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“ [185] safe in immortal youth as those of Homer, you at least carried your ideal hence untarnished! It is locked for you beyond moth or rust in the treasure chamber of death.”

In comparing Holmes and Lowell, we are at once struck by the smaller number of personal antagonisms inspired by the former; and also by a singular intellectual divergence between them. As to fertility of mind, abundance of resources, variety of knowledge, there was scarcely any difference; the head of water was the same, and why was it that in the case of Holmes the stream flowed so much more smoothly? Of the two, moreover, it was Lowell who had sedulously trained himself to be a writer; he accepted this as his sphere, while Holmes regarded literature as a mere avocation, not as his vocation; yet it was Lowell who never quite attained smoothness or finish in utterance, while Holmes easily attained it. Lowell was always liable to be entangled by his own wealth of thought; his prose and verse alike are full of involved periods, conundrums within conundrums. He begins his Moosehead journal with this abstruse and craggy sentence: “Thursday, 11th ”

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Charles Russell Lowell (4)
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