What is the meter of this poem?
"Prospect of the Future Glory of America" by John Trumbull
To views far distant and to scenes more bright,
Along the vale of Time extend thy sight,
Where hours and days and years from yon dim pole,
Wave following wave in long succession roll,
There see, in pomp for ages without end,
The glories of the Western World ascend.
See, this blest land in orient morn appears,
Waked from the slumber of six thousand years,
While clouds of darkness veil'd each cheering ray;
To savage beasts and savage men, a prey.
Fair Freedom now her ensigns bright displays,
And peace and plenty bless the golden days.
In radiant state th' imperial realm shall rise,
Her splendor circling to the boundless skies;
Of every Fair she boasts the assembled charms,
The Queen of empires and the nurse of arms.
Anecdotal evidence is the use of stories, such as personal or historical events, to illustrate and support a particular point. Thomas Paine uses anecdotal evidence to rally his readers in support of the revolution. Here is one such anecdote Paine uses:
Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I think it murder; but if a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill me, or those that are in it, and to "bind me in all cases whatsoever" to his absolute will, am I to suffer it? What signifies it to me, whether he who does it is a king or a common man; my countryman or not my countryman; whether it be done by an individual villain, or an army of them? If we reason to the root of things we shall find no difference;
In this excerpt from "Crisis, No. 1," Paine uses an anecdotal story about a thief breaking into a house to show why the colonists are justified in seeking independence from Britain. Paine compares the actions of a thief breaking into a house to the actions of the British king unjustly ruling the colonies. Although anecdotes, such as this example, aren't always logical evidence, brief stories can be effective in persuading an audience.
The major events of the Revolutionary era played a significant role in influencing writers and intellectuals of the time. Starting from the end of the French and Indian War, the British government sought to tax the American colonies to recover the costs of the war and pay for troops stationed in America. However, the American colonies were not represented in the British Parliament. The question of taxation without representation, along with other attempts by the British government to wield power over the colonies (and to restrict self-government in the colonies) led to rising tensions between the colonists and the British government.
Events such as the passing of the Tea Act and the the Intolerable Acts, the Boston Tea Party, and the Boston Massacre aroused general sentiment against British rule in the colonies and led writers and thinkers to view it as harmful or tyrannical in nature. These events also united the residents of different colonies because they perceived a common enemy in the British government.
The development of age of reason ideas in Europe, such as an emphasis on logic and individual rights, also influenced intellectuals in America. Thomas Paine, who became one of the most influential writers of the period, sailed to America from England to motivate Americans to fight for independence. Paine and other writers of the era used strong arguments to push for American independence. Paine was not a wealthy or powerful man, and he was inspired by the fact that ordinary people could find a voice and power during the American Revolution.
In "The Devil and Tom Walker," Washington Irving shows just how little Tom cared about his wife when he describes his reaction to her disappearance and death. He is more concerned about the safety of his silverware, which she had taken with her. Even when he finds her "remains" in her apron, he expresses more sympathy for the devil:
"Egad," said he to himself, "Old Scratch must have had a tough time of it!"
The text makes it evident that Tom does not consider his wife's death a great loss:
Tom consoled himself for the loss of his property, with the loss of his wife, for he was a man of fortitude. He even felt something like gratitude towards the black woodsman, who, he considered, had done him a kindness.
In this way, Washington Irving uses humor and irony to show the lack of love between Tom and his wife.
In "The Devil and Tom Walker," Washington Irving describes a man called Tom Walker, who sold his soul to the devil for a great deal of wealth. Tom becomes a usurer, and starts attending church as he gets older, because he is afraid that the devil will take his soul. In other ways, however, he remains unchanged and just as greedy as before. Irving uses satire to expose Tom's hypocrisy.
Thus Tom was the universal friend of the needy, and he acted like a "friend in need;" that is to say, he always exacted good pay and good security.
Irving satirizes the term "friend in need" to imply that Tom is sure to be waiting to provide a loan to people in need of financial aid, wanting to trick them into debt.
Irving uses irony to describe Tom's abduction by the devil. Tom, who has never kept his word in his entire life, is forced to keep his promise to the devil and give up his soul. The irony is that it is his own words that damn him.
