Whittier for to-Day

WHITTIER was born in 1807, the year of Byron’s Hours of Idleness. During the year following, the English army in the Peninsular War, allied with the forces of Spain and Portugal, made what the poet Wordsworth felt to be a shameful treaty with the French. In his pamphlet against this Convention of Cintra, Wordsworth justified, with passionate eloquence, the right of noble-minded men to assert themselves in times of moral tumult and confused political aims. He pictured the human soul “ breaking down limit, and losing and forgetting herself in the sensation and image of Country and the human race.” In such crises, he declared, the emotions transcend the immediate object which excites them. War, terrible in its naked cruelty, yet “attracting the more benign by the accompaniment of some shadow which seems to sanctify it; the senseless weaving and interweaving of factions — vanishing and reviving and piercing each other like the Northern Lights; public commotions, and those in the breast of the individual;

. . . these demonstrate that the passions of men (I mean the soul of sensibility in the heart of man) do immeasurably transcend their objects. The true sorrow of humanity consists in this: not that the mind of man fails, but that the course and demands of action and of life so rarely correspond with the dignity and intensity of human desires.”

Clouded as these words are with excess of feeling, few passages could suggest more vividly one function which Whittier’s poetry was to fulfill. Gifted with far less genius than either Wordsworth or Byron, Whittier nevertheless felt “public commotions” as profoundly as did either of the English poets. He guided the passionate feeling of his faction and party more definitely than they, and to a more successful issue. The “demands of action ” matched the intensity of his desires. Confronting a specific phase of the old question of human liberty, — a question which faces every poet who reflects upon man in his social relations, — Whittier grew from a mere facile rhymester into a master of political poetry. During the thirty years that ended with the close of the Civil War, no poetic voice in America was so potent as Whittier’s in evoking and embodying the humanitarian spirit.

He continued to compose verse for nearly thirty years after the conflict over Slavery had been settled, and these later poems contributed largely to his popularity. But his mind was formed, his imagination kindled, and his hand perfected, amid the fiery pressure of events. He voiced not only those voiceless generations of pioneers from which he sprang, but also the dumb passion of sympathy, of indignation, of loyalty, which was to swing vast armies of common men into march and battle. It was a curious destiny for the Quaker lad. Frail of body, timid, poor, untaught, he had discovered on reading Burns that he, too, had a poet’s soul. He learned from William Lloyd Garrison the secret of losing one’s life and saving it, so that in becoming — in his own words — “a man and not a mere verse-maker ” he found in that absolute surrender to the claims of humanity the inspiration which transformed him into a poet.

Will our people continue to read him ? At the death of Tennyson, which fell in the same year as Whittier’s (1892), a decorous little company gathered in an American college town to read and discuss some of the Laureate’s poetry. It was a grave and wholly edifying occasion. One of the company was a lawyer, then far advanced in age, of the highest professional standing, and the senior warden of his church. When the programme was completed and the ice cream was imminent, the stately old lawyer drew me cautiously behind a door.

“Do you really enjoy Tennyson?” he demanded.

“Yes,” said I, in some surprise. “ Don’t you ? ”

“No!” he exclaimed. “It has too many involutions and convolutions for me. I don’t like it. Did you ever read Byron’s Marino Faliero?’'’

“I was reading it only yesterday,” said I.

The senior warden’s eye kindled with sudden fire. “Well, that’s the kind of poetry I like: inhere the old man stands up and gives ’em hell !” And with a friendly wink at me — a reader of the poet of his boyhood — the old gentleman blandly joined one of the groups of ladies who were still talking about

“ laborious Orient ivory ”


“the mellow ouzel fluting in the elm.”

No coiner of literary phrases could have conveyed so effectively the nature of the spell once cast over readers by Byron’s passionate declamation. The harangues of Faliero and Manfred and Cain are, if one pleases, rebel’s rhetoric rather than poetry, speech instead of song. Yet they moved men once as no one is moved to-day by any living writer of verse. Whittier shared noth Byron the faculty of forging at white heat such stanzas as were instantly accepted as poetry, A later age is inclined to classify them as pamphleteering or as oratory. Lowell writes to Whittier to “cry aloud and spare not against the accursed Texas plot,” and Whittier straightway composes his “Texas:” —

“ Up the hillside, down the glen,
Rouse the sleeping citizen ;
Summon out the might of men ! ”

Aside from its use of metre and rhyme, it might be one of Lowell’s own antislavery editorials. Whittier’s stout-hearted sea-captain, who declares: —

