No wonder that a famous poet should emanate from such a family.
What we notice especially in the Longfellow Letters during this European sojourn is the admonition of Henry's father, that German literature was more important than Italian,--and the poet was always largely influenced by this afterwards; that Henry did not find Paris particularly attractive, and on the whole preferred the Spanish character to the French on account of its deeper under-currents; that he did not seem e only fair for them to do something for the benefit of the country.
Mr. Appleton then said: That is a work for government to do; to which Ruskini replied: Governments do nothing but fill their pockets, and issue this, --taking out a handful of Italian paper currency, which was then much below par.
Everyone has his or her favorite poet or poets, and it is a common practice with young critics to disparage one in order to elevate another.
Longfellow was the most popular American poet of his
t time to disparage Emerson as an imitator of Carlyle; and this was Lowell's reply to it.
He told Professor Hedge an amusing incident that happened during his first visit to Rome.
Lowell and his wife took lodgings with a respectable elderly Italian woman whose husband was in a sickly condition.
One morning she met him in the passageway with tearful eyes and said: Un grana disgrazie happened last night,--my poor husband went to heaven.
Lowell wondered why there was a pope in Rome if goingut twice the usual price, and though the man afterwards reduced his demand to a reasonable figure Lowell would not go with him at all, and told him that such practices made Americans dislike the Italian people.
It is to be feared that a strange Italian might fare just as badly in America.
Readers of Lowell's Fireside travels will have noticed that the first of them is addressed to the Edelmann Story in Rome.
The true translation of this expression is Nobleman Story; that is, William W. St
e earned a larger income with it, perhaps, than he did by writing and painting.
He sang comic songs in a manner peculiarly his own,--as if the words were enclosed in a parenthesis,--as much as to say, I do not approve of this, but I sing it just the same, and this made the performance all the more amusing.
He sang Bret Harte's Jim in a very effective manner, and he often sang the epitaph on Shakespeare's tomb,
Good friend, for Jesus sake forbeare, as a recitative, both in English and Italian,--In questa tomba. He seemed to bring out a hidden force in his singing, which was not apparent on ordinary occasions.
His reading of poetry was also fine, but he depended in it rather too much on his voice, too little on the meaning of the verse.
It was not equal to Celia Thaxter's reading.
The same types of physiognomy continually reappear among artists.
William M. Hunt looked like Horace Vernet, and Cranch in his old age resembled the Louvre portrait of Tintoretto, although his fea
urt, and analyzes the procedure of French justice in a letter which has the value of an historical document.
He noticed that Napoleon was still spoken of as l'empereur, although there was a king in France,--a fact pregnant with future consequences.
He remained in Paris until he was a complete master of the French language, and attended one hundred and fifty lectures at the university and elsewhere.
He enjoyed the grand opera and the acting in French theatres; nor did he neglect to study Italian art. He was making a whole man of himself; and it seemed as if an unconscious instinct was guiding him to his destiny.
Fortunate was the old Sheriff to have such a son; but Charles Sumner was also fortunate to have had a father who was willing to save and economize for his benefit.
Otherwise he might have been a sheriff himself.
Judge Story's letters of introduction opened the doors wide to him in England.
In the course of ten months he became acquainted with almost every distinguis
e highest esteem.
She is a great-hearted woman, and her presence would be a moral power anywhere.
There is snobbishness enough in Rome--English, American, and Italian.
Doolittle, who is the son of a highly respectable New York lawyer, went to the hunt last week, as he openly confessed, to give himself distinction.
A young lad Divina Commedia, which had been sent to him that day; and he added that some of the information in it was of a very curious sort.
I asked him if he could read Italian as easily as English.
Very nearly, he replied; but the fine points of Italian are as difficult as those of German.
He inquired how I and my friends spent our Italian are as difficult as those of German.
He inquired how I and my friends spent our evenings in Rome, and I said, In all kinds of study and reading, but just now P-- was at work on Browning's Ring and the Book.
Mr. Longfellow laughed. I do not wonder you call it work, he said.
It seems to me a story told in so many different ways may be something of a curiosity — not much of a poem.
I have since observed t
e reason is because the face has such a modern look.
A raving Bacchante may be a good acquisition to an art museum, but it is out of place in a public library.
A female statue requires more or less drapery to set off the outlines of the figure and to give it dignity.
We feel this even in the finest Greek work-like the Venus of Cnidos.
In this matter Hawthorne certainly exposes his Puritanic education, and he also places too high a value on the carving of buttonholes and shoestrings by Italian workmen.
Such things are the fag-ends of statuary.
His judgment, however, is clear and convincing in regard to the tinted Eves and Venuses of Gibson.
Whatever may have been the ancient practice in this respect, Gibson's experiment proved a failure.
Nobody likes those statues; and no other sculptor has since followed Gibson's example.
Hawthorne overestimates the Apollo Belvidere, as all the world did at that time; but his single remark concerning Canova is full of significance: In t