Edward Rowland Sill: His Life and Work

By William Belmont Parker | Go to book overview
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IX

AVE ATQUE VALE

SILL'S death left his friends inconsolable; so incomplete his life, so needless seemed his end. They were so confident, so happily expectant, of his future, and now, cut off in the full exercise of his growing power, he was gone, "and hath not left his peer." So it seemed to them in 1887,--he was to them the fittest to carry forward the torch of poetry. Not that he had achieved his fame: that has been growing since, he might in fact have described himself without bitterness, in the words Hawthorne had used forty years earlier, as "the most obscure man of letters in America." He had cared little for fame: fame had cared as little for him; and outside a small group of discerning lovers of poetry the name of Sill was unknown in the world of letters.

It is perhaps an idle question to ask why to his friends the sense of loss was so poignant. Was it not enough that he was gone and they were the poorer? But the quick, eager spirit was so untimely taken off, before its full fruitage and expression. All the unfulfilled promise of his nature loomed before them as a tangible

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