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[287] its worst enemy by giving his warm indorsement to the latest comer, whatever his disqualifications as to style or skill.

Holmes said of him in a letter to Motley in 1873:—

‘I find a singular charm in the society of Longfellow,—a soft voice, a sweet and cheerful temper, a receptive rather than aggressive intelligence, the agreeable flavor of scholarship without any pedantic ways, and a perceptible soupcon of the humor, not enough to startle or surprise or keep you under the strain of over-stimulation, which I am apt to feel with very witty people.’

And ten years later, writing to a friend and referring to his verses on the death of Longfelfellow, printed in the ‘Atlantic Monthly,’ he said: ‘But it is all too little, for his life was so exceptionally sweet and musical that any voice of praise sounds almost like a discord after it.’

Professor Rolfe has suggested that he unconsciously describes himself in ‘The Golden Legend,’ where Walter the Minnesinger says of Prince Henry:—

His gracious presence upon earth
Was as a fire upon a hearth;
As pleasant songs, at morning sung,
The words that dropped from his sweet tongue
Strengthened our hearts; or, heard at night,
Made all our slumbers soft and light.

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