« הקודםהמשך »
always held himself to have inherited make a lawyer without it), I wonldn't his poetic ternperament, his love of na- hesitate a moment; but I am confident ture, and sensitive response to her in that I shall never be able even to be on fluences.
speaking terms with it." There is nothing remarkable in the A year later he is still in a“ miserable few childish letters that have been pre- state" of indecision ; now veering toward served, unless we may trace some hint medicine, toward “business," of the coming man in the boy of nine, again toward lecturing, the inborn cravwho writes to a brother of the three ing for literary expression forever reasvolumes of “ Tales of a Grandfather" serting itself. He fought and conquered added to his bookshelf; it must be his.disinclination, however, and in 1840 owned, however, that a new suit of took his degree of Bachelor of Law at broadcloth clothes with buttons of his larvard Law School. Scribbling had own selection,, and “the melancholy all this while lightened the arid study news” of his “ ague, together with a
ague, together with a of Blackstone and Kent's " Commentagumbile,” fairly divide the writer's in- ries," and his betrothal in the same year terest. Following on this, there are to Miss Maria White, a young lady of nine years of silence. The letters begin large gifts of mind and heart, herself a again when Lowell was eighteen, and writer of sweet and sympathetic verse, had already been four years a student at did much to quicken and stimulate his Harvard. Shy on first entering the powers and develop his character. new life, his genial, sociable qualities Though now fully qualified to practise quickly gathered friends about him. law, literature still lured him ; in this T'he love of books had grown with his same eventful year he made a collection years. “Yon see the editiomania has of verses which had already appeared in not left me yet,” he writes to a college various periodicals, and succeeded in friend, after telling of a handsome edi- publishing them under the title of " A tion of Milton and one of Coleridge giv- Year's Life.” The little volume brought en him by his father ; “ with some him some encouraging praise, but little stray cash I have purchased Butler and money, and in the hope of bettering his Beattie also. Did you ever read fortune he started a monthly journal in * Hudibras '?” The letter is all about partnership with a man scarcely more books, and here we have the first hint practical than himself. “ The Pioneer” of verse-making. “When my poerns soon came to grief, expiring after a are published I'll send them to you.” languishing existence of three months, IIis mother is his confidant about those and leaving a heavy legacy of debt be“poetical effusions, one of which I hind it. have dedicated to you who have always The winter of 1812–3 was spent in been the patron and encourager of my New York, where, brought into relayouthful muse.
tions with a fresh set of ininds, and A boyish assertion of independence rubbing shoulders with young and led to his rustication, and he left Har- eager authors of his own generation, vard to finish his studies under a private Lowell was inspired to compose a sectutor at Concord, where Emerson was ond volume of verse. It was now quite then living in seclusion. He found clear that for the future the pen must Concord dull, and he was restless and in be his weapon ; fresh avenues were discontent with himself, and out of opening to him in many quarters ; and sympathy with Emerson's transcenden- with an easy conscience he could at las talism.
realize his dream and “sit down to do In the autumn of 1838 he received his something literary for the rest of his bachelor's degree and returned to Elm- life.” With the optimism and delightwood ; and then followed the necessity ful youthfulness of hope which never of choosing a career. For his father's failed him, Lowell now considered himprofession he had no “inward call ;" self justified in marrying upon what the law, which he finally chose, does might fairly be described as “nothing not seem to have been much more con a year, and that uncertain.”' “ All I genial. “If I thought it possible that ask,” he coufides in C. F. Briggs, a I ever could love the law (one can't young writer of great promise whose
acquaintance he made in New York, to think it has as many enemies as posand to whom many of the letters in sible." Yet, though the next years these volumes are addressed, "is were busy and productive ones, since enough for necessaries," and the enough they saw the birth of the “Bigelow was forthcoming, though the great Papers,” "Sir Launcefal," " The prizes of literature never fell to Low- Fable for Critics,” besides much newsell's share. To the same friend he paper and magazine work, the money sends the following delightful sketch rewards came in very slowly. of his father, who had proposed to
“ If ever letter deserved the name of a provbuild a cottage for the young people. idential raven," he writes to Sydney H. Gay,
“I have already christened my new castle editor of the Standard” in 1849, "it was (though as yet an atmospheric one) · Elmwood your last. Not for its blackness, nor for any Junior,' much to the delight of my father, who the least unpleasantness in its note, but for is one of the men you would like to know. the supply it brought to a famishing man. He is Dr. Primrose in the comparative degree, Though I am now a middle-aged man he was the very simplest and charmingest of sexa but thirty !) my constitution is still vigorous genarians, and not without a great deal of the enough to bear a draft. I think I could sit truest magnanimity. Nothing delights him exposed to such as yours all day long without 80 much as any compliment paid to me, ex taking cold. .. I will macerate myself. I cept the idea of building me a cottage. If will keep lent, so that I may never more be you could see him criticising the strut or under the necessity of borrowing. . . . Percrow of one of my chanticleers with a child's haps I should bear riches with resignation. enthusiasm, or reading a review of my poems I think few of us would hold an umbrella (at which he does not think laudatory enough (at any rate right side up) against a golden the same time professing himself a disciple of shower." Pope, and pretending that he can't understand more than a tithe of what I write), or pointing
There were vexations and griefs he out the adrantages of the site he has selected took to heart far more than the enfor planting the Colony from Elmwood Senior, barrassments of poverty. The restraints or talking of the efficacy of prayer, or praising enforced by his position on the “Standthe old Federal Party with Washington at ard” had long fretted him, and even its head.' or speaking of Jefferson as harshly his cheerful philosophy scarcely helped as his kind heart will let him speak of any. body-in short, if you had a more than him to bear the strain. “I have felt,” Asmodeus-faculty, and could take the roof off he says,
he says, " that I ought to work in my his heart, you would fall in love with him. own way, and yet I have also felt that He has had far more sorrow, too, than most I ought to try and work in their way, est part . . . but nothing could shake my be so that I have failed of working in loved and honored father's trust in God, and either.” In 1849 he severed his conhis sincere piety."
