John Gardiner Calkins Brainard
Biography of John Gardiner Calkins Brainard
John Gardiner Calkins Brainard (1795–1828) was an American lawyer, editor and poet.
John Brainard was born in New London, Connecticut in October 1796, son of Jeremiah G. Brainard, formerly a judge of the Connecticut Superior Court. He was a descendant of Lion Gardiner, an early English settler and soldier in the New World, founded the first English settlement in what became the state of New York. His legacy includes Gardiners Island which remains in the family and is the largest privately owned island in the United States.
He was tutored at home by an elder brother, and entered Yale College at the age of 15 in 1811. Biographies agree that he was not an attentive student, and it is uncertain if he graduated. Nevertheless on leaving college he was taken on as a student at law in his brother William F. Brainard's office.
By 1819 he had been called to the bar and moved to Middletown, apparently to set up his own practice. In fact, he seems to have been apathetic about a legal career, feeling that his nature was too sensitive for such a profession. Some of his earliest poems are from this period of his life, published in a New Haven literary paper, The Microscope published by one Cornelius Tuthill.
In February 1822, he was engaged as editor of the Connecticut Mirror in a bid to further a literary career. Again, biographies agree that this was not the ideal job for him, and that "his temperament was totally unsuited to rough collissions of editorial controversy". In this role he published a number of his own works within the newspaper, which were well received and led to a literary reputation for Brainard.
He appears to have been well known and well thought of in his community. He is known to have been a friend of McDonald Clarke, the so-called "Mad poet of Broadway".
In 1824-5 he published a first volume, Occasional Pieces of Poetry by John G. C. Brainard, being reprints of works first published in the Mirror, together with a miscellany of unpublished poems.
By the spring of 1827, he was in failing health, suffering from tuberculosis. He returned to New London, giving up his Mirror role, but continuing to have poems published in it.
He died on September 26, 1828. A number of poets, including John Greenleaf Whittier, wrote poems in his memory. A posthumous The literary remains of J.G.C. Brainard: with a sketch of his life was published in 1832, and revised and republished as The poems of John G. C. Brainard. A new and authentic collection. A number of his poems are reprinted in collections of poems.
John Gardiner Calkins Brainard Poems
HISPANIA! O, Hispania! once my home — How hath thy fall degraded every son
A Mariner's Song
Though now we are sluggish and lazy on shore, Yet soon shall we be where the wild waters roar;
The Sea-Bird's Song
On the deep is the mariner's danger, On the deep is the mariner's death; Who, to fear of the tempest a stranger,
The Lost Pleiad.
O! HOW calm and how beautiful—look at the night! The planets are wheeling in pathways of light;
The Black Fox Of Salmon River.
The lines below are founded on a legend, that is as well authenticated as any superstition of the kind; and as current
Lord Exmouth’s Victory At Algiers 1816
'Arma virumque cano.' THE sun looked bright upon the morning tide: Light played the breeze along the whispering shore,
The Good Samaritan.
WHO bleeds in the desert, faint, naked, and torn, Left lonely to wait for the coming of morn?
Sonnet To The Sea-Serpent.
'Hugest that swims the ocean stream.' WELTER upon the waters, mighty one— And stretch thee in the ocean's trough of brine;
Lines Suggested By A Late Occurrence.
'How slow we drive! — but yet the hour will come, When friends shall greet me with affection's kiss; When, seated at my boyhood's happy home,
On Connecticut River
From that lone lake the sweetest of the chain That links the mountain to the mighty main, Fresh from the rock and swelling by the tree,
'T IS morning on the sunny sod, Where lingering footsteps late have trod; 'T is morning on the melting snow,
FAR away from the hill side, the lake, and the hamlet, The rock, and the brook, and yon meadow so gay;
Four lamps were burning o'er two mighty graves — Godfrey's and Baldwin's — Salem's Christian kings; And holy light glanced from Helena's naves,
Jack Frost And The Caty-Did
Jack Frost. I HEARD — 't was on an Autumn night — A little song from yonder tree; 'T was a Caty-did, in the branches hid,
HISPANIA! O, Hispania! once my home —
How hath thy fall degraded every son
Who owns thee for a birth-place. They who walk
Thy marbled courts and holy sanctuaries,
Or tread thy olive groves, and pluck the grapes
That cluster there — or dance the saraband
By moonlight, to some Moorish melody —
Or whistle with the Muleteer, along
Thy goat-climbed rocks and awful precipices;