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[141] of ‘Voices of the Night’ was regarded as signal, because the publisher had sold 850 copies in three weeks.

The popularity of the ‘Voices of the Night,’ though not universal, was very great. Hawthorne wrote to him of these poems, ‘Nothing equal to some of them was ever written in this world,—this western world, I mean; and it would not hurt my conscience much to include the other hemisphere.’1 Halleck also said of the ‘Skeleton in Armor’ that there was ‘nothing like it in the language,’ and Poe wrote to Longfellow, May 3, 1841, ‘I cannot refrain from availing myself of this, the only opportunity I may ever have, to assure the author of the “Hymn to the night,” of the “Beleaguered City,” and of the “Skeleton in Armor” of the fervent admiration with which his genius has inspired me.’

In most of the criticisms of Longfellow's earlier poetry, including in this grouping even the ‘Psalm of Life,’ we lose sight of that fine remark of Sara Coleridge, daughter of the poet, who said to Aubrey de Vere, ‘However inferior the bulk of a young man's poetry may be to that of the poet when mature, it generally possesses some passages with a special freshness of their own and an inexplicable charm to be found in ’

1 Life, i. 349.

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Henry W. Longfellow (2)
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