of his young wife, the sudden impulse to write poetry, and he produced, “softly excited, I know not why,” The Reaper and the Flowers, a Psalm of death
From that December morning in 1838 until his death in 1882 he was Longfellow
His outward life, like Hawthorne
's, was barren of dramatic incident, save the one tragic accident by which his second wife, the mother of his children, perished before his eyes in 1861.
He bore the calamity with the quiet courage of his race and breeding.
But otherwise his days ran softly and gently, enriched with books and friendships, sheltered from the storms of circumstance.
He had leisure to grow ripe, to remember, and to dream.
But he never secluded himself, like Tennyson
, from normal contacts with his fellowmen.
The owner of the Craigie House
was a good neighbor, approachable and deferential.
He was even interested in local Cambridge
On the larger political issues of his day his Americanism was sound and loyal.
“It is disheartening,” he wrote in his Cambridge
journal for 1851, “to see how little sympathy there is in the hearts of the young men here for freedom and great ideas.”
But his own sympathy never wavered.