The Vision of Sir Launfal eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 75 pages of information about The Vision of Sir Launfal.
in the fashion of the time when it was built.  It is very sunny, the sun rising so as to shine (at an acute angle to be sure) through the northern windows, and going round the other three sides in the course of the day.  There is a pretty staircase with the quaint old twisted banisters,—­which they call balusters now; but mine are banisters.  My library occupies two rooms opening into each other by arches at the sides of the ample chimneys.  The trees I look out on are the earliest things I remember.  There you have me in my new-old quarters.  But you must not fancy a large house—­rooms sixteen feet square, and on the ground floor, nine high.  It was large, as things went here, when it was built, and has a certain air of amplitude about it as from some inward sense of dignity.”  In an earlier letter he wrote:  “Here I am in my garret.  I slept here when I was a little curly-headed boy, and used to see visions between me and the ceiling, and dream the so often recurring dream of having the earth put into my hand like an orange.  In it I used to be shut up without a lamp,—­my mother saying that none of her children should be afraid of the dark,—­to hide my head under the pillow, and then not be able to shut out the shapeless monsters that thronged around me, minted in my brain....  In winter my view is a wide one, taking in a part of Boston.  I can see one long curve of the Charles and the wide fields between me and Cambridge, and the flat marshes beyond the river, smooth and silent with glittering snow.  As the spring advances and one after another of our trees puts forth, the landscape is cut off from me piece by piece, till, by the end of May, I am closeted in a cool and rustling privacy of leaves.”  In two of his papers especially, My Garden Acquaintance and A Good Word for Winter, has Lowell given glimpses of the out-door life in the midst of which he grew up.

II.

Education.

His acquaintance with books and his schooling began early.  He learned his letters at a dame school.  Mr. William Wells, an Englishman, opened a classical school in one of the spacious Tory Row houses near Elmwood, and, bringing with him English public school thoroughness and severity, gave the boy a drilling in Latin, which he must have made almost a native speech to judge by the ease with which he handled it afterward in mock heroics.  Of course he went to Harvard College.  He lived at his father’s house, more than a mile away from the college yard; but this could have been no great privation to him, for he had the freedom of his friends’ rooms, and he loved the open air.  The Rev. Edward Everett Hale has given a sketch of their common life in college.  “He was a little older than I,” he says, “and was one class in advance of me.  My older brother, with whom I lived in college, and he were most intimate friends.  He had no room within the college walls, and was a great deal with us. 

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The Vision of Sir Launfal from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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