work touched its widest popularity.
He had never married, and the deaths of his mother and sister Elizabeth set him brooding, in the desolate Amesbury house, over memories of his birthplace, six miles away in East Haverhill.
The homestead had gone out of the hands of the Whittiers, and the poet, nearing sixty, set himself to compose an idyll descriptive of the vanished past.
No artist could have a theme more perfectly adapted to his mood and to his powers.
There are no novel ideas in Snow-bound
, nor is there any need of them, but the thousands of annual pilgrims to the old farmhouse can bear witness to the touching intimacy, the homely charm, the unerring rightness of feeling with which Whittier
's genius recreated his own lost youth and painted for all time a true New England
was still to write nearly two hundred more poems, for he lived to be eighty-five, and he composed until the last.
But his creative period was now over.
He rejoiced in the friendly recognition of his work that came to him from every section of a reunited country.
His personal friends were loyal in their devotion.
He followed the intricacies of American politics with the keen