James Russell Lowell

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James Russell Lowell

James Russell Lowell was born on February 22, 1819 in Cambridge, Massachesetts. In following family tradition he attended Harvard college. Lowell was not a dedicated student and was later unsure what to do with his life. He proceeded to attain a Harvard Law degree but found law was as risky and unprofitable as literature. So Lowell decided to pursue the latter. In 1841 he published his first book of poems, A Year's Life. In 1844 Lowell married Maria white. The couple had four children but only one survived out of childhood. Maria died in 1853 from complications of tuberculosis, Lowell later remarried. Lowell was offered a position to teach at Harvard and later served as the American Ambassador to Spain and the American Minister in London. Lowell composed many works throughout his life, the most well-known being The Biglow Papers Lowell died on August 12, 1891.

Life may be given in many ways, And loyalty to Truth be sealedAs bravely in the closet as the field, So bountiful is Fate; But then to stand beside her, When craven churls deride her, To front a lie in arms and not to yield, This shows, methinks, God’s plan And measure of a stalwart man, Limbed like the old heroic breeds, Who stands self-poised on manhood’s solid earth, Not forced to frame excuses for his birth,Fed from within with all the strength he needs. Such was he, our Martyr-Chief, Whom late the Nation he had led, With ashes on her head,Wept with the passion of an angry grief:Forgive me, if from present things I turnTo speak what in my heart will beat and burn,And hang my wreath on his world-honored urn. Nature, they say, doth dote, And cannot make a man Save on some worn-out plan, Repeating us by rote:For him her Old-World moulds aside she threw, And, choosing sweet clay from the breast Of the unexhausted West,With stuff untainted shaped a hero new,Wise, steadfast in the strength of God, and true. How beautiful to seeOnce more a shepherd of mankind indeed,Who loved his charge, but never loved to lead;One whose meek flock the people joyed to be, Not lured by any cheat of birth, But by his clear-grained human worth,And brave old wisdom of sincerity! They knew that outward grace is dust; They could not choose but trustIn that sure-footed mind’s unfaltering skill, And supple-tempered willThat bent like perfect steel to spring again and thrust. His was no lonely mountain-peak of mind, Thrusting to thin air o’er our cloudy bars, A sea-mark now, now lost in vapors blind; Broad prairie rather, genial, level-lined, Fruitful and friendly for all human kind,Yet also nigh to heaven and loved of loftiest stars. Nothing of Europe here,Or, then, of Europe fronting mornward still, Ere any names of Serf and Peer Could Nature’s equal scheme deface And thwart her genial will; Here was a type of the true elder race,And one of Plutarch’s men talked with us face to face. I praise him not; it were too late;And some innative weakness there must beIn him who condescends to victorySuch as the Present gives, and cannot wait, Safe in himself as in a fate. So always firmly he: He knew to bide his time, And can his fame abide,Still patient in his simple faith sublime, Till the wise years decide. Great captains, with their guns and drums, Disturb our judgment for the hour, But at last silence comes; These all are gone, and, standing like a tower, Our children shall behold his fame The kindly-earnest, brave, foreseeing man, Sagacious, patient, dreading praise, not blame, New birth of our new soil, the first American.

1843-Founded The PioneerMid-1840's-Became the cheif editorial writer of the Pennsylvania Freeman and National Anti-Slavery Standard 1877-1880-Ambassador to Spain1880-1885-American Minister of London, England.



Abraham Lincoln, From the Ode Recited at the Harvard Commemoration

Across this great land of ours the death bell sadly cried.Deep down inside each and every one of us a little bit has died.A flag-covered coffin moves slowly out of sight.A caisson drawn by six white horses echoes through the night.Across the lawns and through the woods comes the cannon sound.Fifty times for fifty states, it shakes the hallowed ground.Arlington National Cemetery now claims a new and famous resident.John Fitzgerald Kennedy, America's thirty-fifth president.His eternal flame shall flicker like a candle in the night.This nation will long remember that he stood for human rights.So, rest now champion of human rights, may God grant you peace at last.And to my fellow Americans, the torch is passed.

A Torch is PassedBy: Louie Marino


Patriotism is Well, LowellBy: Isabella Gormanson

O Mr. Lowell,Please tell me if our country is wellCan you tell by the bell? Why my child, yes our country is quite well. We are joined together by the will of our deedAnd did not waiver from their will to succeedFrom this here point we will proceed. O Mr. Lowell, can it be conceived? Through strife and rife and a fight for our rights We have scared of the fright For our future shines bright.

James Russell Lowell



When writing Lowell used satire in many of his works. He also used a homespun Yankee figure to present his message and to establish himself as a critic. Lowell was active in moral questions of the day and also composed many anti-slavery publications. Lowell defended many different reform causes.


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