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[287] second series of Biglow papers applied his satirical powers to every step of the conflict, and had at times risen to thrilling elevation, as in Mr. Hosea Biglow to the Editor of The Atlantic Monthly, but in his Ode he outstripped himself and brought American civic poetry to its highest point. An intensely pacific people had the happiness to have poets who sang peace better than they had sung war, when they had won, even at the price of war, a peace which left them purged of slavery and still a nation.

Much of this verse has naturally lost its appeal, but its national and historical significance cannot be overlooked. As Stedman afterwards wrote:

One who underrates the significance of our literature, prose or verse, as both the expression and the stimulant of national feeling, as of import in the past and to the future of America, and therefore of the world, is deficient in that critical insight which can judge even of its own day unwarped by personal taste or deference to public impression. He shuts his eyes to the fact that at times, notably throughout the years resulting in the Civil War, this literature has been a ‘force.’

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Hosea Biglow (2)
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