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Letter from HIRAM POWERS to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated August 2, 1863.

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Title: Letter from HIRAM POWERS to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated August 2, 1863.


  • Powers, Hiram, 1805-1873


  • Marsh, George Perkins, 1801-1882

Source Document

Extent: 1 letter

Genre(s): letter


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Type of Resource: text

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Letter from HIRAM POWERS to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated August 2, 1863., Original located at the University of Vermont's Special Collections in the George Perkins Marsh Collection, filed by date., (accessed January 21, 2018)

Letter from HIRAM POWERS to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated August 2, 1863.

Transcribed by : Ralph H. Orth

TEI mark-up by : James P. Tranowski andEllen M Thomson

Published by: University of Vermont. All rights reserved.

Publication Information

Honble George P Marsh.

My Dear Friend

My wife was quite sea sick on the vessel from Genoa to Leghorn, and has hardly yet recovered. Her head still swims when she stoops--and I have been very busy modelling a portrait bust by day and writing in the evening. I have had business letters to attend to Still one or the other of us ought to have written you a word at last on our return. I intended to do so--but put it off until I am really ashamed --

I was really in earnest about the bust to be done of Mrs Marsh-- and shall expect her here ere long--but mind, when I ask any one to sit to me my own labour is gratis -- The model in plaster--will therefore be yours After that if you should desire to have it in marble you must pay for the material--& the actual cost of execution--a sum somewhere within two hundred dollars - -

I know your generous nature too well--to suppose--that you will be quite satisfied with this arrangement, but my dander is very touchy and will rise if you refuse to gratify this little bit of Yankey selfishness on my part --

Tell Mrs Marsh to have no fears about the lateness of this work--for if her face has -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- been touched by the hand of time--that hand has given more than it has taken--and her case represents an example of wear, which more and more reveals the "Royal metal" I would not take an hour from the age of my wife's bust--for whatever lines there may be upon it--though unintelligible to the understanding-- are all histories to the heart -- I feel what they mean and had they been left out--then the story of her life would have closed where they began --

The infant is not lost in the good child--and the good child is not lost in the adult but continued--and a serene old age holds all--and expresses them too--if we could search the book of life written upon every old face --

The young "Perserpine" stands by the side of my wifes bust--in my studio--and between them--there is the marked difference of 18 and 46 years--and yet there are many visitors--who without knowing the portrait or any thing of the original--seem more pleased with it than with the other --

Both have a story to tell--one is short and sweet, the other long and congenial to the beholder The one is--"Story ideal"--the other "alive and real" There is--and always must be this difference twixt ideal heads by man and faithful portraits, the first are from finite hands--the second--are from the Infinite The one is general without particulars--the other is general with every particular --

But I have not time to write a lecture We will talk about these matters during -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- Mrs Marshs sittings --

The news from home--upon the whole--is most encouraging It looks like a cave in at the South- -and there must be a cave in -- It is not in human nature--as we know it from history--for a people without religious fanaticism--a strong cause--or some great material interest--to stand out against such odds--as are now bearing upon the South I do not go into a consideration of the bravado of Southern Leaders--that is all stuff--the people--who have thus far followed them--and have been thus far deceived and duped, will follow no longer--but soon turn upon their leaders-- and tear them to pieces if resistent It always was so, and often when the leaders were right, but unsuccessful To suppose that the ignorant masses at the South are to afford an un[precedented] example of firmness--in the present circumstances--is to suppose a miracle --

Pray write to me soon as you conveniently can.

And with our united regards believe me ever yours --

Hiram Powers. note:Florence note:April 3d--1862

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