's great gift in this direction as it was, we can see that it was somewhat akin to this quality of ‘composition,’ rather than of inspiration, which marked his poems.
He could find it delightful
And gaze into a summer sky
And watch the trailing clouds go by
Like ships upon the sea.
But it is a vast step from this to Browning
's mountain picture
Toward it tilting cloudlets prest
Like Persian ships to Salamis.
everything is vigorous and individualized.
We see the ships, we know the nationality, we recall the very battle, and over these we see in imagination the very shape and movements of the clouds; but there is no conceivable reason why Longfellow
's lines should not have been written by a blind man who knew clouds merely by the descriptions of others.
The limitation of Longfellow
's poems reveals his temperament.
He was in his perceptions essentially of poetic mind, but always in touch with the common mind; as individual lives grow deeper, students are apt to leave Longfellow
, just as they forsake Tennyson
As to action, the tonic of life, so far as he had