their hearts were stirred by it as by a bugle summons. . . . They did not stop to ask critically whether or not it passed the line which separates poetry from preaching, or whether its didactic merit was a poetic defect.
It was enough that it inspired them and enlarged their lives.”
Professors even of chemistry read it to their classes.
testified that he had a young classmate who was prevented from suicide by reading it. General Meredith Read
tells a story of an old French lawyer whose mind was saved during the siege of Paris
by translating it.1
Scarcely less need be said of that other psalm called “The light of stars” ; and the present writer at least can vividly testify what it was to him and his friends.
It is worth remembering that the English
reviewers of the day spoke of what they called the peculiarly “American tone” of such poems as these, counteracting the pessimism of older countries.
Placed beside the inexhaustible depth of Browning
, the perfect execution of Tennyson
, the absorbing passion of Rossetti
, or the wonderful melodies of Swinburne
, it is now easy to recognize