Samuel Kettell, ed. Specimens of American Poetry. 1829.
Critical and Biographical Notice
Samuel Woodworth (17841842)
SAMUEL WOODWORTH is a native of Scituate, in Massachusetts, and was born January 13th, 1784. He was the son of a farmer, who was not furnished with the means of giving his children anything more than a very scanty tuition. At the age of fourteen, he attracted the attention of the minister of the parish, by some poetical attempts, and was taken by him under his own roof. The minister bestowed much pains upon his education, and made endeavors to collect a subscription to send him to college, but failing in this, the connexions of young Woodworth put him in mind of the necessity of betaking himself to some occupation for his maintenance. He chose that of a printer, and travelling to Boston, put himself as an apprentice in the office of the Columbian Centinel. He remained here till his indentures were out in 1806, and set off for New York, but his cash failing, he was compelled to stop at New Haven, where he procured employment in the office of a weekly publication called The Herald, for which he exercised both his composing stick and his pen. In less than a year, he resolved upon establishing a weekly miscellany of his own, and partly with the avails of his industry for that short period, and partly by obtaining credit, furnished himself with a printing apparatus, and issued a paper, to which he gave the name of The Belles Lettres Repository. Of this paper he was the editor, publisher, printer, and very often the carrier. His thrift and industry however, were not crowned with success. After a trial of two months, the paper was dropped, and he returned to Boston, and thence to Scituate. Leaving his native place after a short stay, he went to Baltimore, and from that city to New York, where he married, settled, and still resides.
Mr Woodworth has been a writer in several of the public journals, besides serving as editor to a number of literary miscellanies, such as The War, The Casket, and The Halcyon Luminary. In all these, he has written numerous poetical articles. He is the author of The Champions of Freedom, a novel, which appeared about the year 1816, and of several dramatic pieces, namely, The Deed of Gift, Lafayette, or the Castle of Olmutz, The Locket, The Widows Son, and The Rose of the Forest. A collection of his poems was published in a volume in 1818, and another in 1827.
The short piece entitled The Bucket, is the most esteemed of Mr Woodworths writings. It is a very happy performance, natural in thought and expression, and distinguished for the musical sweetness of its numbers. The engaging liveliness and simplicity of this little strain have made it very popular.