Letter from Elizabeth Palmer Peabody to Rebecca Amory Lowell

ReadAboutContentsHelp
This is a scanned version of the original document in the Abernethy Manuscripts Collection at Middlebury College.

Pages That Need Transcription

p.
Complete

p.

May 1st 1840

My dear Mrs Lowell -

I went to call on you yesterday and was very much disappointed not to see you again - it is so long since! - all this winter I have intended it - and once I went and you were not at home. - I then put it off - and when your father died I could not immediately intrude upon you - feeling as I did so deep a sympathy in an affliction which had so many depths - in a case like yours - where his character added so much to the usual feelings of a child and your retirement of life make the loss of so deeply loved a relative so insepar able to every day - I should have gone out to Roxbury yesterday had I not thought that perhaps there your grief would be awakened - among the long loved [places ?] associated with him. - And yet perhaps I am wrong. - Death too has a happy side - and sometimes we accept it for a friend with a peculiar sense of rest - you have sympathised with his sufferings so much that perhaps you rejoice even now in his security forever from all touch of pain - per haps surviving nature in this outward spring is a perpetual lyric in which your mind can hear the beloved spirit clothing itself in new form - and pluming itself for a new flight - I think Nature is ever a frame to whatever human action is worthy of it and when the cold snows of winter break up and

Last edit 11 months ago by shashathree
p.
Complete

p.

pass away - and Beauty comes forth so fitfully - with such sweet promise - is it not an emblem of the Soul bursting the [ailments ?] of old age - and responding in its own native life to the call of the Maker? I have now closed my visit to Boston and do not know that I shall again leave Salem till next winter - I shall not be able therefore to go and see you & tell you about the conversations as you desired me to do - & indeed I would do no justice to them in a letter - But they were very successful - The tone of the whole class was so modest and docile - & refined - & dignified - & every thing was so elegant - about Miss [Jules ?] . Some foolish reports have been made of things said - never said - etc - as is usual in our society; but much more prejudice has been disarmed than strengthened. I am confident, and I feel as if there were no member of it who does not feel with more sensibility than when they began - all the motives for a noble & aesthetic life - without any extravagance or desire to change any thing but the spirit with which we live into something continually more disinterested, beautiful & desirous. But these are vain words - unless you know particulars & these cannot be written in a letter - There is one thing I want to speak about

Last edit 11 months ago by shashathree
p.
Complete

p.

however, for which I hope I have soon - I understand from a lady of my acquaintance (Miss Busley ?) - that your brother Mr J. A. L - is a german scholar who was at one time deeply interested in German literature. I wish you would tell him of a thing that has come into my head (for no one else is responsible for [ ?ing] to the thought) - There is a son of Prof Hedge of Cambridge who was educated in Germany. He went there at 12 years of age & received his classical education & the first developments of his mind there. - When he returned here he passed a year or two in our college - [entered ?] divinity & settled here as a minister. For the last few years he has been in Bangor. Perhaps your brother knows all about him. He has the singular advantage of being brought up in both literatures - and [so man ?] of genius & of taste - being au fait in both. One of the [best has ?] proof of his powerful mind is - that although he can write & even think in German with as much ease as in English - his English is so [?] & idiomatic that it bears no mark of foreign [ad ? ture ?]- & his train of thought is decidedly English - as well as his taste. Several years ago I hard him say he had a mind to deliver in Boston some courses of lectures on German literature - taking up all the great artists in succession giving biographical sketches - criticisms - & accounts of their works - & then perhaps giving the history of their philosophy in the same way. He then thought however that there was not quite enough curiosity awakened of [ ?] there was some risk in abandoning his professor for it. I heard yesterday that he was here - and about having Bangor (although the people there are very unwilling) for indispensable reasons - & was probably about to seek for a new parish. It struck me that here might be an interruption as it were in his clerical life - & now curiosity is so completely awake concerning German literature & philosophy - that it wont be a good time for those same lectures - and I could not but wish that your brother knew all about it. O course I do not expect that my opinion will weigh any thing on the subject with your brother who is a

Last edit 11 months ago by shashathree
p.
Complete

p.

perfect stranger to me & my capacities for judging. But I wish he would think of it himself. He might read his review of the Life of [ ?] in a christian Examiner of some years since to see a little into his way of viewing subjects - & Dr Walker of Cambridge - Dr Channing of Boston & more especially Mr Hedge himself who is here for a week or two as I understand & would be good sources of information to apply to. He gave a series of popular lectures on literature at Bangor that winter which were very successful - & he presented a lecture at

the opening of the Lyceum the year before which was very superior. Indeed he is I think & those who know him - (Dr Francis of Watertown for instance thinks so ) a person of first rate mind who is passing his life must live usefully for the work than he should - because he is not forth putting and has not personal charms. He is not merely a person of uncommon & rare attainments but a man of genius - a poet - & a logician - [much more ?] This last part of my letter dear Miss Lowell which I intended to have very clear and good, has been interrupted several times & I must hope

made myself intelligible. The word sermon stands in our community as such a bugbear - that it seems to me nothing can be done for the people which would relieve more suffering than to have the literature analyzed. Truly your friend, Elizabeth To Mrs R. A. Lowell care of Mr John A. Lowell Boston

Last edit 11 months ago by shashathree
Displaying all 4 Page