John Trumbull was born in 1750 in Watertown, Connecticut. He was a poet and lawyer. He learned classical languages at an early age and qualified for entrance to Yale at an age when children today are still in early elementary school.
While waiting to enter Yale he wrote poetry and studied the classics, entering Yale at age thirteen. After graduation in 1767, he remained as a fellow and tutor, continuing his writing. His first major literary work was a satirical poem, The Progress of Dullness which was published in 1772 and 1773.
Trumbull took his bar examination in 1773 and began practicing law with John Adams in Boston. When Adams departed Boston, Trumbull returned to New Haven to practice law.
His best known work, M'Fingal, a long poem, appeared in installments beginning in 1776, with additional cantos appearing some five years later.
Most of Trumbull's significant poetry was written before his mid-thirties, after which time he devoted his life to law and politics. He was elected states' attorney general in 1789 and served in the state legislature from 1792 to 1800. He was a judge on various Connecticut courts.
The first collection of his poetry, The Poetical Works of John Trumbull was published in 1820. Trumbull died at age eight-one in Detroit, Michigan.