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have been disgusted with this wholesale mangling of
victims without rhyme or reason,," I have already
agreed to believe implicitly everything asserted by the
anonymous Outis, and am fully prepared to admit,
even, his own contradiction, in one sentence, of what
he has insisted upon in the sentence preceding. I
shall assume it is indisputable, then (since Nobody says
it), that, first, he has no acquaintance with myself and
" some acquaintance with Mr. Longfellow," and, sec
ondly, that he has " written what he has written from
no personal motives whatever." That he has been
disgusted with " the mangling of victims without
rhyme or reason " is, to be sure, a little unaccountable,
for the victims without rhyme or reason are precisely
the victims that ought to be mangled ; but that he has
been disgusted " from his earliest reading," with criti
cal notices and reviews is credible enough if we but
imagine his " earliest reading " and earliest writing to
have taken place about the same epoch of time.

But, to be serious; if Outis has his own private

VOL. VIII. 13. J

Mr. Longfellow and Other Plagiarists

reasons for being disgusted with what he terms the
" wholesale mangling of victims without rhyme or
reason," there is not a man living, of common sense
and common honesty, who has not better reason (if
possible) to be disgusted with the insufferable cant and
shameless misrepresentation practised habitually by
just such persons as Outis, with the view of decrying
by sheer strength of lungs, of trampling down, of riot
ing down, of mobbing down any man with a soul that
bids him come out from among the general corruption
of our public press, and take his stand upon the open
ground of rectitude and honor. The Outises who
practice this species of bullyism are, as a matter of
course, anonymous. They are either the " victims
without rhyme or reason who have been mangled by
wholesale," or they are the relatives, or the relatives
of the relatives of the " victims without rhyme or
reason who have been mangled by wholesale." Their
watchwords are " carping littleness," " envious malig
nity," and " personal abuse." Their low artifices are
insinuated calumnies and indefatigable whispers of re
gret, from post to pillar, that " Mr. So-and-So, or
Mr. This-and-That will persist in rendering himself
so dreadfully unpopular," no one, in the meantime,
being more thoroughly and painfully aware than these
very Outises that the unpopularity of the just critic
who reasons his way, guiltless of dogmatism, is con
fined altogether within the limits of the influence of


Mr. Longfellow and Other Plagiarists

the victims without rhyme and reason who have been
mangled by wholesale. Even the manifest injustice
of a Gifford is, I grieve to say, an exceedingly popular
thing; and there is no literary element of popularity
more absolutely and more universally effective than
the pungent impartiality of a Wilson or a Macaulay.
In regard to my own course, without daring to arro
gate to myself a single other quality of either of these
eminent men than that pure contempt for mere preju
dice and conventionality which actuated them all, I
will now unscrupulously call the attention of the
Outises to the fact that it was during what they (the
Outises) would insinuate to be the unpopularity of my
" wholesale mangling of the victims without rhyme
and reason " that, in one year, the circulation of the
Southern Messenger (a five-dollar journal) extended
itself from seven hundred to nearly five thousand ; and
that, in little more than twice the same time, Graham's
Magazine swelled its list from five thousand to fifty-
two thousand subscribers.

I make no apology for these egotisms, and I proceed
with them without hesitation ; for, in myself, I am but
defending a set of principles which no honest man
need be ashamed of defending, and for whose defence
no honest man will consider an apology required. The
usual watchwords of the Outises when repelling a
criticism, their customary charges, overt or insinuated,
are (as I have already said) those of " personal abuse "


Mr. Longfellow and Other Plagiarists

and " wholesale (or indiscriminate) mangling." In
the present instance the latter solely is employed ; for
not even an Outis can accuse me, with even a decent
show of verisimilitude, of having ever descended, in
the most condemnatory of my reviews, to that per
sonal abuse which, upon one or two occasions, has
indeed been levelled at myself in the spasmodic en
deavors of aggrieved authors to rebut what I have
ventured to demonstrate. I have, then, to refute only
the accusation of mangling by wholesale, and I refute
it by the simplest reference to fact. What I have
written remains; and is readily accessible in any of
our public libraries. I have had one or two impotent
enemies and a multitude of cherished friends, and both
friends and enemies have been, for the most part, lit
erary people ; yet no man can point to a single critique,
among the very numerous ones which I have written
during the last ten years, which is either wholly fault
finding or wholly in approbation; nor is there an
instance to be discovered, among all that I have pub
lished, of my having set forth, either in praise or
censure, a single opinion upon any critical topic of
moment, without attempting, at least, to give it au
thority by something that wore the semblance of a
reason. Now, is there a writer in the land who, having
dealt in criticism even one fourth as much as myself,
can of his own criticisms conscientiously say the same ?
The fact is, that very many of the most eminent men


