John Greenleaf Whittier was born in East Havershill, Massachusetts, the son of a Quaker farmer.
Through the influence of his friend, the abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison, he embarked initially on a journalistic career but became increasingly drawn into politics with his election to the State legislature in 1835 and as secretary of the American Anti-Slavery Society. His homespun New England background, his love of the countryside, and his high moral standards are reflected in his poetical works and he was a prolific writer in a career spanning some sixty years.
Whittier's political poetry includes Poems Written During the Progress of the Abolition Question (1838), Voices of Freedom (1846), Poems (1849), and Songs of Labor (1850). His nature poetry includes The Chapel of the Hermits (1853), The Panorama and Other Poems (1856), Home Ballads and Poems (1860), Snowbound (1866), The Tent on the Beach (1867), Among the Hills (1869), Hazel Blossoms (1875), and At Sundown (1890).