ABSTRACT

Samuel Joseph Smith (1771–1835) created poetry brightened by a generally humorous, light, and melodic style. Yet he was, far more often than not, able to avoid trite, forced didacticism, providing us with poetry that truly both teaches and delights. Despite his life as a recluse at Hickory Grove, his family farm, Smith engaged effectively in resisting the early national inebriate character. His “Eulogium on Rum” is one of only six poems to appear in all three of the new nation's first poetry anthologies—The Beauties of Poetry, British and American (1791); American Poems (1793); and The Columbian Muse (1794). It additionally appeared in several periodicals, as did his later poem “The Indian Boy,” an excerpt of which even appeared in the Cherokee Phoenix in 1829 and which dissents from the national notions of the Christian nation and Manifest Destiny, myths that still haunt our politics and conservative media today.

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