Biography of Gamaliel Bradford
Gamaliel Bradford was an American biographer, critic, poet, and dramatist. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, the sixth of seven men called Gamaliel Bradford in unbroken succession, of whom the first, Gamaliel Bradford, was a great-grandson of Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth Colony.
Bradford attended Harvard University briefly with the class of 1886, then continued his education with a private tutor, but is said to have been educated "mainly by ill-health and a vagrant imagination. As an adult, Bradford lived in Wellesley, Massachusetts. The building and student newspaper for the Wellesley High School (where Sylvia Plath received her secondary school education) are named after Gamaliel Bradford.
In his day Bradford was regarded as the "Dean of American Biographers. He is acknowledged as the American pioneer of the psychographic form of written biographies, after the style developed by Lytton Strachey. Despite suffering poor health during most of his life, Bradford wrote 114 biographies over a period of 20 years.
Gamaliel Bradford's Works:
A Pageant of Life (poetry)
A Prophet of Joy (poetry)
Shadow Verses (poetry)
Unmade in Heaven (drama)
Lee, the American
American Portraits, 1875-1900
Confederate Portraits, 1914
Portraits of Women
Portraits of American Women
Saints and Sinners
A Naturalist of Souls: Studies in Psychography
Life and I (autobiography)
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Gamaliel Bradford Poems
Others make verses of grace. Mine are all muscle and sinew. Others can picture your face. But I all the tumult within you.
I've been a hopeless sinner, but I understand a saint, Their bend of weary knees and their con- tortions long and faint,
You may think my life is quiet. I find it full of change, An ever-varied diet, As piquant as 'tis strange.
Down come the leaves, Like fleeting years, Or idle tears Of love that grieves.
The ghost of night's long hours depart In congregation dreary, And leave my sorrow-trampled heart Intolerably weary.
That odd, fantastic ass, Rousseau, Declared himself unique. How men persist in doing so, Puzzles me more than Greek.
Of old our father's God was real, Something they almost saw, Which kept them to a stern ideal And scourged them into awe.
My life is governed by the clock, All duly mapped and plotted; And only with a nervous shock I miss the time allotted.
A Thousand Years
Just to utter a word, That is all I desire; That may still be heard, When I expire;
Taken all Together
I've had a few diseases, And trifled with despair, Tried failure which displeases, And coquetted with care.
You think my songs are strange. I think they are myself. I let my fancy range— The divagating elf.
Day and night I wander widely through the wilderness of thought, Catching dainty things of fancy most reluctant to be caught. Shining tangles leading nowhere I persistently unravel, Tread strange paths of meditation very intricate to travel.
Imagination plays me most intolerable tricks. To enumerate them all would be unbearably prolix. Just a trifle bids them gather and a trifle bids them go. And they tease me and torment me more than anyone can know.
When I was little, My life was half fear. My nerves were as brittle As nature may bear.
Of old our father's God was real,
Something they almost saw,
Which kept them to a stern ideal
And scourged them into awe.
They walked the narrow path of right
Most vigilantly well,
Because they feared eternal night
And boiling depths of Hell.