| The Heath Anthology of
American Literature, Fifth Edition
Wolcott rose to become governor
of Connecticut in 1750 but began life in humble circumstances. His mother
taught him to read and write, and he was apprenticed to a clothier, setting up
in his own successful business at twenty. After marrying, he moved to South
Windsor, Connecticut, to take up farming, and he embarked on a long career in
public service as selectman, town magistrate, lawyer, military leader, and
eventually governor. His poetry reflects Puritan themes and Baroque styles. A
contemporary of the poet Edward Taylor and an orthodox Calvinist, he wrote the
first book of poetry to be published in Connecticut, Poetical Meditations,
Being the Improvement of Some Vacant Hours (1725). His remarkable
historical poem in epic style on the founding and rechartering of the colony,
excerpted in the book, imbues the events with near mythic status.
In the Heath Anthology
from A Brief Account of the Agency of the Honorable John Winthrop, Esq; In the Court of King Charles the Second, Anno Dom. 1662 When he Obtained for the Colony of Connecticut His Majesty’s Gracious Charter
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First Book of poetry printed in New England.
Frontmatter scan of the first edition of Wolcott's Poetical Meditations, Being the Improvement of some Vacant Hours.