destiny upon a sensitive soul.
The mystery is our mystery, perceived, and not created, by that finely endowed mind and heart.
The shadow is our shadow; the gleams of insight, the soft radiance of truth and beauty, are his own.
A college classmate of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
summed up the Portland
boy's character in one sentence: “It appeared easy for him to avoid the unworthy.”
Born in 1807, of Mayflower
stock that had distinguished itself for bravery and uprightness, the youth was graduated from Bowdoin at eighteen.
Like his classmate Hawthorne
, he had been a wide and secretly ambitious reader, and had followed the successive numbers of Irving
's Sketch book
, he tells us, “with ever increasing wonder and delight.”
His college offered him in 1826 a professorship of the modern languages, and he spent three happy years in Europe
He taught successfully at Bowdoin
for five or six years, and for eighteen years, 1836 to 1854, served as George Ticknor
's successor at Harvard, ultimately surrendering the chair to Lowell
He early published two prose volumes, Hyperion
, Irvingesque romances of European
Then came, after ten years of teaching and the death