a human by saying the he is solitary, which gives him the meaning of being independent. As well as asking him questions and saying he will “scream” among his “fellows”. There is a lot of imagery, such as when Bryant says the waterfowl has flapped his wings all day, the sun is setting through the rosy depths, darkly seen against the crimson sky, and when he say the bird will find a summer home and scream among his kind. Symbolism is also occurred when describing the movement of his wings. They symbolize the breathing of a person. His wings flap without stopping through the dark and tough roads.The poem as a whole is a depicted as a metaphor. Bryant uses the waterfowl to be compared to a person and the difficult bumps he will have to face, but he won’t face them alone because someone will guide him the way just like God guides ours.



The Death of the Flowers

To a Waterfowl


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