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[277] he moved with a straightforward audacity which scorned conventionality of feeling or opinion. Sometimes, indeed, he would indulge himself in working off his superfluous activity by the defence of extravagant theses; but his sincere views were as profound as they were original. The full counsel of his mind he never opened probably to any one; but it can be said with certainty that his philosophy united elements which to a dry reasoner seem hardly capable of combination. Plato was his constant study and his most valued authority; he also often referred to Lucretius, whose writings he read carefully in college; and he was familiar with the thought of the English and American transcendentalists. He loved mysticism. His religious conceptions were far removed from those of the received theology; but they were the conceptions of one who, with personal insight, beholds the world of divine reality. The root of his life was in his spiritual consciousness; and in that consciousness he waited for the coming of a higher future with great-souled faith, which he was able to communicate to others by the contact of his mind.

Thrice in a life he flashed upon our sense.
Time disappeared; its griefs and cares were dumb;
Its joys mere bubbles on our sea of bliss.

His face, in its rapt moments, might have been taken for the type of intensity combined with depth of thought,—nay, rather of an ideal power exercising itself intensely and deeply.

Even at this period Lowell evinced his natural power of command by the influence he exercised throughout a large circle of friends. He drew their wills to him, as a loadstone attracts iron. He was highly valued as an adviser; for he had great soundness of judgment and unusual power of understanding matters from another's point of view. He was reserved in the expression of feeling, so that casual acquaintances sometimes supposed him wanting in it; and few of his friends fully knew (what his letters, if they could be completely published, would reveal) that it was an exquisite and manly tenderness that gave his character its tone.

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