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it was abandoned by its owners. Soon afterwards it came into possession of Elbridge Gerry, Governor of Massachusetts, and fifth Vice-President of the United States, whose memory and name are kept alive by the term "gerrymander." It next be came the property of Dr. Lowell about a year before the birth of his youngest child, and it was the home of the poet until his death.

Lowell's early education was obtained mainly at a school kept nearly opposite Elmwood by a retired publisher, an Englishman, Mr. William Wells. He also studied in the classical school of Mr. Danial G. Ingraham in Boston. He was gradu

He is reported

ated from Harvard College in the class of 1838. as declaring that he read almost everything except the classbooks prescribed by the faculty. Lowell says, in one of his early poems referring to Harvard, —

"Tho' lightly prized the ribboned parchments three,
Yet collegisse juvat, I am glad

That here what colleging was mine I had."

He was secretary of the Hasty Pudding Society, and one of the editors of the college periodical Harvardiana, to which he contributed various articles in prose and verse. His neglect of prescribed studies, and disregard of college discipline, resulted in his rustication just before commencement in 1838. He was sent to Concord, where he resided in the family of Barzillai Frost, and made the acquaintance of Emerson, then beginning to rouse the ire of conservative Unitarianism by his transcendental philosophy, of the brilliant but overestimated Margaret Fuller, who afterwards severely criticised Lowell's verse, and of

Elmwood Avenue in 1766. When he accepted the royal commission of LieutenantGovernor, he became President of the Council appointed by the King. On Sept. 2, 1774, about four thousand Middlesex freeholders assembled at Cambridge and compelled the mandamus councillors to resign. The President of the Council urged the propriety of delay, but the Committee would not spare him. He was forced to sign an agreement, "as a man of honor and a Christian, that he would never hereafter, upon any terms whatsoever, accept a seat at said Board on the present novel and oppressive form of government." He immediately quitted Cambridge; and when the British troops evacuated Boston he accompanied them. By an odd coincidence he went to reside at Bristol, England, where he died at the age of eighty-two years, in 1815, shortly before the Lowells, who were of Bristol origin, took possession of his former home. In Underwood's sketch of Lowell, Thomas Oliver is confused with Chief Justice Peter Oliver, a man of a very different type of character.

other well-known residents of the pretty town. He had been elected poet of his class. His removal from college prevented him from delivering the poem which was afterwards published anonymously for private distribution. It contained a satire on abolitionists and reformers. "I know the village," he writes long afterwards in the person of Hosea Biglow, Esquire.

"I know the village though, was sent there once
A-schoolin', 'cause to home I played the dunce!"

On his return to Cambridge he took up the study of law, and, in 1840, received the degree of LL.B. He even went so far as to open an office in Boston; but it is a question whether there was any actual basis of fact in a whimsical sketch of his entitled "My First Client," published in the short-lived Boston Miscellany, edited by Nathan Hale.

Several things engrossed Lowell's attention to the exclusion of law. Society at Cambridge was particularly attractive at that time. Allston the painter was living at Cambridgeport. Judge Story's pleasant home was on Brattle Street. The Fays then occupied the house which has since become the seat of Radcliffe College. Longfellow, described as "a slender, blond young professor," was established in the Craigie House. The famous names of Dr. Palfrey, Professor Andrews Norton, father of Lowell's friend and biographer, the " saintly" Henry Ware, and others will occur to the reader. He was fond of walking and knew every inch of the beautiful ground then called "Sweet Auburn," now turned by the hand of misguided man into that most distressing of monstrosities—a modern cemetery. He haunted the poetic shades of the Waverley Oaks, heard the charming music of Beaver Brook, and climbed the hills of Belmont and Arlington.

He himself took his turn in establishing a magazine. In January, 1843, he started The Pioneer, to which Hawthorne, John Neal, Miss Barrett, Poe, Whittier, Story, Parsons, and others contributed, and which, in spite of such an array of talent, perished untimely during the winds of March.

He had already published, in 1841, a little volume of poems entitled "A Year's Life." They were marked by no great originality, betrayed little promise of future eminence, and Margaret Fuller, who reviewed them, was quite right in assert

ing that "neither the imagery nor the music of Lowell's verses was his own." The first sonnet in the present volume (page 1) practically acknowledges the force of this criticism. The influence of Wordsworth and Tennyson may be distinctly traced in most of them. But many of the lines were harsh and many of the rhymes were careless. Lowell's later and correcter taste omitted most of them from his collected works.

Not far from Elmwood, but in the adjoining village of Watertown, lived one of Lowell's classmates, whose sister, Maria White, a slender, delicate girl, with a poetic genius in some respects more regulated and lofty than his own, early inspired him with a true and saving love. Speaking of the influences that moulded his life, George William Curtis says:·

"The first and most enduring was an early and happy passion for a lovely and high-minded woman who became his wife- the Egeria who exalted his youth and confirmed his noblest aspirations; a heaven-eyed counsellor of the serener air, who filled his mind with peace and his life with joy."

