The sweetness of the pain! Muses bright and Muses pale, Bare your faces of the veil, Let me see, and let me write Of the day, and of the night, Both together, — let me slake All my thirst for sweet heart-ache! The scene is from Book II, lines Satan confronts Sin and Death, who guard the Gates of Hell, only to find that Sin is his daughter, and Death is his son.
His work commanded a readership that is almost unimaginable today even for best-selling novels. At a crucial time in American history—just as the Revolutionary War receded from living memory and the disastrous Civil War inexorably approached—Longfellow created the national myths for which his new and still unstoried country hungered.
His poems gave his contemporaries the words, images, myths, and heroes by which they explained America to one another and themselves. They have become, in fact, so familiar that most readers might easily take them for granted and miss the striking and paradoxical rhetorical figures they contain.
Why then does the poem begin by addressing only one part of its intended audience? By invoking children in the opening line of his patriotic poem, Longfellow implicitly defines his narrative as a story the older generation considers important enough to pass down to posterity.
The characters in the book meet and tell their tales at a tavern in Sudbury, Massachusetts, not far from Boston. Once again the familiarity of the opening lines makes us forget how odd it is to present Keats and longfellow analysis complete date—day, month, and year—in a poem.
Longfellow never did so elsewhere in his poetry. The implicit message of the line is clear: April 18, was the day before the American Revolution began. Longfellow was an immensely versatile poet who excelled at virtually every form and genre from the epic to the sonnet. No form, however, better displayed his distinctive gifts than the short narrative poem.
Nineteenth century readers greatly esteemed the form, which combines the narrative pleasures of fiction with the verbal music of verse. Modern critics, however, have generally downgraded narrative poetry in favor of lyric verse. The special qualities of these poems seem antithetical to the lyric traditions of modern poetry, which prize verbal compression, intellectual complexity, elliptical style, and self-referential movement.
But Longfellow was not interested in scholarly precision; he wanted to create a stirring patriotic myth. In the process he took Paul Revere, a regional folk hero hardly known outside Massachusetts, and turned him into a national icon.
To accomplish this feat, Longfellow mythologized both the incident and the man.
The new Revere became the symbolic figure who awakens America to fight for freedom. The actual incident, a literal call to arms for the Revolution, required less mythologization. After all, revolutions are already the stuff of myth. Longfellow had only to streamline the historical narrative so that the poem could focus on a central heroic figure.
The resulting story—despite the scholarly complaints—is actually not too far from fact. Longfellow took considerably fewer liberties than Shakespeare did with British history. The final poem does not merely recount an historical incident; it dramatizes unconquerable Yankee individuality against the old order of European despotism.
Longfellow was a master of narrative pacing. By slowing down the plot at this crucial moment, Longfellow not only builds suspense; he also adds evocative physical details that heightens the moods.
Decades later Hollywood would discover the same procedures. This lyric moment of reflection provides a false sense of calm before the explosive action that will follow.
The man now remembers the task at hand. There is a crucial deed to do. The scene now shifts suddenly—with a decisive cinematic cut—to the opposite shore where the solitary Revere waits for the signal.
What other nineteenth-century American poet would have handled this transition so boldly?
The historical Revere was one of many riders, but Longfellow understood the powerful appeal of the single heroic individual who fights oppression and makes a decisive impact —another narrative lesson not lost on Hollywood.
As soon as he sees the first lantern, he springs into the saddle, though he is smart enough to wait for the second light before he rides off. Once again the effect, to a modern reader, is quintissentially cinematic. Once again, however, he rhetorically conscripts the listener to collaborate in completing the story.
The final stanza returns to the image of Revere riding through the night. Now presented outside of the strictly linear chronology that has hitherto characterized the poem, the galloping Revere acquires an overtly symbolic quality. He is no longer the historical figure awakening the Middlesex villages and farms.
He has become a timeless emblem of American courage and independence. Significantly, the verb tenses in the final stanza shift from the past rode in the opening five lines to the future tense shall echo, will waken in the closing lines.
Although Longfellow ostensibly mythologizes the Revolutionary War, his poem addresses a more immediate crisis—the impending break-up of the Union. Underneath the myth, however, a fine poem waits to be rediscovered.Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine.
His father, Stephen Longfellow, was a Portland lawyer and congressman, and mother, Zilpah, was the daughter of General Peleg Wadsworth and a descendant of John Alden of the 'Mayflower'. John Keats was an English Romantic poet who rose to fame after his death and, by the end of the nineteenth century, became one of the best loved English poets.
His work was in publication only for four years before he died at the age of twenty five. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “A Psalm of Life” was first published in The Knickerbocker, a New York magazine, in A year later, the poem was included in Voices of the Night, the first major collection of Longfellow’s poetry.
Readers were immediately drawn to the poem’s inspirational. Padma Bhaskaran - This is the greatest poem I have ever read.
It was one of the poem in my English text book which has created an ever lasting impression in my soul. I wept when my headmaster Mr Narayanan was explaining in detail every line in the poem.
Throughout the analysis of the two pieces, “When I have Fears,” and “Mezzo Cammin” there was a similar theme, and use of language to portray it.
The former poem was written by John Keats, in “When I Have Fears” and “Mezzo Caiman” by John Keats and Henry Headwords Longfellow respectively, have similar themes such as the inevitability of .