reason was chiefly a political one.
At a distance Longfellow's politics attracted little attention, but in Cambridge they could not help being felt.
In 1862 a strong movement emanated from the Harvard Law-School to defeat Sumner and Andrew, and the lines became drawn pretty sharply.
As it happened, the prominent conservatives with one or two exceptions all lived to the east and north of the college grounds, while Longfellow, Lowell, Doctor Francis (who baptized Longfellow's children), Prof. Asa Gray, and other liberals lived at the west end; and the local division made the contest more acrimonious.
The conservatives afterwards felt the bitterness of defeat, and it was many years before they recovered from this.
A resident graduate of Harvard, who was accustomed to converse on such subjects as the metaphysics of Hamilton's quaternions, once said that Longfellow was the paragon of schoolgirls, because he wrote what they would like to so much better than they could.
This was contemp
ever a poet with a sound mind and a sound body, it was James Russell Lowell.
Edwin Arnold considered him the best of American poets, while Matthew Arnold did not like him at all. Emerson, in his last years, preferred him to Longfellow, but it is doubtful if he always did so. The strong point of his poetry is its intelligent manliness,--the absence of affectation and all sentimentality; but it lacks the musical element.
He composed neither songs nor ballads,--nothing to match Hiawatha, or Gray's famous Elegy.
America still awaits a poet who shall combine the savoir faire of Lowell with the force of Emerson and the grace and purity of Longfellow.
Emerson had an advantage over his literary contemporaries in the vigorous life he lived.
You feel in his writing the energy of necessity.
The academic shade is not favorable to the cultivation of genius, and Lowell reclined under it too much.
His best work was already performed before he became a professor.
What he lacks as a poet,