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‘ [126] and wonder that a man, who seems in other respects to have a mind of delicate texture, could write a letter about his private life to a public on which he had as yet established no claim. . . . Indeed this book will not add to the reputation of its author, which stood so fair before its publication.’1 This is the criticism of which Longfellow placidly wrote, ‘I understand there is a spicy article against me in the “Boston Quarterly.” I shall get it as soon as I can; for, strange as you may think it, these things give me no pain.’2

Mr. Howells, in one of the most ardent eulogies ever written upon the works of Longfellow, bases his admiration largely upon the claim ‘that his art never betrays the crudeness or imperfection of essay,’ —that is, of experiments.3 It would be interesting to know whether this accomplished author, looking back upon ‘Hyperion’ more than thirty years later, could reindorse this strong assertion. To others, I fancy, however attractive and even fascinating the book may still remain, it has about it a distinctly youthful quality which, while sometimes characterizing even his poetry, unquestionably marked his early prose. A later and younger

1 Boston Quarterly Review, January, 1840, III. 128.

2 Life, i. 354.

3 North American Review, CIV. 537.

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Henry W. Longfellow (2)
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January, 1840 AD (1)
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