Although by birth as much of a New England
Brahmin as Holmes
, and in his later years as much of a Boston and Cambridge
idol, he nevertheless touched our universal American life on many sides, represented us worthily in foreign diplomacy, argued the case of Democracy with convincing power, and embodied, as more perfect artists like Hawthorne
could never have done, the subtleties and potencies of the national temperament.
He deserves and reveals the closest scrutiny, but his personality is difficult to put on paper.
wrote his biography with careful competence, and Ferris Greenslet
has made him the subject of a brilliant critical study.
Yet readers differ widely in their assessment of the value of his prose and verse, and in their understanding of his personality.
The external facts of his career are easy to trace and must be set down here with brevity.
A minister's son, and descended from a very old and distinguished family, he was born at Elmwood
After a somewhat turbulent course, he was graduated from Harvard in 1838, the year of Emerson
's Divinity School address
He studied law, turned Abolitionist, wrote poetry, married the beautiful and transcendental