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[243] down even to tears by the loss of health and strength; on another day there is ‘a continued series of interruptions from breakfast till dinner. I could not get half an hour to myself all day long. Oh, for a good snow-storm to block the door!’ Still another day it is so cold he can scarcely write in his study, and he has ‘so many letters to answer.’ Yet he writes during that month a scene or two every day. We know from the experience of all poets that the most brilliant short poems may be achieved with wonderful quickness, but for a continuous and sustained effort an author surely needs some control over his own time.

It is a curious fact, never yet quite explained, that an author's favorite work is rarely that whose popular success best vindicates his confidence. This was perhaps never more manifest than in the case of Longfellow's ‘Christus’ as a whole, and more especially that portion of it on which the author lavished his highest and most consecrated efforts, ‘The Divine Tragedy.’ Mr. Scudder has well said that ‘there is no one of Mr. Longfellow's writings which may be said to have so dominated his literary life’ as the ‘Christus,’ and it shows his sensitive reticence that the portion of it which was first published, ‘The Golden Legend’ (1851), gave to the reader no suggestion of its being, as we now

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (2)
Horace E. Scudder (1)
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