Mr. Longfellow and Other Plagiarists

of America, whom I am proud to number among the
sincerest of my friends, have been rendered so solely
by their approbation of my comments upon their own
works, comments in great measure directed against
themselves as authors, belonging altogether to that
very class of criticism which it is the petty policy of
the Outises to cry down, with their diminutive voices,
as offensive on the score of wholesale vituperation and
personal abuse. If, to be brief, in what I have put
forth there has been a preponderance of censure over
commendation, is there not to be imagined for this
preponderance a more charitable motive than any
which the Outises have been magnanimous enough to
assign me ; is not this preponderance, in a word, the
natural and inevitable tendency of all criticism worth
the name in this age of so universal an authorship,
that no man in his senses will pretend to deny the vast
predominance of good writers over bad ?

" And now " says Outis " for the matter of Long
fellow's imitations, in what do they consist ? The
critic is not very specific in this charge. Of what kind
are they ? Are they imitations of thought ? Why not
call them plagiarisms, then, and show them up ? Or
are they only verbal imitations of style ? Perhaps
this is one of them, in his poem on the Sea Weed s

drifting, drifting, drifting,
On the shifting
Currents of the restless main,

Mr. Longfellow and Other Plagiarists

resembling in form and collocation only, a line in a
beautiful and very powerful poem of Mr. Edgar A.
Poe. (Write it rather Edgar, a Poet, and then it is
right to a T.) I have not the poem before me, and
have forgotten its title. But he is describing a mag
nificent intellect in ruins, if I remember rightly, and,
speaking of the eloquence of its better days, repre
sents it as

flowing, flowing, flowing,
Like a river.

" Is this what the critic means ? Is it such imita
tions as this that he alludes to ? If not, I am at fault,
either in my reading of Longfellow, or in my general
familiarity with the American poets. If this be the
kind of imitation referred to, permit me to say, the
charge is too paltry for any man who valued his repu
tation as a gentleman or a scholar."

Elsewhere he says :

" Moreover, this poem contains an example of that
kind of repetition which I have supposed the critic
meant to charge upon Longfellow as one of his imi
tations :

Away away away, etc.

" I might pursue it farther, but I will not. Such
criticisms only make the author of them contemptible,
without soiling a plume in the cap of his victim."


Mr. Longfellow and Other Plagiarists

The first point to be here observed is the compla
cency with which Outis supposes me to make a certain
charge and then vituperates me for his own absurd
supposition. Were I, or any man, to accuse Mr.
Longfellow of imitation on the score of thrice em
ploying a word in consecutive connection, then I (or
any man) would only be guilty of as great a sotticism
as was Outis in accusing me of imitation on the score
of the refrain. The repetition in question is assuredly
not claimed by myself as original ; I should therefore
be wary how I charged Mr. Longfellow with imitating
it from myself. It is, in fact, a musical effect which
is the common property of all mankind, and has been
their common property for ages. Nevertheless, the
quotation of this

drifting, drifting, drifting,

is, on the part of Outis, a little unfortunate. Most
certainly the supposed imitation had never been
observed by me; nor even, had I observed it,
should I have considered it individually, as a point
of any moment; but all will admit (since Outis him
self has noticed the parallel), that, were a second
parallel of any obviousness to be established from the
same brief poem, the Sea Weed t this second would
come in very strong corroboration of the first. Now
the sixth stanza of this very Sea Weed (which was
first published in Graham's Magazine for January,
1845) commences with


Mr. Longfellow and Other Plagiarists

From the far-off isles enchanted ;

and in a little poem of my own, addressed To Maty,
and first published at page 636 of the first volume of
the Southern Literary Messenger, will be found the

And thus thy memory is to me
Like some enchanted far-off isle
In some tumultuous sea.

But to show, in general, what I mean by accusing Mr.
Longfellow of imitation, I collate his Midnight Mass
for the Dying Year, with The Death of the Old Year
of Tennyson.


Yes, the Year is growing old,

And his eye is pale and bleared !
Death, with frosty hand and cold,

Plucks the old man by the beard,
Sorely, sorely!

The leaves are falling, falling,

Solemnly and slow ;
Caw! caw! the rooks are calling,

It is a sound of woe,
A sound of woe !

Through woods and mountain passes

The winds, like anthems, roll;
They are chanting solemn masses,
Singing, " Pray for this poor soul,
Pray, pray!

