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him. Poets and musical composers see more with their ears than they do with their eyes. The single work of art that attracted him strongly at this time was a statue of Venus, by Canova, which he compares to the Venus dea Medici, and his brother Samuel remarks that he was always more attracted by sculpture than painting. Canova was a genius very similar to Longfellow himself, as nearly as an Italian could be made to match an American, and he was then at the height of his reputation. In 1829 Longfellow returned to Portland and was immediately chosen a professor at Bowdoin College, where he remained for the next seven years. When, in 1836, Professor Ticknor retired from his position as instructor of modern languages at Harvard, his place was offered to Longfellow and accepted. This brought him into the literary centre of New England, and one of the first acquaintances he made there was Charles Sumner, who was lecturing before the Harvard Law-School. The friendship between the
s time was a statue of Venus, by Canova, which he compares to the Venus dea Medici, and his brother Samuel remarks that he was always more attracted by sculpture than painting. Canova was a genius very similar to Longfellow himself, as nearly as an Italian could be made to match an American, and he was then at the height of his reputation. In 1829 Longfellow returned to Portland and was immediately chosen a professor at Bowdoin College, where he remained for the next seven years. When, in 1836, Professor Ticknor retired from his position as instructor of modern languages at Harvard, his place was offered to Longfellow and accepted. This brought him into the literary centre of New England, and one of the first acquaintances he made there was Charles Sumner, who was lecturing before the Harvard Law-School. The friendship between these two great men commenced at once and only ceased at Sumner's death in 1874, when Longfellow wrote one of the finest of his shorter poems in tribute
is no ornament in a house that testifies to the quality of the owner like a handsome library. Byron would seem to have been the only other poet that has enjoyed such prosperity, although Bryant, as editor of a popular newspaper, may have approached it closely; but a city house, with windows on only two sides, is not like a handsome suburban residence. Longfellow could look across the Cambridge marshes and see the sunsets reflected in the water of the Charles River. Here he lived from 1843, when he married Miss Appleton, a daughter of one of the wealthiest merchant-bankers of Boston, until his death by pneumonia in March, 1882. The situation seemed suited to him, and he always remained a true poet and devoted to the muses: Integer vitae scelerisque purus. He did not believe in a luxurious life except so far as luxury added to refinement, and everything in the way of fashionable show was very distasteful to him. His brother Samuel once said, I cannot imagine anything more disa
whom he seemed to think as much of as though they were distinguished. He recognized fine traits of character, perhaps real greatness of character, in out-of-the-way places,--men whose chief happiness was their acquaintance with Longfellow. It was something much better than charity; and Professor Child spoke of it on the day of Emerson's funeral as the finest flower in the poet's wreath. Longfellow was one of the kindest friends that the Hungarian exiles found when they came to Boston in 1852. Longfellow helped Kossuth, subscribed to Kalapka's riding-school, and entertained a number of them at his house. Afterwards, when one of the exiles set up a business in Hungarian wines, Longfellow made a large purchase of him, which he spoke of twenty years later with much satisfaction. He liked Tokay, and also the white wine of Capri, which he regretted could not be obtained in America. Those who supposed that Longfellow was easily imposed upon made a great mistake. He had the reputa
set up a business in Hungarian wines, Longfellow made a large purchase of him, which he spoke of twenty years later with much satisfaction. He liked Tokay, and also the white wine of Capri, which he regretted could not be obtained in America. Those who supposed that Longfellow was easily imposed upon made a great mistake. He had the reputation among his publishers of understanding business affairs better than any author in New England; but he was almost too kind-hearted. Somewhere about 1859 a photographer made an excellent picture of his daughters-indeed, it was a charming group — and the man begged Mr. Longfellow for permission to sell copies of it as it would be of great advantage to him. Longfellow complied and the consequence was that in 1860 one could hardly open a photograph album anywhere without finding Longfellow's daughters in it. Then a vulgar story originated that the youngest daughter had only one arm, because her left arm was hidden behind her sister. It is to be
