Born in rural Chester County, Pennsylvania, Bayard Taylor's ancestors were Quakers with ties to William Penn. Taylor began writing poems as a child and served an apprenticeship at the West Chester Village Record. Rufus Wilmot Griswold, editor of Graham's Magazine, encouraged Taylor to publish his first volume of poetry, Ximena (1844). He traveled to Europe soon after; before leaving, he visited New York and met Nathaniel Parker Willis, a frequenter of Pfaff's and an admirer of Edgar Allan Poe. Willis introduced him to Horace Greeley and later wrote an introduction to Views Afoot (1846), Taylor's account of his experiences abroad. Taylor's excursion, for which he wrote letters detailing his travels and experiences, was funded by the Saturday Evening Post, the United States Gazette of Philadelphia, and the New York Tribune (Van Doren, "Bayard Taylor").
In the wake of his successful book, Taylor spent some time in Pennsylvania running the Gazette (rechristened the Pioneer) and then returned to New York in December 1847, possibly following Willis' suggestion that he "[b]e willing to go in at a small hole, like a lean rat, trusting to increase so much that you cannot be got out without destroying what took you in. This is fair play, where the property of an establishment is made by your underpaid industry. The town is full of five-dollar-a-week men, but they don't stand at all in your way. Your book has made you a name which would give your union to any paper great value" (Willis, "Personal Letter" 101). Taylor took this advice to heart, writing to New York editors including Horace Greeley, Rufus Griswold, and William Cullen Bryant. While in New York Taylor contributed a weekly column to the Literary World and then managed the literary department at the Tribune. His travels to California, to report on the gold rush, Panama, and Mexico inspired him to publish Eldorado (1850). Taylor resumed his travels after the death of his wife; he left New York in 1851 and traveled in Africa and the East, visiting Egypt, India, China, and Japan. He eventually published three books about his experiences and gave lectures about them as well (Van Doren, "Bayard Taylor").
Embarking on another European excursion in 1856-58, Taylor produced several volumes describing his travels. At this point he remarried and settled down near his childhood home, building a retreat called Cedarcroft. His inherent restlessness led him to serve as a Civil War correspondent for the Tribune in Washington, D. C. His novel, Hannah Thurston (1863), grew out of his diplomatic mission to Russia; it was followed swiftly by two more novels. During this period he embarked upon diverse literary projects, translating Faust (1870-71), teaching German at Cornell University, composing national odes, and writing literary parodies featuring a Bohemian character who resembled Whitman in The Echo Club and Other Literary Diversions (1876). Upon his death in 1878, he lay in state in New York's city hall and was buried in Pennsylvania; this death brought "a keen sorrow" to Aldrich, who discusses Taylor's death in a letter, "...My heart is heavy just now with the death of Bayard Taylor, my dear friend, without a cloud, for twenty-five years. It is like losing an arm. It is worse than that -- it is losing a loyal heart. He was a man without guile" (Greenslet 136). Though originally recognized as a poet, Taylor is recognized today chiefly for his travel writing and his novels.
In the "word pictures" drawn by the Booths for Mrs. Aldrich and her sister of the gathered company at the Stoddards', the description of the Taylors was as follows: "First for guests we had Mr. Bayard Taylor and his young German bride, wearing the simple black dress of the German frau; the lace cap, the insignia of the new dignity of wifehood, covering her sunny hair. Bayard's 'picture in little' was of a big, genial, lovable man, an immense favorite with all, full of good-fellowship, and bubbling over with gaiety and cheer" (17).
Taylor was one of the poets who wrote and read poems for the celebration of Bryant at the Century Club (59).
Mrs. Aldrich reprints the sonnet Taylor wrote to commemorate the Aldrichs' marriage p.86.
Mrs. Aldrich discusses Taylor seeing them off on the Abyssinia when the Aldriches went abroad and how he brought them his own cure for seasickness. Mrs. Aldrich notes that "Mr. Taylor's reputation as a traveler was great" (162-164).
Mrs. Aldrich writes that at the end of 1878, everyone "was much saddened" at the death of Bayard Taylor. She discusses how her husband wrote to Stedman in November 1878, "I have a presentiment he will never return." On December 20, 1878, Aldrich wrote again to Stedman: "I cannot speak or write about it. It gave me such a shock in the solitude here. It was at the supper-table last night. I was laughing as I unfolded the 'Tribune,' and then I read 'Bayard Taylor dead.' I shall be in New York all day on the 7th of January. We sail on the 8th on the Abyssinia, and I want a quiet half-hour's talk with you somewhere, if it can be arranged" (224).
