This is the image of the full or partial text of an article entitled "The Quaker Poet", printed in the Rockford Gazette of 1885-03-11. This article is in the public domain, because it was published in the United States before 1923.
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THE QUAKER POET.
Prof, Ilnzxcu’i) Lcctiiro on Joliu Greenleat Whittier, one of tho American Poets.
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againat slavery free from malioo or malignity.yet burning with wrath and indig* nation, and gave the oauaea which led to the production of some of his more protn-ninon*' poetna,
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Tho distinctively Amorlctui poot and moral 1st, John C4. Whittier, lives a bachelor In a modest Uttlo fritino house 011 tho nmln atroot of Ameslmry, tho carriage making town of Massachusetts. Ho ia now nearly 78, but bears Mb yearn well, though tho gonoration among whom ho has done tho work that wiU Inunortullv.o him 1myo goue before him. Of Qunkor ancestry, his whole life has boon 0110 with a simple, straightforward purpose—that of tho moral olovatton of mankind, A untlvu of Massachusetts, ami with tho usual district school education, Mr, Whittier, at tho age of 20, wont to Boston, whom he soon bocamu editor of Tho American Manufacturer. Returning to his natlvo placo, Haverhill, ho represented it in tho stato legislature during 1885-MJ, when 1m became a prominent Aboil tlonist and was appointed soorotary of( tho American Antl-Slavory sooiety, In 1838-M) ho edited Tho Pennsylvania Freeman, a paper devoted to tho causo of abolition; but tho ollleo was burned by a mob, aud Mr, Whittier returned to Massachusetts, whoro ho fought with his pon, in both prose and pootry, for human freedom. As a poot hla “Snowbound,” published In 1805, was tho first poem containing that beautiful sontlmeut which 11 characteristic of his best work. 1 hough he has written much that is charming, his "Maud Muller" and "School Days" will probably bo best remembered. [orrv MDlTOit,
Ab uaual a! large aized orowd greeted Prof. Hazzen at tho Ohriatian Union par* lora laat evening in hia leoture on "John G. Whittier,” one in' the triad of American poete. The leoture was the third in the Unity oourae, aud aa iutereating as any of the professor's previous efforts,
Whittier, it will bo rememberod, was born of a Quaker family in the old Bay State, at Haverhill, Deo. ',17, 1807. He worked upon hia father’s farm, learning alao the trade of shoemaker, aud at the ago of eighteen began writing veraea fur the Haverhill Gazette. Ho attended the Havorhill aoademy in 1827-1), and subsequently edited various abolitioniat journal, and waa a time a member of the Massachusetts legiBlature, and Becrotary of the anti-slavery sooiety, Hia pootry eonaiBta of fngative pieces, of which numerous collections have been published. Aa a poet his oharaoterlBtios are vigor, simplicity, and pidtureBquenesa, oombiued with a lofty lovo of freedom land aenae of right. Hia versification ia now and then rather rugged, aud hia rhymes are apt to bo slovenly, but on tho whole h,o has an honorable place nmoug the first half dozen poete of Amerioa,
After a somewhat extended eulogiBtio aketeh of Quakerism, the apeakor arrived at the Bubjoot ot his discourse, denominating Whittier aa one of the most distinguished produots of that faith. He re-forrod to the elTeot suoh inculcated priu-ciplea and inherited traits would have upon a mind naturally poetio aa that of Whittier’s, and disousaed the hopeB, aa-perations and aima of great poets. There aro thoao who have triod life, and not find- j iug in it what they expected, have grown disappointed aud oynioal, or even defiant and rebellious, aud theae moods have found poetio utteranoe in* oVery ago aud in overy tone. Lord Byron waa oited aa an example of this olaas. There are others who regard the world aa a scene made to give scope for moral heroism, A devotion to some objeot out of self, aB friendship, oourteBy, and humanity, But neither of thoao views oau withstand the shook of oircumatanoes without thoy are secured on a spiritual anchorage. The highest poet is he who keeps the viaion of tho celestial mountains ever before the eyes, who bids the drooping heart " Look abroad, and see to what fair countries it ia bound,” who by the beauty of his sing ing awakens otherB to the glories of mortality, and suoh a poet is John Green leaf Whittior, thoQuaker.poot, the Robert Burns of Amerioa, Born amid Puritan surroundings, near Haverhill, Mass,,
Deo. 17, 1807, he lived at home,until hia eighteenth year working upon the farm and in the little ahoemaker’a ahop which nearly every farm had bb a resource in the the otherwise idle hours ot winter. In youth he ofton sent poems to tho Haver' hill Gazette which were unmistakable foreshadpwlngs of the coming poet. Ho received one year’s aoademio training, aud in 1829 booame editor 'of the Amevi-oan Manufacturer a tariff organ, and also held a similar position on the New England Review. ' f Quitting these positions Whittior repaired to Ameabury, Mass,, where for five years he waa biographer, politioan, farmer, aud, legislator. Since then he haa devoted the greater part of hia time to literary labors. He oontinued to .live in Ames-bury until 1876, when he moved to hia preaent home, called "Oak Knoll,” in Danvers, a town adjoining Ameabury.
He is uumarried, and has always lived with a Bister who ia also unmarried.
Whittier like all great poeta, is an exoel lont pure writer as well aa pootry pro duoer, and is the most oharaoteriBtio and representative American of all America's poets. America made him bb she makes the majority of her greatest and mc\Bt useful men by turning him loose unan-cestered and impriviledged in a great oouutry, orammod with thoughts ftnd aspirations, crude and unformulated and allowing him to shift for himself. Possessing bolduesB, energy, great sensitive ugsb, aud the keenest iuBight, with an eye to see, a heart to feel, a mind to grasp aad a tongue to utter, Whittier took in the whole situation, turned Mb energies to the lifting up to common humanity,' and the making of man aud America not only aynonomous, but one and lnaeparable. Buffering privation, struggle, and hardships himself, Whittier took a deep in-t«reet in the toil and plain fortunes of the people, and a golden thread of sympathy All with honorable labor and enforced poverty Diatl runs through all hia poetry.. Hall
Prof, Hazzen dosed hia eulogy of Whit- Hthl tier with a oritioal analysis of Whittier’B for works, aud gave copious quotationa from gate| some of hia best poems. He referred to Whittier's unflinching denunciation 1H.
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