|Strangers to Us All||Lawyers and Poetry|
Evert A. & George L. Duyckinck,
The Cyclopedia of American Literature 324
John Trumbull was born in 1750 in Watertown, Connecticut and was a poet and lawyer. He learned classical languages at an early age and qualified for entrance to Yale at an age when children are today in early elementary school. While waiting to enter Yale he wrote poetry and studied the classics, entering Yale at age thirteen. After graduation from Yale in 1767, he remained as a fellow and tutor, continuing his writing. His first major literary work was a satirical poem, The Progress of Dullness which was published in 1772 and 1773. Trumbull took his bar examination in 1773 and took up the practice of law with John Adams in Boston. When Adams departed Boston, Trumbull returned to New Haven to practice law. His best known work, M'Fingal, a long poem, appeared in installments beginning in 1776, with additional cantos appearing some five years later. He was associated with a group of fellow Connecticut poets called the "Hartford wits" (or "Connecticut wits")(Timothy Dwight, David Humphreys, Lemuel Hopkins, Richard Alsop, Theodore Dwight, and Joel Barlow). Joel Barlow, one of Trumbull's fellow "wits" was also a lawyer/poet.
Most of Trumbull's significant poetry was written before his mid-thirties, after which time he devoted his life to law and politics. H was elected states' attorney general in 1789 and served in the state legislature from 1792 to 1800. He was a judge on various Connecticut courts.
The first collection of his poetry, The Poetical Works of John Trumbull was published in 1820. Trumbull died at age eight-one in Detroit, Michigan.
Trumbull: The Beginnings of Verse, 1610-1808
Library of Congress
A New England Poem
John Trumbull, M'Fingal: An Epic Poem (1782)(New York: American Book Exchange, 1881) [online text]
___________, The Poetical Works of John Trumbull, LL. D. Containing M'Fingal, a modern epic poem, revised and corrected, with copious explanatory notes; The progress of dulness; and a collection of poems on various subjects (Hartford: Printed for Samuel G. Goodrich, by Lincoln & Stone, 1820) [online text]
___________, Satiric Poems: The Progress of Dulness
Poetry: Legal Periodicals
John Trumbull, The American Tories, 5 Green Bag 85 (1912)
Victor E. Gimmestad, John Trumbull (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1974)
Alexander Cowie, John Trumbull: Connecticut Wit (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1936)
Leon Howard, The Connecticut Wits (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1943)
Alexander Cowie, John Trumbull as Revolutionist, 3 (3) American Literature 287-295 (1931)
John Ferguson Weir, John Trumbull: A Brief Sketch of His Life, to which is added a catalogue of his works, prepared for the Committee on the bi-centennial celebration of the founding of Yale college (New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1901) [online text]