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[227] which I went to Paris. In the spring and summer of 1834 I made my principal visit to England and Scotland. . . . I returned in the packet ship Utica, sailing from Havre, and reaching New York after a passage of forty-two days.

On his return to America he settled in Boston as a practising physician, taking as his motto ‘the smallest fevers thankfully received.’ He was twenty-seven when he obtained the degree of doctor of medicine and when he issued his earliest volume of poems. Nothing that he had written before or that he was to write later was more characteristic than one of the lyrics in this book,—The last leaf .He won several prizes for dissertations upon medical themes, published together in 1838; and the next year he was appointed professor of anatomy and physiology in the medical school of Dartmouth College, a position which he held for only a brief period. In 1840 he married Amelia Lee Jackson. He had resumed his practice in Boston, and he continued to contribute freely to the literature of his profession. He was always justly proud of his share in diminishing the danger from puerperal fever and of his trenchant attack upon Homeopathy and its kindred Delusions (1842). Then in 1847 he was called to Harvard as professor of anatomy and physiology; and this position he was to fill with distinction for thirty-five years.

The career of Holmes was placid and uneventful even beyond the average of literary careers. Nothing happened to him other than the commonplaces of life; he took part in nothing unusual; he practised medicine for a few years and he taught medical students for many years; he wrote prose and verse in abundance; and in the fulness of years he died. The only dates that call for record here are those of the publication of his successive books. Until he was almost at the summit of his half-century he was known to the general public only as a writer of verse. He used prose for his discussions of medical questions; and whenever he was moved to express his opinions on other themes he chose the medium of metre. Those were the fertile years of the Lyceum System, and Holmes went the rounds of the lecture-halls like many others of the New England authors who were his contemporaries; but even as a lecturer he preferred rhyming verse to the customary colloquial prose.

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