nection with the paper. He was a litMrs. Lowell's delicate health sent the tle chagrined at the readiness with young pair to winter in Philadelphia, which his resignation was accepted, where Lowell was at once enrolled on but his saving sense of humor helped the staff of the “ Pennsylvania Free- him to see the comical side ; and, after man." Returning to Elmwood in sum- all, the worries incidental to every litmer, he was engaged to write for the erary career were but trifles light as air “Standard,” the organ of the Ameri- compared with the deep grief he felt at can Anti-Slavery Society, published in the loss, within three years, of his two New York. His heart was deeply little daughters, to be followed by that stirred by the burning question of the of his only son, a child of great beauty day, and the whole strength and fervor and promise who died in Rome in 1851. of his nature were poured into the Lowell had gone thither in the hope of poems and articles which he contributed re-establishing his wife's failing health, weekly. “Hosea Bigelow,” who had but the journey was undertaken in made his first bow to the public from vain. She lingered for about a year the platform of the “ Boston Courier,” after their return to America, dying in now transferred his services to the the autumn of 1853. The blow was “Standard.” In sending the first of crushing to one of his loyal and tender the famous series he says to Sydney H. nature. To his friend C. F. Briggs he Gay : “You will find a squib of mine permits a glimpse into his sorrow : in this week’s ‘Courier.' I wish it to “I feel now for the first time old, and as if continue anonymous, for I wish slavery I had a past-some ing, I mean, quite alien
NEW SERIES.- VOL. LIX., No. 3,
to my present life, and from which I am now must), for having been naughty enough to be exiled." How beautiful that past was, and tossed at all. The painters find it commonly how I cannot see it clearly yet for my tears I very hard to bring up these angelic children need not tell you. I can only hope and pray of theirs properly, and they look mostly like that the sweet influences of thirteen years, chérubin terribles whom one wishes out of the spent with one like her, may be seen and felt way; but those of Titian are altogether dein my daily life henceforth. At present I lightful--little cupids who have been baptized only feel that there is a chamber whose name into the Church without losing a bit of their is Peace, and which opens toward the sun ris. animal spirits, and who would contrive to ing, and that I am not in it.”
get bows and arrows to make mischief with, if He turned for solace to work; one
ever they got into a nunnery." child, a little girl, was still left to him to In 1856 he returned to begin his give it a motive. In 1855 he was nom- work at Harvard, undertaking at the inated to the professorship of “ French same time the editorship of the “ Atand Spanish Languages, and Literatures lantic Monthly."
In the following and Belles Lettres,” in Harvard College summer his home happiness was re-a chair which Ticknor and Longfel- newed by his union with Miss Frances low had worthily occupied before him. Dunlap, a lady in every way fitted to He accepted with the odd proviso that afford him congenial companionship. he might spend a year or two of prepara
“You see,” he writes to Miss Nortion for the work in Europe. From ton, “ that I no longer date my letters Paris he went to London, whence went Elmwood, but simply · Cambridge.' bright letters across the sea recording After thirty-seven years spent in the meetings with Leigh Hunt, Thackeray, ship-house, only hearing afar the the Brownings, and other congenial tumults of the sea, I am launched at spirits. Finally he settled down in last, and have come to anchor in ProDresden.