Pile my ship with bars of silver, pack with coins of Spanish gold,
From keel-piece up to deck-plank, the roomage of the hold.
By the living God who made me ! — I would sooner in your bay
Sink ship aud crew and cargo, than hear this child away!

is scarcely distinguishable from Garrison asseverating: —

“I am in earnest — I will not equivocate— I will not excuse—I will not retreat a single inch — and I will be heard.” Both are honest men, aflame with righteous indignation; neither is a poet. Just as Elliott’s Corn Law Rhymes are often but a metrical version of the speeches of Cobden and Bright, so Whittier’s antislavery verse is sometimes but a rhythmical rearrangement of matter that would have served equally well for a peroration by Wendell Phillips or a leader by Horace Greeley. The aim of them all was to inform, to explain, to call to action; and a half-century after the action is over, the rhymes, like the speech and the article, are likely to share the pamphlet’s fate. All have served their hour.

Many of Whittier’s political poems, however, refuse to be disposed of thus easily. Their material still seems to be the stuff from which enduring poetry is wrought. Defects of workmanship may mar their surface, but the imaginative fabric is essentially unimpaired. The force of his ideas and sentiments far outweighs the deficiencies in technical craftsmanship. His anti-slavery poetry is based upon certain convictions, familiar enough to all who know the facts of Whittier’s life. He inherited a love of freedom as an abstract notion—“the faith in which my father stood ” — and a corresponding hatred of kingcraft and priestcraft. The movement for abolition in England and America seemed to him, as to his father, a legitimate consequence of the principles which had triumphed in the French Revolution. He was endowed with warm human feeling. His loyalty to the bonds of family, neighborhood, and state was absolute, and he merged this loyalty, without impairing

it, into what Wordsworth called “the sensation and image of Country and the human race.”

Add to this poetic capital an intimate knowledge of the men in his section, a shrewd political eye for the currents of public opinion, a command of simple, racy, fervent speech, the self-possession of a Quaker and “come-outer,” and a high courageous heart, — and you have an almost ideal image of a poet armed and ready in a noble cause.

To appreciate Whittier’s moral courage is difficult without a precise knowledge of the sort of ostracism which he faced. A physician in Washington, Dr. Crandall, languished in prison until he contracted a fatal illness, under sentence for the misdemeanor of reading a borrowed copy of Whittier’s pamphlet Justice and Expediency. No anarchist to-day is a more “unsafe” person in the eyes of respectable society than were the Abolitionists. Your

“ Solid man of Boston ;
A comfortable man, with dividends.
And the first salmon, and the first green peas,”

was irritated by Whittier then as he is irritated by Gorky to-day.

In the eyes of the typical commercial circles of Massachusetts, Whittier was for twenty years an agitator and therefore an outcast. The idol of that society was Daniel Webster; and Whittier, with a scorn and sorrow all the more terrible for its recognition of Webster’s high powers, described him in 1850 as an Ichabod:—

“ from those great eyes
The soul has fled :
When faith is lost, when honor dies,
The man is dead ! ”

A year later, in the poem to Kossuth, Webster’s glorious voice —

“ designed
The bugle-march of Liberty to wind — ”

becomes merely

“ the hoarse note of the bloodhound’s baying,
The wolf’s long howl behind the bondman’s flight.”

Years afterward, it is true, in one of the most touching of his poems, Whittier mourns that Webster’s august head was laid wearily down, —

“ Too soon for us, too soon for thee,
Beside thy lonely Northern sea.”

But in the Titan’s lifetime Whittier’s words were those of stern and sorrowful rebuke.

Nor did the social forces which supported Webster fare better in Whittier’s day of wrath. In his “Stanzas for the Times” (1835) and “Moloch in State Street” the

“ ancient sacrifice
Of Man to Gain ”

is denounced with prophetic sternness. In “The Pine Tree” the conventional arguments of the solid citizens of Boston are tossed aside as if the old, reckless “ Ça ira ” wand were blowing. The tune is, —

“ Perish hanks and perish traffic, spin your cotton’s latest pound.”

It is, —

“ Tell us not of banks and tariffs, cease your paltry pedler cries ;
Shall the good State sink her honor that your gambling stocks may rise? ”

A Trust Company in Greater Boston chose for its advertising motto, not long ago, the phrase: “Banking, the Foundation of Government.” Whittier would have smiled at that placard with grim Jacobinical disdain.

