Longfellow, Long Fame

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Though the poet may not have been talking about himself, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow indeed became one of the “great men” reminding many young Americans that they too can “make their lives sublime” in a time when the country was developing and slowly but eventually moving towards Civil War. In his famous poem “A Psalm of Life”, he tells us that “Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime…” In this era, Longfellow became one of the most popular American poets, drawing admiration from greats such as Charles Dickens and Walt Whitman. The writer’s poetry inspired many with a sense of confidence and triumph, boosting morale of the young nation and later soothing the nation in a time of war. Henry was not without his own adversities, however. The creative genius’s own losses threatened to nearly drive out his passion for poetry. After a time, Longfellow learned to draw from these experiences to help him with his exalting works. The events of 19th century America, coupled with personal experience, serves to influence the captivating and gentle writings of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Born in Portland, Maine while it was still a part of Massachusetts in the early 19th century, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow grew up in a well-to-do, yet large, family. He had a romantic mindset as a child, reading many adventurous tales of foreign setting. Longfellow first fell in love with Mary Storer Potter after graduating from Bowdoin College. They got married in 1831 after he returned from studying language in Europe to teach at his former alma mater. Unfortunately, the young author’s happiness did not last, as four years later Mary died due to a miscarriage. After a year-long grieving period, Henry began to teach at th...

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... nature in its entirety. Longfellow may not have been the best poet, but his many friends made him one of the most important. Even after his death, Longfellow is “still achieving, still pursuing; [and telling us to] learn to labor and wait” (Longfellow).

Works Cited

Beck, Frank. "Henry Wadsworth Longfellow." Poets.org. The Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 30 Mar 2012.

"Literature." The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Daily Life | 19th Century. 3. 2003. Print.

"Paul Reveres Ride." EXPLORING Poetry (2003): n.pag. Gale. Web. 30 Mar 2012.

Peck, David. ""Let Us, Then, Be Up and Doing."." "A Psalm of Life". 16. Taylor & Francis Ltd, 2003. Web. 30 Mar 2012.

"The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls." EXPLORING Poetry (2003): n.pag. Gale. Web. 30 Mar 2012.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. "A Psalm of Life." Poets.org. The Academy of American Poets, 2005. Web. 30 Mar 2012.
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