perhaps the finest piece of lyric measure in our literature, made it over into a form of mere jingling and hackneyed rhythm, adding even the final commonplaceness of his tiresome ‘repetend.’
did something of the same in cutting down the original fine strain of the verses beginning ‘Pine in the distance,’ but Longfellow
showed absolutely no trace of Poe
, unless as a warning against multiplying such rhythmic experiments as he once tried successfully in ‘Seaweed.’
On the other hand, with all his love for Lowell
, his native good taste kept him from the confused metaphors and occasional over-familiarities into which Lowell
was sometimes tempted.
Perhaps the most penetrating remark made about Longfellow
's art is that of Horace Scudder
: ‘He was first of all a composer, and he saw his subjects in their relations, rather than in their essence.’
As a translator, he was generally admitted to have no superior in the English
tongue, his skill was unvarying and absolutely reliable.
Even here it might be doubted whether he ever attained the wonderful success sometimes achieved in single instances, as, for instance, in Mrs. Sarah Austen
's ‘Many a Year is in its Grave,’ which, under the guise of a perfect translation, yet gives a higher and finer touch than that of the original poem of Ruckert.