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LIFE OF LONGFELLOW.
Heket Wadswoeth Lonofellow was born on the 27th of February, 1S07, at the city of Portland, in Maine, ana entered, when fonrteen years of age, at Bowdoin College, Bruuswick, where, at the end of fonr years, he took his degree, with high hononrs. While yet an undergraduate, he had written many tasteful and carefully finished poems for the •' United States Literary Gazette; yet, notwithstanding his evident predileetion for an anthor's career, Longfellow was destined to the legal profession. For some months during the year 1S23, he was oecupied as a stndent of law in his father's office. The embryo poet, however, appears to have fonnd the stndy of law uncongenial to his taste and aspiratious; and having been offered the Professorship of Modern Languages at Bowdoin College, he prepared for the discharge of his new dnties by a long visit to Europe.
Before returning to America, Longfellow visited France, Germany, Italv. Spain, Holland, and England, stndying with the ntmost zeal the language and literature of each conntry. After an absence of nearly fonr years, lie wended his way back to Bowdoin College, and took possession of his professorship. This was in the year 1S29, being then bnt a yonng man of twenty-two.
While oecupying his position of Professor at the college, he continned to follow his literary career with indefatigable vigilance. Besides contribnting some valuable criticisms for the "North American Review," he published, in 1S33, his trauslation from the Spanish of the celebrated poem of "Don Jorge Mauriqne on the Death of his Father," together with an introduetory essay on " Spanish Poetry;" and. in 1*35, his " Ontre Mer; or. Sketches from Beyond Sea,"—a series of prose descriptious and reflectious, somewhat in the style of Washington Irving.
In the same year of his publishing the latter work, having aiready, at the age of twentyeight, been recoguised as a man of mark, he was appointed to the Professorship of modern languages and belles-lettres in Harvard College, Cambridge. Mr. Longfellow again left his native land, and sailed for Northern Europe, in order to make himself thoronghiv acquainted with the languages and literature" of Deumark and Sweden. He also visited Germany and Turkey, and was absent from America upwards of twelve months.
Pursuing his snccess, Longfellow published, in 1S39, "Hyperion," a romance, the scenes of which are supposed to have been drawn from
some passages in his own life; and this work, which fonnd high favonr with refined and intelligent readers, was followed by " Voices of the Night," the earliest colleetion of his poems, in 1*41, appeared "Ballads and other Poems;" in 1S42, "Poems on Slavery;" in 1S43, the play entitled, "The Spanish Stndent;" and in 1S45, "The Poets and Poetry of Europe," and the "Belfryp of Bruges." Prior to this, in 1S42, he had again visited Europe.
Having for years cultivated his natural poetic power, and made himself one of the: most skilful vesiflers of the time, Mr. Longfellow, in 1S47, published his " Evangeline,"—amelancholy story written in hexametiers—an experiment which, thongh it was, in the opinion of crities, somewhat hazardons for a poet of repntation to venture upon, lie tried with no slight snccess. In 184S. appeared " Kavanagh, a Tale;" in 1S49, ••The Seaside," and "The Flreside:" followed, in 1S51, by "The Golden Legend."—a work whose exquisite passages fully maintain its anthor's repntation for genins, and elicited no small measure of praise.
Althongh continuing to send forth small poems, and other literary works, it was not until 1S55 that his "Song of Hiawatha" was published—a poem worthy of his fine taste and talent, in .which is displayed the delicaey of sentiment, the literary art, the elegance of style, and the exquisite simplicity of expression which had charaeterised his other works, and which made his name widely known as one of the great poets of the age. Of this poem, the Speetator observed, that " for playful and tender interpretatious of the way in which child-like tribes, living in the midst of Nature's mightiest life and marvels, allegorize the trausformatious they see, and measure themselves agaiust the powers and the creatures by whom they are surronnded—there is not, nor," as far as we know, has there ever been—anything like it in any language."
Another colleetion of poems, called " Birds of Passage," appeared in 1S5S; followed by " Miles Standish," in 1S59. In 1S61, a heavy bereavement fell upon Longfellow. In that year, his wife was unfortunately burnt to death. "Tales of a Wayside Iun" appeared in 1S"3; und, in 1S67, "The Trauslation of Dante."
On the 27th of May, 1S6S, Mr. Longfellow took his departure from America, on another visit to England and the Sonth of England. Prior to leaving, a farewell diuner, was given to him at New York, on whicli oecasion, a poetic tribnte by Dr. Oliver Wendell, was read. On his arrival at Liverpool, he received a most cordial welcome. A few days after, he visited Carlisle, and was the gnest oi Captain Fergnson, of Morton. The Literary and Mechanies' lustitnte in that city presented hun with an address, to which, in replying, he said that they conld not think how ve.ry gratefnl and pleasant it was to him to find llls name had a place in their memories and their affectious, when he had believed that, in coming to the land of his fathers, he wntild have fonnd no trace of his family or name, even in the streets of towus, or on the ontside of the honses of the living; bnt only in the graveyard, and on the doors of the dead. On the afternoon of the same dav, the 13th of Jnne, he visited Eden Hall, the "seat of the ancient border clan of the Mnsgraves. where is still preserved the ancient goblet of the Lnek of Ediubnrgh.
