zest of a veteran in that game, for in his time he had made and unmade governors and senators.
“The greatest politician I have ever met,” said James G. Blaine
, who had certainly met many.
He had an income from his poems far in excess of his needs, but retained the absolute simplicity of his earlier habits.
When his publishers first proposed the notable public dinner in honor of his seventieth birthday he demurred, explaining to a member of his family that he did not want the bother of “buying a new pair of pants” --a petty anecdote, but somehow refreshing.
So the rustic, shrewd, gentle old man waited for the end. He had known what it means to toil, to fight, to renounce, to eat his bread in tears, and to see some of his dreams come true.
We have had, and shall have, more accomplished craftsmen in verse, but we have never bred a more genuine man than Whittier
, nor one who had more kinship with the saints.
A few days before Whittier
's death, he wrote an affectionate poem in celebration of the eightythird birthday of his old friend of the Saturday Club
, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes
This was in 1892.
The little Doctor
, rather lonely in his latest years, composed some tender obituary verses