Born in rural Chester County, Pennsylvania, Bayard Taylor's ancestors were Quakers with ties to William Penn.
Stoddard uses William Winter's recent publication of an anthology of Fitz-James O'Brien's poems and stories as an opportunity to reflect upon O'Brien and his work.
Stoddard calls O'Brien "the best of the Bohemians" and recalls that O'Brien would usually win poetry contest between Stoddard, O'Brien, and Bayard Taylor. However, Stoddard also states that "haste is evident in all that he wrote" and that O'Brien saw no reason to "labor at a story, or a poem, when he could sell it as it was."
Stoddard recalls spending late nights in his quarters writing verse with O'Brien and Bayard Taylor, who "had just returned from the Orient."
Stoddard mentions Winter's publication of an anthology of O'Brien's works and states that Winter "always finds the soul of goodness which the Master tells us is in things evil."
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