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[211] owing largely to the greater use of trochees. It is almost needless to say that no such effort can ever be held strictly to the classic rules, owing to the difference in the character of the language. With German hexameters the analogy is closer.

On July 10, 1861, Mrs. Longfellow died the tragic death which has been so often described, from injuries received by fire the day before. Never was there a greater tragedy within a household; never one more simply and nobly borne. It was true to Lowell's temperament to write frankly his sorrow in exquisite verse; but it became Longfellow's habit, more and more, to withhold his profoundest feelings from spoken or written utterance; and it was only after his death that his portfolio, being opened, revealed this sonnet, suggested by a picture of the western mountain whose breast bears the crossed furrows.

The cross of snow

in the long, sleepless watches of the night,
     A gentle face—the face of one long dead—
Looks at me from the wall, where round its head
     The night-lamp casts a halo of pale light.
Here in this room she died; and soul more white
     Never through martyrdom of fire was led
To its repose; nor can in books be read
     The legend of a life more benedight.
There is a mountain in the distant West


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Alice Longfellow (2)
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