27, was passed very quietly at home, in spite of the many celebrations held elsewhere.
On Sunday, March 19, he had a sudden attack of illness, not visibly connected with his previous symptoms.
It was evident that the end was near, and he finally died of peritonitis on Friday afternoon, March 24, 1882.
It will perhaps be found, as time goes on, that the greatest service rendered by Longfellow
—beyond all personal awakening or stimulus exerted on his readers—was that of being the first conspicuous representative, in an eminently practical and hard-working community, of the literary life.
One of a circle of superior men, he was the only one who stood for that life purely and supremely, and thus vindicated its national importance.
Among his predecessors, Irving
had lived chiefly in Europe
, and Bryant
in a newspaper office.
Among his immediate friends, Holmes
stood for exact science, Lowell
for reform, Sumner
for statesmanship, Emerson
for spiritual and mystic values; even the shy Hawthorne
for public functions at home and abroad.
Here was a man whose single word, sent forth from his quiet study, reached more hearts in distant nations than any of these, and was speedily reproduced in the far-off languages of the world.
Considered merely as an antidote to materialism, such a life was of incalculable