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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Olde Cambridge, Chapter 2: old Cambridge in three literary epochs (search)
ncy of the new movement in a yet more marked way, a young Harvard graduate, Robert Bartlett of Plymouth, then Latin tutor at the University, who was an occasional member or visitor of the Symposium Club, had taken for his Master of Arts oration in 1839 this daring theme, No good possible but shall one day be real, and had thus boldly turned his searchlight upon the position and prospects of American literature :--
When Horace was affecting to make himself a Greek poet, the genius of his couauteous act and thought.
Unlike all the world before us, our own age and land shall be classic to ourselves.
This was the attitude of mind which the new periodical was to represent; but Alcott writes of its prospects in his diary (November I, 1839): Half a dozen men exhaust our list of contributors; Emerson, Hedge, Miss Fuller, Ripley, [W. H.] Channing, Dwight, [J. F.] Clarke, are our dependence.
It is to be noticed that, of this club of seven, Hedge and Miss Fuller were Cambridge born; Em
It is true, as Lowell sternly says, that the canker years had left her leafless too; but this could not be said of Miss Sally Lowell, a maiden lady who later became a resident of the large building, in friendly juxtaposition with Longfellow, and whose perpetual and sparrow-like vivacity made her a companion of the young, as I can testify, to her latest years.
The Craigie House was then more beautiful than now, by reason of the great elm trees-ten magnificent elms, as he wrote in 1839,
Life of Longfellow by his brother, I. p. 325.--which reached the grass with their pendent boughs and have since perished of sheer old age. Longfellow however greatly improved the appearance of the grounds by the low-fenced terrace which is so appropriate that one finds it hard not to carry that appendage back to the time of Washington.
Craigie House has played a much larger part in Cambridge tradition than the houses which were also the birthplaces of Holmes and Lowell.
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