Equally revolutionary was his attack upon the clergy. Crosier and crown, to him, were “ twin-born vampires.” Chiefpriests and rulers were conniving with each other, as of old. In “Clerical Oppressors ” Whittier cried, —

“ Woe to the priesthood I woe
To those whose hire is with the price of blood ;
Perverting, darkening, changing, as they go,
The searching truths of God ! ”

With bitter sarcasm in “The Pastoral Letter,” with stinging invective in “The Christian Slave” and “The Sentence of John L. Brown,” Whittier scourged the clerical upholders of the “divine institution.” Finally, in “A Sabbath Scene,” when the parson returns thanks to God

for the capture of the fugitive slave girl, the poet can endure no more : —

“My brain took fire: ‘ Is this,’ I cried,
‘ The end of prayer and preaching ?
Then down with pulpit, down with priest,
And give us Nature’s teaching ! ”

This is the unadulterated doctrine of 1789, Pennsylvania Hall, the ill-starred Abolitionist headquarters in Philadelphia, is transformed in Whittier’s imagination into the one

“ Temple Sacred to the Rights of Man.” One is curious to know how many of the successors of the clergymen whom Whittier held up to obloquy read out his hymns to-dav with any suspicion of the agony of soul, the despair for the priesthood and the church, in which many of those hymns were written.

It is needless to multiply illustrations of Whittier’s attitude toward the specific issue of American slavery. To his mind tills particular battle was but one phase of the long humanitarian campaign against world-wide injustice. Through the electric currents of his verse the better aspirations of the eighteenth century and even the phrases and the passions of European Revolution were brought into contact with the American conscience. But he was far more than what he modestly described himself as being, a mere

“ Weapon in the war with wrong.”

History and legend of Indian and colonist, songs of homely labor, pictures of the Merrimac country-side, bits of foreign lore and fancy, —all these alternate in Whittier’s verse with elegies over dead Abolitionists and stern summons to action. He read a great variety of books and kept in close touch with the movements of European politics. Although he never went abroad, the names of Garibaldi, Thiers, or Pius IX suggested to liim themes for poems as readily as did the personality of his friends Fields and Sumner. He could turn out a Browningesque piece like “From Perugia” without betraying the fact that he had never set foot in Italy. His was not merely a home-keeping mind or heart. Garrison’s motto for the Liberator: “ Our country is the world — our countrymen are mankind, spoke a sentiment which permeates all of Whittier’s verse like light. It sustained him when the American outlook grew dark; it sweetened and broadened his spirit. From the later forties to the close of the Civil War, it is instructive as well as pleasant to observe how many of his poetic themes are detached from the immediate emotions of the hour. More and more he emerged from the atmosphere of faction and section. Even his poems prompted by the war itself, like “Barbara Frietchie ” and “ Laus Deo,” breathe a spirit of nationality and not of partisanship. The struggle had scarcely ceased when he wrote “Snow-Bound,” an idyllic composition which was instantly and truly interpreted as an intimate revelation of Whittier’s real nature. He was almost sixty when it appeared, and for the rest of his longlife he was known to his countrymen as the author of “ Snow-Bound.” The old homestead at East Haverhill is now visited by thousands of pilgrims who are more anxious to see “ the clean-winged hearth” and the steppingstones by the brook than they are to rake the ashes from the old fires of the Abolition controversy.

So he grew old, a plain figure of a man, shrewd, gentle, loving the talk of gracious women, loving his summer glimpses of mountain and shore, and yet essentially lonely. He used to sit in the little back room of the Amesbury house, over a sheet-iron stove, and glance now at a photograph of the bust of Marcus Aurelius and now at the florid face of Henry Ward Beecher, on the opposite wall, - saying playfully that he was a sort of compromise between the two. The stoic was in his blood, certainly, and there was something, too. of the sentimentalist and the agitator. New’ Englanders, and especially the transplanted New Englanders of the West, loved him to the last, knowing him as only kinsmen can know one another. The rest of the country respected him for the uprightness of his long career, for his courage in the dark days, and for the fame which his verse had won. He died, at the great age of eighty-five, only fifteen years ago.

