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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 25. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Sergeant Smith Prentiss and his career. (search)
the shadowy past, and was richly stored with the unreal but life-like creations which the genius of Shakespeare and Scott had evoked from the ideal world. He had lingered spellbound, among the scenes of mediaeval chivalry. His spirit had dwelt, until almost naturalized, in the mystic dreamland they peopled—among paladins and crusaders and Knights Templar; with Monmouth and Percy—with Bois-Gilbert and Ivanhoe, and the bold McGregor——with the cavaliers of Rupert, and the iron enthusiasts of Fairfax. As Judge Bullard remarks of him, he had the talent of an Italian improvisatore, and could speak the thoughts of poetry with the inspiration of oratory, and in the tones of music. The fluency of his speech was unbroken—no syllable unpronounced—not a ripple on the smooth and brilliant tide. Probably he never hesitated for a word in his life. His diction adapted itself without effort to the thought; now easy and familiar, now stately and dignified, now beautiful and varied as the hue