The young lady's prudent father objected to the marriage until the newly fledged lawyer should be in a position to support a wife.

Shortly after the shipwreck of The Pioneer, Lowell was offered a hundred dollars by Graham's Monthly for ten poems. When Pegasus is able to earn such princely sums, there seems no reason why Love should be kept waiting at the cottage door. In 1844 Lowell published a new edition of his poems, and married Miss White. It was her influence that decided him to cast in his lot with the abolitionists. It was her refined taste that shaped and tempered his impetuous verse. A volume of her poems was in 1855, in an edition of fifty copies, privately printed, and is now very rare. It is an odd circumstance that in Lowell's library, from which Harvard College was allowed to select any volumes not in Gore Hall, neither this book nor any of Lowell's own early poems was to be found.

The young couple took up their residence at Elmwood, and here were born three daughters and a son. All but one of his children died in infancy. Many of the tenderest of his poems refer with touching pathos to his bereavement: such for instance are "The Changeling" and "The First Snowfall."

In 1845 appeared "The Vision of Sir Launfal,” a genuine inspiration composed in two days in a sort of ecstasy of poetic fervor. That more than anything established his fame. He recognized that he was dedicated to the Muses.

In 1846 he wrote:

"If I have any vocation, it is the making of verse. When I take my pen for that, the world opens itself ungrudgingly before me; everything seems clear and easy, as it seems sinking to the bottom could be as one leans over the edge of his boat in one of those dear coves at Fresh Pond. My true place is to serve the cause as a poet. Then my heart leaps before me into the conflict."


The same year he began his "Biglow Papers" in the Boston Courier. Such jeux d'esprit are apt to be ephemeral. Lowell's are immortal. They preserved in literary form a fast-fading dialect; they caught and embalmed the mighty issues of a tremendous world-problem. Their influence was incalculable. He gathered them into a volume in 1848, and became corresponding editor of the Anti-Slavery Standard. Fortunate man who throws himself into an unpopular cause which is in harmony with the Right! How different from Wordsworth who attacked the ballot and took sides against reform!

Lowell's penchant for satire was exemplified again the same year in his "Fable for Critics."

In this Lowell with no sparing hand laid on his portraits most droll and amusing colors. It is a comic portrait gallery, a series of caricatures whose greatest value (as in all good caricatures) lies in the accurate presentation of characteristic features. He did not spare himself :

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"There is Lowell, who's striving Parnassus to climb
With a whole bale of isms tied together with rhyme.
He might get on alone, spite of troubles and bowlders,
But he can't with that bundle he has on his shoulders.
The top of the hill he will ne'er come nigh reaching
Till he learns the distinctions 'twixt singing and preaching;
His lyre has some chords that would ring pretty well,
But he'd rather by half make a drum of the shell,
And rattle away till he's old as Methusalem

At the head of a march to the last New Jerusalem."

Some of his thrusts left embittered feelings, but in general the tone was so good-natured that only the thin-skinned could

object, and it must be confessed many of his judgments have been confirmed by Time.

In 1851 Lowell visited Europe, and spent upwards of a year widening his acquaintance with the polite languages. But it is remarkable that Lowell gave the world almost no metrical translations. Shortly after his return his wife died (Oct. 27, 1853) after a slow decline. In reference to this bereavement Longfellow wrote his beautiful poem, "The Two Angels."

The following year Longfellow resigned the Smith Professorship of the French and Spanish Languages and Literature and Belles Lettres, and Lowell was appointed his successor with two years' leave of absence. He had won his spurs. He had collected his poems in two volumes, not including “A Year's Life,” the " Biglow Papers," or the "Fable for Critics." He was known as one of the most brilliant contributors to Putnam's Monthly and other magazines.

In 1854 he delivered a series of twelve lectures on English poetry before the Lowell Institute. Ten years before he had published a volume of "Conversations on the Poets." The contrast between the two works is no less pronounced than that between his earlier and later poems.

In both, however, there is a tendency toward a confusing over-elaboration — Metaphors trample on the heels of Similes, and quaint and often grotesque conceits sometimes pall upon the taste, just as in the poems a flash of incongruous wit sometimes disturbs the serenity that is desirable.

On his return from Europe, Mr. Lowell occupied the chair which he adorned by his brilliant attainments and made memorable by his fame. He lectured on Dante, Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Cervantes, and delighted his audiences. At the same time he was editor of the Atlantic Monthly for several years. From 1863 until 1872 he was associated with Professor Charles Eliot Norton in the conduct of the North American Review.

In 1857 he married Miss Frances Dunlap of Portland, Me., a cultivated lady who had been the governess of his daughter. She had unerring literary taste and sound judgment, and Mr. Lowell soon came to entrust to her the management of his financial affairs. She was enabled to make their comparatively small income more than meet the exigencies of an exacting position.

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