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‘ [273] Pomegranates,’ and instinctively selected the ‘Blot in the 'Scutcheon’ as ‘a play of great power and beauty,’ as the critics would say, and as every one must say who reads it. He is an extraordinary genius, Browning, with dramatic power of the first order. ‘Paracelsus’ he describes, with some justice, as ‘very lofty, but very diffuse.’ Of Browning's ‘Christmas Eve’ he later writes, ‘A wonderful man is Browning, but too obscure,’ and later makes a similar remark on ‘The Ring and the Book.’ Of Tennyson he writes, as to ‘The Princess,’ calling it ‘a gentle satire, in the easiest and most flowing blank verse, with two delicious unrhymed songs, and many exquisite passages. I went to bed after it, with delightful music ringing in my ears; yet half disappointed in the poem, though not knowing why. There is a discordant note somewhere.’

One very uncertain test of a man of genius is his ‘table-talk.’ Surrounded by a group of men who were such masters of this gift as Lowell, Holmes, and T. G. Appleton, Longfellow might well be excused from developing it to the highest extent, and he also ‘being rather a silent man,’ as he says of himself, escaped thereby the tendency to monologue, which was sometimes a subject of complaint in regard to the other three. Longfellow's reticence and self-control saved him

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