Biography of John Trumbull
John Trumbull was an American poet.
Trumbull was born in what is now Watertown, Connecticut, where his father was a Congregational preacher. At the age of seven he passed his entrance examinations at Yale, but did not enter until 1763; he graduated in 1767, studied law there, and in 1771–1773 was a tutor. In 1773 he was admitted to the bar, in 1773–1774 practiced law in Boston, working in the law office of John Adams, and after 1774 practiced in New Haven, Connecticut. He was state attorney in 1789, a member of the Connecticut Assembly in 1792 and 1800, and a judge of the Superior Court in 1801–1819. The last six years of his life were spent in Detroit, Michigan, where he died.
While studying at Yale he had contributed in 1769–1770 ten essays, called "The Meddler", imitating The Spectator, to the Boston Chronicle, and in 1770 similar essays, signed " The Correspondent" to the Connecticut Journal and New Haven Post Boy.
While a tutor he wrote his first satire in verse, The Progress of Dulness (1772–1773), an attack in three poems on educational methods of his time. His great poem, which ranks him with Philip Freneau and Francis Hopkinson as an American political satirist of the period of the War of Independence, was M'Fingal, of which the first canto, "The Town-Meeting", appeared in 1776 (dated 1775).
After the war Trumbull was a rigid Federalist, and with the "Hartford Wits" David Humphreys, Joel Barlow and Lemuel Hopkins, wrote the Anarchiad, a poem directed against the enemies of a firm central government.
Trumbull Avenue in Detroit is named after him.
John Trumbull Primary School in Watertown, CT
M'Fingal Rd. in Watertown, CT was named after his poem.
John Trumbull's Works:
The Progress of Dulness (1772–73)
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John Trumbull Poems
To A Young Lady
In vain, fair Maid, you ask in vain, My pen should try th' advent'rous strain, And following truth's unalter'd law, Attempt your character to draw.
To Ladies Of A Certain Age
Ye ancient Maids, who ne'er must prove The early joys of youth and love, Whose names grim Fate (to whom 'twas given, When marriages were made in heaven)
The Owl And The Sparrow
In elder days, in Saturn's prime, Ere baldness seized the head of Time, While truant Jove, in infant pride, Play'd barefoot on Olympus' side,
The Country Clown
Bred in distant woods, the clown Brings all his country airs to town; The odd address, with awkward grace, That bows with half-averted face;
M'Fingal - Canto I
When Yankies, skill'd in martial rule, First put the British troops to school; Instructed them in warlike trade, And new manoeuvres of parade,
M'Fingal - Canto Ii
The Sun, who never stops to dine, Two hours had pass'd the mid-way line, And driving at his usual rate, Lash'd on his downward car of state.
M'Fingal - Canto Iii
Now warm with ministerial ire, Fierce sallied forth our loyal 'Squire, And on his striding steps attends His desperate clan of Tory friends.
M'Fingal - Canto Iv
Now Night came down, and rose full soon That patroness of rogues, the Moon; Beneath whose kind protecting ray, Wolves, brute and human, prowl for prey.
Beneath A Mountain's Brow
"Beneath a mountain's brow, the most remote And inaccessible by Shepherds trod, In a deep cave, dug by no mortals hands An Hermit lived,--a melancholy man
M'Fingal - Canto Iv
Now Night came down, and rose full soon
That patroness of rogues, the Moon;
Beneath whose kind protecting ray,
Wolves, brute and human, prowl for prey.
The honest world all snored in chorus,
While owls and ghosts and thieves and Tories,
Whom erst the mid-day sun had awed,
Crept from their lurking holes abroad.