As early as 1841 Longfellow projected a long and elaborate j)oem, to bear the name of Christus and to express in three separate parts the aspects of Christendom in the A postolic, Middle, and Modern ages. The first part to be written was The Golden Legend which appeared in 1851, and was hailed with delight as a faithful exposition of mediaeval Christianity. It was not till 1868 that he published The Neio England Tragedies which constituted the third section of the trilogy, though practically ready ten years earlier. The first division, The Divine Tragedy appeared in 1871, and in the autumn of 1872 the three divisions, now harmonized and united, were published as a single book, Christus. The New England Tragedies was designed to set forth certain phases of modern Christianity, the first of the two tragedies, John Endicott, standing for the conflict between the Puritan and the Quaker, the second, Giles Corey of the Salem Earms, for the witchcraft delusion, and both intended to express the supremacy after bitter struggle of the divine spirit of charity as the central idea of a true Christian freedom. Longfellow did indeed partly plan a third drama, the scene to be laid among the Moravians in Bethlehem, which his journal mentions as tending to harmonize the discord of The New England Tragedies and thus give a not unfitting close to the work ;but the drama was not written.
(Typographical errors above are due to OCR software and don't occur in the book.)
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