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THE SONG OF HIAWATHA
Part 1, Chapter 1

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

The Peace-Pipe

On the Mountains of the Prairie,
On the great Red Pipe-stone Quarry,
Gitche Manito, the mighty,
He the Master of Life, descending,
On the red crags of the quarry
Stood erect, and called the nations,
Called the tribes of men together.

From his footprints flowed a river,
Leaped into the light of morning,
O'er the precipice plunging downward
Gleamed like Ishkoodah, the comet.
And the Spirit, stooping earthward,
With his finger on the meadow
Traced a winding pathway for it,
Saying to it, "Run in this way!"

From the red stone of the quarry
With his hand he broke a fragment,
Moulded it into a pipe-head,
Shaped and fashioned it with figures;
From the margin of the river
Took a long reed for a pipe-stem,
With its dark green leaves upon it;
Filled the pipe with bark of willow,
With the bark of the red willow;

Breathed upon the neighboring forest,
Made its great boughs chafe together,
Till in flame they burst and kindled;
And erect upon the mountains,
Gitche Manito, the mighty,
Smoked the calumet, the Peace-Pipe,
As a signal to the nations.

And the smoke rose slowly, slowly,
Through the tranquil air of morning,
First a single line of darkness,
Then a denser, bluer vapor,
Then a snow-white cloud unfolding,
Like the tree-tops of the forest,
Ever rising, rising, rising,
Till it touched the top of heaven,
Till it broke against the heaven,
And rolled outward all around it.

From the Vale of Tawasentha,
From the Valley of Wyoming,
From the groves of Tuscaloosa,
From the far-off Rocky Mountains,
From the Northern lakes and rivers
All the tribes beheld the signal,
Saw the distant smoke ascending,
The Pukwana of the Peace-Pipe.

And the Prophets of the nations
Said: "Behold it, the Pukwana!
By the signal of the Peace-Pipe,
Bending like a wand of willow,
Waving like a hand that beckons,
Gitche Manito, the mighty,
Calls the tribes of men together,
Calls the warriors to his council!"

Down the rivers, o'er the prairies,
Came the warriors of the nations,
Came the Delawares and Mohawks,
Came the Choctaws and Camanches,
Came the Shoshonies and Blackfeet,
Came the Pawnees and Omahas,

Came the Mandans and Dacotahs,
Came the Hurons and Ojibways,
All the warriors drawn together
By the signal of the Peace-Pipe,
To the Mountains of the Prairie,
To the great Red Pipe-stone Quarry,

And they stood there on the meadow,
With their weapons and their war-gear,
Painted like the leaves of Autumn,
Painted like the sky of morning,
Wildly glaring at each other;
In their faces stem defiance,
In their hearts the feuds of ages,
The hereditary hatred,
The ancestral thirst of vengeance.

Gitche Manito, the mighty,
The creator of the nations,
Looked upon them with compassion,
With paternal love and pity;
Looked upon their wrath and wrangling
But as quarrels among children,
But as feuds and fights of children!

Over them he stretched his right hand,
To subdue their stubborn natures,
To allay their thirst and fever,
By the shadow of his right hand;
Spake to them with voice majestic.

As the sound of far-off waters,
Falling into deep abysses,
Warning, chiding, spake in this wise:

"O my children! my poor children!
Listen to the words of wisdom,
Listen to the words of warning,
From the lips of the Great Spirit,
From the Master of Life, who made you!

"I have given you lands to hunt in,
I have given you streams to fish in,
I have given you bear and bison,
I have given you roe and reindeer,
I have given you brant and beaver,
Filled the marshes full of wild-fowl,
Filled the rivers full of fishes:
Why then are you not contented?
Why then will you hunt each other?

"I am weary of your quarrels,
Weary of your wars and bloodshed,
Weary of your prayers for vengeance,
Of your wranglings and dissensions;
All your strength is in your union,
All your danger is in discord;
Therefore be at peace henceforward,
And as brothers live together.

