Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

this :

lion of years.

account the change of density (which, for because of the pressure in the interior inexample, would be three per cent. for one per creasing to something enormously great at cent. change of the radius). Thus the rule, the centre. If we knew the distribution of easily worked out according to the principles interior density we could easily modify our illustrated by our mechanical model, is calculations accordingly; but it does not

seem probable that the correction could, - Equal differences of the reciprocal of the with any probable assumption as to the radius correspond to equal quantities of heat greatness of the density throughout a conradiated away from million of years to mil- siderable proportion of the sun's interior,

add more than a few million years to the Take two examples

past of solar heat, and what could be added (1) If in past time there has been as much to the past must be taken from the future. as fifteen million times the heat radiated In our calculations we have taken Pouillet's from the sun as is at present radiated out in number for the total activity of solar radiaone year, the solar radius must have been tion, which practically agrees with Herschel's. four times as great as at present.

Forbes (“Edin. New Phil. Journal,” xxxvi. (2) If the sun's effective thermal capacity 1844) showed the necessity for correcting the can be maintained by shrinkage till twenty mode of allowing for atmospheric absorpmillion times the present year's amount of tion used by his two predecessors in estiheat is radiated away, the sun's radius must mating the total amount of solar radiation, be half what it is now. But it is to be re- and he was thus led to a number 1.6 times marked that the density which this would theirs. Forty years later Langley, in an imply, being 11-2 times the density of water, excellently worked out consideration of the or just about the density of lead, is probably whole question of absorption by our atmotoo great to allow the free shrinkage as of a sphere, of radiant heat of all wave-lengths cooling gas to be still continued without ob- ("American Journal of Science,” vol. xxv. struction through overcrowding of the mole- March, 1883), accepts and confirms Forbes's cules. It seems, therefore, most probable reasoning, and by fresh observations in very that we cannot for the future reckon on favourable circumstances on Mount Whitney, more of solar radiation than, if so much as, 15,000 feet above the sea-level, finds a numtwenty million times the amount at present ber a little greater still than Forbes (1-7, radiated out in a year. It is also to be re- instead of Forbes's 1.6, times Pouillet's nummarked that the greatly diminished radiating ber). Thus Langley's measurement of solar surface, at a much lower temperature, would radiation corresponds to 133,000 horse-power give out annually much less heat than the per square metre, instead of the 78,000 horsesun in his present condition gives. The power which we have taken, and diminishes same considerations led Newcomb to the each of our times in the ratio of 1 to 1.7. conclusion “that it is hardly likely that the Thus, instead of Helmholtz's twenty million sun can continue to give sufficient heat to years, which was founded on Pouillet's estisupport life on the earth (such life as we now mate, we have only twelve millions, and simiare acquainted with, at least) for ten million larly with all our other time reckonings based years from the present time.”

on Pouillet's results. In the circumstances, In all our calculations hitherto we have and taking fully into account all possibilities for simplicity taken the density as uniform of greater density in the sun's interior, and throughout, and equal to the true mean den- of greater or less activity of radiation in past sity of the sun, being about 1:4 times the ages, it would, I think, be exceedingly rash density of water, or about a quarter of the to assume as probable anything more than earth's mean density. In reality the density twenty million years of the sun's light in the * in the upper parts of the sun's mass must be past history of the earth, or to reckon on something less than this, and something con- more than five or six million years of sunlight siderably more than this in the central parts, for time to come.

(To be concluded nert month.)

LONGFELLOW.

BY FRANCIS H. UNDERWOOD.

[ocr errors]

WHEN

HEN Longfellow came to Harvard people "dropped in ” upon each other as

College, in Cambridge, Mass., as students do. Men whose heads were occuprofessor (1836), a great change had been pied with great ideas did not require sumptaking place with regard to the literature of tuous suppers, but talked over simple repasts, the United States in its relations to the reli- with pipes and cigars for dessert. gious sentiment and to the life of the nation. It was a time of transition. The ancient, The change was vital and far reaching, but spectacled professor, with clean-shaven race only some of its results can be mentioned in and pointed standing collar, whose learning the limits of this article. Literature virtually ran in grooves, and whose tone was had a new birth: it was the New England comically pedantic, was receding like the Renaissance, The arid and unproductive aborigines, and new men with modern ideas period had passed. Song and story, history and broader scholarship were coming on. A and essay were appearing, fresh in them- few of the veterans still lingered, like those selves, and in a new atmosphere, charged whose portraits may be seen in Lowell's with the newly-awakened sentiment of nation- "Cambridge, Thirty Years Ago." . ality. Such changes are not to be assigned Longfellow was known in all these circles, precise dates, but so much is clear, that while and he was the one man who was unreservedly the colonial period in New England was loved, for he had both the goodness and the barren and dreary, and while the provincial tact to say the pleasant word at the proper period was occupied with political problems, time, and to avoid the dilemmas in which hasty there was in fact no growth of pure litera- and unreflective men sometimes find themture until after the group of states was selves. Still

