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I remember the black wharves and the slips,
And the sea-tides tossing free;

The Spanish sailors with bearded lips,
And the beauty and mystery of the ships,
And the magic of the sea.

The chief event in his boyhood was the War of 1812, and a battle that was fought in Casco Bay, a splendid sweep of water just north of Portland. He recalled

the sea fight far away,

How it thundered o'er the tide !
And the dead captains, as they lay

In their graves, o'erlooking the tranquil bay,
Where they in battle died.

The poet was educated at Bowdoin College, near his native town, where Nathaniel Hawthorne was one of his classmates. After graduation he began to practise law. But he was unfitted for the profession, and gladly accepted the chair of modern languages in his Alma Mater. For the position he qualified himself in a very sensible and delightful way by travelling in Europe for three years and a half. This experience, while it broadened his tastes and sympathies, at the same time rendered it impossible that he should ever be a thorough interpreter of typical American life. All his future work was colored by the spirit of European culture. In 1835 he was appointed to the professorship of modern languages at Harvard University, and again travelled on the Continent to fit himself for the post. Returning the next year he entered upon what must have been the happiest period of a very happy life,

amid congenial friends and surroundings. For nearly twenty years he lectured and wrote. As a teacher he was eminently successful. In 1854 he resigned his professorship, but continued to reside at Cambridge. His literary activity was always great, and to the end of his life he was a hard worker. Visiting Europe in 1868-9, he was greeted everywhere with honor. In 1880 appeared his last volume of poems, called appropriately Ultima Thule. Two years later he died. His life was his most beautiful poem, for he lived in the light, and of him the world has said no evil.

Longfellow's works comprised poetry, prose, and some valuable translations. Of the latter the best is his rendition of Dante's Divina Commedia, completed in 1868, which is "a masterpiece of literal translation." In handling some shorter poems, he makes rather a paraphrase than a translation. Longfellow wrote several novels, but these do not show his genius at its best; they are of a somewhat overwrought type. Hyperion (1839) daringly takes for heroine a beautiful young lady whom the author met abroad, while the hero is the author himself. So original a wooing was crowned with fitting success. Longfellow's poetical work began in 1839, with Voices of the Night. This collection contained the well-known Psalm of Life-not impeccable, but good nevertheless:

Art is long and time is fleeting

And our hearts, though strong and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating

Funeral marches to the grave.

Ballads, and Other Poems (1842) was another volume of short pieces, many of them very striking; notably the Skeleton in Armor. Here Longfellow catches the true Norland spirit. The ringing verseform is thoroughly in accord with the stirring tale: Speak! speak! thou fearful guest! Who, with thy hollow breast Still in rude armor drest,

Comest to daunt me!
Wrapped not in eastern balms,
But with thy fleshless palms
Stretched, as if asking alms,

Why dost thou haunt me?"

Then from those cavernous eyes
Pale flashes seemed to rise,
As when the northern skies
Gleam in December;
And, like the water's flow
Under December's snow,

Came a dull voice of woe

From the heart's chamber.

"I was a Viking old!
My deeds, though manifold,
No Scald in song has told,
No Saga taught thee!
Take heed that in thy verse
Thou dost my tale rehearse,
Else dread a dead man's curse!
For this I sought thee.

"Far in the northern land,
By the wild Baltic strand,
I, with my childish hand,

Tamed the ger-falcon;
And, with my skates fast-bound,
Skimmed the half-frozen Sound
That the poor whimpering hound
Trembled to walk on."

With this volume he attained the full extent of his genius. Various other collections of short poems further evidenced his charm and his art. Of his longer poems the two best were undoubtedly Evan geline (1847) and Hiawatha (1855). Evangeline is a beautiful idyll of exile, and love "that hopes and endures and is patient." The scene is laid in Acadia, home of the happy, in 1755, the year of the Acadian deportation; and afterwards in the great West and in Philadelphia. The metre, English hexameter, is very ambitious. It is an adaptation of the Greek and Latin hexameter, and Longfellow's was the first successful attempt to introduce that form into English. That it was successful is best proved by the fact that two English poets-Kingsley and Cloughwere inspired to follow Longfellow's example. The form may be called a "pestilent heresy," but the beauty of the poem remains; and indeed-though the end of this argument is not yet!-it is futile to try and judge an English metre by classic rules. Evangeline is written in a good English metre, and it were pedantic to insist further. Quotation is almost superfluous, so well known is the poem; but the lines at the end are worthy a re-perusal :

Still stands the forest primæval; but far away from its shadow,

Side by side, in their nameless graves, the lovers are sleeping.

In the heart of the city, they lie, unknown and unnoticed.
Daily the tides of life go ebbing and flowing beside them,


Thousands of throbbing hearts, where theirs are at rest and for ever,

Thousands of aching brains, where theirs no longer are busy, Thousands of toiling hands, where theirs have ceased from their labors,

Thousands of weary feet, where theirs have completed their journey!

Still stands the forest primæval; but under the shade of its branches

Dwells another race, with other customs and language.

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While from its rocky caverns the deep-mouthed neighboring


Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.

Evangeline, by the way, was published in the same year as Tennyson's Princess.

Hiawatha is an American epic poem. Longfellow had always been strongly attracted by the personality of the Indian, and Hiawatha groups together a great deal of original folklore. Its metre, too, was unfamiliar, founded consciously upon a Finnish epic called Kalevala. Hiawatha gained speedy fame. It is redolent of the pine forests and alive with woodland life. It is "the one poem that beguiles the reader to see the birch and ash, the heron and eagle and the deer, as they seem to the red-man himself, and to join for the moment in his simple creed and wonderment." Longfellow's other long poems-The Courtship of Miles Standish (1858), The Golden Legend (1872), etc., are neither so good nor so popular as those which have been described.

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