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* And with the morning, up the tide,

Through golden vapor dim descried, A distant ship was seen to ride Vague as a vessel in a dream."

PREFATORY MEMOIR.

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THOMAS BUCHANAN READ was born on the 12th of March, 1822, in a small farm-house near that part of Chester County, Penosylvania, which is known as “the Great Valley," and “ within the shadow of the blue hills of Uwchlau.” The rural scenes amid which his childhood was passed left ineffaceable impressions on his mind, and may be said to have been the main sources of his poetical inspiration. This is the more remarkable because his life was in a great measure that of a wanderer, and many years of it were spent in a country whose pre-eminence in natural beauty, artistic wealth, and picturesque associations kindles the imagination of all who are sensible to such influences. But though Read had as strong a feeling as other men for the charms of Italy, though he declared that Rome was “the only city in the world for an artist or poet,” though some of his best poems deal with Italian subjects and show the hold which the fascinations of the scenery and the climate as well as of the relies of past ages had upon his mind, he never lost his deeper love for his native land and early home, to these his “heart, untravelled,” always turned, and in the poem which he considered his best he commemorates the simple life with which he was first familiar, and declares with unmistakable sincerity that “no lovelier landscape meets the traveller's eye” than the midland vales of Pennsylvania, and that neither the Rhine, the Danube, the Po, nor the Seine

"Is half so fair as thy broad stream, whose breast

Is gemmed with many isles, and whose proud name
Shall yet become among the names of rivers
A synonyme of beauty-Susquehanna!"

His wanderings began at the age of fifteen, when, by the death of his father, the household was broken up and the boy was thrown on his own resources. He drifted from one place and one occupation to another, till in 1839 we find him fixing himself in Cincinnati with a well-defined purpose of becoming an artist. That he had not mistaken his vocation was speedily proved by the notice he attracted. Nicholas Longworth, a warm-hearted man with a penchant for discovering and patronizing youthful talent, enabled him to set up a studio, and among the portraits he painted was one of General Harrison, the Whig candidate for the Presidency. In 1841 he removed to Boston, with the view no doubt of obtaining better opportunities for study and improvement. Here, accordingly, besides other advantages, he received counsel and encouragement from Washington Allston during the last two years of that great artist's career. His acquaintance with Longfellow, which ripened into a strong and life-long friendship, may have had something to do with the new bent which his mind now began to take. His first published verses appeared in the Boston Courier, and henceforth his allegiance was divided between the sister arts, poetry being cultivated by him quite as assiduously as painting.

It does not seem to have been any lack of success in his profession that induced Read to leave Boston in 1846 and establish himself in Philadelphia. Here he had soon a wide circle of

a friends and many sitters, while his pen was as active as his brush and did more to extend his reputation. A volume of his poems was published in Boston in 1847, and another in the following year in Philadelphia. A collection which included some later productions appeared in London in 1852, and was very favorably

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noticed by the press. An article in the “North British Review,” written by Coventry Patmore, pronounced Read “the most promising of the living transatlantic poets,” and cited “ The Closing Scene" as “unquestionably the best American poem we have, ” and " an addition to the permanent stock of poetry in the English language,” comparing it to Gray's “Elegy,” and preferring it in some passages, while pointing out the faults that mar its beauty and weaken the general effect.

Two years before his poems met with this reception in England, Read had himself crossed the Atlantic. He spent some months in London, where, as in all places and on all occasions, he was warmly welcomed, and made the acquaintance of many persons distinguished in literature and art, while his age and aspirations brought him into closer companionship with some whose feet, like his own, were on the first rounds of the ladder. Among these were the Pre-Raphaelites and their literary associates; and the writer, who happened to be in London just after Read's departure, remembers the enthusiasm with which he was spoken of in this set, and the account of a farewell entertainment at which libations were poured to the old Greek gods,-not a very appropriate leave-taking for one who retained through life the strong and simple faith imbibed in childhood, when, as he tells us, his thoughts

“ Were full of scriptural lore, oft heard at morn,

And in the evening heard, until the place
Became a Palestine, while o'er the hills
The blue horizon com passed all the world."

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But, though his creed had remained unchanged, the horizon of his fancy had widened, and not Palestine, but Italy was now the subject of his dreams and his place of destination. He stayed there about two years, painting pictures for which he had received commissions from his Philadelphian patrons, and writing poems suggested by his new experiences, which were comprised with others in a volume published in 1853. In that year he was at home again, having his studio in Philadelphia and residing at

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