Bryant, William Cullen, an American poet; born Nov. 3, 1794, in Cummington, Mass. His father, a man of great literary culture, practised as a physician. He prepared, when he was but 14, a collection of poems, which were published in Boston in 1809. In that volume appeared "The Embargo," the only poem dealing with the politics of the day he ever wrote. In the following year Bryant entered Williams College as a student of law, but left without taking a degree in 1815, when he was admitted to the bar. In that year he became a contributor to the "North American Review," in which appeared the following year his "Thanatopsis," a poem in blank verse, which received much laudatory criticism. Six years later he published a second collection of poems which brought him into real fame. He definitely abandoned law for literature in 1825, and went to New York, where he founded the "New York Review," and a year after became the editor of the "Evening Post," an old established paper with which he was connected till his death. A complete edition of his poems up to 1855 was published in that year, and in 1863 appeared a small volume entitled "Thirty Poems." His last works of importance are his translations of the "Iliad" (1870) and the "Odyssey" (1872), translations which many American critics rank above any that had hitherto appeared in the English language. Early in 1878 appeared "The Flood of Years," his last poem of any great length. On the occasion of uncovering a statue to Mazzini (May 30, 1878) he had to stand uncovered for about an hour under a burning sun. On his way home he met with an accident which was followed by concussion of the brain, and on June 12 he expired.

Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.