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"In personal appearance, according to my present recollection of him as I recall the scenes of those early days, his figure was slight and erect ; his complexion light and delicate as a maiden's, with a slight bloom upon the cheek; his nose rather prominent; his eyes clear and blue ; and his well-formed head covered with a profusion of light brown hair, waving loosely in the same manner as the gray locks of age. I have seen a portrait in his parlor in Cambridge that gives a good idea of him in his early life as I remember him.
“While he was understood in college to be a general reader, and more especially devoted to the Muses, he never allowed himself to come to the recitation room without thorough preparation. I have some knowledge that he found more difficulty in mastering the hard problems in the higher branches of mathematics than he did in any of his other studies; but his purpose was never to fail. His class was one in which there was a large amount of ambition and an intense struggle for rank in scholarship. In this class, Longfellow stood justly amongst the first. At Commencement he was assigned one of the three English orations ; the valedictory, being the highest in rank, was received by his older and able scholarly classmate, Little. Gorham Deane, a young man of the most remarkable metaphysical powers I have ever known for one of his age, died before the Commencement. I have recently seen a letter from President Allen to his father, written after his death, saying that he ranked second in his class.
“In that small recitation room we had Longfellow and Hawthorne and Cilley and Little and Abbott and Cheever sitting side by side.
“ The curriculum of studies in Bowdoin College was at that time much more restricted than is found in our colleges at the present day. But the instruction was directed and calculated to teach the student to use his own mental powers rather than to crowd the memory with the learning of others, — to teach him to think, and think upon his feet, rather than to store up what other men had thought. We had, too, such instructors as Cleaveland, Upham, Newman, and Packard, and the classes were brought into immediate contact with such minds, instead of being turned over to young tutors for that which is most essential in college training. Our most distinguished citizens were intensely loyal to the state and its literary institutions, and gave such encouragement to our colleges as to command for them the confidence of the public within and beyond our borders. We had in our class the sons of Judge Bridge, Simon Greenleaf, Stephen Longfellow, Jeremiah Mason, Chief Justice Mellen, and Commodore Preble; and in the preced
ing class were Franklin Pierce, William Pitt Fessenden, and Calvin E. Stowe.
“ The year following his graduation, Longfellow accepted a professorship of modern languages, in which, by his careful and thorough preparation at home and abroad, he sustained the high character of which his early life gave assurance.
“ It was with reluctance that Longfellow consented to deliver his · Morituri Salutamus' address before the Alumni, on the fiftieth anniversary of his graduation. I had applied to him personally, two or three years previous, to meet the survivors of his class at Commencement; but he told me there had been so many changes since his residence at Brunswick that he feared the effect upon him of revisiting those
We renewed the effort in 1875, and obtained the assurance, through the persistent efforts of Mr. Benson, that all the survivors would be present, and Longfellow finally consented to come and deliver a poem. I called upon him in May. His health was impaired; but he told me he had prepared his poem, and hoped that he should be able to be present and read it at the time appointed.
“ The announcement that Longfellow was to be present and deliver a poem before the Alumni the day preceding Commencement, brought together at Brunswick a large audience from all parts of the state. When the day arrived, as soon as the doors of the large church were opened, the house was literally jammed, and every space for sitting and standing was filled. The survivors of the class, eleven in number (two having been accidentally prevented from being present), who had been graduated fifty years before, with their venerable instructor at their head, were seated upon the stage to the left of the speaker, when Longfellow, after the impressive introductory services, arose, and in his modest and graceful manner read that poetic address of which Virgil might have been proud • Morituri Salutamus.'
“ His feeling allusion to his old instructors and to Professor Packard touched the deepest sensibilities of his hearers :
• They are no longer here; they are all gone Into the land of shadows, — all save one. Honor and reverence, and the good repute That follows faithful service as its fruit, Be unto him, whom living we salute.'
“When the great poet turned and gracefully bowed his salutation to his aged and venerable, yet fresh and elegant instructor, the whole audience was moved with emotion.
“ As soon as the applause that followed the conclusion of the address would permit, it devolved upon
me to offer a vote of thanks, and I proposed that the thanks of the Alumni be tendered to Mr. Longfellow for his eloquent poetic address, and the thanks of the college and its friends that the most illustrious American poet had brought the laurels nobly won in the Old World and the New, and gracefully placed them upon the brow of his Alma Mater. The president of the Alumni, on putting the vote, said to the audience that in the republic of letters the ladies can vote, and those in favor of the resolution would manifest it by rising. Instantly the whole audience were upon their feet, and the poet received such an ovation of applause as can never be forgotten by those who witnessed it.
"In the evening a large company, embracing many distinguished persons, met Longfellow at the hospitable mansion of Professor Packard, when he received cordial greetings from friends from every part of the State.
On the following morning we assembled around the historic tree, and repaired thence to a room in the college, and after a most impressive prayer by the good Dr. Shepley we parted. In letters subsequently received from Longfellow he spoke of his visit to Brunswick and meeting so many of his old college friends. I saw him in 1877, when he alluded to this visit with evident satisfaction.”