Mr. Longfellow *ad Other Plagiarists

And the hoodie cU m-

Tell theii %**
And pat

But their
All in v

There he stand* r

f ooh*h, fond ON
<** mh wild Sowers


Then con;*>

Bids the Ui IMA?
His joy!

Loveth bet tfnurr*

sri^ to IM srfT

tr/orfjiv/ nodi jr/H

Of the soft ak. Hk*
" Pray do not mo*
Do not Uiugi

And now the sweet-
Cold in his arms i

No stain from its
Over the glassy
No mist nor

Tha, too, tlie <JM

Like the


Mr. Longfellow and Other Plagiarists

From the far-off isles enchanted ;

and in a little poem of my own, addressed To Maty,
and first published at page 636 of the first volume of
the Southern Literary Messenger, will be found the

And thus thy memory is to me
Like some enchanted far-off isle
In some tumultuous sea.

But to show, in general, what I mean by accusing Mr.
Longfellow of imitation, I collate his Midnight Mass
for the Dying Year, with The Death of the Old Year
of Tennyson.

" But tteiL ^jj^^t^tj^fo ( 4ffil' iilf re

and enshrouded figure of.tne Laffi'm.adelme f Usher-
And ffis eye is pale and bleared!

Death, with frosty hand and cold,
Plucks tiM ott awn b? *
Sorely, aortly t

The leave* are

Solemnly aat *
Caw! caw! the rook* are calling,

It is a sound of wot,
A sound of woe I

Through woods and mountain passes

The winds, like anthems, roll ;
They are chanting solemn masses,
Singing, " Pray for this poor soul,
Pray, pray! "

Mr. Longfellow and Other Plagiarists

And the hooded clouds, like friars,
Tell their beads in drops of rain,

And patter their doleful prayers ;
But their prayers are all in vain,
All in vain!

There he stands in the foul weather,

The foolish, fond Old Year,
Crowned with wild flowers and with heather

Like weak, despised Lear,
A king, a king !

Then comes the summer-like day,

Bids the old man rejoice !
His joy ! his last ! Oh, the old man gray,

Loveth her ever-soft voice,
Gentle and low!

To the crimson woods he saith,

To the voice gentle and low
Of the soft air, like a daughter's breath,

" Pray do not mock me so !
Do not laugh at me ! "

And now the sweet day is dead ;

Cold in his arms it lies ;
No stain from its breath is spread

Over the glassy skies,
No mist nor stain!

Then, too, the Old Year dieth,

And the forests utter a moan,
Like the voice of one who crieth
In the wilderness alone,
" Vex not his ghost! "

Mr. Longfellow and Other Plagiarists

Then comes, with an awful roar,

Gathering and sounding on,
The storm-wind from Labrador,

The wind Euroclydon,
The storm- wind!

Howl ! howl ! and from the forest

Sweep the red leaves away!
Would the sins that thou abhorrest,

O soul! could thus decay,
And be swept away!

For there shall come a mightier blast,

There shall be a darker day;
And the stars, from heaven down-cast
Like red leaves be swept away !
Kyrie, eleyson!
Christe, eleyson!


Full knee-deep lies the winter snow,

And the winter winds are wearily sighing ;
Toll ye the church-bell sad and slow,
And tread softly, and speak low,
For the Old Year lies a-dying.

Old Year, you must not die ;
You came to us so readily,
You lived with us so steadily,
Old Year, you shall not die.

He lieth still; he doth not move;

He will not see the dawn of day;
He hath no other life above.
He gave me a friend, and a true true-love,

Mr. Longfellow and Other Plagiarists

And the New Year will take 'em away.

Old Year, you must not go ;
So long as you have been with us,
Such joy as you have seen with us,

Old Year, you shall not go.

He frothed his bumpers to the brim;

A jollier year we shall not see ;
But though his eyes are waxing dim,
And though his foes speak ill of him,
He was a friend to me.

Old Year, you shall not die ;
We did so laugh and cry with you,
I 've half a mind to die with you,
Old Year, if you must die.

He was full of joke and jest,

But all his merry quips are o'er.
To see him die, across the waste
His son and heir doth ride post-haste,
But he '11 be dead before.

Every one for his own;
The night is starry and cold, my friend,
And the New Year, blithe and bold, my friend,
Comes up to take his own.

How hard he breathes ! Over the snow

I heard just now the crowing cock.
The shadows flicker to and fro ;
The cricket chirps; the light burns low;
'T is nearly one o'clock.