"I will send a Prophet to you,
A Deliverer of the nations,
Who shall guide you and shall teach you,
Who shall toil and suffer with you.
If you listen to his counsels,
You will multiply and prosper;
If his warnings pass unheeded,
You will fade away and perish!

"Bathe now in the stream before you,
Wash the war-paint from your faces,
Wash the blood-stains from your fingers,
Bury your war-clubs and your weapons,
Break the red stone from this quarry,
Mould and make it into Peace-Pipes,
Take the reeds that grow beside you,
Deck them with your brightest feathers,
Smoke the calumet together,
And as brothers live henceforward!"

Then upon the ground the warriors
Threw their cloaks and shirts of deer-skin,
Threw their weapons and their war-gear,
Leaped into the rushing river,
Washed the war-paint from their faces.
Clear above them flowed the water,
Clear and limpid from the footprints
Of the Master of Life descending;
Dark below them flowed the water,
Soiled and stained with streaks of crimson,
As if blood were mingled with it!

From the river came the warriors,
Clean and washed from all their war-paint;
On the banks their clubs they buried,
Buried all their warlike weapons.
Gitche Manito, the mighty,
The Great Spirit, the creator,
Smiled upon his helpless children!

And in silence all the warriors
Broke the red stone of the quarry,
Smoothed and formed it into Peace-Pipes,
Broke the long reeds by the river,

Decked them with their brightest feathers,
And departed each one homeward,
While the Master of Life, ascending,
Through the opening of cloud-curtains,
Through the doorways of the heaven,
Vanished from before their faces,
In the smoke that rolled around him,
The Pukwana of the Peace-Pipe!

 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Books

 

Eric the Bookworm

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge - The Dungeon

Emily Dickinson - The Pedigree Of Honey
Ralph Waldo Emerson - Ode To Beauty
Gerard Manley Hopkins - The Caged Skylark
John Keats - The Human Seasons

The Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam
Rudyard Kipling - If

Edward Lear - The Owl And The Pussy Cat

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - The Song Of Hiawatha: Part 1, Chapter 1
Wilfred Owen - Anthem For Doomed Youth
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Portrait

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807March 24, 1882) was an American poet whose works include Paul Revere's Ride, A Psalm of Life, The Song of Hiawatha and Evangeline. He also wrote the first American translation of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy and was one of the five members of the group known as the Fireside Poets. Longfellow was born and raised in the Portland, Maine area. He attended university at an early age at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. After several journeys overseas, Longfellow settled for the last forty-five years of his life in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Early life and education

Longfellow was born on February 27, 1807 to Stephen and Zilpah (Wadsworth) Longfellow in Portland, Maine, and grew up in what is now known as the Wadsworth-Longfellow House. It has been said that he was one of the most beloved poets. His father was a lawyer, and his maternal grandfather, Peleg Wadsworth Sr., was a general in the American Revolutionary War. He was descended from the Longfellow family that came to America in 1676 from Yorkshire, England and from Mayflower passengers Priscilla and John Alden, William Brewster, Henry Samson, John Howland, and Richard Warren on his mother's side, as well as Rev. John Lathrop. [1]

Longfellow's siblings were Stephen (1805), Elizabeth (1808), Anne (1810), Alexander (1814), Mary (1816), Ellen (1818), and Samuel (1819). Longfellow was enrolled in a "dame school" at the age of only three, and by age six, when he entered the Portland Academy, he was able to read and write quite well.[citation needed] He remained at the Portland Academy until the age of fourteen and entered Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine in 1822. At Bowdoin, he met Nathaniel Hawthorne, who became his lifelong friend.

