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Bayard Taylor


Centurion, 1851–1878

Born 11 January 1825 in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

Died 19 December 1878 in Berlin, Germany

Buried Longwood Cemetery, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

Proposed by George William Curtis

Elected 12 April 1851 at age twenty-six

Century Memorial

Many pens have described what Bayard Taylor was to literature and to society. A striking point in his literary career is its abrupt incompleteness, contrasting with the even fulness with which Bryant’s life moved towards its ripened close. Taylor’s labors, pursued without rest, without haste, were governed by so high a conception of the author’s part and duty, that they always seemed like preparation for completer things. The scale of his performance was ascending, and his best work doubtless would have come in the later years if they had been spared to him. What he was to the Club only those can know and feel, who have been his near companion here for more than twenty-five years. His presence diffused strength and cheer. He was a harmonious influence among literary men and journalists, for his nature rose in a large and manly fashion above all pettiness, and his free sympathetic thought rebuked and corrected all want of generosity. He was a stimulating influence too, by reason of his high ideals, and by the example of his honest, untiring labor. What need to speak of his effervescent wit, his many colored, many sided humor, his large knowledge, freely and aptly bestowed, of men and their ways, his quaint travel-talk of wayside things that cannot be put into print. He loved the Century, and served it well; and while to all of us his absence will leave something constantly to be desired, there are many of us for whom it will seem as if the Club without him can never again be quite such as it was.

When the Century last gathered in mournful memory of Bryant, we little dreamed that the elder poet was even then beckoning the younger to his side. In that farewell lament we caught no tone prescient of his own imminent departure. We could not know that the music of his dirge over the Master was blending with the melody of his own swan-song.

Augustus R. Macdonough
1879 Century Association Reports