, he was a comparatively rare visibecoming strong and self-reliant as a nation tor, even with those who knew him well; not -a period that began in the first quarter of from reserve, nor from a false sense of dignity, the present century.

or from the isolation of pride, but from fixed of the eminent American writers, omitting domestic habits, and love of quiet. His Franklin, Jefferson, and Jonathan Edwards, intimacies were few, beyond the associates only Irving, Cooper, and Bryant preceded known as the “Five of Clubs." These were Longfellow; and the bulk of all that does Sumner, afterwards the distinguished Senahonour to the nation has been written since tor; Hillard, author of “ Six Months in he settled in Cambridge.

Italy," a man of brilliant parts, of whom His connection with the college lasted much was expected, and who just missed eighteen years, and his services were practical renown; Felton, the great-hearted and jovial and valuable. He superintended the in- professor of Greek, and Charles Amory, of struction in modern languages, and gave ex- Boston. Later, he had other and even nearer tempore discourses. In the time of Professor friends--this was in 1854 and afterward, the Lowell

, his successor, the college was grad- period in which I came to know him. Most of ually becoming a university, and that eminent all he visited the Nortons, the family of the scholar gave lectures upon the literatures, late Professor Andrews Norton, at Shady including the English classics, as upon Dante, Hill, one of the most attractive places in the Cervantes, Goethe, Chaucer and Shakespeare. neighbourhood. It was

It was a charming and But nothing of this kind was expected in accomplished family, of whom I will only Longfellow's time, and the poet could give mention the son, now professor of Art, and all his leisure and power to his verses. well known as the editor of the Emerson

The college faculty, a pretty large body, Carlyle letters. Another intimate friend and the people of taste and leisure, attracted was Agassiz, the naturalist, a man of the to Cambridge as a place of residence, formed utmost simplicity and bonhommie, enthusiasthe high society, and gave the town its tic, breezy, and inspiring. Very few days character. These, though simple in dress passed without their meeting: their natures and living, were courteously remote from differed but harmonized, and they became the shop-keeping and artisan class. The necessary to each other. They were not tone of society was ideally beautiful; the only neighbours at Cambridge, but at Nahant, distinction was wholly in intellect and man- the rocky peninsula, where they spent their ners. Frequent informal visits prevailed; summers. Mention should also be made of

across

Parsons, the poet, who made a translation of army invested Boston. The open

field Dante in the difficult triple rhyme, and of the street was bought by the poet to secure Monti, an Italian, devoted to the great an unobstructed view from his front study poets of his country, both of whom are windows across the marsh lands to the river referred to in the “Tales of a Wayside Inn." and the low hills beyond. There is no Monti is the “Sicilian," whose vivid portrait difficulty in gaining admission to the house ; all readers. must remember, especially his and the visitor will find everything as the moustaches, that

poet left it. There in the hall is the old “Shot sideways, like a swallow's wings."

clock on the stairs, still ticking its unending When the Atlantic Monthly was started, Never, Forever, Forever, Never. The library the first gathering of the contributors was on the right is naturally the first place at a dinner, and this grew into a monthly visited. There on the table are the letter meeting, which lasted as long as the origi- files, the inkstand of Coleridge and Crabbe, nal publishers lived. Longfellow wrote some and underneath is the waste-paper basket of of his most admired poems for that maga- Moore. There are his orderly shelves of zine, and he was seldom absent from the books, his precious bound MSS., and the dinners. The leading men were then in translations of his poems in all languages. their prime, and the conversation at the There, on stands and mantels, are gifts and tables was brilliant, almost beyond parallel. tokens from admirers all over the world. I think Longfellow at those dinners met The standing desk is at the shaded east more of the writers of the country than in window, and around the room are portraits any other period of his life. He had become and busts of friends. rather grave, and some thought him sad, It was with a feeling akin to awe that I but he had a touch of sympathy with young entered the house shortly after the poet's blood, and his presence was anything but a death. The gracious spirit seemed to be restraint upon festivity.

