however, very sure as to the result.’
Meanwhile he sat for his portrait by Lawrence
, and the subject of the fugitive slave cases brought to the poet's face, as the artist testified, a look of animation and indignation which he was glad to catch and retain.
On Commencement Day, July 19, 1854, he wore his academical robes for the last time, and writes of that event, ‘The whole crowded church looked ghostly and unreal as a thing in which I had no part.’
He had already been engaged upon his version of Dante
, having taken it up on February 1, 1853,1
after ten years interval; and moreover another new literary project had occurred to him ‘purely in the realm of fancy,’ as he describes it, and his freedom became a source of joy.
He had been anxious for some years to carry out his early plan of works upon American themes.
He had, as will be remembered, made himself spokesman for the Indians on the college platform.
His list of proposed subjects had included as far back as 1829, ‘Tales of the Quoddy Indians
,’ with a description of Sacobezon, their chief.
After twenty-five years he wrote in his diary (June 22, 1854), ‘I have at length hit upon a plan for a poem on the American Indians
which seems to be the right one and the only.
It is to weave together their ’