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[200] fair also to recognize that Mr. W. D. Howells, writing nearly twenty years later, says with almost equal exuberance, speaking of ‘Kavanagh,’ ‘It seems to us as yet quite unapproached by the multitude of New England romances that have followed it in a certain delicate truthfulness, as it is likely to remain unsurpassed in its light humor and pensive grace.’1

The period following the publication of ‘Evangeline’ seemed a more indeterminate and unsettled time than was usual with Longfellow. He began a dramatic romance of the age of Louis XIV., but did not persist in it, and apart from the story of ‘Kavanagh’ did no extended work. He continued to publish scattered poems, and in two years (1850) there appeared another volume called ‘The Seaside and the Fireside’ in which the longest contribution and the most finished—perhaps the most complete and artistic which he ever wrote—was called ‘The Building of the Ship.’ To those who remember the unequalled voice and dramatic power of Mrs. Kemble, it is easy to imagine the enthusiasm with which her reading of this poem was received by an audience of three thousand, and none the less because at that troubled time the concluding appeal to the Union had a distinct bearing on the conflicts of the time. For

1 North American Review, CIV. 534.

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