Author: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow-Photogravure from photograph by Hanstaingl

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–82) was a celebrated American poet of the nineteenth century. Born in Portland, Maine to a well-to-do family, Longfellow began writing poetry at an early age: his first poem, “The Battle of Lovell’s Pond,” was published in the Portland Gazette when he was thirteen. After attending Bowdoin College (where he became good friends with Nathaniel Hawthorne) and studying in Europe, Longfellow taught first at Bowdoin and then later at Harvard College. He oversaw Harvard’s modern language program for eighteen years and was honored in 1884 with a bust in the Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey, the first time an American had been accorded that tribute.  

Decoration Day

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This poem by America’s Maine-born and favorite “Fireside Poet,” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1805–82), was one of his last, appearing first in the Atlantic in June 1882, several weeks after his death. Like Mary B. C. Slade’s “Soldier’s Memorial Day”, it speaks of decorating the graves of fallen soldiers. But it does so less floridly, and to different effect.

Paul Revere’s Ride

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Paul Revere’s Ride” (1860), one of the best known poems by the celebrated American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–82), was published just days before the start of the Civil War, years after the event that it commemorates. In fact, the poem takes a largely forgotten Revolutionary War figure and turns him into a national hero.

The Republic

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In this excerpted poem (1850), Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–82), popular American poet and educator, uses the extended metaphor of the “ship of state” to describe our still-young republic.

The Village Blacksmith

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–82) was a celebrated American poet of the 19th century. Born in Portland, Maine to a well-to-do family, Longfellow began writing poetry at an early age: His first poem, “The Battle of Lovell’s Pond,” was published in the Portland Gazette when he was 13. “The Village Blacksmith,” first published in the literary magazine The Knickerbocker in 1840, pays tribute to an ancestor, Stephen Longfellow, who earns “a night’s repose” by his labor.