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[308] that is perishable at any rate, it matters little how it goes; it may better go, indeed, for some good purpose, if at all.

Tried by these tests, we soon discover that all shy graces which go deeply into the nature are confined to no age, and indeed to neither sex taken separately. They lie in refinement of feeling, in true modesty, in sweetness of nature, in gentleness of spirit. These are those “angelic manners and celestial charms” of which Petrarch writes, and of which he says that the very memory saddens while it delights, since it makes all other possessions appear trivial. These graces are not dependent on a repressed or subordinate position, since they are very often associated in our minds with the noblest and most eminent persons we have known. With most of the very distinguished men, of Anglo-Saxon race at least, whom I have chanced to meet, there was associated in some combination the element of personal modesty. It was exceedingly conspicuous in the two thinkers who have between them influenced more American minds than any others in our own age — I mean Darwin and Emerson. It has been noticeable in contemporary poets — Whittier and Longfellow among ourselves, Tennyson and Browning in England.

It may be said that these are instances drawn from persons of studious tastes and retired habits,

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J. G. Whittier (1)
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