Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Sunday. 7th.

Tuesday. 9th.

239 Monday 8th. CFA Monday 8th. CFA
Monday 8th.

Morning fine though cold. I started early to go to Quincy and found things there going on pretty well. The frame of the house is pretty nearly put together and now nothing of that kind waits. They were putting together the small building when I was there. I do not know how I managed to spend the time but I found it gone very soon. There are two things very necessary to be guarded against in this process. The first too much of uneasiness at the expense particularly when it is unexpected, the second too great tendency to become fretted by occasional untoward events which will happen in building to disappoint one’s expectations.

Home, to dinner, a little of Homer. Afternoon, Plutarch, and Agathon which interests me much. Evening, Moore’s Life of Byron to my wife, and afterwards Talfourd’s Ion which I finished. A play upon the ancient model, with nice execution, taste, elegance and a classic drapery round one of the old classic ideas. But it wants action, the spirit which animates man and the sympathy which binds the reader to the actor. The love of Ion is passionless, his self-devotion is too much like a summer’s morning. There is no nice shading in the characters, none of the internal tempest of good and evil which makes the drama of life. Clemanthe always acts from reason, and Ion never does otherwise than right. We admire the poem when we do not realize the event.