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pursue his studies, and to give the world his much prized utterances, without exhibiting any evidences of physical or mental decay, although for a good part of half a century he was under whip and spur, with the daily press forever, as Scott expressed it, "clattering and thundering at his heels.” On the evening of January 31st, 1878, he walked out on the wildest night of the winter, when a blinding snowstorm kept many younger men at home, to address a meeting of the American Geographical Society, and to take part in the cordial welcome extended to the Earl of Dufferin, the accomplished Governor-General of Canada. When the president of the society sent for a carriage and urged the aged poet, at the close of the meeting, to make use of it, he sturdily refused, saying that he preferred to walk home.
Among Mr. Bryant's latest utterances was the following noble ode, written for Washington's last birthday, February 22d, 1878, for The Sunday School Times :
· Pale is the February sky,
And brief the mid-day's sunny hours ;
For the sweet time of leaves and flowers.
“ Yet has no month a prouder day,
Not even when the Summer broods
Or Autumn tints the glowing woods.
“For this chill season now again
Brings, in its annual round, the morn
Our glorious Washington was born.
“Lo, where,' beneath an icy shield,
Calmly the mighty Hudson flows !
Broadening the lordly river goes.
“ The wildest storm that sweeps through space,
And rends the oak with sudden force,
Or slacken his majestic course.
Thus, 'mid the wreck of thrones, shall live
Unmarred, undimmed, our hero's fame,
Increase of honors to his name.
Still later (May 15th, 1878) Mr. Bryant wrote at Roslyn the following characteristic sentiment contributed to a Decoration Day number of The Recorder.
" In expressing my regard for the memory of those who fell in the late civil war, I can not omit to say that, for one result of what they did and endured—namely, the extinction of slavery in this great republic--they deserve the imperishable gratitude of mankind. Their memory will survive many thousands of the generations of spring flowers which men will gather to-day on their graves. Nay, they will not be forgotten while the world has a written history.”
MAZZINI ADDRESS_LAST WORDS-ACCIDENT---SICKNESS-DEATH-BURIAL AT ROSLYN
TRIBUTES TO HIS MEMORY.
In accordance with the expressed wishes of many personal friends of the patriarch of American poetry, who was so recently laid in his grave with many tears, and also remembering that posterity likes details in regard to the latest actions and utterances of eminent men, I have recorded, to the best of my recollection, some particulars of his conversation during the afternoon of Wednesday, May 29th, his last hours of consciousness. He was appointed to deliver an oration on the occasion of unveiling a bronze bust of Mazzini, the Italian revolutionist and statesman, in the Central Park. I met Mr. Bryant in the Park about half an hour before the commencement of the ceremonies, conversing with him during that time, and again for a similar period after those ceremonials were concluded. While I was walking with Mr. Bryant for the last time, he quoted an aphorism from his friend Sainte-Beuve, that To know another man well, especially if he be a noted and illustrious character, is a great thing not to be despised." It was my good fortune to have enjoyed for nearly or quite a quarter of a century the privilege and pleasure of Mr. Bryant's acquaintance, and in all that time I never met him in a more cheerful and conversational mood than on the above-mentioned afternoon, and never saw him exhibit an equal depth and tenderness of feeling, either in his public utterances or in his private talk.
At the proper time Mr. Bryant took his seat on the platform-for he had been standing or seated under the welcome shade of adjoining eims—and presently he proceeded with the delivery of the last of a long series of scholarly addresses delivered in New York during the past thirty years. As I gazed on the majestic man, with his snow-white hair and flowing beard, his small, keen, but gentle blue eye, his light but firm lithe figure, standing so crect and apparently with undiminished vigor, enunciating with such distinctness, I thought of what Napoleon said of another great singer who, like our American poet, reached an advanced age to which but few attain, and which was equally true of Bryant : “Behold a man !"
