The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVI. Early National Literature, Part II; Later National Literature, Part I.

XIII. Whittier

§ 4. Poems

In 1836, Whittier published Mogg Megone, and, in the following year, a collection of his miscellaneous poems. In 1849, a comprehensive collection of his poems appeared, followed a year later by Songs of Labour and Other Poems. The first English edition of his collected poems also appeared in 1850. These volumes included all that he thought worth preserving of the work of twenty years. In 1857, the “blue and gold” collected edition of the poems was published in Boston. From this time onward small volumes of new poems appeared at intervals of about two years down to the year of the author’s death, At Sundown, the last of the series, bearing the date of that very year (1892). Of special significance are the idyl entitled Snow-Bound (1866) and the cycle called The Tent on the Beach (1867). These two volumes marked a broadening of Whittier’s fame, a higher recognition of his standing as an artist, and a noticeable measure of release from the financial difficulties under which he long had struggled. For the rest, the ballads, lyrics, and occasional pieces which made him most famous are scattered somewhat indiscriminately through the score or more of his volumes. For upwards of half a century verse flowed profusely from his pen, and his career did not fall into the distinctive periods that it is the task and the delight of the critic to define and to characterize in the work of many other poets.