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generally regarded as the greatest artistic achievement of a literary nature of any age-namely, his Translation of Dante's Divina Commedia. The entire poem, numbering fourteen thousand two hundred and seventy-eight lines, has been rendered into English, answering line for line and word for word to the original Italian; and this, it is claiined, without detracting from the native vigor, sense, and grace of the poem. In this triumph of translation Longfellow stands alone, though Dryden, Pope, Cowper, Sotheby, Coleridge, Fairfax and Rose, and Cary have all been competitors.
In 1868, The New England Tragedies appeared. They are two in number, and constitute a romantic setting off of early Quaker history in New England, executed in a style whose clearness and severe plainness are strikingly germain to the incidents. The Poets and Poetry of Europe, and a volume recently issued, entitled The Divine Tragedy, close the long and worthy list of Longfellow's labors. “They are the work of a scholar, of a man of taste, of a fertile fancy, and of a loving heart.”* /Longfellow's eminence as a poet consists not so much in originality or boldness of conception, or in ingenuity of plot, as in the exuberance and beauty of his language, the harmonious flow of his verse, and the striking appositeness of his imagery.
“It is at once his aid and his merit that he can produce the choice pictures of the past and of other minds with new accessories of his own; so that the quaint old poets of Germany, the singers of the past centuries, the poetical vision and earnest teachings of Goethe, and the every-day humors of ean Paul, as it were, come to live among us in A:nerican homes and landscapes.”+
A healthful, hopeful, solacing, ennobling, religious air pervades his every utterance. He is the poet of the heart and hoine; and his writings, now so widely and pleasurably read, will continue to savor of beauty, purity, and pathog
* Duyckinck's Cyclopædia of American Literature.
with the people so long as the affections of the human heart and the interests of home shall remain dear. / How almost like a divine message does the following poem from By the Fireside address itself to the bereaved and desolate heart most tenderly chiding its anguish, and pouring into its darkness rays of comfort and eternal promisel
THERE is no flock, however watched and tended,
But one dead lamb is there!
But has one vacant chair!
The air is full of farewells to the dying,
And mournings for the dead;
Will not be comforted!
Not from the ground arise,
Assume this dark disguise.
Amid these earthly damps
May be heaven's distant lamps.
This life of mortal breath
Whose portal we call Death.
But gone unto that school
And Christ himself doth rule.
In that great cloister's stillness and seclusion,
By guardian angels led,
She lives, whom we call dead.
Day after day we think what she is doing
In those bright realins of air;
Behold her grown more fair.
Thus do we walk with her, and keep unbroken
The bond which nature gives,
May reach her where she lives.
Not as a child shall we again behold her;
For when with raptures wild
She will not be a child;
But a fair maiden, in her Father's mansion,
Clothed with celestial grace;
Shall we behold her face.
And though at times impetuous with emotion
And anguish long suppressed,
That cannot be at rest,
We will be patient, and assuage the feeling
We may not wholly stay;
The grief that must have way.
The leading peculiarity of Longfellow's style is its musicalness-a musicalness, ioo, that is not so far removed as that only a practiced ear may catch it, but is simple and unequivocal and spontaneous.
“His artistic sense is so exquisite that each of his poems is a valuable study. In this he has now reacned a perfection quite unrivaled among living poets, except sometimes by Tennyson. ... . His literary scholarship, also, his delightful familiarity with the pure literature of all languages and times, must rank Longfellow among the learned poets." (See Supplement E.)
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT was born at Cummington, Hampshire county, Massachusetts, November 3, 1794.
Bryant early displayed the poetical faculty, and fastened upon the genial influences of Nature about him. Ho began to write verses at nine, and at the age of fourteen he prepared a collection of poems which was published at Boston in 1809.”*
Leaving Williams College without graduating—thc yh honorably-he began the study, and subsequently the practice, of law, which he prosecuted some ten years.
Thanatopsis was written in his nineteenth year, and, when published in 1816, was for some time, attributed by critics to his father. Of this poem it has been remarked by one of the most scrupulous and able of reviewers, † “ It alone would establish the author's claim to the honors of genius.”
To him who in the love of Nature holds
Duyckinck's Cyclopædia of American Literature.
Go forth, under the open sky, and list
Yet a few days, and thee
Yet not to thine eternal resting-place
,-nor couldst thou wish
The golden sun,