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[157] The children's hour, and many another lyric, lose nothing with the lapse of time. There is fortunately infinite room for personal preference in this whole matter of poetry, but the confession of a lack of regard for Longfellow's verse must often be recognized as a confession of a lessening love for what is simple, graceful, and refined. The current of contemporary American taste, especially among consciously clever, half-trained persons, seems to be running against Longfellow. How soon the tide may turn, no one can say. Meanwhile he has his tranquil place in the Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey. The Abbey must be a pleasant spot to wait in, for the Portland boy.

Oddly enough, some of the over-sophisticated and under-experienced people who affect to patronize Longfellow assume toward John Greenleaf Whittier an air of deference. This attitude would amuse the Quaker poet. One can almost see his dark eyes twinkle and the grim lips tighten in that silent laughter in which the old man so much resembled Cooper's LeatherStocking. Whittier knew that his friend Longfellow was a better artist than himself, and he also knew, by intimate experience as a maker of public opinion, how variable are its judgments.

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (4)
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