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[36] his attitude toward a calling without the aid of which he would probably have remained a somewhat local and minor writer, his disposition scarcely prompting him to draw inspiration from Transcendentalism or the anti-slavery movement, and his genius not qualifying him to probe the heart or to wander in shadowland.

Whatever its irksomeness, however, his position at Harvard brought with it compensations. He soon secured a congenial habitat—the now famous Craigie House—he gathered about him a group of sympathetic friends, he became a distinguished figure in the most cultured community in America, the Cambridge of Lowell's essay and of Colonel Higginson's books, he added to his happiness and his income by a second marriage— to Miss Frances Elizabeth Appleton in 1843—and he found time and incentive to write whatever he had in his mind and heart to say. Reading his letters and his diaries, putting together the biographical details furnished by others, and constructing as best one can the man's life and spirit from his writings, one is forced to the conclusion that except for a single great tragedy—the accidental burning to death of his wife in 1861—Longfellow's is one of the most serenely fortunate careers ever led by a man of letters. Some of his critics have wished that it might have been otherwise, apparently supposing that, if he had been more unfortunate, his poetry would have been more to their liking. It is not, however, on record that any critic has deliberately wooed infelicity in order to qualify himself for a fuller enjoyment of Longfellow's placid verses.

In 1842 a third visit was made to Europe, this time a short one for the sake of health. It was preceded by the Ballads and other poems (1841), and followed by the Poems on slavery (1842). These justly enhanced his reputation, but the meritorious anti-slavery verses proved no prelude to active participation in the great conflict that was leading up to the Civil War. The prior volume with such pieces as The village Blacksmith, God's acre, Maidenhood, and the egregiously anabatic Excelsior, strengthened his hold upon the popular heart, and in the successful ballads proper, such as The Wreck of the Hesperus and The skeleton in Armor, it gave him, in addition, some incentive to address his readers in narrative verse, the form of poetry in which, during his middle period,

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