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Selected Poetry of John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)


from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

What matter, I or they?
Mine or another's day,
So the right word be said
And life the sweeter made?
        (My Triumph)
  1. An Autograph
  2. Barbara Frietchie
  3. The Barefoot Boy
  4. Burning Drift-Wood
  5. Ichabod
  6. In School-days
  7. My Triumph
  8. Skipper Ireson's Ride
  9. Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyl
  10. Telling the Bees
  11. What the Birds Said
  12. The Worship of Nature


Notes on Life and Works

Born December 17, 1807, in Haverhill, Massachusetts, John Greenleaf Whittier, inspired by reading Robert Burns, wrote and published poems in local journals beginning in 1826. After a two-year education at Haverhill Academy, Whittier embarked on a lifelong career of journalism, editing one newspaper after another. A committed abolitionist, and a delegate to the first Anti-Slavery Convention in 1833, he won election to the state legislature in 1835, ran for Congress on the Liberty party platform in 1842, and regarded himself as a founder of the Republican party. His volumes of poems were many:

Snow-Bound, especially, sold 20,000 copies. He published many poems in the newspapers he edited, including the Atlantic Monthly, which he helped found. He nearly married, several times, but retired to Danvers in 1876 to live with his cousins. Many notable literary men, including Mark Twain, honoured him at a party on his 70th birthday in 1877. Harvard awarded him an honorary degree in 1886. He died on September 7, 1892, at Hampton Halls, New Hampshire, and was interred at Amesbury.

See also

Biographical information

Given name: John Greenleaf
Family name: Whittier
Birth date: 17 December 1807
Death date: 7 September 1892
Buried at: Amesbury