beautiful traditions into a whole.
I have hit upon a measure, too, which I think the right one and the only one for the purpose.’
He had to draw for this delineation not merely upon the Indians seen in books, but on those he had himself observed in Maine
, the Sacs and Foxes he had watched on Boston Common, and an Ojibway chief whom he had entertained at his house.
As for the poetic measure, a suitable one had just been suggested to him by the Finnish epic of ‘Kalevala,’ which he had been reading; and he had been delighted by its appropriateness to the stage character to be dealt with and the type of legend to be treated.
‘Hiawatha’ was begun on June 25, 1854, and published on November 10 of that year.
He enjoyed the work thoroughly, but it evidently seemed to him somewhat tame before he got through, and this tendency to tameness was sometimes a subject of criticism with readers; but its very simplicity made the style attractive to children and gave a charm which it is likely always to retain.
With his usual frankness, he stated at the outset that the metre was not original with him, and it was of course a merit in the legends that they were not original.
The book received every form of attention; it was admired, laughed at, parodied, set to music, and publicly read, and his fame unquestionably rests far more securely on this