Mrs. Aldrich prints a poem about Taylor, titled "Bayard Taylor" on p. 236.[pages:17,59,86,162-164,224,236]
The second sonnet, entitled "Three Flowers," is dedicated to Bayard Taylor.[pages:91]
Allen mentions that Taylor visited with Whitman around the winter holidays in 1867 (378). In 1871, Taylor, "recently a friend of Whitman" wrote a parody of Whitman that appeared in the Tribune:
"Who was it that sang of the procreant urge, recounted sextillions of subjects?
Who but myself, the Kosmos, yawping abroad, concerned not at all about either the effect or the answer" (433).
This, and other parodies were written in response to Whitman's attempt to substitute for Greeley at the National Industrial Exhibition (433). After this satire, Whitman "detested" Taylor and was disappointed when Taylor was asked to deliver a poem at the Centennial Celebration in Philadelpia (463).[pages:378,433,463,471,472,477]
Taylor was the recipient of Stedman's complaints about the hostility of the Atlantic Monthly towards New York writers. Taylor was one of the few New York associated writers regularly published by the magazine.[pages:298, 299, 300]
"Taylor clung to the idea of establishing a manorial estate at Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, but lived more or less in New York and buzzed restlessly about the literary market until he died a victim of overwork in 1878" (324).
In discussing Sidney Lanier's relationship to Taylor, Boynton states: "But depression and drudgery tended to silence him, and might have done so if the music in [Lanier] had succumbed with the poetry and if the poetry had not been revived by the stimulating friendships of two older men, Paul Hamilton Hayne and Bayard Taylor" (350).[pages:118, 181, 277, 324, 350, 385, 431]
Taylor was one of the writers gathered at the complimentary fruit and flower festival held for distinguished authors by New York publishers at the Crystal Palace in 1855 (35). Derby reprints a section of Taylor's "interesting reminiscences" about Horace Greeley originally published in a memorial volume by the Tribune Association p.137-138. Taylor also delivered one of several "poetical tributes" to Bryant at a dinner held in his honor at the Century Club (158). Stedman, Taylor, and Stoddard were among the poets who wrote and read original poems at the funeral of William Cullen Bryant (169).
Taylor edited Picturesque Europe for D. Appleton & Co., and also contributed "some of the descriptive letterpress." This book, and others in the "Picturesque" series sold by subscription only (184).
Derby writes of the first meeting between Bayard Taylor and the publisher George Palmer Putnam:
"In the year 1847 Mr. Putnam received a call at his office in Waterloo Place from a young American printer, who had been making a journey through the continent, and whose funds were exhausted. Some remittances he had expected had not come to hand, and he was entirely destitute of the means of support, endeavoring to secure work at his trade in a London printing office, where he succeeded temporarily, but was thrown out of the first position he secured through the jealousy of English compositors, who were not willing to have in the office a foreigner not belonging to their typographical guild. Mr. Putnam sympathizing with the young American, gave him temporary clerical work. This timely assistance laid the foundation for a friendship, a very close one, which lasted as long as their lives.
"Within a year after the acquaintance was formed, Mr. Putnam had the pleasure of publishing the narrative of this young printer's trip over the continent under the title of 'Views Afoot, or Europe seen with a Knapsack and Staff,' by Bayard Taylor. On its publication, the English reviews gave it unstinted praise" (301-302).
At the time of the publication of "Views Afoot," Taylor was twenty-one years old; Derby notes that this book has been in demand for over forty years and has sold more than one hundred thousand copies (302).
According to Derby, Stedman's "How old Brown took Harper's Ferry" was the "indirect cause of the beginning of a lasting friendship with Bayard Taylor." Taylor was lecturing in the West when the poem was published in the Tribune, and would sometimes read the poem to his audiences. When he returned to New York, he and Stedman met for the first time. Stedman asked Taylor about Stoddard, and Taylor introduced the two men the next day, beginning another life-long friendship. Derby also writes that "The death of Bayard Taylor was a great blow to his brother poets, and both Mr. Stedman and Mr. Stoddard have in prose and poetry rendered affectionate tributes to the memory of their friend, the distinguished poet, traveler, and diplomat, whose death created a vacancy in American literature which has never been filled" (535).
According to Derby, "When Bayard Taylor, who was always a favorite with Mr. Willis, returned from Europe, the first time, he took the letters which he had written to a Philadelphia paper, to Wiley & Putnam, to publish in book form, and that firm agreed to do so, provided Mr. Willis would write an introduction for the same, and this secured the publication of 'Views Afoot'" (596).
