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They have rights who dare maintain them; we are traitors to our sires,

Smothering in their holy ashes Freedom's new-lit altar fires;


Shall we make their creed our jailer? Shall we, our haste to slay,

From the tombs of the old prophets steal the funeral lamps away

To light up the martyr-fagots round the prophets of to-day?


New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;

They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth;

Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! we ourselves must Pilgrims be,

Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea,

Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood-rusted key.

December, 1844.

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"The Fable for Critics remains, for all its rattling fun, a marvel of sagacity. While Lowell was a baby at Elmwood, Cooper was putting pen to his first story; Irving had just published the Sketch Book; Bryant was a grave young lawyer, with Thanatopsis two years old in print; Emerson was a dreamy student at Harvard; Hawthorne, in preparation for Bowdoin, was writing Latin exercises; Whittier was a barefoot boy, feeding his father's kine; Holmes and Longfellow were bright little lads, the well-nutured sons of cultivated households, and Poe at school in Great Britain, was a lonely and wayward child. On these immediate contemporaries Lowell, in half frolicsome, half earnest mood, passed keen judgment, almost invariably verified by time. He even recognized his own peril, how ill the artist in him was likely to fare at the hands of the moral enthusiast.”


"There is Whittier, whose swelling and vehement heart

Strains the strait-breasted drab of the Quaker apart,

And reveals the live Man, still supreme and erect, Underneath the bemummying wrappers of sect;

There was ne'er a man born who had more of the swing

Of the true lyric bard and all that kind of thing; And his failures arise (though he seem not to know it)

From the very same cause that has made him a poet,

A fervor of mind which knows no separation 'Twixt simple excitement and pure inspiration, As my Pythoness erst sometimes erred from not knowing

If 'twere I or mere wind through her tripod was


Let his mind once get head in its favorite direction And the torrent of verse bursts the dams of


While, borne with the rush of the metre along, The poet may chance to go right or go wrong, Content with the whirl and delirium of song; Then his grammar's not always correct, nor his rhymes,

And he's prone to repeat his own lyrics sometimes, Not his best, though, for those are struck off at white-heats

When the heart in his breast like a trip-hammer beats,

And can ne'er be repeated again any more

Than they could have been carefully plotted before:

Like old what's-his-name there at the battle of Hastings

(Who, however, gave more than mere rhythmical bastings),

Our Quaker leads off metaphorical fights

For reform and whatever they call human rights, Both singing and striking in front of the war,

And hitting his foes with the mallet of Thor; Anne haec, one exclaims, on beholding his knocks, Vestis filii tui, O leather-clad Fox?

Can that be thy son, in the battle's mid din,
Preaching brotherly love and then driving it in
To the brain of the tough old Goliah of sin,
With the smoothest of pebbles from Castaly's


Impressed on his hard moral sense with a sling?"


"There is Hawthorne, with genius so shrinking and rare

That you hardly at first see the strength that is there;

A frame so robust, with a nature so sweet, So earnest, so graceful, so lithe, and so fleet, Is worth a descent from Olympus to meet; 'Tis as if a rough oak that for ages had stood, With his gnarled bony branches like ribs of the wood,

Should bloom, after cycles of struggle and scathe,
With a single anemone trembly and rathe;
His strength is so tender, his wildness so meek,
That a suitable parallel sets one to seek,-

He's a John Bunyan Fouqué, a Puritan Tieck;
When Nature was shaping him, clay was not


For making so full-sized a man as she wanted,
So, to fill out her model, a little she spared
From some finer-grained stuff for a woman


And she could not have hit a more excellent plan For making him fully and perfectly man."


"Here's Cooper, who's written six volumes to show

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