it, and his diaries form an imperfect record of the constant stream of kindnesses that flowed from his generous heart.
It was the unusual experience of Mr. Longfellow
to be best known by his long poems, especially by “Hiawatha” and “Evangeline,” both of which were experiments somewhat distrusted by his intimate friends and both of which met with a good deal of criticism, especially in respect of metre, after their publication.
Their success was the more remarkable, as poems on Indian subjects had up to that time been uniformly unsuccessful in America
, and those on historical themes had not fared much better.
It was, however, his short poems which first made him known, and these derived strength from their simplicity and from being near to the popular heart.
It has latterly been somewhat the fashion to underrate them, but those who recall the time when they appeared will testify to the warmth with which they were received, and will admit that Longfellow
's biographer does not speak too strongly when he says of the “Psalm of life” in particular: “It was copied far and wide.
Young men read it with delight; ”