First European tour and professorship at Bowdoin

After graduating in 1825, he was offered a professorship at Bowdoin College with the condition that he first spend some time in Europe for further language study[2] He toured Europe between 1826 and 1829 (visiting England, France, Germany, Holland, Italy and Spain), and upon returning went on to become the first professor of modern languages at Bowdoin, as well as a parttime librarian[citation needed]. During his years at the college, he wrote textbooks in French, Italian, and Spanish and a travel book, Outre-Mer: A Pilgrimage Beyond the Sea [3]. In 1831, he married Mary Storer Potter of Portland.

Second European tour and professorship at Harvard

Longfellow was offered the Smith Professorship of French and Spanish at Harvard with the stipulation that he spend a year or so abroad. His 22-year old wife, Mary Storer Potter died during the trip in Rotterdam after suffering a miscarriage in 1835. Three years later he was inspired to write "Footsteps of Angels" about their love.

When he returned to the United States in 1836, Longfellow took up the professorship at Harvard University. He settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he remained for the rest of his life, although he spent summers at his home in Nahant. He began publishing his poetry, including "Voices of the Night" in 1839 and "Ballads and Other Poems", which included his famous poem "The Village Blacksmith", in 1841.

Marriage to Frances "Fanny" Appleton

Longfellow began courting Frances "Fanny" Appleton, the daughter of a wealthy Boston industrialist, Nathan Appleton. During the courtship, he frequently walked from Harvard to her home in Boston, crossing the Boston Bridge. That bridge was subsequently demolished and replaced in 1906 by a new bridge, which was eventually renamed as the Longfellow Bridge.

After seven years, Fanny finally agreed to marriage and they were wed in 1843. Nathan Appleton bought the Craigie House, overlooking the Charles River as a wedding present to the pair. The house was occupied during the American Revolution by General George Washington and his staff[4]

His love for Fanny is evident in the following lines from Longfellow's only love-poem, the sonnet "The Evening Star," which he wrote in October, 1845: "O my beloved, my sweet Hesperus! My morning and my evening star of love!"

He and Fanny had six children:

  • Charles Appleton (1844-1893)
  • Ernest Wadsworth (1845-1921)
  • Fanny (1847-1848)
  • Alice Mary (1850-1928)
  • Edith (1853-1915), who married Richard Henry Dana III, son of Richard Henry Dana
  • Anne Allegra (1855-1934).

When the younger Fanny was born on April 7, 1847, Dr. Nathan Cooley Keep administered the first obstetric anesthetic in the United States to Fanny Longfellow.

Longfellow retired from Harvard in 1854, devoting himself entirely to writing. He was awarded an honorary doctorate of Laws from Harvard in 1859.

The death of Frances

Longfellow was a devoted husband and father with a keen feeling for the pleasures of home. But his marriages ended in sadness and tragedy.

On a hot July day, while putting a lock of a child's hair into an envelope and attempting to seal it with hot sealing wax, Fanny's dress caught fire causing severe burns. She died the next day, aged 44, on July 10, 1861. Longfellow was devastated by her death and never fully recovered. The strength of his grief is still evident in these lines from a sonnet, "The Cross of Snow" (1879) which he wrote eighteen years later to commemorate her death:

Such is the cross I wear upon my breast
These forty five years, through all the changing scenes
And seasons, changeless since the day she died.

Death

Longfellow died on March 24, 1882, after suffering from peritonitis for five days.

He is buried with both of his wives at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1884 he was the first American poet for whom a commemorative sculpted bust was placed in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey in London.

Longfellow's work

Longfellow was such an admired figure in the United States during his life, that his 70th birthday in 1877 took on the air of a national holiday, with parades, speeches, and the reading of his poetry. He had become one of the first American celebrities.

His work was immensely popular during his time and is still today, although some modern critics consider him too sentimental. His poetry is based on familiar and easily understood themes with simple, clear, and flowing language. His poetry created an audience in America and contributed to creating American mythology.

Longfellow's poem "Christmas Bells" is the basis for the Christmas carol "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day".

