--and, many think, our one faultless worker in verse — was Thomas Bailey Aldrich
His first volume of juvenile verse had appeared in 1855, the year of Whittier
's Barefoot boy
's Leaves of Grass
By 1865 his poems were printed in the then well-known Blue
edition, by Ticknor
In 1881 he succeeded Howells
in the editorship of the Atlantic
had a versatile talent that turned easily to adroit prose tales, but his heart was in the filing of his verses.
Nothing so daintily perfect as his lighter pieces has been produced on this side of the Atlantic
, and the deeper notes and occasional darker questionings of his later verse are embodied in lines of impeccable workmanship.
Aloof from the social and political conflicts of his day, he gave himself to the fastidious creation of beautiful lines, believing that the beautiful line is the surest road to Arcady, and that Herrick
, whom he idolized, had shown the way.
To some readers of these pages it may seem like profanation to pass over poets like Sill
, George Woodberry
, Edith Thomas
, Richard Hovey
, William Vaughn Moody
, Madison Cawein
— to mention but half a dozen distinguished names out of a larger company — and to suggest that James Whitcomb