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It makes indeed a part of the magic of new books that no man can guess securely at their future.
I remember vividly the surprise of my old friend and guide, Professor Edward Tyrrell Channing, then the highest literary authority in America, when I inserted in my Commencement oration at Harvard in 1841, a boyish compliment to Tennyson; only two or three copies of whose first thin volumes had as yet crossed the Atlantic, though these had been read with enthusiasm by young people at Concord and at Cambridge.
I, exhorting young poets with the mature enthusiasm of seventeen, bade them lay down their Spenser and their Tennyson and look within, and Professor Channing let it pass in the understanding that by Spenser I meant the highest authority, and by Tennyson, the lowest.
This construction I refused with some indignation, for it was a capital passage of which I was quite proud and which had been written by my elder sister.
When I explained my real views — as to Tennyson, the