Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) was an American poet and educator whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride", The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline. He was also the first American to translate Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy and was one of the five Fireside Poets.

Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine, then part of Massachusetts, and studied at Bowdoin College. After spending time in Europe he became a professor at Bowdoin and, later, at Harvard College. His first major poetry collections were Voices of the Night (1839) and Ballads and Other Poems (1841). Longfellow retired from teaching in 1854 to focus on his writing, living the remainder of his life in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a former headquarters of George Washington. His first wife Mary Potter died in 1835 after a miscarriage. His second wife Frances Appleton died in 1861 after sustaining burns when her dress caught fire. After her death, Longfellow had difficulty writing poetry for a time and focused on his translation. He died in 1882.

Longfellow wrote predominantly lyric poems, known for their musicality and often presenting stories of mythology and legend. He became the most popular American poet of his day and also had success overseas. He has been criticized, however, for imitating European styles and writing specifically for the masses.

Read more about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:  Legacy, List of Works

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    Like a French poem is life; being only perfect in structure
    When with the masculine rhymes mingled the feminine are.
    —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)

    By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
    By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
    Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
    Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1809–1882)

    The course of my long life hath reached at last
    In fragile bark o’er a tempestuous sea
    The common harbor, where must rendered be
    Account for all the actions of the past.
    —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)

    Often I think of the beautiful town
    That is seated by the sea;
    —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1809–1882)