Shake hands before you die ;
Old Year, we '11 dearly rue for you,

Mr. Longfellow and Other Plagiarists

What is it we can do for you ?
Speak out before you die.

His face is growing sharp and thin.

Alack ! our friend is gone !
Close up his eyes; tie up his chin;
Step from the corpse, and let him in
That standeth there alone,

And waiteth at the door.
There 's a new foot on the floor, my friend,
And a new face at the door, my friend,
A new face at the door.

I have no idea of commenting, at any length, upon
this imitation, which is too palpable to be mistaken,
and which belongs to the most barbarous class of
literary piracy, that class in which, while the words
of the wronged author are avoided, his most intangible,
and therefore his least defensible and least reclaimable,
property is appropriated. Here, with the exception of
lapses which, however, speak volumes (such, for in
stance, as the use of the capitalized " Old Year," the
general peculiarity of the rhythm, and the absence of
rhyme at the end of each stanza), there is nothing
of a visible or palpable nature by which the source
of the American poem can be established. But then
nearly all that is valuable in the piece of Tennyson
is the first conception of personifying the Old Year as
a dying old man, with the singularly wild and fan
tastic manner in which that conception is carried out.


Mr. Longfellow and Other Plagiarists

Of this conception and of this manner he is robbed.
What is here not taken from Tennyson is made up,
mosaically, from the death scene of Cordelia, in Lear t
to which I refer the curious reader.

In Graham's Magazine for February, 1843, there
appeared a poem, furnished by Professor Longfellow,
entitled The Good George Campbell t and purporting
to be a translation from the German of 0. L. B. Wolff.
In Minstrelsy Ancient and Modern f by William
Motherwell, published by John Wylie, Glasgow, 1827,
is to be found a poem partly compiled and partly
written by Motherwell himself. It is entitled The
Bonnie George Campbell I give the two side by
side :


Hie upon Hielands

And low upon Tay,
Bonnie George Campbell

Rade out on a day.
Saddled and bridled

And gallant rade he ;
Hame cam his gude horse,

But never cam he.

Out cam his auld mither

Greeting fu' sair,
And out cam his bonnie bride

Rivin' her hair.
Saddled and bridled

And booted rade he ;


High on the Highlands,

And deep in the day,
The good George Campbell

Rode free and away.
All saddled, all bridled,

Gay garments he wore ;
Home came his gude steed,

But he nevermore !

Out came his mother,

Weeping so sadly;
Out came his beauteous bride

Weeping so madly.
All saddled, all bridled,

Strong armor he wore ;


Mr. Longfellow and Other Plagiarists


Toom hame cam the saddle,
But never cam he.

" My meadow lies green,

And my corn is unshorn ;
My barn is too big,

And my baby 's unborn."
Saddled and bridled

And booted rade he ;
Toom hame cam the saddle,

But never cam he.


Home came the saddle,
But he nevermore !

" My meadow lies green,

Unreaped is my corn ;
My garner is empty,

My child is unborn."
All saddled, all bridled,

Sharp weapons he bore ;
Home came the saddle,

But he nevermore !

Professor Longfellow defends himself (I learn) from
the charge of imitation in this case by the assertion
that he did translate from Wolff, but that Wolff copied
from Motherwell. I am willing to believe almost
anything than so gross a plagiarism as this seems to
be; but there are difficulties which should be cleared
up. In the first place, how happens it that, in the
transmission from the Scotch into German, and again
from the German into English, not only the versifica
tion should have been rigidly preserved, but the
rhymes and alliterations ? Again, how are we to
imagine that Mr. Longfellow, with his known inti
mate acquaintance with MotherwelPs Minstrelsy, did
not at once recognize so remarkable a poem when he
met it in Wolff ? I have now before me a large
volume of songs, ballads, etc., collected by Wolff; but
there is here no such poem, and, to be sure it should


Mr. Longfellow and Other Plagiarists

not be sought in such a collection. No collection of
his own poems has been published, and the piece of
which we are in search must be fugitive ; unless, in
deed, it is included in a volume of translations from
various tongues, of which O. L. B. Wolff is also the
author, but of which I am unable to obtain a copy. 1
It is by no means improbable that here the poem in
question is to be found ; but in this case it must have
been plainly acknowledged as a translation, with its
original designated. How, then, could Professor
Longfellow have translated it as original with Wolff ?
These are mysteries yet to be solved. It is observable
peculiarly so that the Scotch " Toom " is left un
translated in the version of Graham's Magazine,
Will it be found that the same omission occurs in
Wolff's version ?