The delivery of the oration, which affords most interesting evidence of the enthusiasm and mental energy of its aged author, it is to be feared drew too heavily on
the poet's failing powers. It was uttered with an unusual depth of feeling, and for the first time in his public addresses, so far as I am aware, he hesitated and showed some difficulty in finding his place in the printed slip which was spread before him, and in proceeding with his remarks. During the delivery of his speech he was but slightly exposed to the hot sun, an umbrella being held over his
“Good gray head, which all men knew,”
till he reached his peroration, when he stepped from under its shelter, and, looking up at the bust, delivered with power and great emphasis, while exposed to the sun, the concluding paragraph of his address :
'Image of the illustrious champion of civil and religious liberty, cast in enduring bronze to typify the imperishable renown of thy original ! Remain for ages yet to come where we place thee, in this resort of millions ; remain till the day shall dawn--far distant though may be-when the rights and duties of human brotherhood shall be acknowledged by all the races of mankind !"
At the conclusion, Mr. Bryant was loudly applauded, and resuming his seat again on the platform, he remained an interested listener to the address in Italian which followed his. At the close of the ceremonies, and when the poet was left almost alone on the platform, he took my offered arm to accompany me to my home, saying that he was perfectly able to walk there, or indeed to his own house in Sixteenth Street. Before proceeding, I again proposed that we should take a carriage, when the poet said, in a determined manner, “I am not tired, and prefer to walk." As we set off, I raised my umbrella to protect him from the sun, when he said, in a most decided tone, Don't hold that umbrella up on my account ; I like the warmth of the sunshine." He was much interested in the fine flock of sheep, together with the shepherd and his intelligent Scotch collie, that he observed as we passed across the green.
Mr. Bryant alluded to the death of Lord John Russell the day before, and asked if I had ever met him or heard him speak in public, adding : " For a statesman, he devoted a good deal of time to literature, and he appears to have been a man of respectable talents. How old was he ?" "
How old was he?" “ Eighty-six." Why, he was older than I am ; but I expect to beat that and to live as long as my friend Dana, who is ninety-one.” “Have you any theory as to the cause of your good health ?”
Oh, yes, ” he answered ; “it is all summed up in one word-moderation. As you know, I am a moderate eater and drinker, moderate in my work, as well as in my pleasures, and I believe the best way to preserve the mental and physical faculties is to keep them employed. Don't allow them to rust.” “But surely,” I added, “ there is no moderation in a man of eighty-three, after walking more than two miles, mounting eight or nine pairs of stairs to his office. "Oh," he merrily replied, “I confess to the two or three miles down-town, but I do not often mount the stairs ; and if I do sometimes, when the elevator is not there, I do not see that it does me any harm. I can walk and work as well as ever, and have been at the office to-day, as usual."
Some mention having been made of Lord Houghton's and Tupper's recent travels in this country, the poet asked : “ Did I ever tell you of Lord Houghton's visit to Roslyn a few years ago ? He was accompanied by his valet, who announced in my kitchen that his master was the greatest poet in England,' when one of my servants, not to be outdone, thereupon said, “ Our man is the greatest poet in AmeriThe use of the words “master” and “6
man,” I may remark, are worthy of notice, and appeared to amuse the poet when relating the incident.
Passing the Halleck statue, Mr. Bryant paused to speak of it, of other statues in similar sitting posture, and of Halleck himself and his genius, for several minutes.
Still continuing to lean on my arm, he asked my little daughter, whose hand he had held and continued to hold during our walk, if she knew the names of the robbins and sparrows that attracted his attention, and also the names of some flowering shrubs that we passed. Her correct answers pleased him, and he then inquired if she had ever heard some little verses about the bobolink. She answered yes, and that she also knew the poet who wrote them.
This caused him much amusement, and he said, “I think I shall have to write them out for you. "Mary, do you know the name of that tree with the pretty blue flowers ?” he asked, and as she did not know, he told her that it was “ called the Paulownia imperialis--a hard name for a little girl to remember ; it was named in honor of a princess, and was brought from Japan."
Arriving at the Morse statue at the Seventy-second Street gate, we stopped, and he said : This recalls to my mind a curious circumstance. You remember Launt Thompson's bust which the Commissioners refused to admit in the Park, on the ground that I was living? Well, soon after, this statue of Morse was placed here, although he was alive, and [laughingly] I was asked to deliver the address on the occasion of its unveiling, which I did.” « Do
you like your bust ?''
" Yes, I think it is a good work of art, and the likeness is pleasing and satisfactory, I believe, to my friends." " Which do you think your best portrait ?'
“ Unlike Irving, I prefer the portraits made of me in old age. Of the earlier pictures, I presume the best are Inman's and my friend Durand's,* which you perhaps remember hangs in the parlor at Roslyn.”