Only fifteen years, yet in the flux and change of our national life during that interval, Whittier seems already as far away as Longfellow, who died ten years earlier. Even Hawthorne, who died in 1861, is scarcely, as a personal figure, more remote. It was as a neighborhood poet that Whittier began his career, — a rural prodigy who without schooling could make such rhymes as pleased the ear of Newburyport and Haverhill. He continued throughout his life to produce the sort of verse which appealed, first of all, to his neighbors. But even the most casual visitor to Whittier-Land to-day is struck by the change in the poet’s audience. Here and there, and notably between the Whittier homestead and Amesbury, the ancient farms remain intact. Some of them are owned, as in Whittier s youth, by Quakers. As one drives along the elmshaded roads, there may still be seen in a few dooryards the little weather-stained shops for home shoemaking, with flowergardens around them, and perhaps, at the window, a gray head bent over t he bench, finishing somethin hand work that will be taken to Haverhill to-morrow. But these old men — the men for whom Whittier wrote — are dying. Machine work and foreign “help” — as they still say in Essex County — are making the old native industries superfluous. Along the lines of the electric cars are new dwellings, ugly to the eye, and rented by French Canadians, Poles, Italians, Creeks. What should these immigrants know or care for the “pines on Ramoth Hill, though Ramoth Hill, under another name, be only over their shoulder ? Their children will read “Maud Muller” and “Barbara Frietchie” in school, but even they will need an annotated edition of “ SnowBound” to tell them why a hearth should be “winged” and what “pendent trammels” are, and “Turk’s head” andirons.

Read the editorials which Whittier was writing in 1844 for the mill-folk of Lowell — an educated, thrifty, ambitious class — and then walk along the streets of Lowell and Lawrence to-day, in the endeavor to find a native New England face. They have almost disappeared. Massachusetts, which reckoned about one-fifth of her population as foreign-born or children of foreign-born in 1857,—when Whittier began to write for the Atlantic, — now finds this class of her citizens in the majority. To the men and women for whom Whittier wrote, the Boston of to-day would be a city of aliens. Only thirty-two per cent of its population is Protestant. No imagination can picture the laboring men of New England sitting down to read Whittier’s “Songs of Labor.” The very tools have changed, and the spirit of Whittier’s Drovers and Shoemakers and Lumbermen is incomprehensible to their successors. It is too late — and too foolish — to raise any Know-Nothing alarm. Far better these immigrants, as raw material for Democracy’s wholesome task, than that exhausted strain of Puritan stock which lives querulously in the cities or grows vile in the hill-towns. It is no worse for Boston to be misgoverned by a clever Irishman than by some inefficient Brahmin of the Back Bay. But whether these changes in the population are welcomed or deplored, the fact is obvious that the local public upon which Whittier’s poetry depended for its immediate audience has altered beyond recognition.

What is true of New England is true to a greater or less degree of the whole country. New men, new habits, new political notions, are in the saddle. That New England should have lost whatever ascendency she once possessed is not a matter of prime importance. That the country no longer looks to her for political or literary leadership is due to many causes which have nothing to do with Whittier. And nevertheless, his life and his poetry were so intimately identified with his section, that its loss of prestige in the nation affects the present assessment of Whittier’s signifianee.

One must admit that from some points of view he remains, what he was at the beginning,—a “local” poet. In spite of the clear resonance with which he now and again struck the note of nationality, and in spite of his cosmopolitan curiosity about the world at large, —a curiosity felt, for that matter, by many an Essex County seafaring man of the vanished type, — Whittier never lost a sort of rusticity. One may like him all the better for it. It goes with his role, like the rusticity of Burns. Yet it seems now, as Burns’s provincialism does not, to narrow the range of his influence as a poet.

Whittier was limited, too, in his physical capacity to perceive beauty and in his artistic power to interpret it. Colorblind and tune-deaf as he was, knowing no full and rich life of the body, his poetry is deficient in sensuous charm. Its passion is a moral passion only. With a natural facility in metre and rhyme, his workmanship betrayed throughout his career a carelessness for literature as an art. His rhymes were often mere improvised approximations. In one poem alone he rhymes “God ” with “ abode,” “word” and “ record.” From the hundreds of still uncollected poems which he scrawled in youth, down to the jocose doggerel —never intended for publication — with which his old age sometimes relaxed itself, Whittier exhibited little delicacy of ear, little reverence for that instrument of verse on which he had learned to play without a teacher. He cared intensely for the feelings communicated by the art of poetry, but he expressed more than once in his letters a kind of contempt for craftsmanship, for “literary reputation.”