In The Spanish Student of Mr. Longfellow, at page
80, will be found what follows :

" Scene IV. Preciosa's chamber, She is sitting with
a book in her hand near a table, on which are
flowers, A bird singing in its cage, The Count
of Lara enters behind, unperceived,
Predosa (reads),

All are sleeping, weary heart !
Thou, thou only sleepless art!

^Sammlung vorzuglicher Volkslieder der bekanntesten Nationen, gros-
tentheils zum ersten male, metrisch in das Deutsche ubertragen. Frankfurt,


Mr. Longfellow and Other Plagiarists

Heigh o ! I wish Victorian were here.
I know not what it is makes me so restless !
Thou little prisoner with thy motley coat,
That from thy vaulted, wiry dungeon singest,
Like thee I am a captive, and, like thee,
I have a gentle gaoler. Lack-a-day!

All are sleeping, weary heart!
Thou, them only sleepless art!
All this throbbing, all this aching,
Evermore shall keep thee waking,
For a heart in sorrow breaking
Thinke th ever of its smart !

Thou speakest truly, poet ! and methinks
More hearts are breaking in this world of ours
Than one would say. In distant villages
And solitudes remote, where winds have wafted
The barbed seeds of love, or birds of passage
Scattered them in their flight, do they take root,
And grow in silence, and in silence perish.
Who hears the falling of the forest leaf ?
Or who takes note of every flower that dies ?
Heigho ! I wish Victorian would come.
Dolores ! (Turns to lay down her book, and perceives
the Count) Ha!

Lara/ Senora, pardon me !

Preciosa, How 's this ? Dolores !

Lara, Pardon me

Preciosa, Dolores !


Mr. Longfellow and Other Plagiarists

Lara, Be not alarmed ; I found no one in waiting.
If I have been too bold

Preciosa (turning her back upon him). You are too
Retire ! retire, and leave me !

Lara, My dear lady,

First hear me! I beseech you, let me speak!
J T is for your good I come.

Preciosa (turning toward him with indignation),

Begone! begone!

You are the Count of Lara, but your deeds
Would make the statues of your ancestors
Blush in their tombs ! Is it Castilian honor,
Is it Castilian pride, to steal in here
Upon a friendless girl, to do her wrong ?

shame ! shame ! shame ! that you, a nobleman,
Should be so little noble in your thoughts

As to send jewels here to win my love,
And think to buy my honor with your gold !

1 have no words to tell you how I scorn you!
Begone ! the sight of you is hateful to me !
Begone, I say! "

A few passages farther on, in the same scene, we
meet the following stage directions : " He tries to em
brace her, she starts back and draws a dagger from
her bosom." A little farther still and " Victorian
enters behind." Compare all this with a Scene from

VOL. viii. 14. 2OQ

Mr. Longfellow and Other Plagiarists

"Politian"! An Unpublished Tragedy by Edgar A,
Poe, to be found in the second volume of the Southern
Literary Messenger,

The scene opens with the following stage directions :

"A lady's apartment, with a window open aodlooking
into a garden, Lalage in deep mourning/if ding
at a table, on which lie some books anz a\nand'
mirror, In the background, Jacinta leans care**
lessly on the back of a chair, . , ,
Lalage (reading) ' It in another climate,' so he said,

* Bore a bright golden flower, but not i' this soil ! '

(pauses, turns over some leaves, and resumes)

* No lingering winters there, nor snow, nor shower,
But Ocean ever, to refresh mankind,

Breathes the shrill spirit of the western wind.'

Oh, beautiful! most beautiful! how like

To what my fevered soul doth dream of heaven!

happy land! (pauses) She died! the maiden died!

still more happy maiden who couldst die!


(Jacinta returns no answer, and Lalage press

ently resumes)
Again! a similar tale

Told of a beauteous dame beyond the sea!
Thus speaketh one Ferdinand in the words of the play :
' She died full young ' ; one Bossola answers him :
' I think not so her infelicity


Mr. Longfellow and Other Plagiarists

Seemed to have years too many.' Ah, luckless lady!

Jacinta ! (Still no answer) Here 's a far sterner story,

But like oh, very like in its despair

Of that Egyptian queen, winning so easily

A thousand hearts ; losing at length her own.

She died. Thus endeth the history ; and her maids

Lean over her and weep two gentle maids

With gentle names, Eiros and Charmion !

Rainbow and Dove ! Jacinta ! . . .

(Jacinta/ finally in a discussion about certain

jewelSf insults her mistress, who bursts into

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