July 13.. . . I do not think it essential that the first poets of an age should write war odes. Our period has a higher calling, and it is Longfellow's chief virtue to have apprehended it. His poetry does not rally to battle; but it affords succor and strength to bear the ills of life. There are six or seven pieces of his far superior, as it seems to me, to any thing I know of Uhland or Korner calculated to do more good, to touch the soul to finer issues; pieces that will live to be worn near the hearts of men when the thrilling war-notes of Campbell and Korner will be forgotten. You and I admire the poetry of Gray. There are few things in any language which give me more pleasure than the ‘Elegy in a Country Churchyard,’ the ‘Progress of Poesy,’ and the ‘Bard.’ On these his reputation rears itself, and will stand for ever. But I had rather be the author of ‘A Psalm of Life,’ ‘The Light of Stars,’ ‘The Reaper and the Flowers,’ and ‘Excelsior,’ than those rich pieces of Gray. I think Longfellow without rival near his throne in America. I might go further: I doubt if there is any poet now alive, and not older than he, who has written so much and so well. . . . Longfellow is to be happy for a fortnight in the shades of Cambridge; then to visit his wife's friends in Berkshire; then his own in Portland. I am all alone,—alone. My friends fall away from me. Ever and ever yours,
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Chapter 16 : events at home.—Letters of friends.— December , 1837 , to March , 1839 .—Age 26 - 28 .
Chapter 17 : London again.—characters of judges.—Oxford.—Cambridge— November and December , 1838 .—Age, 27 .
Chapter 18 : Stratford-on-avon.—Warwick.—London.—Characters of judges and lawyers.—authors.—society.— January , 1839 , to March , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 19 : Paris again.— March to April , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 20 : Italy .— May to September , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 21 : Germany .— October , 1839 , to March , 1840 .—Age, 28 - 29 .
Chapter 22 : England again, and the voyage home.— March 17 to May 3 , 1840 . —Age 29 .
Chapter 23 : return to his profession.— 1840 - 41 .—Age, 29 - 30 .
Chapter 24 : Slavery and the law of nations.— 1842 .—Age, 31 .
Chapter 25 : service for Crawford .—The Somers Mutiny.—The nation's duty as to slavery.— 1843 .—Age, 32 .
Chapter 27 : services for education.—prison discipline.—Correspondence.— January to July , 1845 .—age, 34 .
Chapter 28 : the city Oration,— the true grandeur of nations. —an argument against war.— July 4 , 1845 .—Age 34 .
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