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Chapter 5: first visit to Europe

Longfellow's college class (1825) numbered thirty-seven, and his rank in it at graduation was nominally fourth—though actually third, through the sudden death of a classmate just before Commencement. Soon after his graduation, an opportunity occurred to establish a professorship of modern languages in the college upon a fund given by Mrs. Bowdoin; and he, being then scarcely nineteen, and nominally a law student in his father's office, was sent to Europe to prepare himself for this chair, apparently on an allowance of six hundred dollars a year. The college tradition is that this appointment—which undoubtedly determined the literary tendencies of his whole life—was given to him in consequence of the impression made upon an examining committee by the manner in which he had translated one of Horace's odes. He accordingly sailed from New York for Europe on May 15, 1826, having stopped at Boston on the way, where he dined with Professor George Ticknor, then holding the professorship

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