Stoddard met Bayard Taylor through Mrs. C.M. Kirkland. When she left for Europe, she left Taylor in charge of the Union Magazine, and "told Mr. Stoddard, that during her absence, he had better call upon the latter, as he would be sure to like him" (597). Derby reprints Stoddard's account of their first meeting from recollections of Bayard Taylor, contributed to the New York Independent p.597-599.
Derby also mentions Stoddard's Life of Baron Humboldt, published by Carleton on the condition that the introduction be written by Taylor, a friend of Humboldt's. The book was quite successful, but Derby notes that this might have been due to the book being marketed as Taylor's Life of Humboldt (600).
Derby writes that Stoddard enjoyed a parody of Taylor's "Manuela" called "Martha Hopkins" by Phoebe Cary. "The merit of her parody was not merely that she paraphrased the text of the author comically, but that for every serious situation in his poem she found a corresponding comical one. Mr. Taylor was very much complimented by this parody, as he should have been" (601-602).
Derby notes at the time of his writing "Mrs. Taylor has just completed the biography of her eminent and lamented husband, whose labor of love, in book form, is looked forward to with lively interest by thousands of her late husband's friends" (280).[pages:35,137-138,158,169,184,279-280,301-302,316,535,591,595,596,597,600,601-602]
Bayard was a member of Aldrich's "nearer circle of contemporaries" during his experience in the "Literary Bohemia" in New York (38).
Greenslet claims that "the careers of Bayard Taylor and Edwin Booth are known to all men" (38).
Greenslet reprinted the sonnet Taylor wrote for Aldrich and his wife for their wedding (77).
Taylor's departure abroad is mentioned in a letter from Aldrich to Stedman (89). Aldrich mentions in a letter to Howells dated Dec. 13,1876, that he received a letter from Taylor that was "so full of affection and unaffectedness that I am ashamed to love him with only all my heart (129).
Greenslet discusses Taylor's death in December, 1878. Greenslet claims this death brought "a keen sorrow" to Aldrich; Taylor had "gone abroad with his well-merited ministerial honors, never to return." Greenslet quotes a letter Aldrich wrote to a friend that discusses Taylor's death, "...My heart is heavy just now with the death of Bayard Taylor, my dear friend, without a cloud, for twenty-five years. It is like losing an arm. It is worse than that -- it is losing a loyal heart. He was a man without guile" (136). Greenselt reprints Aldrich's elegy for Taylor on pp. 136-137.
Greenslet reprints Aldrich's letters to Taylor on the following pages: 32-3,70-1, 73-5,81-3,103-4, 107-8, 125-127,129-132[pages:3,32-33,38,70-71,73-75,77,81-83,89,103-104,107-108,125-127,129-132,136-137]
Gunn documents attending Taylor's lecture, "Monday. Returned to New York, seeing Pounden by the way. Writing letter to Hannah &c. To Bayard Taylor's lecture in 2. Tuesday. Drawing &c} the evening with Haney and Sally Edwards. Crowd filled the lecture room at Clinton Hall – had to adjourn to Cooper Institute. Subject "Moscow" (242).[pages:242]
Gunn journals meeting Bayard Taylor, "to the Tribune Office and was there introduced to Bayard Taylor, who impressed me very pleasantly. He was here on reportorial duty and had what appeared to be a magnificent horse waiting to bear him to Manassas" (30).
Gunn finds Taylor in the Tribune Office and describes their encounter, "Wednesday. Scribbling in my room after a sally out to purchase ink. A second-rate Southern hotel dinner. To Washington by the 4 o'clock boat. Found Bayard Taylor in the Tribune Office, sitting with a very sunburnt face and rough blue shirt, coat off, writing his account of the evacuation of Manassas, from which he had just returned. He regarded it, rightly, as a success on the part of the Confederates and a humiliation to the Union troops or rather their monstrously be-puffed general" (41).
Gunn took his companion too Taylor's lodge, "Met Thomson Mc Elrath in the uniform of a U. S. lieutenant of artillery who told me that Cobb had returned to Pennsylvania. Piloted my former companion on Lake Superior to Bayard Taylor's lodging and left him there" (42).
It has been decided that Gunn should ride down the river, "In default of movement on the part of Heintzelman's corps it had been settled between Wilkeson, Bayard Taylor and myself, that I should ride down the river, beyond Mount Vernon and visit certain rebel batteries, recently abandoned, for the purpose of sketching and describing them" (43).
