Poems of Places: Oceanica

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Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009 - History - 232 pages
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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1879. Excerpt: ... Imperial Calicut, the lordly seat Of the first monarch of the Indian state. Right to the port the valiant Gama bends, With joyful shouts, a fleet of boats attends: Joyful, their nets they leave, and finny prey, And, crowding round the Lusians, point the way. Luis de Camoens. Tr. W. J. Mickle. THE SEA. THE sea! the sea! the open sea! The blue, the fresh, the ever free! Without a mark, without a bound, It runneth the earth's wide regions round; It plays with the clouds; it mocks the skies; Or like a cradled creature lies. I'm on the sea! I'm on the sea! I am where I would ever be; With the blue above, and the blue below, And silence wheresoe'er I go; If a storm should come and awake the deep, What matter? I shall ride and sleep. I love, oh, how I love to ride On the fierce, foaming, bursting tide, When every mad wave drowns the moon, Or whistles aloft his tempest tune, And tells how goeth the world below, And why the sou'west blasts do blow. I never was on the dull, tame shore, But I loved the great sea more and more, And backwards flew to her billowy breast, Like a bird that seeketh its mother's nest; And a mother she was, and is, to me; For I was born on the open sea! The waves were white, and red the morn, In the noisy hour when I was born; And the whale it whistled, the porpoise rolled, And the dolphins bared their backs of gold; And never was heard such an outcry wild As welcomed to life the ocean-child! I 've lived since then, in calm and strife, Full fifty summers, a sailor's life, With wealth to spend and a power to range, But never have sought nor sighed for change; And Death, whenever he comes to me, Shall come on the wild, unbounded sea! Brya Waller Procter. THE STORMY PETREL. A THOUSAND miles from land are re, Tossing about on the roaring sea; F...

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About the author (2009)

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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