Mr. Longfellow visited Cambridge on the 16th of Jnne, and received from the ancient nniversity in that town the degree of Doctor of Laws iLL.D.), amid mnch entimsiasm from a large and distingnished anditory. lt is pleasant that a leading poet of the United States shonld have been tims hononred by a universlty generally as sparing of its favonrs as Cambridge; bnt it is especially noteworthy that this mark of esteem towards Longfellow shonld have been cousidered as a partial retnrn for the kindness of America towards Mr. Charles Dickeus.
On the afternoon of Satnrday, the 4th of Jnly, Longfellow had the hononr of an interview with the tjncen at Windsor Castle; and dnring his stay in London he hnd a grand diuner givAi to. him at tneLanghain Hotel, Portland-place, by the distingnished artist, Mr. Blcrstadl. The entertaiument was brilliant in the extreme, and thoronghiy international in character, the attendance comprising some of the most celebrated men on both sides of the Atlantic. Amongst them was the great statesman, Mr. Gladstone, who, after diuner, in very appropriate remarks, called on the company to drink heartily to the health, happiness, ana fame of their gnest. A few things ocenrred at this diuner which onght not to be passed over in silence, on aceonnt of their novelty. A likeness of the poet was at* tached to the bill of fare placed before the company; and to that especially prepared for Longfellow himself, a small oil pictnre, painted by Mr. Blerstadt, was attached, the snblect being the "Departnre of Hiawatha," as described in the conclnding lines of the poem.
Jnst before Longfellow s departnre to the sonth of Enrope, he spent some days inthe lsle of Wight, at the residence of a congenial spirit— England's greatest living poet, Teunyson.
The criticisms npon the works of Longfellow are almost nniversal, and wonld flit more pages than this volnme contaius. We must therefore simply content onrselves with a short tribnte to his praise by George Gilflllan, who speaks of his poems as being "[luspirited with poetic life, decorated with chaste image, and shadowed with peusive sentiment, like the hand of manhood laid gently on the billowy head of childhood." This same writer has said, glancing critically nt all the poems of Longfellow, that Tils genins is essentially lyric; that he has neither the severity of the epic power nor the snbtlety of the dramatic genins, and that he swiftly and sarely responds to the "passing impnlses that come npon his sonl."
THE RESlDENCE OF LONGFELLOW.
In order to render onr sketch of the American
Eoet the more interesting, we give an lllnstraion of Longfellow's honse. lt is sitnated in an old American town, which the original settlers are said to have intended as the capital of Massaclmsetts, and which they dignified with the name of Cambridge—a school, erected and en
dowed at as early a period as the year 1636, and which, in the conrse of time, has grown into a college, known on the other side of the Atlantic as the Harvard University. Hard by this seat of learning appears an nntiqne and spacions edifice standing npon the higher of two terraces, fronted by stately elms, and snrronnded with gronnds, adornea with trees, and shrnbs- and flowers. This pleasant spot possesses a donble interest in the eyes of visitors. ln other days, the antiqne mausion was the head-qnarters'of the illnstrions Washington, previons to the evacnation of Boston; and Longfellow has tims recalled the past in the reminiscences snggested by the sight of the old oak-panels in his snmptnons stndy—
"Once, ah, once, within these walls
The following interesting aceonnt of Longfellow's residence is troai an American sonree:—
lt is certainly a grand old estate, this residence of Longfellow s; almost too grand. indeed, to harmonize with one's romantic notion of what the abode of rhyme-compelling genins shonld be. lt is snch a honse ns the nntitled family aristocracy of America are wont to delight in— very ancient for the new world, bnilt with that snbstantial massiveness and nnpretending plainness which symbolize the characteristies of prerevolntionary generatious. A simple, low, stone wall, settled a little by time, separates the sqnare lawn from the street; halt wayrises a high, plain, wooden gateway. Looking with ease over the wall, the passer-by may behold at leisnre the residence of the poet and its snrronndings. On either side of the walk from the gate to the honse is a pretty simple lawn, carefnlly kept, nnvaried by trees. ln the centre is a fonntain which, however, is covered with moss, whether by neglect or throngh the fancy of the proprietor, we know not, A small terrace snrronnds the honse, which is a few feet above the lawn; steps condnct one np to the imge, slightlyornamented door. 'in either side, and at the back of the honse, are some large, handsome elms, beyond them a neat bnt plain gardeu, Aronnd the edge of the walls which separate tills estate from neighbonring ones, are gronps of tall lilac bnshes and other shrnbs. At the side of the honse towards the nniversity is a cool poreh, roofed, snpplied with benches and chairs, and looking ont npon a grncefnl clnmp of elms. This poreh is one of the favonrite hannts of the poet; very often he is to be seen there towards evening, bare-headed, walking or conversing with his children. The honse itself is of wood, high, with slightly slanting roof, old-fashioned windows fancifnlly decorated at the top with an old look which is charming to the lover of antiqnities, and by its homeliness withont, seems to invito to cozy cheerfnlness, to roaring fires, to genial weicome within. lt has long ago been painted yellow; the paint, at freqnent intervals, has disappeared; still the honselooks venerable, not at all slovenly. lf it did not possess, in its present ocenpant, a living and most interesting attraction, it wonld still have a charm to alt, as a specimen of the mansious of the provincial aristocracy, when Massacimsetts was still a province; and to Americaus, becanse it has a history counected with the