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Paul H. Hayne (search for this): chapter 10
ee him as I saw him, giving his life for humanity, alone and unfriended, in that dreadful Soudan. He did not like the idea of fighting Satan with Satan's weapons. Lord Salisbury said truly that John Bright was the greatest orator England had produced, and his eloquence was only called out by what he regarded as the voice of God in his soul. Mrs. Fields's Whittier, pp. 50-51. It is an interesting fact that one of the best pictures ever drawn of Whittier in his home life is that drawn by Hayne, the Southern poet, who once visited him. So 'neath the Quaker poet's tranquil roof, From all deep discords of the world aloof, I sit once more and measured converse hold, With him whose nobler thoughts are rhythmic gold; See his deep brows half-puckered in a knot, O'er some hard problem of our mortal lot, Or a dream soft as May winds of the south, Waft a girl's sweetness 'round his firm, set mouth. Or, should he deem wrong threats the public weal, Lo, the whole man seems girt with flashin
Rufus Wilmot Griswold (search for this): chapter 10
adies by the following letter, not put in print for many years after, and addressed to that general friend — and occasional enemy — of all literary people, Rufus Wilmot Griswold, of New York:-- Amesbury, 21st June, 1850. My dear fr. Griswold:--I learn from my friend F. W. Kellogg that Alice and Phoebe Cary, of Ohio, are on theiGriswold:--I learn from my friend F. W. Kellogg that Alice and Phoebe Cary, of Ohio, are on their way to the East, and would be glad to see them at my place if they come to Boston. Presuming that thou wilt see them in N. Y. I have taken the liberty to invite them, through thee, to call on me. I have been quite ill this spring and my sister also is an invalid, and we see little company, but I should feel sorry to have the slt kindly remember me to Tuckerman. I like his last book exceedingly, and shall notice it soon in the Era. Thine cordially, John G. Whittier. Letters of R. W. Griswold, pp. 266-67. A lady who had been long a neighbour once described Whittier's parlour fire:-- That fire was a perpetual source of pleasure and annoyanc
F. W. Kellogg (search for this): chapter 10
, and were welcome. It is hardly fair, however, to give this last incident without giving the letter by which the unwary bachelor poet brought this visit upon his household. He had actually invited these frank young ladies by the following letter, not put in print for many years after, and addressed to that general friend — and occasional enemy — of all literary people, Rufus Wilmot Griswold, of New York:-- Amesbury, 21st June, 1850. My dear fr. Griswold:--I learn from my friend F. W. Kellogg that Alice and Phoebe Cary, of Ohio, are on their way to the East, and would be glad to see them at my place if they come to Boston. Presuming that thou wilt see them in N. Y. I have taken the liberty to invite them, through thee, to call on me. I have been quite ill this spring and my sister also is an invalid, and we see little company, but I should feel sorry to have the sweet singers of the West so near and not see them. Dost ever come to Boston? I should be very glad to see th
y. I have a pleasant and grateful recollection of our acquaintance in N. Y. and Boston. I shall be obliged to thee if thou wilt kindly remember me to Tuckerman. I like his last book exceedingly, and shall notice it soon in the Era. Thine cordially, John G. Whittier. Letters of R. W. Griswold, pp. 266-67. A lady who had been long a neighbour once described Whittier's parlour fire:-- That fire was a perpetual source of pleasure and annoyance to us all. It was an old-fashioned Franklin stove, that smoked on the slightest provocation, and scattered the ashes over the hearth. At the same time it had a habit of throwing out the most charming gleams and shadows, especially if driftwood was being burned. Mr. Whittier was very jealous of any one else tending or poking the fire. Often I have unconsciously taken the tongs to touch up a brand, when his hand would stay mine, and he would say, Thee must not touch that, it is just right, and perhaps the next minute he would have
William Claflin (search for this): chapter 10
see and hear without being discovered, and the convention from that time on, so far as its visual faculties availed, was without its poet. We have, through Mrs. Claflin, also Whittier's own reports as to his personal conversations with fellow-authors. For instance, as he was driving one day with Emerson, the latter pointed ou while and then returned with the remark, There are some good things in that book. I find that this Mr. Plato has a good many of my ideas. Whittier gave to Mrs. Claflin, also, this account of his only advance toward personal intercourse with Hawthorne :-- He said, Thee knows I am not skilled in visits and small talk, ing, but never at mine — and what wonder? It would be a foolish spirit that did not prefer her company to that of an old man like me. They would repeat, says Mrs. Claflin, the most marvellous stories of ghostly improbabilities, apparently for the time being believing every word. With Mrs. Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward, who had w
