Selected poems

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Gramercy Books, Sep 27, 1992 - Poetry - 223 pages
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When Henry Wadsworth Longfellow died on March 24, 1882, at the age of seventy-five, he was the most celebrated poet in the English-speaking world, Not only was he America's first professional poet, but, after his death, he was the first American to have his bust placed in the Poets' Corner at Westminster Abbey in London, England.
Longfellow was an unsurpassed master in his use of musical language. Few poets could match his sonorous and rhythmically sensual use of words. His poetry is rarely abstract, and the vivid, descriptive imagery and the narrative form of verse he favored make it pleasing to read and follow. His subject matter touched on American life and its verities, be it legendary heroism as in "Paul Revere's Ride" or in the honest, upright, and hardworking man of "The Village Blacksmith."
This collection brings together Longfellow's best and most famous poems, providing a complete overview of his versatile and multifaceted genius. All the classic Longfellow selections, including "A Psalm of Life," "The Children's Hour," and "The Day is Done," are here, as well as lesser-known but equally worthy poems, like "The Cross of Snow," a sonnet written in memory of his second wife, who died tragically in a fire. Also included, in their entirety, are two long narrative masterpieces, Evangeline and The Courtship of Miles Standish.
One of the most popular poets who ever lived, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a marvelous storyteller. In addition, his verse expressed his deep sincerity and his uncanny ability to identify with the hearts and passions of those who read and reread his poems.
This book features a deluxe cover, ribbon marker, top stain, and decorative endpapers with a nameplate.

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Contents

Introduction
7
A PSALM OF LIFE
13
THE VILLAGE BLACKSMITH
20
THE SLAVE SINGING AT MIDNIGHT
26
THE ARSENAL AT SPRINGFIELD
32
THE OLD CLOCK ON THE STAIRS
38
HAUNTED HOUSES
44
MY LOST YOUTH
50
THE BELLS OF LYNN
56
paul reveres ride
57
aftermath
63
EVANGELINE A TALE OF ACADIE
71
From The Song of Hiawatha
147
Hiawathas departure
158
the courtship of miles standish
167
Copyright

About the author (1992)

During his lifetime, Longfellow enjoyed a popularity that few poets have ever known. This has made a purely literary assessment of his achievement difficult, since his verse has had an effect on so many levels of American culture and society. Certainly, some of his most popular poems are, when considered merely as artistic compositions, found wanting in serious ways: the confused imagery and sentimentality of "A Psalm of Life" (1839), the excessive didacticism of "Excelsior" (1841), the sentimentality of "The Village Blacksmith" (1839). Yet, when judged in terms of popular culture, these works are probably no worse and, in some respects, much better than their counterparts in our time. Longfellow was very successful in responding to the need felt by Americans of his time for a literature of their own, a retelling in verse of the stories and legends of these United States, especially New England. His three most popular narrative poems are thoroughly rooted in American soil. "Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie" (1847), an American idyll; "The Song of Hiawatha" (1855), the first genuinely native epic in American poetry; and "The Courtship of Miles Standish" (1858), a Puritan romance of Longfellow's own ancestors, John Alden and Priscilla Mullens. "Paul Revere's Ride," the best known of the "Tales of a Wayside Inn"(1863), is also intensely national. Then, there is a handful of intensely personal, melancholy poems that deal in very successful ways with those themes not commonly thought of as Longfellow's: sorrow, death, frustration, the pathetic drift of humanity's existence. Chief among these are "My Lost Youth" (1855), "Mezzo Cammin" (1842), "The Ropewalk" (1854), "The Jewish Cemetery at Newport" (1852), and, most remarkable in its artistic success, "The Cross of Snow," a heartfelt sonnet so personal in its expression of the poet's grief for his dead wife that it remained unpublished until after Longfellow's death. A professor of modern literature at Harvard College, Longfellow did much to educate the general reading public in the literatures of Europe by means of his many anthologies and translations, the most important of which was his masterful rendition in English of Dante's Divine Comedy (1865-67).

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