still there, and the silence almost stopped Readers may wish to know how Cam- my heart-beats. It was in that seat I had bridge looks. The central square is three seen him so recently, as he pointed wearily miles from Boston; the college buildings ad- to the great heap of unanswered letters. His jacent are placed in ample spaces, and em- rich and low-toned voice was still in my bosomed in fine trees. The region is flat, and ears. It seemed that I should presently sce the Charles River, a slow and tortuous stream, the inner door open, or that by looking out creeps through miles of salt marshes, strug- I should see him wrapped in his loose cloak, gling with the tides. The grassy marshes, thoughtfully walking under the elms. far-gleaming and changeable as watered It is a matter for rejoicing that the house silk, turn to purple and brown in autumn, is likely to be kept sacred to the poet's and later to yellow and grey; and with the memory as long as time spares it, and that willows that here and there fringe the river, a fitting monument is to be erected in the with the white sails of occasional schooners, adjacent field. Still there is little need of and with the distant villas and wooded slopes bronze or marble to keep him in the minds beyond, form the background of scenes that of men; for his works are in the homes and Cambridge poets love.

hearts of all English-speaking people. The tourist, after leaving the college The story of his life has been fully told. grounds, skirts the common, at one corner of His recollections of his birth-place are in his which once stood the Holmes house, passes verse; his books of travels contain the record by the Washington elm, under which the of his experience as well as observation ; his Virginian general took command of the pa- children, his intimate friends, and his bereavetriot army at the beginning of the revolution, ments are remembered by touching allusions ; and soon comes to Brattle Street, on which and only upon one great sorrow, the terrible stands Longfellow's house, half a mile from death of his wife, has he wisely been silent. the college. This is a spacious and stately The reader who has the key can read his mansion in the style of the last century, history as illustrated in his works. built of wood, painted cream-colour, substan- Little that is new can now be related; tial and well preserved. The grounds have every anecdote has been gathered in the magnificent elms, a native species whose biographies : and any fresh account of him, wide-spreading tops—in form like Etruscan no matter how skilfully put together, will vases—have a beauty unknown in this be in effect a mosaic, a repetition of familiar country. The house, as is well known, was incidents. Few men of celebrity have gone the headquarters of Washington while the through life with so little deflection from the

was

new

an

lines of custom. Excepting a few visits to months, and when they appeared it was Europe, he was rooted in Cambridge like a after rigorous criticism had been exhausted. tree. He seldom visited even New York, He was the most painstaking author I ever the nearest large city ; never saw the prairies, knew, excepting Prescott, who, with the aid or the Mississippi, still less the Rocky Moun- of a secretary, thought himself fortunate tains. He never met Irving but once, and when he had finished two pages in a day. that was in Spain ; never talked with While he was translating the eighteen thouBryant but twice, and never saw Cooper or sand lines of Dante, his apparatus was Poe.

always ready upon the desk near the winBut he did not need to travel to rouse his dow, and there he stood daily until he had imagination or to seek materials for poetry; completed the allotted number of lines. the well-spring of poetry was in himself ; its While meditating a poem he walked often flow began with his early years, and ceased in his grounds, or along the solitary Mt. only with his

Auburn road. life. His wide

This solitary reading and in

road, however, tuitive perception

sometimes suggested con

frequented by tinually

labourers, and themes, but the

Longfellow, who evolution of

smoked light thought and

cigars, and very image in measure

sparingly, told and melody were

me that he liked from within. The

to walk on a cool stately and musi

morning at a fair cal sweep of his

distance behind “Evangeline,"

Irishman the light tripping

smoking a clay measure of

pipe, to watch “Hiawatha," the

the thin blue solemn monotone

smoke, and to of the “Psalm of

catch an occasionLife," the eager

al whiff of the movement of the

perfume. " Skeleton in

After a rather Armour," and the

early dinner he grand roll of

gave his time to sonorous termi

his family and nations in the

friends. " Arsenal at

Children's Hour" Springfield,” all

shows what are spontaneous

fond father he manifestations of

was. There is no his finely organ

more beautiful ized nature.

domestic picture My recollections and impression of him than the glimpse of family joys in that poem. will be given without much regard to order. His wife, I may add, was a woman of queenly

His work was done in morning hours. beauty and graceful manners, the ideal of a Doubtless, he had his bright and his dull poet's wife, and mistress of a poet's household. days, but he never gave way to idleness or He was not without business knowledge ennui. When the inspiration came he covered and tact, but he spent his income generously, a largespace with verses; but he had the power and much of it in secret charity. I knew of to go back, and to forge anew or retouch an instance when an author, in no way inbefore the fire had cooled. His methods timate with him, was ill and destitute, and were careful to the last degree ; poems were was about to sell his library ; and greatly to kept and considered a long time, line by line; his surprise, he received one day Longfellow's and he had them set up in type for better cheque for $500. He was continually doing scrutiny. They were examined so for such acts of kindness.

