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The Academy Series of English Classics
THE VISION OF SIR LAUNFAL
AND OTHER POEMS
WITH INTRODUCTION AND NOTES
FRANCIS R. LANE
DIRECTOR OF THE HIGH SCHOOLS, WASHINGTON, D.C.
ALLYN AND BACON
OLD CAMBRIDGE, in the thirties, was hedged about with the dignity that should surround the oldest seat of learning in America. Its intellectual atmosphere was undisturbed by the proximity of Boston; the struggle of the world of business and politics was far away; it was distinctively the center of literary culture. The traditions of the academic town were always inspiring to youth. In 1834, when Lowell entered Harvard, there was, in addition, the stimulus of men of a new stamp among the college dons - men of warm hearts and keen sympathies as well as of high scholarship, men who demolished the barrier of ice which precedent had established between professor and “scholar,” and, coming into close touch with the undergraduates, quickened and warmed their natures and implanted among them a deep love for literature and the literary life.
Lowell entered the college at the age of fifteen. The student world then cared little for politics or current affairs ; hardly a ripple of interest was stirred by the November state elections. Perhaps not five men in the college saw a daily paper. Longfellow, fresh from European travel and study, began, in 1836, his long career as Smith Professor of Modern Literature. Dr. Hale describes his presence as a benediction to the college. Young as he was, he had achieved an enviable position as a writer, which,