Waud complains to Gunn about Taylor, "At the Colonel's tent I find Alf Waud who talks of his recent visit to Manassas and abuses Bayard Taylor as "a d____d fool" for his account in the Tribune. Waud, with characteristic assurance, pronounces two or three small forts on an open plain, without flank or rear defences, sundry fences, over which Taylor had ridden his horse and a few quaker guns, "impregnable." (Of course he but echoed the opinion of the military toadies about Mc Clellan.) I didn't like his arrogant denunciation of a man who had seen ten times as much as himself and had written, withal, modestly and honestly, hence we had a sharp bit of controversy. Like many conversational bullies he moderated his tone on opposition, and condescended to become friendly" (57-58).
Gunn recalls a story by Taylor, "Boy sent off; returns with cock and bull story, having been to wrong stable. Edge comes and prattles. Bayard Taylor tells a story about Charles Mackay inviting him to dinner at the Star and Garter, Richmond, and afterwards assigning half the amount of the bill to be paid by his guest!" (63).
Taylor commends Gunn to Dr. Skilton, "Friday. Old Berry sent us over to his tent, very hospitably, to get a breakfast. There we encountered a Dr Julius A. Skilton of the New York 87th. He had some knowledge of Bayard Taylor, whom with characteristic kindness, had specially commended me to Skilton's hospitality. I was welcome, said the doctor, to take up my quarters in a Sibley tent, occupied at present by him and his steward, Frank Holman, an Englishman from Brooklyn, N. Y." (130).
Gunn attaches a newspaper clipping regarding a book about Bayard Taylor (272).
Taylor is mentioned in a newspaper clipping (274).
Gunn attaches a newspaper clipping regarding A Day with Bayard Taylor (277-278).
Gunn saves a "New Books" clipping of the newspaper that has the book ,em> A Day with Bayard Taylor listed (279-280).[pages:30, 41, 42, 43, 57-58, 63, 130, 270, 272, 274, 277-278, 279-280 ]
Hahn says he was an occasional visitor.[pages:20]
Taylor is mentioned as being a friend of Caroline M. Kirkland, an attendee of Lynch's receptions (198).
Hemstreet discusses Taylor's first meeting and friendship with Stoddard. According to Hemstreet, at the time of their meeting, Taylor had already traveled across Europe on foot and had published his account of his trip in Views Afoot. At this time, Taylor was also one of several editors working for Greeley at the Tribune. Taylor and George Ripley wrote the paper's book criticisms. According to Hemstreet, "Views Afoot was the most popular book of its day when Stoddard walked into the Tribune office and introduced himself to the author, finding him very hard at work in a little pen of a room" (204-5). Taylor and Stoddard's friendship lasted thirty years. The two met on Saturdays at Taylor's small apartment where Taylor taught Stoddard to smoke and the men discussed literature and wrote poetry (206).
According to Hemstreet, despite the success of Views Afoot, Taylor "led a life of hard work and struggle" (206). During the period when he and Stoddard met at his home on Murray Street, Taylor wrote Kubleh, Ariel in the Cloven Pine, and the song that won him a prize from Barnum when Jenny Lind came to America (206-7).
Stoddard met several people through Taylor, whose friends often visited him at home. Rufus W. Griswold is mentioned as one of Taylor's early "advisers." He was also friends with diplomatist and playwrite George H. Boker, and the lawyer-author Richard Kimball (207).
Hemstreet claims that "These days of changing fortunes were the most romantic of Taylor's career. Many other places in the city are associated with him, one a house near Washington Square, where he lived for several years and wrote among other things the Poems of the Orient" (207-8). His last New York address was 142 East Eighteenth Street, where he wrote Deukalion (208).
Taylor left New York as United States Minister to Germany. Taylor traveled around Europe before dying in Berlin within the year of his departure (208).
Hemstreet mentions that Stoddard and Taylor once lived together across the street from 108 Waverly Place; their house was at the corner (238).[pages:150-n/a(ill),198,204-208, 218,238,241]
Taylor, Stoddard, Aldrich, and Stedman are mentioned as the parties in New York involved in the "inconsistent opposition" to the third edition of Leaves of Grass in 1859-1860. Lalor writes that "It was chiefly against this ambivalent group and against the naysayers of New England that Clapp did battle for Whitman, with a characteristic originality of method which was both a tribute to the Press at the same time it was a boon to Whitman" (137).[pages:137]
Lalor places him in "the 'genteel' circle" in contrast to the rowdy Bohemians.[pages:15,22,23,47]
Taylor went to Europe and the Middle East in 1851. He lectured when he returned, and eventually worked at the Tribune (51).
