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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    Thy fate is the common fate of all;
    Into each life some rain must fall.
    —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)

    All are architects of Fate,
    Working in these walls of Time;
    Some with massive deeds and great,
    Some with ornaments of rhyme.
    —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1809–1882)

    It whispered to the fields of corn,
    “Bow down, and hail the coming morn.”

    It shouted through the belfry tower,
    “Awake, O bell! proclaim the hour.”

    It crossed the churchyard with a sigh,
    And said, “Not yet! in quiet lie.”
    —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1809–1882)