which was not especially shared by Longfellow
, for English ways.
If people were ever misled on this point, which perhaps was not the case, it grew out of his unvarying hospitality and courtesy, and out of the fact vaguely recognized by all, but best stated by that keen critic, the late Mr. Horace E. Scudder
, when he says of Longfellow
: ‘He gave of himself freely to his intimate friends, but he dwelt, nevertheless, in a charmed circle, beyond the lines of which men could not penetrate. . . . It is rare that one in our time has been the centre of so much admiration, and still rarer that one has preserved in the midst of it all that integrity of nature which never abdicates.’1
It is an obvious truth in regard to the literary works of Longfellow
, that while they would have been of value at any time and place, their worth to a new and unformed literature was priceless.
The first need of such a literature was no doubt a great original thinker, such as was afforded us in Emerson
But for him we should perhaps have been still provincial in thought and imitative in theme and illustration; our poets would have gone on writing about the skylark and the nightingale, which they might never have seen or heard anywhere, rather than about the bobolink and the humble-bee, which they knew.