Tom lost his patience and his piety—"The Devil take me," said he, "if I have made a farthing!" Just then there were three loud knocks at the street door. He stepped out to see who was there. A black man was holding a black horse, which neighed and stamped with impatience.
"Tom, you're come for!" said the black fellow, gruffly. Tom shrunk back, but too late.
In this way, Washington Irving uses satire and irony to depict the greed and hypocrisy of Puritan society in "The Devil and Tom Walker."
In "The Devil and Tom Walker," Washington Irving criticizes the selfish and heartless sections of American society, especially usurers, by satirizing them through Tom Walker's character. He also criticizes the hypocrisy of American religious groups through his satirical description of Tom's churchgoing and through his mention of the Salem witch trials and the persecution of Quakers and Anabaptists. He also seems to suggest that American society was founded on violence and inequality:
"Since the red men have been exterminated by you white savages, I amuse myself by presiding at the persecutions of Quakers and Anabaptists; I am the great patron and prompter of slave dealers, and the grandmaster of the Salem witches."
"The Devil and Tom Walker" has many romantic traits. The American romantics emphasized individualism and held the belief that man's choices decided his fate. In "The Devil and Tom Walker," Washington Irving suggests that it is Tom's own choices that led to his damnation. Fittingly, Tom's own words lead to his punishment.
The romantics were fascinated by the supernatural and by nature. In his story, Irving includes many supernatural elements such as the devil. He draws connections between the woods and the devil, who only ever appears before Tom in the woods and swamps.
At length, it is said, when delay had whetted Tom's eagerness to the quick, and prepared him to agree to anything rather than not gain the promised treasure, he met the black man one evening in his usual woodman's dress, with his axe on his shoulder, sauntering along the swamp, and humming a tune.
In this story, Washington Irving uses romantic elements to satirize the darker side of American Puritan society, particularly greed and hypocrisy:
Having secured the good things of this world, he began to feel anxious about those of the next. He thought with regret on the bargain he had made with his black friend, and set his wits to work to cheat him out of the conditions. He became, therefore, all of a sudden, a violent churchgoer. He prayed loudly and strenuously, as if heaven were to be taken by force of lungs. Indeed, one might always tell when he had sinned most during the week, by the clamor of his Sunday devotion.
In "The Devil and Tom Walker," Washington Irving describes how the devil strikes a deal with a petty and miserly man, Tom Walker, and the consequences of that deal. Irving uses a third-person omniscient point of view to tell the story. This point of view allows the author to give readers the private and intimate details about Tom's life and character that would not have been discernable from any other point of view. For example, he describes Tom's unhappy marriage:
Her voice was often heard in wordy warfare with her husband; and his face sometimes showed signs that their conflicts were not confined to words.
At the same time, Irving is able to distance himself from the story while dryly commenting on everything that happens. For example, he describes Tom's new business:
In proportion to the distress of the applicant was the hardness of his terms. He accumulated bonds and mortgages; gradually squeezed his customers closer and closer, and sent them at length, dry as a sponge, from his door.
If the story was told in the first person point of view (by the protagonist Tom), the readers would get intimate but inaccurate details about the story because it would be twisted by Tom's biases. Through the third-person omniscient point of view, the author is able to make important commentary on the hypocrisy and greed in American society.
Both narratives are inspired by the authors' lives. The principal theme is the journey from slavery to freedom. In this excerpt, Jacobs describes the difficult decisions involved in taking steps toward freedom, which often meant leaving loved ones behind:
But now that I was certain my children were to be put in their power, in order to give them a stronger hold on me, I resolved to leave them that night. I remembered the grief this step would bring upon my dear old grandmother; and nothing less than the freedom of my children would have induced me to disregard her advice.
Douglass paints a picture of the daily freedoms that slaves could not enjoy. Here, he relates how how slaves were denied an education and were under constant surveillance:
Nothing appeared to make my poor mistress—after her turning toward the downward path—more angry, than seeing me, seated in some nook or corner, quietly reading a book or a newspaper. I have had her rush at me, with the utmost fury, and snatch from my hand such newspaper or book, with something of the wrath and consternation which a traitor might be supposed to feel on being discovered in a plot by some dangerous spy.
Douglass shows how fighting to get an education, even though it put him at risk, was important in his journey from slavery to freedom.