Longfellow's home in Cambridge, the Longfellow National Historic Site, is a U.S. National Historic Site, National Historic Landmark, and on the National Register of Historic Places. A two-thirds scale replica was built in Minneapolis, Minnesota at Minnehaha Park in 1906 and once served as a centerpiece for a local zoo.

List of Longfellow's Works

  • Coplas de Don Jorge Manrique (Translation from Spanish) (1833)
  • Outre-Mer: A Pilgrimage Beyond the Sea (Travelogue) (1835)
  • Voices of the Night: Ballads; and other Poems (1839)
  • Hyperion, a Romance (1839)
  • Ballads and Other Poems (1842)
  • Poems on Slavery (1842)
  • The Spanish Student. A Play in Three Acts (1843)
  • Poets and Poetry of Europe (Translations) (1844)
  • The Belfry of Bruges and Other Poems (1845)
  • Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie (Epic Poem)(1847)
  • Kavanagh: A Tale (1849)
  • The Seaside and the Fireside (Poetry)(1850)
  • The Golden Legend (Dramatic Poem)(1851)
  • The Song of Hiawatha (Epic Poem) (1855)
  • The Courtship of Miles Standish and Other Poems (1858)
  • Tales of a Wayside Inn (Poetry)(1863)
  • Household Poems (1865)
  • Flower-de-Luce (Poetry)(1867)
  • Dante's Divine Comedy (Translation)(1867)
  • The New England Tragedies (1868)
  • The Divine Tragedy (1871)
  • Christus: A Mystery (1872)
  • Three Books of Song (1872)
  • Aftermath (Poem)(1873)
  • The Masque of Pandora and Other Poems (1875)
  • Kéramos and Other Poems (1878)
  • Ultima Thule (1880)
  • In the Harbor (Poems)(1882)

Quotations and manuscript

  • "ships that pass in the night"
  • "Love is sunshine, hate is shadow, life is checkered shade and sunshine."
  • "It takes less time to do a thing right than explain why you did it wrong."
  • "A torn jacket is soon mended; but hard words bruise the heart of a child."
  • " The grave is but a covered bridge Leading from light to light, through a brief darkness!"
  • "Give what you have to somebody, it may be better than you think."
  • "It is difficult to know at what moment love begins; it is less difficult to know that it has begun."

Trivia

  • A number of schools are named after him in various states, including Maine, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, California, Minnesota, Montana, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, Texas, and South Dakota.
  • "Longfellow Serenade" is a pop song by Neil Diamond.
  • In March 2007 the United States postal service made a stamp after him.
  • Longfellow was reportedly the first man with running water in the United States
  • The Bowdoin College Longfellows, an all male a capella group, uses Longfellow as their inspiration.

Bibliography

  • Gartner, Matthew. "America's Longfellow", 2002. National Park Service - Longfellow House. http://home.nps.gov/long/historyculture/upload/Gartner%20Essay.pdf
  • McClatchy, J. D. ed. Poems and Other Writings, New York: The Library of America, 2000. ISBN 978-1-88301185-7.
  • Monterio, George. Introduction to Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, The Poetical Works of Longfellow. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1975. ISBN 0395184878

Notes

  1. [Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - A Maine Historical Society Web Site - Wadsworth-Longfellow Genealogy -http://www.hwlongfellow.org/family_genealogy.shtml]
  2. Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. "The Poetical Works of Longfellow" Houghton Mifflin. 1975 p. xx
  3. Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. "The Poetical Works of Longfellow" Houghton Mifflin. 1975 pp. xx - xxi
  4. Craigie House. Longfellow birthplace

External links

Wikisource has original works written by or about:
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Persondata
NAME Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
ALTERNATIVE NAMES
SHORT DESCRIPTION American poet
DATE OF BIRTH February 27, 1807
PLACE OF BIRTH Portland, Maine, United States
DATE OF DEATH March 24, 1882
PLACE OF DEATH Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

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