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[245] may have prevailed, even toward the skill with which he transferred the sacred narratives into a dramatic form, just as it is found that among certain pious souls who for the first time yield their scruples so far as to enter a theatre, the mere lifting of the curtain seems to convey suggestions of sin. Be this as it may, we find in Longfellow's journal this brief entry (December 30): ‘Received from Routledge in London, three notices of “The Tragedy,” all hostile.’ He, however, was cheered by the following letter from Horace Bushnell, then perhaps the most prominent among the American clergy for originality and spiritual freedom:—

Hartford, December 28, 1871.
dear Sir,—Since it will be a satisfaction to me to express my delight in the success of your poem, you cannot well deny me the privilege. When I heard the first announcement of it as for coming, I said, ‘Well, it is the grandest of all subjects; why has it never been attempted?’ And yet I said inwardly in the next breath: ‘What mortal power is equal to the handling of it?’ The greater and the more delightful is my surprise at the result. You have managed the theme with really wonderful address. The episodes, and the hard characters, and the partly imaginary characters, you had

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