[Boston—Sunday, 26 July 1863]

July 26. 1863. In this warm summer weather one would think all things might rest or gently wave themselves like the boughs up and down to feel the newly arisen breezes. Yet what an active season of literary labor it often proves. Yesterday Mr F. brought home an article just completed by Henry Giles upon Gerald Griffin, author of “the Collegians” and many other less known works—at noon two little lyrics arrived from Dr Bartol both pure in feeling neither quite adapted for publication. At night Edward Pierce’s paper about “Freedmen” was returned from the printing office a mass of corrections nearly a week having been exhausted by the proof-reader vainly endeavoring to correct a bad style. Much must be omitted. This morning comes a poem from Rose Terry which Mr F had put into rhythmical shape for the her. She writes that the deficiencies in the lines were “intentional” yet accepts the amendments graciously.

What a strange history this literary life in America at the present day would make. An editor and publisher at once and at this date, stands at a confluence of tides where all humanity seems to surge up in little waves; some larger than the rest (every seventh it may be) dashes up music to which the others love to listen; or some springing to a great height retire to tell the story of their flight to those who stay below.

Mr Longfellow is quietly at Nahant. His translation of Dante is finished, but will not be completely published until the year 1865, that being the 600th anniversary since the death of the great Italian. Dr Holmes was never in healthier mood than at present. His oration delivered before a large audience upon the Fourth of July this year places him high in the rank of native orators. It is a little doubtful how soon he will feel like writing again. He has contributed much during the last two years to the Atlantic magazine. He may well take a temporary rest.

Mr Lowell is not well. He is now travelling. Mr Hawthorne is in Concord. He has just completed a volume of English Sketches of which a few have been printed in the A.M. He will dedicate the volume to Franklin Pierce the democrat. A most unpopular thing just now but friendship of the purest stimulates him and the ruin in prospect for his book because of this resolve does not move him from his purpose. Such adherence is indeed noble. Hawthorne requires all that popularity can give him in a pecuniary way for the support of his family. The A.M. is at present an interesting feature of America. Purely literary it has nevertheless a subscription list daily increasing of 32,000. Of course the editor’s labors are not slight. We have been waiting for Mr Emerson to publish his new volume containing his address upon Henry Thoreau; but he is careful of words and finds many to be considered again and again until it is almost impossible to extort a manuscript from his hands. He has written but little, of late.


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