Chapter 24: Longfellow as a man
always amused himself, as do most public men, with the confused and contradictory descriptions of his personal appearance: with the Newport
bookseller who exclaimed, ‘Why, you look more like a sea captain than a poet!’
and a printer who described him as ‘a hale, portly, fine-looking man, nearly six feet in height, well proportioned, with a tendency to fatness; brown hair and blue eyes, and bearing the general appearance of a comfortable hotelkeeper.’
More graphic still, and on the whole nearer to the facts, is this description by an English military visitor who met him at a reception in Boston
I happened upon the volume containing it amid a pile of literary lumber in one of the great antiquarian bookstores of London
‘He was rather under the middle size, but gracefully formed, and extremely prepossessing in his general appearance.
His hair was light-colored, and tastefully disposed.
Below a fine forehead gleamed two of the most beautiful eyes ’