fessor's Row.” To the same corre"I am beim Herrn Hofrath Dr. Reichenbach, spondent many of the brightest letters who is one of the kindest of men, and Madame that follow are written. What martyr is a first-rate fullah’ too, as my nephew to gout but would sympathize with Willie would say. My walls are hung with this? very nice pictures painted by the gnädige Frau herself; and they were so thoughtful as
"Since I got your Berkshire letter I have to send down before I came a large case with
come into an inheritance-I have been chained American birds very well stuffed and mounted, by one leg, I have suffered the torture of so that I might have some friends. I
the Boot-I have said disrespectful things look at the oriole sometimes till I hear him of iny great-grandfather, I have received no whistling over the buttercups in the dear old sympathy, but have been laughed at ... in times at Elmwood. Ah, how deep out of the short I have had an attack of the-no I won't past his song comes ! I am fast turning tell you what, yet. I will prepare your mind. into a regular German. . . Aber potztausend
I will dignify it by poetic precedent. I may Donnerwetter! what a language it is, to be compare myself with Milton (in this respect). sure! with nominatives sending out as many
I may claim brotherhood with Gray and Walroots as that witch grass which is the pest of pole. In short, I have had the goul. ... all child-gardens, and sentences in which one My verses will no longer be admired by young sets sail like an admiral with sealed orders, ladies of sixteen. On the other hand i have not knowing where the devil he is going to been thinking over the advantages. I find by till he is in mid-ocean! Then, after tea, we the books that (if nothing happens) I shall sit and talk German-or what some of us take live long. That in course of time I shall be to be such-and which I speak already like a
able to write my name, and keep my milk. native—of some other country. . . . If I die
score with my knuckles. That I shall always I will have engraved on my tombstone that I have an excuse for being as testy as I please. died of der, die, das, not because I caught 'em, trouble he came to see me, bringing a cyclo
As soon as my father heard of my but because I couldn't."
pædia of medicine, from which he has selected The same light and buoyant humor a variety of choice complaints for himself, that characterizes all the letters."
my reading might be of an enlivening charac“Do you remember.” he asks Miss Norton, father died insolvent, but I am obliged to foot
ter. . I never heard that my great-grandwriting from Paris, “ Domenichino's cherubs
some of his bills for port.” in the Communion of St. Jerome'? They look as if they had been tossed up there by a The succeeding sixteen years saw litmad bull, and you pity the poor little red tle change in his life. After four years dears, who have evidently just been whipped he resigned the editorship of the by their unnatural mothers, and who (to judge lantic Monthly.” “It is amazing how
Atby their expression) are expecting another whipping when they tumble (as they instantly quickly the waters close over one.
Good bye. Nature is equable. I have humorous view of his duties in this new lost the Atlantic, but my cow has character, and many of the touches in calved as if nothing bad happened." the letters from Madrid are inimitable
Shortly afterward he undertook the —but the work was not congenial. He joint editorship of the “ North Ameri- felt that it neither enlisted his sympacan Review.” During the war his pen thies nor made any call on his better was active in aid of the North. His faculties. anti-English proclivities come out in
“We are obliged to go about somewhat in the this note to the historian Motley : “Is heat of the day house-hunting. We can't go in not the coup de grâce of the Alabama a cab like ordinary mortals, but must have refreshing ? That an American sloop- coachman and footmen in livery, with their of-war should sink a British ship of coats folded over the coach b-x in a cascade of equal force, manned by British sailors, me, but yesterday the whole thing revealed it. and armed with British guns, in the self to me as a tremendous bore, but essential British Channel ! There is something to the situation.. : I was beckoned to the to make John Bull reflect."
King's side, and he talked with me all the way, Changes which the years brought in been crammed, of course, beforehand."
even quoting one of my own verses. He had his own home touched him keenly. The Elmwood of his boyish days was no
A visit the following spring to Athens longer a green solitude. The builder and Constantinople restored him to bethad laid ruthless hands on it.
ter spirits. " My heart was almost broken yesterday by for at least another year, when he was
He had made up his mind to stay on seeing mailed to my willow a board with these words on it: These trees for sale." The startled by the news of his transfer to wretch is going to peddle them for firewood! the Court of St. James's. If I had the money I would buy the piece of In the years of his stay with us he ground they stand on to save them-the dear learned to understand and to love our friends of a lifetime. One of them will stand, I hope, a few years yet in my poem, but he country and its people. might just as well have outlasted me and my “I like London, and have learned to see, as words, making his own green ode every sum- I never saw before, the advantage of a great mer."
