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s of European travel. Then came, after ten years of teaching and the death of his young wife, the sudden impulse to write poetry, and he produced, softly excited, I know not why, The Reaper and the Flowers, a Psalm of death. From that December morning in 1838 until his death in 1882 he was Longfellow the Poet. His outward life, like Hawthorne's, was barren of dramatic incident, save the one tragic accident by which his second wife, the mother of his children, perished before his eyes in 1861. He bore the calamity with the quiet courage of his race and breeding. But otherwise his days ran softly and gently, enriched with books and friendships, sheltered from the storms of circumstance. He had leisure to grow ripe, to remember, and to dream. But he never secluded himself, like Tennyson, from normal contacts with his fellowmen. The owner of the Craigie House was a good neighbor, approachable and deferential. He was even interested in local Cambridge politics. On the larger po
rope and the death of his wife, he gave some brilliant Lowell Institute lectures in Boston, and was appointed Longfellow's successor at Harvard. He went to Europe again to prepare himself, and after entering upon his work as a teacher made a happy second marriage, served for four years as the first editor of The Atlantic, and helped his friend Charles Eliot Norton edit The North American review. The Civil War inspired a second series of Biglow papers and the magnificent Commemoration Ode of 1865. Then came volume after volume of literary essays, such as Among My books and My study windows, and an occasional book of verse. Again he made a long sojourn in Europe, resigned his Harvard professorship, and in 1877 was appointed Minister to Spain. After three years he was transferred to the most important post in our diplomatic service, London. He performed his duties with extraordinary skill and success until 1885, when he was relieved. His last years were spent in Elmwood, the Cambr
s are sung today in all the churches. When The Atlantic monthly was established in 1857, Whittier was fifty. He took his place among the contributors to the new magazine not as a controversialist but as a man of letters, with such poems as Tritemius, and Skipper Ireson's Ride. Characteristic productions of this period are My Psalm, Cobbler Keezar's vision, Andrew Rykman's Prayer, the Eternal Goodness — poems grave, sweet, and tender. But it was not until the publication of Snow-bound in 1866 that hitter's work touched its widest popularity. He had never married, and the deaths of his mother and sister Elizabeth set him brooding, in the desolate Amesbury house, over memories of his birthplace, six miles away in East Haverhill. The homestead had gone out of the hands of the Whittiers, and the poet, nearing sixty, set himself to compose an idyll descriptive of the vanished past. No artist could have a theme more perfectly adapted to his mood and to his powers. There are no nove
in that section of the country where there were libraries, wealth, leisure for the pursuits of scholarship, a sense of intimate concern with the great issues of the past, and a diffusion of intellectual tastes throughout the community. It was no accident that Sparks and Ticknor, Bancroft and Prescott, Motley and Parkman, were Massachusetts men. Jared Sparks, it is true, inherited neither wealth nor leisure. He was a furious, unwearied toiler in the field of our national history. Born in 1789, by profession a Unitarian minister, he began collecting the papers of George Washington by 1825. John Marshall, the great jurist, had published his five-volume life of his fellow Virginian a score of years earlier. But Sparks proceeded to write another biography of Washington and to edit his writings. He also edited a Library of American biography, wrote lives of Franklin and Gouverneur Morris, was professor of history and President of Harvard, and lived to be seventy-seven. As editor of
biography of Washington and to edit his writings. He also edited a Library of American biography, wrote lives of Franklin and Gouverneur Morris, was professor of history and President of Harvard, and lived to be seventy-seven. As editor of the writings of Franklin and Washington, he took what we now consider unpardonable liberties in altering the text, and this error of judgment has somewhat clouded his just reputation as a pioneer in historical research. George Bancroft, who was born in 1800, and died, a horseback-riding sage, at ninety-one, inherited from his clergyman father a taste for history. He studied in Germany after leaving Harvard, turned schoolmaster, Democratic politician and office-holder, served as Secretary of the Navy, Minister to England and then to the German Empire, and won distinction in each of his avocations, though the real passion of his life was his History of the United States, which he succeeded in bringing down to the adoption of the Constitution. Th