Even in that field of moral ideas where his strength lay, his path was likewise narrow. Sternly, and as it proved victoriously, he brought the teachings of the Old and New Testament, as freely interpreted by his own Quaker sect, to bear upon the problems of the hour. His power as a moral teacher was in the veracity and boldness with which he could utter “ Thus saith the Lord.” He had no new message of his own. He did not even restate the enduring verities in different terms. He never attempted, like Wordsworth, a fresh philosophical grasp upon the frame of things. Like most of the prophets and saints, he took the accepted moralities, the familiar religious formulas of his day, and through his own fervor breathed into them life and passion. But he creates no novel world for the spirit of man; he opens no undreamed horizons to the imagination.

We must fall back upon Whittier’s gift of fiery and tender speech. It is the case, after all, of a Marino Faliero, of an old man eloquent. And this is precisely what one would like to know: does Whittier to-day, fifty years after the full maturing of his powers, and. fifteen years after his death, either compel or persuade his countrymen to listen to him ?

It is easier to ask this question than to answer it. Our people as a whole respond quickly to personal leadership. They have an immense latent capacity for moral and political enthusiasm. The career of Theodore Roosevelt is a sufficient proof of this. But there is no master voice in the world of letters to which the American people are now listening. In Whittier’s early manhood he set himself deliberately to learn the principles of true liberty from the prose of Milton and of Burke. There are few greater names in our literature than these. But aside from the perfunctory reading of extracts for school and college examinations, who is reading Milton and Burke to-day ? Who is reading Byron and Shelley, poets of emancipation, kin to Whittier by many bonds of sympathy, and far transcending him in poetic variety, power, and beauty ? The mind of the American people is occupied with other concerns. For that matter, there is not a single living poet, in any country of the globe, who is generally recognized as a commanding voice. Tennyson was the last. That others will arise in due time no one who knows the history of humanity can doubt. But they have not yet come.

Meantime our own people, at least, no longer look to the poets — as they certainly did in other days — for inspiration and guidance in the performance of public duty. Whittier’s “Massachusetts to Virginia,” Lowell’s “The Present Crisis,” Mrs. Howe’s “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” unquestionably did influence the emotions and the will of millions of Americans. That any political verse would to-day affect our public policy is very doubtful. A single illustration may serve. In 1900, when the question of forcible retention of the Philippines was still a debated one, and considerations of national duty, self-interest, and pride were struggling together in the public mind, Mr. William Vaughn Moody published his “Ode in Time of Hesitation.” Many critics of poetry hailed it as the finest political poem produced in this country since Lowell’s “ Commemoration Ode.” Yet noble in thought and masterly in execution though it was, it may be doubted whether Mr. Moody’s poem affected the mind of the nation in the slightest degree; and it would be interesting to know whether one spectator in a thousand of Mr. Moody’s play, The Great Divide, has ever even heard of the “Ode in Time of Hesitation.”

But the mere fact that political poets are quoted below par to-day — if they may fairly be said to be quoted at all — does not prove that the public is justified in its indifference, or that the poets are in the wrong. On the contrary, it happens that upon at least two of the issues immediately before the American people Whittier’s verse takes radical and uncompromising ground, and that upon both of these issues one may safely venture the assertion that Whittier is absolutely and everlastingly right.

The race-question is the first. Not, of course, the old issue of Slavery. Not the wisdom or unwisdom of that hasty Reconstruction legislation, when partisan advantage was inextricably confused with the ideal interest of former slaves. The race-question transcends any academic inquiry as to what ought to have been done in 1866. It affects the North as well as the South, it touches the daily life of all of our citizens, individually, politically, humanly. It moulds the child’s conception of democracy. It tests the faith of’ the adult. It is by no means an American problem only. The relation of the white with the yellow and black races is an urgent question all around the globe. The present unrest in India, the wars in Africa, the struggle between Japan and Russia, the national reconstruction of China, the sensitiveness of both Canadian and Californian to Oriental immigration, are impressive signs that the adjustment of race-differences is the greatest humanitarian task now confronting the world. What is going on in our States, North and South, is only a local phase of a world-problem.

Now, Whittier’s opinions upon that world-problem are unmistakable. He believed, quite literally, that all men are brothers; that oppression of one man or one race degrades the whole human family; and that there should be the fullest equality of opportunity. That a mere difference in color should close the door of civil, industrial, and political hope upon any individual was a hateful thing to the Quaker poet. The whole body of his verse is a protest against the assertion of race pride, against the emphasis upon racial differences. To Whittier there was no such tiling as a “white man’s civilization.” The only distinction was between civilization and barbarism. He had faith in education, in equality before the law,in freedom of opportunity, and in the ultimate triumph of brotherhood.

