In the spring of 1863 Colonel Lowell became engaged to Josephine, daughter of Francis G. Shaw, Esq., of Staten Island, and sister to Colonel Shaw. To her most of his later letters are addressed.
June, 1863.Your Capri and Sorrento have brought back my Campagna and my Jungfrau and my Paestum, and again the season is la gioventu dell anno, and I think of breezy Veii and sunny Pisa and the stone-pines of the Villa Pamfili Doria. Of course it is right to wish that some time we may go there. Of course the remembrance of such places and the hope of revisiting them makes one take “the all in the day's work” more bravely. It is a homesickness which is healthy for the soul; but we do not own ourselves, and have no right to even wish ourselves out of harness. I don't believe you wish there was no harness, nor yet to be out of harness by reason of a break-down. Collars are our proper “wear,” I am afraid, and we ought to enjoy going well up to them. . . . . A man is meant to act and to undertake, to try to succeed in his undertakings, to take all means which he thinks necessary to success; but he must not let his. undertakings look too large and make a slave of him. Still less must he let the means. He must keep free and grow integrally. . . . . You know I believe Heaven is here, everywhere, if we only see God; and that, as a future state, it is not to be much dwelt upon,— only enough to make one content with death as a change not infinitely different from sleep;—that this world, and all that is in it, being created for the glory of God, (and for what other end can such a fearful and wonderful “nature” be designed,) we especially ought to glorify him by being thankful and seeing his glory everywhere. Just how we are to show our thankfulness is a more searching question: I think not by depreciating this world to exalt another; perhaps by bene vivere, perhaps by “loving well both man and bird and beast” ;—probably by one person in one way, by another in another. . . . . I wonder whether my theories about self-culture, &c., would ever have been modified so much, whether I should ever have seen what a necessary failure they lead to, had it not been for this war. Now I feel every day, more and more, that a man has no right to himself at all; that, indeed, he can do nothing useful unless he recognizes this clearly. We were counting over the “satisfactory” people of our acquaintance the other day, and very few