Gertrude of Wyoming

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Thomas Campbell

Gertrude of Wyoming; A Pennsylvanian Tale (1809) is a romantic epic in Spenserian stanza composed by Scottish poet Thomas Campbell (1777-1844).[1] The poem was well received, but not a financial success for its author.

The setting of the poem is the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania and the massacre that occurred there on July 3, 1778. On that day, more than three hundred American Revolutionaries died at the hands of Loyalists and their Iroquois allies. At the time, it was widely believed that the attack was led by Joseph Brant; in the poem, Brant is described as the "Monster Brant" because of the atrocities committed, although it was later determined that Brant had not actually been present. The poem has been criticized for other historical inaccuracies.

The poem begins:

On Susquehanna's side, fair Wyoming!
Although the wild-flower on thy ruin'd wall,
And roofless homes, a sad remembrance bring,
Of what thy gentle people did befall;
Yet thou wert once the loveliest land of all
That see the Atlantic wave their morn restore.
Sweet land! may I thy lost delights recall,
And paint thy Gertrude in her bowers of yore,
Whose beauty was the love of Pennsylvania's shore!

The popularity of the poem may have led to the state of Wyoming being named after the valley, and Wyoming, a suburb north of Gosford, New South Wales, Australia is said to have been given its name by Frederick Augustus Hely because Gertrude of Wyoming was his favourite poem.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gosse, Edmund. English Literature: From the Age of Johnson to the Age of Tennyson. Heinemann, MCMIII.
  2. ^ John Aitken. "Comments about Gertrude of Wyoming". PoemHunter.com. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 

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