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[189] good rifle-shot before he had touched the weapon.

The Saturday Review once pointed out as the two faults of Lowell's prose writings “an overconfident tone and a grotesqueness of illustration.” It must, undoubtedly, be conceded by his admirers that, though he is never coarse, yet his taste is not always to be trusted. The Saturday Review quoted this sentence from his “Shakespeare once more,” “Hamlet and the Novum Organum were at the risk of teething and the measles at the same time;” and from the paper on Italy, “Milton is the only man who has got much poetry out of a cataract, and that was a cataract in his eye.” Of such passages the Saturday Review remarked, with some reason, that they “are relics of the hobbledehoy stage of literary production,” and “are serious blemishes in a style making just pretensions to maturity.” Akin to this is the remark of one of Lowell's few severe critics in his own country, Professor W. C. Wilkinson, in his “A Free Lance in life and letters,” who makes the “want of firm and harmonious tone” to be “the leading vice of his style,”

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