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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: The Poet of Many Moods

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is one of the most-loved and well-known American poets in the world. His usually steady rhyme scheme and fluent melody appealed to his readers, fueling his popularity. Longfellow often wrote easy-to-understand poems with many different themes that appealed to his large audience and connected with them. Most of his poems had happy, cheerful themes, but in the latter stages of his life, his poems became darker and gloomier. The dark, death-filled, warlike moods in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poems “A Psalm of Life” and “The Arsenal at Springfield” indicate the personal tragedies he went through in his life, such as the losses of multiple family members.
Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine, on February 27, 1807, the second of seven siblings. He received education early and quickly- he started school at 3 years old and could read, spell, and multiply by the age of 6. Wadsworth graduated high school at the age of 13 and graduated from Bowdoin at 19 years old, ranking 4th out of 38 students (Oaks). After graduating, he was offered and took up a job as a professor and librarian at Bowdoin. During this time, Longfellow often toured Europe, visiting countries such as England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. In 1834, he left Bowdoin for a professorship at Harvard.
He married Mary Storer Potter in the early 1830s and again toured Europe, this time with Potter. The two visited several European countries before tragedy struck. In 1835, Mary died of a miscarriage, leaving Longfellow depressed and lonely. Longfellow returned to his home and resigned from Harvard in 1854, now focused completely on his writing. Eight months after the death of Mary, Longfellow met Frances “Fanny” Appleton. The two married in 1843 ...

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...writing, which in turn, often evoked emotions from his readers. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is an important figure in American literature that will be remembered and read about for years to come.

Works Cited

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Hirsh, Edward L. "Henry Wadsworth Longfellow." Six Classic American Writers. Ed. Sherman Paul. St. Paul: North Central, 1970. 122-59. Print.
Oaks, Elizabeth H. "Wadsworth, Henry Longfellow." Bloom's Literature. Facts on File, 2014. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.
Rabe, Roberto. "Henry Wadsworth Longfellow." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Auburn University, n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2014.
Ruby, Mary. "A Psalm of Life." Poetry for Students. Ed. Mary K. Ruby. Vol. 7. Detroit: Gale, 2007. 163-76. Poetry for Students. Digital file.
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