Taylor and Richard Henry Stoddard were friends, and met while they were "poetry-struck teenagers" (51).
Taylor was a great admirer of Edgar Allen Poe (52).[pages:51, 52, 114]
Levin notes that Bayard Taylor drew similarities between Pfaff's beer cellar and a cellar he had been to in Leipzig. Taylor mused that the "'mild potations of beer and the dreamy breath of cigars delayed the nervous, fidgety, clattering-foot American hours'" (18).[pages:18, 21, 58]
Levin is unclear as to how often he visited Pfaff's. Taylor remarked that the cellar reminded him of one in Leipzig and said, "mild potations of beer and the dreamy breath of cigars delayed the nervous, fidgety, clattering-footed American hours" (19). Taylor also noted that the atmosphere allowed escape from bourgeois life.
Taylor is mentioned as one of the "mainstays of the 'genteel tradition'" who occasionally visited Pfaff's and later tried to dissociate himself from the group. This group's association with the Pfaffians "helped define the genteel Bohemianism that would come into fashion in the 1870's and 1880's" through their "antipathy towards bourgeois materialism." He would become important in the post-bellum era (21).[pages:18-19,21]
A note announces that Mr. G.P. Putnam has published a new volume of Taylor's Northern Travels that also includes a new portrait of the author (2).[pages:2]
A note announces an upcoming lecture by Taylor at the Mattapan Literary Association of South Boston on the evening of December 11. According to the note, Taylor has currently booked over one hundred speaking engagements for the Winter and cannot add any more to his schedule (3).[pages:3]
A note announces the beginning of Taylor's lecture tour in the West and notes that Taylor will not make his way to the East coast for several months (2).[pages:2]
Taylor was one of many writers who sought "refuge in the past" in order to escape the "chaos caused by the war and a rapidly changing American society" (82).
In a January 2, 1864 review, Winter disparaged Taylor's "new novel, Hanna Thurston, which dealt with sectarianism, temperance, anti-slavery, spiritualism, and women's rights" (87).[pages:82, 87, 128]
This article announces that "Bayard Taylor arrived on Wednesday, in the Saxonia, after an absence of two years and a half... accompanied by his wife and child." It also states that Taylor will spend the winter lecturing and then intends to build a mansion on his estate in Pennsylvania, "where he will permanently reside."
Taylor lectured as part of the Mercantile Library lectures for the Athenaeum in March, 1866. His lecture was titled "Ourselves and Our Relations." Henry James, Thomas Carlyle, and Oliver Wendell Holmes were also a part of this series (114).[pages:114]
He wrote the words to "Greetings to America" that was composed by Benedict (?) for Jenny Lind's first American appearance on Sept. 11, 1850. Lind sang the song and Taylor received $200 for the lyrics. Odell says that the money was "offered as a prize for the best poem written under these excruciating circumstances"(86).
Taylor was also one of the lecturers at the Lyceum in 1850-51, a series that included Henry Ward Beecher, Horace Greely, Park Benjamin, and E.H. Chapin. Bayard was also a part of the 1854-55 Brooklyn Institute lecture series (420). Taylor was a lecturer at the Athenaeum in the 1855-56 season in a "special fall and winter course" that also included Emerson, J.G. Saxe, E.P. Whipple, Curtis, Beecher, Benjamin, and Oliver Wendell Holmes (507).
Taylor is mentioned as a "play carpenter" in the same manner as Gayler in Odell's discussion of Walden's style of dramatic adaptation (523).[pages:86,109, 420,507, 523]
Taylor gave a lecture at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute Dec. 7, 1858, entitled Moscow. He was also part of the Hamlitonian Literary Association lecture series given at the Odeon, 1959-60, in Brooklyn.[pages:196- 197,302]
A note announces that Bayard Taylor is scheduled to lecture on "Moscow" on December 7, before the Brooklyn Mercantile Library Association (2).[pages:2]
According to Parry, Taylor liked what he described as the "dim, smoky, confidential atmosphere" at Pfaff's because it reminded him of Auerbach's beer cellar in Leipzig. Parry quotes Taylor: "mild potations of beer and the dream breath of cigars delayed the nervous, fidgety, clattering-footed American hours" (22). Parry mentions that Taylor and Stedman were among the "valued friends" Stoddard "weaned" away from Pfaff's and into respectability. During this time period, Taylor rarely visited Pfaff's and "it was not until some twenty years later that he overcame his faint-heartedness sufficiently to sentimentalize Pfaff's in Echo Club, and Other Literary Diversions" (59).
