had been published before and were grouped into a volume in 1863, which, making itself popular, was followed by two more volumes, finally united into one.
We have what is not usually the case, the poet's own account of them, he having written thus to a correspondent in England
: ‘ “ The Wayside Inn
” has more foundation in fact than you may suppose.
The town of Sudbury
is about twenty miles from Cambridge
Some two hundred years ago, an English family by the name of Howe
built there a country house, which has remained in the family down to the present time, the last of the race dying but two years ago. Losing their fortune, they became innkeepers; and for a century the Red-Horse Inn
has flourished, going down from father to son. The place is just as I have described it, though no longer an inn. All this will account for the landlord's coat-of-arms, and his being a justice of the peace, and his being known as “the Squire,” —things that must sound strange in English ears.
All the characters are real.
The musician is Ole Bull
; the Spanish Jew
, Israel Edrehi
, whom I have seen as I have painted him,’ etc., etc.
Other participants in the imaginary festivities are the late Thomas W. Parsons
, the translator of Dante
, who appears as the poet; the theologian being Professor Daniel Treadwell