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Longfellow’s Relationship with Nature

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A love of nature was one of the most well-known characteristics of the Romanticism movement. Most of the Romantic writers held a common belief that man should rely on natural objects and sensations instead of creating man-made, unnatural things to replace what is natural. These literary reformers wrote about the beauty, peace, relief, and sanctity that they saw in nature. One of the most famous, beloved American poets of Romanticism was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. His numerous excursions to Europe exposed him to European literary styles, particularly German Romanticism, adding a fresh twist on American-style poetry. In his poems “To the River Charles,” “Nature,” and “Hymn to the Night,” Longfellow expounds on how nature guides and comforts him in his times of need. Rather than turning to unnatural solutions to our problems, Longfellow reveals that people should trust nature to care for them and mollify their pain.

Longfellow was born on February 27, 1807 in Portland, Maine (Stewart). By the age of three, he was attending school (Stewart). He had basic knowledge of multiplication, spelling, reading, and Latin grammar by the time he was six (Stewart). He then studied Algebra, Latin, and Greek at Portland Academy until enrolling at Bowdoin for a college education when he turned fourteen (Stewart). There he became a scholar and worked alongside Nathaniel Hawthorne (Stewart). Upon graduating, he accepted an occupation there as a professor of Modern Languages (Stewart). After a three-year journey to Europe, Longfellow began teaching again in 1829 at Bowdoin and wrote his own books to be studied in his classes (Stewart). He then courted and married Mary Storer Potter, a woman whom he had known since school (Stewart). She traveled back ...

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