Taylor was among the contemporary writers who were not fans of or friends of Walt Whitman (41).[pages:22,41,59,244,256]
Stoddard's obituary mentions that during the years Stoddard worked at the Custom House (1853-1870), he struck up an acquaintance and then a friendship with Taylor.[pages:217]
The obituary states that "By the best of his leisure he struggled up into self-education, and the companionship of such men as Bayard Taylor and Henry Clapp" (5).[pages:5]
Sentilles quotes Taylor's description of Pfaff's as a place where "mild potations of beer and the dreamy breath of cigars delayed the nervous fidgety, clattering-footed American hours." Taylor was a regular in the bohemian circle.[pages:141, 142]
Of the "measure of prestige and influence" that the Tribune carried when it became an unprecedented success, Taylor said "the Tribune is next to the Bible all through the West" (17).
To follow the Manassas campaign, Dana "sent one of the Tribune's prima donnas, Bayard Taylor, the big, genial poet and world traveler whose descriptive work in California and with Perry's expedition to Japan had provided the paper with some of its most notable reporting, to follow the campaign. Taylor piled on the satire, datelining one dispatch 'Camp Disappointment, near Centreville,' and was only too happy to accept an offer a few days later to go to St. Petersburg as Secretary of the American legation. War correspondence, he confessed, was 'a test of human endurance' for which he had no taste" (93-94).
In a discussion of the preference of editors to keep the identities of their war correspondents anonymous or under the cover of a pen name, Starr writes about the different choice of editors. Some writers were allowed men names or initials, while editors like Bennet insisted on anonymity. Some writers, however, were allowed to identify themselves, as Starr quotes Sam Wilkeson's explanation of the "prevailing view" to Gay: "The anonymous greatly favors freedom and boldness in newspaper correspondence. I would not allow any letter writer to attach his initials to his communications, unless he was a widely known & influential man like Greeley or Bayard Taylor...Besides the responsibility it fastens on a correspondent, the signature inevitably detracts from the powerful impersonality of a journal" (195).[pages:17,93-94,195]
In his tribute to Elizabeth Stoddard, Stedman mentions the associates in her literary circle, including Bayard Taylor, General McClellan, James Russell Lowell, and Edmund Booth.[pages:9]
Stoddard recalls spending late nights in his quarters writing verse with O'Brien and Bayard Taylor, who "had just returned from the Orient."[pages:44]
He wrote the introduction for Stoddard's book.
"It is a striking fact that the number of young men prominently connected with the New York press as writers is greater now than at any former period...the chief editorial work in these journals is done by men between the years of twenty-five and forty" (4).
"As to Bayard Taylor, Richard H. Stoddard, Grant White, and Joseph Barber, we are a little doubtful of their ages—but we give them the benefit of the doubt" (4).[pages:4]
"I then discovered for the first time the enormous retentive power of Mr. Taylor's memory. He could quote by the hour English, German, Italian, and even Swedish poetry, and apparently have inexhaustible treasures still in reserve" (180).
"His fund of comic and serio-comic verse from obscure poets was a constant source of amusement to all who came in contact with him. The poet Chivers, for instance-what wonderful things he has produced! and how soon, but for Taylor, his ungrateful country would have forgotten him" (181).
"People who knew Bayard Taylor but superficially were apt to accuse him of what they were pleased to call literary vanity" (185).[pages:178-201]
The letter is addressed to Bayard Taylor.
Whitman notes that he "had a visit from Bayard Taylor, a few days since" (305).[pages:305]
Winter notes that Poe "was the first authoritative voice to recognize the excellence of Bayard Taylor; hailing him, 1849, as 'unquestionably the most terse, glowing, and vigorous of all our poets'" (296).
