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Documenting the American
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Longfellow declines Pettigrew's request to write a poem for commencement, claiming that a student can do it better because he knows the graduates personally.
Accept my best thanks for the kindness both expressed and implied
in your note of the 21
st. It would give me much pleasure to
attend your Commencement and to furnish the poem you suggest; but I fear
On this account I feel constrained, though reluctantly, to decline your request; while at the same time I thank you for the consideration and regard which have prompted it.
1847,/Declining to write a poem." The envelope bears a postmark in red ink
that is too faint to read. The letter has previously been published in
Longfellow 3:133-34. Why