The Early Years of the Saturday Club, 1855-1870

By Edward Waldo Emerson | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XIII
1866

Who, if he rise to station of command, Rises by open means; and there will stand On honourable terms, or else retire, And in himself possess his own desire. WORDSWORTH

THESE lines are suggested by Motley's recall from his high mission, later in the year. Appropriately to the leading in of Winter's main battle-line by January, the appearance of Whittier's Snow-Bound may be mentioned; also Emerson's final versifying of the story that he recorded in his journal a winter or two before, of his heartening-up by the chickadee when nearly paralyzed in the cold snowdrifts in a winter walk -- on which poem Matthew Arnold printed the following criticism: "One never quite arrives at learning what the titmouse did for him at all, though one feels a strong interest and desire to learn it; but one is reduced to guessing, and cannot be sure that, after all, one has guessed right."

A seasonable bad sore throat in the middle of the month kept Lowell away from the Dante Club. Longfellow sent him a bottle of claret as a consoling astringent gargle, accompanied by an Italian letter (the first three lines being a quotation), as follows:1


ALL' ILLUSTRISSIMO SIGNOR PROFESSORE LOWELL
Prescription per il Mal di GolePrexcription for a Sore Throat
"Benedetto."Benedight
Quel clarettoThat claret light
Che si spilla in Avignone."Which is tapped in Avignone."
Dici Redi;Redi said it;
Se non, vedeWho don't credit,
La famose sua Canzone.Let him read the famed Canzone.
____________________
1
Later, Longfellow rendered his Italian verse into English, as given here in parallel column.

-407-

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