Winter discusses Taylor's senses of humor and fun, stating that "a sense of humor was one of Taylor's most propitious and most charming attributes, and with him, as with all other persons who possess that blessing, it served as a shield against petty troubles and as a cordial stimulant to philosophical views of fun. He was like a boy, also, in his love of fun" (160). To demonstrate Taylor's sense of humor, Winter recounts Taylor's account of an experience he had at Rev. Horace Mann's house and also cites Taylor's "Echo Club," "first published serially and afterward (1876) in a book" as a "conspicuous product of Taylor's playful humor." "Echo Club" contains several imitations, or parodies, of the styles of Taylor's contemporaries in verse. Winter reprints a letter Taylor wrote him on the subject of the book dated October 8, 1872, from Goatha. In this letter Taylor thanks Winter for sending him copies of the New York papers and mentions that he hopes Winter does not mind that Taylor parodied his writing: "All the papers were welcome, I assure you, and even the sight of your unforgeable MS. was refreshing to mine eyes. Moreover here was evidence that you have already forgiven me for my abominable effort at imitating some of your best poems, making comic the very qualities in them which I most enjoy. I may congratulate myself, I think, on having finished the series of travesties without having (so far as I know) giving lasting offense to any of the victims. Yet, stay!--I almost doubt of being pardoned by Mrs. Howe. It was a perilous undertaking, just at present, and I might easily have worse luck." In this letter, Taylor also discusses his European travels and asks after Winter and other New York friends. In this same letter, Taylor confesses to Winter that both he and his wife have had "a strange fancy" that something has happened to one of the Stoddards and hopes that he is wrong in his feeling. Taylor also asks after Stedman and encloses a separate letter for him in the care of Winter. Taylor also speaks of his return and asks Winter to write him with "all the gossip, literary and otherwise" (161-164).
Of the "travesties" in "Echo Club," Winter writes that several "are notably felicitous, and all of them are amusing." Winter also notes that Taylor held back a parody of Longfellow, fearing he would offend the poet. Winter reprints the first stanza of Taylor's parody on "The Psalm of Life" here:
"O'er the fragile rampart leaning, Which enclosed the herd of swine, Thoughts of vast and wondrous meaning
Flitted through this brain of mine." The poem continues with a discussion of how pigs jockey for places at the trough, pushing the smaller ones aside; the poem uses this as a metaphor for human conduct (164-165).
Winter reprints Appollo's section of Taylor's "The Masque of the Gods," from his own, personally inscribed copy from Taylor, signed "To William Winter, from his old friend Bayard Taylor. New York, May 30, 1872." Winter feels this is "Taylor's finest poem, in sublimity of theme, grandeur of conception, and spontenaiety of rhythmical eloquence" (165). Winter also reprints a letter from Taylor that discusses the poem. Taylor confirms Winter's opinion that the poem "is certainly the best thing I've yet done," and how he feels that he is really honing his poetic skill. Taylor also discusses his poetic feelings and his thoughts on how one develops into a poet. Taylor also remarks to Winter that he is happy, despite the fact that he knows the publication sales for the poem have not been particularly good; he feels his craft has improved. Taylor also discusses having to do "a certain amount of technical hack work, in order to buy the rest of my time for myself" and his plans to fully use his spare time to do his own work (166-167).
In 1876, Taylor was asked to participate in the centennial celebration of The Declaration of Independence, in Philadelphia on the Fourth of July, as "the poet of that national occasion." According to Winter, "he appreciated the honor and accepted the duty." Taylor also promised the Society of the Army of the Potomic that he would be present at their June reunion and deliver a poem in Philadelphia. Winter notes that during this time, he and Taylor lived almost across the street from each other, on East Eighteenth Street, in New York, and worked together at "The New York Tribune," so they met often and exchanged notes when they could not meet. Some of their conversations at this time related to Taylor's progress on the poems for these occasions; Taylor had trouble concentrating his thoughts on the Ode for the Fourth of July, so he asked Winter to take his place at one of the events. Winter read a poem at the reunion of the Society of the Army of the Potomic, while Taylor read his "magnificent Ode" in front of Independence Hall (167-168). According to Winter, "he electrified a vast multitude and gained for himself a laurel that can never fade: for there is no other poem that so fully and so eloquently expresses the central thought of American civilization and the passionate enthusiasm for liberty by which that civilzation is permeated and sustained" (169). Winter reprints on p.169 a letter from Taylor in which he shares his impressions of the Centennial Celebration with Winter. Taylor writes: "As for myself, I don't know how it was, nor can I yet understand,--but I did what I never saw done before, and certainly shall never do again: thousands of common people were silenced, then moved, then kindled into a flame, by Poetry! It was this grand instinctive feeling of the mass which amazed me most" (169) Winter remarks that when he met with Taylor after the event, "Taylor's delight in the triumphant success of his ode was almost pathetic in its childlike ecstasy of happiness" (170).
