The Life and Letters of John Hay (V. 1) (Paperback) ~ William Ro... Cover Art

The life and letters of John Hay (v. 1) (Paperback)

By: William Roscoe Thayer (Author)

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III THE POET IN EXILE JOHN HAY did not linger in Providence to receive his diploma at the Brown Commencement, which came in September, but he journeyed home by slow stages, stopping here and there to pay visits. That he had made an unusual impression on his college mates and teachers cannot be questioned, although a biographer must be on his guard against the natural tendency to magnification which the contemporaries of an illustrious man fall into when they look back. Hay''s Class Poem and enough of his other verses remain to show that he fairly earned his distinction at Brown; and, although we cannot fail to regret that he destroyed his youthful letters home, we can surmise from other fragments and hints how his inner life was unfolding. He returned to Warsaw transformed from an expectant lad into a young man who believed that he had discovered his mission. Unfortunately for his peace of mind, that mission was as unadapted to his surroundings as a "rainbow to Wall Street." Wanting to be a poet and a man of letters, Hay felt within himself the capacity therefor; and hedreamed that laurels awaited him. Whether they did or not, he knew that any other achievement would be empty compared with the satisfaction of serving the Muse. But although Illinois was pouring millions into the lap of many a business man or " railroad magnate," it would not then have furnished a daily mess of porridge to either a Milton or a Byron. Hay''s family welcomed him with joyful pride; yet even their affection could not supply what his enkindled nature now craved. His thoughts were fixed continually on the "good-bye lande" he had left. The change was too sudden, the contrast too bitter. He felt that he had been transplanted from a congenial soil and climate, to a land where winds were ble...

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