upon many things,’ but on many books which described them.
But the habit steadily diminished.
His very gift at translation, in which he probably exceeded on the whole any other modern poet, led him, nevertheless, always to reproduce old forms rather than create new ones, thus aiding immensely his popularity with the mass of simple readers, while coming short of the full demands of the more critical.
To construct his most difficult poems was thus mainly a serene pleasure, and something as far as possible from that conflict which kept Hawthorne
all winter, by his wife's testimony, with ‘a knot in his forehead’ while he was writing ‘The Scarlet Letter.’
It is always to be borne in mind that, as Mr. Scudder
has pointed out in his admirable paper on ‘Longfellow
and his Art,’ the young poet was really preparing himself in Europe
for his literary work as well as for his professional work, and half consciously.
This is singularly confirmed by his lifelong friend, Professor George W. Greene
, who, in dedicating his ‘The Life of Nathanael Greene
’ to his friend, thus recalls an evening spent together at Naples
‘We wanted,’ he says, ‘to be alone, and yet to feel that there was life all around us. We went up to the flat roof of the house where, as ’