The prairies for william cullen

The Prairies for William Cullen Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman were the first people to radically deviate from the long British artistic traditions by introducing important subjects affecting humanity into their poems( Galoway 724). In fact they tackled even the darkest secrets of their day like sexuality through the poems. As such, they are considered the founders of a unique American poetic voice. William Cullen Bryant also followed the same trend in most of his poems. In his poem, “ The Prairies” he dwelt in the themes that were very relevant to the events of his time rather than the traditions. This paper is going to look at the major issues that William Cullen dealt with in the poem that gives it a distinctive American poetic voice. To begin with, Bryant appreciates the beautiful scenery in America. He vividly describes an ideal appearance of the prairies and its environs. The persona talks of; The unshorn fields, boundless and beautiful, For which the speech of England has no name— The Prairies. I behold them for the first, And my heart swells, while the dilated sight (Bryant 2-5) He goes further to state that “ Man hath no part in all this glorious work:/The hand that built the firmament hath heaved “(Bryant 24-25). This implies that Bryant can only attribute this beautiful scenery to God since no man could have had a hand in it. These descriptions of nature shows that the poet was conversant with his environment and was proud of it. The poem reveals the original potential of America. The persona talks of the great potential that was seen by the first settlers who came to America from Europe. America would be agriculturally productive hence farming would be profitable there. Their ambition was to exploit the potential to make America as great as Europe or even greater. The persona says: These are the gardens of the Desert, these The unshorn fields, boundless and beautiful, For which the speech of England has no name— The Prairies. I behold them for the first, And my heart swells, while the dilated sight Takes in the encircling vastness. Lo! they stretch In airy undulations, far away,( Bryant 1-7) This came at a time when all the lands in Europe were locked up by the wealthy kings and lords so that there was no land left for anyone. In America, there was still a lot of productive land lying untouched. Similarly, Bryant reviles how nature operates. Although generations have gone by, nature has withstood the test of time. Despite the changes taking place like the rise and fall of cities, the buildings that are constructed and break down and the emergence and loss of languages, the flowers, trees, wind sun and ocean have always remained. Yawns by my path. The gopher mines the ground Where stood their swarming cities. All is gone— All—save the piles of earth that hold their bones— The platforms where they worshipped unknown gods Myriads of insects, gaudy as the flowers They flutter over, gentle quadrupeds, And birds, that scarce have learned the fear of man, Are here, and sliding reptiles of the ground, Startlingly beautiful. The graceful deer ( Bryant 65-68; 107-111) The poet also emphasizes the fact that the wonders of nature never changes. Instead, they keep on repeating themselves. This is what the persona implies when he says; “…. All at once/A fresher wind sweeps by, and breaks my dream/ And I am in the wilderness alone” Justas there was wind at the beginning of the poem, the wind comes yet again to show the recurrence of the wonders in nature. In the poem, the poet also reveals the scramble for the land in America by different races. The Indians first displaced the mound builders who were occupying part of Illinois. When the White settlers came, they again displaced the Indians from the place. “…. The red man came—/The roaming hunter tribes, warlike and fierce,/And the mound-builders vanished from the earth.(60-62) Fills them, or is withdrawn Fills them, or is withdrawn. The red man, too, Has left the blooming wilds he ranged so long, And, nearer to the Rocky Mountains, sought A wilder hunting-ground. The beaver builds No longer by these streams, but far away, On waters whose blue surface ne’er gave back The white man’s face- among Missouri’s springs, And pools whose issues swell the ( Bryant 91-98). The repeated displacement of powerful races may imply that no matter how strong a group is it may finally be brought to its knees. The Indians were strong in America but the Europeans managed to displace them. Going by the above themes sampled from William Cullen Bryant’s poem “ The Prairies” it is clear that the poem has a distinctive American poetic voice. The poem does not dwell in traditions but it focuses on the various issues that were of concern in America when it was written and even some current issues. Some of these issues include struggle for liberation, racial issues and racial discrimination and the American dream; ort which are central to both America and her history. Works Cited Bryant, William , C. THE PRAIRIES. 1832. 29 April, 2011. Galloway, Andrew . William Cullen Bryant’s American Antiquities: Medievalism, Miscegenation, and Race in The Prairies. American Literary History, 22( 4), Winter 2010, 724-751 William Cullen Bryant Examines Nature.” 123HelpMe. com. 29 Apr 2011   .