His later lyrics are more subtle, weighted with thought, tinged with autumnal melancholy.
He was a most fertile composer, and, like all the men of his time and group, produced too much.
Yet his patriotic verse was so admirable in feeling and is still so inspiring to his readers that one cannot wish it less in quantity; and in the field of political satire, such as the two series of Biglow papers
, he had a theme and a method precisely suited to his temperament.
No American has approached Lowell
's success in this difficult genre: the swift transitions from rural Yankee humor to splendid scorn of evil and to noblest idealism reveal the full powers of one of our most gifted men. The preacher lurked in this Puritan
from first to last, and the war against Mexico
and the Civil War
stirred him to the depths.
His prose, likewise, is a school of loyalty.
There was much of Europe
in his learning, as his memorable Dante
essay shows, and the traditions of great English literature were the daily companions of his mind.
He was bookish, as a bookman should be, and sometimes the very richness and whimsicality of his bookish fancies marred the simplicity and good taste of his pages.
But the fundamental texture of his thought and feeling