, and precisely adapted to the pictorial and narrative powers of the soldierminded, soldier-hearted author.
The quality which Parkman
admired most in men-though he never seems to have loved men deeply, even his own heroes — was strength of will.
That was the secret of his own power, and the sign, it must be added, of the limitations of this group of historians who came at the close of the golden age. Whatever a New England
will can accomplish was wrought manfully by such admirable men as Prescott
Trained intelligence, deliberate selection of subject, skillful cultivation of appropriate story-telling and picturepainting style, all these were theirs.
But the “wild ecstasy” that thrilled the young Emerson
as he crossed the bare Common at sunset, the “supernal beauty” of which Poe
dreamed in the Fordham cottage, the bay horse and hound and turtle-dove which Thoreau
lost long ago and could not find in his hut at Walden
, these were something which our later Greeks of the New England Athens
esteemed as foolishness.