Philip Freneau

(1752 - 1832)

Philip Freneau
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Philip Freneau was born in New York of Huguenot ancestry in 1752, and died near Freehold, New Jersey, in 1832.

Well versed in the classics in Monmouth County under the tutelage of William Tennent, Philip entered Princeton as a sophomore in 1768, but the joy of the occasion was marred by his father's financial losses and death the year before. In spite of financial hardships, Philip's Scottish mother believed that her oldest of five children would graduate and join the clergy. Though he was a serious student of theology and a stern moralist all his life, Freneau found his true calling in literature. As his roommate and close friend James Madison recognized early, Freneau's wit and... more »

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Best Poem of Philip Freneau

The Indian Burying Ground

In spite of all the learn'd have said;
I still my old opinion keep,
The posture, that we give the dead,
Points out the soul's eternal sleep.

Not so the ancients of these lands --
The Indian, when from life releas'd
Again is seated with his friends,
And shares gain the joyous feast.

His imag'd birds, and painted bowl,
And ven'son, for a journey dress'd,
Bespeak the nature of the soul,
Activity, that knows no rest.

His bow, for action ready bent,
And arrows, with a head of stone,
Can only mean that life is spent,
And not the finer essence...

Read the full of The Indian Burying Ground

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