[graphic]

" The

about vening biriley Idene M. Songfellow

a

His shrewdness and humour sometimes Two angels, one of I.ife and one of Death, took the same road. When “Hiawatha"

Pussed o'er our village as the morning bruke;

The dawn was on their faces, and beneath, appeared, it was sharply attacked in certain

The sombre houses, hearsed with plumes of smoke. newspapers, and Fields, his publisher, after reading something particularly savage, went " I saw them pause on their celestial way; out in a state of excitement to see Long- Then said I, with deep fear and doubt oppressed, fellow. The poet heard the account, but did

'Beat not so loud my heart, lest thou betray

The place where thy beloved are at rest!' not read the abuse ; it was something he never did and never would read, and then

“ 'Twas at thy door, O friend! and not at mine, in a casual way said, “By the way,

Mr.

The angel with the amaranthine wreath, Fields, how is the book selling ?” “Enor- Pausing, descended, and with voice divine, mously; we are running presses night and

Whispered a word that had a sound like death. day to fill the orders.” “Very well,” said “ Then fell upon the house a sudden gloom,

A shadow on those features fair and thin; Longfellow quietly, “then don't you think

And softly, from that hushed and darkened room, we had better let these editors go on Two angels issued, where but one went in." advertising it ?” At a social gathering a poem recently pub

“The Herons of Elmwood” is a beautiful lished was picked to pieces amid shouts of tribute to a brother poet, remarkable for its laughter, in which it was observed Long- freshness as well as its sentiment. Elmwood fellow did not join. A few minutes later, is Lowell's estate, not far beyond Longtaking up the despised poem and selecting fellow's; and in its tall trees the herons are here and there a good line or phrase, like wont to rest on their way from Fresh Pond. one looking for flowers rather than nettles. This happens late in the season, after the he said, "After all, young gentlemen, the migration of the thrushes and other summer man who has thought these beautiful things birds. cannot be wholly ridiculous !”

“Call to him, herons, as slowly you pass On festive occasions he was only shyly,

To your roosts in the haunts of the exiled thrushes;

Sing him the song of the green morass, delicately humorous, and rarely attempted

And the tides that water the reeds and rushes. an epigrammatic sally, still less, to take part in a passage at arms; but his enjoyment of Sing of the air, and the wild delight

Of wings that uplift and winds that uphold you, the gay skirmishes between others was

The joy of freedom, the rapture of Right evident. His voice, countenance, and manner, Through the drift of the floating mists that infold you. conveyed one harmonious impression. His grey-blue eyes were tender rather than sad, “Sing to him, say to him, here at his gate,

Where the boughs of the stately elms are meeting, and they were sometimes lighted by sweet

Some one hath lingered to meditate, smiles. His dignified bearing made him ap- And send him unseen this friendly greeting ; pear tall, though he was not above the medium

“That many another hath done the same, height. A Frenchman who had visited him

Though not by a sound was the silence broken; described him as being six feet. His simple The surest pledge of a deathless name and beautiful courtesy made every caller think

Is the silent homage of thoughts anspoken.” himself a friend. In no ignoble sense there Many of Longfellow's personal poems are was something caressing in his address. felicitous and full of natural feeling. His

He was faithful to his convictions, and lines upon Bayard Taylor, the poet and traprinted anti-slavery poems when the con- veller, who died at Berlin while United States servatives, including all the fashion and in- minister to the German court, by their directfluence of the time, were determined to ness and simplicity fix themselves in the suppress discussion. He welcomed Sumner memory of the reader. One thinks, too, of a when society “boycotted” him for espousing line in Hadrian's address to his soul as having the cause of the slave. And before that, been in the pret's mind : Quæ nunc abibis in when Sumner delivered his oration on the loca? “ True Grandeur of Nations (a vigorous

* Dead he lay among his books!

The peace of God was in his looks. protest again war), Longfellow wrote “ The Arsenal at Springfield," one of his most

As the statues in the gloom noble and fortunate poems.

Watch o'er Maximilian's tomb, He had both admiration and affection for

“ So those volumes from their shelves

Watched him, silent as themselves. Lowell. His poem, “ The Two Angels," was founded

" Ah! his hand will nevermore upon the coincidence of the birth of

Turn their storied pages o'er; his youngest daughter and the death of the

“ Nevermore his lips repeat wife of Lowell on the same day.

Songs of theirs, however sweet.

« ZurückWeiter »