“They are rising’,—
All are rising,
The black and white together ! ”

This faith is at once too sentimental and too dogmatic to suit those persons who have exalted economic efficiency into a fetish and -who have talked loudly at times — though rather less loudly since the Russo-Japanese war — about the white man’s task of governing the backward races. But whatever progress has been made by the American negro, since the Civil War, in self-respect, in moral and intellectual development, and—for that matter — in economic efficiency, has been due to fidelity to those principles which Whittier and other likeminded men and women long ago enunciated. The immense tasks which still remain, alike for “ higher ” as for “ lower” races, can be worked out by following Whittier’s programme, if they can be worked out at all.

The second of the immediate issues upon which Whittier’s voice is clear is that of international peace. Though the burdens of militarism were far less apparent in the middle of the last century than they are to-day, and the necessity of allaying race-conflicts by peaceful means was less instant than now, Whittier belonged to the little band of agitators for peace. He did not make war against war so vociferously and tactlessly as some of his later brethren in the same cause. But he faced the question with perfect clearness of conviction. The good people who are dissatisfied with the meagre results of the Hague Conference of 1907 had better read Whittier’s lines on “The Peace Convention at Brussels” (1818). Then, as now, there were faithless critics —

“ With sneering lip, and wise world-knowing eyes — ”

to point out the folly of this dream of disarmament; the impossibility of persuading the nations to leave the bloody

“ Sport of Presidents and Kings ”

in order

“ To meet alternate on the Seine and Thames
For tea and gossip, like old country dames.”

According to these critics, as Whittier represents them, the delegates to the Convention of 1848, such as Cobden and Sturge and Elihu Burritt, are merely “cravens” who “plead the weakling’s cant.” (This language sounds curiously familiar.) But Kaisers cannot be checked by resolutions; guns cannot be spiked with texts of scripture; “Might alone is Right.”

So, at least, assert the skeptics, whose case is put by Whittier, much as Lincoln used to put the case for his opponents at the bar, much more skillfully than they could do it for themselves. And thereupon, taking refuge in that hinterland of religious mysticism whither his spirit was wont to escape when hard pressed, Whittier foretells, in assured vision, the day when there shall yet be peace on earth. Ultimate international good-mil is to him

“The great hope resting on the truth of Good.”

But it rests, and does not waver.

Time has already done much to justify his faith. To compare the conditions under which the Convention of Brussels met in 1848 with the widely organized efforts, and the very tangible progress, which the workers for international peace have made since 1899, is to become aware how much the sentiment of the civilized world has changed upon this subject. The “faithful few” who journeyed to Brussels at their own charges and upon their own initiative have become the duly accredited representatives of forty-four powers, covering the territory of the globe. It was the first real world-assembly, and its work was necessarily confused and hampered. But these professional diplomatists, warriors, and lawyers who have been meeting at the Hague are not in advance of, and many of them are far behind, the sentiment of the common people of their respective countries. The popular dissatisfaction with the concrete results of this last conference is the best proof of the progress of the cause with which Whittier was identified.

After all, then, and in spite of every limitation, Whittier’s verse does penetrate to the essential concerns of humanity. If Goethe’s famous lines are true, and only those who have eaten their bread in tears have learned to know the heavenly powers, then Whittier was an initiate. He knew what it meant to toil, to renounce, to cherish unfulfilled but indefeasible dreams. That note of tenderness which Longfellow found and loved in mediaeval literature was native to the author of “The Pennsylvania Pilgrim.” Save for their lack of creed and formula, Whittier’s hymns might have been composed in the thirteenth century, so utterly simple is their faith. He believed that “altar, church, priest and ritual will pass away; ” yet his hymns, like those of many another former heretic and iconoclast, are sung to-day in all the churches. Mr. Pickard notes that in a collection of sixty-six hymns made for the use of the World’s Parliament of Religions in 1893, nine were from Whittier, a larger number than from any other poet.. In his early editorials he made effective use of the current conventional religious vocabulary, but for his hymns he chose the simple language of the followers of the Inner Light, unfreighted with the old burdens of dogmatism. Here again Time has been on the poet’s side, and Whittier’s verse has cooperated with the very general tendency to cast off dogmatic trammels and the worn conventionalities of religious expression. It would not be strange if his ultimate influence were to be that of a mystic. Controversy made him a poet, and his pictures of hearth and home and country-side confirmed his fame; his human sympathy still brings his verse into touch with vital political and social issues; but his abiding claim upon the remembrance of his countrymen may yet be found to lie in the wistful tenderness, the childlike simplicity, with which he turned to the other world.