sal in 1849 gave him leisure to produce his masterpiece, The Scarlet letter, published in 1850. He was now forty-six. In 1851, he published The House of the seven Gables, the Wonder-book, and The snow-image, and other tales. In 1852 came The Blitlitical issues of his day his Americanism was sound and loyal. It is disheartening, he wrote in his Cambridge journal for 1851, to see how little sympathy there is in the hearts of the young men here for freedom and great ideas. But his own sympathw-writing, and finally, encouraged by Prescott, settled down upon Dutch history, went to Europe to work up his material in 1851, and, after five years, scored an immense triumph with his Rise of the Dutch Republic. He was a brilliant partisan, hatinbed in his first book, The Oregon Trail. The Conspiracy of Pontiac, a highly-colored narrative in two volumes appearing in 1851, marks the first stage of his historical writing. Then came the tragedy of shattered health, and for fourteen years Parkm
to Sophia Peabody, and for nearly four years dwelt in the Old Manse at Concord. He described it in one of the ripest of his essays, the Preface to Mosses from an Old Manse, his second collection of stories. After three years in the Custom-House at Salem, his dismissal in 1849 gave him leisure to produce his masterpiece, The Scarlet letter, published in 1850. He was now forty-six. In 1851, he published The House of the seven Gables, the Wonder-book, and The snow-image, and other tales. In 1852 came The Blithedale romance, a rich ironical story drawn from his Brook Farm experience. Four years in the American Consulate at Liverpool and three subsequent years of residence upon the Continent saw no literary harvest except carefully filled notebooks and the deeply imaginative moral romance, The Marble Faun. Hawthorne returned home in 1860 and settled in the Wayside at Concord, busying himself with a new, and, as was destined, a never completed story about the elixir of immortality.
r bravery and uprightness, the youth was graduated from Bowdoin at eighteen. Like his classmate Hawthorne, he had been a wide and secretly ambitious reader, and had followed the successive numbers of Irving's Sketch book, he tells us, with ever increasing wonder and delight. His college offered him in 1826 a professorship of the modern languages, and he spent three happy years in Europe in preparation. He taught successfully at Bowdoin for five or six years, and for eighteen years, 1836 to 1854, served as George Ticknor's successor at Harvard, ultimately surrendering the chair to Lowell. He early published two prose volumes, Hyperion and Outre-mer, Irvingesque romances of European travel. Then came, after ten years of teaching and the death of his young wife, the sudden impulse to write poetry, and he produced, softly excited, I know not why, The Reaper and the Flowers, a Psalm of death. From that December morning in 1838 until his death in 1882 he was Longfellow the Poet. Hi
e of a historical field which offered freshness and picturesqueness of theme. All were tireless workers in spite of every physical handicap; all enjoyed social security and the rich reward of full recognition by their contemporaries. They had their world as in their time, as Chaucer makes the Wife of Bath say of herself, and it was a pleasant world to live in. Grandson of Prescott the brave of Bunker Hill, and son of the rich Judge Prescott of Salem, William Hickling Prescott was born in 1796, and was graduated from Harvard in 1814. An accident in college destroyed the sight of one eye, and left him but a precarious use of the other. Nevertheless he resolved to emulate Gibbon, whose Autobiography had impressed him, and to make himself an historian in the best sense of the term. He studied arduously in Europe, with the help of secretaries, and by 1826, after a long hesitation, decided upon a History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. In ten years the three volumes were fi
phere of faction and section, and, though he retained to the last his Quaker creed, he held its simple tenets in such undogmatic and winning fashion that his hymns are sung today in all the churches. When The Atlantic monthly was established in 1857, Whittier was fifty. He took his place among the contributors to the new magazine not as a controversialist but as a man of letters, with such poems as Tritemius, and Skipper Ireson's Ride. Characteristic productions of this period are My Psalm,, clear, and amusing lecturer, and printed two or three notable medical essays, but his chief Boston reputation, in the eighteen-fifties, was that of a wit and diner-out and writer of verses for occasions. Then came his great hour of good luck in 1857, when Lowell, the editor of the newly-established Atlantic monthly, persuaded him to write The Autocratof the Breakfast table. It was the public's luck also, for whoever had been so unfortunate as not to be born in Boston could now listen — as if
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