On October 2, 1872, Taylor writes to Winter from Goatha, Germany. He discusses his current project of writing a History of Germany for schools, "for the sake of bread and butter," and also discusses the current business failures of his publications of his creative works. Taylor also mentions some of the reviews of his works, including Stedman's review of his Vienna Letters, which Taylor says he would think were ironic if he didn't have an existing friendship with Stedman and if Stedman hadn't seen the poem before it was published. Despite the commercial failures of his poetry, Taylor writes that he is still committed to producing it. Taylor also discusses his travel plans, homesickness, and his family (173-174). In a November 11 letter, Taylor discusses his writing and that he has sent off manuscripts to Osgood and Strahan & Co., in London. Taylor also mentions having lectured in German for the benefit of the Ladies' Charitable Associations of the city on the topic of American Literature. At this event, Taylor read a translation of Poe's "Raven" in German, some Whittier, and some other poems, and Taylor feels these works "seemed to make a strong impression." Taylor also writes about who else has written to him and comments positively on Winter's latest poetry. Taylor also inquires about the "Tribune" office after Greeley's death and mentions Reid's poem about the editor (174-176).
Taylor's poetic group included Richard Henry Stoddard, Elizabeth Barstow Stoddard, Edmund Clarence Stedman, George Henry Boker, Fitz-James O'Brien, Christopher P. Cranch, Fitz Hugh Ludlow, and George William Curtis. Winter notes that at the time of his writing "not one remains" of this group. Winter notes that Taylor's writings show that he had strong affection for Stoddard and Boker. Winter also recalls that his first meeting with Taylor was at the Stoddards' home at the northeast corner of Fourth Avenue and Tenth Street, in New York, where they would often gather their friends: "there I have seen Taylor, as also at his own fireside and at mine, the incarnation of joviality and the soul of mirth" (177).
Winter says of Taylor: "He was in no way ascetic. He loved the pleasures of life. No man could more completely obey than he did the Emersonian injunction to 'Hear what wine and roses say!'" (177).
Of Taylor's poetic influences, Winter writes: "In the earlier part of his career, he fancied himself a disciple of Shelley: there is, among his works, an ode to that elusive poet, whom he invokes as 'Immortal brother'; but, in fact, he had as little natural sympathy with the rainbow mysticism of that rainbow being as he had with his proclivity for dry bread. He would have consorted far more readily with Burns or Christopher North, 'the jolly bachelors of Tarbolton and Mauchline'..., or the genial revelers of the Noctes Ambrosianae. Not that he fancied carousal: but he was very human. Like Shelly, however, he loved Grecian themes: his 'Icarus,' 'Hylas' and 'Passing the Sirens' are fine imaginative examples of that love; but, like Burns, he habitually treated all themes in a spirit of ardent humanity" (177-178).
Winter notes that Stedman, Stoddard, Taylor, and Boker were not associated with Clapp, the Bohemians, or the group that gathered during the time of "The Saturday Press" and Pfaff's Cave. These men did not lead Bohemian lifestyles and were not sympathetic to the lifestyle (178). Winter notes that while "Taylor, roaming up and down the world,--as Goldsmith had done before him,--learning languages, consorting with all sorts of persons, and earning his bread with his pen, possessed the true Bohemian spirit; but, all the same, his tastes were domestic, his proclivities were those of the scholar and the artist, and he typifies not Grub Street, but literature; and in literature he especially represents the rare and precious attribute of poetic vitality; for his many-colored line throbs and glows with life,--not alone the life of intellect, but the life of the heart" (179).
Winter writes that "It is difficult to depict, in the cold gleam of words, the inspiring personality of Bayard Taylor and to indicate its value to the general experience" (179). Winter continues: "In the common life of every day he was the genial comrade, enjoying everything and happy in contributing to the happiness around him. In the life of the intellect, in the realm of thought and expression, he became transfigured; he was the priest at the altar, the veritable apostle of Art" (180).
Winter also notes that while Taylor, Stoddard, Stedman, Boker, Curtis, Ludlow, and the names of have been "comingled wtih those of Clapp's Bohemian associates," they "were not only not affiliated with that coterie but were distinct from it, and, in some instances, were inimical to it" (295). Winter also notes that both Taylor and Stoddard were friends with O'Brien, but their friendship did not last (295).
Taylor is buried in Longwood, PA. "Upon his grave...there is a Greek altar, inscribed with the words, 'He being dead yet speaketh.' It is not an idle epitaph. As long as there is beauty in the world, and as long as there are human hearts to receive its message of joy and hope, his voice will be heard" (180).
Albert Henry Smyth wrote a Life of Bayard Taylor (332).[pages:160-170,172-180,293,295,296,332]
Taylor is mentioned as a friend of O'Brien and was incorporated into the intimate circle that included the Bohemians. In John Godfrey's Fortunes, Taylor bases the character Brandagee on O'Brien.[pages:65, 70]
The Vault at Pfaff's
27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015