period give very little information as to the attitude of individual professors, and Longfellow
may be viewed as having been for the most part a silent reformer.
One finds, however, constant evidence in his diaries of the fact that his duties wore upon him. ‘I get very tired of the routine of this life.’
‘This college work is like a great hand laid on all the strings of my lyre, stopping their vibrations.’
‘How the days resemble each other and how sad it is to me that I cannot give them all to my poem.’
‘have fallen into a very unpoetic mood and cannot write.’
It must be remembered that his eyes were at this time very weak, that he suffered extremely from neuralgia, and that these entries were all made during the great fugitive slave excitement which agitated New England
, and the political overturn in Massachusetts
which culminated in the election of the poet's most intimate friend, Sumner
, to the United States Senate.
He records the occurrence of his forty-fourth birthday, and soon after when he is stereotyping the ‘Golden Legend
’ he says: ‘I still work a good deal upon it,’ but also writes, only two days after, ‘Working hard with college classes to have them ready for their examinations.’
A fortnight later he says: ‘Examination in my department; always to me a day of anguish and exhaustion.’
His correspondence is very