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famous. Other works followed. Seven years abroad as consul resulted in the Note-Books and The Marble Faun. American literature he is unequalled for knowledge of the human heart, for fascinating treatment of the supernatural, for graceful mingling of the prosaic and the ideal, and for perfection of literary style.
27. The Anti-slavery movement. Side by side with the transcendental movement was a second which strongly affected literature, the anti-slavery movement. The second was the logical companion of the first. “Let every man be free to live his own life," proclaimed the transcendentalists. How can a man be free to live his own life if he is held in bondage?" retorted the antislavery advocates. After the struggle concerning the extension of slavery which resulted in the Missouri Compromise of 1820, the subject had been gradually dropped. To be sure, the Quakers were still unmoved in their opposition, but the masses of the people in the free States had come to feel that to attempt to break up slavery was to threaten the very existence of the Union. The revival of the question was due to William Lloyd Garrison, who took this ground. Slavery is wrong; therefore every slave should be freed at once, and God will take care of the consequences. This was a direct challenge to the conscience of every man in the nation. It was complicated by questions of social safety and of business and financial interests as well as by sympathetic and sectional feelings. There was no dearth of material for thought, discussion, and literature,
Among the many New England writers whose names will ever be associated with the emancipation of the
slave are the poet Whittier and the novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe.
28. John Greenleaf Whittier, 1807-1892. quiet Quaker farmhouse in the town of Haverhill, there lived a boy who longed for books and school, but had to stay at home and work on the farm. The family library consisted of about thirty volumes, chiefly the lives of prominent Quakers. The boy read these over and over and even made a catalogue of them in rhyme. One day the schoolmaster came to the house with a copy of Burns's poems in his pocket. He read aloud poem after poem, and the bright-eyed boy listened as if his mind had been starved. “Shall I lend it to you?" the master asked, and the boy took the book gratefully. After a while he paid a visit to Boston and came home happy but a little conscience-smitten, for he had bought a copy of Shakespeare, and he knew that Quakers did not approve of plays.
One day when the boy and his father were mending a stone wall, a man rode by distributing Garrison's Free Press to its subscribers. He tossed a paper to the boy, who glanced from page to page, looking especially, as Pirst printed was his wont, at the corner where the poetry
was usually printed. He read there The Exile's Departure.” “Thee had better put up the paper and go to work,” said his father, but still the boy gazed, for the poem was signed “W.," and it was his own! His older sister Mary had quietly sent it to the editor without saying anything to her brother. The next scene was like a fairy story. Not long afterwards a carriage stopped at the door. A young man, well dressed and with the easy manner of one used to society, inquired for his new contributor. "I can't go in," declared the shy post. “Thee must,” said the sister Mary. Mr. Garrison
told the family that the son had “true poetic genius," and that he ought to have an education. “Don't thee put such notions into the boy's head," said the father, for he saw no way to afford even a single term at school. A way was arranged, however, by which the young man could pay his board; and he had one year at an academy. This was almost his only schooling, but he was an eager student all the days of his life.
Through Garrison's influence an opportunity to do editorial work was offered him. He became deeply interested in public matters. The very air was tin
Editorial gling with the question : Slavery or no slavery? work. He threw the whole force of his thought and his pen against slavery. From the peace-loving Quaker came lyrics that were like the clashing of swords.
The years passed swiftly, and Whittier gained reputation as a poet slowly. He published several early volumes of poems, but it was not until 1866 that he really touched the heart of the country, for then he published Snow-Bound. There are poems by scores that Snowportray passing moods or tell interesting stories Bound, or describe beautiful scenes; but, save for The Cotter's Saturday Night, there is hardly another that gives so vivid a picture of home life. We almost feel the chill in the air before the coming storm ; we fancy that we are with the group who sit “the clean-winged hearth about :' we listen to the “tales of witchcraft old,” the stories of Indian attacks, of life in the logging camps; we see the schoolmaster, the Dartmouth boy who is teasing "the mitten-blinded cat” and telling of college pranks. The mother turns her wheel, and the days pass till the storm is over and the roads are open. The poem is true, simple, and vivid, and it is full of such phrases as “the sun, a snow-blown traveller ;” “the great throat of the chimney
laughed ;” “between the andirons' straddling feet,” – phrases that outline a picture with the sure and certain touch of a master. The poem is “real,” but with the reality given by the brush of an artist. Snow-Bound is Whittier's masterpiece; but The Eternal Goodness and
some of his ballads, The Barefoot Boy, In School-Days, Among the Hills, Telling the Bees, and a few other poems, come so close to the heart that they can never be forgotten.
Whittier was always fond of children. The story is told that he came from the pine woods one day with his pet, Phebe, and said merrily, “ Phebe is seventy, I am seven, and we both act like sixty.” He lived to see his eighty-fifth birthday in the midst of love and honors. One who was near him when the end came tells us that among his last whispered words were “ Love to the world.”
29. Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1811–1896. When the future novelist was a child in school in Litchfield, Con