As we approached my house, about four o'clock, Mr. Bryant was recalling the scenes of the previous year on the occasion of President Hayes's first visit to New York, and he was still, I think, cheerfully conversing on that subject as we walked up arm in arm, and all entered the vestibule. Disengaging my arm, I took a step in advance to open the inner door, and during those few
* The most important portraits of the poet, mentioned as nearly as possible in the order in which they were painted, are by Henry Inman (1835); Prof. S. F. B. Morse (1836); Henry Peters Gray, S. W. Cheney, Charles Martin (1851); Charles L. Elliott, A. B. Durand (1854); Samuel Lawrence (1856); Paul Duggan, C. G. Thompson, A. H. Wenzler (1861); Thomas Hicks (1863); and Charles Fisher (1875). Of these I have engravings on steel now before me from Inman's, Martin's, Elliott's, Durand's, and Lawrence's portraits, as well as several taken from recent photographs. The portrait of Mr. Bryant which appears in this work is engraved from an admirable photograph taken by Sarony.
seconds, without the slightest warning of any kind, the venerable poet, while my back was turned, dropped my daughter's hand and fell suddenly backward through the open outer door, striking his head on the steps. I turned just in time to see the silvered head striking the stone, and, springing to his side, hastily raised
He was unconscious, and I supposed that he was dead. Ice-water was immediately applied to his head, and, with the assistance of a neighbor's son and the servants, he was carried into the parlor and laid unconscious at full length on the sofa. He soon moved, became restless, and in a few minutes sat up and drank the contents of a goblet filled with iced sherry, which partially restored him, and he asked, with a bewildered look, “Where am I?
6. Where am I? I do not feel at all well. Oh, my head ! my poor head !” accompanying the words by raising his right hand to his forehead. After a little, at his earnest request, I accompanied him to his own house, and, leaving him in charge of his niece, went for his family physician, Dr. John F. Gray. The following is a portion of the statement made by Dr. Gray after the poet's death :
“I sent for Dr. Carnochan, the surgeon. He could find no injury to the skull, and therefore thought there was a chance of recovery. Mr. Bryant, during the first few days, would get up and walk about the library or sit in his favorite chair. He would occasionally say something about diet and air. When his daughter arrived from Atlantic City, where she had been for her health, she thought her father recognized her. It is uncertain how far he recognized her or any of his friends. The family were hopeful and made the most out of every sign of consciousness or recognition.
“On the eighth day after the fall, hemorrhage took place in the brain, resulting in paralysis, technically called hemiplegia, and extending down the right side of the body. After this he was most of the time comatose. He ceased to recognize his friends in any way, and lay much of the time asleep. He was unable to spcak, and when he attempted to swallow his food lodged in his larynx and choked him. He was greatly troubled with phlegm, and could not clear his throat. There was only that one attack of hemorrhage of the brain, and that was due to what is called traumatic inflammation. After the fourteenth day he died.
He was a man who made little demonstration of affection or emotion, but he had a profoundly sympathetic feeling for the life and mission of Mazzini, and on the day when he delivered the address he exhibited considerable emotion. That and the walk afterwards certainly exhausted him, and led to the swoon. He overtaxed his strength during the winter, in attending evening entertainments and in public speaking. He had few intimate acquaintances, and was so extremely modest in expressing approbation or liking that one could scarcely tell the extent of his friendly feeling. Though I had attended him for many years, and often visited him at Roslyn, and also at his old homestead in Massachusetts, I never noticed an expression of more than ordinary friendship till I was prostrated by sickness. He made an impression ordinarily of coldness, but his poems show that he had plenty of feeling, and great sympathy for mankind.
“Once when at Roslyn we visited the grave of his wife in the village cemetery, and we saw the place by her side reserved for him. He frequently requested that his funeral should be simple and without ostentation. He has had fulfilled his wish to die in June.
'Mr. Bryant owed his long life to an exceedingly tenacious and tough constitution and very prudent living. I always found him an early riser. Although he was slight of body and limb, he seemed to me unconscious of fatigue, and he would walk many a stronger man off his legs. He did not walk rapidly, but seemed as wiry as an Indian.”
In April, 1867, Mr. Bryant expressed to the writer a wish that he might not survive