Of those who made up his circle of friends in later years, Holmes
had just graduated from Harvard, Sumner
was a Senior there, and Lowell
was a schoolboy in Cambridge
Few American colleges had at that time special professors of modern languages, though George Ticknor
had set a standard for them all. Longfellow
had to prepare his own text-books—to translate ‘L'Homond
's Grammar,’ to edit an excellent little volume of French
‘Proverbes Dramatiques,’ and a small Spanish Reader, ‘Novelas Españolas.’
He was also enlisted in a few matters outside, and drew up the outline of a prospectus for a girls' high school in Portland
, such high schools being then almost as rare as professorships of modern languages.
He was also librarian.
He gave a course of lectures on French
, Spanish, and Italian
literature, but there seems to have been no reference to German
, which had not then come forward into the place in American education which it now occupies.
As to literature, he wrote to his friend, George W. Greene
, ‘Since my return I have written one piece of poetry, but have not published a line.
You need not be alarmed on that score.
I am all prudence now, since I can form a more accurate judgment of the merit of poetry.
If I ever publish a volume, it will be many years first.’