In the same way he speaks with regret, three years later, November 5, 1847, of ‘The prospectus of a new magazine in Philadelphia to build up “a national literature worthy of the country of Niagara—of the land of forests and eagles.” ’ One feels an inexhaustible curiosity as to the precise manner in which each favorite poem by a favorite author comes into existence. In the case of Longfellow we find this illustrated only here and there. We know that ‘The Arrow and the Song,’ for instance, came into his mind instantaneously; that ‘My Lost Youth’ occurred to him in the night, after a day of pain, and was written the next morning; that on December 17, 1839, he read of shipwrecks reported in the papers and of bodies washed ashore near Gloucester, one lashed to a piece of the wreck, and that he wrote, ‘There is a reef called Norman's Woe where many of these took place; among others the schooner Hesperus. Also the Sea-Flower on Black Rock. I must write a ballad upon this, also two others,— “ The Skeleton in Armor” and “Sir Humphrey Gilbert.” ’ A fortnight later he sat at twelve o'clock by his fire, smoking, when suddenly it came into his mind to write the
 help the matter. In fact, the matter needs no helping.Life, II. 19, 20.
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