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Otto Dresel (search for this): chapter 5
he 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 pianist, who had small reason for being there, said, It was not Mr. Sumner's politics but his bad manners that were hissed. Longfellow set his glass down with emphasis, and replied: If good manners could not say it, thank heaven bad manners did; and Lowell supported this with some pretty severe criticism of the Union League Club. In justice to the Union League Club, however, it ought to be said that there was applause as well as hisses for Sumner. Longfellow had a leonine f
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
March, 1882 AD (search for this): chapter 5
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 disagreeable than to ride in a public procession; and the two men were more alike than brothers often are. We notice in the poet's diary tha
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
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 to Sumner's memory. It was as poetic a friendship as that between Emerson and Carlyle; but whereas Emerson and Carlyle had differences of opinion, Sumner and Longfellow were always of one mind. When Sumner made his Fanueil Hall speech against the fugitive slave law, which was simply fighting revolution with revolution, and Harvard College and the whole of Cambridge turned against him, Longfellow stood firm; and it may
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
the Spanish character to the French on account of its deeper under-currents; that he did not seem to realize the danger that menaced him from Spanish brigands, in spite of the black crosses by the roadside; and that he was not vividly impressed by the famous works of art in the Louvre gallery. He only notices that one of Correggio's figures resembles a young lady in Portland. Longfellow would seem to have been always the same in regard to his appreciation of art. When he was in Italy, in 1869, he visited all the picture galleries and evidently enjoyed doing so; but it was easy to see that his brother, Rev. Samuel Longfellow, felt a much livelier interest in the subject than he did; and injured frescos or mutilated statues, like the Torso of the Belvidere, were objects of aversion to 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 com
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
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
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
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