Name of the poem: A Legend of the Northland
Name of the poet: Phoebe Cary
Phoebe Cary**
Phoebe Cary was an American poet and the younger sister of her fellow poet Alice Cary. The sisters were often understood together and were popularly known as the Cary sisters. The sisters began their career by collaborating on a collection of poems, and later, went on to produce separate volumes. However, joint anthologies of the sisters' unpublished poems were published after their deaths in \(1871\).

Phoebe Cary was born on September \(4\), \(1824\), in the U. S. state of Ohio. Cary and her sister were raised on a farm and received little schooling. Nonetheless, the lack of formal education was partly compensated through the homeschooling they received. Alice was taught by their mother and Phoebe was taught by Alice, and as they learned to read and write, they developed an interest in literature.

Phoebe Cary began to write when she was thirteen years old. She began writing under the guidance of Alice, and her first poem was published in a Boston newspaper around the same time as her sister. Their works garnered the attention of great writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, Horace Greeley, John Greenleaf Whittier, and Rufus W. Griswold. In \(1848\), Griswold included their poems in his anthology Female Poets of America. Through Griswold's recommendation, they published their first book of poems, "Poems of Alice and Phoebe Carey", in \(1850\). The book garnered sufficient attention, and though it was only moderately successful, it was encouraging enough for the sisters to proceed with their writings. As a result, the sisters moved to New York City.

The Cary sisters became regular contributors to Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, and other publications in New York City. While in New York, the sisters published their separate volumes of poems. Phoebe has only two collections of poems, namely, "Poems and Parodies" (\(1854\)) and "Poems of Faith, Hope and Love" (\(1867\)), to her credit. On the other hand, her sister was more prolific. That was probably because Phoebe had devoted much of her time to keeping house and, in later years, to caring for Alice who had been long suffering from an illness.

During their lifetime, Alice had a better reputation. As said before, she was far more prolific than Phoebe. However, Phoebe’s poems were later praised for their wit and emotions. Also, one of her religious verses, “Nearer Home” (also known as “One Sweetly Solemn Thought”), became widely popular as a hymn.

Apart from writing, both sisters supported the women’s rights movement of their time. Also, for a short time, Phoebe worked as an assistant editor of Susan B. Anthony’s paper The Revolution. The sisters were also known for hosting several intellectual gatherings at their house, and they were often loved for their hospitability.

Eventually, Alice succumbed to her illness in \(1871\); drowned in grief and stricken with malaria, Phoebe died later that same year, on July \(31\), \(1871\). Both were buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.
Her independent writings are:
  • Poems and Parodies (\(1854\))
  • Poems of Faith, Hope and Love (\(1867\))
Several of her works were published together with her sister's. The titles of the collections are:
  • Poems of Alice and Phoebe Cary (\(1850\))
  • A Memorial of Alice and Phoebe Cary With Some of Their Later Poems (\(1873\))
  • The Last Poems of Alice and Phoebe Cary (\(1873\))
  • Ballads for Little Folk by Alice and Phoebe Cary (\(1873\))