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he 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 SumnerCarlyle 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 be suspected that he had many anraeli, Trollope, or Wilkie Collins. Neither do we hear of critical and historical writers like Ruskin, Matthew Arnold, Carlyle, and Froude. He went, however, to call on Carlyle in England, and was greatly impressed by his conversation. The scopeCarlyle in England, and was greatly impressed by his conversation. The scope of Longfellow's reading does not compare with that of Emerson or Marian Evans; but the doctors say that every man of forty knows the food that is good for him, and this is true mentally as well as physically. He refers more frequently to Tennyso
. 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 be suspected that he had many an unpleasant discussion with his aristocratic acquaintances on this point. It was considered bad enough to support Garrison, but supporting Sumner was a great deal worse, for Sumner was an orator who wielded a power only inferior to Webster. Fortunately for Longfellow, his connection with the university ceased not long after Sumner's election to the Senate; and the unpleasantness of his position may have been the leading cause of his retirement. Sumner was the best friend Longfellow had, and perhaps the best that he could have had. There was Emerson, of course, and Longfellow was always on friendly terms with him; but Emerson had a habit of catechising his companions which some of them did not altogether like; and this ma
Thomas G. Appleton (search for this): chapter 5
d 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 him. His meeting with Tennyson was considered as important as the visit of the King of Prussia to Napoleon III., and much less d
Chateaubriand (search for this): chapter 5
l remains, the finest residence in Cambridge,--formerly the Headquarters of Washington, and afterwards of the Muses. Good architecture never becomes antiquated, and the Craigie House is not only spacious within, but dignified without. One could best realize Longfellow's opulence by walking through his library adjacent to the eastern piazza, and gazing at the magnificent editions of foreign authors which had been presented to him by his friends and admirers; especially the fine set of Chateaubriand's works, in all respects worthy of a royal collection. There 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
ture 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 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 languag
William Hunt (search for this): chapter 5
s. Harmony did not always prevail in the Saturday Club, for politics was the all-embracing subject in those days and its members represented every shade of political opinion. Emerson, Longfellow, and Lowell were strongly anti-slavery, but they differed in regard to methods. 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 stron
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (search for this): chapter 5
Longfellow It has been estimated that there were four hundred poets in England in the time of Shakespeare, and in the century during which Dante lived Europe fairly swarmed with poets, many of them of high excellence. Frederick II. of Germanyy were of their military exploits. Frederick II. may be said to have founded the vernacular in which Dante wrote; and Longfellow rendered into English a poem of Richard's which he composed during his cruel imprisonment in Austria. A knight who couwhole barrelful of poetry in his house, much of it excellent, but that there was no use he could make of it. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was as irrepressible a rhymer as John Watts himself, and fortunately he had a father who recognized the value obut he said: I think I may call myself a tramp. I tramp a good deal; but you may tell your mother that my name is Henry W. Longfellow. He afterwards called on the mother in order to explain himself, and to congratulate her on having such fine chil
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 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 ret
erned, he believed that Hawthorne would outlive every other writer of his time. He had the will of a great conqueror. Goethe has been called the pampered child of genius, of fortune, and the muse; but if Goethe had greater celebrity he never enjoGoethe had greater celebrity he never enjoyed half the worldly prosperity of Longfellow. While Emerson was earning a hard livelihood by lecturing in the West, and Whittier was dwelling in a country farm-house, Longfellow occupied one of the most desirable residences in or about Boston, and elt that he could roar on occasion, if occasion required it. Once at Longfellow's own table the conversation chanced upon Goethe, and a gentleman present remarked that Goethe was in the habit of drinking three bottles of hock a day. Who said he did?Goethe was in the habit of drinking three bottles of hock a day. Who said he did? inquired the poet. It is in Lewes's biography, said the gentleman. I do not believe it, replied Longfellow, unless, he added with a laugh, they were very small bottles. A few days afterwards Prof. William James remarked in regard to this inciden
Charles Sumner (search for this): chapter 5
merson and Carlyle had differences of opinion, Sumner and Longfellow were always of one mind. When supporting Sumner was a great deal worse, for Sumner was an orator who wielded a power only inferiotion with the university ceased not long after Sumner's election to the Senate; and the unpleasantnegfellow, for they never became very intimate. Sumner, on the contrary, had always a large stock of the poet and statesman together. As soon as Sumner returned from Washington, in spring or summer,ough Longfellow was nearly a head shorter than Sumner, his broad shoulders gave him an appearance ofking on great subjects, and the earnestness on Sumner's face was reflected on Longfellow's as in a mo John Brown, and with Longfellow in regard to Sumner. Holmes was still more conservative; and Agashes strongly tinged with secession doctrines. Sumner, of course, could not let this pass without ma that there was applause as well as hisses for Sumner. Longfellow had a leonine face, but it was [9 more...]
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