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[56] ‘Dost thou know what a poet is? Why, fool, a poet is as much as one should say—a poet.’ When we consider what he had just before written to his sister, it only furnishes another illustration of the fact, which needs no demonstration, that young authors do not always know themselves.

He reached home from Europe, after three years of absence, on August 11, 1829, looking toward Bowdoin College as his abode, and a professorship of modern languages as his future position. Up to this time, to be sure, the economical college had offered him only an instructorship. But he had shown at this point that quiet decision and firmness which marked him in all practical affairs, and which was not always quite approved by his more anxious father. In this case he carried his point, and he received on the 6th of September this simple record of proceedings from the college:—

In the Board of Trustees of Bowdoin College, Sept. 1st, 1829: Mr. Henry W. Longfellow having declined to accept the office of instructor in modern languages.

Voted, that we now proceed to the choice of a professor of modern languages.

And Mr. H. W. Longfellow was chosen.

Thus briefly was the matter settled, and he was launched upon his life's career at the age of

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