capital. It establishes one set of measures, In 1872 the Lowells revisited Europe, It is, I think, a great drawback for as, that we
moral and intellectual, for the whole country. spending two years in travel. Three have as many as we have States. The flow of years later carne the call to Spain. To life in the streets, too-sublimer, it seems to his daughter he says: “It must be me often, than the tides of the sea-gives me kept close, but I have refused to go if it prompts to nothing. As for the climate,
a kind of stimulus that I find agreeable even either to Vienna or Berlin. Indeed, I it suits me better than any I ever lived in ; have no desire to go abroad at all. But and for the inward weather, I have never I have said that I would have gone to
seen civilization at so high á level in some Spain,' supposing that place to have respects as here." been already filled . . . it will be of England liked and made much of him some use to me in my studies, and I too. Oxford had already conferred the shall not stay very long at any rate. honorary degree of D.O.L. upon him, But it is hard to leave Elmwood while and in 1884 Edinburgh elected to do it is looking so lovely.”
him honor. “ This will be my fourth “You must remember," Miss Norton gown, so that I beat Dogberry by two. is admonished, " that I am H. E. now. I shall be able to keep myself warm ... I haven't yet discovered in what without Harvard." "Nothing in my my particular kind of excellency con- life," he writes to Mrs. W. K. Clifford, sists, but when I do I will let you “has ever puzzled me so much as my know. It is rather amusing, by the popularity here in England-which I way, to see a certain added respect in have done nothing and been nothing to the demeanor of my fellow-townsmen deserve. I was telling my wife a day toward me, as if I had drawn a prize in or two ago that I couldn't understand the lottery and was somebody at last. it. It must be my luck, and ought to Indeed, I don't believe I could persuade terrify me like the ring of Polycrates." any except my old friends of the reluc His term of office had scarcely come tance with which I go.” He took a to an end when Mrs. Lowell died. In
his grief his chief desire was to return deference. Whatever condescension I show to his own country, where he made a will be multiplied by seven instead of six, renew home with his daughter and her member, and precious in proportion.” children at Deerfoot Farm ; but for. The closing years were spent under four successive seasons he was able to the old roof where he had been born, revisit London, and to keep himself in and had always hoped to die. The days touch with all that was brightest and passed in tranquil study, and in interbest in its society.
course with the best writers of past and “I am living a futile life here, but am as
present times. fond of London as Charles Lamb. The rattle
Once or twice there is a note of deof a hansom shakes new life into my old spondency, but he was happy in that he bones, and I ruin myself in them. I love did not outsit his fires ; his interests such evanescent and unimportunate glimpses and his friendships were with him to of the world as I catch from my flying perch. the last. No words can more fitly de... I love to stand in the middle of the park and forget myself in that dull roar of scribe the traits of character which enever-circulating life which bears a burden to deared him to so many, than those which the song of the thrush I am listening to. It his friend Mr. Leslie Stephen has used : is far more impressive than Niagara, which has nothing else to do and can't help itself. " It was singularly true of him, as I take it In this vast torrent all the drops are men." to be generally true of men of the really poetAge crept on him very gradually, and ical temperament, that the child in him was
He retained the most with his unconquerable youthfulness transparent simplicity to the end. If he had of heart and feeling it amused and any vanity, it was of the inoffensive kind, amazed him to find himself among the which goes with an utter absence of affectaveterans. This is how he announces the same, of upmixed kindness and thorough
tion. The dominant in pression was always his seventieth birthday to Mrs. Leslie wholesomeness of nature. There was plenty Stephen :
of virtuous indignation on occasion, but he
could not help being tolerant even toward an. “I have been forging over the reef of my tagonists. He seemed to be always full of seventieth birthday into the smooth water be- cordial goodwill, and his intellectual power yond, without much damage to iny keel so far was used not to wound nor to flatter, but just as I can discover. I was dined and praised to let you know directly on occasion, or gento a degree that would have satisfied you- erally through some ingenious veil of subtle most partial even of your sex, But somehow reserve, how quick and tender were his symI liked it. I do like to be liked. It is very pathies, and how true his sense of all that was droll to be seventy. Don't scold me for it. best and noblest in his surroundings. That I'll never do it again ; but I don't feel any was the Lowell whom I and mine knew and older, I think, and I am sure I don't feel any loved; and I think I may say that those to wiser than I did before. 'Tis a little depress- whom he is only known by his books need not ing to be reminded that one has lived so long look far to discover that the same Lowell is and done so little. When I measure the everywhere present in them.” length with the achievement, there is a horrible overlapping, but I shall expect a certain
BY F. A. STEEL.
“But the tenth avatar of the Lord “high proficiency” in languages, I, Vishnu is yet to come.”
having regard to its literature, had “ Exactly so, pundit-ji," I replied, chosen Sanskrit as a means of paying looking at my watch. It is yet to certain just debts. To which end the come, seeing that time's up. Half-past head-master of the district school came eight; so not another stroke of work to me for two hours every morning, to-day. No, not for twice a thousand and prosed away over the doings of the
Hindoo pantheon until I came to the A thousand rupees being the sum conclusion that my Lord Vishnu had with which the Government of India been rather extravagant in the matter rewards what they are pleased to call of incarnations.