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We have nothing biographical to say respecting Mr. Lowell; we know not that his history presents any striking facts. He is the son of a distinguished Boston divine; he graduated at Harvard, and with high honors, and he wrote excellent poetry at an early age.

But Lowell is a remarkable man and poet. He lacks the fire of Whittier; he is possibly inferior to many American poets in important respects, but that he is one of the first poets of this age no man will deny. He is sincerely a reformer; his sympathies are entirely with the oppressed and down-trodden; he has always been true to the cause of the negro slave, and many of his poems prove it. Some of his poems are exceedingly beautiful, while others are full of grand thoughts, which strike upon the ear and heart, like the booming cannon-shot, which tells that an ardently desired conflict has commenced. This class of poems are less fiery than Whittier's reform poetry, but a very few of them are, we have sometimes thought, characterized by more grandeur than any of Whit

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upon the same subject. One of the most beautiful of Lowell's poems is that entitled “The Forlorn."

It betrays the nature of his religion and philosophy; at least, it proves that his sympathies are with the poor and friendless. To us, it seems that this poem can never die—that some of its stanzas are unsurpassed by any modern poetry.


The night is dark, the stinging sleet,

Swept by the bitter gusts of air,
Drives whistling down the lonely street,

And stiffens on the pavement bare.

The street-lamps flare and struggle dim

Through the white sleet-clouds as they pass,
Or, governed by a boisterous whim,

Drop down and rattle on the glass.

One poor, heart-broken, out-cast girl

Faces the east wind's searching flaws,
And, as about her heart they whirl,

Her tattered cloak more tightly draws.

The flat brick walls look cold and bleak,

Her bare feet to the side-walk freeze;
Yet dares she yet a shelter seek,

Though faint with hunger and disease.

The sharp storm cuts her forehead bare,

And, piercing through her garments thin,
Beats on her shrunken breast, and there

Makes colder the cold heart within.

She lingers where a ruddy glow

Streams outward through an open shutter, Giving more bitterness to woe,

More loneliness to desertion utter.

One half the cold she had not felt

Until she saw this gush of light
Spread warmly forth, and seemed to melt

Its slow way through the dead’ning night.

She hears a woman's voice within,

Singing sweet words her childhood knew, And years of misery and sin

Furl off and leave her heaven blue.

Her freezing heart, like one who sinks

Out-wearied in the drifting snow, Drowses to deadly sleep, and thinks

No longer of its hopeless woe:

Old fields, and clear blue summer days,

Old meadows, green with grass and trees, That shimmer through the trembling bare,

And whiten in the western breeze;

Old faces—all the friendly past

Rises within her heart again,
And sunshine from her childhood cast

Makes summer of the icy rain.

Enhaloed by a mild, warm glow,

From all humanity apart,
She hears old footsteps wandering slow

Through the lone chambers of her heart.

Outside the porch below the door,

Her cheek upon the cold, hard stone, She lies, no longer foul and poor,

No longer dreary and alone.

Next morning, something heavily

Against the opening door did weigh,
And there, from sin and sorrow free,

A woman on the threshold lay.

A smile upon the wan lips told

That she had found a calm release,
And that, from out the want and cold,

The song had borne her soul in peace;

For, whom the heart of man shuts out,

Straightway the heart of God takes in,
And fences them all round about

With silence mid the world's loud din;

And one of his great charities

Is music, and it doth not scorn
To close the lids upon the eyes

Of the polluted and forlorn.

Far was she from her childhood's home,

Farther in guilt had wandered thence,
Yet thither it had bid her come

To die in maiden innocence.

Mr. Lowell has shown that he is a wit and humorist in the publication of his “Biglow Papers." He is the only American who has attempted to laugh down the oppressors of the slave—the propagandists of slavery. Some of the Biglow poems are capital specimens of Yankee wit and humor. They are of course written purposely in the rough, exaggerated, Yankee style. Hosea gives his ideas of war as follows:

“Ez for war, I call it murder,

you hev it plain an' flat;
I don't want to go no furder

Than my testyment for that;

“God haz sed so plump and fairly,

It's ez long ez it is broad,
An' you've gut to git up airly

Ef you want to take in God.”

Occasionally in the midst of fun, a fine, grand verse occurs, which puts away all laughter from the face. For instance, the following verse from the same poem, from which the foregoing was extracted :

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One of the most popular of Lowell's Biglow poems, is that upon John P. Robinson. In it General Cushing gets the following hit:


“ Gineral C. is a drefile smart man:
He's been on all sides that give places or pelf;
But consistency still woz a part of his plan, -
He's been true to one party-an' that is himself ;-

So John P.

Robinson he
Sez he shall vote for Gineral C.

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