Jesus Christ (search for this): chapter 10
ay. I am glad she does. I pray for myself. Does thee? said Whittier. What does thee pray for, friend Emerson? Well, replied Emerson, when I first open my eyes upon the morning meadows, and look out upon the beautiful world, I thank God that I am alive, and that I live so near Boston. In one of their conversations, Mr. Emerson remarked that the world had not yet seen the highest development of manhood. Does thee think so? said Whittier. I suppose thee would admit that Jesus Christ is the highest development our world has seen? Yes, Yes, but not the highest it will see. Does thee think the world has yet reached the ideals the Christ has set for mankind? No, no, said Emerson: I think not. Then is it not the part of wisdom to be content with what has been given us, till we have lived up to that ideal? And when we need something higher, Infinite Wisdom will supply our needs. Amesbury, like Concord, had its individual oddities; and the two poets li
Samuel T. Pickard (search for this): chapter 10
d stay mine, and he would say, Thee must not touch that, it is just right, and perhaps the next minute he would have the tongs and do just what I had attempted. I have frequently gone in at twilight and found him lying on the lounge, watching the flitting shadows, and repeating aloud from some favourite author, generally Scott or Burns. His mood and conversation at such times were particularly delightful. The beautiful poem, Burning Driftwood was doubtless inspired by such experiences. Pickard, II. 745. One of the very best delineations of Whittier by one of those who approached him on the public or semi-public side is that written by the Hon. Robert S. Rantoul of Salem, Mass.:-- Mr. Whittier was self-contained. In the company of persons whom he did not care for — who could not draw him out — his mind seemed to furnish him with almost nothing to say. He had no small talk. Where there was nothing in common he could be as remote and silent as a mountain peak .... For hi
William Sloane Kennedy (search for this): chapter 10
Chapter 9: Whittier at home One of Whittier's biographers, Mr. William Sloane Kennedy, who has also been in a manner a biographer of Whitman, rather surprises the reader by an unexpected admission in comparing the two. He says of Whittier, He is democratic, not so powerfully and broadly as Whitman, but more unaffectedly and sincerely. It is a concession of some value, the critic having been one of Whitman's warmest admirers and most generous advocates, and it seems to me to touch the truth very well. Certainly no one could see Whittier in contact with his fellow-citizens of a country village, without being struck by the genuineness and healthiness, so to speak, of the relations between them. If I may repeat my own words used elsewhere, I should say that there was something most satisfactory in the position of the poet among the village people. He was their pride and their joy, yet he lived as simply as any one, was careful and abstemious, reticent rather than exuberant in ma
tly improbabilities, apparently for the time being believing every word. With Mrs. Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward, who had written on the possible employments of another life, he would discuss that theme with a relish, but would add, Elizabeth, thee would not be happy in heaven unless thee could go missionary to the other place, now and then. Quakers, if genuine, usually have rather a predilection for fighters. Garibaldi was one of Whittier's heroes, so was General Gordon, so was young Colonel Shaw; and so was John Bright, who fought with words only. Whittier wrote at his death to Mrs. Fields-- Spring is here to-day, worm, birdful. .... It seems strange that I am alive to welcome her when so many have passed away with the winter, and among them that stalwartest of Englishmen, John Bright, sleeping now in the daisied grounds of Rochdale, never more to move the world with his surpassing eloquence. How I regret that I have never seen him! We had much in common in our religious
s remote and silent as a mountain peak .... For himself, he was transparent in his expressions and he sought the communion of those only who met him on his own ground. Insincerity was incivility .... He could no more face a mixed company than he could face an audience. It was the lack of touch — of correlation --that seemed to disturb him. Miss Bremer said of him that he could cheerfully confront martyrdom, but shrank from the ordinary requirements of social intercourse .... Later, in 1882, when I was a member of the Republican State Central Committee, I was designated to conduct Mr. Whittier from his rooms in Boston on the morning of the Music Hall convention which put Robinson forward for the defeat of Butler, and I was specially charged to place him in a conspicuous seat near the front of the platform, that all Massachusetts might see that he was with us. By dint of much entreaty and persuasion I finally prevailed. No man was better entitled to a high seat in the party sanh
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