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A New England Group
THE SPIRIT AND POETRY OF EARLY
THE refuge of the Puritans on this side of the ocean was not exactly a nest of singing birds; but it had a character and self-conscious spirit which sought expression in verse as well as in sermons, and, at least, if not poetical, it resounded with the psalmody of the saints. In judging the strength and weakness of those early poets, to grant them the title by courtesy, we should remember first of all that for the most part they belonged to the class who were leaders in breaking away from the full current of English life, and spoke for a people who brought with them to these lands a civilization rent and shorn by what rightly may be called one of the huge mischances of history.
It is, I know, the teaching of a certain school of scientific historians that the changes of civilization are produced by large impersonal laws under whose sway the will of the individual sinks into insignificance. That theory is, perhaps,