osed that Longfellow was easily imposed upon made a great mistake. He had the reputation among his publishers of understanding business affairs better than any author in New England; but he was almost too kind-hearted. Somewhere about 1859 a photographer made an excellent picture of his daughters-indeed, it was a charming group — and the man begged Mr. Longfellow for permission to sell copies of it as it would be of great advantage to him. Longfellow complied and the consequence was that in 1860 one could hardly open a photograph album anywhere without finding Longfellow's daughters in it. Then a vulgar story originated that the youngest daughter had only one arm, because her left arm was hidden behind her sister. It is to be hoped that Longfellow never heard of this, for if he did it must have caused him a good deal of pain, in return for his kindness; but that is what one gets. Fortunately the photographs have long since faded out. Much in the same line was his interest in th
July 9th, 1861 AD (search for this): chapter 5
said to him: It is worth that makes the man; the want of it the fellow --a compliment that almost dumfounded his young acquaintance. It is certain that Longfellow addressed a poem to Mrs. Longworth which will be found in the collection of his minor poems, and in which he speaks of her as- The Queen of the West in her garden dressed, By the banks of the beautiful river. In the midst of this unrivalled prosperity, this distinction of genius, and public and private honor, on the ninth of July, 1861, there came one of the most harrowing tragedies that has ever befallen a man's domestic life. Longfellow was widowed for the second time, and five children were left without a mother. It seemed as if Providence had set a limit beyond which human happiness could not pass. It was after this calamity that Longfellow undertook his metrical translation of Dante's Divina Commedia, a much more difficult and laborious work than writing original poetry. As his brother said, He required an
This evidently interested him, and he finally said with a laugh: If that is the case, we will give you and Charlie a commission to exterminate them. There was a story that when young Nicholas Longworth came to Harvard College in the autumn of 1862 and called on Mr. Longfellow, who had been entertained at his father's house in Cincinnati, the poet said to him: It is worth that makes the man; the want of it the fellow --a compliment that almost dumfounded his young acquaintance. It is certaiin him. I have met more such critics in Cambridge than in England, Germany, or Italy; and the reason was chiefly a political one. At a distance Longfellow's politics attracted little attention, but in Cambridge they could not help being felt. In 1862 a strong movement emanated from the Harvard Law-School to defeat Sumner and Andrew, and the lines became drawn pretty sharply. As it happened, the prominent conservatives with one or two exceptions all lived to the east and north of the college g
Lowell was what was then called a Seward man, and differed with Emerson in regard to John Brown, and with Longfellow in regard to Sumner. Holmes was still more conservative; and Agassiz was a McClellan Democrat. William Hunt, the painter, believed that the war was caused by the ambition of the leading politicians in the North and South. Longfellow had the advantage of more direct information than the others, and enjoyed the continued successes of the Republican party. In the spring of 1866 a number of Southerners came to Boston to borrow funds in order to rehabilitate their plantations, and were introduced at the Union League Club. Finding themselves there in a congenial element they made speeches strongly tinged with secession doctrines. Sumner, of course, could not let this pass without making some protest against it, and for this he was hissed. The incident was everywhere talked of, and came under discussion at the next meeting of the Saturday Club. Otto Dresel, a German
r. Of the Idyls of the King he says that the first and third Idyls could only have come from a great poet, but that the second and fourth are not quite equal to the others. Once, at his sister's house, he held out a book in his hand and said: Here is some of the finest dramatic poetry that I have ever read. It was Tennyson's Queen Mary; but there were many who would not have agreed with his estimate of it. Rev. Samuel Longfellow considered the statement very doubtful. In the summer of 1868 Longfellow went to Europe with his family to see what Henry James calls the best of it. Rev. Samuel Longfellow and T. G. Appleton accompanied the party, which, with the addition of Ernest Longfellow's beautiful bride, made a strong impression wherever they were seen. In fact their tour was like a triumphal procession. Longfellow was everywhere treated with the distinction of a famous poet; and his fine appearance and dignified bearing increased the reputation which had already preceded hi
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