“The library of the poet is the long north-eastern room upon the lower floor,” said a writer seventeen years ago. “It opens upon the garden, which retains still the quaint devices of an antique design, harmonious with the house. The room is surrounded with handsome book-cases, and one stands also between two Corinthian columns at one end, which imparts dignity and richness to the apartment. A little table by the northern window, looking upon the garden, is the usual seat of the poet. A bust or two, the rich carvings of the cases, the spaciousness of the room, a leopard-skin lying upon the floor, and a few shelves of strictly literary curiosities, reveal not only the haunt of the elegant scholar and poet, but the favorite resort of the family circle. But the northern gloom of a New England winter is intolerant of this serene delight, this beautiful domesticity, and urges the inmates to the smaller room in front of the house, communicating with the library, and the study of General Washington. This is still distinctively ‘the study,’ as the rear room is ‘the library,’ Books are here, and all the graceful detail of an elegant household, and upon the walls hang crayon portraits of Emerson, Sumner, and Hawthorne.
“Emerging into the hall, the eyes of the enamored visitor fall upon the massive old staircase, with the clock upon the landing. Directly he hears a singing in his mind:
’Somewhat back from the
Stands the old-fashioned country-seat;
Across its antique portico
Tall poplar trees their shadows throw,
And from its station in the hall
An ancient time-piece says to all,
“But he does not see the particular clock of the poem, which stood upon another staircase, in another quaint old mansion,—although the verse belongs truly to all old clocks in all old country-seats, just as the ‘Village Blacksmith’ and his smithy are not alone the stalwart man and dingy shop under the ‘spreading chestnut-tree’ which the Professor daily passes on his way to his college duties, but belong wherever a smithy stands. Through the meadows in front flows the placid Charles.”
So calmly flows the poet’s life. The old house has other charms for him now besides those with which his fancy invested it when he first set foot within its walls, for here have come to him the joys and sorrows of his maturer life, and here, “when the evening lamps are lighted,” come to him the memories of the loved and lost, who but wait for him in the better land. Here, too, cluster the memories of those noble achievements in his glorious career which have made him now and for all times the people’s poet. Others, as the years go by, will woo us with their lays, but none so winningly and tenderly as this our greatest master. There was but one David in Israel, and when he passed away no other filled his place.