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Those speculative heights that lure
125 The unpractised foot, impatient of a guide, Tow'rds ether too attenuately pure
For sweet unconscious breath, though dear to pride,
But better loved the foothold sure
Of paths that wind by old abodes of men
130 Who hope at last the churchyard's peace secure,
In no self-woven silk of prudence wound,
Then how the heat through every fibre ran,
And ran the molten man in all he said or did.
152. Tully is the now somewhat old-fashioned English way of referring to Marcus Tullius Cicero, whose book De Oratore and Quintilian's Institutiones Oratoria were the most celebrated ancient works on rhetoric.
And his rapt audience all unconscious lent
Our speech (with strangers prudish) he could bring
60 Melted upon his lips to natural ease,
As a brook's fetters swell the dance of spring.
If baseness or pretension crossed his path,
His magic was not far to seek,
170 He was so human! whether strong or weak,
180 His look, wherever its good-fortune fell,
And on the hearthstone danced a happier flame;
183. For the stories of Philemon and Amphitryon, see Ovid's Metamorphoses, viii. 631, and vi. 112.
The garrulous memories
Gather again from all their far-flown nooks,
190 Tow'rds Tintern's gray repose of roofless aisles:
All choice, some famous, loving things, not names,
Natures benignly mixed of air and earth, 200 Now with the stars and row with equal zest Tracing the eccentric orbit of a jest.
I see in vision the warm-lighted hall,
Immortal, changeless creatures of the brain:
190. Tintern Abbey on the river Wye is one of the most famous ruins in England. About this as other ruins and shaded buildings the rooks make their home.
192. A club known as the Saturday Club has for many years met in Boston, and some of the prominent members are intimated in the following lines.
Of sense or spirit, to the truly sane;
In this abstraction it were light to deem 210 Myself the figment of some stronger dream; They are the real things, and I the ghost
That glide unhindered through the solid door, Vainly for recognition seek from chair to chair, And strive to speak and am but futile air, 215 As truly most of us are little more.
Him most I see whom we most dearly miss,
His features poised in genial armistice
220 Beneath the forehead's walled preeminence,
225 Making through Nature's walls its easy breach, And seems to learn where he alone could teach. Ample and ruddy, the room's end he fills
As he our fireside were, our light and heat,
Centre where minds diverse and various skills
230 Find their warm nook and stretch unhampered feet;
I see the firm benignity of face,
Wide-smiling champaign without tameness sweet,
The eyes whose sunshine runs before the lips
235 While Holmes's rockets curve their long ellipse, And burst in seeds of fire that burst again To drop in scintillating rain.
216. Agassiz himself.
There too the face half-rustic, half-divine,
Self-poised, sagacious, freaked with humor fine, 240 Of him who taught us not to mow and mope About our fancied selves, but seek our scope In Nature's world and Man's, nor fade to hollow trope; Listening with eyes averse I see him sit Pricked with the cider of the judge's wit 245 (Ripe-hearted homebrew, fresh and fresh again), While the wise nose's firm-built aquiline
Curves sharper to restrain
The merriment whose most unruly moods
Hard by is he whose art's consoling spell
And more there are but other forms arise
238. Ralph Waldo Emerson. The words half-rustic, halfdivine, recall Lowell's earlier characterization in his Fable for Critics:
"A Greek head on right Yankee shoulders, whose range
244. Judge E. R. Hoar.
258. Nathaniel Hawthorne. He was buried in Concord, Ma 24, 1864.