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GERTRUDE OF WYOMING; OR, THE PENNSYLVANIAN COTTAGE: 2, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

Thomas Campbell wrote "Gertrude of Wyoming; or, The Pennsylvanian Cottage" in 1809, during the Romantic period in literature. The poem was inspired by the historical events of the 1778 Wyoming massacre, in which a group of Native Americans attacked a settlement in Pennsylvania and killed a large number of settlers. The poem reflects Campbell's interest in politics and social justice, as well as his fascination with the American wilderness and its people.

Content:

The poem is divided into three sections, each of which tells a different part of the story of Gertrude, a young woman who falls in love with a Native American warrior named Yarico. The first section describes the idyllic setting of Gertrude's home in the Pennsylvania wilderness and introduces the main characters of the poem. The section also foreshadows the coming conflict between the settlers and the Native Americans, with references to the "war-whoop" of the Indians and the "tomahawk's gleam".

The second section of "Gertrude of Wyoming; or, The Pennsylvanian Cottage" begins with the introduction of Yarico, a Native American warrior who falls in love with Gertrude. The section explores the relationship between Gertrude and Yarico, and the difficulties they face as a result of their different cultures and the coming conflict between their people. The section is marked by a sense of foreboding and tension, as the conflict between the settlers and the Native Americans looms on the horizon.

The third section of the poem focuses on the Wyoming massacre itself, and the tragic events that unfold as the settlers and the Native Americans clash in a brutal and bloody battle. The section is marked by a sense of horror and sadness, as the reader witnesses the violence and destruction that results from the conflict between the two groups. The section also explores the aftermath of the massacre, as Gertrude and Yarico attempt to make sense of the tragedy and the loss of their loved ones.

Form:

The first section of the poem is composed of twenty-six stanzas, each with four lines. The rhyme scheme is ABAB, with a meter of iambic tetrameter. The poem's use of a traditional poetic form and meter contributes to its formal beauty and reinforces its timeless and universal themes.

The second and third sections of the poem are composed of thirty-eight and twenty-six stanzas, respectively, each with four lines. The rhyme scheme is ABAB, with a meter of iambic tetrameter. 

Poetic Elements:

The first section of the poem employs various poetic techniques to convey the beauty and wonder of the natural world, such as the description of the "emerald hue" of the trees and the "crystal mirror" of the lake. The section also uses foreshadowing and symbolism to hint at the coming conflict between the settlers and the Native Americans, such as the reference to the "war-whoop" of the Indians and the "tomahawk's gleam".

The second and third sections of the poem employ a range of poetic techniques to convey the emotions and themes of the poem. The second section uses vivid imagery and metaphor to explore the relationship between Gertrude and Yarico, and the difficulties they face as a result of their different cultures. The third section uses powerful and evocative language to convey the horror and sadness of the Wyoming massacre, and the sense of loss and tragedy that follows in its wake.

Summary:

"Gertrude of Wyoming; or, The Pennsylvanian Cottage" is a beautiful and evocative depiction of the natural world and the idyllic setting of Gertrude's home. The poem's use of traditional poetic forms and meter contributes to its aesthetic appeal, while its use of foreshadowing and symbolism adds depth and complexity to the poem's themes. 

Overall, the first section of the poem is a masterful example of Campbell's skill as a poet and his ability to capture the beauty and wonder of the natural world. It sets the stage for the coming conflict and tragedy of the rest of the poem, and demonstrates the power of poetry to evoke strong emotions and convey complex ideas.


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