n comets, delivered in the College Chapel in 1759, are still good reading.
The year 1783 saw the founding of the Harvard Medical School; and although this was situated in Boston, the Botanic Garden was in Cambridge and under the supervision (1825-1834) of a highly educated English observer, Thomas Nuttall, whose works on botany and ornithology were pioneers in New England.
These books we read, on the very ground which had produced them; and Nuttall's charming accounts of birds, especially, werwish I had made ten hundred; but it did not inspire him with the wish to do Willis's work of gossip, only with a desire to keep his own method.
Lowell was never rich, nor was Holmes, but they lived within their means.
Even Longfellow's salary in 1834 was but fifteen hundred dollars, although in later life his income became ample.
There was nothing pharisaical in this moderation, nor did either of these poets deal harshly with persons of the Harold Skimpole race who hovered around them, as abo
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Olde Cambridge, Chapter 2: old Cambridge in three literary epochs (search)
ith true toil? still appears periodically as an occasional resurrection in the newspapers, but always as a translation from some supposed poem of Goethe.
Dwight was very probably a divinity student at Cambridge when this poem was composed, he having left that institution in 1836; and enough has at any rate been written to show that Cambridge was in many respects the seed-ground of that intellectual impulse which was harvested later at the house of Emerson in Concord, whither he removed in 1834, having left Cambridge in 1826.
It is to be observed also that, of the later writers in the Dial, Christopher Pearce Cranch, who wrote much in it, was in his later life a resident of Cambridge; that Lowell contributed several sonnets to the second volume; that William Henry Channing, who wrote the serial Ernest the Seeker, from time to time resided in Cambridge, where his mother dwelt permanently, being much of the time an occupant of the house now known as Fay House and the headquarters of
k, with its sunny windows looking out on a lawn with large pine trees, of which spot he writes (June 23, 1831) that he could almost fancy himself in Spain from the softness of the air; that the shadow of the honeysuckle lies upon the floor like a figure in the carpet, and that the humming-birds have their nests in the honeysuckle — as is still the case.
Here he lived and worked hard, rising day after day at five in the morning, as his diary shows; but all his plans were again changed when in 1834 he received an invitation to be the successor of George Ticknor as Smith Professor of Modern Languages in Harvard University, opportunity being given, by special arrangement with Mr. Ticknor, of eighteen months of added study in Europe.
This seemed the more appropriate, as Mr. Ticknor's fine and scholarly career had always been an object of admiration to his young successor; and the manuscript of Longfellow's Inaugural Address as Professor at Bowdoin College, carefully preserved in the libr
l, joyous, full of life, and variously accomplished.
Many a time I have walked up and down what is now Brattle Street, listening reverently to the talk of these older boys, not always profitable, but sometimes most valuable.
I remember, for instance, their talking over the plot of Spenser's Faerie Queene years before I had read it, and making it so interesting that we younger urchins soon named a nook with shady apple trees near our bathing place on Charles River the Bower of Blisse.
In 1834 Lowell and Story went to college, and my brother afterward to the East Indies, so I was dropped from their circle, except as a boy in a college town watches the works and ways of the students.
Both Lowell and Story were popular and socially brilliant in college, but neither gave unmixed satisfaction to the Faculty.
Both were of the kind who read old English plays a good deal, and of the rarer number who get some good out of them.
Lowell's reputation as a wit was established in the editorsh