His soul was at home in Italy, Spain, Germany, the lands of song and story. His going there was no accident; his genius led him thither; he found what he carried. In this little book, with its “ Epistle Dedicatory ” written in 1833, nothing is more interesting than its jocund air, its tone of glad exhilaration, the absence of home-sickness or restraint, the freedom from affectation or effect. The pages are fraught with naturalness like that of a boy out of school. He is in his element at Venice and on the Rhine. In Spain his chief disappointment is that he has met no robbers. Yet it is evident that the young traveller made the most of his opportunities for study, bore in mind his vocation, and wasted no time in pleasure that did not advance lis end. Immediately on his return from Europe Mr. Longfellow assumed the duties of his new office with such success that it drew attention. The classes increased in numbers. The winning manners of the professor, his dignity, frankness, and affability, his learning, his grace of speech, his sympathy with the young men, made him universally popular. To supply a lack of text-books he published a translation of L’Homond's “ Elements of French Grammar,” which passed through several editions, an Italian Grammar, a course of readings in French, consisting of “The Vicar of Wakefield” and “ Dramatic Proverbs," and a collection of tales from the Italian, with biographical notices of the writers. Besides this labor connected with his professorship, he wrote articles for the “ North American Review" on Spanish Devotional and Moral Poetry, Spanish Language and Literature, old English Romances; translated from the Spanish the “ Coplas ” of Jorge Manrique, together with sonnets from Lope de Vega and others; and in “ The New England Magazine," published and conducted by J. T. Buckingham, began a series of papers, the first of which, entitled “The Schoolmaster," appeared in July, 1831. The second chapter duly followed in September of the same year.
Others came, to the number of six, the last in February, 1833. The series then closed, the reason apparently being the issue of “ Outre-Mer," for which the author wanted his material. A portion of “ The Schoolmaster” was actually incorporated in the
On leaving college, the youth of eighteen entered his father's office, but remained in that to him unattractive place but a short time, being drawn away by the offer of the new position, with the opportunity of preparing himself by travel in Europe. He sailed in 1826 and returned in 1829, having been absent three years and a half, studying and journeying in England, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Holland. He was a hard worker and a joyous traveller, as any one may see who will turn over the leaves of “Outre-Mer," a fresh, breezy romantic book, written in choice English and saturated with the spirit of foreign lands. The journey was in truth a “ pilgrimage,” as of one going for the first time to the Holy Land, and lingering at shrines by the way. Some have said that this experience gave to the author's works and whole after-life the tinge of romance which distinguished them; but whoever will read the “Hymn of the Moravian Nuns at Bethlehem,” one of his early pieces, will be satisfied that his temper was always romantic, and found in Europe an issue, not a source. His nature was rich, mellow, and impressible.
favorite at Brunswick, her grace of manner and conversation according well with her husband's brightness and gentle cordiality of address.
For his part, he had every reason for being happy. He was bringing distinction to the college ; his fame as a man of letters was growing; he was engaged in the pursuits for which he was best fitted; he was conscious of budding genius ; he was respected and popular ; his
home was intellectual and refined. His house, · for thirty years occupied by Hon. W. G. Bar
rows, may have been one of those “haunted houses” through the open door whereof
volume. In addition to all this, he performed the duties of librarian in the college. One can easily believe him to have been “a teacher who never wearied of his work."
In September, 1831, the young professor was married to Mary Storer Potter, second daughter of Barrett Potter of Portland, a judge of probate, an eminent lawyer, a man of decided character and views. An excellent classical scholar himself, he did not think that Greek and Latin were suitable to the female mind. But he was plainly of opinion that women had minds, and did not object to Miss Mary's taste for mathematics, her interest in astronomy, her ability to calculate eclipses, her fondness for the modern languages, or her love of literature. If half that is told of her may be taken as being true, she was singularly accomplished and attractive. If she dabbled in metaphysics she was not girlish even for that day; and if she was, as is more than likely the 66
“ Being Beauteous” celebrated in the Footsteps of Angels,” she was lovely beyond the common lot of women. For when full allowance is made for poetic sentiment and tenderness of recollection, enough remains test extraordinary charms. Socially she was a
“ The harmless phantoms on their errands glide."
The phantoms that he saw were all harmless; the errands were all gracious. Though some thought him over-fastidious in dress, this too helped his influence with young men, who thus found elegance of mind and person united in the same character. He was, in the best sense, a gentleman of the world, a cultivated man, of intellectual tastes, charming address, frank conversation, a youth in appearance, but in attainments a scholar, enthusiastic himself, and inspiring enthusiasm in all who were brought into relations with him.
THE HARVARD PROFESSOR.
MR. LONGFELLOW's conspicuous success at Bowdoin, his reputation for learning and literary enthusiasm, drew to him the attention of the friends of “ elegant letters ” at Harvard, then on the lookout for a successor to Mr. George Ticknor, the accomplished "Smith Professor. Bowdoin reluctantly let its beloved teacher go, but the invitation was too flattering to be declined. The call was not, however, one to be lightly accepted; the new incumbent did not consider himself in all respects qualified for so exalted a place, and another visit to Europe was made in the spring of 1835, for the purpose, especially, of studying the languages and literature of the North. The first summer was spent in Denmark and Sweden, the autumn in Holland, the winter in Germany. At Rot