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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Olde Cambridge, Chapter 1: old Cambridge (search)
ed veterans whom we eyed with reverence, chief of whom was Lowell's Old Joe : Old Joe is gone, who saw hot Percy goad Hig that she should be four in three months. When we read in Lowell's letters of his poring over French stories at seven and othing is more curious than the impression held by some of Lowell's English friends — even, it is said, that most intimate fd by Mr. Norton--that the Hosea Biglow dialect was that of Lowell's father, family, and personal circle. All who know anythtions that the Biglow papers were written. The dialect of Lowell's father and his mates, on the other hand, was only too sc path of steady industry. There is abundant evidence in Lowell's letters and in his printed works of his humorous enjoymewho had been a schoolmate of hers, rather sympathized with Lowell's attack upon her; Lowell's Letters, II. pp. 26, 173. CLowell's Letters, II. pp. 26, 173. Compare Holmes's Life and letters, II. p. 108. but when she criticised Longfellow in the New York Tribune, the latter only me
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Olde Cambridge, Chapter 2: old Cambridge in three literary epochs (search)
ding their last half-dollar on a copy of Spenser's Faerie Queene, instead of a dinner. He was a man of wide reading, great memory, and great inventive power; his favorite work in embryo being a tale which was to occupy twelve volumes each as large as Sue's Wandering Jew, then widely read. Two of these volumes were to contain an incidental summary of the history of the world, told by a heavenly spirit to a man wandering among the Mountains of the Moon in Africa. He came to Cambridge under Lowell's patronage and secured a place in the post-office at a salary of two hundred dollars, on which modest income he married a maiden as poor as himself, who brought him as a dowry two eagles,--formidable pets,--whose butcher's bills made great inroads on his pay. With all these peculiarities he was a capital journalist and had much organizing power, the main work of bringing into existence the Free Soil (afterward Republican) party falling upon him. He made, however, no permanent contribution t
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Olde Cambridge, Chapter 3: Holmes (search)
too spontaneous for that. On the other hand neither of these three eminent talkers could be relied upon for tact, as was shown at the famous dinner to Dr. and Mrs. Stowe which I have elsewhere described, and at which Lowell discoursed to Mrs. Stowe at one end of the table on the superiority of Tom Jones to all other novels, while Holmes demonstrated to Dr. Stowe, at the other end, that profane swearing really originated in the pulpit. Holmes's literary opinions belonged, as compared with Lowell's, to an earlier generation. Holmes was still influenced by the school of Pope, whom Lowell disliked, although his father had admired him. We notice this influence in Holmes's frequent recurrence to the tensyllable verse; in his unwillingness to substitute dactyls for spondees; and in his comments on Emerson's versification, which remind one of those of Johnson on Milton. He has a great aversion to what he calls the crowding of a redundant syllable into a line. He says, for instance, Can
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Olde Cambridge, Chapter 4: Longfellow (search)
production, and even prose production, this last year has been! For 1853 I have absolutely nothing to show. Really, there has been nothing but the college work. The family absorbs half the time; and letters and visits take out a huge cantle. Lowell's letters are full of similar complaints, more impulsively made, and relieved by countless jokes against himself. The difference was that Longfellow's more even temperament made him more methodical and orderly, and also more chary of self-expression, so that although he might be as much bored with his work, his pupils would find it out less readily. Indeed, Lowell's pupils discovered it easily enough. He yawned occasionally on entering the room, an act of which the ever courteous Longfellow would have been incapable, as he would also of a certain cynical tone by which Lowell sometimes relieved himself. Certainly in my timeten years before the period of Longfellow's complaints mentioned above — there were no visible indications of w
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Olde Cambridge, Chapter 5: Lowell (search)
Cambridge influence entered more strongly into Lowell than into Holmes, but it was in Lowell's case e rarer number who get some good out of them. Lowell's reputation as a wit was established in the eeen ten years earlier in The Collegian, though Lowell's contributions were mainly in prose. After e, in all Mr. Norton's delightful collection of Lowell's correspondence anything quite so thoroughly btedly left no opportunity unused to celebrate Lowell's youthful genius. Lowell's personal populant of human nature in the rapid transition, in Lowell's case, from the writer of decidedly convivialgs to the man addressing, four years later, Lowell's Letters, I. p. 68. the annual meeting of theFew letters, I think, were so scintillating as Lowell's; everything that he touched gave out its lits direction began to show itself very early in Lowell, and I remember that when he began to write inhat English critics, while jealously disputing Lowell's claim to rank in the highest class of poets,[11 more...]