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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 2: birth, childhood, and youth (search)
oughts of youth are long, long thoughts. Here Henry Longfellow spent his childhood and youth. Much of that s days; this experience evidently beginning for Henry Longfellow at three years of age, when he went with a broage, his teacher, Mr. Carter, wrote of him, Master Henry Longfellow is one of the best boys we have in school. r, and milestones are always interesting. It was Longfellow's first poem, and he chose an American subject. ing of local pride in this young institution. Henry Longfellow's brother, Stephen, two years older than himseBrunswick, which were, and still are, beautiful. Longfellow pursued the appointed studies, read poetry, was fhe might have been known to fame simply as Major-General Longfellow. Hon. J. W. Bradbury, another classmate, describes Henry Longfellow as having a slight, erect figure, delicate complexion, and intelligent expression, Rev. David Shepley, D. D., has since written of Longfellow's college course: He gave urgent heed to all depa
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 3: first Flights in authorship (search)
to know that twice, during his college days, Longfellow had occasion to show his essentially America time. The authors represented were Bryant, Longfellow, Percival, Dawes, Mellen, and Jones; and it d again, the youthful poems of Bryant and of Longfellow placed side by side and often put together o are preserved in his published works, while Longfellow's are mainly those which he himself dropped,y Gazette, linked together on the same page, Longfellow's Autumnal Nightfall and Bryant's Song of the Grecian Amazon; Longfellow's Italian Scenery and Bryant's To a Cloud; Longfellow's Lunatic Girl anLongfellow's Lunatic Girl and Bryant's The Murdered Traveller. United States Literary Gazette, i. 237, 267, 286. How the older merican poetry not long after, he assigns to Longfellow, as will presently be seen, a very small spfellow was but seventeen. With Bryant and Longfellow, it would therefore seem, the permanent poets of course unquestioned at that period, and Longfellow many years after acknowledged to that poet h[4 more...]
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 4: literature as a pursuit (search)
Chapter 4: literature as a pursuit Longfellow graduated at Bowdoin College in June, 1825. There was in his mind, apparently, from the first, that definiteness of purpose which is so often wanting when a student takes his first college degree. There was for him no doubt or hesitation: it must be literature or nothing; and this not merely from a preference for the pursuit, but from an ambition, willingly acknowledged, to make a name in that direction. He writes to his friend, George W. Were children who with next to no schooling will prattle readily in three or four languages with equal inaccuracy but with equal ease; while a much older person may acquire them by laborious study and yet never feel at home. One can hardly doubt Longfellow's natural readiness in that direction; he was always being complimented, at any Rate—though this may not count for much— upon his aptness in pronouncing foreign tongues, and the ease with which his own compositions lent themselves to translatio
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 5: first visit to Europe (search)
Chapter 5: first visit to Europe Longfellow's college class (1825) numbered thirty-seven, and his rank in it at graduation was nominally fourth—though actually r George Ticknor, then holding the professorship at Harvard College to which Longfellow was destined to succeed at a later day. Professor Ticknor had himself recentl spirits prevail over everything. Washington Irving, in his diary, speaks of Longfellow at Madrid as having arrived safely and cheerily, having met with no robbers. ican themes. It is to be noticed that whatever was artificial and foreign in Longfellow's work appeared before he went to Europe; and was the same sort of thing whic borne in mind that, as Mr. Scudder has pointed out in his admirable paper on Longfellow and his Art, the young poet was really preparing himself in Europe for his lir's Men and Letters, 28, 29. As an illustration of this obvious fact that Longfellow, during this first European visit, while nominally training himself for purel
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 6: marriage and life at Brunswick (search)
o make her acquaintance a little farther. Mary Storer Potter was the second daughter of the Hon. Barrett Potter and Anne (Storer) Potter of Portland, neighbors and friends of the Longfellow family. She had been for a time a schoolmate of Henry Longfellow at the private school of Bezaleel Cushman in Portland; and it is the family tradition that on the young professor's returning to his native city after his three years absence in Europe he saw her at church and was so struck with her appearaniod when Portland was somewhat celebrated for the beauty of its women; and indeed feminine beauty, at least in regard to coloring, seems somewhat developed, like the tints of garden flowers, by the neighborhood of the sea. An oil painting of Mrs. Longfellow is in my possession, taken in a costume said to have been selected by the young poet from one of the highly illustrated annuals so much in vogue at that day. She had dark hair and deep blue eyes, the latter still represented in some of her n
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 22: Westminster Abbey (search)
ich calls us together. There is first the familiar fact that to-day we are adding another name to the great roll of illustrious men whom we commemorate within these walls, that we are adding something to that rich heritage which we have received of national glory from our ancestors, and which we feel bound to hand over to our successors, not only unimpaired, but even increased. There is then the novel and peculiar fact which attaches to the erection of a monument here to the memory of Henry Longfellow. In some sense, poets—great poets like him— may be said to be natives of all lands; but never before have the great men of other countries, however brilliant and widespread their fame, been admitted to a place in Westminster Abbey. A century ago America was just commencing her perilous path of independence and selfernment. Who then could have ventured to predict that within the short space of one hundred years we in England should be found to honor an American as much as we could do
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 23: Longfellow as a poet (search)
ow as a poet The great literary lesson of Longfellow's life is to be found, after all, in this, tforeign languages are in question, and there Longfellow has of course the advantage. In neither cas late Mr. Horace E. Scudder, when he says of Longfellow: He gave of himself freely to his intimate ffor reaction. The same attributes that keep Longfellow from being the greatest of poets will make hs darkly limned upon the ethereal sky, where Longfellow preferred the original reading painted on. his own verse, and we know too surely that Longfellow was no exception; thus we learn that he had eing those of Hawthorne, Sumner, Felton, and Longfellow himself. No one can deny to our poet the me gift as Lowell, Holmes, and T. G. Appleton, Longfellow might well be excused from developing it to visible than in the demand for autographs. Longfellow writes in his own diary that on November 25, the revelations of Mr. William Winter, that Longfellow left certain poems unpublished. Mr. Winter [26 more...]
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 24: Longfellow as a man (search)
Chapter 24: Longfellow as a man Longfellow always amused himself, as do most public men, with the confused and contradictory descriptions of his personal appearLongfellow always amused himself, as do most public men, with the confused and contradictory descriptions of his personal appearance: with the Newport bookseller who exclaimed, Why, you look more like a sea captain than a poet! and a printer who described him as a hale, portly, fine-looking mhe well-shaped mouth, and altogether the expression of Henry Wordsworth [sic] Longfellow's face was most winning. He was dressed very fashionably— almost too much soscription of a visit to Craigie House, in 1878, he says: If asked to describe Longfellow's appearance, I should compare him to the ideal representations of early Chriaying to his followers and brethren, Little children, love one another! . . . Longfellow has had the rare fortune of being thoroughly appreciated in his own country and out of place, to do more here than allude to the universal popularity of Longfellow's works wherever English is spoken; I believe it is not an exaggeration to sa