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  • Jerry King Musser

Heroes Among Us

An excerpt from the 1965 booklet written by Paul A. W. Wallace ('Lloyd Mifflin, Painter and Poet of the Susquehanna'), published by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

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His father being something of a poet (he published in 1835 a small volume, Lyrics, which Lloyd reprinted in 1900), he used to read aloud to the children from his favorite authors, Shakespeare and Bryon in particular. Encouraged by his father to think for himself and develop his own tastes, Lloyd was early attracted to other, more domesticated poets, especially Longfellow and Tennyson. Inside the front cover of his pocket edition of 'The Poetical Works of Alfred Tennyson, Poet Laureate' (Boston, 1856), he inscribed a reminiscent note dated "Norwood Dec. 23, 1902": "This volume is one which we as young folks used to take with us on rambles and outings. I used to read aloud from its pages—many happy days—now gone." In the back of the same book he added another note: "I especially value this volume as it is associated in my mind with many happy days when I never thought of writing but read to enjoy. Life was enjoyment, and the lovely companions of my youth irradiated all the days." By 1868 his taste, in a further search for poetical harmony, had brought him to John Keats. "Keats," he wrote, "is my bright particular star... Others may be grander, none can be sweeter." Later, when he came to write poetry himself, echoes of Keats in theme and cadence were not infrequent.

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